I had lunch yesterday with someone who has been investing in the crypto / token space recently — having pooled together a small “fund” from friends and family. It’s a short-term vehicle (like, 6 months), and a large part of the goal is simply to become hands-on familiar / capable investing in token sales / ICOs, and dealing with issues like custody and security. At least for the moment, there are so many odd aspects of working in this space (handling private keys, exchanging tokens on various exchanges, downloading wallet software, etc.) that actually a large part of the value that a fund manager offers is handling all of that stuff. Over time, this will change, as infrastructure and new financial vehicles (e.g., ETFs) come to market. But for now, it’s actually really complicated and hard to do this stuff, and there’s no better way to learn it than by doing it.
More generally, I just love the idea of learning-by-doing. It’s the best way.
Right after college, when I thought I wanted to be an architect, the first thing I did was get a job with a construction company, building homes. I spent the better part of a year shoveling gravel, jack-hammering old driveways, and sealing foundations, but I also got to do some more interesting / complicated building work over time. My reasoning at the time was that I didn’t want to be that jackass, know-it-all architect (believe me, that’s often how they are perceived by builders) who didn’t know how things really worked at the ground level.
Same thing when I got into programming. There are two really beautiful things about learning to code: 1) you can learn everything you need to learn at basically zero cost online, and 2) you’re making as you’re learning. I think that’s great as a learning mechanism, and it’s also really great in terms of motivation. Nothing like wanting to finish making something as motivation for learning how to do it!
Learning-by-doing is harder to do when it comes to investing. Because, of course, in order to invest, first and foremost you need capital. But it doesn’t need to be a lot, especially in the cryptocurrency space. So it’s possible to learn to be an early stage tech investor by actually doing it. I think that’s pretty exciting.
(as always, buyer beware!)