In the 11 years since he retired from AFL, ex-Brisbane Lions star Jason Akermanis hasn’t given up on fame and has since turned his attention to cryptocurrency.
Last Tuesday, a new Australian cryptocurrency called Zucoin launched, which Mr Akermanis has been marketing and he also owns a portion of the coins.
He expects it to make in excess of $6 billion.
“It’s simply a much better product than bitcoin,” Mr Akermanis told news.com.au, expecting it to rock the crypto world in coming months.
“The biggest problem in crypto – we call them the triennial problem. You’ve got cost, speed – it could take four minutes or four hours (to mine crypto) — and then you’ve got scalability.
“Zucoin solves every problem.
“The cost is a text message, the speed is an instant.”
Zucoin has been four years in the making and investors have spent $23 million to get it up and running.
Mr Akermanis, 44, says they’ve already made that money back in the week since the platform launched.
There are 1843 people who have purchased at least one Zucoin, at time of writing.
A lot of them are investors who bought the coins off the market.
“At least a tenth of them came through me direct,” Mr Akermanis added.
“They (the coinholders) vary from buying one to 300,000 coins.
“Ranged from about $400 to $1.6 million (in expenditure).”
Each coin costs $60, which makes it the most expensive cryptocurrency yet in terms of it initial price.
Bitcoin launched back in 2009 for $0. A year later, it was selling for less than a cent and by 2011, was worth $1 per coin.
The second biggest cryptocurrency, Ethereum, wasn’t much different, first trading for $3.76 in 2015.
Now bitcoin is worth $59,095.68 while Ethereum is $3,986.58.
Despite the volatility of the market, Zucoin, unlike its rivals, cannot drop below $60 per coin.
“We put in the software where you can’t sell for less (than $60),” Mr Akermanis said.
“It cancels the order. You can try but you won’t be able to do it.”
Mr Akermanis believes his coins are far superior to the others out there.
Bitcoin, Ethereum and all the other coins like them go through a crypto exchange which is slow and lacks security.
Zucoins go through a server and “works in a split chain, different to a blockchain” making it more secure.
Mr Akermanis started to realise the potential for cryptocurrency in 2010.
He was one of the first buyers for Bitcoin, and has since expanded to include all the major players in his cryptocurrency portfolio.
If he sold up all his crypto now, he estimates he’d have an extra $250,000 in his pocket or “something ridiculous” like that.
But ever the savvy businessman, he has no plans to sell.
“The key is to buy regularly and hold, through the highs, through the lows,” he said.
“Never selling, just keep buying, only put in whatever you’re prepared to lose.”
After his football career ended, Mr Akermanis entered the world of foreign exchange.
It was here where he became involved with notorious businessman Allan Endresz, who was convicted of stock market manipulation in the 1990s and is now embroiled in a racehorse scandal from last year.
The two men created Zukaz, an augmented reality company inspired by watching teenagers walk down the street as part of the game Pokemon Go.
Zucoin derived its name from Zukaz.
While creating Zukaz, their base of operations was Albury in regional NSW where they employed a local IT guy called Robert Novak.
Novak was the one who designed the software which makes Zucoin possible.
“He’s the brains of the operation,” Mr Akermanis said.
“The real genius isn’t any of us, it’s the software engineer, Robert Novak.”