When Didi Taihuttu (pictured, far right, with his family) sold everything he owned to go all-in on Bitcoin last year, his controversial decision evoked diverse reactions from the public and the crypto sphere. A minor celebrity in his home country of the Netherlands, Didi received admiration from some who felt he made a courageous decision, while others perceived his actions as irresponsible, owing to the uncertain future of Bitcoin.
Better known as the ‘Dad’ of his ‘BitcoinFamily’, Didi has been a proponent of a new minimalist lifestyle ever since, being outspoken on the benefits it has had on his family. Six months after his life-changing act, Bitcoin News caught up with him, speaking about the driving forces behind his decision, as well as on the trajectory of fintech start-ups and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Supporting the financial revolution
Bitcoin News (BN): You sold your family home in the Netherlands to live in a chalet with your family, and are currently in the process of selling your possessions in order to invest further into Bitcoin. What is the primary cause driving you to change your life like this?
Didi: We went all-in [on] Bitcoin between February and September 2017. The two main reasons are on the one hand I felt the monetary revolution was starting and on the other hand we did it to live a minimalist lifestyle and show our children we can be very happy without having all the luxury. We had always been very materialistic but during our world trip, we discovered that we were very happy traveling with just three backpacks and staying in small guesthouses. So we sold everything, ended up with a bag of money and decided to go all in crypto to support the revolution.
BN: Did you question your decision at all when the value of Bitcoin plunged in December last year?
Didi: No, because we were still in profit and we agreed that we were hodling minimal to 2020 to see what happens. I experienced some crashes earlier that year so you get used to it. Hahaha. I do trade daily with about 20% of our capital to multiply our BTC. To be honest we think that we will stay into it till the point that we can use our crypto to pay for our daily needs and that we don’t need to change back to fiat ever again. In the end, Bitcoin will be much higher and this will go with ups and downs.
On minimalism and not buying a Lambo
BN: Has the government ever tried to contact you or your family about the changes you have made?
Didi: Yes of course because it’s not allowed to travel with your children and not send them to school in the Netherlands. We solved this together with them and now everything is fine. They didn’t contact me about the crypto part though.
BN: You have spoken positively of the minimalist lifestyle that this has created, but also that you are holding out for long-haul massive gains that you expect from Bitcoin. Does this make it contradictory for you to be a proponent of minimalism?
Didi: No not at all, because we don’t choose to be poor but we choose to live a minimalist lifestyle. People need to understand that minimalism is not about being poor but about living a bit more conscious and spending crypto or money on things that you really need. We are all products from the forced buy economy in the 1990s but did we really get happier because of buying more and more?
That said, for us, it is no problem at all if we go bankrupt because of this adventure. Then we will just start over again. If we will make huge profits we can live this minimalist lifestyle for a very long time. We are not going to buy a Lambo etc. because we would rather spend it on, for example, educating poor people around the world about crypto and how to use it.
BN: What do you say to your critics that see it as problematic to put your family in a seemingly unstable living environment for the sake of bitcoin? Is there something in particular about bitcoin that you see as a worthy cause to do this perhaps?
Didi: Firstly people need to understand that it was a family choice. My wife and kids agreed on this lifestyle and adventure. Mostly when people say things like “it’s not healthy or normal to live on a campsite with your kids”, I just ask them if it’s healthy to work your ass off for 48 weeks a year to spend two weeks with their kids on that same campsite?
We respect everybody for how they live and just hope people can respect us for the way we live. We chose to spend more time with our family and really educate our children the way we want. Our kids are very happy and traveling the world and learning a lot from this. Is this the right decision? We don’t know but we try to live and enjoy life day by day and teach our kids to do so as well, because we can’t predict the future, so why worry about it?
Faith in Bitcoin and blockchain
BN: Do you have a contingency plan if things all fall apart?
Didi: No, we don’t have a plan B and we won’t be needing it because blockchain and crypto won’t fall apart. It will change the world in a way most people can’t even imagine at this point in life. As said we try not to worry about the future because we can’t predict it. I think people worry way too much about the past or future even though they know they can’t change it. Just do what makes you happy every day and enjoy doing that. We are writing a book about our Bitcoin adventure at the moment so maybe that will turn into plan B.
BN: Bitcoin has always received a lot of criticism; now it is largely focused on fraudulent ICOs. As an advisor to several blockchain projects, what advice would you give startups looking to foster a trusting, legitimate business network in this time of bad press?
Didi: There are many ways but most important is that the ICO’s product needs to have a real use case. If it has a real use case, then ICObench is, for example, one of the platforms where you can present your ICO. Use the help of experienced ICO advisors. With experience, I mean people that have experience in running businesses and have experience in crypto as well. Those advisors can guide you and provide you with a network and thus investors.
People sometimes ask me, “but how can you be an advisor? You just sold your house and got a bit famous”. People seem to forget that I also sold the companies that I built from scratch and had been running for 15 years with 16 employees at peak time. People forget that I started mining Bitcoin and Dogecoin in 2012 and experienced many crashes. But they are right that we got a follower base because of our decisions and that could be helpful for an ICO as well.
5-dollar white paper ICOs vs “real decentralized currency”
BN: 46% of ICOs have been reported to have launched in Q1 of this year with just an idea, and no coding or further development done. Do you feel there is true world value to all of these projects launching, and do you feel startups have a responsibility to provide an initial investment to fund some project development?
Didi: I don’t know all the projects but I think there are projects that lack value. But I don’t think that projects need to provide an initial investment because then the whole meaning of an ICO or crowdfunding aspect disappears. Investors just need to do research before stepping into the ICO. In the end, it is your decision to invest in the ICO or not.
I would never invest in a project that just has a nice white paper and nothing else to show. You can buy a whitepaper online for USD 5 so that’s the value. If you want to be sure if it’s a real good ICO, visit them or meet them at a conference and talk with them. Then decide to go in. If you don’t want to take time to research then just invest money you can afford to lose. I invested, for example, USD 250 in the Electroneum ICO last year which gave me about USD 2,800 in return. If I had lost the USD250 it wouldn’t have been a drama.
BN: Do you see the future of cryptocurrencies dominated by different tokens, or do you believe Bitcoin will retain its position as the most crucial player?
Didi: I do think that for example Ethereum, Litecoin, and NEO will be big players in the future as well but in my opinion, Bitcoin is and will stay the leader. It has the advantage of being the first, the advantage of the biggest network and most importantly the advantage of being “the only real decentralized currency”.
Many new currencies have a marketing team and a leader or a foundation led by a spokesman etc. What if this leader leaves the company and a new leader comes with other ideas? If the government wants to shut them down, they can go to that office or leader and really shut it down. Is it then really decentralized? With Bitcoin, this is not the case. There is no company or spokesman, you can’t shut them down or influence it in any way. You can just copy(fork) it and try to improve it and that was exactly Satoshi’s vision.
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