Last February, when Glauber Contessoto decided to invest his life savings in Dogecoin, his friends had concerns.
“They all said, are you crazy,” he said. “It’s a joke coin. It’s a meme. It’s going to crash. “
His skepticism was justified. After all, Dogecoin it is a joke: a digital currency started in 2013 by a couple of programmers who decided to simulate the cryptocurrency craze by creating their own virtual money based on a meme about Doge, a talking Shiba Inu puppy. And investing money in dark cryptocurrencies, historically, has been akin to throwing it into a bonfire.
But Contessoto, 33, who works at a Los Angeles hip-hop media company, is no ordinary buy-and-hold investor. He is among the many thrill-seeking hobbyists who have plunged headlong into the markets in recent months, using stock trading apps like Robinhood to chase outsized profits on risky and speculative bets.
In February, after reading a Reddit thread about the potential of Dogecoin, Mr. Contessoto decided to do his best. He maxed out his credit cards, borrowed money using Robinhood’s margin trading feature, and spent everything he had on the digital currency, investing around $ 250,000 in total. . Then, he obsessively watched his phone as Dogecoin became an internet phenomenon whose value dwarfed that of blue-chip companies like Twitter and General Motors.
The value of your Dogecoin holdings today? Approximately $ 2 million.
On the surface, Mr. Contessoto, who has dropped out of college and has no formal financial training, seems no different from a lucky player who walks into a casino, bets all his chips on a single spin of roulette, and comes out a millionaire.
But it is also emblematic of a new type of hyper-online investor that is gaining by applying the skills of the digital attention economy (sharing memes, cultivating rumors, producing endless content for social media) in the financial markets.
These investors, mostly young men, do not behave rationally in the old-fashioned Homo economicus. sense. They choose investments not based on their underlying fundamentals or Wall Street analyst estimates, but on more flexible criteria such as how funny they are, how futuristic they seem, or how many celebrities tweet about them. His philosophy is that in today’s media-saturated world, attention is the most valuable commodity of all, and that anything that attracts a large amount must be worth something.
“Memes are the language of millennials,” Contessoto said. “Now we are going to have a meme paired with a coin.”
Contessoto, an affable bearded hip-hop fan who goes by the nickname Jaysn Prolifiq, is a first-generation immigrant whose parents came to the United States from Brazil when he was 6 years old. As a child in suburban Maryland, he saw his family struggling with money, and he vowed to get rich. He discovered a love for hip-hop music as a teenager, and after school, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took a job earning $ 36,000 a year as an entry-level video editor while trying to book concerts for an up. -and- next rapper I knew.
His dream was to save enough money to buy a house, one that he and his hip-hop friends could live in while making music together.
But that kind of cash was hard to come by, and he spent several years crashing on couches while trying to save enough for the down payment.
In 2019, you started buying shares in Robinhood, the commission-free trading app. He stuck with big, well-known companies like Tesla and Uber, and when those operations made money, he bought more. And in January 2021, he watched in fascination as a group of traders on Reddit successfully boosted GameStop’s stock price, squeezing hedge funds they had bet against the video game retailer and making millions for themselves in the process. (He tried to get into the GameStop exchange but was too late and ended up losing most of his bet.)
Shortly after the GameStop saga, Mr. Contessoto was browsing Reddit when he saw a post about Dogecoin. He had heard of the coin before. (Elon Musk, who is to Dogecoin fans more or less what Pope Francis is to Catholics, had called it “people’s crypto”). But as he investigated further, he became convinced that Dogecoin’s humorous and accessible image could make it the next GameStop.
“Dogecoin has the best brand of all cryptocurrencies,” he said. “If you put in front of me all the symbols of Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, everything seems super technological and futuristic. And Dogecoin just looks like this: Hello guys what’s up? “
He imagines that newbies investing in cryptocurrencies for the first time might gravitate toward something fun and recognizable, and that Dogecoin could eventually become a kind of on-ramp into the broader world of virtual money.
“I feel like eventually we will all be buying and selling things with memes, and Dogecoin will lead the way,” he said.
As strange as your investment thesis may sound, it’s hard to argue with the results. Even after a recent accident following Mr. Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” (in which he joked that Dogecoin was a “hustle”), Dogecoin is still a very lucrative trade. A dollar invested in Dogecoin on January 1 would be worth $ 203 today, far more than a comparable investment in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any S&P 500 stock.
Dogecoin’s stratospheric rise has also sparked many complaints among crypto fans, who view it as a tacky sideshow that overshadows the more serious uses of cryptocurrency. One of the original creators of Dogecoin has rejected the coin, and even Musk has warned investors not to speculate too much on cryptocurrencies. (Mr. Musk recently sent cryptocurrency markets into uproar again, after he announced that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin.)
So what explains the durability of Dogecoin?
There’s no question that the Dogecoin craze, like the GameStop craze before it, is at least in part attributable to some combination of pandemic-era boredom and the perennial appeal of get-rich-quick schemes.
But there may be more structural forces at play. In recent years, rising housing costs, record student loan debt, and historically low interest rates have made it more difficult for some young people to imagine how to achieve financial stability by slowly moving up the career ladder and saving money check by check, the way his parents did.
Instead of ladders, these folks are looking for trampolines, volatile and risky investments that could result in a life-changing windfall or send them back to where they started.
Mr. Contessoto is an excellent case study. He now makes $ 60,000 a year at his job – a decent living, but not enough to pay for a home in Los Angeles, where the average home costs nearly $ 1 million. He drives a beat-up Toyota and spent years living frugally. But at age 30, still without a house to his name, he decided to look for something that could change his luck overnight and ended up at Dogecoin’s doorstep.
When Mr. Contessoto recalls the way he used to seek wealth – working hard, cutting expenses, saving some money from every paycheck – he sees evidence of a system being rigged against ordinary people.
“I feel like those TV pundits, the older generation of old money and wealth, are trying to scare people into staying safe so no one gets too rich,” he told me.
His new motto, he said, is “money scared doesn’t make money.”
Many things about Contessoto’s investment philosophy would turn the stomach of a traditional financial advisor. But the wildest of all is that despite his spectacular earnings, he still hasn’t cashed in his millions of Dogecoin. You think the price of the currency will continue to rise and you don’t want to miss out on future profits by selling too early. (He plans to sell 10 percent of his stake next year, once his earnings are classified as long-term capital gains and taxed at a lower rate.)
Instead, he is calling himself a Dogecoin expert, adopting nicknames like “the Dogefather” and “Slumdoge Millionaire” and making YouTube videos promoting Dogecoin to others.
“I am optimistic as they come into the Dogecoin community,” he said. “If this exceeded my expectations for Dogecoin, and I only achieve it in two months, imagine where it will be in a year.”
Of course, as with any volatile investment, there is a real chance that Contessoto’s Dogecoin holdings will lose most or all of their value, and that his dream of owning a home will be out of his mind again. scope. Dogecoin’s price has already dropped nearly 50 percent from its all-time high, cutting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Contessoto’s portfolio.
But players rarely leave the table the first time they lose, and Contessoto’s commitment to “HODLing,” an acronym preferred by crypto traders that means “hang on for life,” is driving him through the recent turbulence. From the market. Earlier this week, he aware a screenshot from his cryptocurrency trading app, showing that he had bought more. And on Thursday, when the value of his Dogecoin holdings fell to $ 1.5 million, about half of what it was at the peak, he posted another screenshot of his account on Reddit.
“If I can hodl, you can HODL!” said the caption.
The entry is a Dogecoin millionaire. And it is not selling. was published first in Es de Latino News ..