13 May 2014, Melbourne Australia. Time to try a new exchange. Thus far we’ve used MtGox, Mintpal, Cryptsy. These had been fraught with turmoil — some of which we weren’t to find out about until some time later.
We set up an account with ‘Bittrex’. Actually, we set up two accounts. This is something we commonly do on exchanges. We hedge our bets by holding crypto in multiple accounts. Having been stung by account theft before, we found it manageable and a bit safer.
Bittrex seemed to be pretty reliable. It worked fast enough. Had a decent system. Support was quick to answer queries. Remember this was 2014, well before the mainstream caught wind of cryptocurrencies.
We did a little trading in some StealthCoin, Cloakcoin and Darkcoin that we’d got a hold of throughout the year.
Ed note: Darkcoin back then had seen some pretty wild price swings. We’d traded in and out around the $1–5 range. Nothing huge, but enough for a small profit. Darkcoin went on to become Dash. Enough said.
But towards the end of 2014 none of these coins had much value to them. We threw things on the backburner and mostly left it alone.
We kept coming back to our Bittrex account every now and then. We sold out of most of our positions and withdrew most of our funds from Bittrex. We had a few fragments of BTC lying around, nothing much really.
Then we came back to Bittrex.
Reward for stupidity
Around May 2015 we found an ‘altcoin’ project we liked the look of. It seemed like they had a good idea. Looked like the team was pretty solid. We thought there was a bit of potential. The price was also going nuts. It had almost double what it had been 10 days earlier.
Maybe this was the start of something. So we bought in.
We weren’t exactly big spenders back then. And with our fragments of bitcoin we amassed a total of 6,082 of this altcoin called ‘Ripple’ (XRP).
At that point we probably paid over the odds. It was trading for 0.00004100BTC on Bittrex. But we bought in anyway. At the time Bitcoin was trading for roughly US$237. That meant each of our ripple altcoins cost us a whopping 0.009717 US cents.
And if you’re good at maths you’ll realise 6,082 (and a bit) XRP costs us a grand total of US$59.10.
Told you we weren’t heavy hitters…
We then moved on to other things. The price of our ripple had done nothing in those few months. We lost interest in it.
We didn’t really think much of it for the next year. Then we came back to Bittrex again in 2016, using our other account. We’d been trading a bit more bitcoin in and out and then ethereum and then a bunch of other altcoins. Some small profits, some small loses.
Again, it wasn’t anything huge. Not like we were about to become the third Winklevoss…
As we’d been trading more in our other Bittrex account, we somehow managed to completely forget about our first Bittrex account. You know, the one with ripple in it.
Then around four weeks ago we tried logging into Bittrex again. For some reason we typed in the email address we’d used to register back in 2014.
But then we hit a roadblock. We’d set up two-factor authentication on the account. But we’d done it with a phone we’d had from 2014. Thinking back through our previous phones we fast realised we didn’t have that one any more.
It had gone to the smartphone gods, along with our Google 2FA codes. And because we didn’t think of it at the time, we didn’t record our 2FA backup code anywhere.
We then had to go through the laborious process of contacting Bittrex support. Except today it’s much slower than it was in 2014. The sheer weight of numbers trying to get onto these exchanges now is off the chart.
We had to wait. We then also had to prove it was our account. One of the questions was, ‘what’s the value of the account’. And to be fair, we didn’t know. Actually we were pretty sure it had a zero balance in it. A value of US$0.
And that’s what we told the Bittrex support. But then they came back to us and said they valued the account at over US$1,000. We’d have to provide some ID.
Bummer. We figured maybe they took their value estimations from historical trading. And we’d traded over US$1,000 in there over the years.
We obliged and gave them our ID docs. They disabled the 2FA after a lot of too-and-fro. Finally we could jump into our old Bittrex account. Why? We weren’t sure. At this point it was just to prove we could get access and use it if need be.
Then we clicked on the ‘Wallet’ tab. And to our surprise, sitting there all cherry ripe was 6,082 ripple.
Nice one. Happy days.
A timely reminder
This all went down about three weeks ago.
And to our pleasant surprise this was now worth over US$1,000. Bittrex support was right!
And then we tried to withdraw those ripple. No good. Account suspended. Since disabling the 2FA, Bittrex also suspended the account. That means no trading XRP, no withdrawing it. Not happy.
Ed note: we’re still trying to get our Bittrex account enabled to withdraw our XRP.
And then over the last week we’ve been kind of glad we haven’t been able to touch our ripple.
What was around US$1,500 a week and a half ago is now worth US$5,015. Thanks to completely forgetting about a Bittrex account, we are sitting on an 8,368% return on our initial US$59.10 outlay.
It’s the biggest reward we’ve ever had for being stupid.
But it’s also a timely reminder.
Crypto is a long-term game. We’ve done the trading in and out before. Its time consuming and stressful. It’s not for us. Plenty of people make a killing off it. Good for them.
For us, if you see the big picture, stick to the big picture. We’ve seen it with crypto repeatedly. The short-term volatility is bananas. But long term, these things have the potential to deliver gains you’d rarely seen in any other opportunity.
We’re playing the long game. With our ripple windfall and with our other crypto. Our plan is to hold one for at least another 5–10 years, and see what happens. We may end up in a stinking pile of worthless bits and bytes. Or we’ll be crypto millionaires.
We’ll find out soon enough.
Editor, Secret Crypto Network