TAMPA, Fla. - Cryptocurrency is considered by some to be mainstream, especially after Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady said he wouldn't mind being paid in bitcoin, but despite the exposure, many people are still in the dark when it comes to online coins.
"Is there a crypto gold rush going on right now? Absolutely," said Marc Lopresti, a crypto expert.
He says to think of it as a decentralized digital currency; money 2.0, as some call it.
Each form of cryptocurrency – from bitcoin to ethereum to doge – is built on blockchain, an open-source ledger software.
Blockchain technology helps keep everything secure.
Believe it not, cryptocurrencies have a market value in the trillions. But make no mistake, there are ups and downs and it can be a volatile space.
"It's an emerging asset class, it’s an alternative investment," Lopresti said, adding a warning. "Alternatives should be less than 10% of your total portfolio."
"I’ve been ridiculed, and people made fun of me, but most of them just don’t understand it," said Shish Uppal.
He runs Relax in Comfort in Westshore Plaza, but he's also been buying and trading cryptocurrencies.
"I’ve experienced profits and losses but overall, I’m up probably $800,000 on an account this year," Uppal said. "I don’t believe it’s a fad, it’s a digital revolution."
The revolution is catching the eyes of celebrities, athletes and the average joe.
"If you’re a retiree, talk to your wealth manager, talk to your investment manager to see if crypto is right for you," Lopresti said. "It is still early in the game, there's a massive education process."