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It could be the future of currency or the flop of the century. Cryptocurrency, now worth more than all U.S. dollars in circulation, is gaining traction, and Austin is getting in on it.

Curiosity into cryptocurrency has grown nationwide with 63% reportedly "crypto curious," or those wanting to learn more about it but have not started investing, according to Gemini, a digital currency exchange and custodian platform. The platform reports 14%, or 21.2 million, Americans currently own cryptocurrency with 68% of owners buying within the last two years.

(Laura Figi/Austonia)

Who is buying in?

Sam Nassar, a Texas State University accounting graduate student, started investing in cryptocurrency in July 2020, although he kept up with crypto trends before that. At 23 years old, Nassar said the decision to take the plunge and invest was born from quarantine boredom.

"I've always been intrigued in technology, and I've always been an early adopter, so I just decided to start to invest in it and understand kind of a little bit of behind it," Nassar said. "I do believe in the technology and I know it's so useful and truly is the future"

Since then he has invested over $700 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Tether, Cardano, Chainlink and Internet Computer.

Cryptocurrency interest is heavily skewed toward younger men with the biggest percentage primarily between the ages of 25 and 44.

(Laura Figi/Austonia)

Likewise, 26-year-old, Liam Duddy, a South Austin salesman, started to involve himself in cryptocurrency after hearing the buzz about Bitcoin and how much money people were making off of it.

"I was like wow, so you're telling me it only takes me one of these little coins if I can get a hold of them and I have 30 grand," Duddy said. "That opened up a whole different world of all these different kinds of coins you can buy into."

Why are they investing?

For Nassar, cryptocurrency is about being part of the technology of the future. Nassar is studying to be a Certified Public Accountant and believes cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and innovations like smart contracts, or self-executing contracts programs, have the capacity to completely change the industry he wants to work in.

"You're going to have to have specialized auditors that understand blockchain technology in order to truly audit it, otherwise fraud can occur," Nassar said. "I think it really is the future. I really do think that that's another reason I'm investing into it, because I do believe that technology."

Cryptocurrency is about the gains for Duddy, who originally invested $400 and saw a $2,000 return when he invested in Bitcoin and Chainlink. Although he does see value in the future of blockchain technology, Duddy also has fun with it.

"Right now there's not a whole lot (of real-world application), it's not as easy to pay with, but if I have it and it's going up, you have one of them it's worth $50,000 U.S. dollars you can buy a car," Duddy said. "I guess you look at it as something fun to start off with."

What's their advice for new investors?

  1. Do your research before investing
  2. Use a platform meant for cryptocurrency
  3. Don't just listen to Elon Musk's predictions
  4. Look before you leap

Both Nassar and Duddy recommend using an app like Coinbase or Gemini to track your cryptocurrency.

Finally, don't let the volatility scare you but do make sure you do your research before you sink your life savings into an unregulated currency.

"At the end of the day it's like gambling," Duddy said.


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