This is my story of how I derped around during the last BTC bubble, made some dough, and saw my friend pile up a mountain of debt on himself, only to become a millionaire. I hope if you read it there is a moral somewhere, but I'm not so sure there is. (prices are approximate to dates, going back in my memory a bit)
OCT 2011: (BTC $4) (preface)
As an undergrad computer science major I mined a few coins in a cyber security class . It took about 2 months and I think it was around .89 BTC or something like that. I think it was worth about $8 worth at the time. I thought this was really cool, but also remember at that time you couldn't do anything with it, especially where I lived. I just kind of forgot about it, got a new laptop sometime later, and eventually chucked that one with the coins on the hard drive… (it was just $8 and I had no way of spending it remember) oh well so much for those. Who knows how many coins were lost by these standards back in those days. I take in all the maths, graduate with marks, drink all the beer, laugh with friends, fun times.
May 2015: (BTC $234)
Fast forward.. I end up in Los Angeles, CA through another long set of tales. I live with aspiring actors and film makers grinding it out as waiters and bartenders. They are good mates and take me to parties on occasion where we meet all kinds of characters. I end up chatting with a guy (lets call him Bill) who's nuts about BTC. I explain to him that I know all about it, and he is ecstatic to find someone who understands what he is talking about. I haven't been paying much attention the past years, and he shows me how far its come in tech and price. I smack my forehead, knowing I tossed away 8/10ths of a coin (could have been beer money man). We become friends and talk about Bitcoin pretty regularly.
I don't buy initially, but Bill is giving it all he's got, buying left and right with anything extra dollar he can scrape up. He believes in it. I get so worried that Bill is going to loose what he put in that I just buy a bit (.1BTC) so I will be invested enough to watch it, to know if Bill is up or down. You can guess what happens at this point. Up we go. Bill makes money, I make money.
June 2016: (BTC $661)
All is well. I am happy that Bill didn't lose his money and hoping he will take and re-invest his earnings in a more diversified portfolio. I'm worried about the ~$100 I made in earnings, like do I file this? (lol younger me)
I meet with Bill for the first time in a while. I'm excited to share our gains. We both show our gains and cheers. He immediately tells me that he is looking at ways of taking out credit to buy more BTC…. WTF? I say. He quickly proceeds to tell me the banks turned him down, but he found out he can just buy BTC with credit cards… so he is filing 7 applications right now to see how many he can credit cards he can open to buy BTC… I think for a second. I do the rational thing. I try to talk him down, but no way. He's doing it. I don't know much about investment at this point, just math and percentages, but thats enough to make me beg him to not do it…. he doesn't listen.
By my estimates Bill purchased a total of $30K worth of BTC with combined cash and credit on hand at (my best guess) an average price of $589 per BTC. I invest what I have to spare from savings to just keep up with the train wreck I am worried about happening to Bill. I think I have .2 BTC at this point just to keep up with his insane position
August 2016: (BTC $576)
The first dip comes, and Bill is facing credit card bills with interest rates that will kick in soon (he will not be able to make the minimum payments). We discuss is troubles at this point frequently. I suggest he should liquidate and close the cards. He disagrees, and liquidates only a position large enough to pay the minimums and give him a bit of cash. Not only that but he use the cash to secure short term loans at higher interest in order to re-invest to make up the losses. I once again beg him to re-consider, but no… this is his path. I once again invest more to keep up with it, so I can keep up with Bill and his well being. I purchase a good bit more and have .5 BTC
November 2016: (BTC$758)
I move to another city and mostly forget about my interactions with Bill. He messages me a few times about the price going back up and being bullish about it once again. I do the same song and dance of trying to warn him to close his cards and positions to get out while he can. Nope he's holding strong. Nothing to be done. I assume I can't do anything to help this situation. Once the price busts above $900/BTC even I can't say anything. I've made money, he's made bank. I feel happy for him, but once again concerned. I know he is running on margin and don't want him to get sucked in, but I also don't want to weigh in on such a big investment at this point. He texts me about the gains, I mostly just give the thumbs up back, knowing I can't back down at this point, but I don't want to be around him if it fails.
Jun 2017: (BTC $3000)
I have mostly lost touch with Bill because I move to another city. I never sold my BTC though, and I never forgot about him. Around Feb. 2017 I visited LA and saw Bill. I thanked him for making me the money that I held now in BTC. I asked him what he was doing with his stake. As always he was ready for the apocalypse to happen and for his BTC to be the only currency left somehow. He was holding stone cold. I wasn't persuading at this point, hell, I was holding myself.
Dec 2017: (BTC $16000)
While I thought I would never be swept up in the chaos that is BTC… I was. The amount of BTC I hadn't sold (.3BTC) was making even me feel like a genius. I had made so much money off just forgetting about something over months at a time. I often thought about Bill, but I didn't envy, in fact I really hoped he had paid off his credit card debts and was sitting on his fat profit. I watched BTC Youtube channels and debated if we would go to $100K or if this was it. I couldn't take the pressure and sold half my position @ around $16K/BTC
2018-2019 (BTC $20K -> $3.5K) (Epiloge)
In early 2018 price went up to $20k before quickly falling back to 10K. Thankfully I sold the rest of my position on the way down at about the same point as on the way up ($16k). I bought a few back in 2019 but have never really put as much capital back in as I made. As for Bill, well I told you at the beginning. Bill is a millionaire. My best estimates based on my text with him is he cashed out @ around an average of $17k/BTC. Even after taxes, he ended up real nice. I don't know if he was in the run up in 2019 but I must assume he was.
Looking at the market today, I don't think this story will re-write itself… or will it?