A Queenslander who started off working at his local service station for just A$15 ($15.72) per hour is now worth at least A$100 million if he cashed out on all his assets right now.
Daniel Maegaard, 31, from the Sunshine Coast, used to work the weekend shift at his petrol station while studying psychology at university.
But a combination of luck and skill saw him stumble upon new technology crazes such as cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) years before they became mainstream, allowing him to become a multi-millionaire in less than a decade.
In fact, one lucky purchase for a CryptoPunk NFT in May 2020 cost Maegaard just A$18,000 at the time — and it’s value has since soared to more than A$50 million for the digital artwork.
The jetsetter, who has travelled to more than 50 countries, says it all started for him when he first heard about Bitcoin in 2013.
“Me being me, I was procrastinating on my assignment — I never really wanted to be a psychologist anyway,” Maegaard recalled, speaking to news.com.au.
“I came across this BBC article talking about the parabolic rise of Bitcoin, it had gone from A$20 to A$50.
“I really did see the power in being your own bank, total control over your money.”
Using his A$4000 in savings — the only money he had to his name — he poured it into cryptocurrency.
Maegaard had finished his psychology degree and was following in his father’s footsteps by studying law when cryptocurrency suddenly boomed in 2017.
“During 2017 I made enough money to be comfortable enough to walk away from everything,” he said.
He had invested in blockchains including Bitcoin, PP coin, Lite coin and Ripple XRP.
For an idea of his return on investment, Bitcoin’s worth jumped by 1000 per cent while Ripple was the best performing coin of that year, up by a whopping 36,000 per cent in 12 months.
“Crypto has a bad wrap, especially among the older generation,” he said.
He felt the need to “prove” to his parents and friends that it was a worthwhile path he was going down.
“Initially people were confused but as the years went on, they realised this was working very well for me,” he added.
Very well is an understatement.
At the beginning of 2017, Maegaard started off with crypto investments worth A$120,000. By April of that year, he had made his first million dollars.
“I’ve never been more alive in my life, my heart was going, my eyes were like saucepans, I was really excited,” he recalled.
But he sat tight on his crypto portfolio and invested more. By the end of 2017, that A$1 million had ballooned into A$20 million.
“I timed it perfectly,” he added.
He cashed out half his profits — A$10 million — and invested the money into Australian commercial and residential property.
By this point, he had A$180,000 in passive income flowing into his bank account from tenants.
He then booked a one-way ticket to Europe.
“I missed my next semester, I never went back to uni ever again,” Mr Maegaard said.
For the next 18 months he wandered the world, visiting at least 50 separate countries.
“I kind of got bored, I guess I semi retired, but I was only 27 at the time,” he said.
“In mid-2018, I grounded myself a bit, I needed to strive for something a little more.
“That’s when I started to look into decentralised finance and NFTs, that’s how I re-imagined myself.”
The self-made multi-millionaire said he continued to “dabble” in cryptocurrency but turned his attention to derivatives — where he made A$1 million a year.
He also started investing early on in NFTs.
When the Covid-19 pandemic arrived on Australia’s shores in 2020, Maegaard was, like the rest of us, stuck here with international borders closed.
“When the pandemic hit, I dug deeper [into NFTs] because there was nothing to do, not even travel,” he said.
“During this time I acquired some of the most sought after NFTs.”
He bought one NFT in May 2020 for A$18,000 which he likened to “the Mona Lisa of NFTs”.
“It’s basically priceless,” he added.
He had purchased CryptoPunk 8348, or the “seven trait CryptoPunk”, which is valuable because of its rarity.
CryptoPunks are a NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain launched in 2017 by the Larva Labs studio.
There are only 10,000 unique CryptoPunk tokens and the artworks are entirely “on-chain”, meaning nobody can alter the code and which also means there will never be more than 10,000 punks.
During 2019 and 2020 he observed the NFT space being “pretty quiet” but last year it “really took off”.
“We saw more volume in one month than we saw in the entirety of 2020,” he explained.
Maegaard recalls giving his friends NFTs as birthday and Christmas presents.
He gave one person a A$300 CryptoPunk NFT gift. She sold it at the beginning of 2021 for A$70,000. The value of the punk art work soared to A$500,000 at the peak of the craze.
Meanwhile, an auction house approached Mr Maegaard offering more than $50 million if he was willing to sell CryptoPunk 8348 to them.
“I don’t think it would have sold for whatever they were offering,” he added.
With more money than ever, Maegaard has now turned his attention to an entirely new career — being a DJ.
He has created a helmet to wear while DJing that is a physical embodiment of his CryptoPunk artwork — see above.
Maegaard’s DJ moniker is Seedphrase.
In November, he DJed an NFT-themed party where other crypto and NFT millionaires rubbed shoulders with each other.
He’s currently in LA working on his passion for music and has another gig booked up at a Selfridges fashion show in London.
“I’m living my best life,” he added.