1. You read about Bitcoin. Become interested. Talk to a friend who actually knows something about investments and decide that you need to buy a Bitcoin. As soon as possible.
2. You research Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is so cool! It’s currency, but it’s, like… cryptic. This defies everything you learned in your Macroeconomics course, and maybe, also, some of the things you didn’t quite learn.
3. Drop jaw. A Bitcoin costs how much? For just one? Can you buy a quarter of a Bitcoin? Confusion ensues as you decide whether it may be worth it to funnel a semester’s earnings into an extraordinarily volatile and enigmatic investment. Remember that it is not a typical investment — you’re not buying just a stock, you are buying your own tangible Bitcoin! Except it’s not tangible. It’s just a string of numbers that exists only online in some encrypted form.
4. Decide to buy. Why not? You only risk losing every penny that you’ve made this semester. Against all odds, you are really liking this investment idea. It’s exhilarating! You think back on your ten hours of research, deciding that the prospects look bright and it is definitely (probably) an excellent idea. And if buying one is a good idea, more is probably better, right?
5. The deed is done. A notice pops up that your Bitcoin(s) will be transferred into your brand-spankin’-new Coinbase account… in ten short days. You head to the grocery store with your roommates to distract yourself from the largest purchase of your life and the distinct possibility that you’ve just siphoned a portion of your savings into an alien venture.
6. Thirty minutes later, Bitcoin’s value has dropped more than $30. By the time you go to sleep a few hours later, you are up $80 from where you began. You are almost tempted to sell at this point and take the modest earnings, but since you don’t actually have access to the cryptocurrency for ten more days, you relax and follow the Bitcoin-related news (and the value of your nonexistent wallet) closely over the next week.
7. Senate hearings debating the merits of Bitcoin and your own Bitcoin state of liminality come to a close. Bitcoin shoots up, by a lot. It’s now tripled in value from your original purchase. You itch to sell, but you have four hours more until your Bitcoin purchase is deposited into your waiting online wallet. You take a nap before work. When you awake, a mere forty minutes later, each Bitcoin has dropped over $300.
8. Incomprehensibly, Bitcoin has remained unpredictable as ever. Just last week, when you were home over Thanksgiving, the value of a single Bitcoin rocketed to $1,200. With news of the Chinese government’s Bitcoin ban for financial institutions, the currency plummeted just a few days ago to around $600, almost halving the all-time high. The currency settles for a short time more at around $900, and you relax, hoping the cryptocurrency may–by graduation– pay for a Southeast Asian adventure. Or, at the very least, a few packages of frozen pad thai.