19-year-old Erik Finman has made over US$5 million through Bitcoin - now he is investing it to improve education. Source: Charles Deluvio/

After being told by his teacher to drop out and work at McDonald’s, 19-year-old Erik Finman has defied all odds to become one of the world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaires.

Following in the strides of Lord Alan Sugar and Steve Jobs, Finman hung up his school tie in favour of a business suit in his teens. Finman felt failed by the education system so decided to educate himself on skills he knew were important.

“I had to learn through running a business,” he told CNBC. “Instead of writing essays for English class, I had to write emails to important people.”

But it was his Grandma’s gift of US$1,000 when he was 12 that propelled him to millionaire status by the time he was 18.

Following a tip-off from his older brother, Finman invested his grandmother’s gift into the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin which were worth only $12 when he bought them in 2011.

Fast forward seven years, and that initial $1,000 investment has blossomed into a gigantic $5.9 million.

Finman himself escaped college after winning a bet with his parents that he would become a millionaire by the time he turned 18.

Now owning 401 Bitcoins, Finman is using his fortune to attempt to revolutionise the broken education system that forced him to find his own way to success.

In 2014, Finman launched an online education company called Botangle for frustrated students like him to connect with likeminded teachers over video chat.

Aged only 15 at the time, Finman said he faced a lot of prejudice against his business pitch for Botangle. A senior executive for Uber even told him to give up on his idea and that he would not win the bet with his parents.

But now a seasoned businessman and teenage millionaire, Finman is planning to create ‘the world’s best university’ in Dubai, which will be ‘two times the standard of Stanford’ where his parents did their PhDs, reported The National.

“The way the education system is structured now, I wouldn’t recommend it. It doesn’t work for anyone. I would recommend the Internet, which is all free. You can learn a million times more off YouTube and Wikipedia,” Finman told CNBC.

Finman expects to see Bitcoin continue to inflate to up to US$1 million per coin due to its decentralised nature and the security of the blockchain technology on which it is founded.

With the help of his family – who he describes as “Elon Musk version of the Kardashians” – Finman believes they can create a world leading education institution with a much needed difference.

“My brothers went to MIT and Johns Hopkins, my parents met doing their PhDs at Stanford, and I have the entrepreneurial side with my experience running an education company. So it’s really been a family project – we want to bring that combined Stanford, MIT and startup magic to Dubai,” he told The National.

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