4. How to not make a fortune.
I’m amused by something. I think most people would be resentful and angry. To me it’s just something that happened: the thing was nothing – the consequences equally nothing except something that might have been.
When Bitcoin was having its first run, I looked at the market. Everyone that wasn’t buying bitcoin was talking about Ripple. I couldn’t see anything in it: it was I think, about 4 US cents and the only thing I could see was PR puff – just like bitcoin. Bitcoin was heading towards USD1000 but not there yet – I think it was at about 600. Ether, on the other hand, struck me as different: it wasn’t all about the coin, it was part of Ethereum which actually had a business premise attached to it. It was the only real player in smart contracts. I looked at Smart Contracts – they are interesting because they can revolutionise letters of credit and, if tied to Ether, cut out an entire area of business banking. While any profits at Ethereum would not, of themselves boost the value of Ether, if the world caught onto smart contracts (it hasn’t: it’s become obsessed with AI because techies can go back to selling airware and the blockchain has become old hat, at least so far as the fadists are concerned) Ether woulda, coulda, shoulda become the currency of choice in international trade in goods.
So, I thought, if I were to buy any, it would be Ether. But at that time, buying any crypto was far too much of an effort. The terminology was confusing, the tech was a pain in the bum – and I really couldn’t see where my real money was so that I could get it back at some point. It was a bit like buying shares through an unregulated dealer who held onto the shares and could run away with them. We were already seeing such dealers absconding, being hacked or somehow managing to go out of business, losing millions for people which, in theory, should be impossible if it’s all on a properly set up blockchain. Or so we were being told by the evangelists. It was, they said, safe so long as you didn’t throw your hard-disk in the dustbin.
Anyway, I didn’t do it. If I had bought USD1000 of Ether at USD0.20, the price at the time, it would have been worth, a couple of weeks ago, USD35 million, far outperforming bitcoin over the same period and climbing. Now Ether worth a lot more.
So, thanks Isaac Newton: my reaction that Ether was the better buy was met with an equal and opposite reaction of lethargy and a general can’t-be-arsed-ness. This time I was lazy and didn’t take an opportunity that was staring me in the face. I was even right about Ripple.