About the Author and Collaborator

Deanna Heikkinen, Author

Writer • Educator • Homeschool Advocate • Bitcoiner

I am Deanna Heikkinen, and my journey as a homeschool teacher, former tenured professor of humanities, and an avid advocate for alternative education has been a rich tapestry of experiences and learning. With Master’s degrees in History and Anthropology, and a Doctorate in Education, my academic path has been intertwined deeply with a passion for understanding the human experience across cultures and times.

In 2011, a new chapter in my life began with my husband, Joel Marquez’s discovery of Bitcoin. It was on a bench in a botanical garden where he first told me about this crazy internet money. Honestly, it made my head explode a little bit! But over time, my interest in Bitcoin went beyond overhearing podcasts and having conversations with Joel. from being something passive, it eventually became a point of study. It led me to reflect, in not only money, but on a deeper understanding of what it means to live a free and happy life. Through my years of exploration, I’ve seen Bitcoin grow from a nascent idea into a global phenomenon. This experience and my inexperience with understanding money for most of my life fueled my desire to write Shells to Satoshi: The Story of Money & Rise of Bitcoin.

Shells to Satoshi is more than just a book; it’s a narrative journey that traces the evolution of money. In its pages, I delve into the fundamental question of why we need money and how various societies have tried to answer this through different forms of currency. From barter systems to the creation of coins and paper money, each step in this evolution has been a response to the economic and social needs of its time. It also delves into the more modern global monetary policies of the last 120 years illuminating not only the causal relationships of how we got to where we are today, but why Bitcoin is fundamental to the future.

But this story isn’t just historical. It leads to the present and the advent of Bitcoin, the only truly sovereign solution to the monetary challenges we face. I aim to demystify Bitcoin for the lay audience, providing not only a background of this digital currency but also practical advice on adopting it in everyday life.

As a passionate educator, my goal is to ‘orange pill’ readers – a term in the Bitcoin community for enlightening someone about the potential and importance of Bitcoin. I believe that understanding the ‘why’ behind our monetary systems, as well as the cause and effect of our financial decisions, is crucial. This book is my way of contributing to a broader understanding and, hopefully, a better future for humanity.

Through “Shells to Satoshi,” I invite you to join me on this fascinating journey across time and cultures, to explore together how humans have continually innovated in their quest for a reliable and fair monetary system, and how Bitcoin is just be the answer we’ve been searching for.

To a future of learning, growth, and stacking Sats,

Deanna Heikkinen

Joel Marquez, Collaborator

Writer • Philosopher • Bitcoiner

Joel Marquez is my husband and collaborator on Shells to Satoshi. He is a long-time Bitcoiner, first hearing about the technology in 2011. Although losing his coins in a fluke accident off the coast of California, he continues to advocate and educate friends and family about Bitcoin. 

After moving to El Salvador in 2023, Joel picked up his pen once again and has been working on a Bitcoin novel as well as helping as a collaborator and editor on this book. His contributions to the Bitcoin, economic philosophy, and later chapters of Shells to Satoshi both added context and content in such a way that they book is not only stronger for it, but more direct in the arguments provided. With his ability to break down abstract ideas and connect them to other abstract ideas in an eloquent way elevated the book in a way that this historian could not have pulled off! I am grateful for his tireless efforts to take what I wrote and make it better.  

Joel has a degree in humanities where he has developed a deep understanding of storytelling and the human experience, which he put to use in his writing. After graduating from film school, he worked on small budget films and has also written scripts and treatments for small projects. 

Joel spent several decades working in technology where he helped people in the building industry transition from paper to technology on the job site. With his tech-savvy mind and his excellent teaching skills, he became a valuable asset to many businesses looking to modernize their workflow. 

Through it all, Joel has remained committed to his writing, continuing to create powerful stories that connect with audiences on a deep, emotional level. For the last 13 years, he has also been by my side, keeping me intellectually challenged through our daily conversations and rooting for my success from being an academic to being an author and everything in between.

Personal Life

In 2023, Joel and I moved from Florida to El Salvador. Seeking freedom, stability, and safety in a country we could call home, we discovered an incredible place where expats and Salvadorians have welcomed us and become our friends, family, and colleagues. Bitcoin and Bukele brought us here, but it is the people with their kindness and optimism who make us stay.

You can find me taking sunrise walks on the beach, writing in my air conditioned office, and talking books with both kids and adults when I am not teaching. 

"In order to truly appreciate the role money has in one’s own life, it is important to understand its humble beginnings and perhaps even more, what people did before the concept of money existed."

Deanna Heikkinen

Need a Speaker for Your Podcast, Conference, or Upcoming Event?

Contact Deanna or Joel to speak about Shells to Satoshi, the history of money, centralization vs. decentralization, moving and living in El Salvador on a Bitcoin standard, homeschooling, or the intersection of homeschool and Bitcoin in living a sovereign life.

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