Jeff Kaplan, a postal worker, almost invested in bitcoin in 2008. “I was this close to investing” he told Daily News Mobile, holding up his pinched fingers leaving a small gap to just how close he was.
The year was 2008 and Kaplan had heard from a “techy- nerd” friend that a new cryptocurrency hit the market. At the time it was selling for less than a dollar per coin. His nerd friend, James Santano, was a computer programmer at IBM. “I’m telling you man,” Santano told him, “just put in a hundred bucks and hold it, it’s going to blow up.” But Kaplan was ambivalent. The idea mulled over in his head for several seconds before he abandoned the prospect all together.
It wasn’t until over a decade later in 2018 that Kaplan reconsidered bitcoin. When bitcoin hit $16,000, Kaplan called the NYSE and asked if he could buy bitcoin at the price it was in 2008 because he came so close to buying it back then. “I’m just a secretary” the NYSE respondent said, “and this is a dentists office across the street from the NYSE.” Nevertheless, Kaplan berated the woman and told her that she made a huge mistake tangling with a billionaire like himself.
After the heated exchange with the secretary at Kids Tooth Town, Kaplan restrategized. He took out his life savings and bought a single bitcoin. It cost him $17,000.
Soon after, Bitcoin crashed and hit a low of $3,400. Kaplan took a major loss. Dejected and defeated, Kaplan decided to sell and cut his losses. He cashed out and bought a 2010 Honda Civic that needed a new transmission with the $3,400 he had left. It sat in his garage, lifeless, for years until 2021 when bitcoin jumped up to an astounding $50,000.
The spike in bitcoin sent Kaplan into the same emotional spiral he pulled himself out of in 2018. Again, Kaplan called the NYSE, this time a new secretary worked at Kids Tooth Town, Johnny Fredo, who was more sympathetic to Kaplans plight but informed him that the NYSE doesn’t trade bitcoin and that the number he called was still attached to a dentists office. Kaplan berated the young man and then asked to schedule a cleaning, but he was denied by virtue of his adult teeth.
Everything in Kaplan’s life seemed to be dissolving. His life savings were gone, his wife was a deflating blow up doll with a printed face of Elon Musk stapled to it, his pet cat Marco Polo kept peeing on his pillow, and his Honda Civic was still out of commission.
Kaplan was at his lowest point. With his last ounce of strength he decided to write a memoir. His new book called “The Wolf of What Could Have Been” focuses on how he almost became rich off bitcoin. He also offers his investment strategy. Here’s an excerpt:
“People don’t understand that investing is a delicate science. Investors like myself take losses sometimes, its the nature of the business. But in 2008 I almost invested $100 in bitcoin and I could have been a trillionaire. I would be writing this book on a private island by now! So, through it all I learned my lesson – invest in every stock, every currency, every new thing on the market that sells for under a dollar. Put your life savings into penny stocks and one of them will hit. Just like bitcoin.”
Kaplan’s book is available for sale at his house, and there are only two copies that he printed. You can buy them from him personally for the cost of one bitcoin.