at this moment, with the entire crypto market shedding billions, some of you are in writhing in pain.
This market still has surprises for all of us. We could see $175B. or even $100B. Bitcoin could go to $5000. or $2000.
Seriously. Don’t fool yourself that you KNOW.
I say this because of how many times I thought I knew – I felt it with such deep certainty – but I didn’t.
And also for all the times when I thought I knew (and I really DID know), but I didn’t act on it.
Bitcoin has the power to knock the snot out of you. And do it again. and again.
And while it’s not guaranteed to ever get to $50k or $100k or even to $10k again we were all drawn here by the power of Satoshi’s amazing creation. It’s a true force in our world. and (outside of myself and my children) I’m more confident in a long term bet on bitcoin than on anything else in the world.
With that as a preface. I want to write something about my own misses, my own pain. and how it all played out. maybe it will be of help to a few of you.
2013: Two days after Christmas, my wife left me. She’d been sick for a few years. I worked a job I despised and I spent six figures of my inheritance (and all of our money) trying to take make things work, to take care of her – of our family.
She started feeling better. Then she left me.
Then she asked for thousands of dollars a month in support. (There are a lot of details, like how she used to make more than me, how I took the highest paying job I could – money over principles and happiness…, how I started working a second job _right_ before she left, how I literally spent every penny trying to keep us afloat. And still, it was determined by some formula that I owed her (what felt like) a *ton* of money every month.
BUT, in March 2013 I went to my first bitcoin meet up. I had heard of it in late 2010, but didn’t invest any time in learning more about it. And it popped on my radar a couple of other times in between 2010 and 2013. But I never dove in.
Not paying attention earlier could be counted as my first major crypto error.
I was primed to be a bitcoin believer. I studied crypto in college. Was briefly obsessed with the work of Chaum, Brands, Back. I hung out in the cypherpunk forums since the early 90’s. But… I missed the early, early boat.
I tried to make up for lost time by diving ALL the way in. I was obsessed. I was lucky to hear Andreas Antonopolous speak a few times (if you haven’t heard him, stop reading this _now_ and find a youtube video 🙂
I read everything I could. I went to meetups. I began writing a newsletter for friends (these folks had no interest in crypto – I just started spamming them with my musings on the space).
And I started buying when it was under $100 in the summer of 2013.
But, crypto mistake #2, I sold it all between $300-400 in the end of year run-up.
My interest in bitcoin and everything crypto kept building though. I started applying to crypto jobs. Entry level, even though I have a graduate degree. I wanted to work in crypto no matter what.
On the 3rd day of 2014 I started working at a bitcoin startup (now one of the few bitcoin unicorns). It was an avalanche of learning. The more I learned, the more bullish I become.
Crypto mistake #3: I started telling _everyone_ to buy. And I started buying using every resource at my disposal. And of course, the price went from $800 to $600 to $400 to … $150.
Friends were like… thx brah 🙁
But, I still believed. The people I was meeting in the industry were some of the smartest people I’d ever been around (and I consider myself lucky to have been around a lot of smart people). And they weren’t just smart, they were passionate. They had a vision. And they intended to build it into reality.
After less than 6 months at crypto start up #1, I jumped ship, for another crypto startup. Probably the biggest in the space measured by users. And the learning curve continued. And my love affair with crypto deepened.
I went to major financial conferences and it’s hardly a stretch to say no one wanted anything to do with us. We’d sit down at a table and people would literally roll their eyes.
So much shunning. So much ignorance.
And around then I made a HUGE crypto mistake: not buying more ETH. I’d been hyping ETH in my own head for months. But when the crowd sale rolled around I bought sooo much less than I had promised myself I would 🙁
It immediately felt like a mistake.
But later on (Crypto Mistake #5), I bought thousands more ETH. Only to sell it ALL at $11. Lol. When it passed $1,000 I just… ugh.
And there were other major ICOs that I had been a huge believer in – privacy coins, Augur, etc… (Mistakes 6-12), I either bought too little or none.
BUT, all the while I was buying BTC. At every moment I bought everything I could. I sold my car and bought BTC. I cashed out my 401k and bought BTC. I even sold my bicycle to buy BTC.
And I took out loans to buy BTC. As many loans as banks would give me. As many loans as family would give me.
At some moments this felt like a *HUGE* mistake. My life was heavily leveraged (not leveraged on-exchange, but I had borrowed to buy. and then did it again. and again). I was stressed. And I still had to pay my ex-wife. And rent. and everything else.
I worked two jobs for 3+ years.
I would look at everything in the world – a coffee. a new shirt. and calculate 10x the price. If it still felt worth buying at 10x, I would buy it. I lived like this for almost FOUR years.
At a certain point I realized that I didn’t care about the money anymore. That I was so far down the rabbit hole that some kind of alchemical change had occurred.
I no longer cared when I got paid my salary in BTC and it dropped 15% within 24hrs. I was as chill on the roller coaster as standing still.
And I continued to rack up what would turn out to be “million $$$ mistakes.” I skipped the Stellar airdrops. I missed selling Bitcoin Cash at crazy high prices (I was thrilled to sell the free money at $300/ea. And i missed selling the other bitcoin shards altogether – doesn’t feel worth it now.
And then I missed shorting another obvious bubble.
But… I held on to enough bitcoin for long enough to
(1) quit my job,
(2) focus on what I want to *really* work on,
(3) take care of my family at a time when they _truly_ need it (the timing is a bit spooky),
(4) stay focused on what really matters – the long term vision that Satoshi and other pioneers set out for us: A new kind of digital freedom within our grasp should we choose to accept it.
It has been a truly wild ride. And there were many times where I could not tell the difference between catastrophe and an essential life lesson. Something would feel – in the moment – apocalyptic. but in time evolved into a critical personal experience, something I wouldn’t give up for anything.
So… my advice is this: don’t be so sure you know what’s happening to yourself. to your life. It may feel like you’re truly at the end of your rope. But given the perspective of a few more years this current moment will prove to be a graduate course in personal fortitude.
Give yourself credit for taking a risk on a technology (and a political movement) that could truly be revolutionary.
Then, step back and evaluate what you’re truly after in this life. What is your mission? Get a clear answer to that. and then GO FOR IT!
Much love to all my bitcoin brothers and sisters!