Ben Simpson remembers growing up watching the Smithton Saints play football and playing basketball at the stadium, before popping up to Duck Inn for a milkshake. Now, at just 23 years of age he is one of the most influential Australians in the cryptocurrency sector.
Ben Simpson was born in Smithton before moving to Launceston aged five. There, he attended school until he was 17, when he dropped out to run a sportswear business.
“We manufactured garments in Pakistan and China and sold them to local basketball, football, soccer teams,” he explained.
Throughout his teen years Ben had been heavily involved in refereeing basketball matches all along the coast. He has experience refereeing the NWBU as well as the SJBL and the NBL1 Women’s teams. By 15, he was the Northern Tasmanian Referee Manager.
“I was managing 35 or 40 referees when I was 15 and it was around that time that we all needed new uniforms,” Ben said.
The idea had come about as part of an elective business class in high school that had students develop a hypothetical business plan.
“At this time I was very passionate about refereeing and through my experience I had started to learn some really basic business stuff. I learned how to interact with adults,” he said.
“You really get thrown in the deep end as a referee but it really taught me a lot about effective communication.”
After organising uniforms for every referee on the roster he recorded a handy profit and before long, the business was in motion.
“I’ve always had a real entrepreneurial passion,” he said.
“I used to sell my finger paintings out of the front of our house,” he laughed.
From there his business began to rapidly expand and he began to be contacted by local clubs to help them expand their online stores and merchandising.
“I made a lot of mistakes, I got sizes wrong, colours wrong, names wrong… everything imaginable went wrong,” he laughed. “But it helped me learn an absolute ton in 24 months.”
“It was a real learning experience, it wasn’t the most profitable business but I learned a lot about e-commerce, marketing and product development.”
At this point in time Simpson was heavily invested and was sending tens of thousands of dollars overseas every week, getting slugged with heavy bank fees and shoddy exchange rates.
“The cost of sending money overseas was really adding up, that’s when I discovered bitcoin.”
Not one for half measures, Ben dove head first into cryptocurrency and started to learn everything there was to know about the virtual coin.
“I really went down the rabbit hole and there was another guy in Tassie who was really into the crypto space,” he said.
“He wanted some help running his business so I jumped on board helping him and that’s when I was like, this is much more exciting than [the oversaturated] apparel business!” he laughed.
Ben said that though he was passionate about bitcoin and cryptocurrency he still found it hard to understand initially.
“I probably spent around six months working in the space trying to get my head around it, it was so hard to understand what it was and what was going on,” he said.
“I noticed that there was definitely a lot of room for investors to get their foot in the door but there wasn’t really a platform to do it on.”
From there, Ben formed Collective Shift. A cryptocurrency platform built to form a community of like minded investors within.
As part of the business he was already a part of, the pair had formed an online community 2000 members strong, all hanging on the analysis of Ben and his friend.
Before long Ben had emigrated the vast majority of users to the new site, offering lucrative low rates to long time supporters and had begun preaching his findings to the masses, helping new investors to get started in the new and exciting world of crypto trading.
Now, just 12 months on, Collective Shift has over 3500 members, each paying 99 dollars a month for the valuable market insight that Ben and his team provides.
Now that the site is up and running and revenue is streaming in, Ben has employed 12 full time equivalent workers, from market researchers to web designers. This includes two analysts in California as well as one in London.
“We’re trying to build a global crypto research company that provides insight and recommendation based on what’s happening,” he said.
“We’ve got a really awesome team, it’s a world class team of crypto analysts,” he said.
“I went really all in on Collective Shift, I’m all in and I love it, I think crypto’s the future and it’s a really exciting one.”