The Crypto Craze Continues

The Crypto Craze Continues

Now is the time for women to get a seat at the digital currency table, which may also come in handy for real estate investments

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, then you’ve heard the recent raucous surrounding the rollercoaster that is cryptocurrencies. Are you confused by what you’re reading and hearing? Don’t worry, so are most people — even the ones who are investing in this digital currency. There’s so much buzz floating around about this phenomenon, it’s no wonder everyone is in a tizzy over its rising and falling prices.

Crypto in a nutshell

Warren Buffett famously advised never to invest in anything you don’t understand — yet bitcoin investors don’t really seem to be heeding that advice. Some people have hailed this virtual currency as the money of the future, while others have dubbed it the next Ponzi scheme. Only time will tell.

First thing’s first: bitcoin isn’t the only game in town, thought it was the first of its kind. There are countless other cryptocurrencies, which are grouped as “altcoins,” or alternative cryptocurrencies, that were launched after bitcoin. And where there are options, there are opportunities.

One of the reasons bitcoin and other virtual currencies are so exciting is because they are relatively new and highly volatile. Some analysts are predicting that digital currency is the future of the world’s financial system, while others believe it’s merely a trend that will disappear. While we don’t know what the future holds, its extreme fluctuations make for some very dynamic investments — and bitcoin is making some people very wealthy.

The last time I wrote about bitcoin was February 2018 — when one Bitcoin was worth $10,854.42 U.S. dollars. Today, one bitcoin is worth $50,449.40. Look at that increase in just two short years!

As such, many people are buying fractions of bitcoins—investing $50 or $100 to get their hands on a little piece of this action as they work toward achieving financial independence.

Losing the crypto-fraternity mentality

It’s hard to believe the foothold on the “old boys’ club” is still so strong in the 21st century, but it is. Women never got a proper seat at the table during the tech boom and now men are attempting to shove us aside for the latest tech craze: cryptocurrency. Google analytics showing Bitcoin engagement by gender reveals that only 14.23% are women (up from 5.27% a couple years ago, though, so the numbers are trending in the right direction).

In fact, the 2018 North American Bitcoin Conference featured 84 male speakers and only three women. Ok, that’s disappointing. But here’s the real kicker: the official conference party was held at a Miami strip club. Seems like the men in charge are trying to send a strong message that we aren’t welcome in this space. And the year before, the conference’s kickoff party featured models in their underwear, who were painted gold and covered in bitcoin logos. There’s even a new crop of wealthy crypto speculators known as “blockchain bros.” It’s like a cryto-fraternity has joined Wall Street and strip clubs are their hazing ritual.

Well, good luck keeping this gold mine all to yourselves, boys. Because make no mistake: Women are involved in cryptocurrency, and we are becoming more involved every day. The numbers are starting to reflect that — the 2021 Conference, held last month, featured about 68 speakers and 11 were women. That’s a (small) step in the right direction!

It’s also a safe bet that women didn’t have a seat at the table when our current financial system was conceived hundreds of years ago, and now we have an opportunity to change the future with what could be a whole new system — one that rests on a decentralized model that offers added transactional privacy.

While the longevity of digital currencies remains unknown and I don’t have a crystal ball to predict what might happen next, one thing is for certain: It’s a hot industry with room for women to rise to the top. According to a recent Business Insider article, only 15% of bitcoin traders are women — and the numbers are similar for etherum and other cryptocurrencies. So there’s plenty of opportunity to get in on the action and make your mark in this space.

Using bitcoin in real estate

Now, you might be wondering how to pay for things using cryptocurrencies—the list of companies accepting this form of payment is growing by the day. Here’s a few places accepting Bitcoin: Overstock.com, Home Depot, Starbucks, Whole Foods, KFC (in Canada), Expedia.com, CheapAir.com, Wikipedia, AT&T, Virgin Mobile and more.

But one of the ways in which bitcoin is being used that truly fascinates me is in—you guessed it—real estate. A while back, I read a news story about the owner of a $45 million mansion who is willing to accept bitcoin as partial payment for his 9,000-square-foot home. He believes that purchasing brick-and-mortar real estate might remove some of the volatility when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies.

Part of his logic? “According to current situation, if you buy the property with cryptocurrency, it’s difficult to identify the cost of the real estate because it fluctuates so much,” he said. “The government will have a hard time to tax or put a property value on the house you are going to sell.”

That’s an interesting way of looking at things—the value of the Bbitcoins he receives for the sale of his home could increase or decrease almost immediately, essentially putting him in a position where he’s getting more or less for his home than he realized.

Now, there probably aren’t a lot of potential buyers in the market for a home with this price tag, but there are more millionaires as of late thanks to cryptocurrency gains. And these new millionaires (and some are even billionaires) are no doubt looking for ways to reinvest their gains—and old-fashioned real estate may be the ideal route to go.

A new way to think about real estate

Clearly, converting large chunks of cryptocurrency into a less-volatile asset — like real estate — is a logical choice. And it’s happening more often than you think.

Luxury real estate agent Tony Giordano says he’s fielding more and more requests to use cryptocurrency to buy and sell property— and now asks his high-end clients if they would be willing to accept digital currency. Why? More options equals more buyers. This is especially true in the luxury market, where buyers like to maintain a low profile and avoid tax issues. Remember, cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated.

As such, it’s also important to note that finding an escrow service that handles crypto sales (vs. traditional cash) is not easy because technology is, unsurprisingly, moving faster than government regulation. So you’ll likely have to convert bitcoin into cash in order to buy a property.

Cashing in on crypto

Now might be a good time to dabble with cryptocurrencies to get a feel for the market. There’s a lot to learn about digital currencies (including that bitcoin isn’t the only game in town), so do your research and start your journey with a small investment — $20 is enough to get your feet wet.

While you may not be in the market for high-end real estate (yet), if you play your cards right, you could easily join the ranks of the new crypto millionaires popping up all around the world. And if not, you’ll get some experience buying and selling, monitoring your investments and having fun daydreaming about achieving your financial goals.

Original publish date: February 01, 2018