Losing 6 Figures in Crypto
Over the summer I watched my net worth double.
By October it had tripled.
In November it quadrupled
And by December 10x'd.
I went from being mostly paycheck to paycheck and stuck under a mountain of student debt to having over 6 figures in my stash of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other crypto holdings. If you'd asked me at any point earlier that year what I'd do if Bitcoin crossed $10k, I would've said "pay down my student loans." I lived this out by selling 1,000+ Ethereum earlier in the year when it was trading in the $30 range and putting the proceeds towards my debt. My student loans carried an oppressive $50/daily interest, and I was extremely motivated to get rid of them.
As the market mania hit high gear in late November, I kept thinking about those ETH I sold for $30 months earlier. If only I'd waited a few more months... I couldn't help but think about the life altering sum of money I missed out on by selling too early.
As Bitcoin crossed $10,000 and soared higher, I kept thinking, "Yeah, it'd be nice to pay down my loans, but odds are high it's going to double one more time. It's already doubled so many times this year. Why not once more." And then it doubled again. But did I sell when it hit $20k? No. Instead I devised a clever trading plan, where I would start selling off my holdings when bitcoin crossed $30,000. I knew this parabolic rise couldn't continue forever, but people were proclaiming Bitcoin to $100k, and I was so insulated in my echo chamber I wasn't thinking about the bigger picture.
As you probably know. $100k bitcoin didn't happen in 2017 or 2018.
The market crashed following that $20k all time high. In the weeks and months that followed, I bought the dip again and again and again. Fast forward 12 months and my overall wealth was 25% of what it was the year before.
This was all the more painful as I reflected on my outstanding student debt and thought about how I could've paid off most of it. For several years, I’d been aggressively paying down my student loans and sacrificing so much along the way. My wife and I skipped out on trips, friends weddings, delayed buying a house, having our first child, etc… I vowed that I’d get out of debt as soon as I was able.
As the market continued to fall, I ended up selling off a large degree of what remained to pay down my student loans. I just couldn't sleep well at night knowing that these were accruing interest at a ridiculously high rate, and I was still sitting on bitcoin I'd bought in 2015 that I could sell for a nice profit. There will be more euphoric manias in the years to come, so I'm jotting down the biggest lessons learned as I've reflected on this over the past year.
- Have a plan for any investment and stick to it ruthlessly.
- If you have debt, pay it off as soon as you're able.
- FOMO is dangerous even for logical people with pessimistic tendencies (me).
- Don’t insulate yourself in an echo chamber (crypto twitter).
- Seek contrarian opinions.
- Revisit your risk tolerance (would you be okay if you completely lost it).