Danger of cryptocurrencies
Gambling with digital money: why Bitcoin is more addictive than sports betting
Most people associate cryptocurrencies with a way to make money fast. But this attitude makes speculation with virtual coins dangerous. The risk of addiction is even higher than with other game variants.
And another 1000 euros more. Only 850 left. Should I get out now or should I buy more? Wow, the price has gone up again. Anyone who has ever invested in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether knows the intoxication of rapidly increasing portfolio value. And the bottom after the crash. For some people, the real-time ebb and flow is a real danger: they become addicted.
“It’s the mix of the very rapid increase and the rewards that come with it,” Lia Nower, director of the Department of Gambling Addiction at Rutgers University, told The Washington Post. She compares the appeal to that of scratch cards: “You scratch fast, get the reward and the dopamine rush right away.”
The combination of potentially very high profits and prices fluctuating almost in real time results in a particularly treacherous mix for those at risk of addiction. While sports betting or stock investing is limited by fixed game time or trading close, this does not apply to Bitcoin and Co.: they can be traded at any time. Because prices also fluctuate much more drastically than with traditional forms of investing, many investors are tethered to their screens. After all, there could be a glaring rash at any time, where you could buy more coins or sell them at particularly high profits.
“Crypto awakens the darker parts of your personality when you’re addicted. Unfortunately, I’m a very addicted person,” investor Joanna Garzilli admitted to WaPo. She had lost tens of thousands of dollars in one day on a bad investment. And continue to invest even today.
In fact, studies show that this assessment may be correct. A Finnish study showed, for example, that crypto trading investors exhibited other excessive behaviors in gambling, internet use and the like significantly more often than other types of investments. They also reported psychological problems, loneliness and stress more often than any other group. Other studies show that more than half of addicts surveyed have also invested in cryptocurrencies.
The psychologist couple Aaron and Lin Sternlicht offer targeted therapies for crypto addicts in New York. They told the Washington Post that their requests had increased by more than 40%. The treatment is intensive but very expensive. The Sternlichts meet with those affected several times a week in intensive programs and also involve the families. The six-week treatment costs $25,000. This is similar to that of a gambling addict, explains Aaron Sternlicht. Because fast digital money addiction is also not officially recognized as a variant of gambling addiction in the United States, most of those affected pay out of pocket. According to the psychologist, many of them had hundreds of thousands of debts when they started therapy.
The affected manager, Garzilli, also had to learn to live with the constant urge, she reports. She tries to master this with meditation and walking, forbids herself to monitor the lessons by unplugging the screen. But she didn’t completely pull it off. Your money is now in less volatile cryptocurrencies. This is how she plans to save for her retirement.
Sources:Study 1, Study 2, Washington Post