Ariel Fox is a 29-year-old Texan who has been invested in cryptocurrency since late 2020 — and she told Insider that she’s totally unbothered by the most recent crash.
Her holdings are down from their all-time highs, but according to documents viewed by Insider, the value of her investments is still higher than what she initially invested.
“I knew from school that women are more likely to be in poverty when they get older and retire because they don’t invest at the same rate that men do,” Fox said. “I became very determined to learn more about it, even though it was very intimidating. I thought if other people are in it and getting rich off of it, why not me? I should learn more about this because I’m capable of learning more about this.”
That said, Fox added that she doesn’t talk about being a cryptocurrency investor often because of the misconceptions that others have about the “crypto community” and what this new asset class really is. She said there are three big misconceptions that many people have about cryptocurrency.
Fox, a gay woman with progressive politics who works for a nonprofit and holds a degree in gender and sexuality studies, said that she is not an outlier in the cryptocurrency space; there are many other investors who break the mold of a “typical” cryptocurrency “finance bro.”
“PR for crypto is very bad,” said Fox. “People think that Elon Musk represents the crypto space. When I started getting interested in crypto, Elon Musk was not that tied to crypto at all.”
Fox said that originally, many people saw cryptocurrency as an alternative to the traditional banking system, and it attracted many communities that felt burned by that system.
“People passed around zines about cryptocurrency,” Fox said. “I read things like ‘Queer’s Guide to Cryptocurrency,’ on how to take control of your finances away from those big finance dude-bros who work on Wall Street and how we can create UBI from crypto earnings, and things like that. It seemed much more of a social enterprise than it does now.”
Fox conceded that while there are still those cryptocurrency investors today, the space has changed a lot within the last few years and the culture surrounding crypto is somewhat different. However, she added that she thinks “it would benefit people to learn more about the history of cryptocurrency and not take everything that they read at face value.”
Fox said that the idea that cryptocurrency is fake money is only true if you consider all currency to be “fake.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s wrong because, you know, money is ‘fake money’ as well,” Fox said. “It’s a social construct — something that we made up — just like the US dollar.”
The way cryptocurrency derives its value can be complicated to understand, but a basic explanation is that it gets its value from mutual understanding between those who trade it that it has value. Alternatively, the US dollar is a fiat currency, which means that it derives its value from the fact that it is issued by the US government, and that people trust the solvency of the US government.
Both cryptocurrencies and fiat currency are subject to supply and demand, which causes their values to fluctuate.
“As long as we value gold, we’re going to be able to use it to trade,” Fox added. “As long as we value the dollar, we’re going to use it to trade, and as long as people value crypto, we’re going to use it to trade.”
Another misconception Fox hears about cryptocurrency trading is that it’s akin to gambling. This idea comes from the fact that the values of various cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate from day to day and that massive crashes are common, similar to the crash that just happened a few weeks ago.
This is another thing that she said is true, but only if you concede that other forms of investing are also like gambling.
“Even investing in real estate — you don’t know what’s going to happen when you invest,” said Fox. “It’s somewhat unfair to paint crypto only as speculative, but not stocks, not as other types of investments. It is all really speculative.”
One thing that should be noted is that cryptocurrency — because it is in its infancy — is widely unregulated by governments or central banks. Stocks, alternatively, are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and subject to more legal scrutiny.
However, more regulators are talking about the need to start regulating cryptocurrency and there may be more regulations coming in the foreseeable future.
Fox said that there are many criticisms of cryptocurrency that she thinks are worth pointing out. She agrees that there should be concern about how cryptocurrency mining impacts the environment.
However, she added that cryptocurrency’s critics don’t acknowledge that 74% of all Bitcoin mining and transactions are powered by renewable energy sources, which comes from a June 2019 study done by digital asset management firm and research firm CoinShares.
Fox thinks that a lot of cryptocurrency’s current issues stem from the fact that it’s a very new technology and that it will take time to refine and adjust it to curb some of its more negative impacts on the world. “Bitcoin was invented in 2009; it’s still relatively young for a currency,” Fox said. “Criticism is needed in order to shape it moving forward.”
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