A co-worker came up to me and mentioned that he was now trading Cryptocurrency. He had recently tripled his money in the past week. Several others joined us at the water cooler and chimed in that they had also benefited from the recent bitcoin rush.
I thought about my financial situation and decided to avoid the risky venture. I had just gotten out of student loan debt and was starting to seriously invest in mutual funds with a long track record of success. I mostly was investing in index funds through Vanguard. In 2017 the market gave me an almost 20% return but this paled in comparison to my friend’s 300% gain with crypto-currencies in 1 week. Was it foolish to want to get in on the action?
A few days later a friend of mine came to crash at my place in Los Angeles. While we were chatting he mentioned that he also had started investing in Bitcoin. He pulled up an app on his phone that instantly showed how much his investment was worth. In bold numbers on the top of his screen I saw $1200 dollars.
I asked him how much he originally had put in. He explained that he had merely put in 200 dollars 6 months ago and that his money had exploded. He said that he didn’t miss the money at all. He used an app called Acorns . Every time he made a debit card purchase, it took the spare change and invested it into the market. After a few months he had accumulated a few hundred dollars. Since he didn’t really miss this money he felt fine about risking it in the cryptocurrency market.
Investing in Cryptocurrency:
I asked him what the name of the app he was using on his phone was. He called it coinbase. I decided to give it a try. The setup was extremely easy. Within minutes I was given access to three different cryptocurrencies: Litecoin, Etherium and Bitcoin. I had only ever heard of Bitcoin and I knew it was currently making a lot of people very rich.
The setup for Coinbase was very straightforward. They didn’t even require me to add my bank account. I simply added one of my credit cards and “purchased” 100 dollars worth of cryptocurrency. I thought it would be a fun experiment to diversify and split my 100 dollars cash into three equal parts: $33.33 into Litecoin, $33.33 into Etherium and $33.33 into Bitcoin. I had to make the purchase in 3 different transactions. My bank immediately suspended my credit card, thinking perhaps my card had been stolen. I called an explained that it was indeed me making the purchases and everything went through as planned.
I pulled up the app on my phone and was greeted with $100 dollars at the top of the screen. One hour later it had surged to $101. The next day $110. How had I not placed thousands of dollars in? In just one day I had made 10%. If I had put 100,000 in I would have gotten 10,000 in just one day! Could this madness continue?
For the next week, I happily watched as the number on the top of the screen surged to 120, 130 then 140. I found myself constantly checking my balance; during lunch, at breaks, under the table while out for dinner. It was becoming an unhealthy obsession. Greed started to control my thoughts as I imagined putting more of my life savings into the currency.
Christmas fast approached and the cryptocurrency was thriving. I joined the chorus of happy investors at the water cooler at work. We all couldn’t believe how well our investments were doing. Then one day I woke up and my balance read $53 dollars. Where had the money disappeared to? How could half of my money evaporate in a night? I panicked and considered pulling everything out and dealing with my loss.
At work the next day I mentioned my losses and my coworkers calmly explained that they had already moved past bitcoin and were now investing in Bitcoincash and Ripple. Had I missed the boat?
Comment below on your crypto-currency experiences. Have you gained or experienced a loss?