I first learned about bitcoin through a newsletter reporting a Mt Gox hack in 2011. After reading about its potential to be seriously disruptive, I still avoided making any purchases due to the limited (and shady) means of acquiring any.
But I kept my eye on it. I saw the small pattern of boom-bust cycles but there were too few at the time to consider this pattern to be normal.
I bought my first bitcoins in April 2013. I'd FOMO'ed the runup from $15 to $100 and finally bought in at $138. One of the only ways to buy bitcoin at the time was to deposit cash into some rando's bank account and cross your fingers that they'd actually send you bitcoin in return. I was lucky. They did.
Bitcoin continued to rally to $230. I'd nearly doubled my money in a few days. I finally applied for a Mt Gox account and was hooked.
It only took 3 more months to watch my initial investment be cut in half after the retrace to $66.
My point here is it took balls to invest in the chaotic sphere of crypto from a total bystander who's not a cypherpunk. I had a spare $500, my career was built on the industry Bitcoin was poised to disrupt, so I bought a few as a "hedge" in my mind.
So I hedl. The price eventually stabilized and slowly crept up to my initial buy in. I learned about coinbase and registered an account right before the second bull run of the year.
Bitcoin ran up to $1,100. I was amped. Bought in a ton more on the way up. Convinced buddies to buy in at over $1,000.
Then it tanked again. I praised friends who "called the top" and got out while I hedl.
But at that time I was a lot more convinced that long term growth was inevitable. I explained to my buddies that this is normal and that they should think of their money spent as a shitty night at the casino. They can pull it out now or just forget about it and see where it goes. They listened.
And I kept buying randomly. I set a DCA calendar event but rarely listened to it. I bought here and there with spare funds over the next few years as it traded sideways.
Overall, I spent about $15,000 over the course of 4 years. Who spends $15,000 on an unproven volatile asset with naysayers around every corner? Anyone with any financial sense would think I was insane to put that much money into the space.
Now I own 25 bitcoin and a decent number of the other top coins. I'm in a great position.
But I want you all to heed this story as a means to prepare yourselves for strong hands over the next boom/bust cycle.
I watched my $15k investment balloon to over $600k during the 2017 bull run. Then I watched my portfolio shrink $350k in like 6 weeks. Then another $150k over the following months.
It was painful. But I'm still hodling. I often wonder about how strong my hands can be when I finally see my crypto portfolio in the 8-figure range. I truly believe that Bitcoin stands to insanely disruptive and coexist on a massive level with the fiat powerhouses of today.
But how am I going to react when that valuation means I can retire at age 35? How am I going to react if it grows to unfathomable levels and the next bust sees me losing millions of dollars over a few short months?
I can't tell you. I don't know myself. I know I'll not be happy to sell out at 1MM if it climbs to 10MM in a few years. But I'll have reached a FIRE benchmark at an age that a very rare few can even dream of. It's an insane concept to be able to say you turned $15k into a million dollars. Even more so if it's multi-millions.
That's why I think a lot fewer bitcoin millionaires exist than you think. When reflecting on how much is made over such a little investment, the idea that it could go even higher simply escapes logic. Even if you truly believe that Bitcoin will cement itself as an alternative or replacement to currency/payments/store-of-value, there's still a huge risk it can all collapse at some point.
So. What would you do? How much will you be willing to put on the table once it's real? Once you literally have hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line?