Swedish programmer Alexander Bottema used to be skeptical of
bitcoin until he came to see it as an innovation with
similar implications as the internet — and went all in on it.
Bottema told Business Insider Nordic what
happened after he went all in on bitcoin.
“I’m not a billionaire yet [in terms of Swedish
crowns],” Bottema said, laughing on the phone. “But my
capital has grown by a factor of more than one hundred since I
sold all my stocks and liquidated my savings in order to buy
bitcoins in 2013.”
At that time, one bitcoin was worth $30. Today the virtual
currency is valued at more than
Bottema doesn’t want to reveal how much savings he had when
he first invested, but it’s clear he’s content with the
investment: his holdings have remained untouched since that day
in early 2013.
“I consider it a retirement insurance. I’m not thinking about
buying any more, since I can never get the same return on
investment again,” he said. “I could consider selling some of my
assets should the price hit $100,000.”
Alexander Bottema grew up in a small community near Stockholm. He
started programming at nine years of age, using the family’s
But programming wasn’t enough. He wanted to learn more about the
theories behind computing.
In 1991, he started studying computer science at the renowned
Uppsala University, where he would later continue as a PhD
He moved to Stockholm when he started working on data
security and encryption for consultancy Upec Industriteknik.
When the company was acquired, Bottema and his two colleagues
started their own company.
“Frontec wasn’t interested in product development, which we were
into at the time, so we decided to start Polytrust,” he
said. “We got financial support from two venture capital
firms: Telia Business Innovation and IT Provider.”
After Stockholm and Polytrust, Alexander Bottema moved to the
U.S. to work for Mathworks, where he is still employed.
The Massachusetts-based company provides data analysis and
simulation for industrial purposes.
Seven years ago, Bottema encountered bitcoin for the first time:
”I rejected it as something uninteresting. Seeing that I had a
long track record in data security, I was certain that it
wouldn’t be possible to build safe servers that are open, and
envisioned a crash. The following year, I was sitting on the
subway and read in the Metro newspaper how bitcoin had recovered
after a crash. I couldn’t understand how a currency that is built
on trust could recover. That piqued my interest.”
He downloaded the technical description and the program code for
the currency, and used all his knowledge and experience in
studying the material, which removed his skepticism.
“It was revolutionizing,” he said. “They had solved what I though
Once he was convinced of bitcoin’s excellence, he started
calculating how much the currency could one day be worth.
Like many others, Bottema used the gold market as comparison:
“The allocated value of the gold market, where rich people put
their money to avoid devaluations, is roughly 8,000 billion
dollars. If you divide it by 21 million, which is the number of
bitcoins that will be available from the year 2140 onwards, you
get 380 000 dollars per bitcoin. I ended up on values
ranging between 50,000 and 100,000 dollars per bitcoin. I
panicked, and bet all of my savings.”
What is driving the value of bitcoin, according to Bottema, is
the combination of a growing number of use cases, like
micro-payments, and a limited supply of the currency.
At the outset, he worried most about a ban against the currency
— but he doesn’t consider it a threat any longer. As far as
a potential threat from competing cryptocurrencies, he likens it
to the war between VHS and Betamax.
“Technically speaking, Betamax was better, but VHS was bigger,”
he said. “So even though I theoretically could invent an entirely
new internet, it would be very hard to make it grow.”
Bottema said he doesn’t get worried whenever the currency’s value
“I know how the system works and I know what I’ve invested in.
Sure, the currency dips, but it has always recovered after some
time. Bitcoin’s future looks bright.”
Get the latest Bitcoin price here.