Back in October, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak revealed that he was a huge fan of bitcoin - which he bought back when it was $700 - telling Bitcoin Magazine that it was better than both gold and the dollar, which is "kind of phony", while bitcoin is "genuine and real." The burly multi-millionaire also said that he likes bitcoin because "it is based on mathematics."
"Bitcoins to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments. It is mathematical, it is pure, it can’t be altered," Wozniak has said, explaining also why governments hate it so much.
A few months later, just after Bitcoin hit its all time highs, Wozniak also discovered just how volatile bitcoin was and pulled the cord, bagging a price near the all time high.
"I had bitcoin to experiment with and when it shot up high, I said, 'I don't want to become one of those people that watches it, watches it and cares about the number.' I don't want that kind of care in my life," Wozniak says to an audience at the Nordic Business Forum in Sweden on January 24. "Part of my happiness is not to have worries, so I sold it all — just got rid of it — except just enough to still experiment with," Wozniak said.
To be sure, not a bad experiment: bought at $700 and sold well over 10x higher: the rich get richer, and all that...
Or maybe not.
As Wozniak revealed to India's Economic Times, in addition to being volatile, bitcoin is also prone to the occasional theft.
"I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud. Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy!"
It was only that easy, Steve, because you agreed to send your bitcoins over the counter to an unknown person, using an unknown credit card, with zero protections, but we digress.
"And it was from a stolen credit card number so you can never get it back," Wozniak explained further during the Economic Times’ Global Business Summit held in New Delhi.
Still despite the theft, Wozniak - who is worth about $100 million - has no hard feelings: asked about his experience of investing in Bitcoin when they were going at $700 a piece and then selling them for a fortune when the price shot up, Wozniak said that he “did not invest in bitcoins”, but bought them as an experiment.
"I had them so that I could someday travel and not use credit cards, wallets or cash. I could do it all on Bitcoin. I studied which hotels and facilities accepted Bitcoin... it’s still very difficult to do so. I also tried to buy things online and trade Bitcoin online."
That said, it should be easy to track down where the stolen crypto have gone: "The blockchain identifies who has Bitcoins... that doesn't mean there can't be fraud though," he said.
He's correct: just ask America's banks which lost trillions during the financial crisis after years of pent up mortgage fraud, and had to be bailed out by the Fed... a luxury bitcoin investors will never have.
Incidentally, Woz will be happy to know that most credit card issuers will now protect the gullible, and most have banned all credit card transactions involving cryptocurrency.