“Buying bitcoin instead of booze has made me $15 000”
Anna Tinner was able to treat herself at Christmas when bitcoin rose to $23,505 (£17,283) in December 2020.

She sold some of her bitcoin investments for $16,600 (12,000). While you can never time the market, had she waited two more days that amount would have been $18,100 (£13,100).

Sceptical at first

The photographer, 62, from Hove in East Sussex, started investing in bitcoin early in 2017 after learning about cryptocurrency and the stock market from friends.

Anna was a bit sceptical at first and her original purchase was just £10 to buy a stake in a single coin. At that time, the price of a bitcoin coin was around $2,200.

She decided to use the money she would spend on drinks at the pub to invest in bitcoin instead. Over time she got into the habit of buying small amounts.

Note: We don’t recommend spending your entire life savings on crypto, so investing small amounts that you can afford to lose is a good plan.

From there Anna slowly started investing in ethereum (another cryptocurrency).

When bitcoin reached a then all-time high in December, Anna sold some of her coins for £10,000 (keeping one bitcoin). She had originally bought the coins for £2,000.

“It was amazing – I hadn’t taken it that seriously up to that point.
I spent the money on artwork and bought a new iPhone.”

Should you invest?

Bitcoin has since hit new highs. But investing in cryptocurrencies is risky: they are unregulated and can be very volatile.

Some investors have struggled to cash in their profits. Others don’t make a profit and make significant losses instead.

“Investing the odd fiver here and there is worth it in my opinion,” she says. “I spend the same amount on cryptocurrencies as I would on an evening out. Once your investment is in the thousands, you are winning a lot when you win.

However, I have had days where my account has been a few thousand down and you really have to hang in there and wait for it to go back up.”

Her advice? “You don’t have to put in a lot when you start,” she says.

After continuing to invest small amounts on a regular basis, Anna admits she is addicted to monitoring her cryptocurrency.

Her account with Coinbase [the trading platform] is valued at around $28,000.

What I did
  • I set up an account with Coinbase in early 2017 and got my first £10 free to spend on bitcoin thanks to a “refer a friend” special offer from my new friend.
  • I continued to invest – £10 here, £20 there – and by May 2017 I had bought one bitcoin (costing $2,200 at the time). I slowly started investing in ethereum after a tip from my new friend, plus other cryptocurrencies.
  • Bitcoin rocketed by the end of 2017 so I sold for $13,700 – I spent it on artwork.
  • I continued to invest and navigated the highs and the lows. I invested the most in bitcoin. My Coinbase account is valued at around $28,000 right now, up $2,000 from yesterday (January 4). I currently have 1.4 bitcoin and intend to always keep one bitcoin until it hits the big time. I check my investments every minute – it’s akin to crack cocaine.
  • I have now set it up for repeat purchase on the app and will buy £10 worth every month. You can repeat buy every week, fortnight or month, for example. Having said that, over the past few days I have been buying extra small amounts.

What worked
  • I only risk what I am willing to lose.
  • Starting small to see how I got on.
  • I got into the habit at one point of buying a bit of bitcoin instead of a drink.
  • After spending a lot of time on it, I know the Coinbase app inside out – which is important for just feeling confident using it.
  • My contingency plan: I keep my cryptocurrencies on a Ledger Nano X Hardware Wallet – it’s a bit like a memory stick and costs around £100. I could keep my cryptocurrencies on Coinbase, but worry that if Coinbase got hacked, I could lose what I have.
  • Bitcoin
  • has dropped a few thousand in value a few times. For example, in December 2018 it went all the way down to $2,700 and didn’t go back up until June 2019 when it shot up to $10,000. You simply have to hang in there and wait for it to go up again.
  • It is fun and it can be more than you get in the bank.
  • Transferring the money to my Lloyds bank account has been simple, and only took two hours to arrive.
What didn’t work
  • Cryptocurrency is volatile – there have been times when my nerves have been frazzled.