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Bitcoin makes me feel horribly out of the loop

by Sean P. Aune | December 16, 2017December 16, 2017 9:00 am PST

Since the mid-1970s I have followed technology. Starting with my beloved Spirit of ’76 AM radio to today’s latest phones I have followed just about every technology trend there has been.

So why can’t I get into cryptocurrencies, and, more specifically, Bitcoin?

Let me be very clear here: If you’re into buying and selling cryptocurrencies, more power to you. This is completely about my personal take on them and why I haven’t gotten involved with them. If you’re having success with them, I envy you. Thumbs up and keep chugging along.

As for me… I just can’t do it.

 

I am super risk-averse

Over my life I have owned a few stocks, and even had some success with them. But they were stable companies with long track records. I was never going to make huge gains on them and I eventually sold them all off. It has easily been 20 years or more since I have owned a single share of stock.

My maternal grandparents had both learned some hard lessons in the Depression. They hammered into me how to invest what they felt was safely. My grandmother was a big fan of CDs, while my Grandfather never met a piece of silver he didn’t like. This also added to my risk aversion tendencies as they would tell me stories of how bad things had been back in their time. It made me nervous if something wasn’t insured or physically tangible.

Then several years ago I saw people starting to talk about Bitcoin. As any good tech enthusiast, I went down the rabbit hole of trying to learn what it was. While I got the basic concept, I’m also not a very handy individual. As I saw pictures of people building these rigs with fans blowing on them to keep them from overheating while they ‘mined’, I thought, “Yeah, this isn’t for me.”

From time to time I would peek in again, start feeling like there was way more work involved than I had time or energy for, and I would back away. Add in the coins were worth only a few dollars at the time and I just couldn’t see it being worth my time beyond the novelty of saying, “Look, I have a Bitcoin!”

I just couldn’t figure out the balance. All the money I would have to spend on a farm hoping I would find a coin and then having no clue what to do with it once I had it, I just couldn’t see where it was worth the financial risk of even trying this tech. I had many friends who did and I just thought, “Good for you… I’m going to go write about a phone now.”

Then came the stories of exchange issues. Bitcoins going missing. Bitcoins being stolen. And that is when my risk aversion really kicked in. Bitcoin really wasn’t for me. Add in the onslaught of smaller coins hitting the market and just threw my hands up and stopped paying attention for a long time.

 

Fine, I’ll pay attention again

I did okay for a while not paying attention to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But then stories started popping up with more frequency, and it became impossible to ignore it. The constant drumbeat of the rising value would have been enough to get a dead man’s attention to be honest.

But what did finally get me to really pay attention is the potential applications of the software behind the coins. Any time technology can improve the fundamental pillars of the world, that gets my attention. The suggestion that blockchain technology could protect voter record and health information intrigues me greatly. Identity theft is a very real issue in the modern world, and if I could use blockchain to protect that, it would give me at least that much of a sense of security.

And I understand where that might confuse you. How can I be risk-averse, yet want to trust my data to the same technology? To me, they are separate entities. Investing my money in something so volatile and without any sort of insurance is risky. Trusting my data, something I already considered at risk due to circumstances well beyond my control, to something that might protect it, it is worth the roll of the die.

Bring on the technology. I’m ready to see where that goes. To the currencies? It’s fun watching what they do, and sure I could have made a tidy sum if I hadn’t been so befuddled in those early days, but I’m still fine that didn’t take those risks… or build some insane cable monster that I could have very well electrocuted myself with.

Yes… I am that clumsy.

To those of you folks who got in early. Congratulations, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being a bit obvious you had the guts to stick with it and muddle through those early days. Even if you took a risk later, still, congratulations. For me, I think I’ll just stick with what I know for now.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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