How you can make easy money from the bitcoin bubble

Let me just say: Bubbles are fantastic. It’s never so easy for an ordinary person to make free money as during a financial mania. Just steel your nerves, jump in — oh, and remember to get out before the whole thing comes crashing down.

Especially that last part.

“Never miss out on a bubble,” advised the late Dan Bunting, an old friend and a successful money manager in London over many decades. “You’ll make the most money from the worst stocks.”

And so it proved. The dot-com bubble paid off my mortgage, and then some.

I never thought I’d see something so nutty again, yet it seems to be happening again. These digital currencies may be rubbish — more on that below — but it looks like we’re in big, fat bitcoin bubble right now. If so, there is seriously easy money to be made.


BTCUSD, +0.25%

  shrugged off a crash in July and is now setting new highs. It has doubled in a month, despite economic worries and the crisis in Korea.

Read: As bitcoin flies past $4,000, one bull now targets $7,500 by next year

And Fidelity, that blue-chip investment firm, just gave bitcoin the stamp of approval and will include it in its online portal.

Let the good times roll.

A staggering $1.25 billion of “fiat” — i.e., real — money has so far been raised by insiders this year rolling out new “digital coins” that will help finance their new dot-com venture or service or product, according to, a website that tracks the data.

Here’s how it works: A group of kids in hoodies say they’re going to set up a cloud computing venture and let you finance it in return for some of their new digital currency. You send them dollars. They send you new digital currency. If and when they put down the doobies long enough to get the venture rolling, you can use these new digital currencies to pay to use the service.

Read: Bitcoin rises, so people Google ‘bitcoin,’ so then bitcoin rises, so then people Google…

Don’t make me laugh. Have you ever seen anything so stupid?

Yes, I have, actually. It was 1999. If you weren’t around then, this is pretty much exactly how it went down.

Anyone over 30 was called a fuddy-duddy who just “didn’t get it.” People actually got fired for not joining in. Only afterward came the excuses and the finger-pointing. Oh, and the lawsuits.

And, I repeat: So far this year these “initial coin offerings” have raised a staggering $1.25 billion from the public. Booyah, indeed!

A couple of months back I said these cryptocurrencies are nonsense. From a serious investment standpoint that’s true. Price is a function of supply and demand. At the moment there is an endless supply of new cryptocurrencies. People are literally creating new ones every week.

Demand is uncertain, unknown and unknowable. I still have yet to hear a convincing argument why anyone needs these things other than a money launderer or someone who wants to, say, play internet poker.

Anyone who claims to come with solid valuation for any of these digital currencies is talking out of his hat. A long-term investor is betting on a poker hand with the cards face down.

Read: Confused about bitcoin? 10 things you need to know

Fidelity’s move is a classic trickle-down sign. Manias grow as they gain mainstream acceptance. Other investment managers will probably follow suit. Billionaire Mark Cuban has switched sides: After dismissing cryptocurrencies as a “bubble,” he’s now cashing in.

There are speculative opportunities galore. You can easily buy well-known currencies like bitcoin and ethereum by opening up an account, known as a “digital wallet,” with a company such as Coinbase or Blockchain. There are even apps on your iPhone.

Or you can jump into the crowdfunding of the next new, hot-off-the-press digital currency through an “initial coin offering.” This is the digital coin equivalent of an IPO. Bigger risks, but probably even bigger potential gains.

Read: What is an ICO?

I could waste your time trying to evaluate them, but it’s all guesswork. It’s a bubble. That’s all you need to know. Idiots are running around handing out free money. You buy things where you think a plausible narrative will catch hold and drive it higher. You sell when the momentum turns. And you can manage your risks by “gambling with the house’s money,” which means starting small and building your stake slowly as you start to show a profit.

Just remember it’s a trade, not an investment, and make sure to get out when it all goes sour. That could be in a week, a month or a year. Nobody knows.

This is high-risk speculation, but there is a surprisingly decent chance of easy money. Just caveat emptor.

Now read: 22 internet memes that let you relive bitcoin’s historic rise