Bitcoin
millionaire speaks at a TEDx Teen conference back in
2014.

Erik Finman

Erik Finman may be only 18, but he’s a millionaire, thanks to a
very shrewd and early investment in bitcoin.

And despite the recent tumult in the world of digital currency
and a huge run-up in the value of bitcoin, Finman is still a
bitcoin believer. By his reckoning, the cyber
currency still has a ton of upside.

Indeed, Finman said recently that buying bitcoin now
would be a “very smart financial decision.”

The teen mogul is putting his money where his mouth is. He
owns
403 bitcoins, which give him a net worth
of around $1.7 million. He’s not going to
college, and he doesn’t have a steady job. He’s just focusing on
his bitcoin investments. Well, that and launching a
satellite stocked with a signed Taylor Swift CD into
low-earth orbit. 

His faith in bitcoin hasn’t been shaken by recent events, such as
the explosive growth of
Ethereum
, a rival digital currency system, the “hard fork” to
bitcoin that divided the market for the currency, or the big rise
in the value of bitcoin. Each coin is now worth more than $4,300,
up from less than $1,000 each as recently as March.  

While there will be some “ups and downs” to bitcoin in the near
future, Finman expects that it could go up “much, much, much
more” — possibly to as high as $10,000 per coin. 

The alternatives

Finman doesn’t pay much mind to cyber currency alternatives like
bitcoin cash, a currency that spun off from bitcoin
following a schism within the bitcoin community. Finman sees it
as an “alt-coin;” an offshoot that’s more of a minor experiment
than a true successor to bitcoin itself. 

Finman’s also skeptical of Ethereum,
which has been getting a lot of traction in Silicon Valley.
Each ether — Ethereum’s name for its digital coins — is
now worth $300, and proponents see unlimited upside. 


bitcoin
Markets
Insider


But Finman believes that growth in Ethereum is being driven
largely by speculators who are creating a bubble that could burst
one day. In the bitcoin community, Ethereum is sometimes known as
“Ponzi-coin,” he said, a characterization that he “might agree
with.”

There’s “a lot of money short-term” to be made with Ethereum, he
said, but he’s unconvinced of its long-term viability as a true
digital currency. 

He feels similarly about initial coin offerings, or ICOs, where
companies are launching new currencies or digital tokens by
exchanging them for bitcoin or ether. He thinks ICOs are
“cool and innovative” in theory, but describes much of the
execution as “Gordon Gekko-esque” — referencing the unethically
greedy antihero from the “Wall Street” movies — insofar as
they’re
largely unregulated and highly risky for investors
.

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