Eircoin was an idea I set up when bitcoin was only worth about 5 euro. I was on the dole and looking for something to help me get ahead in life. Bitcoin was obviously a great idea and I thought having a simple way of getting it out to people would really help spread it around. A friend coded up the original site, I processed all the orders by hand and sent out the receipts manually. I had an initial float of only about 500 euro. I left my name on the site's WHOIS to give users a sense of trust, I couldn't afford a named SSL cert. The address was a friends who I was staying with sleeping on his couch as I put it together.
Within a few weeks, the price started to climb. And I had the first customers coming in. Knowing straight away I would need to expand, I applied for a Back to Work Enterprise Allowance which was granted and I found a great coder who built a new version of the site to automate most of the basic operations for me. The site grew even further right through November 2013. I narrowly escaped the shuttering of mt.gox, but I had concerns nearer to my door as I started to show up on the radar of the central bank and my own bank. They threatened me with laws pertaining to money laundering and creating a currency and advised me to 'seek counsel'. I couldn't see where they were coming from, I could read the law without counsel and besides, I sold access to a network. I maintain that's all I still do. I wrote to them and told them so, they never got back to me.
Throughout the next few years, it looked like bitcoin was maybe never going to fly for the main population. I still had a good base of growing customers who were interested in the tech and so I was able to keep above water. But my problems persisted. In the early days of bitcoin, I believe it went through many attacks. I'd lose bank accounts repeatedly due to this. In the public sphere a lot of money was spend trying to destabilize the idea. Banks spent billions trying to recreate bitcoin with out bitcoin, it was all about the blockchain (for anyone in the know, a blockchain with private access only is a database). Eircoin ploughed on.
In the last few years, having been stopped out of the banking system in totality, a business partner of mine started working for me on the site and we used her bank accounts. This went on right through last year and up till now.
Now we stand a a point where we are loosing access to all OTC banking in Ireland for reasons unspecified, both me and my business partner – ironically at a time where it seems sure they have lost this fight. Along the way banks literally sponsored business doing the same job as me while trying to push me out. I feel that the brand I started with very humble beginnings has become toxic through no fault of my own. But it has come at a time where there is a multitude of options to access bitcoin so what we have been part of has been successful regardless. I have met and spoke to many customers of mine lately who are delighted that they were able to purchase bitcoin's so easily in Ireland during the early years and Im glad I was able to serve them.
So, this is long enough. Im quite a backround player, and Im going to now move on to something else entirely. I couldn't have built my life with out the support of the many people who used our service and Im extremely grateful for the opportunity you have gifted me. I hope the crypto scene continues to grow, despite the fact we are dancing on the precipices of the next financial catastrophe created by the central banks I take great pride in knowing I was working trying to be part of the solution.