There’s money in crypto if you know where to look
If you think about it, what attracted you to crypto?
An opportunity. My business partner invested in Bitcoin during its 2020 bull run — a term used for a consistent increase in the price of an asset — and I saw him make stress-free money. This shattered my existing beliefs about crypto being a Ponzi scheme that wouldn’t last the test of time. After my partner invested and made returns, I realised that I had been wrong about it. Naturally, I started looking for how I could join in the fun too.
A quick segue: you mentioned a partner, so could you tell me a bit about what you were doing at the time?
First, some background: I’m a brand and product designer. I founded a design studio in 2019, which I managed alongside a partner, who eventually got me interested in crypto.
Got it. What was your first active step in crypto?
I invested about ₦30k ($50) in Bitcoin for a month in early-2020 and watched it increase to ₦40k (~$67). When this happened, I took all the money out and waited for another coin. This was my strategy until August 2020.
Did something change?
Yes. The second half of 2020 was brutal for me. I was broke for the most part because my studio was struggling. My partner was in some shady dealings that I didn’t want any part of, so I figured it was time to part ways. But leaving the partnership was a whole mess. I got out of it with the help of a lawyer, but it also cost me a lot of money. I had to change a few things here and there to survive the tough months. So the last thing on my mind was crypto.
I’m sorry about this.
Thank you. By the time everything settled down and I returned to crypto, I realised that investing money I make outside of crypto isn’t the best strategy to use to participate in the space.
I don’t understand.
I discovered that I could work on crypto and web3 projects and request to be paid in crypto. This way, I don’t need to buy crypto or channel money from other sources into it. On some level, I suspect this is a self-preservation technique. I mean, the money is already in crypto, so I can afford to lose it.
How did this go?
I got my first crypto pay — $700 — last year for an illustration project I was contracted to do for a web3 company. I then got a job with another web3 company building blockchain games. At the time, they hadn’t raised money, so they paid me based on the work I did. The average amount I got paid was around $1500; the only problem was that there was uncertainty around project availability. However, this opened my eyes to the cryptoverse, and when I was finally ready to experiment, NFTs were my first stop.
Tell me more about it.
After I got paid for a project, I took between $50 and $100 to mint on the Polygon network.
However, NFTs on Polygon were slow. A couple of collectors reached out but didn’t buy. This showed me one thing; minting and selling on Polygon wouldn’t do me any good.
So, I moved to the Ethereum blockchain. Sadly, by that time, I had run through most of my NFTs budget, which meant that I was too broke to pay for gas fees. Also, I hadn’t gotten another job from the web3 company I worked with. As such, this ended my first experiments with NFTs, and I didn’t make any money from it.
Did you get some learnings from it though?
Yes. I realised that I couldn’t sell my skills and my work the way you need to be able to do if you want to survive in the NFT space. I found a workaround, though.
I decided to do collaborations with other artists who had a platform already. It felt doable because I was friends with most of the people I wanted to work with and they also knew that my work was high quality.
Did you find an artist in the NFT space to collaborate with?
Yes. Fortunately, one of the people I reached out to was working on a collection of 1000 art pieces. He chose me and five other artists to work with him on the project.
Thankfully, my piece made it into the collection. Interestingly, the piece we worked on together sold almost immediately after the collection went live. That was a moment of validation for me.
Anyway, the piece was listed for 1 eth, which was about $4200 at the time. We split it in half, so I got $2100 off the project.
I liquidated half of the money and redirected the rest into NFTs. I collected a couple of NFTs to give back to the community and also minted some of my work.
Why did you change your mind about minting?
The collaboration piece sold so fast that it made me confident that I could sell my stuff too. However, I forgot one tiny detail: he has a mad following. Although the pieces I minted haven’t sold yet, I don’t imagine it’s a waste of money. It’s an investment that pays up in time.
I respect that. What happened after that?
I planned to collaborate with other people, but for various reasons, they didn’t work out. So, I focused on designing for the web3 company I was occasionally working for.
Love to see it. 2022?
A couple of things have happened. I still work with the web3 company and now, I earn about $3k every two months. Because I’m not working with them full-time, I have time to do other stuff I find interesting.
Let’s hear them, please?
I’ll talk about one I’m currently obsessing over. Last year, I started working on a new NFT collection. Now, I have built a team around it. At the moment, I have one of the best motion designers I know and folks behind the marketing of one of the highest-selling NFTs in my country. I’m currently working on the project’s whitepaper, and I’m looking to raise about $50k before the end of July to carry out the project.
All of this is a means to an end. Since my game plan is to use my skills to make money in crypto, I want people to associate my name with quality work. This way, I build relationships I can leverage for more money-making opportunities in the space. So, I’m excited to get this project out. Last year, my income target was $15k, and I hit it. This year, I’m gunning for $100k.
That’s very ambitious.
It’s very doable. Of course, not everything will come from the NFT project I’m working on. I’m also working on my portfolio because I have a couple of job leads where I could be making at least $100k/year. I guess it’s true what people say — there’s money to be made in crypto, you just have to know where to look and what to do.
Exciting. What happens when you hit the goal?
Man, I have responsibilities. I have two brothers aged 17 and 20, and I’d like to relocate them to a different country to continue their education. There are a couple of other things to do, but this project trumps everything else.
Let’s do a follow up when you hit the goal.
Just curious: how old are you?