‘Millionaire Bitcoin Brat’ Says If You’re Not Rich Within 10 Years, It’s Your Own Fault

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Written by Dana Sanchez

 

Erik Finman, a 19-year-old bitcoin millionaire, said if we’re all not millionaires within a decade, we have no one to blame but ourselves. “This teenager’s angst is rich,” wrote Lauren Tousignant in the New York Post, and she labeled Erik a “millionaire bitcoin brat”.

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But first, a little background.

Erik’s parents, Paul and Lorna, met at Stanford University in the 1980s, when Paul was getting his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and Lorna was getting hers in physics. Their first date consisted of sitting in her room eating a can of beans. “Our dad is, like, the least romantic person ever,” Erik, then 16, said in a 2014 New York Magazine report. “She had a spectroanalyzer that he wanted.”

Paul and Lorna married and eventually moved with their three young sons to Post Falls, Idaho, near where Paul had grown up. Their company, LCF, has prospered since 9/11, winning lucrative contracts from the Department of Defense to make specialized amplifiers that can jam the improvised explosive devices American troops encountered in Iraq.

The Finman family’s friends include Burt Rutan, the Virgin Galactic aerospace engineer. The Finmans don’t think much of the local education system and home-schooled their older boys, according to NYMag.com. Each one had an office at LCF to pursue his interests. “Instead of recess,” their son Ross, 25, said, “we’d get time with an engineer.”

Scott, now 28, was into coding and began attending Johns Hopkins University when he was 16. Ross, who played with Legos until his fingers bled as a child, became interested in robotics, did his senior year in high school at Harvard when he was 16, and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in artificial intelligence at MIT.

Erik, the youngest, didn’t see school in his future.

When he was 12 years old, Erik made a bet with his parents that he could become a millionaire before his 18th birthday. He made a deal with them that if he succeeded, he wouldn’t have to go to college, Business Insider reported.

Erik invested a $1000 gift from his grandmother meant for his studies and bought bitcoins for about $10 each. He won that bet with his parents by becoming a bitcoin millionaire before he turned 18.

Now 19, Erik has already been trading in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for seven years.

In an interview, Business Insider asked Erik about the recent crash in the value of bitcoin. Here’s an excerpt from that interview:

Erik: I have many friends and fans who almost begged for a crash. They asked for a correction and a crash because they wanted to buy but thought the price was too high.

This drop in the price of bitcoin gives them a chance. And now you must have the courage to really get involved. Otherwise, at some point, you look back and think, “If only I had bought after the reset.” So I really guess people are now using the reset to buy.

Business Insider: Not only has bitcoin collapsed, but most other cryptocurrencies have also fallen. Are you still convinced that bitcoin is the best digital currency, or do you also have other favorites?

Erik: Today, bitcoin is the best cryptocurrency for me.

But bitcoin is like Netscape or Myspace. Bitcoin is sort of a pioneer of a new technology, so it’s important that it continues to exist. But the technology is already beginning to be obsolete — to buy a coffee for $2, you have to pay a transaction fee of $30.

These issues need to be addressed at the technology level, by giving a new coin or updating a coin. Add to that the electricity costs for the mining — to mine a bitcoin, you need so much energy, with which you could cover the needs of a house over a whole year.

In addition, most of the miners are located in China, and thus the energy comes from Chinese coal-fired power plants, so bitcoin, meanwhile, contributes to massive environmental pollution. Also this problem can be solved by a new technology or an update of an existing technology.

Bitcoin has been around for a long time, and Myspace or Netscape have been successful for a while. But at some point, better products came on the market — Facebook or Google Chrome, as an example.

Fact is, bitcoin as we know it today will not last forever. The only question is what comes next — either an update that solves the problem, or another coin will prevail.

Business Insider: Technology also has its limits, and cryptocurrency today has a completely different status than a few years ago. Do you think you would be just as easy to win that bet today with your parents?

Erik: If you are smart about cryptocurrency over the next 10 years, many people can build their fortunes even better than before. The area is still relatively small; the market capitalization is just over half a trillion dollars. I do not want to be misunderstood: This is, of course, a very high amount, but in comparison to other asset classes, it’s small. Therefore, I say if you do not become a millionaire in the next 10 years, then it’s your own fault.

New business models and innovations are still emerging in this area, and therefore, there are many investment opportunities. It’s a new kind of gold fever, or a new kind of Silicon Valley — there are really plenty of opportunities …. there are already two different ways to get rich in this area: You can start a new business, or invest in existing coins or ideas. You can also count on those who have proven for a while that they can be successful, like Monero. I like this cryptocurrency because it also has a good field of application.

Read more at Business Insider.

millionaire bitcoin brat
Erik Finman. Photo: Alan Powdrill