On this day she cautions her audience — many investing novices — that the crypto projects they hold dear might not be around in the days ahead. “Just because they plan to change the world, doesn’t mean they have the capabilities to actually do so.”
CryptoWendyO is among a new class of influencers narrating the wild turns of global markets, where online personas such as TheBlockchainBoy and BitBoy Crypto promise to demystify cryptocurrency for the masses and are redefining how young audiences get their financial news and analysis.
But like many women with significant online reach, CryptoWendyO says she is the target of relentless abuse and harassment, much of it animated by sexism and misogyny. To protect herself, she does not use her real name in her public work, though she has agreed to allow The Washington Post to use her middle name, Rochelle.
The swift rise of crypto-finance influencers coincides with the explosive growth of cryptocurrency, where the rush to cash in has created a $1.3 trillion market. This past week underscored the market’s extreme volatility, as hundreds of billions of dollars in value evaporated on news of China’s crackdown on bitcoin mining operations, then quickly recovered. But digital coin holders span interests and motivations. Some are drawn by the libertarian spirit that would do away with centralized financial intermediaries, such as banks and money transfer companies. Others identify with the communities of entrepreneurship and innovation tied to blockchain technology, the record-keeping systems that underlie cryptocurrency networks.
But many financial world luminaries, including billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, corporate executives, and government officials remain skeptical, citing the rampant speculation in cryptocurrency markets and the asset’s high energy requirements as reasons to keep away. Still, interest from institutions and individuals is building, fueled in part by personalities such as Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and such political figures as the governor of Texas, the mayor of Miami and the president of El Salvador.
Streamers like Rochelle offer a cryptocurrency on-ramp to novices and in-the-weeds analysis for more seasoned investors. They serve as a conduit for information, a trader’s guide and virtual entertainment, breaking down arcane topics or dishing on the drama playing out on price charts.
In three years, CryptoWendyO — who publishes weekly trading shows on YouTube and posts several videos to TikTok daily — has amassed a sizable audience: 146,000 followers on Twitter, 70,000 subscribers on YouTube and 149,000 followers on TikTok. About 43 percent of her TikTok audience is female, which speaks to her ability to draw a more balanced viewership within a space thought to be dominated by male influencers.
Her videos on YouTube and TikTok range from tutorials on how to secure cryptocurrencies offline, analyzing a token’s price movement, to sharing different trading techniques. Her followers say they appreciate her demeanor and accessibility.
“Nobody is better than Wendy at explaining these technical tools,” said one YouTube commenter about a video on a price-analysis technique.
Another wrote, “Love these quick updates Wendy, please feel free to make many more of these, it really helps a lot, your calmness creates more calmness for me too, Kudos.”
She also runs a daily news show, highlighting the big events and happenings of the moment with bits of commentary: “Our first story goes to the most annoying person in crypto: Elon Musk,” she said in a recent post, a reference to his ability to send bitcoin or other digital asset flying or falling depending on the tweets.
Her most-watched video on TikTok, with more than 500,000 views, describes how to play the crypto markets after an investment grows, dubbed the “moon bag.”
“When you invest in something, you pull out your initial investment, you pull out your profit, and you have this bag of cryptocurrency tokens you own free and clear, like house money,” she said. “So if this thing goes up 1,000 times, you’re rich. If this thing dumps to zero, and goes away, which it probably will because it’s crypto, you don’t have any financial tie to it.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Rochelle says money was a constant worry growing up. Her father died when she was in elementary school, she said, and she spent much of her childhood living in a two-bedroom townhouse with her great-aunt and grandmother, where she shared a room with her mom and two sisters. It also was a source of torment at school, where she says she was made fun of for being poor.
“I didn’t have anything the other kids had. And I look back at that now and tell myself, ‘Never again,’ ” she said. “My past trauma is something that drives me because I will never go back to not having control.”
Now in her 30s and raising a young daughter, Rochelle views her work as an educational imperative, a path to make finance more inclusive, as well as a way to document her own path to financial independence.
“Crypto has improved my quality of life, and I believe everyone deserves the same,” she said. “I am bullish on decency.”
Much as it did in late 2017, cryptocurrency is having a moment — or, rather, generating waves of sudden price swings that feed into a vortex of speculative trading that now includes the so-called meme stocks of Wall Street. Traditional financial institutions are advancing plans to partner with cryptocurrency exchanges and offer crypto-related financial products. One 401(k) provider is even allowing employers to offer cryptocurrency as part of their retirement plans.
The number of cryptocurrencies has nearly doubled in the past year, to more than 10,000. But bitcoin is the most valuable and best known, so much so that everything else is categorized as altcoin, including ethereum, litecoin, polkadot and dogecoin. The total market value of digital currency has more than quadrupled since last summer.
But the staggering sums of money trading hands has attracted a slew of con artists and schemers. From October to March, when the price of bitcoin and other tokens swelled to prices never seen before, consumer complaints skyrocketed, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
More than $80 million has been lost to cryptocurrency investment scams in recent months, affecting nearly 7,000 people, the agency said in a report published last month. The number of reported frauds is 12 times that reported in the same period a year prior, and the losses are almost 1,000 percent greater.
“Some say there’s a Wild West vibe to the crypto culture, and an element of mystery too,” said FTC program analyst Emma Fletcher. “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts congregate online to chat about their shared passion. And with bitcoin’s value soaring in recent months, new investors may be eager to get in on the action. All of this plays right into the hands of scammers.”
The investment schemes come in a variety of forms. Some perpetrators peddle tips and secrets through online forums, luring potential investors to malicious websites, the FTC said. Others pretend to be celebrities looking to give away tokens once victims send over an initial deposit. The FTC said people reported losing more than $2 million to fraudsters impersonating Musk.
Another category of cunning fraudsters tug on people’s heartstrings: Crypto “catfish” have targeted people online with the promise of a new romance only to suddenly start chatting them up about a hot investment opportunity, the FTC said.
CryptoWendyO has seen the work of pretenders up close. For a time, her Twitter bio warned followers, in all caps, that she would never direct message them.
“There is a massive impersonator issue on all social media, but specifically in crypto,” she said. “I do not offer any paid services, and most of my impersonators want you to join their paid groups and ask for private keys or funds. They do this in YouTube mentions and send my audience DMs. It’s such a terrible thing, and I do my best to warn my audience. The only thing I can really do is keep reminding them, and hopefully these centralized platforms take better care of their users.”
CryptoWendyO makes money through trading, investing and consulting work. Depending on the market, she makes five to six figures per year, she said. She doesn’t offer any paid subscription services and says she discloses any business relationships when discussing a brand or product. Like other crypto and finance creators, she stresses that she is not a financial adviser and that potential investors should do their own research.
Jimena Huaco, who oversees the personal finance curriculum at Champlain College in Vermont, where financial literacy is an academic requirement, said young people have taken more of an interest in investing. Just a few years ago, she said, most believed the stock market beyond their reach, reserved only for people with financial advisers or tens of thousands of dollars to invest. But that perception has given way to eagerness and pointed curiosity, as the buzz surrounding easy-to-use trading apps such as Robinhood and stories of dogecoin millionaires have taken hold.
“The rise of this phenomenon of mobile brokers and apps and the advancement of technology has made it a lot easier and convenient,” Huaco said. “And they now have this idea that they can make a lot of money very quickly, but the education is not matching and keeping up.”
She added: “There are pros and cons. It might have also increased access to populations who may have thought that investing wasn’t accessible to them.”
Ramona Ortega, the founder of My Money My Future, a digital platform that aims to help multicultural millennials invest and build wealth, encourages potential investors to empower themselves by becoming their own experts. But she cautions that getting the fundamentals down is crucial — including understanding one’s own risk tolerance and setting up a diverse portfolio of investments alongside a 401(k) and emergency fund.
The coronavirus pandemic and the volatility in the market has driven a surge in investing. “All of sudden people are asking ‘What’s a short?’ People are asking about crypto and NFTs,” Ortega said, adding that self-directed investors are also seeking out nontraditional sources for financial advice, as many women and people of color feel overlooked by legacy financial services.
“For a lot of women, they are looking for advisers who look like them and understand their money behaviors — they don’t want to feel stupid, they don’t want to feel shamed, and they don’t want to feel like someone is looking at them in a certain way, with a lens of criticism.”
Erhan Korhaliller, chief executive of EAK Digital, a public relations firm and talent agency that manages crypto influencers, including CryptoWendyO, said she stands apart for her work ethic and her approachable public persona.
“For young people so used to this information overload, crypto really fills that part of our brains because it’s a never-ending news cycle. And it’s emotional because there is money involved,” he said, emphasizing the rapid pace of tech development. “These YouTubers and streamers are narrating that for you.”
Korhaliller, who is based in London, says CryptoWendyO is more measured and deliberate than many of the personalities in the highflying realm of crypto trading. “She has a very different flavor than crypto bros. You know, ‘Buy now! We are going to the moon!’ ” he said. “You want to listen to people you can relate to. There needs to be a voice if you don’t fit into the crypto bro profile.”
Like other prominent women on social media, however, Rochelle has to wade through a torrent of abuse. “The threats and harassment have been terrible,” she said. “I have had physical violence threatened against me at events; people have messaged me telling me they were going to rape me; they hoped I died like my father did and stated they would hurt my young daughter.”
She added: “I have pretty thick skin due to my past trauma, as I am a survivor, but no one should have to hear those type of things.”
Despite the poisonous elements of leading a professional life online, she said that building connections with people through streaming sustains her. She also wants to inspire other women.
“Anybody who wants to vibe with me, just come vibe with me. If you’ve got positive energy, you want to learn, you want to grow, let’s do it.”
Ben Armstrong, another prominent crypto streamer who runs the BitBoy Crypto channels, and who met Rochelle in 2018, said it’s disturbing to watch a friend suffer through the vitriol, but he has had to resist the urge to leap to her defense online, which he says can exacerbate the situation. “It’s really frustrating and you feel kind of helpless watching it,” he said.
Instead, Armstrong, who lives in Atlanta, and has 2.7 million followers on TikTok and 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube, says he can use his sizable platform to address the toxic issue of harassment without having to elevate any particular aggressor.
Armstrong touts CryptoWendyO’s diligence and her skill in breaking down high-level concepts to a mass audience. Her ability to relate to other women and mothers is a welcome and refreshing perspective, he said.
“Crypto has for so long been a chauvinistic, good ol’ boys club, and it’s great to see those walls coming down.”
TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options
TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.
To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.
As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.
Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.
As explained by TikTok:
“The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”
Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.
“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”
That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.
In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.
Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.
That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.
As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.
The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.
The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.
How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.
But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.
Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.
The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.
With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?
TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time
Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.
TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.
But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos. And businesses are already catching up.
The impact of Instagram Reels
With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.
Youtube has joined the bandwagon
While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.
But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.
However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.
It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV
With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.
The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.
This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.
Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.
Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?
With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.
While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.
Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.
Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.
Essentially, ask yourself two questions:
- First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
- Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?
The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.
What this all means for an entrepreneur
Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.
And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.
Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.
There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.
This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!
How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here
And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!
Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.
Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.
How to create a TikTok account
First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.
There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.
1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.
2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.
3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.
4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)
5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).
6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)
7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.
How to make a TikTok video
Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.
1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.
2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.
3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.
4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.
5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.
6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.
How to make a TikTok with multiple videos
Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).
1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video
2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.
3. Select all your media and tap Next.
4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)
5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.
6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.
7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!
5 things to know before creating your first TikTok
TikTok style is less polished than other types of video
Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.
Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.
You don’t have to dance
Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).
There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).
You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.
Hashtags can help more people see your post
It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).
The right song can go a long way
Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.
Your greatest asset is you
Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.
Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!
@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)
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