Maureen Murat, principal at Crowdie Advisors (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member

Maureen Murat founded Crowdie Advisors in 2016 to help small businesses and startups raise capital. The business educates entrepreneurs about equity crowdfunding, the online offering of private company securities to a group of people for investment.  

While Murat was recruiting clients, someone asked her why regulation crowdfunding was a better alternative to an initial coin offering, a fundraising method that uses cryptocurrencies. This motivated her to garner an understanding of the digital currency. Now, the business advisor specializes in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. 

The AFRO connected with Murat to learn more about how to invest in cryptocurrency and the risks and benefits associated with it. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. 

Q: What is cryptocurrency? 

A: Cryptocurrency is a digital form of money that can be used to either buy services or goods. What makes it different from traditional currencies is that you can use it as an online ledger with strong cryptography, which is where the “crypto” in cryptocurrency comes from, to track this type of medium exchange for currencies. 

Q: Who controls it?

A: There’s not one person that controls it because cryptocurrency isn’t a business. How cryptocurrencies are valued and seen are based on the drive of the market and the drive of the people who believe in it. It’s similar to the traditional dollar in that because people believe in it, it is given value. 

Q: What are the top cryptocurrencies? 

A: Bitcoin will always be popular as the first form of cryptocurrency. I think the other ones right now are probably Litecoin, Binance Coin, Tether and Solana. I’m not saying that these are the only ones you should look at, but I think seeing what the popular ones are and why, can help you make decisions about other types of cryptocurrencies. 

Q: How can people start investing in cryptocurrency?

A: There is so much information online, granted, you have to take some of that information with a grain of salt. You want to be able to make informed decisions so you shouldn’t listen to one person leaning one way. I think it’s good to balance out the information you get. 

One of the places I like to go to just to get basic information is Blockgeeks. Then, as you gain more information and understanding, I think it’s good to start following people online that have been in the space for some time but also have credibility. 

Q: What are some of the risks associated with cryptocurrency?

A: The biggest risk is putting your money into something and not knowing much about it, meaning it results in you losing all of your money. One of the main issues is that a lot of people use it as an investment tool so that means you have to be willing to wait, because it’s a long term type thing. The other risk is that cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. There are so many unexpected changes in the market so the market can make it go up suddenly and then down suddenly. 

Also, a lot of cryptocurrencies are attached to a business so if for some reason an issue happens with the business then the value of that crypto may decrease. So, if you’re investing in cryptocurrency that is attached to a business, really do your due diligence and your own research on that business to see if that’s something you want to participate in. The last thing I’ll say is that you have to be highly reliant on unregulated companies to help keep your crypto safe. You have to be very careful of how you deal with your cryptos and make sure that your computer security system is what it needs to be so that you can prevent people from stealing your cryptos. 

Q: What are some of the benefits of investing in cryptocurrency?

A: Because of the volatility, there are lots of people who can win in the crypto market. You have the ability to create wealth where you couldn’t have before because you might not have had the access to it. Another thing is, with cryptocurrencies, transaction costs are low. You are also able to securely and quickly transfer your money, and that also gives you more control over your capital because you can get it so quickly. 

Q: What do you think is in store for the future of cryptocurrency? 

A: The industry and the people involved really have to find a way to make sure that this continues to mature and not fall by the wayside. The other thing I see for crypto is that at some point, we will not be talking about it anymore. It will be part of our daily lives. I see it growing, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. At one point, they thought that it was just going to be hyped up and then fall flat, but I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not going anywhere, especially with large organizations now being a part of the ecosystem. 

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!