Are you a millionaire? Do you have a million pounds? When you check your bank balance on a cash machine, does it have at least seven digits before it gets to the pennies? If you lost nine hundred thousand pounds, would you still have loads of money?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, you have only yourself to blame, according to a 19-year-old German bitcoin millionaire.
Erik Finman invested in the cryptocurrency when he was 12, buying them for about $10 each. His bitcoin collection is now worth about $1.5 million, which means he won a bet he made with his parents that said if he became a millionaire by 18 he wouldn’t have to go to university. He told Business Insider:
“If you are smart about cryptocurrency over the next 10 years, many people can build their fortunes even better than before. The area is still relatively small; the market capitalisation is just over half a trillion dollars. I do not want to be misunderstood: This is, of course, a very high amount, but in comparison to other asset classes, it’s small. Therefore, I say if you do not become a millionaire in the next 10 years, then it’s your own fault.”
There’s undoubtedly a few useful points to take away from his experience - learning about economics when young can only be a good thing, and thinking outside the box in terms of life plans, questioning the default school-university-job routes that other people might have planned for you, is to be encouraged.
But. But but but.
There are also some points you could criticise in what he’s saying, like:
- His fortune began when he was given a gift of 1,000 euros when he was 12. Very few 12-year-olds are fortunate enough to be given such large amounts of money. Does that mean that, if you don’t have a rich, generous grandmother, you’ve done something wrong? If someone doesn’t have any grandparents, should they blame themselves? That’s mean.
- One of the defining characteristics of cryptocurrencies is that they’re an untested, unreliable, new market, so making a blanket statement like “If you don’t make money out of this, it’s your fault” isn’t just rude, it’s stupid.
- The likelihood of a single cryptocurrency increasing in value a thousandfold again is really slim - Finman was astute enough to get in really early, but leaps like that are in no way guaranteed to happen again.
- He even compares it to the Gold Rush in the piece. The Gold Rush worked out really well for the people involved in it early, and pretty hideously for people who came along later.
And so, in conclusion, no, Erik. We won’t feel bad about languishing in poverty. Well, we might feel bad, but we won’t feel guilty.