BTC Corp.’s Rupert Hackett recently spoke with Jordan Michaelides of Neuralle.com about regulation, mob mentality and… eating stingray? This article is first in a two-part series about the podcast.

The co-founder of Bitcoin Australia had returned just that morning from Singapore. Hackett joked about needing a coffee, but when the conversation turned to digital currencies his passion on the topic became clear.

“I think this [technology] can change the world.”

“It can create a huge amount of value and opportunity for a lot of people,” he told Michaelides.

From Humble Beginnings

Rupert Hackett’s career is littered with early crypto accomplishments, and has earned the world’s first Masters in Digital Currencies. So how did this uninspired engineering student become a leading figure of Australia’s blockchain scene?

Hackett takes listeners back to 2009, when he dropped out of a bachelor degree program at the University of Melbourne.

“I got to a point where I said ‘why am I doing this?’ because I don’t actually want to be an engineer or a scientist.”

Instead, he sought a greater purpose. “I was always looking for a bit more meaning,” Hackett explained to Michaelides.

He sought a greater purpose. “I was always looking for a bit more meaning,” Hackett explained to Michaelides.

He sees himself as a “natural psychologist,” and in 2010 enrolled in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) degree at RMIT. But things didn’t go according to plan.

“When you look at being a psychologist there is very little that you learn in an academic sense [about] relating to people.”

Hackett was disenchanted with his studies. He realised he would have to pick either a well-paying but dull job in operational psychology, or lower-paying work as a social psychologist.

“You have to make a choice whether to explore the really interesting parts of human behaviour, or whether to go into a respectable position and study something respectable.”

But ultimately, Hackett chose neither.

Down the Bitcoin Rabbit Hole

“I remember having a very significant eureka moment,” Rupert Hackett explained to podcast host Jordan Michaelides.

He bought his first bitcoin in 2011 at the urging of a friend, “a bit of a scammer” who worked as a plumber according to Hackett.

“A friend of mine told me to read [an article about cryptocurrency] and I did a gloss over and was like, ‘oh yeah some kind of internet money that’s anti-banks. I’ll put a couple hundred bucks in and probably get scammed…’”

However, it would take a few years for Hackett’s interest in cryptocurrency to truly blossom.

Hackett’s first thoughts about crypto were, “oh yeah some kind of internet money that’s anti-banks. I’ll put a couple hundred bucks in and probably get scammed…”

In the meantime he embarked on another degree at RMIT – this time in economics. But he wondered in his lectures why no one was talking about major financial disruptors like cryptocurrencies.

Hackett continued to research the topic and came across an article about the technological aspects of bitcoin. “I guess that’s when I did my ‘deep dive’,” he told Michaelides.

“I told this story to a couple others from the early days of crypto, and they can all relate to this penny-drop moment. You know, bitten by the bitcoin bug.”

News of a smart contract for the gambling industry only increased his interest.

“Seeing the concept of having prove-able better odds with a house that doesn’t take a cut, and how this could be a distributed autonomous organisation… for me that was the point.”

It wouldn’t take long for Hackett to fully immerse himself in the crypto world.

From Crypto Amateur to Bitcoin Professional

In 2014, Hackett’s then-girlfriend found work as a cleaner in the offices of angel investor fund Dominet led by Domenic Carosa.

The venture capitalist had recently entered the cryptocurrency industry with a building floor dedicated to currency mining machines. Rupert Hackett recalls stepping into the Dominet offices and seeing rows and rows of miners.

“I found these guys and I saw the miners in the office and I had to be a part of it.”

He abandoned his goal of working at CoinJar and set to work as a phone operator, content writer and general helper at Dominet. But soon after he’d settled in, the industry took its first major hit.

“In 2014 the price went from $1200 to $180 [and] there was a 14-month bear trend. There was a lot of loss of faith in the technology.”

This became a defining moment for Hackett. “It was a very cathartic experience. I kept buying bitcoin [saying] “it’s cheaper today, it’s cheaper tomorrow, this is fantastic.”

“I remember being like, “bitcoin is now $180 but it can go to zero and I’ll still be a part of this.”

He didn’t, and still doesn’t, care about the money or losses. As he told Michaelides, “I really think [Bitcoin] could change the world.”

But it’s no easy task introducing a new technology to a sceptical public. Now, he was up against the entire country.

The market eventually levelled out, then experienced a surge in price as Hackett reaffirmed his goal of bringing Bitcoin, and the blockchain, to Australians.

He didn’t, and still doesn’t, care about the money or losses. As he told Michaelides, “I really think [Bitcoin] could change the world.”

Subscribe to our newsletter for our upcoming article, where Rupert Hackett unveils his big plans for Bitcoin.com.au and Australia’s cryptocurrency industry.

In the meantime, check out the podcast episode here.