When Eddy Zillan started trading in cryptocurrencies three years ago, he was 15 — too young to open an account on the trading platform Coinbase, which requires its users to be at least 18 years old.
But Zillan glossed over the site’s terms of agreement and opened an account on Coinbase and another trading platform called Kraken, cautiously purchasing $100 worth of the cryptocurrency ether.
Zillan says he was initially skeptical of putting his money into the fledgling cryptocurrency market, which he’d first heard about in reference to the now defunct drug-trading website Silk Road. When Zillan began investing in 2015, there were few credible resources offering advice on how to invest in cryptocurrencies.
“At the time I invested, there were no YouTubers, there were no investors, there was no one I could learn from,” Zillan said in an interview with Business Insider. “There were no books or mentors, and it was really hard to teach myself a formal education in that field.”
When Zillan checked his accounts a few hours after investing his first $100, he found he’d already made $10. Though it may not sound like much, Zillan says he was floored.
“I thought: ‘Wow, I just made a 10% return in a day. That’s crazy,'” he said.
The next day, Zillan put in more cash. This time, it was $1,000.
A week later, he added $5,000, and the week after that another $6,000.
Before long, Zillan had invested a total of just over $12,000, the entirety of his savings from teaching tennis lessons, along with a tidy nest egg he’d received from gifts and his bar mitzvah a few years earlier.
“I risked everything,” he said.
At first, Zillan’s parents had mixed feelings about their son’s interest in digital currencies. While his mother approved, his father cautioned against what he considered to be an extremely risky venture.
Meanwhile, Zillan’s skepticism was evaporating by the day.
Within the first few months, his returns had begun to skyrocket. As his gains inched higher, Zillan was reading about cryptocurrencies obsessively, sometimes spending hours a day on cryptocurrency forums or chatting with other investors online. Soon, he was dabbling in alternate cryptocurrencies — also known as altcoins — and day trading.
In one short year, Zillan’s initial investment had snowballed. He says his entire cryptocurrency portfolio had tallied a staggering $350,000.
Zillan continued educating himself on cryptocurrencies with the few resources available online. Zillan says his knowledge of the market mostly stems from his conversations with other investors and people who created cryptocurrencies.
Like many people who invested in cryptocurrencies early, Zillan acknowledges that his profits are partially due to opportune timing. But Zillan says that making smart investments in cryptocurrencies requires more skill than simply opening an account on Coinbase.
Zillan doesn’t underestimate his good timing, but he credits his enormous returns to his business acumen and his understanding of digital currencies.
Today, Zillan says that his portfolio sits comfortably at over $1 million and that he’s turning his eye to another venture in the cryptocurrency field: advising.
Zillan, a high-school student who turned 18 in August, has spent the past year broadening his business interest in cryptocurrencies.
His company, Cryptocurrency Financial, offers cryptocurrency-investing advice to businesses and novice investors. This week, he plans to launch the program’s consumer-focused app, Coinalert.ly, designed to be a mix of resources for cryptocurrency investors, including trading tips, guides, explainers, and news…