In 2021, cryptocurrency finally made the jump from a niche interest of tech-savvy libertarians to the word on everyone’s lips. From financiers to doctors, teachers, hairdressers and office workers, people from all walks of life are refreshing their smartphone apps to see how their preferred cryptocurrency is performing.
The dramatic rise of Bitcoin’s price at the beginning of the year is certainly one reason for the masses taking an interest in cryptocurrency. But a significant factor is the availability of crypto exchange apps that allow everyone with an internet connection access to the digital asset market. One such crypto exchange platform, StormGain, has distinguished itself from the pack with exciting features designed to empower newcomers to the market. We sat down with StormGain CEO Alex Althausen to pick his brain on the impact of crypto fintech and the future of cryptocurrency for trading and daily life.
It seems like everyone and their grandmother is into crypto now. What role do you think crypto exchanges like StormGain played in that?
Well, I’d like to think that we made a great product that helps people realise that crypto is something they can get into if they weren’t before when they download StormGain and see how well everything is laid out and explained, how fast it operates and how easy it is to buy crypto. But although we’re proud of the tools we’ve built, the fact is that people wouldn’t download our app if it didn’t make them money!
That’s the truth. It’s a potentially very lucrative market, and when one person makes a profit, their friends, family, and colleagues notice. That’s when they see the app and realise that it’s actually quite easy to try for themselves. It only takes a few seconds to register with StormGain. We played our role, but it’s all part of a wider ecosystem built on the blockchain developers creating exciting new cryptocurrencies and the traders whose success stories inspire others around them.
Speaking of the impact of successful traders, what do you think about the role of celebrity influencers in the world of crypto?
I think that it’s great that some famous people and spreading awareness and enthusiasm for crypto. It’s been a really important part of cryptocurrency going mainstream, whether it’s actors, musicians, and athletes getting into crypto or people from the crypto world expanding their audience. Lately, Elon Musk, an inspirational figure in terms of his business success, is in the spotlight for his advocacy of Dogecoin. That started as a joke, but it became possible to make serious money off it, thanks to him.
This is great for raising awareness of crypto, but I would stress to every trader: do your own research and do not blindly follow any single influencer. By all means, listen to what they have to say and make sure to get a variety of perspectives, but a celebrity crypto trader isn’t necessarily going to have the same interests or analysis as you. StormGain is all about empowering the individual trader, which is why we have a full-fledged demo account that they can switch to at any time, plus in-app signals for the moment-to-moment market awareness. This allows users to experiment and gain experience using the demo money under real market conditions to learn how to make informed decisions. No influencer can make better decisions for your money than you if you make an effort to learn.
Since downloading a trading app is so easy, millions of people are probably trying out crypto for the first time. Would you say that this means that the general public is becoming more knowledgeable about crypto than before?
I think that more people are aware of how cryptocurrency works and what blockchain means, even if the general public knowledge is mainly about Bitcoin’s model, the ledger, and the mining process. Start talking about Proof-of-Work vs Proof-of-Stake, or Dapps, and then you start to hit some of the limits of public understanding.
Ultimately, people will be motivated to learn more about something if it directly benefits them, so at StormGain, we offer a comprehensive suite of educational resources, such as webinars, articles, how-to guides and more. They cover trading techniques and explain the different cryptocurrencies in a way that is easy to understand. Since we have a wide range of digital assets available for trading, users become interested in learning how they work so that they can choose the best ones for their portfolio. Eventually, a trader will want to know at least some of the technical details that distinguish different altcoins so that they can predict which ones are going to do well on the market. In a few years, I would expect to hear a lot more in-depth discussion about crypto, even from my friends who are not in the industry!
The crypto market is going through a near-universal downturn right now. Any advice for new traders on dealing with a dip like this?
Trading can be a rollercoaster, and that is especially true for crypto. It’s about learning to stay on the ride during all the rises, falls and loops. This is where having some experience with mainstream market trading comes in handy. The difference with crypto is the volatility, but you have to learn to make that work for you. When you see a dip across the board, it can be discouraging to see your assets depreciate, but it’s also the best time to buy new ones and add them to your portfolio. There are always smart moves you can make regardless of market behaviour. In March last year, Bitcoin took a big nosedive, but anyone who bought then would have been very happy in 2021.
There is a big debate about the ecological sustainability of cryptocurrency right now. Can you see the industry becoming more sustainable in the near future?
That’s a tricky question! I’m not sure it makes sense to single out crypto for sustainability issues when it’s actually so much of our industry, agriculture, and technology sector that causes issues. It’s not exactly eco-friendly the way we produce and maintain fiat currency and current banking systems, either! Because there is no central authority in crypto, I can’t say what the industry as a whole will do, but there will certainly be some companies coming up with more eco-friendly models, and if they are convincing to investors and the public, the rest of the industry will likely follow their lead. Sustainability is one reason why Proof-of-Stake is a hot topic right now and shows that the potential for innovation is there.
Eventually, the drive towards sustainability will require cooperation from many corporate interests and state actors working together. I’m sure crypto and blockchain will be a part of that. For our part, StormGain offers users the chance to earn Bitcoin via our cloud miner. Basically, you passively earn BTC by using the app, which allows users to mine the most valuable cryptocurrency without increasing their energy consumption.
What do you think will be the future of people’s relationship with crypto?
Right now, it seems like most retail traders are still relatively new and learning the ropes. They are experimenting with altcoins and learning strategies to deal with the market’s ups and downs. As this continues, we will eventually have a more knowledgeable and savvy public, and I think, as a whole, the crypto trading community will benefit from this.
But this still means that most people will be using crypto as a trading asset to speculate on. The next stage of progress will be using a blockchain platform with cryptocurrency as part of their daily lives. This will take some kind of killer app that everybody wants with a cryptocurrency that appeals to people for its use on this platform rather than to eventually sell for fiat currency. Look at DeFi and smart contracts to see the potential there. Although blockchain platforms are used for automatic processes in global banking systems, we’re still not seeing the general public engage with crypto on this level. However, it’s only a matter of time, and when it does, it will be experienced traders on platforms like ours who will be the first to notice and invest!