I apologize ahead of time for the long rant, but I had to get this out of my head and I don't really have anyone else to share it with.
Some background: My dad and I have been running a marketing LLC together since 2010. It doesn’t make a lot of money, but it pays the bills. I got into bitcoin heavily around 2017, and over the course of 4 years I managed to stack 2 full bitcoin. As someone who only made about 18k a year, this was a huge achievement for me.
In 2021 I went to my first bitcoin conference, met some people, and through a series of events found myself in Austin, TX with a group of guys who were trying to create a bitcoin startup. Outside of esoteric pursuits, supporting bitcoin is my #1 passion in life, and this startup seemed like my calling, like I was meant to help it succeed.
So I spent 6 months flying back and forth to help in any ways I could (mostly design work). When they got funded, I packed up my car, left my home and a 2 year relationship, and went to be in Austin full-time while living off of my bitcoin savings.
During my first few months living in Austin, I was told they still couldn't pay me anything, but that they could give me a discount on office space. I was asked to “please don’t leave”, and was told that if I stayed and continued to help as I’d been doing, things would eventually come through.
I now realize this was the point I should have left, but I felt like I had found a family who needed me, that I was making a difference, and most of all, I loved what I was doing, so I kept faith.
When the startup was facing ruin due to one of the founders who wasted runway money on personal purchases like a Tesla and pocketing 30k, and was looking for an exit by closing the doors, I doubled down my efforts and did everything I could to keep it alive as we transitioned to new leadership.
And even though I abandoned the LLC with my dad in order to help this bitcoin startup, he continued to support me for taking a chance at trying to succeed at what I loved doing.
Over the course of 9 months I burned through my entire bitcoin savings, and when I ran out of money completely due to a medical emergency, I had no choice but to return home, where I foolishly continued to work on a project for the startup. I even borrowed money from my mom to do so.
What I didn’t realize was that when I left I would be completely cut off from the bitcoin startup I had devoted so much of my time and resources to. It was like I didn’t exist anymore - I got no support and all of my attempts at communication were ignored.
Finally realizing that these people obviously didn’t care about me, I asked my dad to drive with me down to Austin to pack up my office. He agreed to help, and he expected that to be the end of my bitcoin journey.
Instead, I’ve continued to work on bitcoin adoption projects and trying to secure bitcoin freelance jobs.
This is where the animosity from my dad started.
He can’t understand why I continue to work towards a future in an industry which burned me so badly and left me completely broke and broken. It is a point of constant feuding. He never wants to hear the word “bitcoin” again and I simply don’t know what to do.
He doesn't understand that bitcoin is so much more than the startup I was involved with, or the passion I have for the good bitcoin can do for the world. I feel completely burned out - our marketing LLC is defunct after over a year of being stalled, and having no bitcoin while watching the price rise has me in a state of frozen panic as I realize I will never recover anything close to the 2 BTC I had.
I realize it may seem naive to most people that I devoted my time and energy without being paid anything - and even writing this out I feel like a total idiot - but I always kept the faith that everything would work out if I did the right things. It never even occurred to me that I was being taken advantage of for the personal gain of others, or that I, in fact, meant so little to them. It's caused a major depression which I can't seem to find my way out of.
As I've mentioned, I don't really have anyone to share these things with, so thanks for listening. There's a few lessons in here somewhere, for those who will to see it.