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Investment Ideas The Crypto Edition: Young turn to cryptocurrency investments and women push back against 'blockchain bros'

John Marzo and Melisa Vong, seen in their Toronto condo on Feb. 8, are part of a new generation of self-taught investors looking to capitalize on the cryptocurrency industry.

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Late last winter, John Marzo and Melisa Vong decided to each test the cryptocurrency waters with a small investment. They both chose ethereum; Ms. Vong also added bitcoin. The price of ethereum in early March, 2017: between US$18 and $25.

Less than a year later, ethereum prices are currently hovering around US$864, and Mr. Marzo and Ms. Vong are shopping for two houses with rental units in Ontario's Kitchener-Waterloo region.

Mr. Marzo is 26. Ms. Vong is 23.

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The young Toronto couple isn't purchasing coins on credit, and they're not being bankrolled by family. They belong to a new class of investor: Young, self-taught and armed with online research, they're utilizing their position as digital natives to capitalize on a burgeoning industry that the general public is largely still struggling to understand.

"I've always had this mentality [that] you have to work hard to get ahead, but you also need to work smarter," says Ms. Vong, co-founder of Namskara, a skincare company that uses natural and sustainable ingredients. "Because we grew up in the technology age and have become accustomed to using the internet as a tool, it only makes sense to leverage it. If you can make money off the internet, then why not take advantage of it?"

Jaclyn Tersigni reports.

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The Rundown

Crypto exchanges, raking in billions, emerge as kings of coins

Digital-asset exchanges are emerging as one of the biggest winners of the cryptocurrency boom. The top 10 are generating at least $40-million daily in fees and as much as $350-million, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg using trading volume reported on data tracker and fee information on the exchanges' websites. Fees in the lowest range of the exchanges' scale were used for the calculations. Bloomberg reports.

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Rise of crypto and cannabis cutting into mining, Osisko CEO says

The Canadian mining industry is facing deep-rooted structural problems, with no easy solutions in sight. That's according to a well-known Canadian mining executive, who spoke on the opening day of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention on Monday. In an unscripted and candid keynote speech, Sean Roosen, chief executive of Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd., bemoaned the lack of investor interest in mining, the dearth of investment over the past few years in exploration projects, skyrocketing capital costs and, in particular, the rapid-fire rise of alternative sectors, such as bitcoin and marijuana, that has wooed investors away from the industry. Niall McGee reports.

Bitcoin's plunge in volume stirs questions about its usage

Earlier this year, when Bitcoin's price fell by more than 60 percent from its record close, a less-noticed Bitcoin figure also plunged: the number of daily transactions. There are many explanations for the fall-off in trading, from software- to news-related. What's less understood is why the level hasn't recovered as Bitcoin's price made a 50 percent comeback since Feb. 5. That's left some investors wondering whether the cryptocurrency is waning in popularity. Bloomberg reports.

Women push back against 'blockchain bros'

One of the most potentially disruptive technologies set to likely have an impact on almost every area, from government to business contracts, to currency, is blockchain – an online, distributed ledger and the tool behind cryptocurrenciessuch as Bitcoin. But, like other parts of the tech sector, women have low representation in developing this potentially game-changing technology. Nevertheless, there is a slow pushback against the "blockchain bros" and the industry's lopsided gender gap to ensure this technology represents a more diverse population of both its developers and its users. Daina Lawrence reports.

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Cryptominer Hut 8 slumps on TSX Venture debut

U.K. firm pilots using blockchain to help BMW source ethical cobalt

Japan punishes seven cryptocurrency exchanges over regulatory lapses

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Compiled by Gillian Livingston

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