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What If Bitcoin – Shoot I didn't invest (whatifbitcoin.com)
17 points by AshishGupta93 on Sept 8, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments

But does that mean anything? You could have made this kind of ROI with many assets. For example with stock options.

I have been telling people for years that "I am sure Bitcoin will grow a lot. I probably should invest. I'm just too lazy to dabble with the tech.".

And I have not invested even though I thought it would be a great investment.

But what if I did? I would not have invested more then $10k. Because it's such a volatile asset. If I did that 3 years ago, I would have made $60k or so. Nice. But I made more with less volatile investments in the same time. Simply because I invested more.

So by not investing in BTC, I did not miss much.

Not only is it tremendously volatile, it's very easy for it to be lost or stolen from your wallet, or defrauded by the exchanges.

(Unless you're really good at information security and very disciplined. I'd be very uncomfortable keeping a £10k investment on a PC in my house.)

So don't keep it in your house. Keep it in a safe deposit box, just like you would keep gold coins or bearer bonds.

Paper wallets are easy to make, and hardware wallets have been available for years.

That's actually the biggest issue with Bitcoin. And what I meant with "dabble with the tech".

There is just no way to securely create a secret key.

Because the algorithm is so complex, you have to trust somebody else's software to create the key. How do you know that software is neither malicious nor buggy?

If you really want to be sure, you can create your own private key with dice:



Thanks! That bitcoin-dice.html link is awesome. It links to a rather short bash script that seems to do the key to public address conversion. That is exactly what is needed.

> There is just no way to securely create a secret key.

That is wrong. You can generate one relatively easily with dice (google for it).

> Because the algorithm is so complex, you have to trust somebody else's software to create the key.

You're conflating generating the key, which is just generating a random number in a certain range, with calculating the public address, which involves some operations on elliptic curves.

The algorithm is not that complex. Using a library like openssl/ec it is not that hard to generate the public address. It takes about 30 lines of C code using that library.

> How do you know that software is neither malicious nor buggy?

You can read the source code.

    You can read the source code.
Which code? Any link to that 30 lines of C code?

The source code of whatever software you're using.

Here's some C code I used when I played around with it 5 years ago. No guarantees that it is bug-free or does anything useful (you still need a double sha256 and base58 encoding to get a string representation), but it gives you an idea of the complexity/simplicity.

  void sha256_ripe160(uint8_t *bytes, size_t len, uint8_t result[RIPEMD160_DIGEST_LENGTH])
    uint8_t buf[32];
    CC_SHA256(bytes, len, buf);
    RIPEMD160(buf, 32, result);

  void privkey_to_pubsig_hash(uint8_t privkey[32], uint8_t pubsig[20])
    static EC_GROUP *curve = 0;
    if (!curve) {
      curve = EC_GROUP_new_by_curve_name(NID_secp256k1);

    BIGNUM *priv_bn = BN_new();
    priv_bn = BN_bin2bn(privkey, 32, priv_bn);

    EC_POINT *pub_pt = EC_POINT_new(curve);
    BN_CTX *ctx = BN_CTX_new();
    int result = EC_POINT_mul(curve, pub_pt, priv_bn, NULL, NULL, ctx);

    BIGNUM *pub_bn = BN_new();
    EC_POINT_point2bn(curve, pub_pt, POINT_CONVERSION_UNCOMPRESSED, pub_bn, ctx);
    assert(BN_num_bytes(pub_bn) == 65);

    uint8_t pub_bytes[65];
    BN_bn2bin(pub_bn, pub_bytes);

    sha256_ripe160(pub_bytes, 65, pubsig);
One of the myriad Python libraries to deal with bitcoin is probably a better starting point if you want to explore more.

The hype is full of survivorship bias.

* What if you lost it in Mt. Gox?

* What if you lost it in another of the roughly-monthly hacks of exchanges?

* What if you lost it on an accidentally thrown-away hard drive?

* What if you lost it to your own error?

* What if you lost it on one of the many scams the crypto space is absolutely suffused with?

For some reason these are never mentioned by people saying "but if you'd bought in 2011".

Look at all these coins you also didn't "invest" in! http://deadcoins.com/

Cryptos are gambling. Good luck if you won! But it's still not a sensible thing to recommend to others.

I lost it in Mt. Gox, and this website made me very sad.

I refuse to visit this website in order to preserve my own sanity. I was floating around forums trading BTC while it was $5. Life moves on, trees keep growing.

If I had the disposable income I have now back then I probably would have build a mining rig when the price was around $15. It wasn't too difficult to mine around a Bitcoin per day with a decent rig.

On the flipside I have no idea when or if I would have cashed out. When it hit $100? $1000? Impossible to say.

As much as I see myself as wild person when it comes to offshoot bets, I still can't reason myself into buying bitcoins. Not sure I must be too Gen X to find this reasonable.

Anyone here comment "how well they did?" and if you've pulled out or are seriously thinking about pulling out?

I feel silly, but I'm still not going to put my hard earned cash in it any time soon... In fact, I wouldn't really know how.

I bought a dozen coins at $100 a coin. I eventually sold when they reached around $800 per coin. My rationale was that I was far too obsessive about it, I checked the price every day, I read and watched articles and videos and kept up with all the drama. The amount of brain time I was spending on it was just too much. I would have remained a holder if I wasn't obsessive.

The technology and ecosystem is very interesting in many ways, buying into it is probably a good way to kick start your interest -- nothing better than having your money on the line to keep you engaged -- but who knows where it's going to be in 10 years. Which would feel worse: buying Bitcoin now and having coins worth nothing in 10 years, or not buying Bitcoin now and in 10 years looking back and thinking "I had the perfect opportunity and I didn't take it, I'm an idiot!"? I imagine for most people they'd take the risk and buy in (hence the price growth) but for me personally it's too consuming and that's why I'm out.

Thanks for chiming in. I feel I would have done the same, become obsessed with the price every day. Not worth it in the end.

Seems the only reasonable way to do it is with 'fuck money', pardon the term. You know, money you happened to have forgotten about or came about that you didn't budget for.

I guess there's another side to this story: Some people got their bitcoins stolen.

Also all this wealth is purely speculative. If everybody converted their bitcoins to fiat currency now the exchange rate would collapse quickly.

> If everybody converted their bitcoins to fiat currency now the exchange rate would collapse quickly.

You can say the same about literally any asset or currency. If everyone sells, and no one is buying, then yes, the value drops to 0.

You're conflating the value and price of an asset. E.g. if you own an asset like a stock that pays dividends, the value of that stock is the net present value of the future dividends. The price is determined by buyers and sellers and can diverge widely from the value.

It's related to the distinction between investing and speculating. Investing is based on whether the intrinsic value is below or above the price, while speculating is just based on the price.

Let me rephrase that: it takes a lesser percentage of bitcoin holders vs fiat currency holders selling their assets to collapse the value of their respective currencies.

Or even better: it's nearly impossible to do that with fiat currency, because there are checks and balances in place.

Yes, but all the systems put in place to shield fiat from the booms and busts don't exist in crypto.

For example, the federal reserve and legislators can manipulate the interest rates and the deficit to encourage people to hold or sell their USD.

"How" is easy, you just sign up at an exchange like Coinbase. It's no different than getting set up with Ameritrade.

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.”

"All our savings and our house went up in smoke because I shot them all on a volatile investment I knew nothing about" must come in a close second.

"Invest only what you can afford to lose" really are wise words. They aren't words that will get you insanely rich in the blink of an eye, of course, but they are words that mean you won't lose your house.

You're damn right, I worked in the online gambling industry four about 5 years, and that became the golden rule zero for all things, especially poker strategy.

Interesting site. It should have another graphic on the final page like what if i had invested the same amount in [google stock¦in a property in ny¦govt bonds¦etc] as comparison.

This will depress many people

What if I didn't buy AMD? What if I didn't buy SPY? What if I didn't buy NVDA? What if I didn't buy Ethereum?

Well Ethereum's in the dropdown so they've got that covered.

As long as there are greater fools, there's a lot of money to be made with Bitcoin. Just don't be the last fool.

Funny, this could be extended to all sorts of investments. What if I spent 1000 USD on Apple in 1990? I'd have about 1000 Apple stock now, currently worth around 160k.

That's nothing like the return on BTC

How about the return on PonziCoin everybody missed out on? It's gone up about 10,000% in 2 months. Market cap should surpass global GDP mid-May next year.

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