For crypto investors, no Thanksgiving is complete without the annual bitcoin pitch. Every year, you deliver your best elevator speech, emphasizing blockchain technology’s ability to disrupt the central banking system and revolutionize data security while your relatives smile with condescension. You’ve done this for three or four years now, making it one of your family’s quaint holiday traditions. There’s just one problem: last year, it worked.
Your brother-in-law bought some bitcoin, your sister put her money on ethereum, and a few weeks later your uncle went all in on ripple (XRP) after you assured him it would be listed on Coinbase by the end of the year. The details are a little fuzzy, but you’re pretty sure you also sold a few of your cousins on the virtues of initial coin offerings.
Whether they’ve sold their bags or not, it’s unlikely that they’ve forgotten at whose behest they made those purchases, and -- spirit of the season or not -- they’re probably not feeling very thankful this deep into the present crypto bear market.
At least Canadian investors, who celebrated Thanksgiving in mid-October, were able to play the “Bitcoin is less volatile than Amazon stock” card and opine about the impending launch of Bakkt’s physically-settled bitcoin futures market in early December.
You do not have those luxuries.
Bitcoin, you don’t need to be reminded, has cratered over the past week, while Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has delayed Bakkt’s launch until at least late January 2019. Said Tom Lee of his year-end $15,00 bitcoin price target, “These past few days have been a negative development.” Indeed, Tom. Indeed.
To put it simply, if you’re going to navigate Thanksgiving 2018 successfully, you’re going to need a survival guide.
Feign an Interest in Non-Crypto Conversations
We get it. The fact that you’re still reading bitcoin news 11 months into this bear market means that you went full-crypto a long time ago. However, for this year at least, you’re going to have to suck it up and pretend that you’re interested in conversations -- any conversations -- that don’t involve blockchain.
Take an hour on Wednesday evening and get up-to-date on the latest sports news, and don’t be shy about asking when the Saints-Falcons game starts if you think that a conversation is preparing to shift to crypto (It’s 8:20 pm ET, by the way, but don’t let on that you know that). And, for the love of Satoshi, resist the urge to mention that Kobe Bryant will be speaking at an upcoming Tron conference.
Don’t be afraid to seek out the family members notorious for monopolizing conversations. A well-placed question or two can easily run half an hour off the clock, and a few such one-sided conversations staggered throughout the afternoon will provide you with plenty of cover from your disgruntled bag-holding relatives.
Yes, that means asking your Aunt Kate about your cousin who couldn’t make it to dinner this year because he is doing a semester abroad. “They don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving over there, you know.” Yes, you did know, but now’s not the time to end any conversation before you need to.
Your Great Uncle Steve likes to overshare about his various medical maladies? Perfect. Make sure to grab the seat by him at dinner, and -- you shouldn’t have to be reminded of this -- don’t even think about bringing up Dentacoin.
Execute a Preemptive Strike
Contrary to the stock photos that populate the headers of virtually every news article about the crypto market’s alleged implosion, bitcoins do not have physical properties. However, when you enter your grandmother’s house on Thursday, you may find that you can cut the crypto-soaked air with a knife.
If that’s the case, you need to realize that there’s no activating a hard fork to defuse this difficulty bomb. However, even if you’ve already sold your Lambo to cover that first tax payment to the IRS and are forced to ride to dinner with your parents, you can still control when and how this bomb detonates.
When you sense a condescending grin beginning to come your way (I’d say “if,” but let’s be honest, it’s “when”), execute a preemptive strike by cracking a self-deprecating joke about how you’re living in your childhood bedroom again thanks to that ill-timed IOTA investment. If someone asks you whether you have any Black Friday purchases planned, force a smile and ask if they’ve seen the bitcoin price lately. (Note: I advise following this up with, “Actually, GameStop had a few deals I thought I would check out.” I’ll explain why below.)
Pepper your early-day conversations with a few of these nuggets, and the rest of the evening should prove far-less excruciating. Just don’t take it too far.
Volunteer to Sit at the Kids’ Table
Depending on your age and the size of your family gathering, swallowing your pride once more might help you avoid any awkward dinner table conversations.
If the grown-up table looks to be crowded, volunteer to sit in the kitchen with the kids. If it doesn’t, plan to stealthily hide a few of the folding chairs in an upstairs closet earlier in the day so that there won’t be enough space at the table.
Not only will this provide you cover during dinner, but positioning yourself as one of the kids may also have the added bonus of persuading your XRP-heavy uncle to take some pity on your youth and worldly inexperience.
Hit up the Black Friday Sales Early
Black Friday sales are increasingly moving online, and brick-and-mortar stores are fighting back by opening their door earlier and earlier with each passing year. Some physical retailers, such as GameStop, will begin “Black Friday” as early as 3 pm on Thursday.
This trend is terrible for retail employees and their families -- except, those who, like you, convinced family members to buy crypto last year -- but, to be frank, it provides you with a convenient excuse to skip the second piece of pumpkin pie and head for the exit if a post-dinner tête-à-tête begins to take an, err, bearish turn.
Consider the Nuclear Option
19th-century Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke famously said that “No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy,” and that may prove to be the case even if you follow this guide to the letter. If you find that you’ve already exhausted these tactics before the turkey’s even carved, it might be time to considering taking the nuclear option: bringing up politics.
Lest you become infamous as the individual who started a decades-long family feud, you should avoid anything too obvious. “Donald Trump, amirite?” probably isn’t going to fly.
A more gentle approach could involve attempting to bait your more politically-opinionated relatives into an argument with a seemingly-innocent reference to a headline you read on your smartphone while you were in the bathroom hiding out from that cousin who “bought the dip” in January or a well-timed anecdote about the size of the line at your local polling place during the recent midterm elections.
Needless to say, taking this route could end whatever conversational armistice your family had previously arrived at and permanently sever relationships between relatives, so tread with caution.
Now, depending on your family dynamic and your willingness to deploy the nuclear option, one or more of these techniques could backfire. If that’s the case, just hodl on. This bear market can’t last forever, right?
Stock Photos from Shutterstock