Pole dancing instructor Dee Heath built a successful fitness business in western Sydney teaching “stripper fitness” classes that seem to be in vogue among millennial women.
But recently, Heath has discovered a new passion: Investing in digital currencies.
Heath has spent $5,800 on Bitcoin since July and has more than tripled her investment.
"Look, I love pole dancing but lately my passion has definitely been Bitcoin," she told SBS News.
Heath is spending less time on the pole and more time advising would-be bitcoin investors about navigating the world of digital currencies, even starting a website to explain the digital currency to novices.
"It comes with any investing, it's volatile at times, especially cryptocurrencies," she said.
"The good thing is when it goes down, you can buy some more, and you know it's going to go up at some point."
"As long as you're calm and you don't let emotions run you when you're dealing with any sort of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, then you're safe."
Still, there are plenty of skeptics in her native Australia, where digital currencies are still largely associated with the black-market economy thriving on the dark web.
"Australia in particular has been involved in buying and selling drugs on the dark web using cryptocurrencies," said Professor David Glance from the Centre for Software Practice at The University of Western Australia.
"Many are comparing the buzz around Bitcoin to tulip mania that hit the Netherlands in the 17th century."
Professor Glance said with such a volatile currency, investors should only buy what they can afford to lose.
But with the digital currency recently peaking above $11,000 – a valuation that represents a 950% return since the beginning of the year in US dollar terms – mom and pop investors who had previously never heard of bitcoin are trying to get a piece of the action. Recently, the CME Group and other exchanges around the world have launched – or announced they’re planning to launch – new bitcoin derivatives that will make it easier for institutional investors like hedge funds to play in that market. Though many new funds have been established already this year to get in on the action.
Earlier this week, pioneering cryptocurrency investor Mike Novogratz, whose digital-currency focused fund has recorded astronomical returns this year thanks to the performance of bitcoin, Ethereum and many other digital currency copycats. After accurately predicting that bitcoin would reach $10,000 this year, Novogratz now says he sees it going to $40,000 by the end of next year.
Other financial luminaries like Warren Buffett and – most famously – JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon have said they believe bitcoin is a bubble. Dimon famously opined that the digital currency could get somebody killed.
And while bitcoin has given investors no reason in recent months to believe the rally is slowing down, the idea that strippers are starting to pour their cash earnings into bitcoin is eerily reminiscent of a scene from the movie “The Big Short” where two of the film’s protagonists interview a stripper who took out subprime mortgages to buy nearly half a dozen properties.
Should investors pay attention to this “stripper indicator”?