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In 2016, when I was in my second semester of college at the University of California Berkeley, I felt eager to make money in creative ways to pay for my tuition and living expenses. One night when I was venting to my roommate about my anxiety to pay off my student loans after college, she suggested I talk to her friends in this new club she’d joined, Blockchain at Berkeley. She told me stories of students in the club that made thousands of dollars investing in digital currencies — and honestly, I thought it sounded too good to be true. Nevertheless, feeling the need to earn some extra cash, I took her advice and went for coffee with her and her friend, Brian, an early adopter of investing in cryptocurrency.
Over coffee, Brian explained that in the beginning, he had no idea what an impact investing in Bitcoin would have on his life. He noted that when he heard of cryptocurrencies he was very skeptical as well. But, on a whim, he invested $500 of his savings from his summer job in 2012, when Bitcoin was around $12 a coin. At the end of 2013, he ended up selling his Bitcoin holdings when the price skyrocketed to around $1200 per coin, netting him nearly a $50,000 profit. Hearing his personal success investing in Bitcoin, I was also eager to achieve similar success for myself.
Where I started investing in cryptocurrency
Through Brian’s coaching and my own research, I decided to take a chance on a newly launched cryptocurrency to the market, Ethereum. With the $300 check from my part-time campus job, I took a leap of faith and invested in Ethereum. At this time, Ethereum was nearly $14 per coin.
During the months forward, I became obsessed with investing more in Ethereum. I listened to Ethereum podcasts while walking to class. Every spare minute I had at my part-time campus job, I read about Ethereum. I made my Twitter feed to follow mostly Ethereum-related accounts. I absorbed hours of Ethereum commentary on YouTube.
Between February and March of 2017, ETH shot from $15 to $50 per coin. By April, it was at $70, by May, $230. In a span of 4 months, my $300 investment ballooned to $6,000. At this point, I was going to sell all of my ETH, but there was speculation that the price of Ethereum would pass $1k per coin in the next year. During this time, my on-campus job helped pay for my everyday living expenses. In addition, my next semester’s housing rent wasn’t due until the start of the next quarter. So, I did not feel pressed to sell right away.
Luckily I didn’t sell out just yet because, in the course of 2 weeks in December 2017, ETH nearly doubled in price from $430 to $830. On January 3, 2018, it hit $900; 3 days later, it passed $1k.
My small investment of $300 was now worth $20,000 — a full semester of out-of-state tuition. This was so impactful to my parents and me, to know that I wouldn’t have to struggle through this next semester of college financially. So I pulled the trigger and finally traded all of my ETH after around two years of sitting on my investment. I banked on relatively unproven technology and got out at the right time.
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Research! Research! Research!
I cannot stress how important it is to gain an understanding of what cryptocurrency is and how it works before you get started.
In short, cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that is created through the use of computer coding. Even though it’s a form of currency, there isn’t any physical money like with traditional coins and dollars. Instead, all cryptocurrencies reside in the digital space and can be sold, transferred, or exchanged for goods and services. There’s a ton that you can do with these digital currencies and there’s more you can learn if you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole.
Choose a plaform where you’ll store your cryptocurrencies.
Exchanges ask you to have a wallet where you can store tokens before you attempt to invest in cryptocurrency. You can opt for various forms of crypto storage depending on how you plan to use them.
Choose the Cryptocurrencies to invest in.
Before investing in cryptocurrency, you should go through some of the guides on popular tokens. Identify the ones that are most worthy of your portfolio.
Only invest what you can afford to lose.
The crypto market is highly volatile. Like any other financial investment, there is no financial enterprise that guarantees you substantial profit, and investing in cryptocurrency isn’t an exception. You need to make sure funding a cryptocurrency venture does not liquidate your assets.
Be ready for a wild ride
Cryptocurrencies are still evolving. The whole game is to buy the right cryptocurrencies for your portfolio and stay up to date with the crypto market to maximize the chances of profits. Since the crypto market is very volatile, it’s vital to stay up to date on the market’s trends and know when to trade.
About the Author
My name is Maggie and I am a twenty-two-year-old college graduate living and working in New York City. I consider myself a ‘forever student’ because I am always looking to build on my academic foundations while implementing new technological strategies through my work and professional development. I believe in obtaining mindfulness in all parts of my life, with a passion for meditation, yoga, and living a healthy lifestyle.
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