Why I’m not investing in cryptocurrency right now.
This was written in December 2017. I still agree with the reasons today.
Chances are, you have heard about Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency craze.
This post is for those of us who are curious — and maybe feeling some FOMO (fear of missing out) — if we don’t jump on this shiny new object bandwagon.
I haven’t invested a single penny in any cryptocurrency, and don’t plan to. Here are my reasons. Yours may be different, but I hope this post will ease some of your fear / regret for not having jumped into this current mania.
Reason 1. Cryptocurrencies aren’t a viable means of exchange… and may never be.
A cryptocurrency is digital money such as bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. There are many such “alt-coins”.
Bitcoin, the most popular of them, cannot even be used to pay your mortgage. And try going to your local grocery store to pickup some broccoli with bitcoin.
It’s not something most of us can use.
It’s not a widespread “means of exchange” yet. In other words, it’s not really a currency.
Neither is it an alternative local currency (which many shops would accept in a local area, which can be good for the local economy and sense of community.)
Even a bitcoin enthusiast from Japan (where it’s far more widespread than here) can only support 10% of her lifestyle using bitcoin. The other 90% she still has to use regular, Japanese currency.
I encourage you to watch this short video where the real-life “wolf of wall street” talks about bitcoin:
Here’s the key — these cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, might never become a widespread means of exchange.
The way that it’s looking right now, it is probably a bubble that will burst, and hurt a whole lot of people.
Reason 2. I don’t want to be part of the problem — I don’t want to contribute to a bubble mentality.
An economic bubble is where there’s a lot of hype about a particular type of “investment”. One of the earliest known investment hypes was the tulip mania.
Humanity has experienced many asset bubbles and we still haven’t learned, because it’s part of human psychology to get swept up into hype.
People artificially value them highly for a period, so that lots of people buy, thinking they’ll get rich by selling it in a short while. When the mania starts to settle down (as all human emotions eventually do), some people start to “wake up” and then sell, which cascades into more people trying to sell, and the price dramatically drops, which financially devastates the majority of the people who are still holding the “investment”, who had put a lot of their savings into it.
I don’t want to give my consciousness and hopes to the hype and mania, nor model that behavior for others.
“This lower overall level of regulatory oversight can make cryptocurrencies an attractive target for market manipulators. The significant number of small, relatively less-experienced investors in cryptoassets is also attractive to those looking to hoodwink investors…. For example, approximately 30 firms publish ongoing research on Facebook’s stock alone. Nothing like that level of coverage exists for any cryptoassets, even though cryptoassets have a total market cap equal to roughly half the size of Facebook’s.” — from: https://medium.com/@thomas_mac/e6178da07303
The current cryptocurrency craze is not “investment.” It is speculation and gambling.
Speculation: the act of trading in an asset or conducting a financial transaction that has a significant risk of losing most or all of the initial outlay with the expectation of a substantial gain. — from Investopedia
If you want to invest money, the best long-term investment is:
(1) courses and coaching to improve your skills in your field, the ones that are most meaningful to your community.
(2) building your ideal audience, with Facebook Ads and other advertisements directed towards having your best content & offerings visible to your ideal audience.
(3) hiring coaches and freelancers to help make your content and offerings higher quality.
These are where I’d recommend investing your money, besides having your retirement savings invested in index funds which are long-term, reliable, and yield decent returns.
Reason 3. It goes against the Golden Rule. All ponzi schemes do.
If you do actually make money by speculating in cryptocurrencies, you are financially hurting someone else.
Here’s the way it works, as I understand it:
You buy at a “low” price. You sell at a higher price — which means someone else is buying your offering at that higher price.
It keeps going in that way: someone always has to buy at a higher price for someone else to make money… until people can’t sell anymore because they can’t find another fool to buy, and then the pyramid begins to crumble, and lots of people get hurt.
Schemes like the current cyrpto-craze hurt lots of people, and enrich only a relative few. Do you want to be part of this?
Reason 4. Right livelihood is what I wish to model for others.
Imagine a community of 1,000 people.
900 of them are engaged in useful work such as farming, cooking, building, fixing, healing, teaching.
The other 100 are engaged in money games like gambling and speculation, like the current “investment” in cryptocurrencies.
Of those, 90 lose money (some lose their life savings), 8 break even or win a little, and 2 of them win big.
As a result of these money games, the 2 winners, out of 1,000, end up owning most of the community’s assets.
This is not unlike our current global situation, with financiers owning most of the world. The cryptocurrency mania we’re seeing now, is just a small version of it. I wish to take part in none of this.
Take a deep breath. Become aware of the unfairness to the community, and to your own future, in trying to win big by trading money. It comes from a desire for wealth without work, which Gandhi named as one of the most destructive forces in society.
Instead, spend your precious attention, time, and life energy in developing your skills that are useful to others, and build a sustainable world.
It’s how you want others to spend their precious attention and energy, right? To use their strengths to heal and build a better world, just like you are.
Reason 5. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies utilize a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources, and are going to speed up global warming. I don’t want to contribute to this.
These digital currencies require an inordinate amount of computing energy, and it gets more ravenous everyday.
Please read this Mother Jones article:
Bitcoin is terrible for the environment
Bitcoin’s energy use has been rising for years, and it is showing no signs of slowing down…
“Bitcoins are contributing to the warming of the atmosphere without providing a significant public benefit in return.”
“Writing for Grist, Eric Holthaus calculated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network would require more electricity than all of the United States. And by November of 2020, it’d use more electricity than the entire world does today… A big middle finger to Earth’s climate and anyone who enjoys things like coastlines, forests, and not dying of mosquito-borne diseases. Refracted through a different metaphor, the Bitcoin P2P network is essentially a distributed superintelligence utterly dedicated to generating bitcoins, so of course it wants to convert all the energy (and therefore matter) in the universe into bitcoin. That is literally its job. And if it has to recruit greedy nerds by paying them phantom value, well, OK. Unleash the hypnocurrency! …. Right now, bitcoin looks increasingly like a tool for speculation rather than a viable, mainstream currency. And one scientific law that math, physics, and economics all share is this: Bubbles pop.” — from https://www.wired.com/story/bitcoin-global-warming/
“We’re essentially turning computers into heaters that we have to cool to recompute previous computations with. On purpose. A single day of the environmental costs of this process are so catastrophic that if we ever did the accounting — if anyone did — we would immediately understand that this entire idea is a mode of ‘fracking the whole environment’ whose costs rise explosively with every moment we continue the process.”— from https://medium.com/ill-ixi-lli/-da9326e97d1f
Some will say that blockchain technology (on which cryptocurrencies are built) can better the world. That may be the case, but not in the way it’s implemented right now. The crypto-craze is destroying the world.
We need to wait for better implementations of the blockchain.
Reason 6. Our precious attention, time, and energy need to go to solving the world’s problems, not enriching the few.
You have a choice.
You can read articles, watch videos, give your precious attention to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Or, that same time could be invested in building your skills that are useful to other people and to co-create a sustainable world.
Let us be wise in how we spend our time and attention. Let’s direct it away from these shiny new objects which, in this case, is damaging the environment and intensifying greed and the desire for “wealth without work.”
Take risks in greed and fear of missing out?
How about taking risks in loving service?
You can win or lose either way… might as well take the high road.
Let’s invest our valuable life energy towards truly helping and uplifting others in a way that is sustainable.
Let’s make money based on creating real value in the world, rather than speculation and gambling.
Where to spend out time:
- Building our real skills
- Growing our meaningful network
- Bringing real value to them
When you grow skills that are sustainably meaningful to your community, you will never starve. You’ll always have the gratitude and reciprocation from others, to sustain you and your family.
Maybe you hadn’t really thought about what’s underneath this cryptocurrency craze.
Greed and FOMO are running the show right now.
FOMO and regret:
- I should’ve invested…
- I should’ve invested more!
- I shouldn’t have invested…
It’s suffering. Let it all go.
Don’t contribute to more fear and greed in your own consciousness, and those around you.
Rather than trying to make a killing, let us find a better way to make a living.