They were once average workers, with steady jobs and low wages.
Now they are loaded.
And all because they bet big on Bitcoin or other virtual currencies, grabbing online currency early and often, sometimes sinking every spare dollar into the crypto market.
They were savvy enough to see the potential for an investment that some of the best financial advisors don’t yet fully understand, where patience is a priority and where you have to navigate a world plagued by its own language: chainlink, fiat, mining , Challenge.
Many people have lost money speculating in this unregulated market, where no banks or government agencies are involved.
But from December, a staggering 83 percent millennials have joined.
And despite the turmoil, cryptocurrency has shown an upward global trajectory — and the ability to transform some people’s lives.
Just ask these four people. They know that even small investments can pay off big.
Rachel Siegel: Substitute Teacher Turned Millionaire
Back when she was a substitute teacher at a public school in New York, Rachel Siegel lived in a dark Lower East Side apartment where every window faced a brick wall.
Now she sees the sun and the sea, thanks to a chic apartment she just bought in the Caribbean, where Siegel can take in sweeping ocean views from her private balcony.
Her journey began in late 2017 when a friend invited her to a cryptocurrency conference after-party.
“I remember walking into the room full of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and I had never been in a room with so many passionate, driven people — and usually people I didn’t think were about to lose all their money,” she told The Post. .
It was then that 29-year-old Siegel decided to make his first investment in the currency, putting in what was left of his salary – usually just $25 a week.
“Honestly, I had nothing when I started in cryptocurrency,” she said. “I was just this substitute teacher with a really big idea.”
His investments generated profits in the low seven-figure range, although Siegel declined to give an exact figure. It was more money than she had ever had, but not enough to change her spending habits.
“I don’t buy big flashy things. I’m not one of those people with fancy cars or new Rolexes,” she said.
“But now I can be a landlord. Years ago, I looked at house prices and thought that was completely unrealistic.
She has yet to move into her new beachside retreat as the deal is closing, but she has just splurged on a trip to Dubai, flying first class on Emirates.
“It was simply the most lavish experience I’ve had in my life,” she said.
And she quit her job as a teacher. “It was scary at first to leave this source of income,” she said. “But there are so many opportunities in this space.”
Now Siegel works full-time as a cryptocurrency influencer, under the pseudonym @CryptoFinally.
“The cool thing about cryptocurrency is that anyone can do it, and I’m one of those who did,” she said.
“I was a substitute teacher with no serious technical background who went to college for acting, and I made millions of dollars in that market out of conviction, through education. I believe that anyone could follow this path, if they devoted themselves to it.
Kane Ellis: a teenage technician who became a Maserati owner
In 2011, Kane Ellis was an 18-year-old high school student working in IT when he learned how to mine cryptocurrency.
The Aussie teenager set up his computer on top of mine – essentially using computers to help verify and process transactions for the blockchain – thus playing a small part in facilitating the growth of the crypto network.
All the while, he continued to work at his day job.
He said that when he started, he was only earning around four Bitcoins a day, when he was worth around $8.
“I got into the back end of things, not the investment side,” he said. “I just realized that my computer could bring me an income.”
“When I was 18, I obviously thought it was cool for profits, but after about six months I realized it could be the future.”
He stupidly remembered paying for a meal at McDonald’s with four Bitcoins. If he had kept those coins, they would be worth $150,000 today.
Ellis, now 29, is the co-founder of CarSwap, an online marketplace for auto buyers and sellers. And he holds most of his money in crypto.
“Cryptocurrencies have helped me live a better life by being able to start my own business,” he said, “I was able to live the life I always dreamed of.”
He used his profits to buy exotic cars, including his favorite car: a Maserati GranTurismo. The license plate jokingly reads BANKRUPT. “As a car enthusiast, being able to buy my dream car like the Maserati MC Sportline at the age of 24 was a huge achievement,” said Ellis.
His advice to investors: “Keep your Bitcoins. Don’t go into this thinking it’s a short term investment, because in reality it’s a long term investment. Two, five, ten years.
Terrance Leonard: Navy man with a dream house
Terrance Leonard first dabbled in cryptocurrency in 2013 while working as a software engineer. It didn’t go well.
“I’m a big nerd, so that was something I was interested in,” the 32-year-old Naval Academy graduate told The Post. “But it was so difficult back then. It was like the Wild West. There wasn’t a lot of information and I was afraid of losing all my money.
Leonard therefore retired from the industry until 2019, when a fellow crypto enthusiast explained the ins and outs of the market over lunch. That’s when he decided to come back with a $2,000 purchase.
Since then, he has invested tens of thousands of dollars, mostly in Ethereum and a few smaller coins like Unibright, and his stake has grown to a handsome million.
“It puts me on the path to financial freedom,” Ellis said.
He recently cashed in some of his parts for a down payment on a four-bedroom house in Washington, D.C. His new digs include a detached garage and extra yard space for his dog, Roman. Leonard, who lives alone, plans to retire from full-time work this year.
“When I was younger, I would just be madly excited — ecstatic even — to see where I am now,” he said.
“I was a geeky, nerdy kid who loved computers, and being able to leverage those skills to build wealth has been amazing.”
Lea Thompson: Tech Worker Turned Crypto Influencer
Seattle-based Lea Thompson first heard about crypto in its early days when she visited a friend who was mining digital currency.
“I would go to his apartment and see all these computer rigs and think, ‘What is this weird nerd thing you’re doing? “
It wasn’t until 2017 that she got hooked on the blockchain world. Although she had a sales job in the tech industry, Thompson never felt like she made enough money, so she worked some “side hustles.”
One gig involved blogging for a platform that paid her in cryptocurrency.
“I started meeting more and more people who worked in the industry, and seeing their enthusiasm for the potential of this industry really inspired me.”
Thompson also started investing, investing $500 to $1,000 a month in Bitcoin and Ethereum purchases, gradually building wealth and nearly 200,000 social media followers.
She declined to say how much her stake was worth today, but Bitcoin’s value has quadrupled since she acquired most of her holdings.
Its profits were enough for Thompson to quit his tech job and become a full-time crypto content creator. under the nickname Girl Gone Cryptoshe now posts “edu-tainment” videos about cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“I felt a lot more confident leaving my secure day job to expend my energy in ways that really feel limitless right now,” she said.
“Crypto has totally changed my life. “It was really nice to settle in so you could afford luxury things like even just a weekly massage.”