Australia

Risky business?: How a pole dancing instructor found success with Bitcoin

Some may call it risky business, but one Sydney dancing instructor has found investing in Bitcoin quite fruitful.

The often confusing virtual currency Bitcoin has hit a new record high after smashing through the US$8000 dollar level for the first time.

It marks an almost 50 per cent climb in just eight days, but many skeptics are calling it a bubble waiting to pop.

Pole dancing instructor Dee Heath is riding the surge with her fitness business in western Sydney.

She 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.

Dee Heath wants to teach more people about Bitcoin
Dee Heath wants to teach more people about Bitcoin (SBS News)
SBS News

She is now dedicating her time informing would-be Bitcoin investors about navigating the world of cryptocurrencies.

She has started a website to explain Bitcoin. 

"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."

How does Bitcoin work?

Right now, when we buy something online it goes through a bank or a credit company.

Bitcoin is a payment system that cuts out the middleman and the associated fees.

The idea came from an anonymous programmer, who in 2008 suggested that instead of a bank or a credit company recording every transaction in one central ledger, all of the users would record all of the transactions at the same time.

Any attempt to fool the community would be noticed and the payment would be rejected.

Tomcar Australia makes specialist off-road vehicles.

For the past four years, the Melbourne-based company has been accepting bitcoin to sell its products online.

"One customer bought a car with Bitcoin, the whole amount of over 30-thousand plus with Bitcoin and there's about 4 or 5 other customers that on a regular basis buy their parts and accessories using their Bitcoin accounts," David Brim from Tomcar said.

Others aren't so enthused about the virtual currency.

The head of JP Morgan said recently that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in North Korea.

And there are plenty of other skeptics.

"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.