Goodbye, crypto investment: ‘It was a kind of PTSD’ 

Many students invested in crypto coins in the last few years to save up for a house or pay off their student loans. Then the market crashed. 

International relations student Son Vu was never expecting to become a millionaire with his investments in crypto coins. And now, looking back, a year after the crypto frenzy took off among UG students, he’s not even sure he would invest again. He’s glad that he managed to sell his coins and get out. ‘Investing in crypto coins took too much of a mental toll. The trades were making me too anxious’, Son says now.

A little over a year ago, Son talked to UKrant about his crypto adventure. His strategy was to HODL, which is a popular acronym in the crypto community that stands for ‘hold on for dear life’. 

Gambling

Watching the charts turn green and seeing the value of his coins increase used to feel like ‘complete euphoria’. Sure, Son was aware of the risks from the beginning: ‘You can get super rich, but there is also a high risk of losing your money. It’s a two-sided coin’, he said. But he decided to invest nonetheless. 

But then the market for crypto coins started to fall apart, with many coins taking a massive dip in their value, and Son’s initial euphoria was replaced by unease. ‘It was mentally challenging,’ he says now. ‘I was constantly stuck to my computer screen, constantly checking my phone, even when I was outside. It really is like gambling, if you’re not careful.’ 

He got out over the course of three weeks. He’s got a few hundred bucks remaining, he says. Many who invested in crypto coins hoped to get rich quick, but ultimately were left with a fraction of what they had initially spent. ‘I’ve heard rumours in online forums of people committing suicide because they spent all their savings on crypto coins,’ says Son. 

Targeted by hackers

Son is is done with the crypto craze for the foreseeable future. But Preslav Tanchev, who studies international and European law, is still in the business, even though he lost 70 percent of his portfolio as a result of being targeted by a group of Canadian hackers.

When he moved his coins to a hot wallet – a form of digital storage that is connected to the internet – hackers stole the majority of his coins within just two minutes. ‘I knew it was dangerous, but I didn’t know I was a target. I was a small investor, so it was surprising.’ 

Preslav experienced what he describes as ‘a kind of PTSD’. ‘I didn’t open the savings app for two whole months. I was really disappointed’, he says. Consequently, he decided not to buy during the bear market, a prolonged period of price declines. But Preslav didn’t sell his remaining coins either, despite the substantial decline in their value. 

Recipe for depression

His coins aren’t doing great at the moment, he says. But he is convinced that the value of bitcoin will soon increase again. ‘I never sell when there is a panic. I don’t care if I lose the money, because I never invest what I can’t afford to lose. I look at it in an abstract way and merely see it as graphs that are either green or red. It’s just pretty pictures’, he explains. ‘But for some, the uncertainty is a recipe for depression.’

Son believes that the market as a whole needs to change in order to decrease the volatility of coins. Some critics compare cryptocurrencies to a pyramid scheme, where people try to convince others to get in on an investment to boost their own gains. Son agrees with them. ‘It’s the early adopters who make gains on the backs of those who invest later. There is always someone who loses.’

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