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Can astrology make sense of cryptocurrency? Maren Altman and a million TikTok followers think so.

Maren Altman has amassed more than a million followers on TikTok through astrology. (Jackie Molloy for The Washington Post)
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Maren Altman isn’t a huge fan of TikTok.

“I’m a really serious person,” she said. She rarely scrolls through her feed. She can’t stand most of it. “I’m not into the trends or the jokes.”

She’s amassed more than a million followers anyway.

Then again, hers isn’t your typical TikTok page. No cute dogs here. No dancing.

Instead, the 22-year old posts astrology videos of all stripes, including ones focused on politics and celebrities (she predicted a major relationship shift for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian). In the astrology community, she’s reached one-name status, like Sting or Bono.

Her most intriguing videos apply astrology to a particularly daunting realm: cryptocurrency. Anything with a verifiable birthday or creation date has a birth chart that can be read and, according to astrologers, gleaned for predictive information. That means there’s astrology for relationships, pets, political movements and, yes, bitcoin. Skeptics are not on board, of course, and cynics might see it as a perfect match: two things that feel like foreign languages to most people. Finding an edge in the crypto market is already a fuzzy art. Is attempting to use celestial bodies so far off?

Maren’s prominence is part of a mainstreaming of astrology and its micro-genres, fueled by apps and social media.

“People can learn about astrology in small, digestible ways through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter,” said fellow financial astrologer Robert Weinstein. “Social media is this amplifier for everything in general. And astrology is just one of the things I think is really benefiting from it.”

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Maren first became fascinated by astrology in a much more analog way. As a child, she would take the family newspaper and head straight to the daily horoscopes.

In her teenage years, which she said she spent “on the social margins,” she started to seriously study astrology, and made a few bucks at parties giving “readings to drunk kids.”

She saved that money and used it to invest in crypto. Then, she took her astrology skills to TikTok.

In a typical crypto astrology video, Maren reads the birth chart of a particular currency and offers thoughts on its immediate future. She often films herself in front of a brick wall adorned with a red neon sign reading “amor fati,” Latin for “love of fate,” and her language can get pretty colorful at times, befitting her punkish vibe.

In early January, Maren read bitcoin’s chart, using its creation date, Jan. 3, 2009. “New moon in Capricorn, January 13th, looks big for bitcoin,” Maren says in the video. “Little before that … Saturn will join the bitcoin Mercury exact by degree on January 11th, which looks like some corrections with Mercury and Saturn. It could be news about something that leads to a drop momentarily. But with this new moon, sun moon Pluto, right on top of bitcoin’s Jupiter, this is like atomic-level new beginning.”

In other words, Saturn and Mercury’s position might indicate a drop in value, but Jupiter and Pluto signaled bitcoin’s price would rebound from any correction and continue to rise.

“It looks like such a bull run,” she adds.

Sure enough, the price dropped on Jan. 11 and then popped back up two days later, more or less continuing to rise until April, at which point it had just about doubled in value.

Though Maren claims in the video that she isn’t offering financial advice, many of the comments on the post suggest some take it that way. “Looks like it’s invest o’clock,” one user wrote. “Ik this isn’t financial advice but can you do some finance tiktoks because i trust you and i wanna invest,” read another comment.

Then again, in another TikTok, she suggested May would be volatile but could find the currency reaching an all-time high. Instead, for the most part, bitcoin’s value plummeted.

Financial astrology has been around in various forms for decades. Weinstein became one of the first to focus on cryptocurrency — specifically bitcoin — in 2017. He shares his findings on his website, the Astro Crypto Report, and through his Twitter handle, @AstroCryptoGuru, alongside other predictions, such as a tweet thread from 2019 in which he predicted “possible unexpected black swan events” in 2020.

He remained one of the loudest voices in cryptocurrency astrology until Maren “came storming onto the scene,” as he put it.

But even with her videos guiding her followers, the astrological world can be hard to fully comprehend.

“With astrology, we’re looking at the correlation between certain planetary alignments and world events,” Maren said, adding, “it’s looking at the past to predict the future.”

She said a misconception many have is that astrologers believe the planets cause those events. It’s more that they believe the celestial positions give us a head’s up as to what might happen. As Maren put it, “we aren’t positing that Jupiter’s sending out … rays to make us spend more money … It’s like how the clock on the wall isn’t making it 3 p.m. but it might tell us it’s 3 p.m.”

Still, it’s probably not a surprise that many financial planners see it as a load of hooey. Fredrick Standfield, the founder of Lifewater Wealth Management in Atlanta, said that people tend to get emotional around cryptocurrency, often because they “see how much money people are reportedly making” but “don’t see how much money some people lose” while simultaneously not quite understanding how it works in the first place.

When “people start to get into it and don't really understand it or really grasp what it is, I think that that's when they start to lend themselves and open themselves up to things like astrology, financial pseudoscience, things that are really, if you think about it, they're not totally compatible with a scientific methodology, to me,” Standfield said.

He added that when things do work out, such as the aforementioned Maren prediction, then it creates a sense of confirmation bias. “People tend to interpret information in a way that confirms what they already believe and ignore anything to contrary, particularly when social media is involved.”

Maren isn’t too concerned about converting naysayers. She’s just happy if they “keep my name in their mouth.”

“Astrology has always been more of an esoteric kind of initiate, secret knowledge,” Weinstein put it. “It really never was for the masses.”

Plus, Maren has bigger fish to fry. She became something of a controversial figure after being accused of plagiarizing some of her readings, which she vehemently denies, and came under fire for comparing eating animals to the Holocaust, for which she later apologized. She said that as she’s become more well-known, the negative attention has ratcheted up to the point of physical threats.

“I’ve been scared for my life and have been through the wringer, and it’s absurd,” she said. But enduring that fear can make her feel invincible. “I’m kind of bulletproof in this weird, immortal way now.”

Bitcoin FAQ: A detailed guide to how cryptocurrency works

So for now, she plans to keep creating astrology TikToks and teaching courses on the subject through her website. But that’s just her short-term plan.

“I don’t want to be just this. I create TikTok videos and my view count is what validates me,” she said. “But I want to have a Wikipedia page that has ‘She founded this company and is on the board of this company.’”

“I really, really want to create lasting structures in decentralized finance and A.I.,” she said. “As fun as and as passionate I am about astrology in my own life, doing daily horoscopes is not going to change the world.”

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