So let’s get this straight: you should be a bitcoin millionaire right now only you’re not because you a) sold too soon b) bought too late c) disregarded your mate’s advice d) lost your hard drive e) went all in on feathercoin. Welcome to the club. You’re not alone, but that knowledge will come as little comfort when you’re lying awake at night cursing your stupidity. We can’t turn back time, but we can dispense some sound advice that should help put your hard luck story in perspective.
Missed the Boat and Skipped the Party
If you’re late to the bitcoin party – or worse still, if you left before the party got truly started – the regret can be crippling. Every new all-time high drives another dagger into your stricken heart, while the sight of young bucks who’ve never read Satoshi’s white paper drunk on bull market gains is sickening. At least one story has surfaced of an early adopter spiraling into depression after losing all their bitcoins and eventually committing suicide.
But this is meant to be an uplifting piece, not a morbid one. Thankfully, most people who missed the boat suffer nothing worse than a bad case of hindsight. If that’s you, stop beating yourself up. There are three reasons to be cheerful, but before we consider them, let’s consider the psychology of luck.
Queuing Theory Said This Would Happen
You’re shopping for groceries and pick the queue that looks fastest. To your chagrin, the one next to you turns out to be quicker, leaving you waiting in line behind the old lady clutching over 9,000 coupon codes. Sound familiar? There’s a simple reason why, statistically, you’re more likely to pick the slowest queue: with a queue on either side, the odds of calling it correctly are just one in three.
What’s that got to do with cryptocurrency? Well, if you bought bitcoin in 2013, for example, the odds of having hodled till now are much lower than one in three. In fact they’re more like 1 in 20. When you see bitcoin whales screenshotting their phat portfolios, it’s easy to assume that this is the norm; that everyone else is getting served fast in the store but you. The reality is that most people are in the same boat as you – one which is several lengths behind the boat they’d rather be in.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Knowing that most bitcoiners have screwed up just as bad as you will provide scant consolation. The following points should provide succor, however, and double your resolve to make amends.
1. We’re priviliged to live in a time where it’s possible to acquire wealth through little more than pushing a few buttons and waiting a while. There’s no need to climb chimneys, descend into coal mines, or go to war. You might not make it to Lambo-land, but with a sensible buy and hold strategy, there’s every reason to be confident of turning a profit. You know how all those early adopters from 2013 and prior got rich? They bought bitcoin and then held on tight, through times of low income and 80% crashes and lean years where nothing happened. They’ve earned their success. Have some patience and you might just earn yours.
2. If bitcoin continues on the trajectory that many have predicted, missing out on the first $10-$15k will be like grumbling because you bought bitcoin when it was a dollar instead of a cent. Sure, there are no certainties in this game, but presumably you knew that and accepted this risk before you signed up.
3. There are other crypto assets which “do a bitcoin” every single week and go stratospheric. Even if the bitcoin boat is out of reach, there are plenty of other ships departing on a regular basis. Succeeding with such an enterprise calls for doing your own research, being patient and – crazy as this might sound – actually putting in some work. Your judgement may be vindicated or you may get it horribly wrong, but provided you’re not betting the house and the car on black, so to speak, there’ll be other chances to get in on the ground.
Finally, if you’re in bitcoin solely to get rich, you’re doing it wrong. Ask not what your cryptocurrency can do for you: ask what you can do for your cryptocurrency.