Bitcoin, Ethereum… Youth Caught a Cryptocurrency Fever

Owen Simonin, alias “Hasher”, a crypto influencer, in Metz, January 17, 2021.

He began investing in cryptocurrencies in early May against the tide as the market began a dizzying fall. At the age of 19, Arthur, a student at the HEC preparatory school in Paris, after his competition was over, was looking for “what to do with [sa] life.” He finally set his sights on these digital currencies that several students in his class had encountered before him, having spent a year from sports betting to the stock market and then to bitcoin, the queen of cryptocurrencies. “All around me are those who bought it wanted to be millionaires in two hours. I’m interested because it’s trendy, he says, and also because bitcoin could be the currency of the future. Perhaps one day it will be said that bitcoin was as important as the invention of the railroad.”

A student bought 500 euros of Tether USD (USDT), a “stablecoin” (stable cryptocurrency) that aims to replicate the value of the US dollar by spending long hours reading books and watching influencer videos. “I like to find out before I play the lottery,” he says, “and so far I haven’t lost anything. »

Before seeing their prices plummet since the start of the year, the bitcoin-led “cryptocurrency” peaked in November 2021 (bitcoin’s price was close to €60,000), which convinced a growing number of French people to try their luck. A study conducted in January by consulting firm KPMG shows that 8% of the French have already invested in cryptocurrencies. Young people predominate among them, 12% under 35 bought cryptocurrency. This phenomenon also affects teenagers.

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“We are prohibited from selling cryptocurrencies to persons under the age of 18 due to the volatility of these assets,” says Manuel Valente, scientific director of cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinhouse, “but teenagers can open wallets. [portefeuilles] without showing ID and getting paid in crypto or sending them to them. In the UK, fintech GoHenry, which has conducted a study on income sources for teenagers, claims that 1.3 million UK children are investing in cryptocurrencies. Among them are several mini-stars such as Yussof Altukhi, a 16-year-old entrepreneur who launched his own cryptocurrency, Y coin.

“We see his money rise and then fall. We have the impression that we can win a lot, although in reality everything is much more difficult. » Iosif, 20 years old, student

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