I have a $1 million goal. Crypto will get me there
Into the Cryptoverse is a weekly Breach series that documents the stories of everyday people as they navigate the cryptoverse.
When the oil and gas engineer in this story started his crypto journey, he was looking to diversify his portfolio. A couple of months and trading experiments later, he’s more bullish on crypto than ever and has even set a goal — $1m in the next five years. But how does he hope to do this?
Could you paint a picture of your life before the cryptoverse?
I was an engineer in an oil and gas company with a gross annual income of about ₦30m. I was also saving and investing in Naira. Although I had access to some company stocks denominated in dollars and had money in Eurobonds and a hedge fund, I was looking to diversify my portfolio and have more investments in a currency that isn’t the Naira. I decided to test the waters with crypto.
Why did you think crypto was the next step?
I was following a pension fund administrator who tweeted a lot of cryptocurrency content. According to him, it was the future and there was money to be made from it. That piqued my interest and drove me to action. This was November 2019.
Walk me through the first set of actions you took.
I reached out to the guy and asked him to teach me the basics. But he requested some money in Ethereum. While I understood why he asked for payment, I wasn’t ready to pay for it. I thought it made more sense to explore the free resources online first. I started researching when I could. I read the bitcoin whitepaper and did some more research on the internet. However, I didn’t make any active move until June 2020.
A colleague who had more crypto knowledge than I did randomly mentioned that the price of bitcoin had gone up. I didn’t want to waste more time, so I asked him to help me open an account on the exchange he used — LocalBitcoins. I bought one BTC in my first transaction.
How much was it?
About ₦4.5m. Within two weeks, the value of my BTC grew to about ₦4.9m. I was so ecstatic. I sold it and made about ₦400k off that trade alone.
I’m wondering why you didn’t hold on to it.
I thought it was wild that I made that much money in so little time and wanted proof that the money in my wallet was real. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best decision. The price of bitcoin continued to rise and, and it went up to about ₦7m. The seller’s remorse hit hard quickly. The next best thing was to buy more. Unfortunately, I could only afford 0.5 BTC this time.
In November 2020, the same colleague who had set me up on LocalBitcoins advised me to move my assets to Binance.
Did he mention why?
I’d have access to more coins on Binance, which was a huge advantage. I signed up on Binance and started a new journey.
When you say a new journey, what do you mean?
Bitcoin might be the leading cryptocurrency, but I realised that I could make more money investing in other coins.
In November 2020, I transferred the 0.5 BTC and 4.2 ETH I had from LocalBitcoins to Binance and started learning more about other cryptocurrencies. Sadly, I made a couple of rookie mistakes in the first few months and lost money.
I’m sorry. Would you like to tell me more about this?
My thing was to buy a coin at a low price and hope to sell it when the price goes up. This is tricky because the market moves quickly. By December, I had deposited about ₦4m into my Binance wallet and some of it had gone down the drain, even though I always had my eyes glued to the charts for most of the day.
This sounds like a full-time job. What about your 9–5?
I was using some work hours to trade and using my time to trade at night. I could make up to $2k in an hour or two and lose everything in the next hour. Once the value of the coin I had money in started dropping, I’d panic and exit my position. I thought I was minimising my loss but by January 2021, I had lost about $13k.
That must have hurt.
Oh, it did. And it was mostly my fault — I was overly sentimental and wasn’t big on research, so I was trading based on what I heard from people. I wasn’t going to back out easily though. I was also making some money in-between the losses, and that gave me an incentive to keep pumping money into crypto. In February, I deposited a ₦4m allowance I got at work and a little under $30k out of my Eurobonds in my wallet, bringing the total amount I had in there to $55k.
Interestingly, I got my first major breakthrough in February.
I took a gamble on SFP — the native token for Safepal, which is a multi-coin wallet. When the token got listed on Binance, I put all the $55k I had into it. It paid off. One week later, my portfolio doubled to $100k. I was hoping it would get up to $120k, but it peaked at $110k before it started dropping. I eventually got out of it when the value of my portfolio climbed down to $80k. Regardless, I made more than $28k in less than a month from SFP and some smaller trades I made after I exited my SFP position. The best part was that I made up for all the losses I had incurred in the past months. It felt good, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t lose money the way I had ever again.
It sounds like you had a plan.
I did. It was simple too. I decided to start using credible information to make trading or investment decisions. I turned to subreddits on Reddit, Telegram groups and YouTube channels, soaking up information and analysing them.
All of this brought me to my next stop — Decentralised Finance, which I invested in for the first time in Q1 2021.
How did it happen?
One of the guys I was following on YouTube talked about Pancake Swap, a decentralised exchange built on Binance Smart Chain and its token — CAKE. The token started blowing up between February and April, and it was around that time I bought it.
How much did it cost you?
One CAKE cost $13, and I bought 3000 units. My favourite thing about the token was that I could also stake it and earn 10 CAKE as a reward every day.
A few weeks after I bought in, the price of one CAKE rose to $40. But a major market crash followed. By May 2021, the price of one CAKE had dropped from $42 to $9. During the bull run, my entire portfolio — which included some other altcoins I was holding — was $210k. But now, it was $60k.
Man. How did you navigate this?
I HODL’d until CAKE went up to trading at $15. In the end, I sold my entire CAKE portfolio for $45k.
That’s been my strategy since that time — get in early on a project I believe in. At the moment, I have a goal to make at least $1m in the next five years and crypto will get me there.
Love the confidence. What projects do you think will get you here?
A number of them, including Verasity, Tokenplace, Polkadot, Fantom and Terra. I’m most excited about Terra’s native token, LUNA and it has the biggest allocation in my current portfolio for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a layer-one solution. Also, its stablecoin, which is called UST, is purely algorithmic.
Tell me, is this different from other stablecoins like USDT or USDC?
It is. Those are pegged to the US dollars. UST, on the other hand, is backed by the LUNA token. To mint one UST, you have to burn the dollar equivalent in Luna. I think I got in relatively early on this one. One LUNA currently costs more than $90. Three months ago, it was $6. I believe that the cryptoverse is minting millionaires, and I’m not asking for much; I just want to be one of them.
Energy! How has your relationship with crypto evolved in the past year?
Crypto used to be just a means of investment. Now, it’s my most preferred alternative asset class. Two months ago, I tracked my transactions on Binance and found out that I had deposited more than ₦15m and withdrawn a little over ₦30m. Yet I still have quite a bit of money in it. It’s part of my life now, and I love it for myself.
That’s a nice sentiment. Is there anything you find annoying about crypto though?
It can be daunting to people who are not used to tech. However, there are tons of resources on the internet that can break it down. That’s how I got by. If people are more open to learning about crypto, they’d see that everyone has a seat at this table.
With everything you know about crypto now, how would you explain it to a five-year-old?
Three words come to mind: magic internet money. I saw this somewhere, and I’m running with it.
Haha. I’m curious, what happens after you hit your $1m target?
I’d probably set a new one. But the plan is to retire from work and kick off my next set of projects: the first thing on my list is opening a lounge where I’ll fully explore my love for food and drinks. What’s there not to love about crypto?
Man, I’m rooting for you. Let’s do a follow-up story when you hit that target.
Check back every Monday at 10a.m. for a new episode.
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