Last year, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak (Woz) revealed he’d purchased bitcoin, likening it to being better than gold. And then, months later, Woz announced he’d sold it all. In the process of selling off his gains, it turns out he was defrauded out of a substantial sum.
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Steve Wozniak Defrauded Out of Bitcoin
One of the men behind the world’s most profitable company, Apple, co-founder Steve Wozniak explained to India’s The Economic Times he was defrauded out of a sizeable amount of bitcoin. Woz famously touted the decentralized currency’s merits, and then abruptly announced he’d liquidated. This is not the first time Woz has had a rocky beginning with a history-changing technology.
The career of cherubic every-man-nerd-king Woz, the engineering pioneer to Steve Jobs’ poet, more or less begins with fraud. It’s a sadly hilarious tale, one where Mr. Jobs, who befriended Woz due to his technical genius, evidently promised to split 50-50 an offer made by then leading video game company, Atari.
Mr. Jobs was under pressure to get the project out in four days, and to deliver it with a degree of engineering chip sophistication unheard of at the time. Woz jumped at the chance, working night and day. In a biographical account, released after Mr. Jobs’ death, it was revealed that the teddy-bear Woz was the one who came through, earning the two their first fees. All those years later, Woz had only thought of it as a triumph of their teaming. It turns out, Mr. Jobs kept a majority of the money, lying to Woz about the true amount, robbing Woz of a considerable pay day (for the time).
After reading that passage, Woz reportedly explained he “cried, I cried quite a bit when I read that in a book. I just wish he had been honest.” Considering the ultimate ride he and Mr. Jobs took over a productive working lifetime, Woz doesn’t hold a grudge. And maybe that’s the reason for his investment success with regard to bitcoin as well.
Seven Bitcoin Gone, It Was That Easy
At the New Delhi, India Yes Bank and The Economic Times sponsored Global Business Summit Epicenter of Economic Change: New Economy, New Rules, held February 24 and 25, the former California kid who helped build a world-changing company from a garage was among speakers such as the Prime Minister of India to discuss economics and technology.
He spoke about a number of issues, including his distaste for President Donald Trump, his time with Steve Jobs, Apple, and the promise of the subcontinent and its increasingly tech savvy workforce. When the question came to bitcoin and cryptocurrency, he reiterated earlier statements, “Bitcoin to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments. It is mathematical, it is pure, it can’t be altered.” Mr. Wozniak purchased his bitcoin at a relatively low price of 700 USD, he claimed, and sold them late last year, which would put his timing of the crypto market pretty spot-on.
It turns out, however, he wasn’t able to see all those gains, as he told the Summit, “I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud. Somebody bought them from me online through a credit card and they cancelled the credit card payment. It was that easy! And it was from a stolen credit card number so you can never get it back.” Depending on the price at the time, that could be many tens of thousands of dollars. “The blockchain identifies who has bitcoins… that doesn’t mean there can’t be fraud though,” he told a standing-room only audience.
Woz explained he wasn’t really an investor, as he “had them so that I could someday travel and not use credit cards, wallets or cash. I could do it all on Bitcoin. I studied which hotels and facilities accepted Bitcoin… it’s still very difficult to do so. I also tried to buy things online and trade Bitcoin online.” He ultimately unloaded them because he “didn’t want to watch the price everyday… I sold all except one. It was enough to experiment.”
Do you think Woz should’ve hodl, or did he get out just in time? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Apple.
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