INVESTING WITH VINNY LINGHAM
South Africa’s Vinny Lingham has been described as a “serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur”, making it big in the United States when he sold his virtual gift card service Gyft to First Data for over $50 million in 2014.
Lingham has also served as founder and chief executive officer of website builder service Yola and digital marketing solutions firm Clicks2customers. His latest ventures include his role as CEO of blockchain identity start-up Civic and his position as a “Shark” on M-net’s business show Shark Tank.
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is another target on Lingham’s radar, along with a growing number of investors who see big potential in the digital currency. With South Africa’s political and economic environment proving particularly unstable as 2017 has progressed – and the rand suffering as a consequence – people are looking to move their investments into assets which will ensure they emerge unscathed from these turbulent times.
The question is: can Bitcoin provide a safe haven for local investors?
Massive Bitcoin growth
“Long term, Bitcoin holds a lot of promise and I think it's a unique and special asset class. Right now, there are significant technical risks facing the industry that it will most likely overcome, but other than that, as a longterm investment (5 to 10 years), I advocate that it will be a good one,” Lingham told Mybroadband.
Bitcoin has shown massive growth over the past two years, following a substantial drop in its value between the end of 2013 and the start of 2015. If you purchased Bitcoin in April 2015 – when it was trading at around R2,900 for 1 Bitcoin – and sold your stake in April 2017, you would have increased your investment by just over 530%.
“Like all investments, it should form part of a balanced portfolio, and squarely in the higher-risk category for your investments,” said Lingham.
Investing in South Africa
Lingham is also vocal about South Africa’s political situation, but is hopeful that the country and its prospects going forward – including investing locally – will improve.
“The world is a crazy place and there are risks in every market. I'm still hopeful for South Africa, but as I've said before: things will need to get worse before they get better. It's the nature of people, and political and business cycles,” said Lingham.
In terms of investing in the country, Lingham advised South Africans to prioritise the settling of existing debt as part of their investment strategy.
“In a high-interest-rate environment like South Africa, you want to be paying no interest every month. Pay off your debts as quickly as you can and keep a tight household budget. Don't look to make investments when you still owe money on your mortgage or credit cards - on a risk adjusted basis, it's just not smart,” said Lingham. ■