“I am moving my money to Bitcoins.” Dawud said with the sternness of a father correcting his prodigal son, as he shuffled some papers on his desk while avoiding eye contact with me. “Actually, just N8million of it. I heard it is highly profitable.” He looked up as he finished the sentence, the conspiratory twinkle in his eye beginning to shape his face for a smile, like he had just divulged an age long secret to me.
My demeanor must have been the reason that smile did not form on his face, I was shattered and I showed it.
Dawud is one of the pillars of my newfound marketing career and that was why I was in his office this sunny March afternoon asking- no, begging him to increase his deposit with my Bank. I had reasoned that with the forthcoming lull in business activities occasioned by the rumored lock-down due to the pandemic, there would be cash to mop up since his offices will be closed. This Bitcoins story was a shocker.
I tried to make sense of his decision, as the ramification of another MPR of not meeting my monthly target made my head spin. His was the second office I was visiting today even though I had planned to stay in the office and delete unread mails to make space for the those that will come during the lock-down. His will be my second disappointment if I didn’t find a way to change the story, or at least make a personal score by riding this Bitcoins investment wagon with him.
The last word he said had something to do with “Profit”- my buzz word, so you would expect me to ask questions concerning this so called opportunity to make massive profits. I did.
“What entry point are you looking at? How long do you intend to hold? What margin of profit do you envisage? Why do you think it will peak? Is there a particular reason you are choosing Bitcoin and no other coins?...”
I was breathless in my excitement and left my one man audience bewildered. He answered my last question first with a question of his own “Is there any other coin apart from Bitcoin? I don’t understand.”
The ensuing silence was deafening. We both looked embarrassed, mine stemmed from his.
I know that people use the term Bitcoin as a generic name for crypto currencies and that is why I asked my question thus. I was embarrassed that someone who was ready to invest- or dare I say gamble- over $18,000 did not know the basics of crypto currency.
Further discussions revealed that my customer knew less than the basics of crypto currency and was thinking of moving his funds there because one of his club members mentioned it to his hearing. In his words, “I can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that this pandemic will present.” He even quoted the popular misinterpretation used by motivational speakers of how the Chinese character for crisis means danger and opportunity.
This is the problem. A lot of business people have been conditioned to believe that in every crisis there is an opportunity for them to make stupendous profit. MBA professors, religious leaders and motivational speakers (most of whom have never been involved in running a business during a pandemic) have played a major role in assuring business men of their infallibility and how a disruption is tailor-made for their advancement. They conveniently forget to add that it is only opportunity meets preparedness that progress is guaranteed. The statistics of failed businesses in times like this is also left out for obvious reasons- it’s a downer.
Hence men like my dear customer who do not want to miss out will most likely become the statistics of loss in times of economic downturns as this because they continue to believe in activity and risk taking no matter how badly prepared or ignorant they are of the risks they are about to take. While this pandemic period in economic history will most likely produce opportunities for a lot of businesses who are prepared to identify and seize them, a good percentage of businesses will fail while the others would have to content themselves with the ability to adapt and survive the economic uncertainties that come with a never before experienced medical emergency of this magnitude.
This, more than anything, should be a guide to making investments in this period- the degree of preparedness for the opportunities that will arise and not the fear of missing out nor the boredom that arises from a lull in business activities.
Well, Dawud promised to get back to me on his Bitcoins research.
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