Eddy Zillain was 15 when he invested all of his savings, a total of $12,000, in cryptocurrencies. Three years later, he claims he had won over a million dollars. Now in his twenties, Zillain posts his dream life on Instagram, a life filled with gleaming Lamborghinis and luxurious yachts that seem to come straight from the wolf of wall street.
In the world of cryptocurrency, Eddy’s journey is far from unique. Social networks are full of self-made crypto millionaires who promise that everyone can earn as much as they do. But behind the threads and virtual facades, how much do these “crypto bros” actually earn?
Ewan, 23, says he got into cryptocurrency trading in March this year. “At the start, I was super excited. I learned a lot about crypto in general and read a lot of white papers [un recueil d’informations techniques publié par le créateur d’une cryptomonnaie], he recalls. Now I don’t do any of that anymore. »
Ewan says he invested around 1,200 euros in the two main cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currently, his portfolio sits at around 1,600 euros, which means he has made a 35% return over the past year. It’s good, but it’s far from the million.
Richard, 41, describes his experience as a real roller coaster. In 2013, after investing his 165,000 euros in savings in Bitcoin, then in Ethereum, he said he went “from rags to riches, then back to rags”. Today, he says he is halfway between the two. After several ups and downs between 2014 and 2017, he ended up with €38 million in Ethereum at today’s prices. But during the pandemic, he lost half of that fortune by “shorting,” i.e. betting against future price increases of a cryptocurrency.
According to cryptocurrency industry influencers I’ve spoken with, Richard’s huge initial profits are close to the typical amount of cryptocurrency investments.
Take the case of Lea Thompson, who has around 154,000 followers on Twitter, where she is known as @girlgone_crypto. She doesn’t want to go into detail about what she’s earned personally, but she says the earnings from cryptocurrencies are enough to “really change the lives” of some investors.
Of course, given the volatility in prices, it’s no surprise that cryptocurrencies promise huge gains (and big losses). All it takes is a tweet or an appearance by Elon Musk on television for the value of a currency to explode or collapse. For someone like Filip, who invested in Dogecoin – the meme-based crypto that skyrocketed in value in April after a few tweets from Musk – the risk is more than worthwhile.
“I realized that for someone my age, it’s better to bet on crypto than to put money in a retirement plan, says the 25-year-old who works in the financial services industry . Then, slowly, I started to become passionate about this world and the community that surrounds it. He made an initial investment of around 24,000 euros and claims to have earned triple in just under a year.
John* says he invested “10 or 20 euros” in Bitcoin in 2015, after being influenced by pro-crypto economist Max Keiser. “Then, over the next two years, I invested a little more at regular intervals,” he explains. While he doesn’t want to say exactly how much he’s invested in total, or what profit he’s made to date, he says the margin is “one thousand percent.”
But John says he’s less drawn to money than to what he sees as the revolutionary power of the blockchain: “If you want to make money, cryptocurrencies are probably not the best choice, because they’re very volatile and at that time you might as well invest in the stock market. But if you have faith in cryptocurrencies and the technology behind them, investing is a great way to support a financial revolution. »
Between the scams that multiply every day and the risks inherent in the sector, it can feel like the cryptocurrency investment system is designed to penalize newcomers, especially those who rely on the dodgy advice of influencers. sector, sometimes involved in operations aimed at inflating the price of currencies for profit.
“Cryptocurrencies are not a subject that is taught in school. And because they’re so unregulated and a lot of people don’t have the necessary information on how to invest, fake crypto gurus take advantage,” says Poku Banks, who often posts influencer videos. questionable as well as general financial advice to his 344,000 TikTok followers. They take advantage of these innocent people to make money… Finding the right advice is like looking for a needle in a haystack. »
If you manage to avoid the risks, scams, fake advice and hype, the basic principle of making money in the world of cryptocurrencies is to inform yourself as much as possible and in advance. “You won’t regret taking the time to learn,” says Austin, half of the duo behind YouTube channel Altcoin Daily.
“If you’re really passionate about it, it can only benefit you,” says Aaron, Altcoin Daily’s other half. If your investments are profitable, you’ll want to tell your friends. It almost becomes a second personality for some people. »
*Name has been changed.
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