How to cope if you weren't an early investor in bitcoin

Michael Batnick
Michael Batnick
FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins placed on Dollar banknotes, next to computer keyboard, are seen in this illustration picture, November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

This post originally appeared on The Irrelevant Investor.

It’s impossible to escape the mania. By this point, literally everybody is talking about it. Friends, family members, customs agentscats, and obviously, Uber drivers.

If you own bitcoin or any of the other cryptos that are making those of us who don’t feel foolish, good for you. For the rest of us, we’ve got some tough choices to make.

All of us are pre-programmed with software that can make these types of situations difficult to navigate. It was easy to mock “digital tulips” at $500, even at $1,000, but it got a little bit harder at $5,000, a lot harder at $10,000, and at $15,000, you probably feel like a moron.

Investors tend to herd, and right now the herd is stampeding into bitcoin, which can be perfectly seen in my favorite investing cartoon ever.

A major defect in our software is this thing called hindsight bias. We fool ourselves into thinking we knew a given outcome was inevitable, in this case that buying bitcoin at 10k was a good idea, when in reality we (me) were deathly afraid of being the greater fool. The best way to combat hindsight bias is to write things down. Nobody actually does this, but keeping a log is a great way to keep yourself in check.

If you don’t own crypto and have no plans on buying, you have two options. The first option is you spend every day waiting for a crash. Michael Steinhardt once said, “Nothing gives a better feeling to a money manager than making money for his or her investors when almost everyone else is losing.” Even if you’re not a vindictive type of person, there’s a lot of truth in this statement. If bitcoin crashes, you’ll feel like you were proved right, that your discipline and knowledge of history paid off.

The second, more healthy if unrealistic attitude comes from Charlie Munger, who said. “Someone will always be getting richer faster than you. This is not a tragedy.” Well, yea, easy for a billionaire to say. But he’s absolutely right. There’s always people making money faster than you. The problem with a mania like this is that it can feel like everyone is making money without you.

There is a third option, which I didn’t include in the “If you don’t own crypto and have no plans on buying, you have two options” because it’s not really practical. You can try and mute anything and everything related to crypto. Bury your head in the sand and wait for it to go away. I don’t see how this is possible, but there’s probably a portion of the population that is choosing to go down this road.

I have no position in any coins or tokens. I wish that instead of tweeting snarky GIFs that I had put some money in, but hey, that’s the way it goes. I have no plans on purchasing anything, but I will let you know if I do.

The crescendo has now reached fever pitch and it “feels” more likely that it will fall 50% from here than double again, which is why I would prefer the latter to happen. If bitcoin goes to $30,000 over the next two months (two hours?) people will lose their minds and it will be glorious. I’ll be punching myself in the head, but it will be glorious all the same.

See also:

Nothing about the FAANG stock rally is normal

This is a rare moment in stock market history

How one stock changed my life

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