NFTs and cryptocurrency aren’t just for massive, distant investors



The images in the boards are Cryptopunks, which some of the more widely-known NFTs.

During the height of the pandemic in June of 2020, English and Theater teacher Robbin DeMeester found herself investing in the newest trend despite the reservations of many. Although many see cryptocurrency as an esoteric and perplexing investment that is a trend of the current years, DeMeester has found it to be an interesting asset.

“[I] was interested in it because I do some investing in the stock market and obviously, because we were in the height of COVID-19 at that point, some stocks were plummeting and some were skyrocketing, especially pharmaceuticals,” DeMeester said. “I was interested in doing a more diverse portfolio of where my investment money was going, so I started dabbling.”

Thankfully, DeMeester wasn’t on her own while navigating the world of cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). From commonplace crypto, such as Bitcoin, to more obscure forms, DeMeester has had the help of her husband and her son in finding new and better investments.

DeMeester’s son frequently works with coding, so it is no surprise that he came across cryptocurrency early on and became interested. Additionally, her husband is a financial analyst, so when debating what to invest in, his help is also beneficial. However, DeMeester herself has well-researched cryptocurrency and always makes sure to be educated before investing.

“I’m taking my little financial portfolio and doing a lot of research and a lot of reading before I get into something,” DeMeester said. “[I do] a lot of talking to my son because he is in this space and knows a lot of people that are trading, minting, and working in the space.”

On the other hand, not all of the teachers at FHC have such a positive view of cryptocurrency.

Personal Finance teacher Kristin O’Brien acknowledges that while crypto is a widespread form of investment, it is unpredictable and has lots of ups and downs.

“I’m really skeptical about them,” O’Brien said. “There’s a lot of volatility [and] the values change. It fluctuates way too much, and it’s not regulated by the government. There’s a lot of fraud that could be potentially involved with it.”

Although new technology has made cryptocurrency much more effective through transactions and mining, it is still a relatively new development. With Bitcoin being the original cryptocurrency being released in 2009, the history cryptocurrency has is short.

Due to the minimal amount of time that cryptocurrency has been in circulation, many are hesitant to invest. 

“With both [NFTs and other crypto], there’s not a lot of history yet, so there’s [no] track record,” O’Brien said. “You can’t really say ‘this is how it’s always been.’ It’s too new.”

On the other hand, DeMeester believes that cryptocurrency is the future.

Due to cryptocurrency being a universal currency that makes transactions and conversions much easier, DeMeester thinks that it is much more efficient. It is also much more difficult to track, which is the double-edged sword of advanced technology.

“What’s cool about the blockchain is that it’s a one-world currency,” DeMeester said. “Everybody can dabble in crypto and whatever crypto [they] are interested in watching, buying, or selling. It’s awesome because you’re not having to go through all of the hassles of having your money exchanged from one currency to the next.”

Everybody can dabble in crypto and whatever crypto [they] are interested in watching, buying, or selling. It’s awesome because you’re not having to go through all of the hassle of having your money exchanged from one currency to the next.

— Robbin DeMeester

Blockchains, put simply, are systems that make data impossible or extremely difficult to change and hack, and essentially give something a “digital signature” that is unique and cannot be altered. This is how cryptocurrency stays legitimate and NFTs are not stolen.

Despite their powerful benefits, blockchain technology can be detrimental to the environment. Senior Liam Sweetman, who is deeply passionate about cryptocurrency, hopes that the technology can become more environmentally friendly.

I am all for efficient energy and protecting the climate because this is the only one we have,” Liam said. “Everyone says that running the blockchain on so many computers and all the constant transactions going through the different networks use tons of energy, which is entirely, way too much. [However], Bitcoin’s [blockchain] consists of millions of computers mining it all across the world, constantly using energy. This may seem overwhelming, but after research, it has been concluded that the power consumption of Bitcoin’s network is less than half of that used by banks for air conditioning and other electronics.”

Bitcoin, although the most famous and well-known cryptocurrency, is definitely a more expensive coin with one converting to approximately $37,000 at the moment. When looking for a cheaper coin, though, there are many options.

The cheaper coin, which is called altcoin, is oftentimes a great way for an investor to diversify their portfolio and get an asset that has a large supply and great returns. Liam was introduced to SafeMoon, a type of altcoin, and had great success with it—he not only got hefty returns, but also a vast amount of knowledge surrounding crypto.

“With SafeMoon, I was able to hit an all-time high of 6,000% returns, but sadly, I held [on] too long, but I was able to settle with 1,000% returns,” Liam said. “After that, I started doing much more research, learning about not only the money behind it, but the technology as well. I learned about the decentralization and the verification process that all NFTs and crypto go through on the blockchain, making one of the most secure systems of validation known to man.”

While cryptocurrency and NFTs are serious investments with technology that is highly advanced, they are often ridiculed online due to the unattractiveness and odd nature of some of these NFTs. 

The most widely discussed NFTs on the internet are the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which sell for insane amounts of money despite having nothing incredible about them to the untrained eye. Despite this seemingly limited field that NFTs cover, the reality is quite the opposite.

“I understand how people find it ridiculous that pictures of pixelated people (CryptoPunks) are selling for millions of dollars while funny-looking monkeys (Bored Ape Yacht Club) are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but there is much more to NFTs than just a JPEG,” Liam said. “All the code and verification behind each and every NFT makes [it] completely one-of-a-kind [and] unforgeable, but there are much more that can be done with NFTs. This can be a video game item, a skin, a character, a world, a username—anything you can think [of], each completely one of kind.”

Furthermore, the NFT can be used across the blockchain, meaning that it isn’t confined to a single game. It can be liquidated and solid as well.

Ultimately, with such a variety to offer, there is something for just about anyone in the world of cryptocurrency and NFTs. Whether seeking a unique game skin or looking for something to make international online transactions easier, there is an accessible and safe way to invest assuming adequate research is put in. 

“[The world of crypto] is a wild place,” DeMeester said. “I wanted to get on the ride.”