Crypto for regular people like me

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After I posted my last article on reddit, I got a lot of flack, so I thought I’d try it again.

One thing people really didn’t seem to like was that I’d titled it Crypto for normies. Only after the fact did I realize how that title could come across the wrong way, but I hadn’t meant to disparage anyone, the whole point was that I saw myself as a normie.

When I bought my first Bitcoin five years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was just a dad with a regular nine-to-five who spent most weekends playing with his kids with the occasional round of golf thrown in. If anyone had told me that five years later I’d have 15 thousand Twitter followers and posted long-winded articles on Reddit about “my journey”, I would have said what the hell are you talking about.

But here I am, five years later, doing just that.

March 2017. That’s when I first started seriously looking into Bitcoin. First, because I saw it pop up as a deposit option on the sports betting site I used. And then the following week I was at this kid’s birthday party when another dad kept telling me to buy some Bitcoin as he showed me his phone and all the different coins he owned.

I went so far as to sign up for a Coinbase account, but when I did my own research I couldn’t understand why Bitcoin was supposed to be worth $900, let alone a million dollars like some were saying. I didn’t want to be that guy who just invests in something because someone else tells him to, so I didn’t.

Meanwhile the price kept going up. It went from around $900 when I first started looking into it, to almost three thousand only a few months later. Eff my life, I thought, and never wanted to hear about Bitcoin again.

Then that July I ended up going on a work trip. I never go on work trips, but I did that week, and on the last day, sitting in the airport hungover with a couple of my colleagues, I look over and see one of them looking at the familiar blue Coinbase app on his phone. We start talking and he tells me how he had just bought his first coins a month ago.

The next morning I wake up in my own bed and look at my phone and see that Bitcoin had crashed to eighteen hundred dollars. I no longer cared that I didn’t understand it. I decided to finally press the buy button and down the rabbit hole I went.

This was a couple of weeks before the whole Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash split, so there was a lot in the news about the impending hardfork. I had to quickly learn what that meant. I read up on how to create a paper wallet, how to split my coins, and downloaded a wallet for the first time.

It was all so foreign to me. I remember double-checking everything before moving my coins off the exchange, and even then I felt like I was having a small panic attack before hitting send.

Now five years later, copying and pasting addresses, or scanning QR codes feels like second nature. I feel comfortable using hardware wallets, blockchain explorers, and of course know the importance of seed phrases.

Basically all this to say that it wasn’t until I actually tried using crypto that I finally understood what made it valuable. And the more I understood, the more confident I was that this technology was the future, so I bought more.

Over the next year or so I definitely bought more than I wanted to lose. By late 2018, down over 80% on my investment, I began questioning my life decisions. A friend even spotted me one morning while I was dropping off my son at school and he asked why I looked so depressed. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth.

But I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Because I hadn’t quit my job, I still had my coins, and I just kept buying. I learned not to use leverage, I stuck to projects I trusted, and I always tried to take custody of my coins to make sure I didn’t lose them in a hack or anything else.

By no means would I say I’m rich, but crypto has given me the chance to move my family to a nicer neighborhood, as well as teaching me a lot more about how money works, and how best to protect it.

I wanted to write this because there might be people out there who are in the same boat I was in five years ago. People who’ve heard about crypto and want to understand what it’s all about but not quite getting it. I think about everything I would have missed out on if I’d never gone on that business trip and seen my coworker’s phone right before BTC bottomed in July 2017. I’d definitely be worse off, and I’m thankful everything worked out the way it did, at least thus far.

I honestly have no idea what the future holds. Like I said, I’m just a regular guy, a normie, so I’m not going to sit here and pretend I have all the answers. But what I can say is that I find value in being able to store at least a portion of my wealth in a form of money that can’t be censored, or frozen by my bank, and can be used anywhere in the world.

I wouldn’t put your entire life savings in crypto. But with all the uncertainty in the world, I see crypto as a valuable insurance policy. Like having an emergency stash of cash lying around only it’s electronic cash. Just make sure you’re buying the right kind of ecash, because there’s a lot of fakes out there, but also some hidden gems. Thanks for reading.