04252018 Headline:

Cryptocurrencies gaining popularity at RAHS

Students learning about and investing in cryptocurrency

By Henry Crockett

Just like the price of bitcoin as shown in this graph of price fluctuation, the popularity of cryptocurrency is on the rise.
Photo Courtesy of www.coindesk.com

With all the recent news about bitcoin, it is no surprise that students at RAHS are getting invested in cryptocurrencies.

So what are cryptocurrencies? Cryptocurrency has been gaining popularity but not many know how the whole system works. Teo Bagnoli, senior at RAHS, has been investing in cryptocurrency for over a year.

“Basically, cryptocurrency is a digital decentralized form of currency,” said Bagnoli. “Decentralized means that it has no central authority that issues it, which allows it [to avoid] government manipulation and interference.”

As Bagnoli stated, one of the key aspects to cryptocurrency is that it is decentralized meaning it is not controlled by the government. C.J. Crowder, a senior at RAHS, claims that because cryptocurrencies are not backed by government, they have the potential to change the way we think about money.

“Cryptocurrency is an electronic, decentralized form of peer-to-peer monetary transaction, sort of like digital cash,” said Crowder. “People think crypto is just something to invest in. It was never intended as a way to hold value; it was created as an alternative to cash, so let’s let it change the world already.”

Bagnoli first got involved in cryptocurrencies a long time before it was so widely covered by the news.

“I started getting involved in cryptos about a year and a half ago as they were simply interesting to me,” said Bagnoli, “but since the beginning of this last summer I’ve really become involved in them and started investing more into them.”

Despite owning various forms of cryptocurrency, Bagnoli does acknowledge some of the flaws involved with the system.

“I think that cryptos may have a hard time being mass adopted by the public as there is still a lot of hesitation around them due to misinformation and ignorance,” said Bagnoli. “However, they have huge potential as not only currencies but also as methods of data transfer.”

The great part about cryptocurrency, as Bagnoli states, is that you can dedicate as much or as little time as necessary.

“If you’re trying to day trade, its going to be pretty stressful and a large time commitment but if you just buy with the intentions to use it as an investment platform and not necessarily a currency, its not that big of a time commitment,” said Bagnoli. “If you’re using it as an everyday currency, it can be more time consuming depending on what crypto you primarily use.”

Bagnoli recognizes current cryptocurrency success due to two reasons.

“First, in my opinion it’s the future, so the general public is starting to realize its potential and value as a technology,” said Bagnoli. “Second, there has been a lot of media hype around it recently, and the rare examples of early investors making millions in profits only adds to the attention.”

Crowder has invested lots of money into various cryptocurrencies and, as a result, can take up a lot of his time.

“When I had around $2,000 invested I was checking prices every fifteen minutes,” said Crowder. “I have invested thousands in bitcoin, IOTA, Litecoin, and Ethereum and I was always researching ways to make my investment more secure, or to redistribute in order to maximize my profits.”

Crowder realizes there is a lot of common misconceptions about cryptocurrencies such as it being untrackable.

“One, it is not truly anonymous. With enough time and effort someone can and will track you down,” said Crowder. “Two, it does not work like stocks. It is real money, and owning crypto is very similar to buying another country’s currency.”

Crowder has provided some tips for getting involved in cryptocurrencies.

“Never store your coin in an online exchange. Several notable exchanges have collapsed, taking the money of the entire user-base,” said Crowder. “Buy crypto on these exchanges, and then store the keys in a hardware wallet. If you control the keys, it is your money.”

Most people view cryptocurrency as a get-rich-quick option but Bagnoli does not agree and instead believes it is a way of fighting back against the one and only form of government-backed currency that is most frequently used.

“Cryptocurrencies aren’t about investing and individual monetary gain at all,” said Bagnoli. “It’s main purpose is protesting the financial system that we have been forced to use. It lets you control your own life more.”

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