Even If I'm Right Eventually, It's Not Right Enough

professorgerm - [original thread]

The best time to have bought doge/eth/bitcoin was last year, but even today things are going higher. Do you expect it to crash at any point in the near future? Or is this just the new normal as the meme grows exponentially and fomo drags more and more people in?

Wouldn't the best time would've been when Bitcoin was trading for less than a penny? But most sane (I mean that quite literally) people that bought it at those prices probably predicted it to collapse long before it got where it is now, and would've got out rather than hold - excuse me for typing correctly- hodl, so... If I were to give advice on bitcoin, I would also suggest doing the exact opposite of what I say, so I'll skip the advice altogether.

I hope you don't mind that, rather than try to give a direct answer, I piggyback for a question of my own?

Was bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency, but let's focus on big poppa) predictably good?

Or was it more chance than anything- irrational, but practically profitable?

I, like I think many here, am a "bitcoin regretter." The kind of person that heard of bitcoin pretty early on (I distinctly remember it being around... 10-20$? which would've been sometime in 2012) but dismissed it as absurd, ridiculous, wasteful, and would fizzle out (I'm thinking of ExtraBurdensomeCount's recollection of Seti@home, given I did something similar when I could've been mining alt-coins I'd dismissed; alas!). Seti@home fizzled, similar programs for protein-folding fizzed and have now been usurped by AlphaFold, and yet Bitcoin et al are still going strong.

The Wizard and the Prophet comes to mind, a dual-biography of Norman Borlaug (of dwarf wheat fame) and the pessimistic, Malthusian William Vogt. Pretty interesting book, that touches on but I think spends too little time on Vogt being wrong only by sake of a nearly-literal miracle. Borlaug's dwarf wheat had been reduced to a single test plot and a handful of seeds; with a slightly different storm pattern his efforts would've failed, and Vogt would've been correct in just how bad the famines would become. You can get everything right, and still fail, from your "unknown unknowns."

For better or worse, I continue to cling to a position that the valuations would suggest is blatantly wrong- I still think it's absurd, ridiculous, wasteful, and will fizzle out eventually. But I've been wrong about Bitcoin for 10 years- even if I'm right eventually, it's not right enough to be useful. I think it's fantastically stupid, but a lot of people have gotten fantastically rich on stupid things before, they are now, they will again in the future. It is self-congratulatory to think this, I know. In turn I have down-graded both my own confidence and wisdom, and my opinion of humanity.

Bitcoin is, to me, a highlight of two camps of "rationality": "rationality is systematized winning" as opposed to (in fact directly opposed to) a "rationality is the Search for capital-T Truth." What's the phrase, instrumental versus epistemic? The TRUTH may be that Bitcoin is as stupid as I think- but if enough suckers are born every minute, that's still valuable. I prized epistemic, and because of that, I missed out on what was either (or both) one of the largest, most-accessible events of wealth creation, or one of the largest bubbles/con-schemes.