Bitcoin millionaire Erik Finman says going to college isn t worth it
This high school dropout who invested in bitcoin at $12 is now a millionaire at Legitimate
Erik Finman made a bet with his parents that if he turned eighteen and was a millionaire, they wouldn’t force him to go to college. Thanks to his savvy investments in bitcoin and the current all-time high valuation, he won’t have to get his degree.
“I can pridefully say I made it, and I’m not going to college,” Finman said.
He presently possesses four hundred three bitcoins, which at the current $Two,700 a coin puts his bitcoin value at $1.09 million. He also has smaller investments in other cryptocurrencies, including litecoin and ethereum.
Bitcoin is very volatile, and the value could decline rapidly. A technical analyst told CNBC he believes bitcoin will only go up to $Two,800 before the value recedes, while others think it may reach $100,000 in a decade.
Finman thinks its best days are still ahead. “Personally I think bitcoin is going to be worth a duo hundred thousand to a million dollars a coin,” he said.
Bitcoin and the blockchain technology it is built on permit people to cut out the middleman, Finman explained. For example, an open source blockchain ride-share platform would permit users to power the service on their phones using peer-to-peer technology without a central hub. It would permit the drivers to get more money by cutting overhead costs, he added. It could also create the next evolution of the internet, one which wouldn’t be reliant on servers.
The very first time, he turned $1,000 into $100,000
Finman began investing in bitcoin in May two thousand eleven at the age of 12, thanks to a $1,000 bounty from his grandmother and a peak from his brother Scott.
However he’s close with his family — which he calls the “Elon Musk version of the Kardashians” — growing up in “puny town” Idaho outside of Coeur d’Alene wasn’t effortless. Finman was especially frustrated with his high school teachers, and begged his parents to let him drop out at 15.
“(High school) was pretty low quality,” he said. “I had these teachers that were all kind of negative. One teacher told me to drop out and work at McDonald’s because that was all I would amount to for the rest of my life. I guess I did the dropout part.”
Remarkably, his parents — who met pursuing their Ph.D.s at Stanford — agreed. Finman sold his very first bitcoin investments at the end of 2013, when they were valued at $1,200 a chunk.
With the $100,000 Finman launched an online education company called Botangle in early two thousand fourteen that would permit frustrated students like him to find teachers over movie talk. He also used the funds to stir to Silicon Valley, did some joy things like meet Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and traveled.
“I indeed liked Colombia,” he said. “It was joy, but a little sketchy. Some interesting stuff happened. I was held up at gunpoint there, which is pretty scary, but I have this emergency button I programmed in Android that puts you on speaker but turns off audio automatically and dials [a local emergency number].”
“Maybe I’ll turn that into an app,” he added. “It’s handy.”
It was hard getting people to take a 15-year-old tech entrepreneur earnestly, Finman admitted. He recalled being called in to interview with a “truly, truly high-up” unnamed Uber executive, who instead of listening to his Botangle pitch discouraged him and told him he would never win the bet with his parents.
Eventually he found a buyer for Botangle’s technology in January 2015. The investor suggested either $100,000 or three hundred bitcoin, which had dropped in value at that time to a little more than $200 a coin. He took the lower cash value bitcoin deal because he believed it was “the next big thing.”
“My parents asked ‘Why don’t you take the more cash?”‘ Finman explained. “But I thought of it more of an investment.”
Since then, Finman has been managing his family and his own bitcoin investments. He’s also kept busy on other projects, including working with NASA to launch a rocket through the ELaNa project. One thing he won’t do is go back to school.
“I never got my GED, and I don’t see the value in it,” Finman said. “The purpose of that would be to get another education level and get a job. I had to learn through running a business. Instead of writing essays for English class, I had to write emails to significant people.”
Albeit the rest of his family has degrees — his brother Scott went to Johns Hopkins at sixteen and now has an enterprise software company, while his other brother Ross went to Carnegie Melon at sixteen for robotics and is now pursuing his Ph.D. at MIT — he’s blessed learning about the real world from practice.
“The way the education system is structured now, I wouldn’t recommend it,” Finman said. “It doesn’t work for anyone. I would recommend the internet, which is all free. You can learn a million times more off YouTube and Wikipedia.”