Ask most financial podcasters how they got into investing, and they’ll likely cite their interest in the business or an enthusiastic parent who encouraged them to look into the stock market.
For Peter McCormack, early inspiration came in the form of a “bag of weeds.”
“The reason I used bitcoin goes back to 2013, a friend of mine came and said he had found this new website called Silk Road,” he revealed in an interview with the FT’s Money Clinic podcast.
“To buy your weed, you had to get this thing called bitcoin. So I bought some.”
Fast forward to today, and McCormack’s podcast founded in 2017 – What Bitcoin Did – is one of the most popular financial shows on both sides of the Atlantic.
Over the past five years, the 42-year-old former advertising executive from Bedfordshire has traveled the world to interview Bitcoin commentators ranging from investors and tech professionals to macroeconomists and CEOs working in the fast-growing crypto industry.
Last month, he was in El Salvador to document the country’s journey towards legal tender for bitcoin, giving an interview to President Nep Bukele.
“Six or seven years ago, my life fell apart,” McCormack says. “I got divorced, my company went bankrupt, my mom passed away, and I had to lose my house two weeks.”
“I started this podcast in 2017, not thinking it was going to be anything but just a hobby. Now I’m interviewing a boss. There is no way to even try to understand how this all happened.“
McCormack Thor on Bitcoin, is not afraid to allow his views to be challenged in his podcast, but he avoids traditional investments in pensions, stocks and Isas stocks because he believes the cryptocurrency will bring in much higher returns. He has also invested in bitcoin miners – who create new bitcoins by solving complex computations – and even mined some bitcoins himself.
However, he revealed in his Money Clinic interview that he has a “buy and hold” strategy and is no longer trying to make money trading bitcoin after disastrous early losses.
“In 2017, I think I invested about $30,000. By the end of that year, [I was] Nearly $1.5 million and then proceeded to lose most of it again just by not really understanding the market at all and thinking I was a genius,” he admits.
“I then decided to stop trading and took a completely different strategy. I believe Bitcoin is the best form of money, so I decided to put as much of my personal and business profits into Bitcoin [as possible] And he kept it over the years.”
Podcast: I Believe in Bitcoin
Peter McCormack tells Claire Barrett why he believes so strongly in Bitcoin. listen here
And that proved more profitable for McCormack, at least on paper.
“I changed my financial situation,” he says, refusing to go into more detail. “I wouldn’t say I’m gloriously rich, but it’s one of those weird things. You never feel rich because you don’t really want to spend your bitcoins.”
In a Financial Times podcast, he explains why he believes the potential returns from bitcoin will outpace any other form of investment in the long term.
“For me, it is a store of value. But when I was recently in El Salvador, I used the bitcoin on my phone…to buy coffee, to buy breakfast, to buy dinner. So I used it as a medium of exchange.”
Podcast guest Katie Martin, Markets Editor at the Financial Times, questions this duality.
“The real puzzle is in the center [of bitcoin] Either it’s really going to the moon or it’s currency that you can use to buy eggs, Tesla cars, and all the rest. It cannot be both. The cryptocurrency industry has not yet come up with a good way to solve this cycle. “
However, she accepts that this has been a great year for bitcoin. An increasing number of major financial institutions are showing a serious interest in cryptocurrency; The US listing of crypto platform Coinbase was another big moment; El Salvador is unlikely to be the last country to offer legal tender for bitcoin.
However, the rise in popularity and price of cryptocurrency investments has put them on a collision course with financial regulators, particularly in China where the ongoing crypto crackdown has caused huge swings in the price of Bitcoin and other coins this year.
China is one of several countries with plans for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) which, in McCormack’s opinion, are “the ultimate form of control…Depending on where you live, your transactions can be used against you.”“.
The world of mainstream investing is divided. Kathy Wood, founder of Ark Invest, last month predicted that the price of bitcoin could rise to $500,000 within five years (in the FT survey, three-quarters of readers disagree). Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, recently warned regulators to “kill” bitcoin if it becomes too successful.
However, despite the risks and price fluctuations, the possibility of making a lot of money very quickly has an undeniable allure for younger investors.
The Financial Conduct Authority estimates that more than two million people in the UK hold bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency as an investment, yet many are unaware of the risks of investing in an unregulated asset class.
In a Financial Times podcast, McCormack warned young investors to be especially wary of crypto-related fraud.
“Keep in mind everyone is a scammer and protect yourself,” is his basic rule. It uses hardware wallets and private keys, but the scams are complex and induce excessive vigilance.
You may get a fake email [supposedly] Ledger says you need to update your hardware wallet, connect it — and then your bitcoin is stolen from you,” he says. “The threat model is broad.. “
When asked what advice he would give younger investors, McCormack urged them to develop more interest in bitcoin than just price before they part with any cash.
“First of all, before you invest in this kind of thing, make sure you have a job and a good secure income, and then make a decision on what percentage you want to invest.
“Understand what bitcoin is, and the role that people who support bitcoin believe it can play in society.”
“And don’t trade. Ninety-five percent of people who try to do that will lose. If you must trade, please don’t use leverage. Bitcoin is volatile. [Leveraged trades] He will play with your emotions. I’ve talked to many people who have totally screwed up financially with cryptocurrencies and lost everything.“
To listen to the interview with Peter McCormack, click the link above or search for “Money Clinic” wherever you get your audio files
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