Column: Students going crypto-crazy

Student debt, flexible contracts and a housing market that is out of reach. It is no surprise that students are interested in the world of crypto.

There is no escape. YouTube’s home page features it prominently, and the many advertisements on television and in bus shelters prove that crypto is a booming business, and if you don’t join in, the ship may sail without you. Although I am all for investing, I do feel obligated to voice a few side notes about crypto.

That the younger generation is so involved in crypto is not surprising at all. Students have high debts and face an uncertain future due to flexible contracts and a housing market that is out of their reach. That calls for alternative routes to seek financial security. Moreover, the low savings interest rates make it attractive to put your money to work rather than keeping it in a savings account. Fellow-blogger Emma Mouthaan frequently writes about investing at a young age.

Simply put, when you have a traditional job, you exchange time for money. Well-known investor Warren Buffet is quoted saying If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.’ Investing is one way to make money passively. An investigation by Nibud (the Dutch budgeting agency) shows that 42 per cent of the young adults invest, two-thirds of them (partly) invest in cryptocurrency.

Although you could argue about the usefulness and viability of the various crypto projects, there is little doubt about their value increase. Cold hard data does not lie. Still, the crypto market is not an environment where uninformed individuals get rich fast. This is because (and if you are unable to follow the next few sentences, I strongly recommend you refrain from entering the world of crypto just yet) the course is so volatile it could easily scare you. Moreover, the whole principle of years of bull and bear markets is extremely counter-intuitive. You could be tempted to micromanage your portfolio. Checking out the rates multiple times per day as well as consistently questioning what currency to invest in, requires quite some attention.

Still, I believe that even if you lack time to immerse yourself in the world of crypto, you don’t necessarily have to watch the ship sail without you. Invest a small sum in a few selected crypto projects each month, regardless of the current rates. Close your laptop, and check out your investments in about five years. You may find yourself with a modest crypto-vessel, but you may also have turned your investment into a crypto cruise ship. Whatever the result, at least the ship didn’t sail without you on board.

Oscar Delissen is a fourth-year Food Technology student. He is studying in Bolzano, Italy, for the next six months.

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