We arrive at Sandringham Basketball Stadium to the sight of the Melbourne United basketball team ducking and weaving around the court. Even amongst these imposing figures, it’s easy to spot Auryn Macmillian with his 6ft 8 frame. He makes it look easy, swooping in to steal the ball, lining up a shot, and hitting the net.
Auryn Macmillan is a professional basketball player, vegan and CoinJar user. He sees us and calls five, and we meet him on the bleachers to have a chat about his journey with bitcoin. Over the sounds of basketballs bouncing and sneakers squeaking, he tells us bit bit about his background.
“I love everything science and tech, so it’s only natural that Bitcoin would be a perfect fit. A currency that is solely reliant on math – amazing.”
Auryn studied computer science in Australia, then transferred to America on a college basketball scholarship. Although Auryn’s focus is on his basketball career, he chuckles when he admits that he's “a bit of a nerd at heart”. In between daily training and tours with the Melbourne United team, he takes a computer science class at Harvard and catches up on what’s happening in the Bitcoin space.
After discovering bitcoin in 2013, Auryn bought $20 worth to experiment with by sending it to friends around the world. As he began to learn more about blockchain technology in the following months, he kept converting dollars to bitcoin. He comments that despite its current volatility, he strongly believes in the potential of Bitcoin and the impact it will have on a global scale.
“CoinJar Swipe been a great tool to illustrate to people the versatility of Bitcoin, and to show that it truly can be used anywhere.”
Today Auryn takes bitcoin with him when he’s travelling around the world, and takes the chance to use it whenever he can. He laughs when we asked him about a highlight moment and recounts a trip to America, where the closest bitcoin merchants sold either doughnuts, or jewellery. “I’d just bought my wife an engagement ring, so I had to settle for the doughnut!” However his first decentralised doughnut really hammered home how the technology can work in everyday life.
Auryn now adds CoinJar Swipe to his wallet. As a debit card, it allows users to spend their bitcoin at any store in Australia that accepts EFTPOS or withdraw from any ATM. He uses it for incidentals, as well as a way to show people that bitcoin has real world applications and uses.
“I look forward to a more decentralised future. One in which elections are provably fair, where charities receive 100% of the funds donated and where financial services are available to everyone and anyone.”
When we get to the topic of bitcoin’s future, Auryn’s face lights up. His passion for social good is clear when he starts listing potential applications of Bitcoin to empower people - transparency in government, less friction for charity, broader availability of financial services and online privacy. The inspiration is contagious and even our photographer had to pause to participate in the discussion.
Auryn is someone who lives and breathes his passions and beliefs. As a vegan and a professional sportsman, his discipline is deeply rooted in his personal values and ethics. His enthusiasm for Bitcoin is driven by its potential as a fair alternative to government backed currency, it’s defining characteristic as a decentralised system, free from artificial manipulation.