We’ve all heard it a hundred times: if you bought one Bitcoin for yourself for a December 2012 Christmas present, thinking, “Why not, the Mayan calendar ends and we are all going to die,” you would have forked over a meaningless $13. And for that measly $13, your single Bitcoin would be worth around $8,000 today.  That’s just Bitcoin. What about all these other cryptocurrencies? How rich would you be today if you sunk $10,000 in one of these start-ups issuing new digital coins out of nowhere? There are literally hundreds of them. Coinmarketcap lists 1,510 to be exact. Most are tied to new tech start-ups issuing their own coins.

In 2013, a blockchain company focused on fintech called RippleNet did an initial coin offering (ICO) and sold their coin (XRP) at a discounted rate. It was worth less than half a penny.  On January 4, at its peak, it was worth $3.65. Let’s say you put $10,000 to work in XRP when it launched its ICO; you would be the proud owner of roughly two million ripples. If you forgot you even had those coins, and surely never had any use for them on their Ripple Network, a service only for financial institutions, you’d be happy to discover that your two million ripple was worth $7.3 million at their peak last month.  Those coins are worth just $0.75 cents now, but your two million ripple is still valued at $1.5 million. You’re a millionaire in cold hard cash in five years time. Good luck doing that in the stock market.

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