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The Bitcoin Favours

Wedding Favours are traditional gifts which are given out at the wedding reception as a means of saying 'thank you' from the bride and groom. They are a token of appreciation for friends and family members who have come together to celebrate the marriage of the happy couple.

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which a record of transactions is maintained and new units of currency are generated by the computational solution of mathematical problems, and which operates independently of a central bank.

My mid to late 20’s featured a run of weddings from school friends, work friends, cousins etc. I was averaging at least 5 a year. They fall naturally around this time in your life and - as the years go by - all mix into a collective mush of similarity. But the wedding of Deborah and Dave (not their real names) stands out in the memory.


Nothing went wrong and there was no great on-the-day spectacle. It’s more of a drama that has slowly played out over the last 10 years linking everyone who was there: who paid attention; who forgot; and who now regrets their actions or lack thereof. I paid attention and took action - it was just not enough attention and completely the wrong action.


‘Dave’ was a chap I had played in a band with with. A really decent drummer which, as I have now learnt, is almost as rare as a really good singer. The band never got anywhere: there was tension between the singer and guitarist before I joined which came to a head with both of them quitting followed by arguments over who quit first. Dave was my main confidant at this time as we discussed the tedious Spinal Tap-esque difficulties the warring band mates had displayed. We spent many a night drinking, discussing what could have been and trying to work out what our next musical steps might be. However, once Dave’s IT career took off the music took second place - and he soon became engaged with quite a quick wedding planned for the following year.


The wedding day itself went well and we coasted to the speeches. The best man, ‘Jed’ produced the standard wedding fare before wrapping up his speech with a surprise. 'Now about the wedding favours. You might not be aware that a couple of years ago a new virtual currency was launched called bitcoin. I think it’s going to change the world. To celebrate Dave and Deborah’s wedding I have hidden 10 USB sticks each with 10 bitcoin on them in random wedding favour boxes - there should be at least one on each table!'


Cue everyone opening their wedding favour boxes, with some bemused to find a USB stick - but with no-one really knowing what the USB stick could do or what bitcoin was, everything quickly moved on.


I was interested in these USB sticks. Not because of bitcoin but because of access to potentially free USB sticks! I needed storage for transferring files. I was hopeful of finding a USB stick but annoyingly it was someone else on our table who pulled one from the favours box at the same time as spilling their wedding favour jelly beans on the floor. They were definitely more interested in the lost jelly beans.


Chatting to Jed a bit later, he said he was buying as much bitcoin as he could and for safety, buying up lots of USB sticks to store them on. I recall nodding sagely at this point; although clearly not understanding what protocols required so many USB sticks. He said the cost of bitcoin he had given away at the wedding was around £50 when he had brought them and that a bitcoin had recently reached parity with the US dollar. He got quite excited at this point stating it was a big milestone, the first of many blah blah. With some lightning quick alcohol infused maths I worked out that the bitcoin on each of the USB sticks was now worth at least a whopping 10 dollars! I then made an excellent joke around the fact that the USB sticks themselves were worth more than the contents. However, Jed didn’t find this funny. Instead I clearly remember the look of pity he gave me…


At the end of the evening with staff beginning to clear tables I decided to have a quick look on and under the dinner tables. I found 3 USB sticks which I pocketed and thought little more of it. On reflection this is questionable and could be considered stealing. I have a limited defence here, but at least one of these USB sticks was on the floor and the other 2 were on tables quite clearly abandoned by their guests. I was just after forsaken USB sticks, I wasn’t going into peoples pockets to take them.


A couple of months went by and I’m off to another wedding in my one and only suit. Dipping into the pockets I found the 3 USB sticks and remember the bitcoin discussion. I plugged one into my computer to have a quick look at the contents but it made no sense to me: some random files with long gibberish sentences stored in text files. I put the USB sticks aside and headed out to the wedding.


It wasn’t long before I’d written over all the information on the USB sticks. I was doing some home recording (tasty bass grooves) and I was hunting round for USB sticks to transport said bass lines to the producer. I’m pretty sure I thought before wiping the contents that the quality of my bass guitar recordings were worth more than the 10 dollar gibberish ‘bitcoin’ nonsense.


How wrong I was. Since the price of bitcoin went crazy I have been undergoing therapy to deal with all of this. My therapist has said that writing about it could help my progress in coming to terms with it.


So this is the story as to how I gained and then lost 30 bitcoin. Or, as of 5th April 2021, 1.2 million pounds worth of bitcoin. Luckily I do have a copy of one of the bass lines I recorded that was used to wipe over one of the bitcoin wallets.

00:00 / 03:15

Clearly a million pound bass line.


Stanley Franc

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