Tip Toe Into Crypto
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Crypto is not only a disruptive currency, it is fundamentally different than our current economy — it’s a new foundation upon which the internet of money and business and all future transactions of properties and assets is being built. It’s a $2 trillion market that is growing exponentially — and it’s super exciting.
I’ve been a technology nerd for a long time- I did my Masters degree at Columbia university in Educational Technology and worked for the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Educational Technology. I’ve taught at many universities and worked with several tech start ups. Most recently, I completed the Wharton UPenn course on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and started a free bi-monthly community zoom call to educate others about web3.
I fell down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole in 2021 after 2 years of doing humanitarian work in several countries including Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and the U.S. I learned that developing countries are the leaders in cryptocurrency adoption because of it’s potential to end poverty. In Dominican Republic, I met a young couple with a permaculture farm and recycling program. They encouraged families of the local village to collect plastic trash and then they recycled the trash into plastic composite boards which were then sold to builders. The project used a token called fumfu, which made global fundraising easy and accessible. I was so inspired by their project, that I knew I had to share this with others. I returned to the US and started writing and teaching about cryptocurrency immediately.
In order to understand cryptocurrency, you have to know the fundamental differences between fiat and digital currency. Fiat is a government-issued currency that is not backed by a physical commodity, such as gold or silver, but rather by the government that issued it such as dollars, euros, pesos, etc. U.S. dollar used to be backed by gold, but the it was officially decoupled from gold in 1976 so it’s a fiat currency. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography also know as ‘coins’ or ‘tokens.’
The first major difference between a national currency and a digital currency is that the national entity controls the way that you use money; it controls interest rates, inflation, loans, lending, and so on. The difference with cryptocurrency is that it lives on a blockchain so there is no one bank or country that is in charge — this is also known as decentralized finance or defi — it’s a global economy that we all share. Another major difference is that cryptocurrency is property — not security, which means it is regulated and taxed differently. It also means that anything you hold as a property — intellectual property, images, animation, music, real estate — all of these can be represented by cryptocurrency. You’ve probably seen examples of NFTs online.
NFT is a non-fungible token; it can be bought, sold and traded. Non-fungile means ‘assets that can’t be interchanged with something else.’ A dollar bill, for example, can be interchanged because it is fungible. We can also exchange 2 5’s and a 10 for a 20 dollar bill and so on. They’re all interchangeable. NFTs are unique items that represent something much larger and much more significant than just their jpeg; this is a creative revolution of money and business and economy and society. Most people have only heard of bitcoin, but there are 11,000 coins and 80,000 NFT collections available in the crypto market. Some other interesting facts about this industry are:
- There are more than 400 crypto exchanges
- There are more than 80 crypto wallets
- More than 15,000 businesses accept crypto
- There are more than 24,000 bitcoin ATMs worldwide
If you decide that you want to invest in the cryptocurrency market, there are some important things to remember.
1. Do your research. There are many nefarious characters in the world of crypto. There are clever scams and impersonators. Make sure to research the coins, the exchanges, the wallets, all of it, before you buy. Never rely on hearsay or trends to inform your decisions.
2. Don’t trust strangers. Never answer any DM on social media or email offers on any platform — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, anywhere, no one should be reaching out to you for your investments. You should get your investment advice from a trusted friend or crypto professional.
3. Keep your investments safe. Once you purchase your NFT or coins, take it out of the online exchanges and put it in your wallet. Make sure your passwords are written down and stored somewhere safe.
4. Talk to your accountant about your investments. If you’re not trading, crypto is taxed as property but if you’re trading, gains can be taxed as a security — make sure you are informed and prepared for your returns.
5. Finally — Pay it Forward. I invite you to look for ways to invest in coins like fumfu that are doing their small part to change the world for the better. I became a crypto advocate for humanitarian reasons. Crypto is for the millions, not for the millionaires. It can be used for increasing quity and supporting causes you care about.
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