In 2017, you couldn't throw a virtual stick without hitting an article about the meteoric rise of bitcoin. But while its skyrocketing value may have encouraged many people to buy the digital currency last year, that's not the only reason people invest cryptocurrency. Some of its strongest supporters believe that it can prevent credit card fraud, give people a safe place to store their money, or even protect the economy by mitigating the effect of printing too much money. Then again, judging from a recent Ask Reddit post about cryptocurrency, some people just do it on a whim and hope for the best.
If you're still stuck on the "wait, what is cryptocurrency?" setting, you're not alone. Despite being all over the news recently, it was mostly the purview of technology lovers until last year. The general idea is that digital currency is decentralized, meaning it doesn't involve banks or names, and it encrypts each transaction. (Instead of banks, the system is maintained by volunteers, who sometimes charge a fee to work faster.) These transactions are stored in a "blockchain" — basically, a public, decentralized ledger. The public nature is actually a good thing, because any discrepancies with an individual account can be compared to other copies of the chain.
Some believe that cryptocurrency is the future of money; others are more skeptical. Financial institutions tend to fall into the latter category. According to Business Insider, China began investigating bitcoin exchanges in 2017 for suspected "market manipulation, money laundering, unauthorized financing and other issues," and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called it a "fraud" in September. At the same time, though, Japan has made bitcoin a legal currency.
So far, we'll have to wait and see if the cryptocurrency craze fizzles out or ends up being the norm. If it works, the following people who invested in cryptocurrency now will be laughing all the way to the blockchain.
1. Buying For A Bet
Assuming this guy bought bitcoin in particular, that emergency fund must be ready for any kind of disaster. Currently, bitcoin is trading around $6,500. Sometimes, bets really pay off.
2. Hoping For Dogecoin
Cryptocurrencies include more than just bitcoin. Dogecoin was created as a "joke," according to Motherboard, but it has turned out to be surprisingly successful. (Hopefully, the roommate made back his $5,000.)
3. Convinced By A Friend
Does anyone else feel like they need to make more financially adventurous friends?
4. A Call From The Future
5. Because It Was Skyrocketing
While bitcoin has had major ups, it has also had its fair share of downs. According to Fortune, it dropped more than half its value between December and early February.
6. Because It Was Interesting
This user got into bitcoin briefly just because it looked interesting. Even though he didn't stick with it, at least he made his money back.
7. Because Investing Was Decentralized
It seems like this user treats cryptocurrency more like an investment than actual currency, but it's clearly working out. In January, Forbes called Ether the "most promising crypto."
8. For The Ideology
This user went on to explain that they never sold any bitcoin because they have a "fixed price" they want to sell at. Otherwise, it will be a holdover from their past.
9. For The Money
Since bitcoin started increasing in value, this seems like a pretty common reason to buy.
10. To Use On The Dark Web
11. Raining On The Bitcoin Parade
...And here we have the guy who wants rain on everyone's parade, even if he does have a good point.