“Understanding block-chain makes you go mad, unless you start your own cult”Arif Naseem
Back in 2013 (I think), I started looking into the new fad of cryptocurrency – specifically Bitcoin. I could not understand one word of anything that I read, but I kept thinking about it and thought it was a pretty good idea. I had read about the first transaction for a pizza and thought it would be cool to own some. I was doing pretty well at work, though still in debt, but getting by and thinking about investing. When I looked at the price for Bitcoin it was in the neighborhood of $100 for a bitcoin (currently almost $12,000), but back at that time, that was still a great deal of money for something I did not understand.
I was hesitant, but almost pulled the trigger a couple of times. I just could not understand how it was supposed to end up in some wallet and then what do you do about it? It made no sense to me. As I was hesitating, I checked on eBay, which was selling Bitcoin for much more than $100, I think it was around $200 because they could make the process a little easier for the user and help them setup the wallet. I remember thinking that that was way too much money, so I decided, in the end, not to buy.
I did see though that there was a new coin out called Ripple (XRP). Again, it made no sense to me, but on eBay they were selling 1,000 coins for $25. I thought that I could experiment with this and $25 was not that much money to lose if things went bad. So, I bought 1,000 Ripple for the $25 dollars on eBay, though I think 1,000 Ripple was worth about $1.00. It is amazing what you will do when you do not understand how things work, and how much more you are willing to pay for someone to make the process easy for you.
There was a site for Ripple that held your coins – I don’t even remember what the name of it was – but there they were. I think it was about a year later that I got an email saying that the Ripple was going to move to another site and that I needed to transfer the Ripple over. I just ignored these emails, because I had no idea what it was talking about. I then promptly forgot about it all over the years and never did a thing.
In 2017, Cryptocurrencies were starting to be in the news and it was the first time I had really thought about them in years. I remembered I had 1,000 of something but was not even sure what. Fortunately, I did one smart thing: I kept my wallet key, a unique number for my wallet, and I was able to track down where they were holding my Ripple. It took about a week, but there they were, just sitting there all these years. Then it happened: At the beginning of 2018 Ripple went up to $3.00 a Ripple, meaning I was sitting on $3,000. Not bad for $25! Of course, Bitcoin hit $20,000, but I was happy with my little return. However, hype being what it is, I wanted to hold because – again I do not understand these things – I thought maybe the Ripple could go higher and higher. Well, it went lower and lower! Fortunately, when it hit $2.00, I thought that was still great and I sold them.
Turns out it was really had to cash out on the website that held Ripple (I think it was called Gatehub). They are in Europe and I tested sending the USD to my bank with $100 and it was never to be found again. Also, they made you keep a certain amount held in the wallet, so when I closed the account I lost a little more. Finally, I learned about Bittrex (an exchange site) and was able to transfer the majority of the Ripple through there and into Coinbase (another exchange), which was linked to my bank account. By the end, with all the fees from Gatehub and Coinbase (not much from Bittrex), I cashed out around $1800.
Although that is still not a bad return, I then made sure to report these earnings to the IRS, which took out another percentage, though because they were held for almost 5 years, it was something like 18%, but don’t quote me on that!
Then something interesting happened. I wanted to take some of this money and invest in other currencies on Bittrex, that seemed to be up and coming. I wanted to just buy some coins and keep them there for a number of years and call it good. I really studied to learn about the coins and although I am certain 95% of the coins are fraudulent, I believe I was able to find some decent ones that I wanted to take a chance on. This time, however, something did not feel right to me spiritually, like I was searching for money and not for God. I got the impression I just need to stop completely and if something makes a huge fortune, so be it, but I need to look for God and not chase money in Cryptocurrency.
My goal this year has been to listen to promptings more and more, so I stopped and have not looked back. I hear rumblings that Crypto is the future and I do think some of these are solid and have a chance, but it is not for me. I need to look to my Savior for my salvation and not to money.
That was my experience with Cryptocurrency, and although positive, in the end I learned I need to focus on the things of God and not the things of the world.
I think I need to put that this is not financial advice, so invest at your own risk, or better yet, not at all!