Steven soon saw the potential of Bitcoin, but his addiction to buying and selling cryptocurrencies caused him to lose his wallet worth more than $410,000.
Steven was born and raised in Shetland, a remote peninsula in northern England. He dropped out of school when he turned 13 and became a fisherman, then switched to construction with a salary of 116,000 USD/year. Although considered a success, his obsession with cryptocurrency trading, accompanied by alcohol and drugs, engulfed his life.
Early discovery of Bitcoin’s potential and a talent for trading helped Steven get rich quickly, but in the midst of his addictions, he lost a wallet address containing about 10 Bitcoins, with a current value of more than 410,000 USD.
“Cryptocurrency trading is like gambling, no doubt. I study and learn, teaching myself to be a good trader. I really try to manage accounts and maintain a set of rules. However, my mind always urges me to put all my money into investments, I think I will soon become a Bitcoin millionaire,” Steven said.
The coins illustrate the popular virtual currencies in the world today. Photo: Reuters.
The coins illustrate the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. Photo: Reuters
Steven is in rehab and rehab in Scotland. He expressed fear that young people will be lured into high-risk transactions, accompanied by the risk of addiction by promises of wealth.
“An entire generation thinks they can win, can beat the market with just a small cell phone. I dread that,” he said.
Steven’s worries stem from the rapid popularity of cryptocurrencies to the masses. When he first invested in 2015, cryptocurrencies were almost meaningless to everyone. They are now hailed as an alternative to the traditional financial system.
Some digital asset trading platforms are regulated in the UK, but cryptocurrencies and tokens are not. Heads of digital asset companies do not need to prove they are competent and trustworthy enough to manage other people’s money, nor do they have to maintain cash to pay investors in the event of bankruptcy.
Amid the lack of oversight, many experts fear that cautionary tales about crypto addiction syndrome like Steven’s will be drowned out in the midst of positive messages.
Dr. Anna Lembke, a lecturer in psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine (USA), mentioned the impact of social networks when promoting more people to participate in cryptocurrency trading activities, with many signs similar to gambling addiction but does not clearly represent the risk.
“When you combine social media with financial platforms, you create a very powerful drug,” she commented, arguing that posts about cryptocurrencies on social media create a fear of missing out. (FOMO) and drive more market participants.
“The psychology of the crowd makes people talk about the same topic, win and lose together and share very strong emotions, causing the brain to produce dopamine, followed by a lack of dopamine to stimulate them to find their feelings again. previous sense,” Lembke said.
Dopamine is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, playing an important role in the brain and body. Many people call dopamine the “happy hormone” because it has good effects on the mind and body, but not a good thing if done too often.
This mirrors many of the same characteristics as gambling but with one key difference. “It’s less stigmatized. Cryptocurrency trading is considered something that only the wise and daring would dare do,” Dr. Lembke said.
GamCare, which operates a hotline to support gamblers in the UK, says it receives around 20 calls a week related to cryptocurrencies. There are people who admit they trade cryptocurrencies 16 hours a day, suffer heavy losses and struggle with guilt.
Many people also suffer the adverse effects of their loved one’s crypto addiction. One said her husband’s obsession with trading caused him to spend less and less time with his family. Another person turns to virtual currency while recovering from alcohol addiction and then spends the day just trading in the market.
GamCare used to take in young patients who bought cryptocurrencies in the hope of increasing their income and possessions, but then lost the entire money that could have changed their lives.
The first drug addict appeared at Castle Craig, where Steven is being treated, in 2016. The facility has accepted more than 100 people since then. “More and more people are quarantined because of Covid-19 and are looking to trade virtual currencies. The number of patients has increased 10 times since 2016, what will happen in 5 years?”, Tony Marina, expert Castle Craig’s Top Therapist, Reviews.