The promise of a disruptive, emerging technology that could entirely replace money as we know it, caused a digital age gold rush of investors hoping to strike it rich by buying crypto assets.
One shining example of this was an investor who went on to earn $13 million from an early investment in Ethereum. But although the story had a happy ending, it could have all gone wrong and there were many ups and downs along the way.
Dan Conway Risks it All on Crypto, Turns $300,000 into $13 Million
Dan Conway was a former middle-manager at a multimedia corporation located in San Francisco, who first became interested in cryptocurrencies in mid-2015, just as Bitcoin started to come out of a bear market.
While he had heard about the cryptocurrency earlier, at first he decided that spending “real currency” on “some digital token” was “complete bullshit.” But because Bitcoin had crashed from a high of around $1,200 to $300, Conway had a change of tune and thought about what might happen if the first-ever cryptocurrency rebounded once again.
“What if it goes up again? What if I put everything I had into this? I could get rich and never work another day in corporate America,” Conway thought to himself.
Conway was still leery, his all-in attitude could be viewed as destructive, and his self-proclaimed addictive personality had already brought him plenty of hardships throughout his life.
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But later, Conway convinced his wife Eileen to allow him to invest a sizable chunk of their life savings into Ethereum, which was only $14 at the time. Conway walked himself to a local Wells Fargo and wired enough funds to Gemini to buy 6,993 ETH.
Following the DAO hack, Ethereum’s price tanked, and Conway’s $100,000 investment quickly became worth less than $40,000, losing 60% of his life savings in what felt like an instant.
Then what Conway did next was an incredible risk, and while it paid off for the early Ethereum adopter, it could have gone terribly wrong.
With Ethereum prices at a then low, Conway borrowed $200,000 against his home’s equity and used it to buy another almost 20,000 Ethereum, taking his buy-in price to just $11.21 per ETH.
After the hack, Ethereum’s price went on a parabolic run fueled largely in part by the ICO boom and crypto hype bubble, and of course, with some help from Bitcoin bringing attention to the young market.
In just four months’ time, that $300,000 investment rocketed to a valuation of over $6 million. Conway recounts how some days he’d check his portfolio tracking app, to see his overall holdings rise or fall by $1 million in a single day.
Conway says he felt orgasmic-like euphoria at times when viewing his holdings, comparing it to “a narcotic, shooting up my brain with boosts of dopamine and serotonin.”
But when prices fell, he recalled snapping at his children, donning a hoodie, and suffered from panic attacks. Conway was even fired from his job of over six years.
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Conway eventually cashed out for a total of $13 million, paid off his home, took a trip to Africa that he and his wife had always dreamt of, and even bought a second home in Ireland.
Conway’s story is uncommon and chalks it all up to a lot of luck. But there’s no denying that Conway took a major gamble on crypto, and while it paid off handsomely, it could have resulted in complete loss of not only his investment, but his home, his job, and possibly his family.
Conway says that while he has returned to normal life since he often lies awake “thinking back on the rush of the market”. He says he misses it “like hell.”