The Journey of Serendipity

Random chance meetings grow into world changing events

David A. Johnston
4 min readOct 3, 2022

I’ve been thinking lately of the role my friend “Serendipity” has played in my life and even as a result shaped industry level / world events.

Example #1: How my attending a random meeting of Ron Paul volunteers directly contributed to 10 years later $20 Trillion USD of value being sent over Bitcoin & Ethereum via USDT.

  1. 2012, June Finding Bitcoin: David meets up with Tyler in Louisana at a Ron Paul volunteer event. Tyler tells David about Bitcoin. David begins to research Bitcoin and joins the community.
  2. 2013, May Starting BitAngels: David speaks at the first Bitcoin Foundation conference in May 2013 in San Jose where he meets Michael. Michael and David start the first Bitcoin angel investor group “BitAngels” the next day.
  3. 2013, August Funding Mastercoin: J.R Willet reaches out to David through the BitAngels network 4 days before the end of his token sale. David researches Mastercoin and publishes a report to the 500 BitAngels members on Mastercoin’s value to place digital assets on a blockchain.
  4. 2013, September Hiring Craig Sellars: David interviews and selects Craig Sellars as Chief Technology Officer of the Mastercoin Foundation.
  5. 2014, April Mastercoin Protocol Launches on Bitcoin: In April 2014 with a team lead by Craig and J.R. the software goes live. Eventually the software is rebranded to the Omni Protocol.
  6. 2015 / 2016 Craig Sellars Becomes CTO AT Tether: Tether launches the USDT token on the Omni Protocol / Bitcoin, becoming the first stablecoin to be issued on a public blockchain.
  7. 2019 Tether’s USDT expands To Ethereum: After expanding the USDT token to be issued on Ethereum the value grows from $1 Billion in market cap to $50 Billion in market cap by 2020.
  8. 2022: USDT 24 hour trading volumes grow to $50 Billion. The total value transferred by USDT over the past few years exceeds $20+ Trillion USD. Roughly equal to the entire United States Gross Domestic Product this year.

Amazing what driving an hour to see some freedom loving friends, would yield 10 years later.

Now it is fair to speculate that some Bitcoin angel investment group would have been founded, but later than May 2013. Would Mastercoin have been funded by J.R? Likely yes, but minus a Foundation, perhaps minus Craig and with a lot less resources. Would Tether’s founders have launched a Stablecoin? Perhaps though maybe months or years later than they did.

There are so many other branches to this timeline also. The funding of Mastercoin inspired the creator of Ethereum Vitalik to first propose scripting on the Mastercoin Protocol and when the developers of Bitcoin told him that his efforts were not welcome on “their” blockchain, he used the same token funding model to create his own blockchain later in 2014.

Now would Vitalik have started Ethereum and launched it with token funding mechanism without Mastercoin’s successful token sale in August 2013. Perhaps. But it’s incredible to think how many small chance meetings went into these events and how close many of them came to not happening at all. What if I had been discouraged by Ron Paul being cheated out of the nomination and not kept looking for a path to achieve monetary freedom and not bothered to see the friends again after the campaign was over? I won’t have heard abut Bitcoin from Tyler. Would I have found Bitcoin later? Its likely given my view on economics, but not in June of 2012. And thus I wouldn’t have spoken at the first Bitcoin Foundation conference in 2013 or been funding J.R. Willet or hiring folks who would go on to launch Stablecoins.


There is absolutely no substitute for meeting people in person!

This is one take away I’ve practiced over the years is to try and place myself in the nexus points where Serendipity shows up. A Ron Paul friend group with all its talk of ending the FED and free market economics was a ripe environment to hear about Bitcoin. Attending the first Bitcoin conference was a ripe place to find other investors keen to support Bitcoin projects. Volunteering as Executive Director of an angel group was a ripe place to hear from an energetic developer who planned to put the first assets on a blockchain. Volunteering to help with an open source foundation was the place to meet other Founders exploring use cases on a blockchain.

Looking back it seems obvious but everyone of those decisions cost time, energy, and money to attend and be involved in with no obvious path at the time to moving $20+ Trillion in USD 10 years later.

In short it’s all about, showing up. Helping out. And giving as much time, energy and money to those trying to improve the world as you can. If you do that, its incredible what can happen.

Thanks Tyler, Michael, J.R. and Craig. The four times Serendipity showed up to change the world.



David A. Johnston

Technologist, Voluntarist, Future Martian Settler, & Evangelist for Decentralization.