What started as a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts getting together for coffee grew into a new central Minnesota nonprofit focused on educating the community and helping connect people with resources to learn more. .
The MN Crypto Council hosted its first event at the St. Cloud Financial Credit Union on Tuesday night. Alex Schoephoerster, an attorney at Moss & Barnett and a board member of the MN Crypto Council, said the group’s immediate focus is to host more events, particularly panel discussions on relevant topics such as mining, NFTs, the legal and regulatory space around to cryptocurrencies. The board solicited topic suggestions from attendees, with Schoephoerster saying they want to hear from others about their interests in crypto and any expertise individuals may have to offer others in the crypto sphere.
“Our goal, really, is to empower them to drive innovation and growth in the community by educating them about what space is (and) applying it to their businesses,” Schoephoerster said.
The nonprofit organization focuses on helping people invest wisely, helping businesses understand how to use cryptocurrencies to build their business models, and making sure government officials understand the world of cryptocurrencies.
“There’s always pushback, and it’s usually people who just don’t get it,” Schoephoerster said, referring to past skepticism regarding cryptocurrencies and, more generally, the advancement of technology in the financial sector. .
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Schoephoerster said that now is an exciting time to enter the cryptocurrency space. Venture capital firms invested more than $33 billion in blockchain and cryptocurrency startups in 2021, according to research firm Galaxy Digital Research. This is more than in all previous years combined. A Federal Reserve study found that 12% of American adults held cryptocurrency in 2021, almost all (11%) as an investment.
Ledge Wealth financial planner Marshall Grams said that as an investment manager, he has seen that cryptocurrency is a new asset class that cannot be ignored.
“Just because cryptocurrencies are scary, just because they’re speculative, just because they’re volatile doesn’t mean there isn’t a return there, or doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be inevitable,” Grams said. “There’s just a risk. It’s about risk management. And it comes down to being educated.”
According to St. Cloud Financial Credit Union board member and chief lending officer Chase Larson, more and more financial institutions, including your employer, are looking at how to use cryptocurrency in their business models.
“People get caught up in the ‘get rich quick,’ right? You want to invest and you want to get rich, but I really think the value that bitcoin, crypto and blockchain will bring is so much more than just on an investment level,” Larson said. .
Part of the evening also included a presentation and Q&A with James DonFrancesco. He is the co-founder and CEO of NextGem, a company that helps trading card enthusiasts digitize, share, and discover rare cards.
Those interested in connecting with the MN Crypto Council can learn more about their events at www.mncryptocouncil.com or on the nonprofit’s Facebook page.
Board members encouraged attendees to continue educating themselves on the language and intricacies of cryptocurrencies.
“You literally just have to go down the rabbit hole and learn,” said Andrew Deters, board member and account executive for Innovative Office Solutions.
MN Crypto Council board members include Schoephoerster, Larson, Grams, Deters, and ZenLord Pro co-founder and CEO Tom Spaniol.
Sarah Kocher is the business reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-255-8799 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.
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