Many put faith in cryptocurrency but crash could lead to regulation and new consumer protections

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Max Moulder is doing whatever he can to make ends meet.

He’s taken a shot at being an Uber driver.

He’s drawing on his life-long trade of cutting and selling gemstones.

But odd jobs are not earning him enough to keep up with the growing cost of living.

“I’ve done gemstone cutting and trading for a long, long time — since I was 10 years old — that’s not paid off for me,” he said.

“It’s very difficult doing Uber driving with the cost of petrol. That’s not working. And I can’t do cabinet making anymore. So I’m running out of options really.”

In his mind, there’s just one option left: to invest in crypto.

Max Moulder bought cryptocurrency in the hope its value will rise.(ABC News)

“I feel like I’ve been forced into this,” he told ABC News.

Mr Moulder only started investing three weeks ago when the market tanked. He’s put in $1,000 so far and is willing to invest a lot more.

His view is that he’s buying cheap and so “it can only go upwards from here”.

It is faith, rather than investment fundamentals, that has left Mr Moulder, and millions of other investors around the world, either already suffering or being vulnerable to massive losses.

One in nine Australians bought crypto in the past year

Consumer advocacy group Choice has found that one in nine Australians have bought cryptocurrencies in the past year and that number is expected to keep rising.

Half of them see crypto as a long-term investment, rather than short term speculation and two in five see it as a diversification of their portfolio.

Patrick at his computer at his work office.
Choice’s Patrick Veyret says more consumer protections are needed.  (ABC News: John Gunn)

“People have really been harmed, and the system is really rigged against consumers,” said Patrick Veyret, senior policy adviser for consumer group CHOICE.

“And that’s why we’re calling for stronger consumer protections and strong obligations on cryptocurrency exchanges.”

Since November (when Bitcoin hit a record high of $US69,000), about $US1.5 trillion has been wiped off the value of the entire cryptocurrency market. That’s more than half its value erased in just six months.

Posted , updated 

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