/ Life at SC5

SC5’er Intro: The Bitcoin Guy

Hello world! My name is Martti Malmi and I’m here to tell you about myself and how I ended up joining the SC5 crew and being compared to Linus Torvalds last year.

It was 2009 when I was studying computer science at Helsinki University of Technology. Inspired by libertarian ideals, I came up with the idea of a decentralized Internet currency that cannot be controlled by any government or other single entity. I contacted some guy named Satoshi Nakamoto, who had drafted a technical proposal of such a system just a couple months earlier. He called it Bitcoin.

Satoshi’s proposal was technically ingenious and seemed economically viable, so I offered to help him with the project. I set up the project web site and forums, ported the Windows-only client to Linux and added some UI features. I did the first Bitcoin to U.S. dollar transaction in history, giving up 5,000 BTC for $5 on PayPal. That’s almost as funny as the 10,000 BTC pizza someone from the Bitcoin forums purchased back then ($200,000 on today’s exchange rate).

$200,000 – the most expensive pizza in the world? Photograph by Laszlo.

Before the Bitcoin boom in 2011, I pitched the system to people like John Buckman (EFF chairman) and Vili Lehdonvirta (virtual economy researcher), who was later suspected in an article by The New Yorker of being the man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

When the Bitcoin exchange rate boomed in the summer of 2011, I sold the most of my coins, bought a small apartment near Helsinki and resigned from my job as a software developer at a social media analytics startup. I spent 7 weeks in Japan studying the language, and among other attractions visited the Tokyo office of Mt.Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchanger in the business.

In 2012 when I was looking for my dream job, Mr. Lehdonvirta told me his brother’s company SC5 was growing rapidly and looking for skilled employees. I attended their office warming party, and before I realized, I was working with HTML5 professionals in a relaxed environment with flexible working hours and a cool office in the heart of the city.

24 years old, I’m the youngest chap at the office. My work is technically very diverse, ranging from server side tasks to front-end coding and creating responsive designs in collaboration with graphic designers and UX experts. The field is changing all the time and learning new stuff is inevitable. It keeps your brain from rotting.

Besides my work, dancing latino dances 5 days a week and playing competitive Counter-Strike with friends, I’m trying to find some time to develop my next open source project: uncensorable P2P identity and reputation database. Hopefully you’ll hear more about that later.

Peace out and rock on!

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