Getting Through The Shit Times
Sometimes, crypto really, really, really sucks.
Believe it or not, most of us have been there. Whether you lose your private key, get phish'd or hacked, make a bad trade, or send to the wrong address, crypto-land is complicated and it's still far too easy to fuck up. Complicated things combined with high-value assets are a deadly combination. Sometimes you lose, and lose hard. Sometimes it's your fault, and sometimes it's not.
We've been there. Maybe not in the exact same position. Maybe not as much. But whether it was years, months, or just moments ago, if you've been in crypto, you've done something stupid, ignorant, or simply gotten absolutely fucked by someone or something and you've lost a lot. You have that deep, dark feeling in the pit of your stomach. You feel hopeless and you are convinced it won't go away and there is no way it could get better. You know there is nothing you can do, but you run in circles trying to do something anyways.
If I had given up on crypto when I sent my first bitcoin to an address that literally did not exist, I wouldn't be here today. I wouldn't have built MyEtherWallet. I wouldn't be writing this now. And that was a choice I got very, very close to making.
Instead, I screamed at the world and eventually got my hands on another 0.1 BTC. I lost that eventually as well, but that hurt far less, and I learned a lot during the process. I didn't make the same mistake again, I made a different one and I learned another lesson: I'm absolute shit at trading. 😉
The only thing that matters is the choice you make now.
Crypto is not about the past. Crypto is about the future. If we all lived in the past or were happy with the present, we wouldn't be here. We want to make the future brighter. Every day new people enter this space. Every day there are new things being built and new insights being shared. Every day we collectively learn and improve and respond to the problems that exist in crypto-land, and outside crypto-land.
That "we" includes you. You are part of this. The fact that you've lost crypto makes you an even bigger part of this. You may not know it, but you have officially joined the ranks of the most important people in crypto. Everyone who does remarkable stuff in this space has lost at some point. I know you don't see it this way now (because the world currently sucks massive balls) but you will see it at some point. I'm going to do my best to help you see. Ready to give it a go with me?
Take 10 deep breathes and go for a walk outside.
The universe is so much larger and has so much more to offer than money and cryptocurrencies. Don't let one incident ruin that potential. Relax and break the gut-wrenching cycle by enjoying the world outside your computer screen. Or, at least go outside and then bitch about how fucking cold it is outside to your friend. That's tangible, and you can discuss these horrors with the people in your life, even if they don't know what cryptocurrency is.
Don't double-down on your losses
Whether it's a trade, a hack, or something else, buying more right now is a bad idea. Take your time before purchasing more, and start much, much smaller. I promise you, you are not missing out by not buying right now. We are still so early. If you buy now, it will lead to more loss. Breath. Take your time.
Understand what happened & how to prevent it from happening again
Don't do this until you are ready. You are angry and full of pain right now. You will get past it, and when you aren't as angry or hurt, that is when you are ready to learn from it. Then and only then you should should learn from it to make sure it doesn't happen again and you can start experimenting with crypto again.
Understand that feeling anger, sadness & hopelessness is normal
Like I said earlier, we've been there. Writing this now, I can remember the darkness and horrid feeling in my stomach. I remember the anger at myself, at others. I remember the embarrassment. I wanted it to go away and I didn't care how.
Time is the best healer. Yelling at your friends, random people on the internet, or your family will not make it go away. It will only spread that anger to others and make them feel pain too. It will keep that anger at the front of you and keep it burning. Giving up and moving on will make the pain subside, but it won't replace the pain will something better. Instead, channel that anger into something that will make you, and the people around you, better. Replace it with good.
Soak in the outside world, and then soak in the crypto-world
This shit is not easy, but I've found it's easiest to educate yourself by educating those around you. Sharing experiences, answering questions on StackExchange, talking to people on reddit, and reading everything you can find will give you an immense amount of knowledge.
Sharing what you learn with others is far more rewarding than watching the price. Remember: the world is far more than money, especially this digital money that most of the universe literally doesn't know exists. Sharing what you know, making friends, preventing somebody else from experiencing what you experienced is magical.
If you can send a single message, answer a single question, write a single post and that prevents just one person from losing, you have made the world a better place. If you can make this space a little more accessible to newcomers, you have created real value that will continue to grow and spread.
You are unique, and the crypto space needs you
You have unique skills, experiences, schooling, jobs, hobbies, friends, conversations, languages, and culture that literally no one else has. You're brain operates in a truly one-of-a-kind way because you and only you grew up in the way you did and learned the things you did. You may think you don't know anything about crypto, but its your experiences outside of crypto that you bring with you that we need.
What can you do to make this space more accessible? Do you speak a language other than English? Are your friends from school getting interested in crypto? What have you experienced that made life or work or school easier, more fun, more accessible, or simply better? Can those things be applied to this space? How?
How do you learn? Listening to podcasts? Watching videos? Reading books? Reading short articles? Conversing in person? Soaking in infographics? Are there enough materials in that space that teach you in the way you learn best? Are they hard to find? Do they not exist? Can you make them easier to find? Can you share them? Can you create them? Can you work with others to create them?
The only thing that matters is the choice you make now.
You could give up. You could kill yourself. You could yell and blame and scream until you pass out from exhaustion. But none of those will make the shit position you are in now any better. They won't make the world a better place. They won't make you happier. They won't make your friends happier.
Take your pain and anger and channel it to something that makes things better. It happens far more easily and far faster than you think, and you never know what the future world holds. I never imagined that a few years after losing my Bitcoin that I would create MyEtherWallet. I didn't plan this. If I lost every experience I've had, everyone I've met, and everything I've done, that would be the true loss.
You don't have to take any big steps or write a huge article. All you have to to is decide that you want things to be better. That's all. Then take small steps every day to try to get there.
This is important. I am only one person and I'm not the smartest person. What I said above may or may not have helped you. If you are feeling hopeless or depressed or suicidal, please talk to those smarter, more empathetic, and simply better than me.
These people will not judge you, or argue with you, or try to talk you out of how badly you feel. Tell someone what's going on and see if they can help you:
(US) Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)
If you have any passionate thoughts on this, good or bad, please let me know. I especially appreciate constructive critiques that I can use to improve this piece and additional resources like phone numbers and websites for the international crowd. Resources for Asia are especially lacking and important at this time. Thank you for taking the time. 💖