Personal Crypto Journey Since 2017: Lessons Learned & Wisdom Earned

By Mandem | Deus Ex | 5 Aug 2023

I hold a Master of Science in Geology.

My career was in mineralogy, quarry fieldwork, and ore laboratory analysis.

Not an early cryptocurrency adopter, Bitcoin (BTC) caught my interest end of 2016 or somewhere in that period.

During the 2017 bull run, I was a plain spectator of the Bitcoin rally.

At the time, cryptocurrency or blockchain new technologies, in general, left me in a puzzled, anxious, and static state.

It was a changing period of life as a labor shift occurred on my side. I embraced IT as a new career and quit my scientific path in earth science.
In 2018, just as I started my first Support IT Engineer role at the European diplomatic service (EEAS) in Brussels, it was not possible to not follow the steep rise of this virtual, mystical coin during the year.

Bitcoin was a digital paradigm schism as it played a mixed and complex role. Bitcoin as it appeared at first was a store of value like gold, a poor yet possible payment method, nongovernmental money, a more decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) immutable way of transferring value,...

The fact that Bitcoin had a limited supply, as opposed to fiat money, constituted a noteworthy trait. It guaranteed that one centralized entity could not print more of it and cheat at the expense of investors. But the inflation of crypto projects and altcoins was inherently unhealthy and complicated to figure out. From the start, I preferred to stick with projects that proposed a fixed currency supply.

But even that makes no sense and I got frustrated to wait for the day when I could eventually buy goods with crypto.

Suffice it to say that the appearance of these strange new currencies could not leave anyone indifferent anyway.

Before 2016, I never heard of Bitcoin. To me, the last big technological revolution to date was 3D printing. Now it is conspicuously IA.

The surge in BTC price and its subsequent crash were both curiosities and mysteries. Any crypto is virtually pegged to Bitcoin one way or another and the value of the flagship coin was growing year after year since 2009. Later, I would understand that the cost and the slowness to transfer Bitcoin and many major altcoins played a role during that bull run.

I bought my first crypto in January 2019 with the EtherWallet app. One Ether and a half for around $200.

For some reason, it was easier to acquire Ether (ETH) than Bitcoin and the hype mentioned that Ether was the better version of cryptocurrency.

Little did I know the world is always much more complex.


At the same time, I left my EU support agent position (it has a good internal team but poor leadership and basic labor opportunities), completed a few IT certifications (ITIL, COMPTIA+, CCNA,..), and applied at Deloitte in July for the same role. Deloitte is the world's largest auditing firm in terms of headcount, with 330,000 employees. It turned out a terrible work choice but good lessons and new friends showed up alongside.

In 2019-2020, every IT male agent at the helpdesk (we had no women in our team and it remained the norm in my IT supporting positions) was constantly gazing at crypto trend news and expecting the next spike. As I was as well.

Little by little I figured out what crypto stands for and what I could expect from it. But without directions and clear goals. Even if I began to understand how to acquire, exchange, and trade with Ether, Litecoin (LTC), Ravencoin (RVN), Bitcoin Cash (BCH),... I built no long-term strategy.

Instead of focusing on tangible objectives, my idea was to get as much crypto in my wallet before the next bull run.

The 101 Prosaic approach.


One of the major mistakes was to rely mostly on centralized exchanges and expect too much on the promises of high-rate earnings made by DEFI platforms like Celsius, BlockFi,... It was made simple with no work on my side. Only convert cash into crypto and gain $5 to $10 a month on your deposit thanks to compound interests and staking. Then create a cash stream web of altcoins for you and enlarge it month after month. Appealing but ineffective if you do not adjust and correct your path.  

The discovery of crypto mining represents another big investment and final failure. I bought $5000-$6000 on a mining rig and graphics card in mid-2021 and continued mining until early 2022 just as the new crypto bubble burst. As a former geologist, mining coins or minerals was not exactly the same. When the electrical costs stroke me later in the spring along with the first effect of the Donbas war and the long-lasting bear market, I endured a 100% value loss and had to mothball the hardware. 

Not to mention that a hacker managed to trick me into downloading a Troy horse from Github. From specialists' feedback, a sophisticated virus pretended to upgrade AMD GPUs to increase their hash rates. At that time, I rushed to amass 100000 RVN. Indeed I listened to Youtube pundits signaling a new rally for that altcoin and believed strongly in that project.

My atomic wallet was hacked and deprived of $1500 worth. The same reoccurred in July when I re-installed the wallet and kept the same password without isolating and cleaning my computer and local network for any possible trace of a threat. Again $1000 worth of crypto vanished.

I also wasted time on a fake Bahamas-based exchange platform where I was lured by impressive returns. A scam that pumped me hundreds of US dollars.

And there were plenty of wasted expectations on cloud mining schemes, free faucet games, Play to Earns and short-term trading without know-how,...


As I stood unhappy with my job at Deloitte, I jumped off in March 2021 and again began a new responsibility with a Belgian IT company for local clients. I worked a year and a half for Safran Aero Boosters (SAB)in Liege. This time I appreciated the work environment and people.

The IT folk was considerably less interested in crypto as was the staff at SAB in general. I try to mount and motivated a team to invest in blockchain at least to try it. It happened for a couple of them but again the bear market dampened all human ardor. Entertaining but no lasting result.

After a year and a half, I was laid off because of a new season of struggle for life mismanagement and toxic leadership. Corporate bullshit in short.

One month later, end of January 2023, I kicked off my current position at EVS Broadcast Equipment, a Belgian company specializing in the manufacture of video servers for the recording of professional images. They actually patented the VAR technology for the football industry. EVS is the world leader in digital recorders for live TV sports production. 

Again, the IT colleagues did not talk much on THE topic. I kept my eyes on cryptocurrency most of the time even with poor financial news and sluggish coin price.

Last month I liquidated my account at Binance and repatriated my coins to my hard wallet as I do not trust anymore any of these giant exchanges. 

After all these "valley of despair" obstacles and depressing peregrinations, I could U-turn and let it go. That is exactly the kind of trap to avoid. Trust your instincts and persevere when you know you are correct. We all start from knowing nothing and can become experts through wisdom and common sense.


  • Build a strategy (I wrote it down on a book note with calendar objectives; for example, publish one article a week, gain 20 extra subscribers, or in my case recover cash from bankrupted DEFI platforms)
  • Bitcoin is the best due to its original proposal, genitor anonymity, and limited supply. Frankly, the rest is useful but mostly speculation.
  • Investigate the Crypto project, reputation history, funding sources, and financial results,.. if you do not want to be Fried
  • Always stick to a physical hard wallet (Ledger or anything that stems from a reputable vendor, your wallet keys your coins)
  • Crypto is high-risk. Sequentially withdraw cash profits when there's a surge
  • Be a sweet paranoid nut. Perform regular antivirus scans and install a hardware firewall (if possible) as a basic multilayer networking defense
  • Trust your intuition (As an example, due to a lack of faith, I sold my Ether at $300 compared to its current price)
  • The crypto rabbit hole has been here for more than a decade but cryptos are still in their infancies so are you (it is not late to jump on the bandwagon)
  • Study and explore (at least read one full article a day especially when you encounter hell in your life)
  • Remain focused on what you dearly learned by experience, not on your failure (no pain no gain)
  • Real estate, ETF stock, Gold, and Crypto in your diversified portfolio (take your time to learn of course)
  • There must be a minimal number of intermediaries between a blockchain and a wallet (with no KYC or biometric ID involved; big red flag)
  • Fine-tune your long-term categorical imperatives and objectives. Change them only in the face of a superior proposal. Don't be inflexible, but stick with what's tried and tested until a tangible improvement shows up.

Bitcoin price will rise again in the months and years to come. The P2P technology has been scaled and refined over the years. It is waiting for the moment to unleash. The true challenge is to be able to use it as its own currency in the real world. As long as we have to convert Bitcoin into cash, Crypto is digital gold only. 

Back in November/December 2021, I managed to recharge my mobile subscription with bitrefill thanks to my DEFI earnings. This embodied the first application of crypto in my day-to-day activities. And it depicted a tiny example of the mighty potential of cryptocurrency. 

This is the kind of trivial situation that must become a financial habit if we are to break away from the monopoly of fiat money.

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Belgian Catholic, Digital Artist & Crypto enthusiast

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