BTCC Founder, Author Bobby Lee
- Bobby Lee poured over a decade of experience into his new book, “The Promise of Bitcoin”.
- In an exclusive interview, Lee shares his take on bitcoin and its latest price swings.
- He believes volatility is worth the risk and investors need to manage their emotions.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Bobby Lee knew bitcoin before you did.
In 2011, Lee was living in Shanghai while working as vice president of management for Walmart’s Chinese e-commerce department. One day, he received a phone call from his brother, a software engineer at Google, who told Lee about an exciting and esoteric new idea called Bitcoin.
Bitcoin had only been around for two years at that time, and the circle of people who knew it was still relatively small. Fascinated, Lee built his own mining platform and began to learn more about cryptocurrency. In 2012, Lee quit his job at Walmart and made bitcoin his full-time career, mining bitcoin at home and trading it on an exchange website called BTCChina.com, later known as from BTCC. The site was easy to use but clearly needed a coding twist, and Lee, with his background in running consumer e-commerce sites, knew he could help.
Lee contacted the two BTCC owners and met them for dinner. Dinner turned into a late-night cafe as the three exchanged ideas and discussed the future of bitcoin, and it became clear that Lee’s expertise could take the fledgling site to the next level. Over the next few months, Lee bought shares of BTCC, assumed the role of CEO, and helped lead the exchange through a half-decade of impressive growth. Eventually, BTCC would become the oldest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
By the time Lee became CEO, bitcoin was worth $ 15.
In January 2018, BTCC was acquired by a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment fund. Just a month earlier, bitcoin had hit what was then an all-time high of $ 19,834 – and given that bitcoin started 2017 at just over $ 1,000, it was the end of an impressive run for the cryptocurrency.
Turns out that was indeed the end of Bitcoin’s race, and by December 2018, the cryptocurrency had dropped back down to $ 3,700. Lee was able to sell at the top of the market and walk away, dividing his focus between starting a crypto holding company called Ballet and writing his book.
This book, “The Promise of Bitcoin: The Future of Money and How It Can Work for You,” came out this week, and the timing couldn’t be better. Not only does May 2021 mark Lee’s 10th anniversary of getting involved in the wild world of bitcoin, but bitcoin itself has found a new place in the financial zeitgeist that not even Lee could have predicted.
Don’t be afraid of volatility
These days, the rise of bitcoin in 2017 and the subsequent fall the following year seems almost obsolete. Over the past year and a half, bitcoin has hit shocking highs and dropped to devastating lows that could scare off potential investors. But Lee thinks that’s the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
“If you have any ideas for buying bitcoin, now is definitely a good time, because this is a price correction,” says Lee.
While all eyes are on the price of bitcoin, Lee believes most people don’t really think about their investments in terms of facts and figures. Instead, they let emotions like fear cloud their judgment and corrode their logic.
“Some people always say, ‘I would have waited for the price to drop a bit before I bought. “Well, mathematically and financially it makes sense. But it doesn’t make emotional sense, because often when the price drops people lose their emotional interest.”
Lee told Insider that in conversations with friends last month, he was asked if they should buy $ 60,000 bitcoin. He said yes, but his friends hesitated, believing that $ 60,000 was too expensive. But now that bitcoin costs $ 38,000, it’s a lot cheaper, but these same friends have been scared of the volatility and are no longer interested in buying.
“The best time to buy Bitcoin is always now, in the sense that whenever you have the most conviction, whenever you have the most willpower to do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, no. ‘right? The price might go up, it might go down, you might lose your interest. You might lose your conviction. “
The problem, says Lee, is that people equate volatility with risk. They look at bitcoin’s high volatility over the past month and think that means cryptocurrency is a risky investment, but according to Lee, that’s not the right way to look at it.
“People have a bad connotation with risk. But at the same time, if the volatility and the expected return are high, it’s worth it.” While Lee acknowledges that bitcoin fell 50% last week, he also points out that bitcoin has risen 10 times over the past year.
Some of the world’s most famous investors, such as Warren Buffett, have decried bitcoin as “risky” and even “worthless” – and his right-hand man Charlie Munger has gone so far as to call bitcoin “disgusting” and “contrary to the interest of civilization. Meanwhile, other major investors are increasingly bullish on bitcoin, with Ray Dalio recently announcing that he rather own a bitcoin than a bond.
It’s clear that opinions are divided on bitcoin, but Lee believes the key to making a decision about cryptocurrency is to learn as much as possible about bitcoin. According to Lee, only by better understanding bitcoin will you be able to see how much of a game-changer cryptocurrency is, which in turn will give you a longer-term perspective and allow you to ignore volatility. short term.
“You have to spend time learning more about Bitcoin, its technology, its engineering, its economics, its philosophy, its politics. When you’ve really learned this, it all starts to make sense. “
Reading Lee’s book is a great place to start.