The old adage says that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Swedish programmer Alexander Bottema was prepared for the opportunity of a lifetime, once he realized it was staring him in the face. As a computer programmer with a deep background in online security, he was in the perfect position to understand the Bitcoin boom and take advantage.
For those unfamiliar with the new world of cryptocurrency, bitcoin is an entirely digital, heavily encrypted currency that allows people to make anonymous transactions. The currency isn’t issued by a government so bitcoin holders are assured that the value of the currency will never be diminished by overprinting. Plus, much like gold, the amount of bitcoins is finite. Only 21 million bitcoins will be in circulation once the final coin is mined.
“I’m not a billionaire yet [in terms of Swedish crowns],” Bottema told Nordic Business Insider. “But my capital has grown by a factor of more than one hundred since I sold all my stocks and liquidated my savings in order to buy bitcoins in 2013.” Four years ago, bitcoins were valued at $30 a coin. Today, the currency is valued at over $4,100 a coin. But Bottema didn’t always think bitcoin was such a great investment.
When he first heard about it seven years ago, he wasn’t interested. “Seeing that I had a long track record in data security, I was certain that it wouldn’t be possible to build safe servers that are open, and envisioned a crash,” he said. “The following year, I was sitting on the subway and read in the Metro newspaper how bitcoin had recovered after a crash. I couldn’t understand how a currency that is built on trust could recover. That piqued my interest.”
Using his background in cybersecurity, Bottema downloaded the currency’s program code and began to study it as he would any other cybersecurity issue. He also saw the similarities between bitcoin and gold, an asset that is also unaffected by government instability. He then took the plunge by selling his stocks and savings to buy bitcoins.
Now, four years later, Bottema has seen his net worth grow by about 13,000%, and he isn’t selling his coins any time soon. “I’m not thinking about buying any more, since I can never get the same return on investment again,” he said. “I could consider selling some of my assets should the price hit 100,000 dollars.”