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I have ‘Money’ Dreams

by Isa Hussain about a year ago in bitcoin
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How money influences the minds of people in the modern era and how greed will lead them to do anything it takes.

I have ‘Money’ Dreams
Photo by Pierre Borthiry on Unsplash

Jamie O’Neill was on his way back from class when he decided to stop to get something to drink. It was a perfectly innocent reaction, a little out of his way but still close enough to the campus that he wouldn’t waste too much time. He didn’t normally take his time to get snacks after class, but just once he wanted to try something out.

He was surprised to see that there was no line at the campus favorite coffee shop, but there were a lot of people sitting at the open seats. He went up to order something and was given a number and asked to find a seat to wait, but to also stay away from others. He chose a table back in the corner. His number was 157. The first number he heard get called was 139. It took between three and five minutes for new numbers to get called. By his estimate, it would take almost an hour to get his drink if they didn’t hurry up.

While he was waiting he tried to review his notes. He took out his notebook, a black-covered half-size journal that he bought by mistake when looking for a proper notebook for his classes, and read through what he wrote earlier that day. He read it twice and was part way through his third time when he realised the numbers had finally entered the 150s.

He was starting to regret his decision. He went to the bathroom in the back to relieve himself and relax for a moment. He felt lost and uncertain. Despite having a full schedule of classes, he felt like he was directionless. Of all the decisions being made for him, where to go and when, what to learn and why, the knowledge of what came after still haunted him. Or rather, what didn’t. There was no guarantee for him in the future anymore. Post-college would have different trials and difficulties that he wasn’t sure if he could overcome.

When he got out of the bathroom, he heard his number being called. Unexpectedly, the baristas did pick up the pace in the short timeframe when he was gone. He was in a rush to pick it up and keep the line moving, so he reached for his black notebook, took the drink and was out of the shop in a dash.

The drink was hardly worth it. $8 and he was done with it before he got to the end of the block. Spending money like that would only eat away at the meager, tiny, pathetic stipend he got from his student aid. Thousands of dollars of tuition and loans for his classes and he felt discouraged from even attending them anymore. There were guys his age making millions of dollars with stocks, with businesses and with breakthrough innovations. Their futures were much less certain but at least they were succeeding.

When Jamie got back to his dorm in the main student hall he threw his things on the floor and laid face-down on his bed for a while. He didn’t sleep, he was just too tired to move. After about an hour he rose, went to the bathroom, and picked his things up. He still had work to do for the next day, homework even as an adult, and opened up his notebook to check his notes again.

Everything changed. The words in his notebook were different. The handwriting was different. The notebook itself, while it looked very similar, was not. He hadn’t noticed because he was in such a rush but he took the wrong notebook when he left the coffee shop. This one didn’t contain his notes at all. There was nothing on sociology or history. It looked more like an accounting notebook.

Then he read it, and realized it wasn’t a notebook at all. There were dates and values, lists and order numbers. It was some kind of data book of transactions, a business ledger that seemed to deal in everything under the sun. Gas and oil, medicine, electronics, precious minerals, entertainment, real estate; it slowly started to dawn on Jamie just what he’d picked up. It was an investment book.

It felt wrong to leaf through it anymore. Someone way more successful - way more rich - would be missing it and they would likely find out who took it. Jamie didn’t write his own name in his notebook, but it had clues to his identity as a student. He flipped to the beginning of the note, wondering if they made that kind of mistake as well. Instead of a name, he saw a long string of characters, all properly written, some letters, some numbers, some uppercase and some lower, in a very particular order. Next to it was a sign. A currency symbol that used a B.

A Bitcoin wallet. Somehow the book became even more dangerous. Jamie knew very little about cryptocurrencies, even less than he did about stocks. What he did know was that the long string of characters served the same role as a bank account. It could take in money and exchanged it for cash through simple trades on the crypto market. It was the tool of the new generation of entrepreneurs.

Down the rest of the front page he saw other crucial information. Aside from the Bitcoin address, he also saw a few additional ones. Each one was listed as Shell and then a number, alternative accounts with a similar function. And under each chain number was another string of characters, and some were whole words. Passwords.

Jamie realized that he was holding someone’s entire private economy in his hands. The new age equivalent of Swiss bank accounts. He felt a sense of temptation that he never experienced before. It was a drive for purpose. Excitement. Something important to do for his future. It was theft, but he didn’t care. An opportunity was right in front of him, and he wanted to take it. It wasn’t what he usually did, but just like a post-class coffee sometimes life was best lived in unexpected ways.

Jamie O’Neill spent the rest of his night figuring out how to even use Bitcoin wallets, he set one up for himself, and logged into the first main account of the leading Bitcoin collecting account.

It had $426,212 worth of Bitcoin in it. Seeing that number available as potential cash made him gasp out loud. However, the account was in a restricted state. Even though he was logged into it like it was his own, the account itself was locked down and not doing anything but gathering money. He did recognize, somehow, the other wallets that were in its list of transactions. All of them were from the others in the notebook, the shell accounts.

He logged into the first one of those. It had $21,310 in it, and the account was fully active. It could take and send funds to other wallets, which it was doing at a weekly rate to the main account. Jamie saw his opportunity and took it. He made a manual transaction, sent all the BTC from Shell 1 to his personal wallet, which was so brand new that he didn’t even have his own money in it yet.

Seconds after pressing send, the account was empty and he got a notification on his phone. A new transaction came in from someone’s wallet. His Bitcoin journey had officially begun. He opened it up on his phone and saw the same amount, $20,000 freely gained from another enterprising individual. He had tapped the roots of someone else’s fortune.

He felt like a winner.

With all that money he didn’t even care about college anymore. He had enough to start a business, to start investing, to take a vacation and not worry about school. He could pay off his loans and still have enough left over to just coast for the year, and there was still plenty of money coming into the accounts that he held control over.

Jamie waited a day to get the money turned into cash. The process sounded complicated, but as he worked the features of his wallet he found it to be much easier. It was a simple trade over, one currency to another, and in the end he made the deposit. He had $20,000 in his main bank account. He got $3,000 up front from the bank, and the remainder was held temporarily as the bank checked and cleared the transaction.

Jamie kept the notebook in his room, hidden under his bed where he couldn’t even see it, only find it by touching and reaching. It was a precious secret. He already copied the information by typing the chain codes out manually onto his computer, and he still had access to each of the accounts, but there was still precious information inside. Stocks and dates for potential gains that he could make. He could turn his $20,000 into $100,000 and start to rival the very account he first stole it from.

It was a blessing in disguise, but it made him worried. Such a powerful thing was in his hands but it used to belong to someone else. He felt elated at home, when he was safely looking over his bank account and the free income on his computer. When he was outside, he felt eyes on him. He felt like people were watching him when they normally wouldn’t. He felt like he was standing out and the worry over it made him stand out even more.

He was making plans for his money instead of taking notes. If he did all the investments correctly he could double it in a month and then pay off his student loans. Then he could get a real apartment, drop out of college and stick to investments like all the suddenly rich kids were doing. He could use the money to keep investing, and make a business. He could do anything he wanted.

The whole world was open to him as long as he never opened his dorm room door.

One day, as the week ended and the accounts automatically pooled their resources into the main account, Jamie got all of the money into his account. And the wallets were locked out. The passwords changed and he couldn’t get in anymore. The only one that he could see was the main account, which he saw was nearing half a million dollars from the Shell accounts pouring money in. Of course, that number was $20,000 less than what it otherwise would have been.

He assumed that the owner of the black notebook finally got around to fixing their problems. He got out with more than he expected, a whole year’s worth of minimum wage style work was earned in a day. It was a good run, but it was over. The little black notebook had been spent. He reached under his bed to take it out and give it one last look. Everything was already copied onto his computer. He had weeks ahead planned for stocks to buy and prices to sell at.

The book felt lighter in his hands when he dragged it out. He cracked it open and looked for the information he was used to seeing.

It was all sociology and history notes. His old notebook was under his bed, not the one he took by accident. It was in the exact same place, out of sight in a hidden slot under all the folded up sheets under his mattress.

Someone returned his notebook to him. In his room, while he was out. So he decided, very calmly, to call campus security about replacing his locks. If they charged him, he could afford to replace it. For a little while, money wasn’t a problem.

But money couldn’t solve the problems he gained now….


About the author

Isa Hussain

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