That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Rate My PS

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Total votes: 10

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:19 am

Alright TLSers I am back for more abuse! Tell me what to do to make it better. Do I have something good going on or am I digging myself a hole? Thanks for your wonderful advice :)

My family's small residential construction company struggled following the recent economic recession and despite my efforts of taking a semester off from school to work full time for the family company, the business continued to lose money. Eventually we were forced to declare bankruptcy. We lost our business and, much more painfully, our home was foreclosed upon resulting in a great deal of stress for me and for the rest of my family. As a result, when my computer programmer brother suggested I start bitmining on the side to earn extra money, it immediately piqued my interest. Bitcoin is a digital currency created to protect personal information while making online transactions and bitmining is the process of using computer systems to encrypt transactions in order to protect the integrity of the Bitcoin network. Bitminers are rewarded for this service by being paid in Bitcoins. Over the next two years, I began to acquire more and more bitming equipment consisting of home built desktop computers outfitted with multiple video cards utilized for encryption. An entire bedroom in my new home became filled with these machines and bitmining eventually came to constitute a significant portion of my income.

As I continued to increase my involvement in bitmining, I diligently perused news stories detailing the latest Bitcoin advancements. Articles trumpeting the amazing possibilities of Bitcoin, such as its ability to eliminate the problem of hyperinflation in destabilized economies and protect consumers against identity theft, filled me with a sense of pride for my participation in the roots of Bitcoin. The positive uses for Bitcoin seemed almost limitless, but one day I came across a news article that would make me challenge my altruistic feelings. The article detailed the website known as Silk Road. Silk Road utilized Bitcoin as a payment system for illegal narcotics and other nefarious transactions. I was appalled at the prospect that I had unwittingly supported a multinational criminal organization and desperately attempted to reconcile my sense of right and wrong with utilizing Bitcoin.

Perhaps it was the result of a structured childhood or maybe my strong religious background, but I had always been a rule follower. My studies at XXX University and my subsequent employment at the XXX County Prosecutor’s Office had only reinforced my staunch commitment to closely observing every aspect of the law. Thousands of cases had come across my desk and the feeling of satisfaction at gaining convictions drove me to perform my job with efficiency and accuracy. If I failed to meet a deadline, it could mean the dismissal of a case against a murderer or child abuser and I was not going to let any of these “rule breakers” get away with what they had done without justice being administered. This made my realization of how Bitcoin was being used even more disheartening. Had I been supporting those I had been working so hard to convict? Had I betrayed the victims in the cases I had worked on, my co-workers, and myself by supporting the use of Bitcoin?

I was torn between two seemingly incongruent positions. If I disavowed Bitcoin, I would be supporting the abolition of a means for individuals to safeguard their assets and identities from corrupt individuals, corporations, and even governments. However, if I continued to utilize Bitcoin, I would be supporting a means for individuals involved in black market transactions to avoid detection. This dilemma continued to plague me until I realized that legal minds had been struggling with the same question for centuries; how to balance the right to personal freedom and privacy with the right of the government to regulate. Bitcoin had become an avenue for illegal activity because it increased the freedom of individuals without a corresponding increase in government regulation to ensure that this freedom was not abused. The legal landscape surrounding Bitcoins remains in a state of flux due to increased scrutiny by the US Government and recent court cases involving Bitcoin. My faith in the American court system to create an equitable scheme for the regulation of Bitcoin allowed me to continue to support its use while remaining consistent in my opposition to illegal activities. My goal is to combine my passion for criminal law and advances in technology such as Bitcoin to help shape the legal landscape to accommodate both individual rights and government oversight in relation to technology.
Last edited by sasquatchsam on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:55 am

If anyone has suggestions on what I can do to improve my PS I would really appreciate it. :) Do I need to expound more on any subject? Is it interesting to read? Do I need to change the structure? Really just looking for any areas you see as being a weak point.

Thanks!

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:32 pm

I am starting to feel neglected here :) Nobody even has a negative comment? It must be perfect! I must be a genius!!! (If that doesn't produce some criticism I don't know what will)

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t-14orbust
Posts: 2065
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:36 pm

sasquatchsam wrote:Alright TLSers I am back for more abuse! Tell me what to do to make it better. Do I have something good going on or am I digging myself a hole? Thanks for your wonderful advice :)

My family's small residential construction company struggled following the recent economic recession and despite my efforts of taking a semester off from school to work full time for the family company, the business continued to lose money. Eventually we were forced to declare bankruptcy. We lost our business and, much more painfully, our home was foreclosed upon resulting in a great deal of stress for me and for the rest of my family. As a result, when my computer programmer brother suggested I start bitmining on the side to earn extra money, it immediately piqued my interest. Bitcoin is a digital currency created to protect personal information while making online transactions and bitmining is the process of using computer systems to encrypt transactions in order to protect the integrity of the Bitcoin network. Bitminers are rewarded for this service by being paid in Bitcoins. Over the next two years, I began to acquire more and more bitming equipment consisting of home built desktop computers outfitted with multiple video cards utilized for encryption. An entire bedroom in my new home became filled with these machines and bitmining eventually came to constitute a significant portion of my income.

As I continued to increase my involvement in bitmining, I diligently perused news stories detailing the latest Bitcoin advancements. Articles trumpeting the amazing possibilities of Bitcoin, such as its ability to eliminate the problem of hyperinflation in destabilized economies and protect consumers against identity theft, filled me with a sense of pride for my participation in the roots of Bitcoin. The positive uses for Bitcoin seemed almost limitless, but one day I came across a news article that would make me challenge my altruistic feelings. The article detailed the website known as Silk Road. Silk Road utilized Bitcoin as a payment system for illegal narcotics and other nefarious transactions. I was appalled at the prospect that I had unwittingly supported a multinational criminal organization and desperately attempted to reconcile my sense of right and wrong with utilizing Bitcoin.

Perhaps it was the result of a structured childhood or maybe my strong religious background, but I had always been a rule follower. My studies at XXX University and my subsequent employment at the XXX County Prosecutor’s Office had only reinforced my staunch commitment to closely observing every aspect of the law. Thousands of cases had come across my desk and the feeling of satisfaction at gaining convictions drove me to perform my job with efficiency and accuracy. If I failed to meet a deadline, it could mean the dismissal of a case against a murderer or child abuser and I was not going to let any of these “rule breakers” get away with what they had done without justice being administered. This made my realization of how Bitcoin was being used even more disheartening. Had I been supporting those I had been working so hard to convict? Had I betrayed the victims in the cases I had worked on, my co-workers, and myself by supporting the use of Bitcoin?

I was torn between two seemingly incongruent positions. If I disavowed Bitcoin, I would be supporting the abolition of a means for individuals to safeguard their assets and identities from corrupt individuals, corporations, and even governments. However, if I continued to utilize Bitcoin, I would be supporting a means for individuals involved in black market transactions to avoid detection. This dilemma continued to plague me until I realized that legal minds had been struggling with the same question for centuries; how to balance the right to personal freedom and privacy with the right of the government to regulate. Bitcoin had become an avenue for illegal activity because it increased the freedom of individuals without a corresponding increase in government regulation to ensure that this freedom was not abused. The legal landscape surrounding Bitcoins remains in a state of flux due to increased scrutiny by the US Government and recent court cases involving Bitcoin. My faith in the American court system to create an equitable scheme for the regulation of Bitcoin allowed me to continue to support its use while remaining consistent in my opposition to illegal activities. My goal as an attorney is to combine my passion for criminal law and advances in technology such as Bitcoin to help shape the legal landscape to accommodate both individual rights and government oversight in relation to technology.


If you're already an attorney then why do you need to write a PS?

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:38 pm

Thanks good catch I will change that now.

emailraffi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:49 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby emailraffi » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:58 pm

Interesting personal statement, I doubt many law school applicants will write on this topic. I would however remove or rephrase the first portion of the personal statement which discloses your financial difficulty. Although I may very well be wrong, I believe many law school applicants will include similar portions in their PS and I do not think it adds much to your PS either, if you do not eliminate it you may want to consider reducing that portion to a sentence or two. Also you may want to disclose what makes payment of illegal goods with bitcoins different from illegal goods paid with cash, I could not help but wonder why the payment method would make any difference.

You may also want to post your PS on [Hi, I'm trying to spam you!], its a free personal statement peer review website, its also a bit more private.

Good Luck!

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:10 pm

emailraffi wrote:Interesting personal statement, I doubt many law school applicants will write on this topic. I would however remove or rephrase the first portion of the personal statement which discloses your financial difficulty. Although I may very well be wrong, I believe many law school applicants will include similar portions in their PS and I do not think it adds much to your PS either, if you do not eliminate it you may want to consider reducing that portion to a sentence or two. Also you may want to disclose what makes payment of illegal goods with bitcoins different from illegal goods paid with cash, I could not help but wonder why the payment method would make any difference.

You may also want to post your PS on [Hi, I'm trying to spam you!], its a free personal statement peer review website, its also a bit more private.

Good Luck!


Thanks for the input. The first portion is actually included to explain a the semester I took off from school. I thought it also built ethos and tied into the rest of my statement so I decided to include it rather than writing an addendum explaining the situation. If others agree that it is too cliche and doesn't fit with the rest of the statement I can make it into an addendum.

I do not explicitly state the difference between Bitcoin and cash but I assumed that the reader would deduce that Bitcoin can be used as an electronic payment whereas cash transactions must be conducted in person. I may add in a sentence explaining that bitcoin allowed illegal transactions to be conducted electronically using a website rather than face to face.

huetohold
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:23 am

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby huetohold » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:16 pm

My thoughts and suggestions: overall, it's dry, although the topic itself could have potential. A great deal of it is written as if it's merely providing background information, whether about your own family, your previous studies/employment, and, above all, about Bitcoin. Of course, some background information is necessary. However, it shouldn't take until the end of your third of four paragraphs to get to the heart of the story, which here is your personal ethical and intellectual dilemma.

As a result, that dilemma also ends up seeming somewhat artificial, without any sense of true urgency. You use words like desperately, betrayal, and disheartening, but the reader (at least, I) didn't really get a sense that you genuinely felt this way, based only on what you've written. Part of that also arises from my skepticism that anyone would be so nonplussed at something like Silk Road. Everyone knows that regular currency is used all the time for nefarious purposes - and that's with a lot of regulation compared to something like Bitcoin - so why would anyone from the start expect Bitcoin to be different? I'm not saying you were actually that naive; only that, currently, that's how it comes across. Relatedly, I'd also suggest perhaps exploring one specific regulatory issue surrounding Bitcoin. Doing so will allow your personal realization - the centuries-long struggle between individual and state - to seem more genuine and less "obvious." As it stands, this realization really is too broad to give this impression. (On a somewhat related note regarding impressions: I would be careful with how you describe your zealousness in pursuing cases against "rule breakers" like murders and child abusers. Particularly with your use of the phrase "rule breakers," you're prone to criticism of seeming naive and overly simplifying issues.)

For these reasons, I'd spend less time providing what essentially amounts to background information. In this vein, right from the opening sentence, I would give some indication of what primarily you're going to explore (i.e., Bitcoin), rather than talking about your family's recent struggles. These struggles are ultimately only a springboard to talk about why you got into Bitcoin, and you never return to them.

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smaug_
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby smaug_ » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:25 pm

Don't write about buttcoin. Do you think that's going to impress law schools with your judgment? If you're lucky they won't understand/know what it is.

Scrap it and come up with a better idea.

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Emma.
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby Emma. » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:32 pm

hibiki wrote:Don't write about bitcoin.

Scrap it and come up with a better idea.

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RELIC
Posts: 216
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby RELIC » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:35 pm

hibiki wrote:Scrap it and come up with a better idea.

This.

It is not good to make the subject of your PS an activity that many people are being indicted for right now.

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Emma.
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby Emma. » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:44 pm

sasquatchsam wrote:My family's small residential construction company struggled following the recent economic recession and despite my efforts of taking a semester off from school to work full time for the family company, the business continued to lose money.


Quelle hubris!

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hephaestus
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby hephaestus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:24 am

Emma. wrote:
hibiki wrote:Don't write about bitcoin.

Scrap it and come up with a better idea.

Seriously. I thought we dissuaded you the first time. Don't write about something so controversial, even if you think you don't think it is.

sasquatchsam
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby sasquatchsam » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:32 am

I was hoping as attorneys they would realize that bitmining and using bitcoin is legal in the United States (and pretty much everywhere else in the world). However, bitcoin has created an increased opportunity for individuals to engage in illegal conduct such as money laundering and black market purchases. Technology often creates these kinds of issues which is one of the main points of my PS. It should be noted that large law firms (particularly Perkins Coie as well as Katten Muchin Rosenman) have not shied away from being hired by the bitcoin community to advocate for the continued free use of bitcoin. Emerging technology often creates a firestorm of legal issues which is what lawyers bank on if I am not mistaken. I don't mean to argue to vehemently but I would like to dissuade anyone from jumping to conclusions merely from a lack of accurate information.

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alexb240
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby alexb240 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:38 am

Appreciate what you're going for here, but this is a bad idea. Your "take" (Bitcoin sparking/demonstrating your interest in tensions arising from the intersection of new technology and government regulation) doesn't overshadow the fact that Bitcoin is shrouded in notoriety at the moment, and your relationship with it is therefore problematic. It's true, as you note, that some firms have represented parties interested in Bitcoin. Firms also represent inside traders. I wouldn't write about committing insider trading. Firms represent clients who can pay the fees. And yes, it's true that insider trading is illegal and using Bitcoin isn't, but the fact of the matter is it's not exactly endeared in the public (or an admin's eye) and you're trying to cut the grain in too fine a fashion by hoping an admin will appreciate the difference. I'd pick a new topic.

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hephaestus
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby hephaestus » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:41 am

sasquatchsam wrote:I was hoping as attorneys they would realize that bitmining and using bitcoin is legal in the United States (and pretty much everywhere else in the world). However, bitcoin has created an increased opportunity for individuals to engage in illegal conduct such as money laundering and black market purchases. Technology often creates these kinds of issues which is one of the main points of my PS. It should be noted that large law firms (particularly Perkins Coie as well as Katten Muchin Rosenman) have not shied away from being hired by the bitcoin community to advocate for the continued free use of bitcoin. Emerging technology often creates a firestorm of legal issues which is what lawyers bank on if I am not mistaken. I don't mean to argue to vehemently but I would like to dissuade anyone from jumping to conclusions merely from a lack of accurate information.

Who cares if you're right? That's the point. Adcoms are going to make snap judgments. They aren't going to do in depth research after reading your PS. Pick a different topic.

notalobbyist
Posts: 124
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby notalobbyist » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:34 am

Honestly, this is how it reads to me.

1) I had real personal struggles
2) These struggles led me into a hobby with financial benefits
3) I like my hobby
4) My hobby can be used for good
5) My hobby can be used for bad
6) I am morally conflicted about my hobby
7) I want to be a lawyer because my hobby has a nebulous legal status

I think you should scrap it. If you really need to include bitcoin, then flip the proportion of the essay dedicated to your family's business going under vs.the bitcoin mining.

NYstate
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Re: That Pesky Bitcoin Guy's Back!

Postby NYstate » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:49 am

I thought you were going to write about working at a prosecutors office? Or was that someone else.

If you must write about bit coin, focus on your interest in designing and building computer systems.

Or else make the entire statement about the ambiguity of the Internet and privacy or something. This isn't unique to bit coin because money laundering happens in many ways. Plus, it just sounds shady.
Edit: I like this idea the best. Sit down and write a statement around the use of emerging technology.
What picture do you want to paint for ad comms? I still don't know what you are trying to say.
Why do you love the bit coin story so much.




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