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What If I Had Bought Bitcoins Instead of Backing Kickstarters?

Bitcoin is red hot right now. Like everyone, I’m full of silly regret for not having put all my savings into it when it was super new and dirt cheap — even a small investment at the start would be worth a fortune now. Instead, I waited a few years and bought 0.1 bitcoin for $100 when its price was at a then-peak of $1000. It promptly plummeted.

Then, years later, it skyrocketed.

With Bitcoin’s price flirting with $20,000 over the past month, I got curious to what could have been in various scenarios, mostly one where, instead of putting money into another platform that launched around the same time, Kickstarter, I had put the same amount of money into buying Bitcoins.

We all know how much Kickstarter has transformed the world for creators and makers since it came out in 2009, allowing people to finance and market their ideas and help bring them to fruition. I’ve been a regular backer since 2011, with a collection of novel, backed items to show for it.

But what if I had put that money into Bitcoin instead? How much would my wallet be worth now if I had bought bitcoins at the corresponding prices to the dates I made my pledges? I wanted to know, so I made the following sheet, based off the value of Bitcoin about now — $14,454:

Date KS Amount BTC Price No. of BTC
3/15/2011 $20.00 $0.88 22.7273
4/21/2011 $5.00 $1.18 4.2373
5/3/2011 $60.00 $3.32 18.0723
12/19/2012 $30.00 $13.60 2.2059
4/19/2013 $27.00 $118.48 0.2279
4/19/2013 $39.00 $118.48 0.3292
8/31/2013 $159.00 $129.46 1.2282
9/2/2013 $45.00 $127.36 0.3533
9/22/2013 $100.00 $122.65 0.8153
12/7/2013 $119.00 $800.57 0.1486
12/19/2013 $40.00 $702.03 0.0570
3/20/2014 $54.00 $583.48 0.0925
10/22/2014 $25.00 $379.96 0.0658
11/3/2014 $5.00 $323.56 0.0155
12/27/2014 $26.00 $315.91 0.0823
2/25/2015 $30.00 $237.99 0.1261
5/7/2015 $59.00 $237.29 0.2486
7/21/2015 $100.00 $275.78 0.3626
9/22/2015 $60.00 $231.27 0.2594
12/9/2015 $36.00 $770.50 0.0467
Total KS pledges $1,003.00 51.6551
 12/21/17  BTC @ $14,454.45  TOTAL


A 74,400% gain — not too shabby, although with the current fervor I thought the final dollar amount would be even higher. You can see the best conversions were the earliest, of course, but would be way more if I had gotten in during mid-2010, when Bitcoin prices sat in the $0.06 – $0.08 range. Just the first $20 pledge done a year earlier would be worth over $4.8 million at today’s prices.

(I’m also surprised to discover I’ve spent over $1000 on Kickstarter at this point.)

This is nothing but a hypothetical exercise, unfortunately. Like all investments, there’s a huge element of chance involved in trying to boost your money through Bitcoin or any other high-risk cryptocurrency. Take it from someone who’s perpetually struggled with the stock market, there are no guarantees!

And I really don’t have regrets backing Kickstarters (except for the Peachy Printer, which evaporated with my money and everyone else’s). Some of these have been friend’s projects that I have been happy to be a backer of, and some of the items I’ve gotten have been useful on a daily basis. Most importantly, it’s good to support the economy of individuals who are pursuing endeavors not as easily possible before the platform existed.

It’d be pretty interesting to make a tool that could automatically calculate your theoretical Kickstarter-to-Bitcoin (or APPL—BTC, GOOG—BTC, etc) wallet value, although I’m not sure Kickstarter has an API that would support the export of that info. Meanwhile, if you want to tally up your own amount, I found this chart to be most useful for finding daily Bitcoin prices, and I’ve put a blank version of my spreadsheet here — just make a copy for yourself and input the data.

Let me know what yours would have been!

Here's some money I wish I hadn't spent.
Here’s some money I wish I hadn’t spent.