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How two brothers went from nearly jobless to multi-millionaires with a bizarre crypto be
New York (CNN)On the morning of April 17, two brothers in Westchester, New York, woke up to learn that they had become millionaires overnight, thanks to an unlikely wager on a cryptocurrency that was originally created as a joke.
Tommy, 38, and James, 42, who have asked CNN not to publish their last names to protect their anonymity, had put a few hundred bucks into an odd digital asset called shiba inu coin — a spinoff of dogecoin, so basically a parody of a parody. One coin was worth a fraction of a cent, but a friend, who happened to be a crypto expert, told them he believed it could be a big moneymaker.
"I kind of thought about bitcoin — that was once a fraction of a penny and now it's tens of thousands of dollars, and this happens to people, it's possible," Tommy said. "I trusted my friend and I figured if it went to zero, that's OK. I thought of it as a lotto ticket that wouldn't expire."
Less than two months after their initial investment in late February, their lives changed. It was their dad's birthday, and instead of giving him a card, they made him a millionaire.
Valuations on cryptocurrencies have exploded in 2021. After years of being either ignored or sneered at by Wall Street, cryptos — including established players like bitcoin and lesser-known "altcoins"— are enjoying unprecedented investor interest. Bitcoin is up nearly 70% since January, and dogecoin, which was started as a joke and is still worth less than a dollar, is up more than 11,000%, according to Coindesk.