For Michelle Milkowski, who lives in Renton, Washington, one thing led to another. Because her son’s daycare closed in the early days of the pandemic, she had some extra cash. So, like millions of other people, Milkowski downloaded the Robinhood trading app. Back then, the stock market was at the beginning of what would become a record-setting run, and Milkowski’s new pastime became profitable. She kept trading shares, but in early 2021, something else caught her eye: Milkowski noticed the value of Bitcoin had reached $60,000. “I just couldn’t believe it,” she says, noting she first heard of the popular cryptocurrency in 2016, when its price was less than a hundredth of that. “I felt like I’d just missed the boat, because I could have bought it before it skyrocketed.” Last spring, Milkowski took another look at Bitcoin, and she took a leap. “Better late than never,” she remembers thinking. First, Milkowski bought $500. Then, $10,000. By the end of last year, Milkowski estimates, she had spent close to $30,000 on crypto. In hindsight, the timing was terrible. Like many first-time investors, Milkowski bought digital currencies as they were approaching all-time highs, and as companies were spending tens of millions of dollars on marketing to broaden crypto’s appeal.
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