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These People Unexpectedly Became Rich Overnight Thanks To Bitcoin

Here’s an interesting bit of Bitcoin trivia:  More than 10 years ago, the very first exchange rate was set pertaining to U.S. dollars and Bitcoin. At the time, you could buy 1,309 Bitcoin with only one dollar.

Not many people jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon back then, but those who made even a modest investment at that time could yield a reward worth millions today. These five Bitcoin buyers made a fortune that they may or may not have seen coming.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

The Green Brothers

Talk about the stars aligning in your favor: John Green, author of the hugely successful young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars, had no knowledge of Bitcoin. Busy producing educational YouTube videos, he and his brother Hank gained a sizable following of “Nerdfighters,” one of whom sent John a Bitcoin.

Green totally forgot about the cryptocurrency gift until the brothers decided to take a look at it when Bitcoin prices skyrocketed in 2017. The happy ending to this story? The value of the Green brothers’ one Bitcoin had skyrocketed to $15,000, which they donated to Partners in Health, a charity with the goal of providing health care to individuals in developing nations.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Marco Ghinolfi

Andreas Antonopoulos

You could say cryptocurrency has been his passion. Andreas Antonopoulos has shared his extensive Bitcoin knowledge in books, YouTube videos, and public appearances and speeches. But one thing he didn’t share was exactly how much Bitcoin he had and his level of wealth. When he began asking for financial assistance on supportive platforms like Patreon, critics demanded to know why.

Antonopoulos explained that he originally invested in Bitcoin in 2012 but that over the years he cashed out a significant sum of his investment in order to mange the financial constraints of day-to-day living, such as paying rent and supporting a family. Fans who felt he had been generous in sharing his cryptocurrency know-how began donating Bitcoin as a gesture of appreciation. Out of the blue, his finances were no longer in the red, as Antonopoulos accumulated 100 bitcoins and became an overnight millionaire.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Keith HInkle

50 Cent

Talk about singing the praises of Bitcoin. Rapper 50 Cent released the album Animal Ambition in 2014 and allowed fans to purchase it on his website using Bitcoin. Sales totaled 700 Bitcoins, which at the time were worth approximately $400,000.

But 50 Cent, already a millionaire, couldn’t be bothered to cash out his cryptocurrency haul — that is, until 2015 when his career bottomed out and he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He took another look at his bitcoin bonanza and, most likely, began to sing its praises, seeing as it’s worth about $8.5 million.

Photo: Flickr/Brian Glanz

U.S. Taxpayers

Any money or contraband seized by U.S. law enforcement during a bust of an illegal operation must be held as evidence and, ultimately, can be forfeited. Bitcoin is not exempt from this type of confiscation:

Hard drives overflowing with illegally obtained cryptocurrency can, and have, been held by the government for years until the resolution of cases. In 2017, it was discovered that Aaron Shamo was running a prescription drug trafficking ring on the dark web.

Investigators seized his hard drive and discovered $500,000 in cryptocurrency. Later in that same year, a federal judge in Utah allowed authorities to cash out Shamo’s fortune, which totaled $10 million in Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash.

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James Howells

Bitcoin mining began as a hobby for James Howells. An IT worker from Wales, he accumulated 7,500 bitcoin in 2009 before deciding it was time to move on to another pastime, especially since each Bitcoin was valued at less than a penny.

He dumped his laptop’s hard drive in a drawer, forgot about it, and didn’t even notice when it was eventually thrown out. Fast forward to January 2018, and the price of Howells’ Bitcoin would have ballooned to $80 million. But, alas, his city wouldn’t grant permission for him to excavate the local landfill to search for the missing hard drive, owing to the cost of the search and the possible negative repercussions on the local environment.

Because he still maintains his public Bitcoin address, the cryptocurrency hobbyist can keep an eye on his digital fortune, but he just can’t get his hands on any of it. The digital definition of torture, if ever there was one.