By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch
‘I’d seen a story at some point about someone who had spontaneous orgasms at random times throughout the day. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling. When I checked my phone, I’d be up another six figures since the last time I looked. I couldn’t resist stopping whatever I was doing to pump my fist and shout, “YEESSSS!”’
That’s Dan Conway, a former middle-management cog in a Silicon Valley firm’s wheel, describing in a piece for The Hustle how it felt to see his all-or-nothing $300,000 bet on Ethereum make him a very rich man.
It all started when Conway, who was making about $150,000 a year, asked his wife if he could invest the family’s $100,000 in savings, which was earmarked for their three children’s college education, in a risky crypto play.
“I hated the fake company culture, the bureaucracy, the endless chains of command,” he wrote. “Like so many others, I was looking for some kind of escape.”
His wife knew it could cost them everything but, amazingly, agreed to it anyway.
As a guy who had gotten into trouble before with his addictive personality, part of him recognized such a risk as self-destructive, but the more he read about cryptos, the more he began to believe in its future.
This was in 2015 and bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -0.0026% had fallen out of favor, dropping from a previous high of $1,200 to $300.
“What if it goes up again? What if I put everything I had into this?” he wrote. “I could get rich and never work another day in Corporate America.” After eating up every bit of information he could, Conway turned his focus from bitcoin to Ethereum /zigman2/quotes/108573964/realtime ETHUSD -0.14% , which had just launched in July 2015.
“As a disenfranchised suit-and-tie, I was enraptured by the possibility of a decentralized future,” he wrote. “As a greedy speculative investor, it gave me a rush.” He became so smitten with the potential, that he embarked on a wild ride — he used that $100,000 to buy 6,933 ETH at an average price of $14.
Soon thereafter, he was served a heaping spoonful of crypto volatility and watched his initial investment drop below $40,000. “In the midst of a particularly volatile week, I found myself in the emergency room, struggling to breathe,” he explained. “The doctor diagnosed me with a panic event.”
Undeterred, Conway doubled down by tapping into his home equity line. He borrowed another $200,000 and ended up with a total of 26,750 ETH at an average cost of $11.21 each. This had all the makings of serious disaster, but, no, the investing gods had other plans.
“Something miraculous happened: It kept going up… and up… and up. Between February and March of 2017, ETH shot from $15 to $50 per coin. By April, it was at $70; by May, $230,” Conway wrote in The Huslte. “In a span of four months, my $300,000 investment ballooned to $6 million.”
It didn’t stop there. In January 2018, Ethereum topped $1,000, and the memes were flying across the internet:
“It was an unprecedented burst — so monumental in scope that it temporarily froze the exchanges,” said Conway, who wrote a book about his journey . “It was like a 9.0 earthquake with an infinite number of aftershocks.”
He got the urge to sell, and sell he did. It was a market timer’s dream, as he sold most of his Ethereum position for a cool $10 million. Soon after he cashed out with his fortune, digital currencies were absolutely clobbered and still haven’t recovered. Ethereum is currently trading at under $200.
Meanwhile, Conway paid off his mortgage, took a dream trip to Africa and bought a second home in Ireland. He still has seven-figures sitting in his bank.
His advice for would-be Ethereum traders?
“I still believe crypto will open up new possibilities for organizing the world in the decades ahead, and I’m confident it will pop again as a result,” Conway wrote. “But I don’t recommend that anyone try to replicate what I did. For every story like mine, there are hundreds of others about people who lost it all. I know that could’ve easily been me.”