Bitcoin now hits €20,000. Most of the world is in a frenzy about it. Families are remortgaging their houses to buy some. Others have maxed out their credit cards, got overdrafts, borrowed, begged and stole from friends. Bitcoin Billionaires are emerging form basements all over the world. Seventeen year old kids with gorky glasses and acne are suddenly driving lamborginis around accompanied by impossible girlfriends. But now everything is possible. There’s a real estate agent in Florida accepting bitcoin for condos. You can use it to buy a Tesla too. And how bout those savings? Making too little interest? Put it all into crypto, double your money in a week, treble it by Christmas. It’s not going anywhere – except up. The technology is here to stay. This is the most exciting thing since the Internet hit critical mass and I bet you wish you got in early there? Bought some Google shares? Some Facebook? Or back further when you could have caught Microsoft and Apple for less than a dollar? Well, here you are. Here’s your chance. Get it now, gonna hit a million, buy yourself an island. No more banks, no more debt, no more worry about the college education, losing your home, repayments on the car. Behold the answer, decentralised, democratic, and oh so simple.
In Ireland, the media had moved from talking about Tulips to the Wall Street Crash. Now it was all about the spit shine boy, giving stock tips to the customers as he cleans their shoes. Apparently this was a bad sign and the insinuation was anyone buying Bitcoin was part of a lower class of human that didn’t know a scam when they saw one, or were too blinded by poverty to not get involved. Pontification aside, people still bought in.
I discovered Coinbase around this time. There was a beautiful simplicity to it. If you can’t get your head around all the talk of satoshis and blockchain, and AltCoins and and FUD and HODL and people constantly talking about “….going to the moon…’ then Coinbase offered a simple straightforward solution. At the time it listed only three cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin was the daddy at €20,000 and Ethereum came second with Litecoin the third and cheapest. If you wanted to buy some you load up a picture of your ID, register your Visa/Mastercard and then purchase. You got a $10 dollar sign up bonus and it was possible to buy as little as $10 if you so wished.
Based on the principle that you buy a fraction of the currency, rather than a whole coin, it made sense to buy Litecoin as it was far cheaper and you’d get more for your money. In the last few months it had climbed from $4, to $45 and was now trading at over a $100. Litecoin was capped at 84 million – meaning there’d only ever be 84 million of them in circulation. The experts made the analogy of Gold and Silver. Bitcoin being the Gold with only 21 million in existence and almost completely bought up or “Mined” the next obvious boom would be in Litecoin. The key word here was scarcity. If something was going to run out, and the whole world wanted some, then the demand and price would inevitably skyrocket. It was so obvious even the spits shine boys could see it coming. All you had to do was buy some and wait.