Op-ed: Zoom out – Suicide Prevention Day
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The following content contains references to suicide.
Today, September 10, is International Suicide Prevention Day. Every year, more than 700,000 people die by suicide worldwide. There is no official figure on how many are involved in crypto or trading. However, Google News has more than 120,000 news about cryptocurrency-related suicides, 39,700 of which have come in the last 12 months alone.
In the UK, suicide is the number one killer of under-35s. Globally, it is the fifth biggest killer of people under the age of 45. According to Forbes, crypto is most popular among people under the age of 49, which means there is an age-group overlap between crypto users and suicide deaths.
A 2020 Open University study on the relationship between stock market fluctuations and suicide rates showed a correlation between men and women. The research paper emphasized that “With the exception of Homo sapiens, no conclusive evidence of suicidal behavior has been observed elsewhere in the animal kingdom.” Suicide is a purely human problem, and therefore society must participate in it.
Before 2020, when the magazine was published, the concept of a meme repository hadn’t really been invented yet. WallStreetBets, the leading source of meme stock trading data, grew from less than a million subscribers in early 2019 to over 12 million today.
In January 2020, 20-year-old Alex Kearns tragically lost his life when his Robinhood account falsely informed him that he owed $730,165 for a failed trade. However, the negative number represented Kearn’s purchasing power, not his cash balance. Robinhood issued a statement pledging to improve the display of information and donating $250,000 to a suicide prevention organization on behalf of the family.
Another man committed suicide in India in October 2020 when he “was heavily in debt after suffering huge losses in Bitcoin trading. He owed a huge amount of money to various people who had invested in his cryptocurrency.
After the collapse of Terra Luna in May 2022 and the subsequent bankruptcy of Celsius, there were countless reports of suicide from those who lost their savings.
🧵 I just spent two hours going through 109 Anchor victim impact statements and my heart is incredibly full. Numbers and graphs make it difficult to gauge the extent of the tragedy that unfolded this week. I also don’t think any words can do it justice. Here’s more data. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/hxHsE6Bl2M
– FatMan (@FatManTerra) May 21, 2022
According to a recent study, the countries with the most reported crypto-related suicides are South Korea, China, India and Turkey.
In 2018, after the crash and Bitcoin falling from $20,000 to $6,000, a suicide prevention phone was linked to the top of Reddit’s r/cryptocurrency. Since then, this has often been cited as a “sub-indicator” of future cycles. Redditors often claim that the price may still have a way to go because the suicide hotline has not yet been attached.
This relaxed attitude to such a tragic subject goes unmentioned in the running of the bulls. However, the topic should not be thrown around so blatantly in a bear market where many users have seen their portfolios drop massively. In addition, large black swan events in the ecosystem only make the problem worse.
In order to combat the growing epidemic and possibly head into recession, we need to improve financial education. Only those who truly understand risk should use volatile training tools such as options, futures and other leveraged trading methods.
Education on pump and dump system detection, safe interaction with dApp, avoiding phishing scams and keeping your wallet safe is important along with better financial education.
Blackrock reports that less than 50% of people feel confident in making financial decisions, while the number of retail users investing through mobile apps is snowballing. The number of private investors increased from 35.6 million in 2017 to more than 150 million in 2021.
Education is key to ensuring that people invest safely and reduce the chance of being overexposed to the market. Binance launched EduFi in May of this year, and Coinbase even offers a learn-to-earn program that allows users to earn crypto payments through education. Coinbase also has an important reading list that I recommend to those interested.
Remember: When in doubt, Zoom out – the big picture matters.
If you or someone you know is struggling, talk to someone. Help is available anywhere. A list of international telephone services can be found here for free and confidential advice.