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The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin Billionaire Arthur Hayes

Reed was much younger than Hayes and Delo, yet he had been at the crypto game the longest. By 2009, his senior year at Washington and Lee, the self-described “Bitcoin hipster” was mining Bitcoin on his laptop at a time when the currency was next to worthless. Reed racked up roughly 100 Bitcoins along the way, but in the process of reformatting a hard drive, accidentally erased the private keys required to access them, rendering his cache untouchable. (Today those coins would be worth $3.1 million.) Reed was less institutional and more peripatetic than Hayes and Delo. He worked for a large defense contractor, found the corporate world suffocating, and bided his time at a couple of start-ups and freelance gigs before finding his way to Hong Kong in 2013. In an online career forum with his alma mater—taped while sitting in a hut in Thailand—Reed shared crypto-business tips. Among his insights: “In a gold rush, you don’t want to mine the gold. You want to sell the shovels.” At one point Reed remarked that he’d been toying with the idea of building an online exchange to trade cryptocurrencies, explaining his rationale: “If you can cut the banks out, you cut most of the complexity out. You cut out a lot of where U.S. law kind of gets involved with [anti-money-laundering], know-your-customer, KYC, kind of stuff, and you get rid of a lot of the fraud because all this, you know, internet money is actually verifiable, you know, by design.” Hayes, Delo, and Reed began working in earnest on what they termed the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange (BitMEX). Arthur Hayes was the CEO, Ben Delo the COO, and Sam Reed the chief technology officer (CTO). As buttoned down as those titles sound, BitMEX, at first, was just three dudes with laptops working by day out of a Starbucks at Jardine House, a ’70s-era Hong Kong skyscraper adorned with porthole windows. At night they’d retreat to Hayes’s apartment with beers from 7-Eleven. NASDAQ MEETS VEGAS BitMEX was billed as “a peer-to-peer trading pl

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Cryptocurrency

The development of Bitcoin and thousands of other cryptocurrencies in a little over a decade has cha