A TECH writer has revealed how she blew Bitcoin now worth almost £300,000 on a Sushi dinner for strangers.
Kashmir Hill revealed she spent 10 of the crypto coins at a restaurant Sake Zone in San Francisco while doing a piece for Forbes in 2013.
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And some seven years later she revealed restaurant owner Yung Chen still has hold of much of her Bitcoin, using the fortune in part to retire.
Ms Hill revealed her experience in December in a piece of the New York Times, saying she thought it was "silly" that Bitcoin could become a store of value like gold.
She was taking part in a challenge to live for a week on Bitcoin – and decided to offer her final few coins for a gathering of crypto fans from Reddit to have a slap up meal at Sake Zone.
She admitted at the time she even feared she had cheated Mr Chen -but now her platter of tempura shrimps and teriaki is worth £272,000.
"I felt guilty at the time, making Yung Chen accept $1,000 worth of funny money because it was unclear to me whether Bitcoin should be worth anything at all," she said.
The journalist got back in touch with Mr Chen as Bitcoin enjoyed a bumper year during pandemic as prices surged as people moved much of their lives online.
She revealed Mr Chen and his wife have now retired – having amassed their own fortune of 41 Bitcoins, which is worth around £1.1million.
Sake Zone was an early adopter of the accepting cryptocurrency, and was one of the few places that would accept it when Ms Hill challenged herself to live on Bitcoin only for Forbes in 2013.
The Sun Online has been looking at some cautionary tales from the world of crypto as the highly volatile market continues to fluctuate.
Kashmir's story comes after we we told the tale of "Bitcoin Pizza Guy", who spent £250million of Bitcoin on Papa John's.
We also recounted the story of a crypto trader who lost £200million worth of the coins as he forgot his password, and a woman who found she spent £500,000 of Bitcoin on weed and MDMA.
Meanwhile, one furious Redditor declared Bitcoin had ruined his life as he found his £300million fortune was lost after his mum threw out his broken laptop.
What is Bitcoin?
BITCOIN got you baffled? Here’s what you need to know:
- Bitcoin is a virtual currency
- It's traded between people without the help of a bank
- Every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, or "blockchain"
- Bitcoin is created by mining
- Mining involves solving difficult maths problems using computer processors
- Bitcoin can be traded anonymously, which can make it a popular way of funding illegal activities
- The value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly
- Bitcoin is one of many different cryptocurrencies, but by far the most popular
Mr Chen actually sold a quarter of his total Bitcoin when they shut Sake Zone in 2017 – a decision he now regrets, but he is relived he kept hold of the rest of his coins.
He said: "I sold some. I feel so bad. Now, I just keep it. I just put it there like stock and wait.”
“The Bitcoin has become one of the major saving assets in my portfolio. It’s a lot.
"It’s close to like a half-million dollars in my account.”
The restaurateur felt confident adopting Bitcoin so early after working in the tech sector in the 1980s when he first emigrated from Hong Kong to California.
Sake Zone was located next door to the offices of the Internet Archive, so with staff coming in regularly the Chens decided it was time to start accepting Bitcoin.
"[I] not really think of money. More like a new product that I would like to play around with," Mr Chen said.
He added he did worry when Ms Hill made her 10 Bitcoin purchase of for around $1,000 worth Sushi – but he's happy he did as now crypto is "big money".
Ms Hill's tale comes as the cryptocurrency market has slumped further today after crashing last week following months of major gains.
The price of big-hitter coins like Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Shiba Inu have plummeted by up to 12% at the time of writing.
It marks a disastrous week overall for the cryptocurrency market, after news broke that Bitcoin's value nearly halved in value within the space of six weeks after reaching a record high of $64,000 in April.
The digital currency fell to its lowest level since January after Beijing said it will block crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings.
The value of cryptocurrency markets as a whole has plummeted by $1trillion in just two weeks.
It comes following a series of hammer blows to a number of coins.
To process Bitcoin transactions, a procedure called “mining” must take place, which involves a computer solving a difficult mathematical problem with a 64-digit solution.
For each problem solved, one block of Bitcoin is processed. In addition, the miner is rewarded with new Bitcoin.
To compensate for the growing power of computer chips, the difficulty of the puzzles is adjusted to ensure a steady stream of new Bitcoins are produced each day.
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