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New currencies | Bitcoins for Christmas?

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On the list of Christmas gifts of many adolescents and young adults are items that give headaches to their parents: cryptocurrency, bitcoins, NFT … Should we close our eyes and pass his turn or dive into this universe mysterious digital?

“It’s normal to be afraid of what you don’t understand,” says Marie-Hélène Bourbeau, a 51-year-old mother from Trois-Rivières.

His 15-year-old son Mattis has a digital wallet of a few thousand dollars with his older brother. He has invested in some cryptocurrencies, including Binance. When her boys first told her about cryptocurrency, seven years ago, she was “not listening” and “not so open,” she admits.

“It’s a language I don’t know. I was worried that they would have the magical thought of getting rich quickly, without working, and that it would take up all the space! She says.

Mme Bourbeau saw that Mattis’ curiosity turned into a center of interest… then into passion. “I’ve always been good at numbers,” says the main person. I read graphics with ease. Crypto is like the stock market. It goes up, it goes down, it’s an investment. “

The family therefore considered the project … and chose to get involved. “We took the time to get informed, to ask questions,” explains the mother of four children. Mattis is not alone in this. He is followed and accompanied. “

Caution


PHOTO ARND WIEGMANN, REUTERS ARCHIVES

Exchange rates for various cryptocurrencies on June 25 at an office in Zurich, Switzerland

That’s the right way to go, believes David Nathan, director of content for the French-language Cryptonews franchise. “We must invite parents and their children to be cautious and to think carefully before starting,” he notes. The important thing is to get information from reliable sources and understand what you are investing in. “

In the middle, moreover, the acronym DYOR (for ” do your own research Or do your own research) is widely used, says Nathan. “I compare this to Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility. “

Young people who choose to get into cryptocurrency need to be empowered and responsible. There is no after-sales service!

David Nathan, Content Director of the French-language Cryptonews franchise

According to Antoine Bédard, senior director of customer support at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the craze for digital financial products is exploding. Over the past year, the volume of calls to the AMF regarding cryptocurrencies has tripled and the volume of reports of fraud involving cryptocurrency has increased sevenfold.

“It is a growing environment whose popularity has accelerated significantly over the past 18 months,” he said.


PHOTO RAMON ESPINOSA, ARCHIVES ASSOCIATED PRESS

A follower of cryptocurrencies consults the prices of the day.

Why such an attraction among young people, in particular? “Beyond easy gain and rapid potential enrichment, there is a phenomenon, and a certain social acceptability,” says Mr. Bédard.

According to Louis Roy, partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, founder and leader of the digital asset practice Catallaxy, the attraction of young people is also linked to the fact that… it is their universe. “All gamers are already in touch with the world of digital assets,” he says. They are connected to social networks where they hear about it, they receive information, instant news. For them, it is accessible. “

For them, yes. For parents, it’s a different story.

Convince parents

Mother of two boys aged 19 and 15, Marie-Renée Dufort, a 45-year-old Montrealer, describes this world more as “opaque, hermetic and elusive”. For now, she has not agreed to her sons opening a digital wallet. But she considers it. “It may be the currency of the future,” she drops, “and I don’t think we will have the choice, sooner or later, to take an interest in it, a bit like we don’t have had the choice to get used to email and the internet in another era. “


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, PRESS ARCHIVES

Simon Dermarkar, professor at HEC Montréal and chartered professional accountant auditor

Simon Dermarkar, professor at HEC Montreal and chartered professional accountant auditor, believes that one of the good strategies to adopt is to “let your child convince us”. “The parent can put themselves in a board position, mandate their child and say, ‘Sell me the idea. Show me what you understood and explain to me how you are going to protect your personal data and not compromise the network of the whole house ””, he suggests.

It is true that the risks exist: parents, just like children, must be aware of them. Beyond the volatility of highly speculative products, the danger of becoming a victim of fraud is real. “We must send our young people a message of caution and diligence,” insists Mr. Bédard, of the AMF. You have to know what you are buying and with whom you are doing business, in addition to adequately protecting your passwords. “

And as with any investment, it is wise not to put all of your eggs in one basket. And to go there in small doses. “We are witnessing the birth of a currency and perhaps a future monetary system,” believes David Nathan, of Cryptonews. At the moment, it’s still a bit of the wild west. “

Some definitions

Cryptocurrency

Digital currency used on the internet, independent of the banking system, without physical support and based on a peer-to-peer exchange network (each entity is both client and server). There are over 15,000 to date.

Bitcoin

The first cryptocurrency (created in 2008), it is currently the most popular, ahead of ethereum and Binance.

NFT

Acronym non fungible token (in French, non-fungible token). It is a unique digital token that designates a digital file certifying its authenticity: it allows to say who owns a digital element such as a digital work of art, a video, a musical piece, a tweet or anything other intangible object. “. It is a unique digital token that designates a digital file certifying its authenticity: it allows to say who owns a digital element such as a digital work of art, a video, a musical piece, a tweet or anything other intangible object.

Sources: CoinMarketCap, Louis Roy, of Catallaxy, and David Nathan, of Cryptonews

Where to find out

Delivered Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for dummies, 2e edition, by Daniel Ichbiah and Jean-Martial Lefranc (October 2021, First editions)

Delivered Mastering Blockchain, by Lorne Lantz and Daniel Cawrey (in English – November 2020, O’Reilly editions)



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