Why did I, like so many others of my generation, fall for crypto?

No other generation had to constantly try to shortcut their way to financial security in the way ours does (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Dogecoin falls to new low due to blockchain revelation.’

The above sentence shouldn’t cause me to bend over and let out a guttural squeal of pain.

I should regard that bizarre sequence of words for what it is – gibberish, nonsense, the transcript of the babblings of an idiot, rather than a genuinely frightening headline that has a huge impact on my finances. And yet here we are. 

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency named after a meme of a Japanese dog that was popular 10 years ago. The new low referred to in that headline is Dogecoin’s current market price of 0.056 pounds, its lowest valuation in years.

And the last bit of the sentence, the blockchain revelation… well unfortunately I can’t tell you what that means.

I don’t know if it really needs saying, but I didn’t do an awful lot of research before plunging a large amount of my savings into Dogecoin, or Bitcoin, or any of the other little made up tokens I emptied my Help To Buy ISA for. 

Perhaps I should have known that the wave had already crashed, that the winners of the crypto race had already passed the finish line by the time I invested and that it was doomed to fail.

But I and many of my mates all plunged our savings into these currencies. And now, due to a blockchain not doing whatever a blockchain is supposed to do, we’re all in a bit of a pickle. 

I should say the money I threw into crypto wasn’t a huge amount, for which I’m thankful, and I only invested in crypto currencies rather than NFTs, for which I’m really thankful.

A friend of mine invested quite a decent amount of money into a cartoon of an ill looking man, an NFT known as a ‘Dead Fella’. 

As the value of the NFT rose, each week we would excitedly ask our friend via our group chat ‘how’s your Fella? What’s he worth now?’ he’d excitedly tell us each week how the value had gone up by thousands, how he had no intention of selling, how he was going to ride this thing to the very top!…

Until the crash inevitably came.

Our friend became sheepish, even cagey, when asked about his Fella. Most recently when someone asked how his Fella was doing, our friend just replied ‘dead’.

And this friend isn’t an idiot – he actually works in finance. It may look daft now, throwing huge amounts of money at cartoons and currencies named after memes, but thousands of my generation genuinely believed it to be our golden ticket.

It sounds mad, but then the alternative is even madder. How else are we supposed to get to a level of financial comfort?

You could throw everything into a Help To Buy ISA, save diligently, create spreadsheets to help with the budgeting, and even then you’ll afford a small skip in Zone 9, and the money you save on no longer paying rent will only end up getting spent on trying to heat the skip (one of the downsides of living in skips, I imagine, is that the metal exterior is a conductor rather than an insulator of heat).

The bottom rung has been cut off the housing market, wages aren’t going up, food is expensive because a bus convinced us to leave the European Union and petrol is now more expensive than champagne. 

No other generation had to constantly try to shortcut their way to financial security in the way ours does. Our parents could just do a job, get reasonably good at it, and be paid enough to live a life they were happy with.

We’re permanently looking for a way to find extra income, trade our way up, and not to necessarily live a life of luxury, but merely to have the things that previous generations took for granted – a house of our own, the ability to holiday, enough savings to feel comfortable starting a family.

It’s not just cryptos and NFTs. Watch any group of lads down your local pub next time the football is on, and try and count how many are betting. It’s constant. Young men glued to their phone, permanently gambling on sport. I go to the Emirates to watch Arsenal whenever I can, and that’s not a cheap ticket. 

I’m always staggered by just how many people around me are glued to their phones, betting on OTHER GAMES OF FOOTBALL. NOT EVEN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL THEY’VE PAID ONE HUNDRED POUNDS TO ATTEND. THIS IS THE EXTENT OF OUR GAMBLING PROBLEM.

Outside of sport, social media shows a similar desperation to try to shortcut your way to financial freedom. Instagram is awash with ‘Forex Traders’, young men who have learned the tricks of the Forex currency markets, who are keen to show off their cars and holidays, and for a small fee, can help you dive into the market and create a fake little life of your own. 

As the cost of living crisis continues, house prices spiral, inflation hits new highs and a recession looms, there’s no reason for any of this to stop.

We laugh now at the Dogecoins and the Dead Fellas, but within weeks we’ll have found a new lottery to enter, and we can only hope that this time, it’s slightly less embarrassing than losing all your savings on a coin named after a meme dog.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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