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Gambling or investment? Cryptocurrency brings dreams of big gains to Austin buyers

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.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway