How a self-made millionaire who would never buy bitcoin ended up with $2 million worth of it

When it comes to investing, Grant Cardone is "a coward," he admits to CNBC Make It. "Losing money terrifies me."

The self-made millionaire prefers to invest in sure things, which is why he would never buy a volatile asset like cryptocurrency. All the same, he has accumulated a lot of it.

"I own some bitcoin," says Cardone, "but it's funny how I got it. I was paid for a speaking gig in bitcoin." That was back when the digital currency was worth about $500, he says. So "that gig ended up being worth almost $2 million."

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone
Courtesy of Grant Cardone
Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone

He's far from the only one to have benefited from agreeing to be an early adopter of bitcoin, which, in 2017, went from $830 to $19,300. One high school dropout who invested when it was just $12 per token became a millionaire at age 18. The Winklevoss twins, who owned more than $11 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2013, became the world's first bitcoin billionaires in 2017.

And rapper 50 Cent accepted bitcoin as a form of payment back when it was worth about $660. At the time, his haul would have amounted to roughly $450,000; today, it's worth over $7 million.

While Cardone benefited hugely from the bitcoin frenzy, he still would never invest. "I will take it as a product or a service. I think somebody is actually going to buy my plane in bitcoin," he tells CNBC Make It. "Am I going to go out and buy it? No. … All my money either goes back into myself, into my businesses or it goes into hard assets like real estate."

That's because one of his goals as he focuses on becoming a billionaire is "to create indestructible wealth," he says. "So, if anything ever happened to me, my family would never have to worry about the future. When I spend money, I think in terms of my long-term goals and legacy. That's why I don't risk losing my money."

And that's why he wouldn't recommend you risk losing money, either. "Be smart," says Cardone. "Position yourself to get rich for sure by making big plays on sure things."

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Video by Zack Guzman