Friends and Money Can Mix
A fictional tale on how Bitcoin came to be.
It happened once a year. The day that Darnell Jones was able to go out and get loose with his boys. He looked forward to this day with anticipation each of the 191 days that preceded it. It was a chance to forget about the stresses of work and home life and relax. Since he and his friends were born during the same month, just days apart, why not make a big deal of it every year; for the last 15 years? Each year they picked a new destination they had never been, this year was Alaska. It was stifling hot in Tennessee this time of year, most days well over ninety degrees. They opted for a place where the weather was much milder for a July celebration and hopefully one with a breeze.
For some reason, Darnell had a feeling that turning 30 would be the turning point in his life. Too long he felt as though he was straddling the line of well-off and rich, and he just couldn’t seem to get over it. He had big dreams of luxurious homes, cars, and vacations that his salary just didn’t afford. With three kids, a wife, two mortgages, and three vehicle payments; there just never seemed to be enough to truly enjoy the finer things. He had a great idea he wanted to pitch to his friends this trip. An idea, that if it worked, would make all of them rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Darnell was so lost in thought for his plans for the weekend, that he dozed off without realizing it. He had awoken abruptly thinking the plane was experiencing bad turbulence; he was sure it was going down. Only to awake to a stewardess urgently shaking him to wake.
“Sir, Sir, we’ve landed.” she stated as he jolted out of his sleep.
“Yes, I’m up. Sorry, I can be a hard sleeper sometimes.” he replied.
“I certainly understand sir, it isn’t the shortest flight. But, we’ve made it, welcome to Anchorage.” she said with a smile.
Slowly he got up, gathered his carry-on bag, and exited the plane . He had hoped to catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley as he exited the airport, but no dice. He’d have plenty of time to gaze at the beauty of the mountain at their vacation rental right in Denali with beautiful mountain views. He just hoped what he saw in the pictures Sean sent, was the actual place. Darnell couldn’t help but chuckle as he thought about his overzealous friend Sean. They all knew he had the greatest of intentions with his plans. They just never seemed to work out for him the way he’d like them to. Sean was the goofball of the bunch, certified gamer, hacker, coder, and anything else you can think of in the field of technology. He was the guru of it all, and he boasted of his skills often. He just hoped this was one thing his friend wasn’t tooting his horn falsely on. Then there was Ken, who was also in the financial sector of things like Darnell. Public Accountant and numbers guru extraordinaire. He was sometimes jealous of Ken’s flare for numbers and how quickly he could calculate things in his mind. While Darnell was great with investment portfolios, he still reached for a calculator as Ken would reach inside his mind. A bit egotistical, as his unofficial part time job was working out. He had the brawn and the brains and he knew how to flaunt it.
As he rounded the corner of the street to their rental, he got nervous out of nowhere. What were the butterflies for he thought? These were his friends, and while they were known to be goofballs who liked to clown, they’d take it seriously if he did. He sat in the backseat of his Uber thinking of every reason to not bring it up with them, not try. But the thought of his family and the stresses he’d like to ease, quickly helped him push the thought of not doing it from his mind. As his Uber pulled into the driveway of the place he’d make home for the next few days he could see Ken and Sean rush onto the porch to welcome him, drinks in hand.
“Happy Birthday Man!” they yelled in unison as Sean snatched open the door to his Uber, “get out of this car and give me a hug!” he shouted.
Darnell felt like he was ripped from the grasp of his seat as Ken pulled on his arm to get out. They all laughed and let out a sigh of relief as they did a three-way embrace. It had been a long year for all of them, and it was nice to see they all made it through with their hairlines intact. This weekend was much needed for all of them, and they were going to live up every moment of it.
“Well,” started Sean, “ we have shots on the porch and it’s a double. I really hope you brought your big boy pants. Don’t need you turning in early on us like you did last year.”
“Yeah man,” retorted Ken, “I know you had a rough year last year, but I just assumed you would’ve been prepared. Upped your sleep schedule the week before or something.”
“Last year was rough, and I was just happy to get a moment of silent sleep.” he replied with a solemn face. “I’m ready this time though. The Gods have been good to me and I’ve had plenty of sleep.” he quickly retorted with a smile.
Darnell was the type of man who would go through something, but you would never tell. Most people thought him to be an upbeat optimistic man who always found the bright side. However, his friends and his family knew the darker side of him, the side that dwells on what’s going wrong and does everything he can do to fix it. The part of him that doesn’t always do what’s right, if it fixes a problem. Last year was rough indeed; this was his chance at redemption. This weekend was going to set the stage for the rest of their lives, and all the bullshit worrying he did in the car was gone. As he gazed over the beauty that was Mt. McKinley, he knew the time was here and now. He had a mischievous grin as Sean led him and Ken in the house. The foyer was massive with a beautiful double staircase with giant picturesque windows behind: a beautiful view of the mountains. He was ready for everything this weekend had in store.
“I figured tonight we could just chill and chat. Tomorrow, the big show!” Sean said as he poured the group yet another shot. “It’s been at least a month since we talked last before the trip, we need to catch up. Share all the juicy gossip.” He continued.
“Catch up on all the juicy gossip? Did you turn into a teenage girl?” Darnell squibbed.
Sean took the lighter out of his pocket and threw it at Darnells head.
“Shut up man.”
“So, what do you have planned for us this weekend?” Ken asked, looking at Sean.
“Well, I figured we could keep it classy this year,” started Sean. “Take a hike into the mountains, consume a LOT of the local cuisine, and maybe hit a strip club or three. How’s that sound?”
“How about, we all take a lil nap because I’m beat. And then, we can all gather around that huge fireplace and talk about the future. You said you wanted to catch up right Sean?” replied Darnell.
“Uh, yeah, but I’m not going to take a nap. I got here last night to scope out the scene before you two tools arrived.” Sean stated.
“I swear it’s like you’re in your second childhood,” Ken snarled, “I’m with Darnell though. I need a nap. I’ve been holding out because I wanted to welcome our brother.” He continued as he gave Darnell dap.
“Well, I’m going to head out and grab a few more things while you two Old G’s get your beauty sleep.” Sean stated as he headed for the door, grabbing the keys to the rental car.
Ken stood for a moment. Looking at his friend, as if he knew there was something he wasn’t quite telling them yet.
“I’m fine, let’s go to sleep.” Darnell laughed. He could sense the question his friend wasn’t asking. He patted Ken on the shoulder as he headed up the expansive stairway, in search of his place of slumber.
Darnell couldn’t believe that it was already dark outside when he awoke. That twelve hour flight took more out of him than he initially thought. He knew Sean and Ken would be piling on the old man jokes for having slept so long. He jumped out of bed and headed for the closet in his room with a pep and a smile. The time had finally come; he had the plan and now the two people he trusted most with the skillset to accomplish the task at hand. He grabbed his bag, put on his slippers, and excited the room to find his friends.
Just as he suspected, the festivities were already underway. He could hear Ken and Sean talking and laughing it up: a little upset he missed the joke.
“WHAT’S SO FUNNY?” he yelled as he neared the landing of the staircase.
“HOW LONG YOU SLEEP!” shouted Ken. And they all erupted in laughter.
Darnell rounded the corner into the living room and grabbed a beer and opted for the Lazy-Boy recliner that was caddy corner to the fireplace. It was a beautiful fireplace with a magnificent edifice, but he missed the old days. When in order to get a fire, you needed wood, not gas. The smell of burning Hickory or Mesquite wood was one of his favorite things on cold winter nights. It was also the most efficient way to save on gas and energy cost for heating your home, his parents would always say. Sometimes he wished he could go back to a time where life was much slower, and much more simplistic. With the age of technology seemed to come the age of problems. He got lost in his thoughts for a moment about the woes of the prior year. Lawsuits, miscarriage, the death of his father; he was honestly surprised he made it with his sanity in tact.
Darnell snapped out of it when he felt a thump on his forehead.
“Earth to McFly, hello McFly,” Sean said with a laugh, “where exactly are you right now D?”
“Sorry guys, I kinda got lost in my thoughts. I’m here, fully here.” he replied.
“So, what’s been up with you D?” Ken asked. “Last we spoke you were working on something quite secretive that even your boys couldn’t know.”
“I’m sorry for keeping you guys out of the loop,” Darnell started, “I wanted to make sure what I found was something real and could actually be done. I got confirmation on that and if you’ll allow me to bore you for a bit, I’d like to get your help with something.”
“You’re my boy and all, but I didn’t come here to sit through a business pitch.” Sean sneered.
“It’s not a business pitch, I can assure you. It’s a make me and my homies rich beyond our wildest dreams pitch.” Darnell replied.
“Ooh, you’re talking money? Making money? I’m down.” Sean quickly replied. “But first, I need to get into the right headspace. Y’all know I do the best work once I smoke.”
Darnell rolled his eyes and laughed at his friend. “Just can’t ever be sober can you?”
“I mean, I can be, but life just seems to be so much better with weed.”
“I’m going to just go ahead and stick with the drank,” Ken stated, “I’ll leave the smoking to you guys.”
“It’s been years, but hell, why not. We’re here to turn up right? Darnell said with a smile.
“I’ll be back, let me go get my bag.” Sean said as he stood up to leave the room.
Ken grabbed the remote off the coffee table and turned on the T.V. “I’m honestly surprised that guy is as successful as he is, considering how much weed he smokes.” Ken squibbed.
Darnell chuckled, “Man, it helps with so much. I never would’ve imagined I’d be smoking myself.”
“So, what’s this million dollar idea you have?”
“I have to wait for Sean to come back. We’re the numbers, he’s the tech. There is nothing without him.”
“What are you thinking?” Ken asked with a quizzical look on his face.
“Wait for it.”
“Well, I guess while we wait, I’ll whoop your ass in some 2K. When’s the last time you played?”
“Not that long that I still can’t whoop you?” Darnell said with a laugh.
They were both laughing now as Ken stood to connect the XBox Sean brought with him. Darnell didn’t realize how much he missed being able to just sit around and talk with his friends until just now. As time went on, they moved away, and it got harder and harder to hang out. They helped each other through the hard times: they were his inspiration and motivation. It seemed like so long ago when they met on the playground of Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga. They bonded over comic books and video games and had been friends ever since. As he reached for the controller from Ken he got an instant flashback of them all hanging out in his bedroom, battling head to head game after game. Snacking and gaming, when life was more simplistic. Darnell smiled.
“Now, are you sure you want to do this? Ken asked. “I’ve gotten pretty good, now’s your time to bow out.”
“Never!” Darnell said with a grin. What his friend didn’t know is, he still played almost everyday too.
“I got next!” Sean excitedly said as he re-entered the living room.
“That’s cool,” started Darnell, “I don’t mind beating you too.”
“In your dreams is about the only time you’d have the chance.”
“Now now children, we all know that I’m the best and I will reign supreme.” Ken stated as he laughed.
“So, what’s the big secret? Can we know now?” asked Sean.
Darnell had a grin that stretched from ear to ear. He grabbed the joint Sean had so perfectly rolled and passed his way. He took a deep inhale and allowed himself to hold the smoke in for a while. He exhaled, and allowed himself to fully relax into his seat.
“The easy way to explain it is, I want to start an entire new type of currency. While I was working on a new type of digital ledger for our accounts, I stumbled across something. Something that’s pretty cool.” Darnell said with excitement.
“Wait a minute, so what you’re saying is, you found a way to create an entirely new type of money?” Sean asked?
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“Where’s the algorithm? I have got to see this.” Sean was on the edge of his seat, eyes as wide as a kids on Christmas day.
Darnell jumped up and grabbed his laptop and handed it to Sean. Ken sat there, with a look on his face that said he didn’t fully believe it himself. It looked as though he was deciding if he wanted to call his friend a genius or a lunatic.
“I’ve somehow found a way to get small bits of coin by simply solving a small algorithm. Something like a puzzle,” Darnell continued. “If you open up the next open window on my desktop, you’ll see the digital ledger I’ve created that tracks each transaction made. That’s what I’ve been able to make so far with my skill set and know how.”
Ken peeked over Sean's shoulder and his eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.
“This can’t be real!” Ken said in amazement. “How can this be real?”
“I’m not exactly sure, but here it is. That’s why I need you guys. My genius friends. I’ll need some help keeping up with the transactions and amounts from you Ken. Sean, I need you to create some sort of algorithm that will essentially allow us to solve these puzzles automatically. That way, we can sit back, relax, and watch the money pile up.”
“I’m on it.” Sean said as he jumped up out of his seat. “Let me go get my equipment and I’ll get started right now.”
Ken still seemed to be stuck in his seat unable to move.
“Are you ok?” Darnell asked.
“I’m in complete bewilderment. We are going to be so famous and so rich!”
“No. We’ll be rich, not famous. In case there are issues of legality, it’d probably be best that no one knows who we are.”
“Yeah, that’s a good point. So what, we create all of this digital money and don’t chase the clout?” Ken sneered, “do you know what you’ve just done?”
“Yes, I know. But unless we all agree to anonymity, I don’t want to do it.”
“I’m for that. I’m not too sure it’s a good idea nor legal. So I’m down for covering our tracks and not letting anyone know the truth. I don’t need the clout if I’m a billionaire.” Sean said as he re-entered the room.
“I’ll order some food while you guys get set up. I was going to suggest taking a quick trip for food. See the city a bit, but it looks like we’ll be in for a while.”
Ken picked up his phone as Darnell began to help Sean unpack the contents of his bag.
The time seemed to fly by as they worked diligently to figure out how to make it all work. Beer bottles and pizza boxes everywhere. Ken had already passed out and Sean and Darnell were hoovered over the computer. By the time Sean made the final keystrokes to complete the algorithm, the sun had fully risen and they could hear the birds welcoming in the new day.
“Well, that’s it.” Sean said with a yawn. “Now we wait and see.”
“This is going to work.” Darnell assured his friend.
By this time, Ken had risen from his sleep. He checked his watch and had been shocked to see the living room now fully ablaze with sunlight.
“So, where are we?” Ken asked.
“We’re done, but who’s the old man now?” Darnell said with a chuckle.
“Guys, we’ve got to share this with the world. There’s a way to keep anonymity and not be selfish.” Sean said. “Spread the wealth so to speak.”
Ken and Darnell gave each other a look, and then shook their heads in agreement.
“Great. What will we call this? And who are we going to say we are?”
“Well, let’s use a name that doesn’t automatically say who we are.” Ken suggested.
Sean smiled. “Satoshi Nakamoto, that will be the name we go by.”
“Why exactly would you choose something so random? Darnell asked. “What does it mean?”
“Well, let’s face it Japan is one of the world's leaders in technology, so I think people would easily believe that it isn’t a domestic thing. Also, Suzuka Nakamoto is one of my favorite Japanese rock artists, so it’s kind of like an ode to her.” Sean explained.
“I’m with it, not like it really matters.” Darnell said with a shrug.
“And we can simply call it Bitcoin.” Ken interjected. “You said it yourself, we’re essentially digging for coins in the digital world.”
“Done and Done” Darnell said, pretending to pound a gavel. “Let’s go to sleep. I’m exhausted.”
“Well, I just woke up.” Ken replied. “You guys go rest and I’ll keep a watch on things here.”
It seemed like only an hour had passed before Darnell heard Ken yelling for both he and Sean to get up. Darnell didn’t move immediately. He just laid there and smiled, he knew it had worked. By the time Darnell entered the living room, he could see Sean and Ken jumping up and down for joy.
“Omg we’re rich, we’re rich, we’re rich!” Sean said excitedly.
“What did I miss? How much do we have so far?” Darnell asked.
“It’s only been two hours, and so far we’ve generated about one million U.S dollars.” Ken said with a grin. “Let’s release this thing to the world and figure out what we’re going to do with all the money!”
And just like that, Bitcoin was born. The world's first ever Cryptocurrency.