Growing up, I was a big fan of Conan the Barbarian.

Swords, magic, Schwarzenegger – the perfect combination for 11-year-old me.

In the film, Conan falls foul of the villain, Thulsa Doom. He is sentenced to crucifixion. But not any old crucifixion. He must be crucified on the Tree of Woe.

This barbarous fate has always been held in my mind as the ultimate suffering.

Until yesterday… when I spotted this stomach-churning post on the web forum, Reddit:

“Financially ruined. Learn from my mistakes.”

Naturally, I was intrigued.

The poster’s entry reads thus:

People say don’t out all your eggs in one basket but I believed in the project so much that I did. I put everything I had in crypto investment (50% of my life savings) into nano near ATH. As the price started dropping, I put in the remaining 50% of my life savings to dollar cost average because I genuinely believed that with the rebranding, binance announcement, I would see a profit but the price kept dropping.

I was an idiot to buy using bitgrail instead of kucoin and now I have officially lost everything due to the alleged hack. I wish I could have withdrawn to my wallet but withdrawals were disabled.

I was also an idiot to put in more than I could lose. Money I had saved up by working so hard. I lost $120,000.

Please don’t do what I did. Please be cautious with your investments, diversify, and don’t invest more than you are willing to lose. I know we all think that won’t happen but you can…like I did…your money, your happiness and most importantly, your mental health.

This is so depressing. I feel so defeated in life. This was money that was going to go to my further education, my wedding, honeymoon, any travel plans, my downpayment. This puts me back at least 7-8 years in my life.

Burn the Tree of Woe! What this crypto-gambler must be feeling must be far, far worse. Thulsa Doom take note… sentence your next victim to staking his life savings into a promising coin on a dodgy exchange like BitGrail.

This level of regret is my new high-water mark of ultimate suffering.

What makes it so galling is that it’s an entirely avoidable experience. But one we can learn from. Because it illustrates an important point about investing your money. Be smart. Be disciplined. Even in the greatest bull run the world has ever seen, you can dig yourself into a deep dark hole. Chasing losses, investing emotionally, staking more than you can afford to lose begs for disaster.

Now isn’t the time for wild risk taking – this isn’t a trolley dash. Now is the time for careful and considered wealth accumulation.

This week alone has seen a number of key developments in the crypto sector that make me more confident than ever about its future as a key financial asset.

With the most important of them all being…

The rise of self-regulation

For cryptos to be taken seriously by the mainstream investment horde, they need further legitimisation.

The way to do that is, obviously, regulation.

In place of traditional financial authorities providing clarity and guidance, the cryptos are doing it themselves.

Seven of the largest crypto companies around are forming a UK cryptocurrency trade . It’s called CryptoUK and includes both Coinbase and eToro – two of the biggest household names in the crypto-verse.

This isn’t just a movement taking root in the UK either, as reported on bitcoin.com:

The number of cryptocurrency exchanges participating in self-regulation has nearly doubled in South Korea. The crypto self-regulation efforts are led by the Korean Blockchain Association which has recently launched with 66 members. The association also plans to develop standard price indices for the main cryptocurrencies.

Korea is a vibrant crypto hub and a corner of the world where the authorities are actively engaged with crypto exchanges and investors. As this tweet confirms, Korea is leading the way when it comes to providing structure to crypto as a financial asset:

 tweet that confirms, Korea is leading the way when it comes to providing structure to crypto as a financial asset: tweet that confirms, Korea is leading the way when it comes to providing structure to crypto as a financial asset:

This week has also seen an interesting wrinkle in the initial coin offering (ICO) market… with the Russian Blockchain Association launching a “guarantee system” for ICO funding.

As reported in Cointelegraph:

For those looking to raise funds via ICO, the ICO-hub system makes it possible to accept both crypto and fiat — an escrow account is opened with Globex for accepting fiat money, and a CrowdHub wallet opened for accepting cryptocurrency.

The idea is that the use of escrow accounts provides both parties with guarantees. I don’t know if this will work or provide real levels of improved security… but the goal here is obviously to inspire confidence among investors.

There’s a race going on right now between nations including Russia, Korea, Singapore, Gibraltar and Portugal to become to cryptos what Switzerland is to banking… or what Silicon Valley is to tech. A sympathetic haven.

They can see the immense value of grabbing a slice of a new and fast-rising financial asset class.

Now is not the time to crucify yourself on the Tree of Woe by chucking all your money on one hit-or-miss crypto.

If crypto investing is for you… set yourself up with some core cryptos. Seek a deep long-term reward, don’t chase a short-term high.

It’s a briefing that shows you how to download something I put together with my colleagues Sam Volkering and Eoin Treacy – The 2018 Crypto Roadmap.

You can find out which five cryptos we recommend you buy and hold on to. And one to avoid at all costs.

Don’t leap blindly into this market. Take a cautious but ambitious approach.

Harry Hamburg
Editor, Exponential Investor

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