He does not believe in banks or the state and hopes to live fully thanks to cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Portrait of a young man who already lives in the future.
The first thing you notice about Kamil is his appearance, which is very similar to that of Elliot Alderson, the genius and deranged hacker of series mister robot† But the comparison doesn’t stop there. At the age of 19, this computer science student at Epitech describes himself as a “hack fan” and he too wants to revolutionize the world.
But Kamil doesn’t attack mega-corporations. He chose another branch of activity. His thing is cryptocurrencies and NFTs, a universe in which he has already started making his small fortune. “From scratch”, he has already earned more than 6,000 euros. To achieve this result, Kamil has gone through several phases, from investing in complex crypto projects to collecting NFTs. He bet a lot on the CryptoKittiesthese little virtual cats that are stored on the blockchain and can be exchanged for the equivalent of several hundred thousand dollars.
Cryptos are freedom!
“I’ve always been a bit marginalized and I like computer hacks,” Kamil says in introduction. Internet is my second life, and suddenly I became interested in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin very early, in 2015† This passion will continue thanks to one YouTuber in particular, Owen Simonin, better known by the pseudonym Hasheur. It is this popularizer (founder of a company specializing in cryptocurrency investment advice) who will help him get started in the highly complex world of decentralized finance. And it is in this universe that he sees his future. “To me, cryptos are not just about money,” he explains. It is also a matter of freedom. It’s a universe where you can start all over again and get rich. You don’t have to be someone to become someone and you don’t have to be a slave to a boss or a banker to succeed in life. †
It is with this mindset that he will earn his first cryptos. “In 2018, I participated in Coinbase’s Learn & Earn program, a virtual currency exchange platform, he says. By following the learning of the site, I am rewarded with the equivalent of about thirty euros in Ether, a crypto that is then in full growth. A few months later, he wants to reinvest his earnings and is looking for a good idea. He then falls into the universe of NFTs which is just starting to rise. With his friends, he decides to launch a series of dragons drawn in pixel art, called cryptodragons. At the same time, he invested about twenty euros in Ens, a company with which domain names can be bought like on the internet, but based on the Ethereum blockchain. With this money he buys the address cryptodragoons.eth from where he wants to launch a website to show his art. “The sale of these NFTs brought us around forty euros here and there,” he continues. It piled up and I reinvested in CryptoKitties.
The little cats that are worth gold
For those who don’t know CryptoKitties is a kind of cross between Pokémon and Tamagochi. The goal is to acquire small virtual cats, reproduce them and trade or sell them to other players. “CryptoKitties all have unique genes in the form of a number code,” he says. In this set of numbers, you have a low percentage chance that your cats’ offspring can mutate and develop rare NFTs called Fancy. The higher this percentage, the more valuable your NFTs are and the more expensive you can resell them. After raising a line of tiny virtual cats, Kamil calculates. He won about 200 euros with this activity, an amount that he immediately invests in another game, Illuvia, a massive sci-fi universe where players must capture creatures in NFT and trade with others. The title has not yet been officially released, but the value of his crypto is already over $1,000, proving that the community is very interested in it.
Parallel to his cultivation of CryptoKitties, Kamil will have a huge surprise thanks to Ens and his purchase of Cryptodragoons domain names. It’s not uncommon for companies to give away multiple coins for free to their early adopters as a thank you for their investment. Usually the value of this does not exceed 10 or 15 euros. But this time it’s different. “Because I invested quickly, they gave me 100 coins worth 60 euros each,” he says. I found myself overnight with the equivalent of 6,000 euros. For a 19-year-old student like me, used to getting $30 a month in pocket money, that’s just huge and it’s proof that you can get rich very quickly in this environment. You just have to be early. †
Being in the peat takes a lot of time
Kamil often uses this word, “early”. For him, it is the most important reflex to acquire if you want to advance in your field. “NFTs and cryptos are like a giant wave that sweeps over everything,” he says. Either we decide to get carried away, or we have to surf it. Me, I’m a surfer. In order to always be one step ahead and know where to invest, he spends all his days networking and specialized sites. “Time goes much faster in this world and you have to be constantly aware. It goes so fast, sometimes I have to mentally withdraw to let my brain rest. When I come back a week later, I don’t understand it and it’s like I have to start all over again.” The crypto/NFT community is full of dead ends, even outright scams. “We should try to avoid shitcoins, these projects that promise early investors to increase 100% and that once they reach a certain level, collapse for good,” he says. I’ve been fooled several times and it’s hard to lose such stupid money. But there are also lessons to be learned. No project will make you a millionaire overnight. †
Kamil’s universe resembles a casino combined with a giant Ponzi scheme. Indeed, the crypto world is full of scams – such as Bitconnect’s, launched in 2016 and abruptly shut down two years later, causing the value of its coin to plummet from $500 to less than one dollar. But that doesn’t stop Kamil from looking further. “From the outside, people have the impression that they see us playing in the casino,” he continues. I can’t blame them, there are aspects that are similar. Money is falling from the sky and we are betting on projects. It can all be very addictive. My parents are very concerned when I say that I made all this money. They wonder if it’s legal. But it should be noted that the world of NFTs is also very benevolent. There is no jealousy or taboo about money. Everyone motivates you to keep going and congratulates you when you make a big hit. It really is like a second family to me. A very open family. “I have friends who live in India who can really make a living from their art thanks to the NFT community,” he says. We are talking about a country where having an artistic career is practically unthinkable, as the need for a job in food is great. The fact that a technology can bring recognition to these people shows how this ecosystem can change things,” added Kamil.
Escaping the taxman… real cryptogaming
Without understanding too much, Kamil has largely adopted the libertarian ideology specific to the cryptocurrency community. The young man is totally opposed to the state taking control of his earnings. After all, since the Financial Law of 2019, private individuals are subject to a levy of 30% above 305 euros in capital gains. As a result, our virtual cat breeder believes that his virtual money has been blocked. Well, not exactly. Looking mysterious, he takes out two black cards from his wallet with the logos of Binance and Crypto.com, two established trading platforms. “These are withdrawal and payment cards that work together with VISA,” he explains to me. With this I do not need official bank accounts. I can withdraw money from my crypto wallets or pay any expenses at an ATM with an occasional small fee. †
go shopping or pay for a nintendo switch with cryptos, it is already the future. But Kamil can’t help being frustrated and looking ahead. “I am convinced that the banks will die, but there is still a problem,” he explains. For the time being, it is impossible to rent or buy properties only with money earned in NFTs† It stems from the fact that anything that comes off the internet is often misunderstood. This anger that animates him, however, gives him ideas. “In the short term, I would like to continue investing in NFTs, and why not become an advisor to artists to help them put their art on the blockchain and promote it to the right communities. But in the long run, I would like to open a bank based on virtual currency and guarantee loans to people like me.” Kamil is probably not at the end of his troubles, but who knows? In the crypto world, things move fast, so fast.