جستجو

  • 1701

Critics such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and hedge-fund titan Ray Dalio see cryptocurrencies as a craze that will eventually implode, akin to tulips or Enron. But Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Mark Cuban are believers, and many investors think bitcoin and other digital currencies are like the Internet in 1995 — a transformative technology about to erupt.

The money is certainly real.

Bitcoin as currency

Peter Saddington of Atlanta first read about bitcoin in 2011, and bought some for less than $3 per coin. With bitcoin now trading at around $7,500, the return on those early investments is around 250,000%. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Saddington, 35, an entrepreneur who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and three master’s degrees. “What solidified my confidence that this is worth investing in is that the code is based on math. It can’t really be turned off.”

[Had a wild experience with cryptocurrencies? Let us know! Email us at rickjnewman@yahoo.com.]

In October, Saddington cashed out 45 bitcoins to buy a 2015 Lamborghini Huracán, for the equivalent of about $238,000. He and the seller made the transaction in bitcoin, without using a traditional bank. The transaction fees totaled $7.50.

Saddington, who runs a cryptocurrency social network called TheBitcoin.pub, deliberately sought a supercar he could purchase with bitcoin in order to tout the credibility of the currency. “Buying the Lambo with bitcoin is proof it can be used for real transactions, buying really cool stuff,” he says. “It’s not only used by criminals.”

As for how much bitcoin he still holds, he says: “That’s for me to know and you to wonder about.”

Peter Saddington of Atlanta, 35, in front of the Lamborghini Huracán he bought in October for 45 Bitcoin, or $238,000.

Edward Skupien of Sacramento also tried to buy a fancy car with bitcoin — and he’s grateful the transaction fell through.

Skupien, who is 55 and works as an executive at a Napa Valley winery, saw a friend ask about bitcoin in a Facebook post a few years ago. He researched it and began buying a few coins per month, at prices ranging from $225 to $800, until he accumulated about 80 bitcoins. Skupien had always wanted to buy an Audi A8L, and in 2016 he saw a slightly used model advertised for $50,000. Since bitcoin had fallen to around $600, that was almost exactly how much bitcoin he had. He sold all his coins to finance the car.

The owner, however, refused to make any concession on price, which scotched the deal. Skupien decided to lease a much cheaper car instead. So, what to do with the $50,000? He decided to put it back into bitcoin, even though the price had risen to $900 by then. At that price, he ended up with just 60 bitcoins — but that’s now worth more than $450,000.

Edward Skupien of Sacramento has made far more on bitcoin than he has on the rest of his retirement plan–even with a booming stock market.

“I’m more than $120,000 short because I wanted that stupid car,” he says. “But by not buying that car, I made almost half a million in profit.”

Skupien had traditional investments, such as a 401(k) plan and a Roth IRA, and he put only a small fraction of his savings into bitcoin. “It was the high-risk portion of my portfolio,” he says. “But it has proven more profitable than all of my 401(k) and Roth combined.”

Others have invested in cryptocurrencies far more aggressively — with some paying a steep price. When the Mt. Gox digital exchange collapsed in 2014, more than 24,000 customers lost essentially all their holdings. Some customers had dozens or hundreds of bitcoin stored at Mt. Gox, with losses approaching $1 million or more at today’s value.

More than half of the respondents to our survey think bitcoin is currently overvalued. Source: Yahoo Finance survey conducted via SurveyMonkey

In our Yahoo Finance survey, 71% of bitcoin buyers said they’ve made money on their investment. But 8% said they had lost money. The median amount of the loss was $500, but some listed five- and six-digit losses. Of those who have made money on bitcoin, the median gain was $3,000, with a few reporting seven-figure hauls.

The obvious question now is whether the value of bitcoin will continue going up, or whether a speculative bubble is about to burst.

Counting on bitcoin

Many early buyers think bitcoin is only getting started, and at some point will become a mainstream currency used routinely. “It’s like the early 1990s, when people were asking, ‘where is this internet thing going to go?’” says a New York bitcoin investor who asked we identify him by his nickname, Duke. “We’re still in the early lunatic adopter phase, slowly shifting to the early adopter phase.”

Duke, who teaches technology at a high school, first tried to buy bitcoin in 2011, but a snafu with a PayPal transaction prevented the transaction. The 30-year-old figured he’d get to it later, but the price jumped to more than $1,000 per coin and he assumed he missed the boat. The price came back down, however, and he eventually bought 21 bitcoins, at prices as low as $200.

At one point, he spent an entire paycheck buying bitcoin.

Now, with a portfolio worth nearly $160,000, he’s reluctant to cash out even a tiny fraction of coin, for fear of missing out on even bigger gains in the future. “A lot of bitcoin holders are kind of afraid to spend it,” he says. “You could end up spending the equivalent of $2 million on a couple of pizzas. Twenty or thirty years from now, if I have grandkids, maybe I’ll be able to pay for their colleges.”

By then, maybe schools will even accept tuition payments in bitcoin.

Read more:

Rick Newman is the author of four books, including Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman

منبع