It was a Saturday morning and Adam was feeling bold.
He’d made thousands of dollars on a single trade the night before, and was feeling lucky. But Adam wasn’t trading on the NASDAQ, pumping GameStop stocks or investing in a startup. He was about to sink $2,500 into a cryptocurrency called DeTrade.
It seemed safe. Adam had investigated the coin’s development team on LinkedIn, and watched a video of its CEO laying out a roadmap for the coin’s future. A newswire piece published on Yahoo touted DeTrade’s technology as advanced enough to disrupt cryptocurrency.
Thanks to Bitcoin hitting an all-time high valuation of $40,000, almost tripling its value in two months, cryptocurrency is very much back in the zeitgeist. But while for many people Bitcoin is synonymous with cryptocurrency, it’s not what crypto traders like Adam are interested in. Beneath Bitcoin and Ethereum, the second-best-known currency, is a strange underworld of different cryptocurrencies.
Called altcoins or, sometimes, “shitcoins,” these are essentially penny-stock cryptocurrencies. And they’re crazy. Bitcoin tripled its value recently, but many altcoins explode 30, 40 or 50 times over within days. Arguably the most famous is Dogecoin, which recently shot up thanks to a potent combination of Reddit and Elon Musk, but there are thousands of altcoins, forming an Indiana Jones-esque Cave of Crypto Wonders. The spoils can be life-changing, but there are traps around each corner. Fortunes can be made and