John Oliver doesn’t want you to “hodl.” The Last Week Tonight host dedicated Sunday’s feature story to the growing cryptocurrency market, explaining to viewers the perils of going all-in and expecting a Lamborghini at the end.
“If you choose to invest in the cryptocurrency space, just know that you’re not investing, you’re gambling, which is fine, but you should know that that is what you’re doing,” Oliver said. “Prices do go down. Bitcoin could eventually be worthless, or it could be worth billions and adopted as a new global currency.”
The “hodl” meme started in December 2013 on the BitcoinTalk forums, when one user who said they’d “had some whiskey” declared they were “HODLING.” It’s since caught on as an investment strategy in cryptocurrency circles: don’t get caught up in the buying and selling game, just hold onto your tokens to reap long-term rewards.
That strategy only works if there’s actually some long-term rewards to be had, as “holding” alone does not guarantee returns. To help get this message across, Oliver enlisted the help of comedian Keegan-Michael Key to come up with a new catchphrase: “craeful.”
“Never invest any more than you are willing to lose,” Key said. “And if you do, don’t just blindly hodl, okay? Instead, you have to be extremely craeful.”
Penning the hashtag
#craefulgang, Oliver and Key told the audience that cryptocurrencies could easily end out like Google, skyrocketing to usage and creating a multi-billion dollar empire. They could also end up like Google Glass, expensive augmented reality glasses whose users were derided as “glassholes.”
Watch the full segment below:
Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency with a market share of 41.9 percent, has had its fair share of ups and downs since its inception in 2008. While the Mt. Gox exchange’s collapse in 2013 led to a halving of its $1,000 value, over the course of 2017 Bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000 per token.
Its current price of $9,207 is a far cry from those heady days, which means Oliver’s advice might have come too late for anybody who dumped a lot of real money into bitcoin, only to see it evaporate as the volatile market changed.
Bitcoin’s $155 billion valuation is a fraction of a global economy worth around $80 trillion. If Bitcoin is going to take over fiat currency, there’s still plenty of value left to go.
Last Week Tonight airs Sundays on HBO.