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Crypto Chronicles: Lessons from the Trenches

June 5th, 2024Sam LangbartelsSam Langbartels

In this week’s blog, we’re featuring insights from Sam Langbartels, our Customer Experience department manager and a veteran in the cryptocurrency arena. With a history of navigating both bull and bear markets, experiencing setbacks and successes, and exploring an extensive array of cryptocurrency services, Sam brings a wealth of knowledge from his diverse experiences. 

Reading online forums like Reddit or X or any of the innumerable crypto newsgroups that have popped up in the last decade, you would think everyone is either getting rich or completely fumbling it — you’ll hear a wide array of stories from making 10x on an initial investment in a matter of weeks to losing your life savings in minutes. These stories can be terrifying. What it seems like no one tells you, though, is the actual lessons they learn from their wins and losses. None of what we are going to talk about is financial advice, I’m just telling you what I learned so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. Long before working for CoinFlip, I heard about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and started dabbling in the field. I made MANY mistakes during that time, but I am here now to talk about my crypto journey and the lessons I learned along my path.

To start, a couple times a month I would decide if I was going to stay in for the weekend or go out and have a good time. If I stayed in, that money would be used to invest instead. This allowed me to build my portfolio and I was also able to diversify because I wasn’t beholden to the one-time purchase of “The Coin of the Moment” that I thought would hyperinflate. This was back in 2017 and the bull run was in full swing — so I had some fortunate investments across several blockchains. Lesson learned: I was able to let the investment do its job and move with the market knowing I had diversified my investment to help cover me if one or two coins failed.  

Another big issue that emerged in 2017 was the amount of people talking about becoming crypto millionaires and making their fortune. The lesson here is that they got in and out at the right time. Starting on a budget in my early twenties and trying to just navigate life was challenging, but I wanted to see if I could make it big like everyone else. Spoiler Alert: I did not, I made timing mistakes when I initially invested and when I cashed out. I began my investments too late in the bull run, during the first week of December 2017, right at the peak of the market at that time. Instead of cashing out my earnings, I opted to keep them invested, imagining it as my "good night out" fund. However, over about three weeks, this investment dwindled to the equivalent of a can of soda and some saltine crackers. Some individuals held on and reaped significant rewards during the 2021 bull run, but I got scared. This was money I couldn't afford to lose, despite convincing myself otherwise. 

I moved on and learned that timing can be crucial: sometimes it's not just about when to buy, but also when to step away. All of this depends on what you are willing to risk. If the money you’re putting into the Internet Money Machine is needed for essentials like rent, credit card, or car payments, and you don’t have another source of funds, maybe reconsider whether this is the right time to invest. Knowing when to get in and get out is impossible to predict, but you control your investment budget. Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered, and I was pigging out on only ramen for a few weeks in the aftermath.  

Discovering the ideal platform and wallet for your needs can require time and effort given the multitude of options available. CoinFlip has many services to get crypto to your wallet. Working with the ATMs in a local shop and the CoinFlip Preferred OTC desk are great ways to quickly and safely get crypto, but there are other platforms out there that work differently and introduce more risk. I learned my lesson on those other platforms, which is why researching the benefits of your platform of choice is helpful, but understanding the downsides is more important.   

The key takeaways from my experiences are simple: invest wisely with Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA), understand the timing of the market, and choose a secure and reliable wallet. These lessons have not only shaped my approach to investing but also highlighted the importance of patience, research, and resilience. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a curious newcomer, the principles of prudent investment remain the same: invest within your means, diversify your portfolio, and never lose sight of your financial security. Here’s to making informed decisions and building a future where our investments reflect our aspirations and respect our limitations. Happy investing! 

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Financial Advice Disclaimer: Nothing in this article constitutes professional or financial advice, performance data or any recommendation that any specific cryptocurrency, portfolio, index, investment product, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with all financial decisions and should seek the advice of a registered financial advisor when in doubt.

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