SYDNEY RIVER, N.S. — A group of Cape Bretoners is sharing knowledge and hoping to cash in on a currency that has been referred as digital gold.
A handful of people got together recently at Downtown Nutrition in Sydney River for the first meeting of the Bitcoin Cape Breton club.
Wayne Miller, the owner of Sydney River’s Downtown Nutrition, started the group. He recently began to look into Bitcoin, valued at around $17,000 Canadian dollars currently, and other online currencies that are known as “cryptocurrency” because the success they have made in recent months, although recently Bitcoin lost 25 per cent of its stock in less than 24 hours.
Miller said he wanted to start a group in Cape Breton that could share information so people would know how to invest properly in various digital currencies and manage other aspects of this new world of online money.
“Cape Breton is sometimes one of the last places to catch up with trends that are happening so I decided that we should have a meet up and gather in some like-minded people to discuss their learnings,” said Miller.
“I think everyone at this stage is speculative and we’re all kind of intrigued by it and we can all learn from each other and hopefully be profitable with this.”
Bitcoin, founded in 2009, has grabbed the attention of the public and businesses alike recently because in less than 10 years the currency has gone from being worth a fraction of a cent to being worth thousands of dollars. It’s the first and most profitable cryptocurrency, however there are more than 1,300 different coins online that fluctuate, making the different currencies a type of 24-hour stock market.
Because Bitcoin and other online currencies completely eliminate banks from their transactions and rely on a peer-to-peer system, the market can be highly volatile and has had massive losses since Bitcoin came into existence in 2009, including a big loss in December that saw the price of Bitcoin fall from $21,000 to $17,000 in one day. There are also many critics who say because this system is unregulated and unpredictable it is a bubble that can burst.
Miller said the best way to avoid losing money is to do research and communicate with other people involved with digital currency.
“In the short time that I’ve been doing this, one of the things I want to avoid is any major pitfalls and the only way to do that is to do your research and learn how people are really doing well with this and not buying random coins or tokens that just pop up and have a long term perspective for this,” said Miller, who added that businesses online and in Canada are already accepting digital currency.
“More and more online retailers we see are starting to accept Bitcoin and there are even Bitcoin ATM’s popping up in Vancouver and coffee shops there are accepting Bitcoin so I think as a retailer ‘wow, wouldn’t that be great.’”
Miller said the recent meeting went well and they discussed winning strategies such as being patient, not investing more than you can afford and having a strategy. They also talked about mistakes people make while investing, such as being indecisive to buy, buying random coins without research and selling while a coin is crashing hard.
People who were present had different levels of knowledge, including one member who Miller said has been trading cryptocurrency online.
“The stock market closes, but he said with this it’s 24/7. You’re up all night for when the other side of the world wakes up and they’re investing, and you’re watching it all night long,” said Miller.
Cryptocurrency can be complicated without taking the time to do your homework, and even if you do, its difficult to predict this new online market, but Miller said the people who were at the meeting — including himself — were eager to learn and share.
“We just talked and shared knowledge and some got pretty excited when they learned about the opportunities and we also learned about what not to do and how to avoid any pitfalls that could come about as your journey goes on through this new form of money.”
Miller has formed a group on Facebook, called Bitcoin Cape Breton to discuss cryptocurrency online, but people interested in discussing Bitcoin and other digital currencies in person can meet every Wednesday at Downtown Nutrition Sydney River, 1125 Kings Rd., Sydney River from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• What is Bitcoin? An online digital currency called “cryptocurrency” and worldwide payment system. Its the first of its kind and was established in 2009. There are now over 1,300 kinds of digital currencies available.
• Value of Bitcoin in Canadian dollars: over $17,000.
• Other high earning Cryptocurrencies: Ethereum (over $1,000) Dash (around $2,000) Monero (roughly $550)