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Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.

https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.

https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca

BlockFi

BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.

https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706
Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.

https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0
Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.

https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5
For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.

https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953
Culture
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

https://preview.redd.it/9ts6m0qw6zh51.png?width=1056&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd8d368c1aa39994c6bc5e4baec10678d3bbba2d

Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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Review: The most thrilling 24 hours in Bitcoin history

From 12:00 on March 12th to 12:00 on the 13th, Bitcoin, the most influential currency in the cryptocurrency industry, suffered two major declines, and its price fell from a maximum of 7,672 USD to a minimum of 3,800 USD (data from Huobi, the next Same), the decline was 50.4%, which means that the price of Bitcoin has achieved a fairly accurate "half price" in these 24 hours.
Previously, Bitcoin's "halving market" was mostly considered to be an increase in market prices caused by Bitcoin's halving production, although many people have questioned the "halving market" as " The price is halved ", but when bitcoin walks out of the current bad market, it still surprises most investors.
First plunge
The bad 24 hours started at 12 o'clock on March 12. Due to the rapid spread of the new crown epidemic in Europe and the United States, the global financial markets have been raining for several days. After several adjustments, the price of Bitcoin has hovered up and down within the range of $ 7600-8200 in the previous three days. However, after 12 o'clock on the 12th, Bitcoin The price fell below $ 7,600 for the first time, breaking the psychological expectations of many investors, entering a rapid decline channel, and dropping to about $ 7,200 at around 18 o'clock.
At this time, the decline of Bitcoin is still around 7%, which is a common occurrence in the history of Bitcoin. However, after 18 o'clock that day, the market turned sharply, and the price of bitcoin plunged again in a short period of time. It fell to US $ 5,555 within tens of minutes, a drop of 28%, and the amount of contractual positions on each platform exceeded US $ 2 billion.
During the decline, most major exchanges such as Huobi, Binance, and OKEx experienced systemic freezes of varying degrees. Many users complained for a long time that the exchange app could not properly display the homepage, market page, and transaction page, and added positions, stops, and withdrawals. Obstacles such as cash withdrawal and cash withdrawal operations have also shown that this situation also highlights that mainstream exchanges still fail to address the ability of their trading systems to respond to extreme conditions.
For this decline, the collective sell-off of large Bitcoin holders is considered to be the main reason. For example, Grayscale Investment, the world's largest crypto asset fund management company, was sold and sold 40,000-50,000 Bitcoins. News from the exchange said that Bitcoin sold 400,000.
For a long time, bitcoin has been called "digital gold" by the blockchain industry, and has good risk aversion properties. During the tense situation between the United States and Iran in January this year and the global stock market fell, Bitcoin rose from $ 7,200 all the way to more than $ 10,000. Bitcoin's safe-haven attributes have been widely recognized in history, but this time caused by the new crown epidemic Under the risk of the global economic downturn, the decline in the price of bitcoin has become the asset with the largest depreciation among various mainstream financial assets, and its high-risk nature will most likely collapse.
Some analysts believe that bitcoin should be further classified as an alternative asset. At a time when liquidity shortage is extremely serious, as a high-risk alternative investment asset with the highest volatility in the world, funds will naturally be drawn from the market by investors. Looking for safer, more liquid assets, prices plummet.
"Everyone in the future will realize that Bitcoin is not digital gold, but" an amplifier of risk. " Its value cannot be anchored. Unlike other asset prices, which are affected by costs and prices, Bitcoin has no normal market value range. As of now, it does not have any convincing valuation basis, more like a swaying boat. Without the anchor, its value fluctuates greatly, and the impact of halving the market and supply and demand on it is far less important than psychological factors. "Said Cai Kailong, senior researcher at the Institute of Financial Technology of Renmin University of China.
However, some people in the industry hold different opinions. "BTC is still the most powerful currency in the history of mankind. It provides liquidity 24 hours a day. This is something that other markets simply can't imagine, but because liquidity is too good, this time it just happened to happen in other markets. When funds are scarce, the first choice for selling supplementary funds has also led to the decline of gold. Of course, the amount of BTC that is currently much lower than gold is certainly unstoppable in a short period of time. "A Weibo blogger" "fhrp".
In addition to the sell-off of large institutions, some mortgage lending platforms have also passively become an important boost for this downturn. In the past six months, the Defi concept has been particularly hot in the blockchain industry, and many cryptocurrency-based cryptocurrency lending platforms were born.
As a result, a large number of large Bitcoin users will pledge the Bitcoin in their accounts to third-party lending platforms and use the USDT to borrow cash to purchase cash, which is equivalent to increasing leverage. However, these platforms are not mature in terms of mortgage rate setting and liquidation mechanisms. Users who increase the mortgage rate of assets have a slower transfer speed on the chain. As a result, during this period of rapid decline in the market, a large number of mortgage orders have lower mortgage assets than loans. As a result, the amount of bitcoin out-of-market positions this time was far more than in the previous period of large market volatility, which further exacerbated the selling pressure of the bitcoin spot market.
From 19:00 on the 12th to the early morning of the 13th, the price of Bitcoin hovered in the range of 5800-6200 US dollars, and the market began to prepare for the next stage of the trend.
Second plunge
On the evening of the 12th, the stock markets of mainstream countries in Europe and the United States successively opened and collectively fell, and the stock markets of at least 11 countries, such as the United States, Canada, and the Philippines, melted down. At the close of the morning on the 13th, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S & P 500 Index had the largest single-day percentage decline since the 1987 stock disaster. The Dow closed down about 2352 points, the largest drop in history.
The bad performance of the stock market quickly passed to the currency market. Beginning at 7 o'clock on the 13th, the price of bitcoin plunged from the position of $ 5,800 once again, dropping all the way, and successively fell below $ 5,000 and $ 4,000.
For the rapid decline of the market, many people in the industry believe that the main factor is not only the panic selling of the market, but also the mutual stepping on of contract investors. Weibo blogger "AlbertTheKing" pointed out that most of the long positions in Bitcoin leverage are in the BitMEX perpetual contract market. The long positions caused by the decline in bitcoin prices caused a series of short positions, which in turn caused arbitrage spreads and spot arbitrage. The party rushed in to open multiple orders and sell spot arbitrage at the same time, thinking it was okay. As a result, I did not expect Bitcoin to fall more and more fiercely, and his own arbitrage and long positions also burst. So at first, the leveraged bulls stepped down on each other, and later became the arbitrage party. .
"Fhrp" also pointed out that because BitMEX only has BTC margin, ETH's permanent liquidation also needs to be undertaken by btc. The profit portion of the hedge order cannot be included in the margin, and BTC is not sufficient because of the card being in serious shortage. The exploding warehouse order was opaque, so that no one dared to pick up the corpse later, fearing that it would become a corpse. Of course, the key is the lack of a fusing system, so that the market can slowly wait for liquidity to keep up.
Under the interweaving of many risks, the price of bitcoin is about 10:15. It has fallen below 3,800 US dollars in many exchanges such as Huobi and OKEx, which is 38% lower than the price of 0 on the day and 50.4% lower than 24 hours ago. This is the highest record in the 24-hour drop since the birth of Bitcoin.
Such a precise decline cannot be doubted as the bad taste of the bookmaker behind the exchange, if the bookmaker does exist. Of course, it is not excluded that this situation is due to the tacit understanding among the main market participants, or a purely natural phenomenon.
But judging from objective facts, there is indeed some evidence that the situation is unnatural. After bitcoin hit a low of $ 3,800, its price quickly rose in the next 20 minutes, rising by 59% to $ 5,250, but then fell rapidly. At the turning point of $ 3,800, which is 10:16, the BitMEX trading system, the largest bitcoin exchange in the cryptocurrency industry, suddenly stopped until 10:40.
It can be seen that the time point when the Bitcoin price stopped falling rapidly and stopped rising rapidly was close to the time point when BitMEX went down and returned to normal. This shows that BitMEX has a huge influence on the secondary market, and it also makes a lot of One suspects BitMEX is manipulating the market.
Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of Derivatives Exchange FTX, tweeted that he suspects BitMEX may have intentionally closed transactions to prevent further crashes and to avoid using exchange insurance funds. Mining company BitPico also tweeted yesterday, "According to our analysis, BitMEX Research has closed its long position of $ 993 million with its own robots and capital. Today the manipulation of the bitcoin market is caused by an entity and the investigation is ongoing. "
In response to this incident, BitMEX responded that there was a hardware problem with the cloud service provider, and in a subsequent announcement, it was pointed out that the DDoS attack was the real cause of the short-term downtime.
Why the downtime of the BitMEX trading system is difficult to verify, but from its objective impact, its short-term downtime plays a vital role in curbing the further decline in the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which has eased investment to a certain extent. The panic sentiment created by this has created space for the rebound and correction of cryptocurrency prices such as Bitcoin.
Sam Bankman-Fried even speculated that if BitMEX did not go offline because of a "hardware problem" this morning (February 13), the price of Bitcoin could fall to zero.
If compared with the traditional financial market, the effect of this BitMEX outage event is quite similar to the "fuse" mechanism of the stock market. Trading is suspended for dozens of minutes at the moment when investor sentiment is most panic, so this outage event Also aroused the emotions of many people in the industry.
"BitMEX has helped the currency circle" melt out, "otherwise the chainless stepping will not know where to fall. After the fuse, everyone calmed down and the market returned to normal. Weibo blogger "Blockchain William" posted a blog saying, "The market is not afraid of falling, and it is not afraid of stepping on it. That is why. This is why the global stock market has melted down because investors panic. It is a bottomless pit. Once out of control, there is no bottom Now. "
Of course, the factors that cause the market situation to reverse are not limited to this. According to the feedback from multiple users on social platforms, BitMEX and Binance's major exchanges forced the short positions of multiple accounts to close positions at 10 o'clock on March 13th, that is, the automatic lightening mechanism was in effect.
According to the BitMEX platform mechanism, when investor contracts are forced to close out, their remaining positions will be taken over by BitMEX's strong closing system. However, if a strong liquidation position cannot be closed in the market, and when the marked price reaches the bankruptcy price, the automatic lightening system will lighten the investor holding the position in the opposite direction, and the order of lightening is determined according to the leverage and profit ratio .
Specifically, due to the sharp fluctuations in the price of bitcoin, a large number of long single-series bursts and the scarcity of market liquidity. In order to control the risk, the platform will automatically place some short orders with high profit ratios and high leverage on the market, increasing market flow. It also avoids the risk to the platform caused by the inability of the short-selling order to be executed in a timely manner.
According to BitMEX's announcement, about 200 positions were automatically closed by the system. And Twitter blogger Edward Morra said, "On BitMEX alone, short positions worth about $ 500 million have been liquidated." If this data is true, it means that BitMEX's strong liquidation operation has brought more than 5 to the contract market. The market price of 100 million US dollars has a significant positive effect on the market that is being sold out.
However, as a compensation, BitMEX also stated that it would contact each damaged user and compensate them according to the maximum potential profit that the investor obtained during the automatic liquidation.
In any case, through the operation of exchanges such as BitMEX, the price of bitcoin has entered a recovery channel, and it is still hovering at the $ 5,000 mark, while driving the entire cryptocurrency market to pick up.
After this thrilling 24 hours of bitcoin, the ideal "halving market" has disappeared. The real and brutal "halving market" is coming. Perhaps many investors and investment institutions have expressed their confidence in the crypto assets represented by bitcoin. The understanding will change in this regard, and the confidence of the entire industry needs to be rebuilt. This depends on the application value of bitcoin to be deepened.
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Will there be another 2017-like crypto pump ever gonna happen again? My rant on the future of crypto, ICOs, and 2018

Background
I've been getting several messages lately inquiring about my old post from which I borrowed $30k to buy ETH back in May: https://np.reddit.com/ethtradecomments/68oshw/just_borrowed_30k_to_buy_eth_stay_tuned_for_the/
I started typing a long response to someone who asked me whether he thinks there's gonna be another opportunity like ETH in the future (from which I made over 100X returns, buying most between $10 and $100, and cashing out 90% at $1000-$1200)...and I realized I typed so much info that it could be worthwhile to share it with the community.
Before I start my rant though... about the loan I had taken out at the time: don't ever invest in more than you're willing to lose.
Opportunities will always come, in one way or another. Today is crypto, yesterday was flipping houses, before that was penny and internet stocks. But from a crypto standpoint, opportunities in this field are gonna be more rare. Bitcoin, ETH, and other large caps coins are probably done for for a while -- they'll go up in the long run but I don't think we'll see another new parabolic rise of 1000+% gains for a long while. People switched to ICOs after seeing some of the 3-10X gains, but the wild west of unregulated ICOs is starting to lose steam, mostly due to regulatory barriers.
Identifying Fundamental Disruptions
I invested in ETH first at $10 and buying all the way up to $100 (the $30k loan got me ETH at $80 each), and while others were selling for 2x flips, I was able to hold it all the way to $1000+. I think this is important to mention in the context of this post because of the necessity to realize the long-term disruption that lays ahead. At the time, I realized that ETH was about to give altcoins/tokens the ability to be speculated on due to their direct utility association in a tech startup's main business mechanism. I firmly believed that ETH should be worth at nearly as much as, if not at least, BTC in market cap because of this. Prior to ETH, it was just Bitcoins and then all clones/shitcoins. ETH gave rise to ICOs and speculative coins that could be assigned potential business value to it, thereby making crypto markets what it is today. Frankly, the entire crypto market owes ETH, and respectfully BTC of course, for what is today. Note though: I rolled the dice big for ETH, but even my $30k investment at the time was only about a quarter of my savings at the time. So again, don't invest in more than you are willing to lose or sleep soundly at night.
The Future: Increasing Regulation
Anyway, turning to the future. Here's what I think is going to happen. SEC is going shutdown alot of ICOs; they are really cracking down on ICOs claiming to be utilities, even if disguised through airdrops or SAFTs. In fact, just today's WSJ news said SEC issued subpoenas to multiple ICOs and have taken interest in SAFTs for so-called utility tokens. Just like the dot-com bubble, 90%+ of these previous ICOs are gonna tank and fail. We're gonna see a massive correction probably later in 2018, when roadmaps with major expected milestones start missing their deadlines, and a domino effect happens when SEC starts really flexing their muscle and forcing exchanges to go into delisting mode (we already are starting to see this with Bittrex).
But a Hidden Opportunity
So about looking for another crypto pump opportunity.... When the culling happens, the survivors are gonna be as follows. Look for US-based ICOs that have been SEC-compliant from the outset, or at least making a strong effort to do so. Having a legal advisor or team member will be big this year. Don't be afraid of lockups or holding periods if it's for the purpose of being SEC compliant (signs are mentions of Reg CF, Reg D, Reg S, and Reg A+ offerings... you could google these keywords with their company name to see if they have a filing record in SEC's database). See if these ICOs and team leaders had a successful and profitable business in the past, or at least spun out of a profitable company. Also, there's way too much bullshit with partnerships, many which are fake or with useless no/name companies. Next, a lot of these open ecosystem platforms rely on partner companies to attract customers -- but why would companies join when there are no customers, and vice versa. It's all bullshit and often pump and dump shilling. What you want is a closed ecosystem (think Apple iOS) to help consumers navigate the business model. An open ecosystem where customers have to attach their own crypto wallet, blah blah blah, yay decentralization, yeah... well that's all never gonna see mass adoption (think Linux... some hardcore advocates exist, but what layperson actually wants to operate command lines or deep menus all day long and accidentally break their system with one wrong syntax). Look how successful Coinbase has become by simplifying crap. Too much shit is focused on the crypto side and it's like a foreign language to mainstream customers who won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Look for ICOs that are consumer focused rather just have solely an ICO page. It's particularly appealing if they have a self-directing strategy in the form of a tangible product they can sell to generate data or transactions in their ecosystem, which would naturally attract additional customers/companies into their platform.
Examples:
These companies with revolutionary ideas, who are making an effort to be legally compliant and also have a tangible product, are the ones that are gonna survive the mass culling of alts and ICOs later this year. If we ever get our first ICO unicorn (from revenue, not pumped market cap of their token), then it will bring truly mainstream recognition of the crypto markets that will give the traditional stock markets a serious run for their money. I'm not talking about less than 1% of the $70 trillion stock market value of the world -- I'm talking like double digit levels of the entire global stock market. And I bet you it will happen. This is the sorting-out phase of the future -- a shift from old world Wall Street-type money to Silicon Valley. Crypto allows direct investments into technology startups, and tokenization of the actual business transaction mechanism cuts down all the traditional valuation crap dealing with public relations and whatever meta valuation factors. If the business is making sales, then the token is worth something, and that's all that matters. If the business is losing sales, then the token is worth less. Straightforward.
When All The Puzzle Pieces Fit Together
Two more things to note. First: If ETH successfully pulls off scaling through sharding/raiden and drastically reduces gas fees through proof of stake, then it will be fit for enterprise use. ETH's stress tested blockchain with upgrades will facilitate real world adoption (Most of these ERC20 platforms are currently not fit for real adoption due to high gas fees and low TPS). Otherwise, consider hedging into alternative smart contract-, high volume-, low cost-capable platforms with implementation documentation (e.g., Stellar) to potentially get some good gains. Second: A lot of these current crypto exchanges are not registered ATS's (alternative trading systems) that are permitted to trade securities by the SEC, so they can only trade utilities. But SEC is cracking down on these fake-utilities and are deeming them all securities... that's gonna leave these exchanges in the dust. So we're seeing big companies entering this space, Overstock building tZero, Circle/Goldman Sachs acquiring Polo, Cobinhood, etc. They are prepping for ATS compliance, and when legal tokenized securities become tradeable, they will be traded on these platforms... not hot messes like Binance. And they will be user friendly -- gateways for mainstream to invest directly in the tokenized assets of a company's core business model. It's all culminating to the survival of legit companies, mainstream adoption, and these are your clues. Enjoy trading shitcoins while they last, but don't get caught with your pants down bagholding them.
Rant over.
TL;DR Look for coins based on fundamentals and legal compliance so they will survive the massive culling in late 2018 when roadmaps don't meet milestone deadlines
Edit: Grammar, and Readability
submitted by slickguy to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

[uncensored-r/CryptoCurrency] Will there be another 2017-like crypto pump ever gonna happen again? My rant on the future of cry...

The following post by slickguy is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been openly removed.
The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link:
np.reddit.com/ CryptoCurrency/comments/812fmy
The original post's content was as follows:
Background
I've been getting several messages lately inquiring about my old post from which I borrowed $30k to buy ETH back in May: https://np.reddit.com/ethtradecomments/68oshw/just_borrowed_30k_to_buy_eth_stay_tuned_for_the/
I started typing a long response to someone who asked me whether he thinks there's gonna be another opportunity like ETH in the future (from which I made over 100X returns, buying most between $10 and $100, and cashing out 90% at $1000-$1200)...and I realized I typed so much info that it could be worthwhile to share it with the community.
Before I start my rant though... about the loan I had taken out at the time: don't ever invest in more than you're willing to lose.
Opportunities will always come, in one way or another. Today is crypto, yesterday was flipping houses, before that was penny and internet stocks. But from a crypto standpoint, opportunities in this field are gonna be more rare. Bitcoin, ETH, and other large caps coins are probably done for for a while -- they'll go up in the long run but I don't think we'll see another new parabolic rise of 1000+% gains for a long while. People switched to ICOs after seeing some of the 3-10X gains, but the wild west of unregulated ICOs is starting to lose steam, mostly due to regulatory barriers.
Identifying Fundamental Disruptions
I invested in ETH first at $10 and buying all the way up to $100 (the $30k loan got me ETH at $80 each), and while others were selling for 2x flips, I was able to hold it all the way to $1000+. I think this is important to mention in the context of this post because of the necessity to realize the long-term disruption that lays ahead. At the time, I realized that ETH was about to give altcoins/tokens the ability to be speculated on due to their direct utility association in a tech startup's main business mechanism. I firmly believed that ETH should be worth at nearly as much as, if not at least, BTC in market cap because of this. Prior to ETH, it was just Bitcoins and then all clones/shitcoins. ETH gave rise to ICOs and speculative coins that could be assigned potential business value to it, thereby making crypto markets what it is today. Frankly, the entire crypto market owes ETH, and respectfully BTC of course, for what is today. Note though: I rolled the dice big for ETH, but even my $30k investment at the time was only about a quarter of my savings at the time. So again, don't invest in more than you are willing to lose or sleep soundly at night.
The Future: Increasing Regulation
Anyway, turning to the future. Here's what I think is going to happen. SEC is going shutdown alot of ICOs; they are really cracking down on ICOs claiming to be utilities, even if disguised through airdrops or SAFTs. In fact, just today's WSJ news said SEC issued subpoenas to multiple ICOs and have taken interest in SAFTs for so-called utility tokens. Just like the dot-com bubble, 90%+ of these previous ICOs are gonna tank and fail. We're gonna see a massive correction probably later in 2018, when roadmaps with major expected milestones start missing their deadlines, and a domino effect happens when SEC starts really flexing their muscle and forcing exchanges to go into delisting mode (we already are starting to see this with Bittrex).
But a Hidden Opportunity
So about looking for another crypto pump opportunity.... When the culling happens, the survivors are gonna be as follows. Look for US-based ICOs that have been SEC-compliant from the outset, or at least making a strong effort to do so. Having a legal advisor or team member will be big this year. Don't be afraid of lockups or holding periods if it's for the purpose of being SEC compliant (signs are mentions of Reg CF, Reg D, Reg S, and Reg A+ offerings... you could google these keywords with their company name to see if they have a filing record in SEC's database). See if these ICOs and team leaders had a successful and profitable business in the past, or at least spun out of a profitable company. Also, there's way too much bullshit with partnerships, many which are fake or with useless no/name companies. Next, a lot of these open ecosystem platforms rely on partner companies to attract customers -- but why would companies join when there are no customers, and vice versa. It's all bullshit and often pump and dump shilling. What you want is a closed ecosystem (think Apple iOS) to help consumers navigate the business model. An open ecosystem where customers have to attach their own crypto wallet, blah blah blah, yay decentralization, yeah... well that's all never gonna see mass adoption (think Linux... some hardcore advocates exist, but what layperson actually wants to operate command lines or deep menus all day long and accidentally break their system with one wrong syntax). Look how successful Coinbase has become by simplifying crap. Too much shit is focused on the crypto side and it's like a foreign language to mainstream customers who won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Look for ICOs that are consumer focused rather just have solely an ICO page. It's particularly appealing if they have a self-directing strategy in the form of a tangible product they can sell to generate data or transactions in their ecosystem, which would naturally attract additional customers/companies into their platform.
Examples:
  • https://www.epigencare.com/ico - Selling a 23andMe-like skincare test to generate skincare profiles, then seeing how product ingredients affect the profiles. Then skincare companies can target their products to customer profiles through their recommendation engine, and present them as personalized solutions in the customer's test report.
  • https://holo.host/ico/ - Creating a new blockchain 3.0 that allows you store full websites and databases directly on the blockchain (instead of just transaction data), in order to allow decentralized hosting via peer-to-peer internet. They're selling small server boxes or software so you get paid crypto for cloud hosting (and apps and sites needing hosting pay the hosts).
These companies with revolutionary ideas, who are making an effort to be legally compliant and also have a tangible product, are the ones that are gonna survive the mass culling of alts and ICOs later this year. If we ever get our first ICO unicorn (from revenue, not pumped market cap of their token), then it will bring truly mainstream recognition of the crypto markets that will give the traditional stock markets a serious run for their money. I'm not talking about less than 1% of the $70 trillion stock market value of the world -- I'm talking like double digit levels of the entire global stock market. And I bet you it will happen. This is the sorting-out phase of the future -- a shift from old world Wall Street-type money to Silicon Valley. Crypto allows direct investments into technology startups, and tokenization of the actual business transaction mechanism cuts down all the traditional valuation crap dealing with public relations and whatever meta valuation factors. If the business is making sales, then the token is worth something, and that's all that matters. If the business is losing sales, then the token is worth less. Straightforward.
When All The Puzzle Pieces Fit Together
Two more things to note. First: If ETH successfully pulls off scaling through sharding/raiden and drastically reduces gas fees through proof of stake, then it will be fit for enterprise use. ETH's stress tested blockchain with upgrades will facilitate real world adoption (Most of these ERC20 platforms are currently not fit for real adoption due to high gas fees and low TPS). Otherwise, consider hedging into alternative smart contract-, high volume-, low cost-capable platforms with implementation documentation (e.g., Stellar) to potentially get some good gains. Second: A lot of these current crypto exchanges are not registered ATS's (alternative trading systems) that are permitted to trade securities by the SEC, so they can only trade utilities. But SEC is cracking down on these fake-utilities and are deeming them all securities... that's gonna leave these exchanges in the dust. So we're seeing big companies entering this space, Overstock building tZero, Circle/Goldman Sachs acquiring Polo, Cobinhood, etc. They are prepping for ATS compliance, and when legal tokenized securities become tradeable, they will be traded on these platforms... not hot messes like Binance. And they will be user friendly -- gateways for mainstream to invest directly in the tokenized assets of a company's core business model. It's all culminating to the survival of legit companies, mainstream adoption, and these are your clues. Enjoy trading shitcoins while they last, but don't get caught with your pants down bagholding them.
Rant over.
TL;DR Look for coins based on fundamentals and legal compliance so they will survive the massive culling in late 2018 when roadmaps don't meet milestone deadlines
Edit: Grammar, and Readability
submitted by censorship_notifier to noncensored_bitcoin [link] [comments]

Binance US Adds New Coins, Bittrex Halts Service, Bitcoin Breakout & Crazy Bitcoin Prediction BITCOIN BREAKING OUT TODAY!!!!  How To Trade On Bybit  Financial Crisis Coming!! BREAKING NEWS!!! PROOF: BITCOIN MANIPULATED BY BINANCE AND COINBASE!! IS $8'500 THE TARGET!!? Could Binance Really Destroy Bitcoin? How Low Can Bitcoin Go? XRP Passing Ethereum? Libra 2.0 ... BREAKING NEWS! BITCOIN 'BUY' SIGNAL FOR 2020!  Chainlink GAINS!Binance Crypto Debit Card Buy ETH? Bitcoin Price Jumps, Massive Power Grab, Binance In China, Ripple + Santander & Games On Tezos

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Binance US Adds New Coins, Bittrex Halts Service, Bitcoin Breakout & Crazy Bitcoin Prediction

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