Meeting the community
Burton’s story starts in 2014, just after he got “kicked out of a profitable company” he co-founded. While listening to Bitcoin-related podcasts, Burton says he heard Buterin say “I want to build a blockchain that I can run programs on.”
While admitting being intrigued, Burton said he didn’t change his daily routine to pursue this “Ethereum thing.” However, after hearing about Ethereum two more times, Burton says, he finally decided to go see Gavin Wood‘s speech.
“I went along to the gathering and watched Gavin talk about how Facebook’s control of WhatsApp, Instagram & all of the social web was antithetical to the principles upon which the Internet was founded.
He talked about trying to shift the pendulum back towards decentralisation. I had absolutely not idea what he was talking about. But I liked the cut of his jib.”
After the talk, Burton went up to Wood and asked if ETH needed any designers. Upon this, Wood invited Burton into the core ETH community. “I was hooked,” says Burton, and says he left the UK to fly to the Bay area to meet up with Buterin himself.
“We met up, jumped on a train, and talked a bit about his plans. I could barely keep up.”
Burton said. According to his thread, the only time Burton had with Buterin was the time they spent together on the train and the car drive to San Francisco the next day, where Buterin context-switched between “learning Mandarin on his phone, talking to engineers about protocol architecture, and engage deeply with Burton’s questions about user interfaces.”
After that, Burton said he hadn’t seen Buterin for three years after that. However, Burton continued to stay engaged with the ETH community through Wood. According to the thread, Burton kept designing and adjusting according to Wood’s feedback. At the same time, however, Burton was running out of money. After a month, Burton said had to leave the community because he was “flat broke.”
The money comes back.
Burton went about his business after leaving the ETH circle until he heard back from someone at the Ethereum Foundation two years later, who wanted to pay him some ETH.
“I had no idea what that would involve, but I liked the sound of getting paid. I checked the price of Ether, it had skyrocketed to $1!
That meant they were going to pay me ~$10,000—I was over the moon.”
Even though Burton accepted immediately, the transfer never came. Since the price of ETH started to increase, Burton kept asking the foundation for the ETH, fearing they might change their minds about sending it.
Eventually, Burton says, “I hit a boiling point.” He sends Buterin a direct message on Skype, “begging for the Ether.” According to Burton, Buterin apologized for the delay and sent the funds immediately.
Burton finalizes his story by saying:
“This is the transaction that changed my life.
I totally lost my mind. I had around $100,000 of liquidity from this wonderful community.
I immediately sold a third of it to pay down debts. I had finally found: community liquidity.”