As if all that’s going on in the world wasn’t enough to worry about, Bloomberg News reports that young people are seeking mental health treatment to break all-consuming cycles of cryptocurrency trading. Those profiled complained that frantic trading in the hopes of scoring quick riches in a rapidly growing, $2 trillion asset class led them to neglect ordinary life and destroyed their peace of mind.
This calls to my mind a conversation I had years ago with Ed Thorp, the mathematics professor who invented blackjack card counting and developed or refined most of the classic quantitative hedge fund strategies used today. His books in the 1960s, Beat the Dealer and Beat the Market, inspired many people — including me — to embark on lifetime journeys using mathematics to succeed in high-stakes gambles. I asked Ed whether he worried about people who came across his books and ruined their lives in unsuccessful emulation. “No,” he replied, “I think they would have gotten in trouble without my help.”