Skip to main content

I invested in Bitcoin for a week and it was terrifying

I haven't lost money, but I did lose sleep.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

I'm not a gambler.

Find me at the roulette table in Vegas and I'm the one placing $2 bets while everyone else is throwing down hundreds. I fear losing far more than I hope to win.

So it was with trepidation last week that I decided to dabble in Bitcoin, the digital currency known for being one of the most volatile investments.

Related: 

What you need to know about Bitcoin

It hit the headlines recently when the value of a single Bitcoin surged past $11,000, capping a meteoric rise for a cryptocurrency that just a year ago was worth $731.

It was at this point, that I rather unwisely decided to jump on the bandwagon, becoming one of those Bitcoin "noobs" roundly mocked by longer-term investors online.

How I did it

I set up a Coinbase account and bought $250 worth of Bitcoin, and $75 worth of Litecoin, its smaller-value competitor.

Unfortunately, I bought in when Bitcoin was valued at $10,900 and Litecoin at around $95. Within the space of a few hours, my $325 outlay was worth $240 as values plunged.

Like I said before, I'm a jittery gambler, and though I only invested a relatively small amount, the sudden drop in value still made my stomach roil.

What followed over the next week was a rollercoaster of emotions as Bitcoin continued to fluctuate wildly from minute to minute.

As of today (Dec. 5) I'm actually in the black. My Coinbase account shows my investment is now worth $335 – a gigantic gain of $10.

It could well be that passing the $11,000 mark was just the start of an even bigger rise for Bitcoin, as it becomes more recognized by the financial services industry and attractive for investors.

But it remains a volatile investment. 

So what did I learn?

Though improvements in blockchain tech (which underpins digital currencies) could make online currency a more secure and widely used form of payment in the future, right now it's just not for me.

As one financial expert puts it: Don't invest in something you don't understand. 

I have a basic working knowledge of cryptocurrencies, but wider comprehension of its scope and scale eludes me.

Anyone thinking about investing in Bitcoin needs to know what it's all about, but more importantly go into it with eyes wide open. The risk of losing money is as real as the chance of gaining it.

I might keep my money in there just on the off chance it explodes again, but my IRA and personal savings are holed up in longer-term investments.

While the ceiling for these are lower, the floor is higher, and I prefer not to gamble with my financial future.

The Tip Jar is consumer writer Adam Uren's advice column on how to spend, save, and live with confidence. Read past columns here.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.04.40 PM

Ramen bar announced for upcoming Eat Street Crossing food hall

The restaurant roster is filling up at Eat Street Crossing.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.

NearNorthEncampment

Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.

21a171abc8c6a3619739a786eed516a563206c38bec4a972944e80fa213b9ab6

Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.

10.6 Tempest Weather Thumbnail

Drought tightens grip as Twin Cities reaches 'extreme' level

By this time last year, drought was fading fast in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 11.23.49 AM

Woman missing since car crash has been found

The 49-year-old is believed to have been driving when the crash happened.

Related

I sold my Bitcoin, and it had nothing to do with money

I freaked out when I read about how much energy it uses.

The Tip Jar: How I'm using an app to save and invest money

It's helping me set aside a few extra bucks every week.

Why is everyone talking about Bitcoin?

The cryptocurrency has been making headlines this week.

The key thing to know about cryptocurrency: Nobody knows anything

This situation is unprecedented, no matter what anyone says.

The Tip Jar: Getting the Black Friday sales right

Full disclosure, I don't like Black Friday.

I'm turning 30 ... what should my money priorities be?

Now is the time to assure your financial future.

The Tip Jar: Are air miles credit cards worth it?

And are they better than frequent flyer miles?

The Tip Jar: Costco vs. Sam's Club, which is cheaper?

We also compared the 2 wholesalers' prices with a regular grocery store.