The 30-year-old in this story has a couple of things going for him. But the most important is how his decisions in the past two years have given him two things: a solid safety net and a break from full-time work.
How did he get there?
What was your “I need to get into this crypto thing” moment?
It happened during a holiday in 2018. I was hanging out with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and I couldn’t help noticing that his standard of living had gone up from what it was about two years back. I also knew that Bitcoin made the change happen.
A little background: when I got my first job in 2016, this friend encouraged me to invest in Bitcoin, but I didn’t take him seriously. However, he started buying Bitcoin — which was about $600 then — and continued until 2018. By that time, one Bitcoin was close to the $10k mark. It was at that point we hung out.
Speaking of his new standard of living, little things sold how well he was now doing. I mean, we could be out chilling and he would order an expensive bottle of drink. And I would be there thinking “huh, this thing costs almost all of my salary.”
And you thought that could have been you too.
Naturally, things like this open you up to ideas you weren’t open to before. So yeah, watching my friend’s finances grow through his early Bitcoin investments drew my interest a bit. But his conviction that crypto was here to stay pushed me to action.
What do you mean?
A few months later — in 2019 — the price of cryptocurrencies crashed. When I called my friend to get his perspective, he told me he was investing in the dip and that he believed the market would go back up. This rubbed off on me, and I started reading more on crypto. The perfect opportunity to experiment came about a year later — during the 2020 lockdown. There was so much free time and little to do.
I get that. How did you approach it?
Before that time, I was saving between ₦10k(~$16) and ₦20k (~$33)in a savings app. I stopped doing that and started channelling the money into cryptocurrencies. Interestingly, I didn’t buy Bitcoin at all.
What coins did you start with?
ADA, ETH, Ripple and BNB. The strategy I was using didn’t favour investing in Bitcoin. Before you ask, my strategy was to look for strong projects that had low market caps.
Break this down, please.
Market cap is the total value of a coin in circulation. A coin with a high market cap will probably also be a good investment, but the return margins will be relatively lower than coins with low market caps. For example, Bitcoin’s market cap is currently at about $540b, and the chance that it will hit a trillion dollars in a couple of months or even years is low. In contrast, it’s easier for a coin with a market cap of $100m to move to $200m and go from there. This was my thinking and why I kept looking for low market cap project.
Interesting. How did you know you were doing the right thing though?
I was just keeping an eye on how well or bad my investments were doing. BNB is my favourite coin to reference because at the time I invested ₦100k (~$166) in it, the value of one BNB was $6. Three months later, it had grown to $16, bringing my total investment to about ₦250k (~$416).
There was no going back from there. You know, I liquidated the money and deposited it in my bank account just to make sure it was real.
Haha. The crypto market in 2020 was largely favourable. In a parallel universe where none of this went your way, how do you imagine you’d have navigated that?
I probably would have still invested in it, but maybe not as much as I did. As I said, my friend’s conviction rubbed off on me, and I had also seen how the market moved.
Besides, I also found out about how crypto helps with cross-border payments in 2020: my sister moved abroad, and we needed to make a payment from here. However, my parents didn’t have access to enough forex. Fortunately, the vendor accepted payments in Bitcoin, and I handled that. It took less than an hour to get everything done. That experience alone gave me more confidence to stay for the long haul.
That’s fair. What was the next step for you?
I decided to take it a step further and turned my sights to futures trading. It started terribly. I was getting liquidated — this is what happens when you lose your capital — every five minutes. I started getting more luck when I started paying attention to the patterns consistent with futures trading. It took lots of my time, but it was also fun.
I’m curious, where was your actual day job in all of this?
I was working in civil service and was always behind a computer, so it was easy to have an extra tab open and track my trades. It almost developed into a habit until I lost $500 in a single trade because I didn’t know when to stop. It was almost like crypto was telling me to calm down and get a life outside its reach.
But yeah, I was making money from both trading and investing in projects. The biggest profit that changed my life came from investing in a coin though.
Sounds interesting. Tell me more.
In 2021, a friend and I raised ₦11m (~$18k) and invested it in a token I had been experimenting with for a while — CHZ on the Chiliz ecosystem. As much as the decision was based on the hype and bullish trends the token was experiencing, the gambler in me played a role in investing that much money in it. It was one of those this could either work out well or end as a disaster. It was a huge risk, huge reward play.
Anyway, three weeks later, our investment was worth ₦35m (~$58k). We made more than ₦20m(~$33k) from just getting in on a project. It didn’t make sense.
I won’t lie, I was also confused about what to do. I was on leave from work and was spending time with the friend I pooled the resources together with. When we decided to get out of the project, he was like “will you return to this job like this?” It was a tease, but guess what I did.
I returned to work and turned in my resignation.
That’s the same reaction my parents and most of my friends had. They didn’t think it made sense. My dad was particularly furious. But here’s the thing — I was making ₦5.5m (~$9k)/annum at my job. And now, I had made x3 of that in less than a month. At that safety net, I knew I would be fine for a long time.
Well, I guess everyone has a moment where a few things in their lives change. That was it for me. I could afford to take a break, and that’s exactly what I did. Taking a break works for me. If anything, it’s given me more time to search for the next big thing in crypto. Right now, I’m just navigating through the crypto dip just like everyone else.
About that, how did it affect you?
The value of my portfolio took a hit at the beginning of the dip, but the good thing was that I got in on most of my holdings early. The loss I recorded only affected some percentage of the profits I had made. My capital was still intact.
I’m not even fazed much about this, so I’m looking for perfect entry points into new projects. Why? I see the current market conditions as an opportunity to separate the projects that have real use cases from those that don’t. Anything that survives a bear market is a good project in my book.
I’ve also been making some plays, bear market and all.
I’ve been buying a couple of Binance launchpad tokens, and some of them have done well while others have not. I should mention something here: I bought into the tokens that did well because I was active and put my ears down for information.
Feels like there’s a story here somewhere.
There is a short one. I saw a tweet suggesting that CZ, the CEO of Binance, was investing a lot into tokens on the Binance Launchpad. I took it from there and bought some of those I liked. One of them was a token called UnFi. I got into it at $10 and got out at $20. This happened in less than a week. That’s not even all — it reached an all-time high of $40 before it started dipping, but I think it’s about $9 now.
The lesson here, if there’s one, is that solid information and a willingness to take the risks you are built for can make a whole lot of difference. Also, contrary to what you would ordinarily want to believe, it’s still very possible to make money in a bear market.
You don’t sound bothered about what a prolonged bear market might mean for you.
I don’t need to. It’s another learning curve for me. Besides, the decisions I’ve made in the past two years have provided me with a financial cushion. I don’t currently work 9–5, but the quality of my life is a solid six — it would be higher but I’m always looking for more.
Love it for you. Speaking of a job, you’re returning to paid employment sometime, aren’t you?
I believe I will in some capacity. I always wanted to be a programmer before I quit my job. Now, I’m taking classes and should be done in the next six months. We’ll see where I go from there.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to a lot of things, but which one is on top of the list?
The next bull market. It’s going to come, so I might as well prepare for it. I’m optimistic it will come because crypto has worked out for me for the most part; there’s no reason for it to stop now.