Nearly a quarter of a million of mostly young New Zealanders are now regularly dabbling in cryptocurrencies, which many professional investors see as little better than a scam. Are the crypto fans about to get burnt big time?

It’s a cheap shot that has an uncomfortable sneer to it: “You can’t live in a bitcoin!”

It’s a rejoinder I’ve heard murmured by a few of my boomer mates who can’t understand why so many of their Gen X/Y/Z staff members are actively trading and buying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. But it’s a comment that’s often made out of hearing distance of this new generation of what used to be called ‘Mum and Dad’ investors. They feel it’s a true and clever thing to say, but they also know it carries more than a hint of smug entitlement that could get them into trouble with colleagues who buy bitcoin because they can’t afford a house.

That lack of affordability may even be the reason these well-paid renters have bought bitcoin in the first place – they’re hoping another spectacular jump in the value of the crypto-of-the-day gives them enough to buy a house, or least to put down a deposit deemed enough by the Reserve Bank to take out a home loan.

The implication of course is that these youngsters are crazy and should just do the sensible thing and buy an investment they can live in, like the house (and a few rentals) the older ones have bought over the years. But for many that has been a dream that faded…

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