Two years ago, Easter of 2020, I was chatting with some friends about crypto and one friend was starting to set aside some money and invest. Seemed harmless to do with “fun money”. We were in a pandemic after all, so no one was doing anything anyways. This was the height of the Gamestop and $DOGE meme stock market drama. I dismissed crypto at the time, but I used my Stocks app to follow the prices of $BTC, $ETH, $SOL, $DOGE, $SHIB, $LUNA, $XRP, $XTZ, and a some others that crossed my periphery field of view.
You see, it’s not hard to sell me on crypto. “Big banks, payday loans, and fees are problematic” = yes. “We can decentralize identity and web logins” = yes, cool. “We can decentralize payment” = yes, even cooler. “DAOs let communities have ownership in the projects they like” = yes, in theory1. At its core, even the basic idea of a sci-fi reality where we zlorp our space credits to each other on our holo-visors seems like a probable eventuality.
From Easter 2020 to Easter 2021 I watched in my Stocks app as the price of $ETH went from $180 to $2230 (+1,288%) and $SOL went from $0.60 to $31.70 (+5,221%). Dang. Regret. I should have bought. But two weeks later I watched as both of those coins lost 50% of their value overnight. Phew. Vindication.
The price of course rebounded and climbed 10× around November 2021. Dang. Regret. This was the peak NFT era, it seemed crypto was approaching a critical mass. Actual smart people I knew were holding crypto. Actual smart people I know were leaving their FAANG jobs to join Web3 projects. Every conversation I had ended up talking about crypto. The FOMO was building.
I somehow convinced myself that I needed to go in and go in big. If my $500 turned into $600 or even $1000, that doesn’t materially change my life that much. It’s not “Buy a boat” money. It had to be a large number. So I started pooling together about $10,000 to spread over a handful of coins that I thought had a strategic advantage:
- $ETH - smart contracts are pretty smart
- $SOL - a greener alternative to $ETH
- $LUNA - backed by a “stablecoin” and that sounded nice
- $DOGE - for the memes but it goes up every time Elon tweets about it and you can buy a lot of it for cheap
At the pace crypto was going I was confident I could double my money over the course of a couple months. I needed to pull the trigger.
After gut-checking with friends (who were like “Sure, man”), my wife (who to this day says, “I don’t get it”), my financial advisor (who was like 😬), and doing my own research… I decided not to pull the trigger. The lack of consumer protections, the surface area for criminal activity (scams, theft, laundering, wash trading), the way your cash-on-hand is also your investment portfolio, the fake scarcity, the rich getting richer, the low-quality art in the form of monkey JPGs selling at inflated prices, gas fees, and the carbon costs… those all bothered me immensely. Ultimately I felt like crypto was a 2010 solution (electricity is free!) that didn’t fit 2021 problems (we are soon approaching the 1.5ºC thresh hold!).
Instead of investing actual money, I installed a Stock Market Simulator on my iPad and played pretend crypto. If my imaginary numbers went up, I could revisit the idea. But over the course of a couple months, I watched the numbers turn redder and redder.
As of writing this: $ETH is down 58%, $SOL is down 82%, $LUNA has lost 99.97% of its value. I’m not some genius investor that shorted the entire crypto market and made millions, but I keep thinking about how I dodged a bullet and saved about $8000 by not investing in crypto. Phew. Vindication.
It’s all relative. If I had bought two years ago, I’d still be up a bit. A lotta bit actually. But back then I would have invested something small like $500. Still, my $500 of imaginary $SOL would be worth $44,000. Dang. Regret. That’s incredible, yet all feels so made up. It’s like how Uber is a taxi company with no cars, crypto is an economy with no tangible goods and services.
I could still end up with egg on my face here. The minute the market drops 10~20% and I feel vindicated about my decision to hold off, some pump’n’dump happens to spike the price up +20%. And for some reason my lizard brain still says “Dang. Regret.” Weird how that works.
Anyways. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.
DAOs we’re almost the selling point for me on crypto, but I now sort of feel like most DAOs reinforce oligarchies rather than enable democracies. ↩