I have been here since the beginning, since the Steem days...lurking in the background observing this network and community grow into what it is today. It's amazing to see where we have come since then...Here is my long overdue introduction post.
Who am I and where do I come from?
I was born and raised in Washington State, USA. Prior to me being born, my father was a deep undercover LAPD investigator during the 70s/80s. He ended up relocating to Washington in the early 90s and taking a job as detective there with another police department. Shortly after that he met my mother in Seattle who had just recently been hired at Microsoft. My entire life I have been around and used computers. Some of the earliest memories I have are running around the halls of Microsoft as a kid. I'd hang out in the empty cubicles and play Minesweeper and Pinball on the old Dell dimension PCs while waiting for my mom to finish work...It was like Disneyland for me there. Thinking back and reflecting on how much things have progressed in the computing world since the 90s and early 2000s still blows my mind. Especially in regards to computer graphics.
I was a big gaming nerd as a kid, my first console was the original Nintendo. One of my favorite games was Duck Hunt...man those were some good simple days, that game was the best! I also had Super Nintendo. Some of my favorite games on that were Starfox, Donkey Kong Country and Mortal Kombat. I'll never forget my parents tried to ban me from playing MK. They took the cartridge and hid it in their room (didn't hide it well enough, I quickly found it hidden in their closet). I would have to sneak in there and grab it when I wanted to play but always ended up getting busted by my dad and scolded for it. I don't blame them for this now, those were times when the news was constantly pushing the narrative that if you let your kid play violent games they'd turn them into a complete psycho.
Later in the 90s N64 became my main console. Golden Eye 007 was by far my favorite game next to Super Mario 64. After that I moved on to PS1 before switching to Xbox for good in 2002. In addition to console gaming, I would play Age of Empires 1 on my dads PC... this was my first computer game and is still one of my favorite PC game franchises today (next to Starcraft). This was back during pre Steam days, when people still used GameSpy. After I got a bit older and built my own PC some of my go to games were: Battlefield 2, Day of Defeat Source, Counter Strike Source and World of Warcraft to name a few.
How did I get involved in crypto?
I still remember the day I first heard about Bitcoin. I was sitting on the rooftop of a hotel in Rome, Italy eating breakfast back in summer 2011. My parents and I had planned on going to see Europe a few years after I graduated and had just embarked on our month long trip. I remember being on my laptop and reading about Bitcoin in the news, about how it was being used on the internet to buy all kinds of shady things. At the time I thought it was interesting but was occupied with other stuff and very quickly forgot about it.
We traveled all over Europe that summer. Italy, Spain, Turkey and Greece. 2011 was a crazy year for economies around the world. When we were in Greece their government was going through its debt crisis from the aftermath of 08. I remember being in Athens and seeing massive protests in the streets. I thought to myself there has to be some way the world can get out of this madness, not realizing the Bitcoin network I had just read about weeks earlier was there in the background growing.
Fast forward to 2013, I was working graveyard shift as a security guard for various companies. That lasted a while before I eventually decided to quit and opened a medical Marijuana dispensary, it had just been legalized in my state. I know pretty ironic being my father was an ex narcotics detective, but he always supported what I did (he will even share a joint with me every now and then). Around that time I started hearing more and more about Bitcoin again on the news and YouTube, so decided to dive down the rabbit hole. Lets just say after hopping in there I never came back out. After taking the time to get a grasp and understanding of what it was, I went all in and sold everything I had, converted it all into Bitcoin. Everyone I knew told me I was nuts, no one understood or even cared to learn more when I made an effort to try and explain it to them. They just gave me this crazy look and told me it was some kind of scam or wouldn't last.
I didn't end up holding on to the Bitcoin for very long. Shortly after buying it I had heard about Bitshares and Dan Larimer and thought it was an interesting project so I invested a small amount of my coins in early 2015. Bitshares was actually my first altcoin investment (didn't end up being the greatest) but no regrets there. Then in July of that year I started hearing more and more about Ethereum. After doing my research I was very intrigued and anxiously awaited for the launch. That was a crazy summer...ill never forget watching that order book on Poloniex. Thousands of BTC on the books scooping up ETH. I sold all of my Bitcoin in August 2015 and converted it to Ethereum while it was around $0.60 and the rest is history. My life has never been the same since. I attended Devcon 1 in London November of that year. Met all sorts of cool and interesting people there who actually understood everything going on in my head...it was a time I will never forget.
How did I discover Steem/Hive?
In May 2016, I was visiting my grandmother who I now greatly miss (she passed a couple years ago) in Provo, Utah. I was on my laptop browsing the Bitcointalk forums as usual and came across this post https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1466593.0 -- Immediately I was hooked on the idea of a decentralized social network. I fired up Steemit blog for the first time and began posting and playing around with stuff... it blew my mind at the time and felt like magic, earning money to post things. I didn't make much (my first account was https://hive.blog/@kingjohal) but saw the value in a decentralized social network controlled by its community. I was no expert on crypto back then as you'll see from my posts. A few months later I ended up losing my keys and lost access to that account forever. That is when this account @thejohalfiles was created.
I fell in love with Steem pretty quickly and eventually ended up selling a bit of my ETH to purchase a chunk of it. I have always had plans to post on this account but instead began curating on the network shortly after powering up. I was hooked. Id wake up in the morning and monitor literally every single post on the chain and vote on content. I would be up early in the morning and late hours into the night just curating.
It's been a privilege to witness what has been built here and how the network has evolved into what it is today. What a wild and stressful ride its been along the way. I will never forget the day Justin Sun took over Steem in early 2020. I was in Mexico attending a conference when I had got the news. I didn't even attend most of it as I was in my hotel room trying to monitor the situation and contemplating my next move. After seeing how things played out and hearing the plans to fork I knew I needed to get my funds out of there ASAP. After the fork was successful, I began powering down and managed to get out without losing any coins. Very thankful for this after seeing what happened to some others. It's really hard seeing good people lose their money, I pray somehow justice is served one day and folks get their funds back.
What do I plan on doing with this Hive account?
For now I will be experimenting with the various applications being built on Hive such as Speak Network and Dbuzz. In the future I will be documenting my progression in the gym. Since discovering Bitcoin lets just say I have not been exercising nearly as much as I used to. Crypto has fully consumed my life since then, and I've lost all the gains from my younger days. My goal is to really start taking my health and exercise seriously again. I have been involved in martial arts since a kid (Karate, Kung Fu and MMA), and this practice also fell out of my life. So ill be documenting my return to training in that regard as well.
In addition to all this, I plan on exploring the world over the next few years and will be posting about my travels on this blog. I have a huge list that i've been building for many years of over 400 places that id like to visit.
It has been incredible to see what Hive has become and to think about what the future holds for us all. The way Hive was born was literally a gift from God. At the time Justin Sun taking over Steem seemed like a horrible thing to many, but I believe it was always its destiny and God had a plan. A truly decentralized social network is really needed more than ever right now. Governments and corporations around the world are censoring information at a massive scale and it will only get worse. Freedom of speech online is incredibly important and needs to be protected. Hive is the best shot we have at fighting back to protect the human races freedom and creativity online. I'm looking forward to sharing my life journey here with you all.