U ntil 2016, I managed an advertising agency in London. At our peak, we have had great success; I had a team of 35, a £ 3million business and a Covent Garden office. When the agency sold, I decided to invest in bitcoins.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a type of electronic money that allows people to spend or exchange via a peer-to-peer network without the involvement of banks or other intermediaries. It is an economical and efficient way to transfer funds or hold a value, which can be converted into pounds at any time. I had used it before buying an online treatment for my mother after she was diagnosed with cancer. I am also delighted to invest in 201
At the beginning I deposited £ 5,000; at the time, in January 2017, the bitcoins were about $ 600, so I bought seven or eight and spent the rest on other cryptocurrencies. But in the weeks that followed I became hooked and plowed into a big chunk of money – 23,000 pounds in all. I remember telling people: "I really think the value of bitcoins could go up to $ 2,000 this year." I could never have predicted it would reach 10 times as much. By mid-spring 2017, my investment had risen to about $ 300,000, and by the summer it was half a million. The media interest in bitcoin was growing and friends kept asking how they could get in, so I set up a Facebook group, then a website, and finally a podcast dedicated to the subject. As the excitement grew, more and more people were involved, creating the conditions for a bubble; but many of us were too involved in the advertising campaign to exercise caution
By the end of 2017, the bitcoin had reached nearly $ 20,000 and my portfolio had inflated to about $ 1.2 million. That's when I lost control. I've always been an entrepreneur and since I was a kid I've dreamed of buying my local soccer team, Bedford Town, becoming president and getting them into the league. I thought the project could cost £ 5 million, so that was the amount I'd decided to bet. I thought I could get there within six months.
At the time I was traveling around the world doing interviews for my podcast, bringing friends to expensive restaurants and buying extravagant gifts for my family. I'm not the kind of person who puts everything in the future, and although he donated £ 6,000 to my local hospital, much of my spending was pretty frivolous. It would have been more sensible to buy a couple of houses, but I became too ambitious. This seemed like my only attempt to realize that childhood dream.
At the end of January 2018 the bubble burst and the value of the bitcoin suddenly fell. There had been some falls during 2017 but it was rebounded, so I was not too worried. But in the rest of the year, I watched it sink lower and lower, along with the other cryptocurrencies on which I had invested, always thinking, "Well, it makes no sense to sell now …". It was my attitude during the last year, as the value of bitcoin continued to fall. Virtually everything I had accumulated was wiped out.
There are many who have invested a lot more than me and ended up with much bigger losses. I wish I had taken everything before the bubble burst, but do not waste too much time regretting. I earned money in the past through hard work and I enjoyed it more. At the moment, I enjoy making my podcast, which provides more money to live. I sold most of my bitcoin, which is currently worth about $ 4,000 apiece, to give me a pillow in case the business has a bad month. But if I had to choose between $ 1.2 million and the podcast, I would let the money go again: I like what I do now.
I still believe that bitcoin is a positive force. I recently interviewed Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation, who was explaining how he helps people living in authoritarian regimes to thrive – for example, women in Afghanistan who are not allowed to open bank accounts can still work and get paid in bitcoins. It is a step in the right direction. My main goal now is to explore how bitcoin could help stabilize an increasingly unstable world.
As mentioned to Chris Broughton
• The title of this article was changed on January 11, 2019, for clarity.
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