We travelled down to Bournemouth recently to visit Coinfloor customer, Angela Ilievski, and hear about why she has decided to start building Bitcoin savings.

 
What is your current job and personal situation?
Having retired from full-time teaching in 2017, I am currently self-employed as a proof-reader and editor specialising in the Social Sciences.

Pre-Covid, working in this way allowed me to spend a lot of time travelling and pursuing other interests/hobbies including becoming qualified as a Mindfulness practitioner and volunteering at the Dorset Mindfulness Centre.

Since Covid broke, I have been living with my son and his father in Bournemouth where I was brought up, although a Londoner by birth.

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What got you interested in investing in Bitcoin?

I first came across Bitcoin around 2014 when I featured it as a discussion topic in a Business English course I was teaching. I was intrigued enough by the concept of ‘digital money’ to consider buying a few as I might put a bet on a horse i.e. viewing it as a bit of a gamble/speculation.

To continue the metaphor, my horse fell at the first hurdle as I didn’t have an online bank account so was unable to ‘place my bet’. However, I kept an eye on the evolution of Bitcoin and other coins and often used cryptocurrency as a discussion topic in class.

On retiring in 2017, I received a small pension and, setting aside some cash, looked around for potential investments outside the stock market (which I had mistrusted since the 2008 crisis) and settled on Bitcoin along with some gold and silver coins to balance intangible assets with tangible assets.

2017 was a tumultuous year for crypto and the price volatility was quite scary at times, especially as I wasn’t looking to trade/take profit, so I just left it alone in a Bitcoin wallet and have not been ‘active’ in crypto for the last couple of years.

 

What does saving mean to you?

I come from a generation of savers not spenders and recall my parents’ often-repeated mantras: ‘always put something aside for a rainy day’ … ‘if you can’t afford it, you can’t buy it’ … ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, so this risk-averse/credit-averse attitude was hard-wired into our DNA.

As I recall, most of us children had a Post Office Savings Book and would put aside something from whatever was earned from our Saturday job to save up for something special; it was so satisfying to see the total mount up week by week, page by page and be topped up with interest from time to time.

Moving on from P.O. savings to Building Society/Bank Deposit Accounts and ISAs, using a standing order to squirrel away a set percentage of my income each month – with the option of being able to cancel if my circumstances changed – is a familiar and appealing way to maintain a savings habit.

 

Do you worry about the impact of inflation and economic volatility on the value of your savings and investments?

I am in the habit of reviewing finances at the end of each financial year and this April began to feel that now was the time to save in crypto rather than invest in cash … a reversal of perspective brought about by a combination of factors including:

  • 0% interest rates/negative interest rates imminent
  • the example of Cyprus, Greece, India and the Lebanon ‘bail-in’ seizure of bank deposits/limits on cash withdrawals & transfers
  • the (equally scary) prospects of either stagflation or deflation on the horizon

The coincidence of the latest Bitcoin halving at the same time as the Fed was accelerating money printing to address liquidity issues in the market (triggered, not caused, by Covid) was a powerful metaphor for me. This was a kind of ‘lightbulb moment’: the realisation that Bitcoin was becoming ‘hard’ money whereas fiat currency was being ‘softened’ by incessant money printing.

 

Why did you choose Coinfloor to help you invest in Bitcoin?

At this point, I came across Swan Bitcoin on Keiser Report and the concept of DCA (dollar cost averaging) to reduce the impact of volatility (one of the challenges with Bitcoin) which could be addressed through an ‘auto-save’ low minimum amount/low fee strategy.

Via their website, I found that Coinfloor was a UK alternative and looked further into the company through reviews etc. I liked the fact that it was the UK’s longest-running exchange which, together with its exclusive Bitcoin focus, which encouraged me to take the step of opening an account and making a trial deposit.

Struggling with uploading ID for verification (memory issue on my phone), I was contacted by a Coinfloor team member with the option to do part of the verification via a live Skype call. It was reassuring in view of my tech-phobia and gives the company a human face in the normally impersonal tech world.

The discussion we had around security issues, data/privacy, the risks and danger of fraud/scams around Bitcoin was also reassuring as very much the opposite of ‘the hard sell’ approach and suggested that Coinfloor takes good customer service seriously.

 

Do you think others in your situation can benefit from investing in Bitcoin?

I believe that even if you are a highly risk-averse investor, you should have some allocation to both Bitcoin and gold in your portfolio simply in the interests of diversification.

With mainstream hedge fund managers of the status of Paul Tudor Jones announcing their investment in Bitcoin, this might also give retail investors more confidence in crypto.

With interest rates falling, senior citizens will probably relate to the quote from legendary investor David Tepper that ‘there is a time to speculate and a time to conserve capital’, and should look at alternative investments at a time when a bank account is probably the riskiest place to keep your money.

When the rising stock market is not reflecting the collapsing real economy, anyone would be well-advised to review their savings/investment strategy simply to hold on to what they have accumulated since those Post Office savings days.

Any gain through the rise in price of Bitcoin is almost a secondary issue in my view, over the course of my journey I have shifted from short-term-speculator to long-term HODLer and have enjoyed the learning and knowledge I have gained along the way.

 

Do you have any tips or advice for others in your situation about investing in Bitcoin

I would never present myself as a financial or technology expert and any advice or tips come from a place of common sense and personal opinion rather than specialist knowledge.

There was definitely a fear factor for me with tech in general and I am a self-proclaimed ‘digital dinosaur.’ Generally, fear is rooted in lack of knowledge so I would advise anyone to do their research and be open to not finding much information on mainstream media so explore ‘alt media’ via YouTube etc.

I learnt a lot from shows such as ‘The Keiser Report’ – especially the second segment of the show when guests/experts are interviewed about a range of socio-economic-cultural-political topics, often referencing Bitcoin as ‘a community’ which again, gives a much-needed human angle to crypto.

Born in the ‘50’s, I am not ‘a digital native and one of the challenges I had with my first Bitcoin purchase – which put me off continuing to buy – was the hassle of having to navigate several websites and application simultaneously (exchange – bank account – wallet) and nervousness about transactions being hacked or simply ‘disappearing’ into cyberspace.

Coinfloor’s Autobuy option is therefore attractive to those who might share my discomfort with online transactions and is a relief from the hassle of buying intermittently from an exchange with the added nervousness of ‘buy today or tomorrow?’ due to day-to-day price volatility of Bitcoin.

Over time, my perception of Bitcoin has shifted from a speculative fringe financial instrument to a potential agent for social change in an almost ‘David v Goliath’ scenario of a decentralised Bitcoin where individuals can take back control’ over their own money versus a system of centralised banks and government where the ordinary person is powerless.