Sophie Waldman ’22 starts every day by reading the news and checking the markets. As a finance and entrepreneurship & emerging enterprises (EEE) double major, staying on top of current events is a must, but this isn’t the only reason she chooses to start her day this way. Over the past year or so, Waldman has developed a passion for cryptocurrency and has since been involved with multiple organizations related to the new currency.
“I love staying on top of what is going on and have always had a deep fascination for watching the stock tickers go up and down. I’ve had experience in investing since high school, and for years since I’ve dedicated myself to learning chart trends and trading strategies,” she explains. “When cryptocurrencies really started getting the public’s attention and support a year or two ago, I knew it would be a new passion of mine.”
Over the summer, Waldman was able to be involved with the creation and launch of various cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) projects. Though there are no classes dedicated specifically to cryptocurrency yet at Whitman, Waldman says that the school still provided her with a launchpad for entry to the industry. Specifically, Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice and Deputy Department Chair of EEE John Torrens’ “Emerging Cannabis Industry” summer course led to her becoming the chief branding officer for a new altcoin focused on the medical marijuana field around the same time she was a student in the class.
“This coin is centered around the medical cannabis industry, where a percentage of sales is donated back to field research. This currency will eventually be able to be used at dispensaries where holders can gain on their investments, as well as donate back to research in each transaction,” she says.
Education about the crypto industry is another area Waldman feels passionate about. “Another goal of mine was to get as many people on board with the crypto and ‘DeFi world’ as possible,” she says, referring to decentralized finance, an umbrella term that encompasses new trends in finance like crypto and blockchain. “I found a new love for educating people on this industry after attending a couple of cryptocurrency conventions. I enjoyed answering questions and assisting people with the buy-in process, which can be tricky for first-time investors or users. This is now a passion of mine, and I wanted to share that excitement with others.”
Despite the current lack of crypto-focused classes, Waldman says that with the industry growing so quickly, she doesn’t expect that to be the case for much longer. “I would not be surprised if business schools like Whitman start to adapt and allow finance or other majors to begin learning about cryptocurrency very soon. It is definitely tricky because every day new laws and regulations are posted, and so it can be hard to teach since it’s ever-changing. Although, to me that’s what makes crypto so exciting. I love the fast-paced environment that allows me to keep learning something new every day,” she says.
In the meantime, she suggests that students take advantage of the resources available to them if they are interested in learning more, like CryptoCuse, a student-run campus organization, or online educational sites. “Some wallet platforms even have simplified learning that give currency rewards after completing modules. This is a great way to learn, as well as start investing at no cost,” she explains. “Now is the time to get in and begin adapting to digital currencies. Just ensure you follow reputable news sources, only invest in real coins backed by real people and prepare yourself for big volatility!”
Learn more about Whitman students and their experiences.