His early investment with John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil gave him all the money in the world… But even this opportunity was too good to pass up.
Henry Flagler first visited Florida in 1878. His wife was sick, and doctors advised them to retreat from the brutal winters of New York.
While living in Jacksonville, the couple took a trip to St. Augustine – just 40 miles south. But the accommodations were so poor, they booked the first train back to Jacksonville.
Despite the inadequate hotel facilities, the city was charming. Flagler knew St. Augustine would be a tourist paradise once its infrastructure improved.
Florida’s draw was all-encompassing for Flagler with its sandy beaches and year-round warm weather.
So he left his partnership with Standard Oil and Rockefeller to pursue his dream in the Sunshine State.
This was a big deal.
At the time, Standard Oil was the biggest oil company in the world. It controlled 90% of U.S. refineries, and it was estimated to be valued at roughly $1 trillion in today’s dollars.
And Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest and powerful men of all time. His estimated net worth was $340 billion (adjusted for inflation). His money and influence spanned the country.
Leaving such a lucrative partnership was a huge risk for Flagler. But he saw even greener pastures in Florida.
His goal was to build a chain of hotels to profit from the tourist boom he knew would soon take place.
In 1885, Flagler started construction on the 540-room Hotel Ponce de Leon. But he quickly ran into a problem with his new hotel: He couldn’t get tourists to it.
In the late 1800s, Florida didn’t have a reliable and expansive transportation system to get people from Jacksonville to St. Augustine. At the time, tourists relied on boats, which were slow, dangerous, and limited in where they could go.
Florida needed a new transportation system that would make the state more accessible and attract millions of tourists.
So, Flagler set out to build one.
He purchased the Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Halifax Railroad. It was the first railroad in what would later become the Florida East Coast Railway.
In 1888, Hotel Ponce de Leon opened and was an instant success.
It was clear tourists would flock even further south to the sunny beaches if it wasn’t such a headache to get to.
So two years later, Flagler expanded his hotel empire and railroads to the southern half of the state.
By 1896, Flagler’s railroad had reached Miami – connecting the entire east coast of Florida to the rest of the country.
This made the entire length of the state accessible to the masses. Prior to this, it was a largely uninhabited frontier.
Flagler’s railway became a major driver of Florida’s population and economic growth as tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the state.
It was one of the fastest-growing states from the 1880s through the 1920s – nearly doubling the nation’s population growth rate. And it turned Flagler into one of the wealthiest men in U.S. history.
At the time of his death in 1913, Flagler was worth an estimated $100 million, according to the Flagler Museum. That’s equal to over $3 billion today when accounting for inflation.
Here’s why I’m telling you these stories of Henry Flagler and the Florida real estate boom he created…
Just as Flagler created a railway to provide millions of tourists with easy access to Florida, Wall Street is building a new “railway” system to give millions of investors easy access to the crypto sphere.
The Railway to Crypto
The railway that’s going to give millions of investors (and their billions of dollars) easy access to crypto in their brokerage accounts is crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
ETFs are investment funds that are traded on stock exchanges. They provide investors with an easy way to invest in an index, sector, commodities, or other assets.
Today, there are roughly $6.5 trillion in assets held in ETFs. The ETF market has grown to this size for two simple reasons:
They’re cheap: The average equity ETF has a fee of just 0.16% compared to stock mutual funds averaging 0.47%, according to ETF.com.
They give investors easy access to assets: ETFs gives you exposure to entire industries and asset classes. For instance, you can also buy ETFs that give you exposure to tech companies or banks… or other asset classes like commodities or precious metals.
You can think of ETFs as a railway system into the financial world. And Wall Street announced it was building one of these “railways” for crypto on June 15.
That’s when BlackRock – the world’s largest asset manager, with almost $10 trillion under management – stunned the world by filing for a bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Unlike previous bitcoin ETF applications, this filing went to great lengths to appease the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) concerns over manipulation in the spot BTC market.
This was such a big deal to me that in a July essay, I wrote when we look back on this period in crypto history, we’ll see that the BlackRock filing will have marked the end of the bear market and the beginning of the bull market.
And it all has to do with gaining easy access to the asset.
You see, once the SEC approves the BlackRock bitcoin ETF – and I believe it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” – millions of investors will be able to own bitcoin without the headaches that come with it.
They won’t have to worry about how they’re going to securely hold the asset… or about the fear of losing their nest egg if they accidently send it to the wrong address.
Wall Street knows this. That’s why firms like BlackRock are rushing to securitize crypto assets through ETFs.
And these financial titans aren’t doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. They’re doing it because they’ll rake in billions of dollars in custody fees.
Today, there are 95 commodity ETFs that trade in the U.S., with over $133 billion in assets under management, according to ETF.com.
Wall Street generates over $1 billion each year from commodity ETFs. That’s a handsome fee for simply giving investors easy access to an asset.
A New Profitable Station on the Crypto Railway
When Flagler opened up Florida via railway, it presented huge money-making opportunities. In fact, it turned Flagler into one of the richest men in U.S. history.
ETFs will do the same for crypto. And there’s a tiny subsector of crypto set to benefit from this influx of capital.
These are cryptos that will benefit from a new trend I’m watching: the development of a digital dollar.
You see, the Federal Reserve recently launched a program that could lead to a mandatory recall on the U.S. dollar.
I believe this program could replace the dollar with a new digital version that will be radically different from what you have in your bank account right now.
I’ve put together a briefing to explain what this new digital dollar regime means for you and your money… including the name of a crypto project also set to profit from its rollout.
I’ll also show you the one move you must make when your bank tells you it’s moving all your cash into this new digital dollar. You can watch it for free right here.
Let the Game Come to You!