The 3 Lessons Missing Out on Bitcoin Taught Me About Trusting Myself

Back in 2010, my roommate in Boston was mining Bitcoin.

This was early on, right when the cryptocurrency came out, and I had all but dismissed it already. Here I was living with this guy, thinking he was crazy for spending so much of his time and money on this weird form of digital cash.

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Now I know I was the crazy one for not seeing Bitcoin’s tremendous potential.

But back then, hardly anyone was involved in crypto. People had no clue what blockchain technology was, let alone how to use it to make money. My former roommate, however, was excited about crypto and didn’t hesitate to get involved. He listened to his instincts, and they didn’t lead him astray.

Although I missed out on making money, I learned a lesson I’ll never forget. When you see something happening you have to trust your instincts—especially when you’re genuinely excited by it. Believing in yourself is the first step to jumping in and being an active participant in the latest technology.

Here’s what else I learned from missing out on Bitcoin:

1. Don’t discount what you don’t understand

Somehow, my roommate finally convinced me to buy a small amount of Bitcoin. So I dipped my toes in the water and spent a few dollars. Then, as so frequently happens, life got in the way.

To be honest, I forgot about my investment entirely—partly because I moved eight times between Boston and LA over the last decade. But on one of the moves, the 18-wheeler carrying all my stuff crashed on the highway. It was a nightmare. Boxes fell out, and I lost a bunch of my belongings—clothing, photos, a little bit of everything.

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of someone else's - Billy Wilder: bitcoin trust your instincts

And, of course, the thumb drive containing my Bitcoin .dta file went missing.

I didn’t care about the drive at the time. Actually, it never even crossed my mind when I was reviewing the items I’d lost in the crash.

I never thought Bitcoin would amount to anything, so I didn’t value it.

A couple of years after this, everyone was suddenly talking about Bitcoin and its rocketing price. I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. Didn’t I buy some Bitcoin a few years ago?” What I had purchased for just a few dollars in 2010 would have been, by this point, a significant sum.

Catching the next wave

Naturally, I was disappointed. But I quickly saw another opportunity to get in on the ground floor. This was around the time Ethereum had its ITO (initial token offering), and I didn’t hesitate to get involved.

SoI dove head first into crypto. I finally trusted my gut even while people around me were thinking Ethereum was some sort of virus or disease (true story). And it led me to the incredible technology of blockchain, and more specifically, distributed ledger technology—which we’re bringing into the freight and logistics industry with my new venture ShipChain.

This just never would have been possible if I didn’t lift my head and look around.

2. Trust your instincts

Too many people dismiss their instincts. After having an idea—that epiphany moment—they simply shrug it off, happy to have simply thought it up.

Celebrating an idea doesn’t change the world, but executing on it can.

You’ve trained your intuition over the course of your life, and you should be confident in what your inner voice is telling you. But listening is just one part of following your instincts. It also requires timely action. You can have the most killer instincts, but if you dismiss them, you get nowhere.

If you see a million people racing to get involved with a new technology you’re also interested in, don’t hold yourself back.

Don’t wait on “perfect timing”

Waiting to get involved, as so many people do, will leave you in the dust. By the time next year rolls around, you’ll be eons behind everyone else who acted swiftly. And you’ll have missed out completely.

You have to give yourself the opportunity to be early. So have confidence in yourself, your vision, and make decisions accordingly.

3. Pull the trigger

The key to being an early adopter of any technology is to pounce as soon as you see it happening.

Of course, I respect people who are cautious, who carefully weigh the risks before getting involved in something like crypto. But if you’re on the bullish side, and truly believe in a movement, don’t be afraid to throw caution to the wind.

Trust your instincts and jump in.

When huge, life-changing technologies like blockchain are emerging, it’s like a tidal wave—there’s always the chance it builds momentum and becomes a massive movement. Standing behind your beliefs is all part of the game. With blockchain, I want more people to know about it so the movement can succeed. I believe if you’re part of something big, and you’re advocating for it, everybody wins.

At the end of the day, missing out on Bitcoin was only a small loss because my eyes were opened wide to the power of crypto and, more importantly, blockchain.

Although I didn’t make millions off my initial investment, I learned to trust my instincts. More importantly, I recognized it’s never too late to listen to your instincts and catch the next wave.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Brian has a knack for solving important entrepreneurial problems unconventionally. In 2015, Brian became an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur. Brian’s online advertising and marketing agency made the Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, and was the 25th fastest growing advertising and marketing agency in America. Brian is the founder of Influencive, and a CMO in the blockchain tech, and logistics space. Recently, Brian was named Blockchain Influencer of the Year. Brian has been consistently ranked as one of the top business journalists and influencers in the world.

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  • Originally published December 27, 2018, updated April 26, 2023