Over the last 48 hours, many crypto participants went full tilt.
This describes the emotional experience of losing control as you engage in destructive behavior.
We’ve all seen it inside and outside of markets. The recovering alcoholic who just got fired from his job and is marching straight to the liquor store. The 70 year old at the blackjack table at 5am trying to use his credit card at the ATM. The crypto trader at the bottom of a never ending capitulation, market selling anything that he can find in MetaMask.
Seeing someone go full tilt is very uncomfortable. There is a cold look in their eyes that seeks nothing but pain relief. Seeing it in person is truly terrifying — there is nothing funny about watching someone self destruct in real time.
Last night I saw someone go full tilt in a Discord community. It’s bizarre to watch someone be self aware of this happening yet continue to liquidate everything they own at a massive loss. This person was telling us what he was doing, how stupid it was and how he couldn’t stop.
This happens during any big drawdown. Most of it happens in silence, behind the anonymity of Ethereum addresses, the quiet screams of desperation never to be heard by another soul. The only thing worse than the capital loss is the embarrassment of being found out.
Even more painful is when it happens right before a major relief bounce, reinforcing the truth that you are the worst trader on Earth, that you’ll never make it and you should quit forever.
Trading crypto tends to attract people pre-disposed to going full tilt. The volatility is digital cocaine. Watching your net worth move double digits every day is as addictive as heroin. A champagne supernova on the way up, Mariana trench diving on the way down.
I bring this up because there are people reading this post right now who went full tilt yesterday. There are people who will go full tilt in the weeks to come. For you, my silent suffering friend, I hope to offer some help.
- If you have already puked your positions and are experiencing that numbness that comes directly after doing so, know that you are in the most dangerous place possible for making decisions. Your brain is on overdrive to find dopamine and endogenous morphine by any means necessary. The answers you seek do not lie in the markets, they are outside, in nature, away from the computer and phone. You need to close the computer (assuming you have no leverage) and walk away for the next 24 hours. You must do this. Full stop. Failure to do this will result in nothing but tears.
- Tell someone what happened. Some people feel more comfortable telling people they know, others feel more comfortable telling people they don’t know. Pain needs a witness to be released from the body. The simple act of giving this a voice will allow you to move on. If you don’t have someone to tell, you can send me a direct message on Twitter. I won’t tell anyone. If you’re embarrassed, create a new Twitter account and message me from there.
- As the Big Lebowski reminds us — “Nothing is Fucked, man.” It may seem like the world is ending and that your future is hopeless. It may seem like your entire year was a huge fucking waste of time. It may feel like you are a loser who will never get ahead in life. None of these things are true. Just like you didn’t know crypto existed a few years ago, your entire life could change for the better in the next few years. Anything is still possible, including the most triumphant return to greatness you ever dreamed of. This too shall pass. You must believe this. I know because it has happened to me time and time again.
- If you have not gone full tilt yet but are sitting on a position or portfolio that could put you in a position to go full tilt, now is the time to re-evaluate. Be ice cold about selling losers if you need to, even if it’s 10% of the position. That’s better than dumping 100% if it keeps going down. If you feel any sense of discomfort now, if you are having a hard time thinking straight, that is a signal. Adjust your positions to keep your head straight. Stop worrying that you’ll miss the bounce — you can always buy back in.
- Spend as little time alone as possible. Go see some friends or family or sit in a park. Go into Discord or Slack or Telegram and talk to people about anything. Go on Twitch or join Twitter Spaces or do something that feels like you’re in a community. Get out of your own head, let time heal your pain.
For many of you, this post will seem silly or unnecessary. It may even bring up feelings of anger as you think about how weak people who go full tilt in crypto are.
But this isn’t for you. This is for the one person out there who needs to know that it’s going to be ok. For you, my friend and partner, I am letting you know that it will all work out. It really will.
Watching this guy melt down last night brought back a lot of memories from 2018 and 2019. What doesn’t make it to the headlines of Coin Telegraph is the stories about people whose lives were ruined because of that bear market.
Sometimes it was through material means like relationships ending or having to sell a house or putting life plans on pause.
But the more evil impact was the fear it instilled in so many. The deep seated feeling of being a loser. The constant feeling that the rug is going to be pulled out. The death of an optimism that many had only felt for the first time after 2017.
Sometimes it resulted in the final, un-reversible capitulation.
Everyone in crypto has or will experience some flavor of going full tilt. If you don’t, you’re not playing hard enough (and that’s probably a good thing).
For those that do, I hope this post offers a moment of relief from the onslaught of negative energy you are experiencing.
The future is bright. Opportunities will return. With every major selloff comes and new wave of crypto innovation and 100x trades.
This too shall pass.