Everybody and his brother seems to have a cryptocurrency-focused newsletter these days, which I guess should come as no surprise — investors see the fortunes that have been made by the lucky early bets on Bitcoin or Ethereum or other cryptos, and they want a piece, which creates a huge demand for anything that might be perceived as wisdom in this space. And Andy Snyder at Manward Press didn’t want to be left out, it appears, because he’s using a tease of some favorite “altcoin” cryptocurrencies to get signups to his Manward Letter… that’s the ad we’ll look at today.
First, let me warn you up front: I have been dabbling in cryptocurrencies for years, having nibbled on Bitcoin starting in late 2013 and on Ethereum in 2016, so I’ve enjoyed getting lucky and harvesting some gains from those nibbles, and I do still hold a position in both, but I really have no idea what I’m doing in the cryptocurrency space. I’m willing to hold and gradually learn as the space matures, and as some protocols and cryptocurrencies actually begin to take their very first small steps toward meeting real world needs instead of just serving as story-driven gambling tokens, but my comfort level for a market like this that regularly provides both 500% gains and 90%+ drops in value for no fundamental reason is quite low, which is why I haven’t let my exposure become huge.
That’s where I’m coming from, and I don’t want to pretend that I’m an expert just because I’ve been tangentially involved in this space for a long time and understand the basic concepts and some of the appeal. My gains have come from a willingness to risk money on interesting ideas and, probably more importantly, from luck.
But I’m always curious to see what mainstream investing folks are saying about cryptos, especially when they talk up one of the newer cryptocurrencies — so the recent tease from Andy Snyder at Manward Press got my attention. The ad is dated August 2021, so it’s presumably been around for a few weeks now, and it begins by bathing in the “what if” regrets of returns you missed because you didn’t buy Bitcoin when it was at $25 (or 20 cents, or whatever):
“Think back to January 2013.
“The holidays had just ended. Maybe you were making some New Year’s resolutions.
“No doubt you were thinking about the new year and how you might improve your life.
“Now I want you to imagine walking over to your computer, sitting down and making a single purchase.
“Even back then, it would have taken only 10 minutes or so. Today, it’s even easier.
“Imagine that when that simple purchase is complete, your life is forever changed.
“Because you just bought Bitcoin at $25…
“Now… why am I having you imagine this scenario?
“After all, it’s not like you can go back and make it a reality, right?
“Well, what if I told you that there are three coins today, including one that trades for less than $2, that I expect will someday become MORE valuable than Bitcoin and its $600 billion market cap?”
Bitcoin’s back to about a $800 billion “market cap” these days, thanks to the recovery from the late July lows, but still, that’s enough to spark a few daydreams, right?
Fair warning: If you don’t have time for a little rant, then skip forward a dozen paragraphs or so.
That’s a powerful marketing strategy that financial newsletters use all the time, urging you to sit back and imagine the amazing returns you could have had from Buying Amazon or Netflix 15 or 20 years ago, or Bitcoin a decade ago, or whatever else that we know, with the benefit of hindsight, was the smartest investment ever. It both implies that these newsletters are brilliant, because it implies that they made those investments (even if often they did not), and it imbues investors with a lottery-seeking mentality.
Which is fine for some folks, but it also plays with your mind and makes rational investing hard. Much like pornography can ruin your emotional life and make it impossible to think rationally about the flawed and real human beings who are part of real life, this kind of financial pornography can make it impossible to think rationally about the risks and opportunities that exist in the “invest your money today” world.
Often those whose minds are overwhelmed with regret or envy about missing those past life-changing winners will either take too much risk chasing the stocks one might imagine rising by 10,000% (and human imagination for exponential returns is very much lacking, we can’t imagine real companies having that kind of return, so that typically means taking risks on dumb high-risk penny stocks or risk-everything options speculations), or will give up entirely because nothing seems to offer that kind of opportunity.
What’s the actual spiel? Snyder is selling his Manward Letter ($79), and if you subscribe he promises to tel