A Queenslander who started working at his local gas station for just A$15 ($15.72) an hour is now worth at least A$100 million if he cashed in all of his assets in that time.
Daniel Maegaard, 31, from the Sunshine Coast, worked weekends at his petrol station while studying psychology at university.
But a combination of luck and skill saw him stumble upon new tech crazes like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) years before they became mainstream, enabling him to become a multi-millionaire in less time. ‘a decade.
In fact, a lucky purchase for a CryptoPunk NFT in May 2020 only cost Maegaard A$18,000 at the time – and his value has since soared to over A$50 million for the artwork. digital.
The jet-setter, who has traveled to more than 50 countries, says it all started for him when he first heard about Bitcoin in 2013.
“Me being me, I was dithering in my mission – I never really wanted to be a psychologist anyway,” Maegaard recalled, speaking to news.com.au.
“I came across this BBC article talking about the parabolic rise of Bitcoin, it went from A$20 to A$50.
“I really saw the power of being your own bank, total control over your money.”
Using his A$4,000 in savings – the only money he had in his name – he poured it into cryptocurrency.
Maegaard had completed his psychology degree and was following in his father’s footsteps by studying law when the cryptocurrency suddenly exploded in 2017.
“In 2017, I made enough money to be comfortable enough to walk away from it all,” he said.
He had invested in blockchains including Bitcoin, PP coin, Lite coin and Ripple XRP.
To get an idea of its ROI, Bitcoin’s value jumped 1,000% while Ripple was the best performing coin that year, up 36,000% in 12 months.
“Crypto has a bad envelope, especially among the older generation,” he said.
He felt the need to “prove” to his parents and friends that this was a valid path he was taking.
“People were confused at first, but over the years they realized it worked really well for me,” he added.
Very good is an understatement.
In early 2017, Maegaard started with crypto investments worth A$120,000. By April of that year, he had won his first million dollars.
“I’ve never been so alive in my life, my heart was racing, my eyes were like pans, I was really excited,” he recalled.
But he sat on his crypto wallet and invested more. By the end of 2017, that A$1 million had grown to A$20 million.
“I timed it perfectly,” he added.
He took half of his profits – A$10 million – and invested the money in Australian commercial and residential properties.
At this point, he had A$180,000 of passive income from tenants in his bank account.
He then booked a one-way ticket to Europe.
“I missed my next semester, never went back to college again,” Mr Maegaard said.
For the next 18 months, he traveled the world, visiting at least 50 different countries.
“I got a little bored, I guess I’m semi-retired, but I was only 27 at the time,” he said.
“In mid-2018 I grounded myself a bit, I needed to fight for something a bit more.
“That’s when I started getting into decentralized finance and NFTs, that’s how I reinvented myself.”
The self-made multi-millionaire said he was still “trying his hand” at cryptocurrency, but turned to derivatives – where he was earning A$1m a year.
He also started investing in NFTs early on.
When the Covid-19 pandemic arrived on Australian shores in 2020, Maegaard was, like all of us, stuck here with closed international borders.
“When the pandemic hit, I dug deeper [into NFTs] because there was nothing to do, not even travel,” he said.
“During this time I have acquired some of the most sought after NFTs.”
He bought an NFT in May 2020 for AU$18,000 which he compared to “the Mona Lisa of NFTs”.
“It’s basically invaluable,” he added.
He had purchased CryptoPunk 8348, or the “seven CryptoPunk traits”, which is valuable due to its rarity.
CryptoPunks are an NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain launched in 2017 by Larva Labs studio.
There are only 10,000 unique CryptoPunk tokens, and the artwork is fully “on-chain,” meaning no one can change the code and there will never be more than 10,000 punks.
In 2019 and 2020, he observed that the NFT space was “pretty quiet”, but last year it “really took off”.
“We’ve seen more volume in a month than we’ve seen in all of 2020,” he explained.
Maegaard remembers giving NFTs to his friends as birthday and Christmas presents.
He gave someone a CryptoPunk NFT gift of AU$300. She sold it in early 2021 for AU$70,000. The value of the punk artwork soared to A$500,000 at the height of the craze.
Meanwhile, an auction house approached Mr. Maegaard offering him over $50 million if he was willing to sell CryptoPunk 8348 to them.
“I don’t think it would have sold for all they were offering,” he added.
With more money than ever, Maegaard has now turned to a whole new career – being a DJ.
He created headphones to wear while DJing that are a physical embodiment of his CryptoPunk work – see above.
Maegaard’s DJ nickname is Seedphrase.
In November, he hosted an NFT-themed party where other crypto and NFT millionaires rubbed shoulders.
He is currently in Los Angeles working on his passion for music and has another gig booked at a Selfridges fashion show in London.
“I’m living my best life,” he added.