18-year-old bitcoin millionaire no longer recommends the currency

Bitcoin millionaire Erik Finman
Bitcoin entrepreneur Erik Finman, 18, talks college education at the Wired's Next Generation event in 2015 Wired UK/YouTube

Erik Finman made rounds in 2017 when he became a millionaire at his ripe old age of 18, thanks to his bitcoin investments and his online education company called Botangle. Despite the cryptocurrency that made him financially independent, the table has changed--Finman is no longer a believer in bitcoin.

Finman is now looking into other cryptocurrencies that operate way better than bitcoin. In an interview with CNBC, he called bitcoin "slow" and "outdated" in its current state, far from what it used to be when he first started in the business back in 2012.

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"In order to power bitcoin, this whole system around the world, it takes a huge amount of energy. It's hugely polluting the world, bitcoin today. And transactions are painfully slow. To buy $2 coffee, you have to pay a $30 transaction fee, which is outrageous. That's not how it used to be," says Finman.

The 18-year-old fears the growing popularity of the cryptocurrency is putting every bitcoin investor at great risk.

"If the whole world got on bitcoin tomorrow, it would completely fail and a lot of people would lose their money," says Finman, stressing that bitcoin right now is not sustainable and it is forcing people to find a solution.

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He stresses that the only way to topple down bitcoin is a better currency, adding that he would consider cashing out his investments if there are better options. As to which virtual currencies look good, Finman recommends ripple, ethereum, litecoin and monero.

Finman started to invest in bitcoin at 12. The US$1,000 he put into the cryptocurrency came from his grandmother who supposedly gave it to him to save for his scholarship fund.

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At the time of purchase, bitcoin cost about US$10-US$12 and his money got him 100 bitcoins. Finman said he was able to multiply his investments through crypto trading and selling Botangle for 300 bitcoins which he later reacquired. He currently has 401 bitcoins to his name which is equivalent to roughly US$5m in present exchange rate.

Cryptocurrencies have been through a hit-and-miss ride over the last few months, from bitcoin soaring to its record high and a massive sudden drop after a few days to some big-time investors pulling out of the business. A currency that is essentially intangible and invisible, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin still have a lot to prove despite riding high on its popularity.

This article was first published on January 21, 2018