While 15, Erik Finman made a bold bet with his parents that if he turned 18 and was a millionaire, they wouldn’t push him to attend college. Shockingly, his parents, who met while pursuing their Ph.D.s at Stanford, said OK.
Enter bitcoin where Finman made his first investment when the price was $12 thanks to a $1,000 gift from his grandmother and a tip from his brother Scott. Over time using his intuitive smarts, Finman was able to trade what might have been a negative investment in higher education into a positive one through Bitcoin.
Says Erik in a response to BTCManager via email:
“I discovered bitcoin alongside my brother. We both were fascinated with new technologies for a long time, but once we came across bitcoin on an online political forum we knew we found the next big thing! We stayed up all night talking about it and the future it will bring!”
With his first $100,000 Finman in early 2014 launched an online education company called Botangle, allowing frustrated students to find instructors over video chat. He also moved to Silicon Valley, met Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and jet setted to various parts of the world.
He sold Botangle’s technology in January 2015 to an investor with an intriguing offer of either $100,000 fiat or 300 bitcoin – the latter having plummeted in value at that time to little more than $200 a coin. He says that he accepted the latter surmising that bitcoin indeed was going to be “the next big thing.”
His parent were perplexed as to why he didn’t take the cash. But Finman was steadfast in his belief about bitcoin’s investment potential.
And the rest is history.
Now 18, he made his millions while continuing to invest in bitcoin. He has also been working with NASA to facilitate a rocket launch through the ELENA project. And in terms of college, that appears to be completely off the table.
This is where Finman is truly an outlier. The rest of his family has degrees — his brother Scott attended John Hopkins at 16 and now has an enterprise software company; brother Ross attended Carnegie Melon to study robotics and is now at MIT pursuing his Ph.D. In the meantime, Finman continues to embrace the real world of autodidactic, experiential learning.
When asked about his current investments, Finman had this to say: “I’m invested in all the main ones and a couple of ICOs. Some I have faith in, some I short, and some just to be diversified. Of course, Ethereum and Litecoin are included in this mix. But a product that I love that did an ICO is called Stox, a blockchain evolution of Prediction Markets. It has an incredible ability to change the world and is a product I’d been wishing for in this manner for a long LONG time!”
Despite the fact that his portfolio of cryptocurrencies is diverse, Finman can be a bit of a skeptic about cryptoassets like ether which he says can be great in the short term but are underwhelming, producing few viable products.
In terms of his feelings about bitcoin’s ongoing price fluctuations, Finman comments: “I’m glad bitcoin is going up and down quite a bit! It wouldn’t be sustainable if it were just going straight up to the top. So I hope this is a continuing trend for I believe it’s not only sign that the Bitcoin ecosystem is healthy, but those wild fluctuations can make me a lot of money!”
In closing Finman was asked for this interview to name a couple of big mistakes that the average, everyday bitcoin investor makes, “The first and main mistake bitcoin investors make is not educating themselves on what Bitcoin and Blockchain technology really is! It’s shocking to say, but that is the case with a lot of bitcoin investors. So my advice is to make sure you know what you are investing in before you do!”
He says that the second key for new bitcoin investors is to not freak out during wild fluctuations:
“If you are a new to this, the likely right thing to do is to hold. Set aside a very small percentage of your Bitcoin holdings to experiment with during these wild fluctuations and test any predictions you might have. That’s what I did initially. I predicted how high bitcoin would go and how much it would drop when I noticed a fluctuation was starting to happen. And the first few times I took a tiny percentage of bitcoin and made my bet!”
Concluded Finman, “Learning that and how much I would’ve made if I took out more was extremely educational. It got me comfortable with the Bitcoin market and how much I was willing to risk.”