Is anyone else buying Bitcoin?

That's why Bitcoin is the new yoga: Financial expert Margarethe Honisch explains what you now need to know about cryptocurrencies

Buy Bitcoin - or not? “Fortunalista” author Margarethe Honisch explains what to think of the investment trend

Margarethe Honisch actually had little to do with finances. She did an apprenticeship with a record company, then worked for the radio and then for a TV station. “I always worked a lot and had a lot of part-time jobs. But my account was always zero at the end of the month - if not in the red, ”she says.

Today the 36-year-old provides other women with financial tips on her blog “Fortunalista”. In her book “Easy Money” she gives instructions on how to get your money under control, and in her online bootcamps she trains the participants personally. VOGUE spoke to her about the hottest trend in the financial market: cryptocurrencies. “You should only invest in what you understand,” says Honisch. And that's where things get complicated with cryptocurrency ...

“Fortunalista” founder and financial expert Margarethe Honisch

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“Fortunalista” author Margarethe Honisch in an interview about Bitcoin

VOGUE: Ms. Honisch, the Bitcoin price has exploded in the past few weeks, briefly it was almost 60,000 US dollars. Was that foreseeable?

Margarethe Honisch: Investments are never foreseeable: If I had expected that, I would now be a millionaire (laughs). The development is completely insane. Currently it is “only” again at around 47,000. But it's not the first time we've seen such leaps. In 2017 I bought a Bitcoin for 2,300 euros. A few months later, in late 2017, 2018, the value shot to just under $ 20,000 - and then suddenly it fell again. I then sold part of it. How do you think I've been annoyed in the past few weeks ...

Have you sold everything?

No, and I also made a significant profit on the sale back then. But compared to now - more of a joke.

Should I get in now?

Well that's the big question. I wouldn't want to say yes or no, rather: Bitcoin is and will remain an interesting product. But there is nothing in the financial market that is more volatile. Sometimes you have double-digit percentage changes in value within 24 hours. But if you want to position yourself broadly and not only invest in ETFs [exchange-traded funds] or stocks, cryptocurrencies are a good addition. You just need very strong nerves and you shouldn't get nervous if your capital has been halved in the meantime - as you can see from my example. And basically you should put a maximum of 5 to 10 percent of the money that you have on the high edge and want to invest in crypto currencies.

Monero, IOTA and Co .: What can which cryptocurrency do?

There are over 8,000 different cryptocurrencies. What are the differences and why is Bitcoin so successful?

I'll start with the similarities first: Most of them are based on the blockchain, which means that they are not only based on one Server stored, but decentralized on the Internet. The difference between the different currencies lies in the technologies behind them: With Monero, for example, it's about being able to pay really anonymously and nobody can track anything anymore. IOTA is about communication between two systems. For example, you have developed automated microtransactions in a parking system: When I drive into the underground car park, I no longer have to take a ticket because my car communicates directly with the underground car park system and I automatically pay for the parking time. But there are also a lot of cryptocurrencies that have nothing behind them except hot air. And that's why you really have to find out more beforehand. I could now also offer a Margarethe-Coin and let people buy it.

You just said the product was “so interesting”. Why?

In contrast to currencies such as the euro, which the ECB can theoretically print as much as you want, there will only be 21 million Bitcoins in 300 years' time. It is a finite resource, similar to gold. And everything that is limited is coveted and generally increases in value.

But still it might well be that my Bitcoin, which I buy today for almost $ 60,000, will only be worth $ 10,000 tomorrow?

To do this, you have to know how prices are formed: through supply and demand. This applies equally to stocks, gold and bitcoin. If there is great demand in the market because Bitcoin is being talked about in the media, the price rises. Falling prices often create a chain reaction: the price drops and people panic and sell their shares. This will further reduce the price. It is important to act countercyclically here: sell when prices rise and buy when prices fall.

Bitcoin wallet: how do you protect your data?

At the beginning of the year, the story of a man who owns bitcoins worth hundreds of millions of euros on paper - but forgot the password for his wallet nine years ago and has not been able to get the money since then - went viral.

Yes. It is a decentralized currency without a central point of contact that manages it in the background. That makes the currency interesting, but also risky: I can't call my bank if I don't remember my password.

It is important to act countercyclically: sell when prices go up and buy when prices go down. | Margarethe Honisch

That means the money is gone?

If he forgot his password, then yes.

Who am I buying Bitcoins from? From someone who resells, like stocks?

Shares are bought on the stock exchange and cryptocurrencies on so-called exchange platforms: You can imagine it like a broker through which I can buy and sell bitcoins. But you really have to be very careful who you give your data to. And you have to look exactly where you keep the cryptocurrency. It can be done decentrally in the network or externally, on something like this ...

[She is holding something that looks like a USB stick in the computer camera.]

This is a kind of mini safe on which the coins can be stored. But you shouldn't lose your password there either. If it does, you still have a list of 28 random words that you then have to enter correctly one after the other. You make a note of it when you buy the wallet and keep this slip of paper somewhere where it is really safe. With his parents, his grandma ...

How do potential thieves get my stick?

The stick is safe - as long as I don't tell anyone my password. Thieves usually do not come via the stick, but rather the platforms that are hacked. Therefore, it is essential to take the coins off the exchange and save them externally - make sure to remember the password!

There is now the first Bitcoin fund in Canada. Is it less risky?

Yes, there are advantages. Because I do invest in crypto currencies, but I don't have to get into it technically. I also don't need to be afraid that I will land on a windy portal or that someone will hack my wallet and empty it. I can simply buy the ETF on the stock exchange. This means that the inhibition threshold is significantly lower. If I know how to buy a stock or an ETF, I can invest in the Bitcoin ETF too. Plus, you can't be hacked here. And even if the publisher goes bust, my money won't go away.

What do you mean by hacked?

It happens time and again that accounts get hacked. For example, a hacker sends a phishing email stating that you have to make an important update on your external wallet. And whoosh, the money is gone. So: Stay away from such emails.

Buying cryptocurrency: this is important to note

What else should you consider if you want to invest in cryptocurrencies?

Investing for the long term and not hoping for quick profits It is also worthwhile to hold purchased coins for at least a year. Every transaction that you make and where you make a profit must otherwise be taxed at the wage tax rate. This does not apply if you hold it for more than 12 months, because then the profit is tax-free. Just like with gold.

Would you currently rather buy Bitcoin or an alternative cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin is definitely a good place to start. Also because more and more companies are jumping up and accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment: For me, this is a sign that Bitcoin is increasingly arriving in the middle of society.

Bitcoins are less interesting as a means of payment and more as an investment. You can become the new gold. | Margarethe Honisch

Last haveAppleand Tesla announces that they are accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. Will Bitcoin eventually become the new currency?

I do not think so. Bitcoins are less interesting as a means of payment and more as an investment. You can become the new gold. While investors get gold in their portfolio in order to have a safe product in their portfolio, Bitcoin is currently not suitable for this, as the fluctuations are far too great.

But payment is becoming more and more digital and Bitcoin is digital ...

Yes, but paying with Bitcoin is very slow. Each transaction has to be confirmed by several computers on the network. This can take several hours if a lot of people want to pay with Bitcoin. Of course, that doesn't work if I want to buy chewing gum in a kiosk somewhere.

Another point of criticism of cryptocurrencies is that they need a lot of energy: data centers that “mine” the currency currently consume as much electricity as the whole of the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, that's true, that's an absolute flaw. The problem could be solved by mining bitcoins exclusively with green energy. But there are not enough figures and studies showing how high the proportion of green energy is and how high of conventional energy. I'm afraid it is more conventional energy that is used here.

Like yoga ten years ago, finance is a huge trend. Instead of the downward-looking dog, one makes the forward-looking woman here. | Margarethe Honisch

How much time do you have to invest to get through as a complete beginner in finance?

Basically a lot less than you think. Depending on how fast you are and what you intend to do, five to eight hours are enough at the beginning to understand everything. But now there is just so much well-prepared literature, blogs, podcasts. And in the end it is no longer exhausting, on the contrary: I always notice in my seminars that the participants are really hooked. Most of them enjoy working with their money afterwards.

Do you have a lot of inquiries about the seminars?

So far, all of them have been fully booked, and that gets faster every time. This is also due to the fact that the topic is currently extremely hyped - I mean: I'm talking to VOGUE here! Like yoga ten years ago, finance is a huge trend. A good one, I think. Instead of the downward-looking dog, one makes the forward-looking woman here.

What is the biggest mistake you made in the financial market?

I invested in Wirecard and lost a lot of money, but my biggest mistake was that I started too late, that was stupid. Even if you start with small sums like 25 euros a month, it's worth it

What was the last money you put in?

In addition to my monthly savings plans, the last investment was in an ETF for electromobility.

Actually, my main goal is that in old age I don't look like the majority of women in Germany: penniless. | Margarethe Honisch

You write on your blog: “You have to know your goals when investing”. What is your destination?

I always say to my friend: the detached house with a pool. This is already a running gag. But actually my goal is above all that in old age I don't look like the majority of women in Germany: penniless.