Cryptocurrency 101 with Mrs Dow Jones
Bitcoin - the next Yeezy Boost sneaker. That is, according to friend and fellow expert on millennial finance, Haley Sacks AKA Mrs. Dow Jones. She explains that, like the Kanye-designed sneakers, Bitcoin is valuable because people say it is. Paying $800 for a pair of boosts might seem wild to you, but to some they hold extreme value.
And it pertains to cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is seeing a similar tidal wave of support instigated by a desire for change that, although volatile, doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. Bitcoin is no longer relegated to cyberpunks and suits, but is instead “available for anyone with a willingness to learn about it,” as Mrs. Dow Jones will explain. It’s an example of the perfect storm: a surge of trust in technology paired with a disastrous financial collapse, leading to widespread skepticism of government, and the introduction of a vessel by which to deliver financial autonomy back to the people. Enter, the blockchain. Much like wearing Yeezy is a declaration of standards, investors of Bitcoin are also sending a strong message.
Where to put your money is a personal decision and I’m not an investment advisor, but if you are curious about cryptocurrencies and maybe wanna be richer than Kanye, read on for my interview with Mrs. Dow Jones about cryptocurrency.
Chantel: First off, would you rather [sleep with] Warren Buffett or the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto — and since no one knows if it's one person using this name or many, you might be signing up for an unintended orgy!
Mrs Dow Jones: Oh, Warren Buffett for sure and I would obvi pull the goalie and try and get knocked up. Seeing as my dream is to have an apartment worth 12 million and 12 million in the bank, I need to combine forces with someone who is liquid. Satoshi is hot too but who knows what his finances are actually like... he will prob want to hold his coins until 2040 or something. I don’t have time for that. Cash out now and let’s go on a yacht!
Chantel: Cryptocurrency is a hard one to explain. How would you explain it in a simple way, like to one of your drunk friends at the club?
Mrs Dow Jones: So, a cryptocurrency is a digital currency that does not operate out of a central bank. It’s sort of like your freelancer friend in Brooklyn-- it doesn’t have an office but rather does it’s work via the internet. It’s kept safe by cryptography which makes it super hard to counterfeit.
Chantel: So, it’s basically a peer-to-peer digital money system. And then keeping to covering the basics, Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to hit the streets, can you tell our readers what it is?
Mrs Dow Jones: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that only exists digitally; sort of like your sex life. It came on the scene in 2009 after the financial crisis. Satoshi Nakamato- the founder- wanted to create a currency that was separate from the banks/ government so people weren’t vulnerable to manipulation. A lot of times people doubt if Bitcoin has value but like, a dollar is just a piece of paper but we use it as a currency... Bitcoin is the same, but digital. The value is given based on the amount of people who believe in it.
Chantel: I think what you said about the value being based on the amount of people that believe in it is an important point for explaining why it is considered an investment right now over a currency that you can go a buy bottles with.
So, what are altcoins?
Mrs Dow Jones: They are definitely confusing but also very cool. They are like a copycat brand. They launched after the success of bitcoin. The simple answer is that they’re using blockchain technology too, but every altcoin is basically it’s own company. You are almost like an angel investor. You’re putting money into a company and hopefully it will do well. If it doesn’t, you won’t get your money back. There are so many of them popping up and are all so different but the biggest overlap is that they leverage blockchain technology and allow anonymity. They offer so much privacy. People who invest in them are super into buying the dip and -- since cryptos are a global market and open 24 hours a day -- they are following them, and buying or selling them the moment they hit certain price points. People like to do short term trading with altcoins. Bitcoin is considered more of a long game.
Chantel: What are the top altcoins right now?
Mrs Dow Jones: Umm Ethereum. Monero. Ardor. Ripple. Lite Coin. Tron.
Chantel: How can someone go about buying cryptocurrency?
Mrs Dow Jones: This is biggest question for most people. The right place to start is by opening a wallet on a trading account like Coinbase. You connect your bank account to it, which might freak you out but it’s never been a problem for me- lol. That’s how you can buy Bitcoin and Ethereum. Once you own those coins, you can use them to buy altcoins. It seems scarier than it is- you sort of just have to rip the bandaid off and be like, ‘I trade cryptos now, bitch.’
Chantel: There is no denying that a lot of millenials are jumping on the cryptocurrency train. I have a theory as to why it’s continuing to gain momentum. Cryptos are so new that even the experts don’t fully know the ins and outs yet. Newcomers don’t feel so alone on the journey to understanding it because it’s new for everyone! It can still be intimidating to invest, but we aren’t expected to have all the answers, so at the same time, it’s more approachable. Before crypto was hot, there were millennials buying shady stuff like fake IDs without even realizing they were early adopters in something big. You have a story on that, right?
Mrs Dow Jones: Yes! So I was chatting with this girl at the University of Michigan, and she was going on a spring break trip but was underage and wanted to get a fake ID. The person selling it to her only accepted Bitcoin. So, in desperation, she set up a wallet, bought Bitcoin, and sent it to the fake ID person. Well… she ended up sending it to the wrong person and had to put more money into her wallet to buy more Bitcoin to get the ID. This was maybe a year ago... Fast forward to a few months ago, when bitcoin was blowing up. She hadn’t been on her Coinbase in a while and checked her wallet and saw that the bitcoin she thought she had sent to the wrong person had actually been in her account the whole time… Oh, and it was now up to $8,000! And, the best part? Instead of taking that money and cashing out of the crypto game, she reinvested it into alt coins and is now like killing the game- in all of these signalling groups and just super on top of the whole world. I’m obsessed with her story because it shows anyone can do this. She was a total beginner but ended up deep in this world just because she was willing to try and learn about it.
Chantel: Since we’re all beginners, what would you say is a good percentage to start with, especially with something so speculative?
Mrs Dow Jones: It’s very individual to the person and also depends on their portfolio or interest level. Start small like 5% or 10% to break the seal and see how it feels. Maybe you’re a stock gal or a long-term bond kind of person. Why not try it all, right? A lot of times taking the first step is the hardest. What would you say, Chantel?
Chantel: I would say exactly the same thing. You have to be willing to gamble a bit and understand that you could lose your money. Never put in more than you’re willing to lose. High risk, high reward. So, is cryptocurrency and short or long term game?
Mrs Dow Jones: No one really knows if it’s a long or short game. You have to be very chill. This is not the girl who is waiting for a text back from a guy. You have to be confident and go do you. Short term investors have to be nimble and in the seat. It can be a lot of work, it’s almost a full time job. The biggest thing is that no one knows. Like with cryptos, people try and tell you that Bitcoin is a bubble or that Bitcoin is going to make you a billionaire. Either could be true- genuinely, no one knows! Just never invest more than you’re willing to lose. And if you find a company that you believe in, make the choice to put money into it.
Chantel: One thing that plays into the longevity of cryptocurrency is that we are really at the beginning of the era of data and technology. Just look at how data and tech is starting to change many industries for the better. Health Care is a good example of this. Alright, I’m going in deep -- hold on! First, in the time of Theism, when we were sick, we would see a village Shaman ( I still do this lol) . Then the health industry moved to the era of humanism. Doctors would study to understand the body, and we relied on them to diagnose us. Sure, it’s science-based, but if your doctor is having an off day or overlooks something, you’re fucked. When a diagnosis is based on human capabilities, there is always room for error. Now, we’re moving into dataism and are seeing the healthcare industry leverage this to make quicker and more accurate diagnoses and healing. Ask yourself: is it far fetched to trust results from data over a human?
Our currency has also been through the different eras of Theism and Humanism, but the one thing that never changes is new currencies relying on trust to be adopted.
When Theism and Humanism were hot, they were leveraged in currency for a little street cred to gain trust. Think about the US presidents, the fact that money literally says “In God we Trust” and the Eye Of Providence on the US dollar bill! As we lose trust in human systems and gain trust in data and technology, opportunities open up for new ways to store value. It’s a natural progression. Okay, I’m done; deep breath.
Mrs Dow Jones: I do think we’re never going to come back from this. We’ve changed forever. It will never be the same and it’s been a gateway for so many people. This is something that will be around forever. Anonymity is something we crave. We like to expose ourselves on social media, but with money, people want to be anonymous.
Chantel: Is Trump fast-tracking the blockchain era?
Mrs Dow Jones: Yeah, I have to agree.
Chantel: The more he messes up, the less people trust traditional authority. And look at the economic downturn millennials witnessed. So, can people spot the shady coins?
Mrs Dow Jones: I love this questions because the biggest thing with altcoins is that you need to invest in those that have a brand. There are some altcoin CEO’s out there, tweeting, talking to their audience. I really like altcoins where you can see that the team behind it is really smart.
Chantel: That’s a really good point. I’m from Vancouver and it has a big junior mining industry, working in the space of speculative stocks. All the crew you would see at the very speculative junior mining events, were suddenly in the cannabis game. Now that cryptocurrency is all the rage, you see this same group with their hands in cryptocurrency companies when six months ago, it was something different. The brand is so important, and you have to know who is behind the company. Are they jumping on something just because it is hot or are they actually trying to build a viable business and have the experience and resources to do so? Are there three people working at the company only renting a WeWork shared desk? You have to do research. You have to dig a little deeper.
Mrs Dow Jones: Totally! You have to believe in the company and that the CEO is going to innovate. I completely agree.
Chantel: Then speaking about brands, do you think Bitcoin is the Apple and Ethereum is like Samsung?
Mrs Dow Jones: I like to think of it like Facebook too. There are all these social media accounts coming around, so there is something for everyone, but it started with Facebook.
Chantel: For those that have not invested yet, do you think it’s too late?
Mrs Dow Jones: Hell no.
Chantel: I think the best way to end this is with your own quote: