Great Analysis of Bitcoin Price Crash

There’s no shortage of bloggers’ opinions on trends in Bitcoin (or any crypto) prices. I am a fan of Mark E Jeftovic’s Guerrilla Capitalism  blog. His post from Feb 7, 2018 about Bitcoin’s “Trough of Disillusionment” I found well researched, comprehensible, and highly enlightening.

It discusses the pattern of Bitcoin’s seemingly wild and allegedly “unpredictable” price fluctuations. The author’s thesis is that these fluctuations are not “unpredictable” at all, and in fact follow a fairly established pattern known as the “Hype Cycle” which can be depicted as:

This analysis helps clarify the price movements and (I think) provides comfort that things are not spinning out of control, they are just following a natural course of behavior. And to continue to hold on for the Slope of Enlightenment to reach the desired destination: Plateau of Productivity.

The Price of Procrastination (But Alas…)

Procrastination hurt me in my Bitcoin purchase. I wanted to buy in at $44. I meant to buy in at $500, then at $700. I tried to buy in at $2,000, and I ended up buying in at $3,909.

The first time I heard about Bitcoin it was $44. Research indicates that must have been January/February of 2013. I probably read about it in a waiting room’s Wired magazine. I remember thinking “I should buy 10 Bitcoins”. But at that time, $440 was a lot (my spouse and I had 2 babies and were recovering from the Great Recession). I don’t know why I came up with “10” and not “1” or “5” which would have been more economically reasonable at the time.

Also, back then I wasn’t sure WHAT I would be purchasing if I bought Bitcoin. I assumed I would get a physical object like a casino chip. I also wasn’t clear on WHERE or HOW to buy. I think I googled it and saw there were informal peer-to-peer networks but I wasn’t thrilled about meeting a stranger and handing over hard earned dollars for something I couldn’t validate to be legitimate. There’s something unsettling about spending money on a coded series of numbers that you can’t hold in your hand. So I did nothing. And Bitcoin became more valuable. And I hated that I didn’t buy any.

In 2014, the biggest Bitcoin exchange was Mt. Gox, and it got hacked. All Bitcoins at that exchange were lost.  I felt an odd sense of relief at this news. I was sure that if I had bought Bitcoin, I would have bought them through the biggest exchange. By NOT buying Bitcoin, I prevented myself from losing my $440 worth of Bitcoin. I was smart to procrastinate – or so I thought at the time. Here’s a fun fact: I finally bought in at $3,909.  So even if I did lose all 10 coins in 2014, and purchased them again at the 2014 price, I still would have been far better off. But alas…

In 2015 Bitcoin was $300 – $400, and I thought our family business should start accepting Bitcoin payments. I planned to write a press release about it. It was really a publicity stunt to differentiate us from competitors, but I figured before issuing this press release, we should actually have an account to accept Bitcoins in case someone wants to exercise that option. As you can guess, I never got around to creating an account to accept Bitcoin, so I never wrote that press release. I’m sure I would have bought some Bitcoins at $300 or $400 (probably 10 since that’s my preferred number) and they would have appreciated ten-fold. But alas…

Around 2015-2016, I started following Twitter accounts @CoinDesk, @Cointelegraph, and @WorldCoinIndex to study valuation fluctuation trends. I also became familiar with altcoins like Ethereum, Litecoin, and Monero.

During the summer of 2016 amid the Hillary/Trump presidential campaigns, I felt a strong urge to invest in Bitcoin. I still wasn’t sure how to do it, but I saw there was a “Bitcoin Center” a few miles from me that offered information sessions and a “Bitcoin ATM”. I meant to attend an info session but didn’t. I liked the idea of an ATM but I wasn’t sure what it gave you. It would have taken little effort to travel the few miles to go check it out, but I did not. And the price of Bitcoin continued to climb.

After the surprising win of Donald Trump, the voice in my head screamed BUY BITCOIN NOW. The price was around $600 or $700. I was still fixated on buying 10 Bitcoins, and I had $7,000 available, but I was conflicted: I wasn’t broke like in 2013, but $7,000 is a lot of money if it turns out to be a bad investment. How would I tell my kids they can’t take gymnastics lessons anymore because I poorly invested our discretionary funds?  My spouse wasn’t following this market and maybe wouldn’t object to this investment, but I sure as hell would hear about it for the rest of my life if this lark of mine went wrong.

One morning about a week before Trump’s inauguration, I woke up determined to withdraw $7,000 cash and buy 10 Bitcoins from that Bitcoin ATM. But then I had to join a last minute conference call, and then I wanted lunch, and then it was cold out and  I had second thoughts about the 5% ATM fee because I’d have to take out MORE than $7,000 and that seemed excessive,  etc. etc. etc. So I didn’t do it.

After Trump’s inauguration, Bitcoin jumped from $800 to $1,000, then climbed to $1,200. Week after week I watched in horror as the valuation continued to rise. “When it gets back to $1,000 I’ll buy 10,” I said to myself. It never went back to $1,000. In May it reached $2,000. I couldn’t believe how quickly it rose. I hated that I didn’t buy at $700 or $800. I would have more than doubled my money in less than 6 months. Now I’m late to the party and need to spend more to get less.

In June I committed to buy at $2,000, bitter about not using the Bitcoin ATM to buy in at $700. The 5% fee on $7,000 would have been only $350, which is a rounding error on the gains I could have made. But that was the past and this was the present. I was ready to buy Bitcoin THAT DAY in early June. I chose Coinbase for this transaction. I made a user name and password and was ready to go to my bank and finally get this transaction over with. It was then I learned buying your first Bitcoin online takes more than one day. I wrote about this fruitless experience in the post My First Bitcoin. To make a long story short, I was not able to buy in June at $2,000. I wasted a lot of time on Coinbase until I finally moved to a different platform (click here to read this sad tale). I finally bought my Bitcoin at $3,909.

Let’s do some fun calculations. At $3,909 I could have purchased almost 89 Bitcoins when they were $44. I could have just about purchased my 10 Bitcoins when they were $400 each. I could have purchased almost 2 Bitcoins just a few weeks sooner when they were $2,000 each. But I procrastinated and ended up buying 1 Bitcoin for $3,909. If I could kick my own ass I totally would.

Since purchasing, my solitary Bitcoin has increased almost 85% in value. Some analysts predict Bitcoin could reach $100,000. Some analysts predict it’s a bubble ready to burst. Obviously I’m hoping for the former to be true. But if the latter happens, I know I’ve spent the same amount of money on less interesting things, and at least I experienced a part of financial history first hand. I also learned that procrastination is expensive, and I should listen to that voice in my head when it’s screaming to do something.

Let me know about your Bitcoin buying adventures in the comments section. Are you kicking yourself for procrastinating? Or were you able to get in at a good price and ride the upswing?