My laziness has cost me nearly A$200,000 ($221,548). I feel faintly sick about it. Let me tell you my story of woe, starting from the beginning.

It was early in 2013 and I was a young financial journalist when I first heard about bitcoin, the digital currency.

I wrote a story about bitcoin and interviewed a kid who described himself as a "geek and a programmer." He bought his bitcoin for just 10 cents each.

At that time the bitcoin price was busy shooting up to US$265 and falling back to US$105.


Both of which seemed amazingly high. At the start of 2013, bitcoin had been worth just US$13.

They're now at US$9,750 ($14,273). I sometimes think about that kid — the programmer. If he spent just $10 on bitcoin and kept it all, he now has $1.3 million worth. I imagine he drives a Lamborghini now.

The price of bitcoin has always been incredibly volatile. You could make a lot of money buying and selling at the right times, and lose a lot if you bought and sold at the wrong times. But if you bought and held, right now you're in gravy.

Back to 2013 though. By the end of that year bitcoin had gone up to over A$1000 and I grew sceptical of it. Hackers kept attacking bitcoin and there were other digital currencies being invented.

I felt utterly vindicated during 2014. The price of bitcoin fell and fell. By the end of 2014 they were worth just over A$300. If I'd bought in at the peak I would have lost around 75 per cent of my money.

Still, bitcoin had my attention. I kept watching the price as it fell more during 2015. It kept hovering around US$220, sometimes dropping a bit below, sometimes a bit above, but mostly flat.

I began to think I was seeing a pattern. Bitcoin had exhibited long flat spots before. In fact, the history of bitcoin was flat spots, spikes, crashes and more flat spots. But each time the long flat period would be at a higher level than the one before.

During 2015 we seemed to be in a long flat spot. I decided I would take some money out of the bank and invest it in bitcoin.


If I go back to my Google search data I can see the exact day I made the decision. (Did you know Google keeps track of everything you ever googled? They do. Don't worry, you can delete it if you want.)

It was June 14, 2015. The price of bitcoin was A$234 ($259). I was thinking about maybe buying 20 bitcoins, or A$4,000 ($4,430) worth. But my googling revealed buying bitcoin was … hard.

The advice sites said I could meet up with someone and exchange cash. That sounded dodgy. Or maybe I could have gone to a bitcoin ATM. But the bitcoin ATM was a long way away, and I wasn't sure it would give me the best exchange rate.

I made one of those decisions where you don't make a decision. (Which is often how we make the biggest decisions of our lives.) I decided I wasn't going to buy them. Or not that day, anyway.

Instead, I left the money in the bank. Since then it has made 2 per cent interest, and is now worth about A$4,200 ($4,651). If I had bought bitcoin it would be worth A$190,000 ($210,425) today. The difference between investing in cash and bitcoin is now around A$185,800 ($204,958).

Trust me, there is no shortage of really fun things I can imagine myself doing with A$185,800 ($204,958) — if I had it.

Bubble bubble, lots of trouble

Bitcoin investors are living it up now. People are going online to boast about paying off debts and buying homes.

If you want to feel truly sick with jealousy, the best place to start is with the Winklevoss twins — the guys who claim to have invented Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg took it away from them.

Tall, good looking, Harvard graduates and Olympic rowers, the Winklevosses were already loaded from suing Zuckerberg before they invested in bitcoin. And they invested big. At one stage they claimed to own 1 per cent of all bitcoin, If they still have it all that means they have over $1 billion in bitcoin.

The bitcoin community goes berserk whenever bitcoin rises. In the downtimes they pretend they're enthused about bitcoin's technical aspects and the potential of the blockchain. But when the price rises, the truth comes out.

If they wanted bitcoins for bitcoins' sake they'd be sad the price of bitcoin was rising. Like all of us, they want to buy goods in the material economy, and bitcoin is an investment vehicle that helps them do that.

To some extent though, I should park the envy and give credit where it is due. Bitcoin has not been an easy investment. Bitcoin exchanges have collapsed and taken people's money.

Hackers have stolen bitcoins and computer crashes have claimed more. People have even thrown out hard drives with hundreds of bitcoins on them. Anyone who has held on to bitcoin for all this time has done so through some very tough moments.

Coulda woulda shoulda

There's lots of ways I could have changed my life in 2015 that would've netted me more money. I could've bought a winning lottery ticket. I could've got myself a second job.

I didn't do any of those things. The list of things I didn't do in 2015 is infinitely long. So why beat myself up over not buying bitcoin?

British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips talks about "unlived lives".

"We believe that they were open to us; but for some reason — and we might spend a great deal of our lived lives trying to find and give the reason — they were not possible,"

Phillips writes. "And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives.

"Our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live."

The life where I was a genius bitcoin investor is definitely an unlived life, and this article certainly became a bit of a tantrum, but, dear reader, I promise you it is not endless. I will get over the missed opportunity. Soon. Thanks for reading.