Christian Bodenmiller, with his fiancee Mikela Beelen, made a killing off Bitcoin. Photo by Phil Custodio
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
When Christian Bodenmiller of Clarkston invested in Bitcoin in 2011, he spent about $120 on 300 of the cryptocurrency, about $2.50 each.
“I thought that was expensive at the time,” said Bodenmiller, 23. “It was just something I bought for fun. I thought it was cool and I hung onto it.”
He hoped they would go to $10 each.
“I thought that would be really cool. That was my highest expectation,” he said.
About a year later, in December 2012, they hit about $13 each, increasing his investment more than 30 times.
“I was prepared to sell, but I thought, maybe I shouldn’t. They were stating to get some traction,” he said.
He continued to hold onto them, and their value exploded to about $3,500 each this year. That was enough.
“I sold off all 300,” he said.
The sale took in about $1 million, less about a third to the government in capital gains taxes.
A 2014 graduate of Holly High School, he’s using the earnings to pay for college at Oakland University, where he’s studying business, and a house with his fiancee, Mikela Beelen, who is studying psychology at Oakland University.
“We’re closing on a house in Clarkston in November,” he said. “College is paid off, the house is paid off. It’s nice not have to worry about too much anymore.”
He’s saving much of the rest, he said.
“I might buy some new jeans and help mom pay off her house,” he said. “I’m not big into spending money. I don’t want to see it go away.”
Plans include staying in town and giving back to his community.
“I really like Clarkston,” he added. “I plan to get more involved with volunteering and possibly government.”
Bitcoin was invented in 2009 as a digital currency and grew in acceptance since then, especially in online commerce.
“They’re used lot in poorer countries,” Bodenmiller said. “They’re becoming more popular. Restaurants are starting to take Bitcoin. I’m one of the lucky people who bought them when they weren’t worth anything.”
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are volatile, but investors have been using them like gold, as a hedge against economic downturns.
“I got into it looking to make some money,” he said. “I’d heard about the younger generation getting involved in online money, with people making crazy predictions. But even if it kind of might work out, it would be good.”
His parents, Rhonda and Donald Barron, were really supportive in 2011, he said. Others, not so much.
“My grandparents and friends thought it was ridiculous,” Bodenmiller said. “That was a little discouraging, but I stuck it out. It actually worked out pretty cool.”
His current portfolio includes a few Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as safer investments in the stock market with help from a Scott Trade advisor.