Matt Danzico understood that he had a serious problem when he started seeing cryptocurrency logos on grocery packaging. During the pandemic, he was swept away by the digital coin frenzy, which quickly turned into an obsession.
“I spent nights awake, tossing and turning in bed, trying to get the graphics out of my head,” said the Barcelona-based designer and visual journalist. “I thought I was going crazy,” he blurted out.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum are known for their volatility, and 39-year-old Danzico saw “years’ money” being “won and lost in a short period of time”. He lost a lot of money, but he doesn’t reveal the amount.
His emotions reproduced this same roller coaster, a picture made worse by the fact that he was speculating amidst the confinement brought about by covid-19. His wife noticed that he was getting more and more anxious and irritable.
With the growth of cryptocurrencies, Danzico fears that experiences even more serious than his own are taking place around the world.
“We are talking about tens of millions of people who operate with cryptocurrencies,” he said.
“If a small fraction of these people become addicted, it’s a huge potential for mental crises on a scale that I don’t think the world has ever seen,” he warns.
THE DARK SIDE OF CRYPTO CURRENCIES ON TWITTER
According to Danzico, just follow Twitter, where “crypto-enthusiasts” gather, to understand the potential consequences of the chronic instability of digital currencies for mental health.
Tweets from “people discussing their deep depression, extreme thoughts of isolation and suicide” often accompany the devaluation of virtual currencies.
In September, the story of a Czech and his disastrous attempt to get rich with cryptocurrencies went viral, as he was increasingly indebted to recoup his losses. Depressed and homeless, he felt too embarrassed to ask for help.
“When I called my mother, I told her I was fine, that I had a good job, a place to sleep, etc. I was actually starving,” reported a user named Jirka, who is now trying to rebuild his life.
Concerned about his own experience and other online accounts, Danzico began researching cryptocurrency addiction and published his findings on the specialized news site Cointelegraph.
He found only one small-scale study of crypt dependence in Turkey, and a few therapists offering help, from Thailand to the United States.
Experts see the phenomenon as a form of dependency at stake and point to similarities with Wall Street traders, whose investments can get out of hand.
The Castle Craig clinic, a rehabilitation center in Scotland, describes cryptocurrency addiction as a “modern epidemic”. The problem is more common among men, the clinic noted on its website, but “this may be because women operate less in cryptocurrencies than men.”
For Danzico, the “alarming” lack of specialized psychological help is because people have not yet realized how widespread speculation in cryptocurrencies has become.
In July, the Crypto.com platform estimated that 221 million people were operating worldwide. The number doubled in six months, when millions began to engage in this activity during the pandemic’s containment periods.
I have over 8 years of experience in the news industry. I have worked for various news websites and have also written for a few news agencies. I mostly cover healthcare news, but I am also interested in other topics such as politics, business, and entertainment. In my free time, I enjoy writing fiction and spending time with my family and friends.