A couple of years ago, I put a few bucks on a Crypto that was started, apparently, as a joke. It was listed at 3/10 of a penny ($0.003) or so per coin, so I bought a few thousand coins for a fistful of dollars because why not? I knew about as much about cryptocurrency as I did String theory or, actually, less. I have read a little on String theory.
A theory of everything
String theory, still a source of discomfort and debate among physicists, seeks to be the breakthrough scientific “theory of everything.” It isn’t there yet and I haven’t the capacity to get it there, nor understand what has actually happened should it so arrive.
I know even less about cryptocurrency. When I look it up, I learn it is a currency based on blockchains. What the heck is a blockchain and what kind of currency never leaves the Internet, where it is held hostage like a mythical princess in a high tower?
Well, here is one simple explanation…
Alright, fair enough. Some things that live only on the Internet are pretty dang powerful, right? Donald Trump leveraged Social Media to launch himself into an unexpected – and by his enemies, quite unwanted and unwelcome – tenure as the world’s most powerful leader. Then, the Social Media gods snatched on an opportunity to blame him for an uprising on Capitol Hill and do what they wanted to do all along; i.e., kick him off their platforms.
See? The Internet serves as King-maker and throne-taker. It is matchmaker and heartbreaker. From YouTube, rises stars like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. And then, with a little backlash and a lot of momentum, stardom becomes infamy and infamy fades to oblivion.
The jingle and the jangle
So, why not buy coins that will never jingle or jangle in the pockets of my jeans? Why not fork over a few bucks to Dogecoin, whose emblem is the silly dog meme made popular in 2013? Why not do it on a free investment platform named Robinhood, where poor dummies like me can speculate a little or risk it all just like the big cat daddies on Wall Street and do so without a broker, so we can go broke or even broker by our dadgum selves?
(I know Robinhood seems like a hopeful name and you don’t expect it to much matter. But then a bunch of snowflakes on Reddit stick together on Game Stop stock, of all things, and, voila! Like the late, great Vance Havner said, “If enough snowflakes stick together, they can stop traffic.” Boy, did these Redditers cost some hedge fund bulls and bears (bullies, really) a few billion? They pissed on and pissed off the high-toned, tuned-in stiffs in tailor-mades.)
So, yeah. I bought my Dogecoin and we rocked along, gaining a tenth of a cent here and losing it there, up, down, back and forth. Not much to talk about. No reason to stay but not enough invested to leave. Ho-hum. Some weeks, I did not even bother checking on it. Still, I carried the faint hope that if Bitcoin can make its millionaires, maybe a little Doge will do the same.
“Get along, little Doge,” I sang quietly and to myself. What better way to stick it in the eye of the Man than to strike gold with an invisible Internet coin based on a silly Meme?
One day in April
Then one day in April, Elon Musk tweeted that Dogecoin was his “fav.” Soon after, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and one of the sharks in television’s Shark Tank, tweeted, “Doge is the one coin people actually use for transactions. Within minutes of Elon’s tweet and bolstered by Cuban’s follow-up, Dogecoin skyrocketed. My portfolio swelled overnight! What I bought for less than a quarter of a penny per coin was “worth” $.71!
I was a long way from a millionaire investor but I was a good deal closer than I had been 24 hours earlier.
“Let it ride,” I thought. “No telling where this sweet ride goes.”
But then Elon pulls the Saturday Night Live stunt where he makes fun of the coin and my little Doge-sled starts fish-tailing and all but flips over.
Musk follows up his SNL routine with the announcement that Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment due to “environmental concerns.” What??? It isn’t a real coin! No one is mining anything but the Internet, Elon. What the actual heck? Because computers use electricity? Well, toilets use water, Elon, and you just flushed a giant one. (Boy, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, one of Bitcoin’s big boys, is no Elon fanboy now. I guess that is another story.)
Doge plummets to 60 cents…50…41.4…39.7…
Just like that, I am singing the HeeHaw theme song none of the damn kids selling off their Dogecoin even know: “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”
As I go to press, Dogecoin has rebounded to $0.49. Attaboy, Doge. Sic ‘em.
Some finance coaches like Dave Ramsey pretty much eschew the stock market and especially speculation on things as volatile and uncertain as crypto. Make the safe bet, they say.
On April 23, Ramsey wrote:
“Moonbeams and horse shit,” Ramsey may as well have written, though I doubt “horse shit” is in his vocabulary. I am not saying he is wrong. Ramsey has coached thousands of Average Joes and Everyday Alices out of debt. That is a fine thing.
In the end, however, everything that is not a sure bet is a long shot. Life is volatile. Things you “know” you can count on will fail you. A gasoline pipeline can be hacked and you may get stranded at the pump on your way to work. Who knows? Maybe voting machines could be hacked, as well.
What is here today is gone tomorrow.
“Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind,” moaned the ‘70s rock group, Kansas.
“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,” penned the famously wise King Solomon a few thousand years ago.
(Hey, did Solomon settle the String theory debate way back yonder and give us a solid “theory of everything?”)
What was a silly dog meme in 2013 became a crypto coin worth billions in the Spring of 2021.
Tomorrow? Who knows? Moonbeams and horse shit.
The surest bet
It is time to figure out what matters, what has eternal, unfaltering value, and invest in that.