My Twenty-Four Hours Trading Bitcoin

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun

Should you buy Bitcoin? Yes, definitely. If everyone keeps buying, that raises the price for people who already own some, like me, and it’s your money so I don’t care if you lose it.

This week, while watching the price ricochet around like a cocaine addicted blowfly stuck in a nightclub owner’s nostril, it nearly dropped below ten grand. So I pooled my life savings of $332.50 and went all in. My wife claimed we needed baby food, but I told her to stress less, because we were about to be rich.

What is Bitcoin? I don’t know either and who cares, all I need is for it to go up another twenty-five percent, I’m going to sell and this week we get the baby food in jars instead of cans, and wine from a bottle instead of a bag.

I do understand a few things about it. Invented by some anonymous super-nerds, if its popularity continues to skyrocket, due to the complicated mathematics and computing power involved, it’ll soon be using more electricity than the rest of the planet combined, so may bring forward the impending climate catastrophe a few years. As it’s anonymous, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are also popular with drug and weapons dealers, and other black-market activities like slavery.

No time for morals though, I’ve got money to make, $83 to be exact. Fourteen hours in, the price is up twenty percent. Then it plummets, and I’m so panicked I make myself a chamomile tea and strike a yoga pose.

As well as being the leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is apparently also a bubble, and like the dot-com and 1630’s tulip bubble, it’s driven by the excitement of the crowd, people’s fear of missing out, and a total misunderstanding of how markets work.

All bubble’s burst, this one sort of just has, and I have no idea if it’s now still popping or re-inflating, and neither does anyone else who writes about it. Those that do know are on yachts picking perfect strawberries out of their French champagne glasses, and contemplating their next plastic surgery.

The best analogy I can come up with for Bitcoin is gold. It’s also a substance that exists in a finite amount, with a price that’s dependent on what people are willing to pay for it, and is stockpiled by mysterious figures who conspire to fix the price. With Bitcoin they’re called whales, with gold they’re called pirates and governments.

Twenty-two hours in, Bitcoin has risen twenty-five percent, so I’m out. Which turns out to be impossible, because the exchange is so overloaded each transaction currently takes five days to process, so I decide to hang on and see what happens. Luckily for my family though, I manage to scrounge together enough actual coins for baby food and wine.

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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