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From burgers to Bitcoin

Text100 Lead Developer Ryan Holder tells the story of how he got to go to the BBC, meet Huw Edwards to talk about one of his favourite subjects: Bitcoin

Text100 Lead Developer Ryan Holder tells the story of how he got to go to the BBC, meet Huw Edwards to talk about one of his favourite subjects: Bitcoin

How I got to go to the BBC and meet Huw Edwards to talk about one of my favourite subjects: Bitcoin!

London’s first cryptoburger

In late 2013, I was working on Old Street, and hungry. I’d bought a bit more Bitcoin than I could actually afford and, inevitably, I’d run out of money a few days before payday.

I considered my options: I could ask my colleagues to lend me some cash, but that’s not a great look and I abhor debts. Or I could skip lunch, but that wasn’t appealing, either.

Then an idea struck me. I had bitcoin! All well and good being a pioneer of a brave new currency, but it’s not great if you’re flush on BTC and still starve.

I took to the Internet, coinmap.org to be precise, hoping to find a restaurant or cafe nearby. There were places selling legal advice, alpaca socks, and a sushi-making course.

Then, I saw exactly what I needed: Burger Bear. My mouth started watering. Could I could get a huge, juicy burger for my lunch? I watched the clock until lunchtime, then ran out of the office, BTC stashed on my phone.

As I arrived, I asked: “Can I buy this with Bitcoin?”

“Yeah… I think you can!”

Despite advertising as BTC-friendly for a while, nobody had yet tried to buy a burger. I was the first!

Then, the guy behind me in the queue tapped me on the shoulder. “Hi, I’m from Coindesk and I’m here to buy London’s first Bitcoin burger for an article. You beat me to it by one place! Can I interview you instead?”

Oh Yeah! Not only did I get lunch, I got interviewed by a prominent Bitcoin blog. What a day.

Hello, Huw

Fast-forward to 2018, and Bitcoin is major news around the globe. Everyone from the Head of the IMF to Elon Musk has an opinion about it, but true experts are still hard to find. (Text100’s own Julian Chow compares Bitcoin to teenage sex.)

In the four years interim, I’d been researching the new crypto economy, learning how to trade alt coins, keeping up with the latest developments in the space, and feeling euphoric/anxious as the price of Bitcoin hit $20,000 in late December of 2017.

One morning I received an email from a BBC journalist. Lloyds bank had just banned Bitcoin purchases via credit cards and the story was to be featured on the 5 o’clock news with Huw Edwards and they wanted a talking head to speak about it with him. Who better than the Bitcoin burger guy? Me!

I accepted the invitation and tried to get some work done. In a few short hours I’d be speaking on live TV about my specialist chosen subject.

I wasn’t nervous until I approached Broadcasting House. It’s an imposing building, and the security and formal air there brought home the immensity of what I was about to do. I took some deep breaths as I was ushered to make-up for a bit of powder, and then into the actual studio; I could see Huw now. More deep breathing while I get wired up with a lapel mic.

Crunch time

Ryan on the |BBC, talking about Bitcoin

I sit in the chair next to Huw as he reads about the Lloyds decision. He shakes my hand and seems friendly, but I know I’ve got to keep my wits about me. Journalists can be tough cookies, and cryptocurrency still has some serious image problems.

The questions come fast and I’m thinking on my feet. I had expected more direct questions about the Lloyds story, but Huw actually wants to know about my own personal crypto use. Over almost before it began, Huw thanks me and I’m out of the hot seat.

My answers were pretty good for a live setting, though with 20:20 hindsight, there were better things I could have said. I feel I represented myself, Text100 and the wider cryptocurrency community well. I could have spoken for hours!

It was frustrating to have to skim the surface with short soundbites. I need to find more opportunities to speak about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. It’s definitely something that gets my blood pumping!

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