We speak to Joe Blackburn, co-founder of one of the largest cryptocurrency groups on Facebook, Crypto Coin Trader. The group, which got its start in April 2017, currently stands at just under 47,000 members and serves as an important community group for crypto enthusiasts around the world.
Why did you start Crypto Coin Trader?
I created Crypto Coin Trader (CCT) as a result of being somewhat silenced and brushed off in other Facebook crypto groups. I can openly admit I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I co-founded the group along with 3 very close friends of mine, Ben Barlow, Nate Flanders and Justin Hart. The idea came after some complications with another group.
Our success has been from seeing the vulnerabilities that we addressed early on, allowing a culture to resonate and not taking every single issue too seriously. Nobody has to join or stay on our page, but that isn’t a threat, it’s a responsibility that the admin team has to provide the content necessary to maintain the community’s interest.
At what rate are you growing?
The group is currently just under 50,000 members. We easily receive 300-500 join requests per day. We accept new members at an average of about 65-70% approval rate.
How have membership trends changed since you started the group?
I can say as bitcoin (BTC) goes up, we tend to see more member requests. The interest level in BTC and crypto is growing massively, so the correlation would be with BTC runs, we see additional interest.
Do you find that the group houses members who invest long-term as opposed to day trading?
We have all types. The short- to medium-term posts are more prevalent, but as the long-term holders see their patience pay off, they show up just as quick. However, with the nature of the crypto market, the short plays often get the most attention.
In what investment stage are most of the active members of the group?
This is an ever-changing answer, A lot of the OGs [originals] of crypto have been massively successful, and have stepped out of the light, even since I have been active in 2016. The older veterans that are still around are very much still here as I see them being adamant about maintaining a healthy market and a community. People like Zach Daniels, Bill Kline, Ash Roulston and many others, all of which are active on CCT, have been very successful with crypto, yet still, recognize the importance and stability they bring to this world.
So the veterans are becoming fewer and fewer, yet at this point, there are massive amounts of beginners who have stepped foot into this world, and I would easily say the majority of all the major crypto-related pages have an overwhelming amount of newcomers (6 months or less.) The questions are from the newcomers and most of the answers with substance within the community are typically coming from people who have been in for a year or two. It isn’t hard to pick them out if you pay attention and stick around.
What are the geographical membership trends?
I find it very humbling of the amount of diversity we have. It is so special to have a community where there are hundreds of different cultures and countries represented, and getting along.
We are all in crypto for one reason or the next, but ultimately the overwhelming sentiment is financial growth. The ability to have a community that is so supportive of one another collectively is one of the ideas the co-founders and I had from the start.
What about male vs female ratio?
The male to female ratio is 94.4% male and 5.4% female. This may seem exceptionally low, but the female percentage just 90 days ago was 1.8% in our group. I cannot speak for crypto as a whole, as I do not know the statistics off-hand, but I am very proud of the growth over the last few months from the female population.
I think a major factor in CCT’s female growth has been the CCT Women’s Group that forked off from the main group. Some true superstar women that have been active in CCT, from essentially the start, have stepped up and really breathed some life into the page. Brittany Cayless, Ash Roulston, Jennifer Leigh and Amanda Schmidgall are doing an amazing job.
There are other females who are stepping up in other groups as well, like Meredith Darden over at Cryptocurrency Investing who is someone that is contributing extensively to the female presence throughout the other groups in crypto. Of course, we hope that there will be a much more even ratio in the near future, and cannot wait to see how much more the women are able to influence this market and community as the numbers continue to grow.
Average age brackets?
The largest age group according to the group insights that Facebook provides is 25-34 at 42%. Next, at number 2 would be 18-24, with 21% of our members falling into that category. 3rd is 35-44, just trailing the number 2 spot at 19%, and the two bottom spots are 13-17 at 1% and 65+ at 2%. I think this would be relatively similar in all of crypto.
What’s the most popular questions the group gets asked?
Where do I start…
The group gets asked “which coin should I buy” 250-300 times per day. Some of these slip through the cracks, but 99% of them will be deleted immediately, as it is clearly stated in our rules, “Do not simply ask what coins should I buy.”
As far as the more genuine questions go, I really see a lot of fundamental posts about the ins and outs of specific ICOs. I think those questions are really healthy as a group and I appreciate the effort most of these, often newcomers put in.
As a crypto group admin, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Oh man, this is neverending, I have had to really evaluate myself many times during the growth of the group. Remember, CCT started with 1 member, and it evolved from a group of close friends. At that time, the group was exceptionally less influential.
I always seem to see myself about 1 step behind where my influence is. The podium that has been built within CCT demands to handle it responsibly, the members will hold the leaders accountable, as they should. Within the last 2-3 months, as CCT has grown, the people that are looked up to tremendously in crypto have had to be more aware of the influence they possess. Many people like myself have gained a following unintentionally.
I have had to recognize and be aware of that. The lessons learned have shaped my perspective as a trader and as a leader. Be careful what you say, be accountable for what you said, and even when times are tough, be available to those people who trust you.
How big a problem is spam posts in the group?
I have the best group of moderators on all of Facebook. These people are the backbone of CCT.
Spam posts are everywhere in crypto. The things that we do to mitigate spam is vet new member requests. You can spot these spammers early on, as many of them have brand-new Facebook accounts, and the pictures that are on their page, even their Facebook profile pic, will be spam groups and products.
These people are denied entry and blocked from the group. The moderators like Eric Slonaker, Zach Gloots, Daniel Keener and James Fawke are very active in this process, and without them, I could not handle it. They are exceptional and proficient.
What are the spam trends you’ve picked up on?
It continues to blow my mind, the amount of new scam/spam ideas that show up in crypto. I’ve seen an excess of them over the last month as Bitcoin has picked up steam. These spammers know what they are doing and when to strike. We take the responsibility of being ahead of them seriously.
Another trend that seems to pick up and slow down over and over is these spammers get into the group one way or the next and then they begin to target our members individually through a private message. When members bring this to our attention, those people are removed.
We also encourage members to post when they see one, or unfortunately after they personally have fallen victim. For as selfish of a market this can be, I am very proud that our community looks out for one another.
How important is the concept of being a Crypto Ambassador, and why?
Being an ambassador is absolutely what I find most important. Anyone who knows me personally knows that our members come first. I am honest to a fault and I truly care about mass adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
This has to be one of the most exciting times financially for the world. I am a true believer in what crypto can offer people as a means to not just improve wealth but to securely store wealth. I have too many examples of people over the last 9 years that have done just that for anyone to prove me otherwise.
What industry trends have you picked up on during your time in crypto?
I recognize in my time trading crypto, the market changes in drastic ways about every quarter. I think back to even January of this year when ETH, LTC, Dash, NEO were all under $10. These examples all have gone up 1000% or more over this year.
The early stages of 2017 were very crucial to mainstream attention, altcoins, struggle to maintain value in times where BTC surges on a short-term basis, but if this year has shown us anything, the market is short-sighted based on the massive success many traders had early on in 2017. I expect a new trend to start in Q1 2018. We will see similar gains as altcoins rally.
Which altcoins are you bullish on?
Hard to argue with the power coins. This is in no way investment advice; I personally have my eye on a big 2018 for coins like Dash, Litecoin and NEO. Holding some ETH as well. However, in my mind, Bitcoin is king.
What is your most important advice to new investors?
If I had to narrow this down, my most genuine and honest advice is that we are all still early adopters. Do not try to make it all at once and do not ever feel like you have to buy something while it is running. There will always be another coin and there will always be another run. Be patient, and recognize the time period that we are in is very special.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see investors make?
I have made so many of the same mistakes the average trader and newcomer has that I feel very comfortable saying the biggest mistake people have while trading alts is not understanding charts and market psychology.
Early on when I did not know any better, I caught myself waiting to buy a coin until it proved to me it was going to keep going; by that time it was too late, the profit was not significant enough for me to sell. And while waiting for the coin to keep going, it was already on its way down. I didn’t have the discipline to be happy with 5%-10% profits.
Nowadays, on short-term and medium-term plays, once I hit a benchmark, I do my best to take some profit. I still struggle with that today, but I am an optimist.
Trade, hodl, and/or day-to-day use — what are your thoughts on each?
All three play an essential role in being successful overall in this market. You have to know when each is relevant when each is necessary but tried and true. Holding the power coins has been the most effective way of gaining wealth.