Op-Ed: Bitcoin As a People Magnet
We are currently experiencing an unprecedented time in terms of interest in Bitcoin. The price goes up, and everyone wants to be your friend. When the price goes down… crickets.
Frankly, I find all of this very amusing.
Speaking of the price of bitcoin, the timeline below charting the cryptocurrency’s meteoric price rise is being widely circulated on Twitter.
Since 2011, the price of bitcoin on 11/6 reflects the following:
2011 – $3
2012 – $11
2013 – $258
2014 – $341
2015 – $388
2016 – $705
2017 – $7,300
I’ve had a massive uptick in people wanting to befriend me over time as this trajectory has taken shape. This is pretty remarkable given that less than two years ago few had any awareness of Bitcoin. Now it seems that over 70 percent of people I cross paths with have heard of it and are somewhat conversant on what it is.
Laughingly when they find out that I’m a Bitcoin journalist, they often think I have insider tips on how to capitalize on bitcoin’s meteoric rise. Sadly, I don’t. The best advice I can give is to engage in a dollar-cost averaging strategy.
But it has certainly led to some interesting encounters. Like when I recently reconnected with a lovely couple I’d met the previous week at a local Ohio State University alumni gathering. As it turns out they had been hoping to talk to me again, this time about how to set up a bitcoin account.
Of course, I was happy to oblige, directing them to an exchange to set up a wallet. To their delight, once they were set up, I sent them a few dollars worth of bitcoin to get started.
This is a common occurrence for me these days with so many people wanting even a small slice of the riches permeating the Bitcoin ecosystem. And the growing number of friendships I’ve acquired from these interactions? Priceless.
The most common question I get these days is “How do I buy bitcoin?” And the most common refrain is “I’m so mad at myself for not having invested in bitcoin earlier.” Yep, they heard about bitcoin from that crazy niece or nephew but never acted on it.
One friend of mine who did act and purchase $100 in BTC in 2014, promptly forgot about it. So imagine her response when she stumbled upon her account password again just a few weeks ago.
Can you say, stunned?
Friends aside, I’ve also used my familiarity with bitcoin as a repellant to unwanted strangers. Like the time I was seated at a bar at a Las Vegas hotel when what I thought was an out-of-town visitor turned out to be a “Lady of the Night.” Armed with my telling her that I had recently moved to Las Vegas she promptly offered me what she affectionately called her “newcomer discount;” $1000 for three hours.
Despite repeatedly declining her overtures, she persisted. So to get her to go away, I told her that all I had was a minuscule amount of bitcoin. “Have you heard of it,” I said with a wry smile.” This led her to angrily storm off while spouting “I don’t want any of your fake money you cheap ass.” It’s the one time that I was relieved that someone had no clue as to what Bitcoin is.