My Attempted Ether Binge

“There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.”

Hunter S. Thompson

In 2015 I was excited about crypto and I wanted some ether, the digital currency that powers Ethereum. We live in a consumer society, I thought, how hard can it be? The following is a log of my experience.

2015 etheruem.org website

Ethereum.org is a great looking website if you want to play a game about pioneering mars. The way the word “safe” is scratched out makes me a little nervous and the idea of “frontier” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Oh, but scroll down the page there is a nice button made for people just like me!

What a friendly orange button. What a lovely background texture. Let’s click it…

Oh god. The screen is red. The mad robot is telling me to HALT! There is a legal agreement? Shit, it’s the weekend. My lawyer doesn’t work on the weekend. Let’s just keep scrolling… CPU Mining sounds complicated, GPU mining also sounds complicated… I wonder what “geth” is? “Hasimoto / Dagger hybrid”? I may be getting in over my head.

Oh, I can buy in bitcoin? Great! I have some bitcoin!

It says there are third party companies working to make the exchange of ether and bitcoin easy and seamless. That phrasing seems to imply that it is not yet easy or seamless. But hey, this is the frontier! When in doubt, try using Dumb Google:

First result is for the digital ether! It’s the Ethereum message boards! Uh oh…

According to Stephan here “it’s NOT possible to purchase, sell, transfer or otherwise acquire any more ether until genesis, when the ethereum mainnet launches.”

That post from Stephan is from 2014, and according to Tech Crunch Ethereum has launched.

Full Story

That article includes this fun video:

And while we’re looking at explanations, there is a nice graphic here on Medium…

Click through for a nice infographic.

Well, after all that I’m even MORE excited to get some Ether! Going back to the GET ETHER page I noticed something I missed.

I can’t buy it right now because it’s “thawing”… But Reddit says that perhaps Kraken.com will let me buy some. A lot of Ether was was pre-sold so that the developers would have money to finish development of Ethereum.

Signing up for Kraken seems easy, just a few password and whatnot… okay, some sort of tiered permission system. No problem, I’ll sign up for everything except maybe not give them my social security number…

Now let’s just drop some bitcoin in there. Shit, I forgot my password to Circle… One minute while I…

Yes. Now we’re getting somewhere! I have about $50 USD worth of BTC. I’m going to send $20 worth to my new Kraken account (can $20 buy any Ether?). And then I just have to wait up to 45 minutes for the that transfer to settle via the Blockchain…

One and half hours later my balance on Kraken is still zero. Initial thoughts when dealing with bitcoin are always, “OH MY GOD I JUST TOTALLY GOT SCAMMED!!” but it looks like it may just be a little hiccup…

Nothing to be concerned about. Right? Well, perhaps Kraken support, like my lawyer, doesn’t work on weekends. So we’re waiting on a bitcoin transfer, which seems pretty par for the course when dealing with bitcoin.

Once I get my $20 of bitcoin into my Kraken account, will that be enough to buy any Ether? Let’s look at the order book for BTC / ETH:

I love graphs and I’m starting to like these Kraken people. That graph is pretty sparse, likely related to the thawing period we read about? Also, am I reading this right? On Reddit someone is offering to buy ether for $0.60 per unit…

Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken

There seems to be an active community of people on Reddit talking about trading ether. I’ve reached out to someone on the board to see if they might be willing to walk me through the process.

I did place an order for some Ether (ETH) on Kraken but no one is selling yet… (mine is the highest priced offer).

UPDATE: Got an email from Kraken! Ether trading begins “in a day or two.” And I’m no longer offering the best price…

UPDATE: As of August 10th I own an Ether! You can now trade Ether (ETH) on Kraken.com! It’s not incredibly useful to own and I’m sure I over paid for it, but I have one of my very own.