Didi Taihuttu and his family
(Didi Taihuttu via Instagram)
In 2017, Didi Taihuttu, his wife, and their three children sold everything they owned and put all of their money into Bitcoin.
From a profitable computer training business that Mr Taihuttu started aged 24, to their 2,500 square foot home, to their shoes and toys – everything was sold.
The proceeds were invested in cryptocurrency as the Dutch family embarked on a new life, documenting their travels on YouTube and other social media platforms.
At the time, Bitcoin was trading at approximately $900, peaking in December of that year at just over $14,000.
Even when it collapsed into the mid-$3,000s range in 2018, Mr Taihuttu bought more, doubling down on his investment, convinced that cryptocurrencies were poised to rebound.
That bet paid off. By mid-June 2019 the price was back up above $10,000, going on to peak at almost $59,000 in March 2021. After another collapse down to the mid-30,000s level, Bitcoin has since recovered to $46,400 today.
The family meanwhile travel the world with backpacks and no luxury goods, teaching their children that they can be happy without such things, according to their website.
They have lived in more than 40 countries, don’t own a house, or have bank accounts, and refer to their lifestyle as that of “decentralised nomads”.
With no bank accounts and their wealth denominated in volatile cryptocurrency, Mr Taihuttu explained to CNBC in a recent interview that the family safeguards its fortune in six “secret vaults” on four continents.
“I have hidden the hardware wallets across several countries so that I never have to fly very far if I need to access my cold wallet, in order to jump out of the market,” he explained.
A “cold wallet” is where cryptocurrency has been moved offline and is not stored on internet-connected computers, in order to protect it from hackers. A private key, or password, is required to move the crypto out of the wallet.
Most crypto is stored in “hot wallets” which are connected to the internet and allow owners relatively easy access to trade and spend their currency. The difference is essentially one of security.
Mr Taihuttu keeps 26 per cent of their holdings “hot” for trading and making potentially risky bets on the market – many of which appear to pay off.
The remaining 74 per cent is kept in cold wallets – two in Europe, two in Asia, one in South America, and one in Australia.
While this may conjure up an image of a hidden vault or buried treasure chest, the family told CNBC that the wallets are hidden in a variety of ways and locations, including at friends’ homes and in self-storage sites.
While the family will not say how much cryptocurrency they hold, the mix includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, and some Litecoin.
Mr Taihuttu says that while it is easy to top up the storage of crypto with new coins, to retrieve them involves travelling to the physical location.
He intends to store a cold wallet on every continent so he has easier access as the family continues their travels as digital nomads.