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How I more than doubled my Bitcoin investment in 2023 (and still lost money)

It's becoming a New Year's Day tradition to check in on the value of my amusing little Bitcoin investment. How did I do this year? Read on.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
2 Bitcoins
spawns/Getty Images

On January 1, 2022 -- two years ago now -- I began my Bitcoin journey (and documented it for all to read). I invested a full fifty bucks (plus fees). The gimmick (as if the $50 amount itself wasn't enough of a gimmick!) was that I used PayPal as my crypto bank of choice.

PayPal made the process fairly painless, and Bitcoin made the process a money pit. One year later, at the beginning of 2023, I checked in on my Bitcoin investment, only to discover that the value had since crashed to $17.42, a loss of 65.94%.

Also: How much did I lose on my 2022 bitcoin investment? It's complicated

But the story wasn't as simple as that loss would have implied. As the following chart shows, had you invested $1,000 at the beginning of 2022 in many of the tech stocks, you would have lost money. In fact, that same $1,000 invested in either Tesla or Facebook parent Meta would have resulted in almost the exact same loss percentage as Bitcoin.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

2023 performance

This year, my Bitcoin portfolio value increased by 250%. My $17.42 grew to a whopping $44.89 over the year. True, it's still down 12.24% from the original fifty-dollar investment, but it does show that year-over-year, holding onto my Bitcoin riches was a worthwhile move.

Now, here's the big question. Did Bitcoin again track with the tech stocks? Let's take a look.

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

It sure did. In 2022, when the tech stocks all crashed, so did Bitcoin. In 2023, when the tech stocks rallied, so did Bitcoin.

This also tracks with the overall major index performance. Here, in 2022, all three major indexes were down from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022:

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Now compare that with 2023 performance:

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

All three indexes show strong gains from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.

What's it all mean?

It's time for some very important disclaimers. I don't do many investments and I am not an investment authority. I'm just showing you data I noticed. Do not take this as investment advice, because it isn't.

Got it? Good.

Separating out the question of what caused the stocks to dive or fly, let's instead take a minute to look at the relationship of the stocks to Bitcoin. It sure seems that Bitcoin doesn't perform independently of other stocks, in the sense that if stocks are rising, so might Bitcoin. And if stocks are falling, so might Bitcoin.

Also: These 5 major tech advances of 2023 were the biggest game-changers

I don't know if that makes Bitcoin any more or less risky than any other investment, although my big beef about all cryptocurrency is that you're investing in absolutely nothing real.

At least, when you invest in Tesla, you're investing in a company with epic factories. When you invest in Apple, you're investing in a company with epic productizing skills. And so on.

But when you're investing in Bitcoin, you're investing in an algorithm. I'm not a huge fan. And while I'm rolling in the big bucks from my $27.47 profit year-over-year, I'm not going to just squander that twenty-seven bucks on a knitted Star Trek scarf (that's on sale for $27 from its regular price of $39).

I'm going to let it ride. Maybe next year, my investment might break even, and I can get my whole $50 back. Or, if it crashes to the floor, I'll have an excuse for another New Year's Day Bitcoin article.

Also: Bill Gates predicts a 'massive technology boom' from AI coming soon

Did I mention that you shouldn't use me for investing advice? I mean it. Get advice from someone who really knows what they're doing. Okay? Oh, and Happy 2024! We've got a lot of great stuff planned for the next year here on the pages of ZDNET. So stay tuned, live long, and prosper.

Did you invest in Bitcoin in 2023? Did it work out for you? Are you planning any other cryptocurrency investments or have you had any experiences with doing so? Let us know in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack, and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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