CONFESSION: I am a Vietnamese lady-boy that tours strip clubs
Yes you plebs... I've been fooling you all for years...
Fore note: In the interest of saving your valuable reading time, I have split this blog entry into two posts. Stay tuned for part 2 soon!
In recent times I’ve been asked the same two hard hitting questions – “How are you still in business?” and “Why would I use your service over [Insert Name here] exchange?” The first question does differ in context depending on the tone of the person asking, but for this scenario, we’ll call it a “curious” question as opposed to a “I hate you and hope you die” question.
Initially these questions sort of rattled me a bit, in the same way a melodramatic teenager asks themselves “What is the meaning of life?” before putting on a Hawthorne Heights CD (only 00’s kids can relate). But what resulted from these questions, was almost a “spiritual journey down Blockchain lane” of self-identification of my strengths, and how to best exercise them, all the while dwelling less on the matters that can’t be helped.
Thus, in my infinite wisdom (and sheer laziness) I would like to share a story with you from my past that really helped me connect the dots (and also gives me a sharable link to send when the next person asks me the question, because I’m too lazy to keep repeating myself).
Gather 'round kids! It's story time!
Many moons ago, at the tender ripening age of 19, I worked in a Gentlemen’s club located in a once regional town called Townsville, Australia. I’m sorry to disappoint boys and girls, but I wasn’t a stripper – I was a bar tender, who did a little bit of club promo on the side (i.e: "go stand out on the street, look pretty, and give out free drink passes"). Though the tips (and the tits) were amazing, the gig didn’t last long (that’s another story for another time), however it did leave (scar) me with some pretty valuable life lessons that I will forever be grateful for.
Throw back Thursday - a very young and naive Bitcoin Babe, after a night of promo work. I thought I was so cool back then...
To set the scene a little bit, Townsville was a major hub for people from all walks of life – Military, mining, marine and rail transportation, you name it. It certainly had its fair share of lonely men looking for some lady love – and my club was the place to go! It was the only Gentlemen’s club Townsville had at the time, with a prime location on the main city drag. The next available club of the same variety was a 4-hour drive north to Cairns, unless you dropped into a brothel in the industrial area a few suburbs away or held out for the topless waitresses on a Friday night at the local tavern. Girls from rural country towns would bus themselves in on the old Greyhounds just to work Friday and Saturday nights, and walk out with a fat wad of cash that would have taken me a month to make!
In other words, this club was an absolute cash cow.
But being the only club had its pitfalls, one of which was the inflated ego’s the girls would get. Sure, most of them were pretty appealing – but as they say, when you’re limited for choice, a 3/10 can move to a 10/10 very quickly - and when you’re working a packed club full of drooling men out numbering you 10:1 wanting to see some skin, you can afford to be picky. The girls only fraternised with guys they found attractive, or were known to be “big spenders”; which is fine - girls gotta work it - but at the same time, it left a bitter taste in a lot men’s mouths – and that wasn’t from the shitty beer.
Now that the scene is set, I should probably get to the point of this story…
There were two groups of girls that would work our club; the resident girls (girls who lived locally and were working there “full time”) and the travelling girls (girls that would come in for a few days/weeks/months and then move on to the next spot). The travelling girls have become a bit of blur in my memory, but there was one that really stood out with me – I never found out her name, and in fact, I don’t think she spoke much English. So, for the purpose of allowing this story to flow, we’ll name her Kim. Kim was a short and stumpy looking older woman (possibly early 40s), Asian in appearance, with dark, cheap horsehair hair extensions, a really bad boob job, and had the wardrobe of a Chinese costume reseller on eBay.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that there is someone out there for everyone, but Kim was not for me. I tried really hard, but there was nothing I found aesthetically pleasing about Kim – and neither did the other girls. When she first signed on to work all the girls laughed and snickered and gossiped – the girls weren’t directly employed by the club, they were sub-contractors who had to “pay rent” back to the club in order to work – if you didn’t make any tips, or sell any dances, you were in the red. I remember one of the resident girls saying she would help Kim take a second mortgage out on her house to help cover the debt she was about to put herself in – and that was one of the nicer comments!
But what REALLY stirred the pot was when word started getting around that “Kim” may have actually been “Ken”. The girls had their own communal dressing room and rest area to chill out when they needed a break (or to hide) – Kim never went in there. Instead, Kim would often get ready, and relieve herself in the men’s bathroom. At first, we thought it may have been a culture thing – she didn’t understand what the signs on the door meant. But when management didn’t step in, it really started to confirm our suspicions.
So, to get the new girls started and acquainted with the club (layout, procedure, safety rules etc.) they would have them work a quieter night of the week – that way there was no pressure, and it gave them time to work into the routine before the weekend rush.
Kim was in the red her first night.
I remember her trying to work this old man sitting at the bar – he was in the corner with his beer, really beginning to contemplate his life decisions, and why he was even there. It wouldn’t have been his first drink that night, but I was certainly going to make it his last. Even with a less than sober mind, he still had the courage to mumble “no” and fearfully shake his head when Kim began tugging on his arm and rubbing his back, trying to convince him to go downstairs with her and pay for a lap dance.
The girls thought it was hilarious, believing that it was all going to be downhill from here. But Kim didn’t care, Kim just cleaned herself up in the men’s bathroom, and headed off for the night.
With no intention of sounding like a Buzzfeed clickbait article, what happened on the following Friday night had everyone in the club speechless.
Kim. Was. Bankrolling.
Not only did she have enough money to pay back her debt to the club, but she still had enough to take the number one spot for top earners that night. So, how did a Vietnamese lady boy who should probably have a paper bag on her head go from zero to hero? Simple, she touched the people no one else wanted to touch.
Remember earlier, how I said the girls would only target a select group of men, and disregarded the rest? Well, Kim picked up the rest, and motherfucking killed it – so much so, they even nicknamed her the Seagull!
Sure, she probably had to work a little harder than the other girls on the floor, but it paid off for her tenfold!
I never got to see how Kim’s story ended, I left the club before she did. But I like to imagine she moved on to the next club, made her money, found a man, fell in love, and lived happily ever after.
But now, even as you surely question my position at the club and picture me shaking my Bitcoin Babe body around a pole, private keys hanging out of my g-string, I'm going to get to the point and show you how I'm Bitcoin's version of Kim the Seagull.
You see, there are now plenty of Bitcoin exchanges that saturate the Australian market – I’ve watched many services grow, and just as many crash and burn. And while I am not aiming to be the "largest exchange" with "global liquidity", what I am aiming for is to be the best at providing a service that doesn't lock its potential and existing customers out of a market based on their preferences, and what they require - Oh, and also to be the most aesthetically pleasing service on on the market!
It’s all fine and good for one service to offer “market rates” or “bigger liquidity” but really, who is that appealing to? Most of the time, it’s the men with the money. Think of these services as the “pretty girls” in the Gentlemen’s club – they’re only attracted to you, because you bring them the big bucks. Deposit minimums, deposit maximums, limited payment options, additional fees if you’re not “appealing” all play into this. What do you think happens when you rock up with a $100 bank cheque to a major service or exchange and say, “I’d like to buy some Bitcoin please!”? I’ll tell you exactly what will happen, they’ll ask you how you got into the office, and to fire their secretary on the way out for letting you in that far!
But its ok baby, sexy Kim will love you long time!
When I started Bitcoin Babe, there weren’t a lot of options in the market (As detailed here in my last blog post) to buy or sell Bitcoin in low value amounts, and at a reasonable rate – which is why I set out to fill that gap in the market. 5 years on, and 10kg heavier (warning – bitcoin makes you fat) I’m still making it my mission to fill that gap by honouring my goal of allowing users to buy or sell Bitcoin in low value amounts, and at a reasonable rate – however that’s not to say I don’t offer high value amounts as well (insert shameless self-promotion about my OTC/SCO orders here).
So let me conclude with the moral of the story here – Sexy Kim don’t care if you big strong boy; Sexy Kim don’t care if you little rich boy; Sexy Kim don’t care if you broke ass bitch; and Sexy Kim don’t care if you have titties and a pee pee…