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Color of Money: Don't gamble on becoming a bitcoin millionaire

Michelle Singletary on

WASHINGTON -- A lot of people have the "FOMO" disease.

It's a common ailment defined as the fear of missing out. And now that bitcoin is the hottest financial craze, I'm afraid that you might be extremely anxious that you'll be proven a fool if you don't invest in this virtual currency.

There's no question that the price of bitcoin has been skyrocketing: It's up more than 1,000 percent since the beginning of the year.

With returns like this, no wonder so many people fear missing out. Who wouldn't want to become a bitcoin millionaire, right?

But I don't have FOMO when it comes to the notoriously volatile bitcoin or any of the other surging virtual currencies. Investing in bitcoin is speculation on steroids.

No, thank you, I'll pass. I get my thrills someplace else, like watching the women on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" pull at each other's hair weaves.

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The North American Securities Administrators Association warned investors three years ago about virtual currency. This week, the association issued another warning about pitches that use cryptocurrencies as a way to lure investors into scams.

Investing in bitcoin is too risky for the average person, says Joseph P. Borg, NASAA president and Alabama Securities Commission director.

As he speaks around the country, Borg asks folks if they've bought bitcoin. Then he asks where they got the money to invest, and some admit to having used a credit card or a home equity line of credit. These folks have put themselves in a perilous position.

I asked readers what they thought of the bitcoin frenzy. M.H. from Maryland said he invested $2,500 each in bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin last week after doing some research.

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