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Weekly Update: Jason starts #discussionThursday, $COTI on Binance, WibsonTree, Harmony + IBC Media... – 21 Feb - 27 Feb'20
Hiya folks! With this update we will finally be 100% caught up with the latest. Let’s go! Here’s your week at Parachute + partners (21 Feb - 27 Feb'20): As mentioned 2 weeks back, Alexis announced the start of a new style of raffle from this week. 300k $PAR in the pot to be won! Bose hosted a Friday Quiz in TTR on movies with a 10k $PAR prize pool. Cap shared a unique bit of trivia from the tipbotverse: ChangeTip, a bitcoin tipbot launched 7 years back, was acquired by Airbnb in 2016 that led to its closure. A crypto pioneer that was way ahead of its time. The usual suspects continue to be on top of the Fantasy Premier Leagure (#FPL) leaderboard – LordHades, Alexis and Novelcloud as per the latest update shared by LH. Alejandro hosted a gun-mode CoD game in the Parachute War Zone followed by a free-for-all for $PAR prizes. Tavo announced another CoD Battle Royale in the Parachute War Zone to be held next week. Afful’s TTR trivia was fun as always. Charlotte hosted another trivia in TTR as well for a 10k $PAR prize pool. Victor held one in TTR with another 10k $PAR pot as well. GamerBoy’s trivia in TTR this week was based on Kindergarten Geography. Haha! Belated Birthday wishes to Victor. Two-for-Tuesdays by Gian for this week had the theme rap/reggae/reggaeton. Like last week, Sebastian set up a YouTube playlist to compile all the entries. For #wholesomewed, Parachuters put on their creative hats as they made some epic artwork based on a primary shape shared by Jason. So much talent! There’s $PAR to be won! In the latest project update shared by Cap, ParJar is in final stages of testing with Transak, ParJar integrated coin-swaps are being worked on at the moment and $PAR-based Dex to be launched in the coming weeks in partnership with Switch. Jason launched a new event for Thursdays called #discussionThursday from this week. The first discussion series revolved around "something you don't understand". The goal is "hopefully someone that does understand it can explain it". Good conversations and altruism gets $PAR tips. TTR crew hosted a fun “guess the admin” contest based on the Parachute Christmas artwork. Lmao Victor! Happy Carnival to you too Rene Just a sampling from all the #wholesomewed entries 20k $AXPR was burned as part of the weekly aXpire burn event. aXpire COO Matthew Markham wrote about how technological differentiators give PEs an edge over public markets. The latest Bilr blog post talks about disruptive technologies in the legal industry. 2gether CEO Ramon Ferraz appeared in an IEB podcast to talk about Neobanks. YouTuber FunOntheRide’s latest video covers collaborative economy and how 2gether plays a role in it. Head of Marketing, Laura Braulio explained must-do’s in marketing strategies for fintechs in her article which was published on ClickZ. The XIO DApp went into the final stages of unit testing this week. Beta tests should start soon. For #XIOSocial chatter, Citizens discussed the semantics of the term “crowdstaking”. Ethos’ parent company Voyager released the full Android version of its app this week. Switch-backed McAfeeDex is slated for some updates soon. Read about what’s coming up from John McAfee’s tweet. Plus, a new privacy coin “ghost” is on the horizon. $ESH holders are expected to get a taste of it on launch. For the latest update on Switch, click here. Fantom’s $FTM was one of the winners of a public vote to get listed on ZelCore. As an update to the fantom.rocks tool released last week by GoFantom (a Fantom validator), this week a dApp named Supercharge was released on top of it. Supercharge allows users to send 20 test transactions to demonstrate the speed of consensus. The DAO Maker shared a compilation of Fantom’s 2019 updates. For the 2020 project plan, click here. This was followed by a detailed 2020 roadmap. Too long? No sweat! This graphical representation of the roadmap by Generation Crypto is here to rescue you. Or, if you would rather watch a video, CMO Michael Chen made one. For notes, click here. The first version of Uptrennd’s mobile redesign is here. Congratulations to TREOS for winning the Round 1 of the Uptrennd free advertising package contest that launched last week. Voting for Round 2 started this week with Fantom included in this round. Banano ended up winning the second round and going head to head with TREOS in the finals. The first 2UP Tuesday kicked off this week with every upvote counting for twice the normal points (with the same rules applying for downvotes). Sweet! Uptrennd founder Jeff Kirdeikis was invited to speak at the EntrepreneurShip cruise event. Don’t forget the epic giveaway mentioned. First sneak peek of Uptrennd’s new mobile design Catch up on Distric0x’s Weekly update here. If you missed the DappDigest, the crew’s got your back. Their video walkthrough of ETHDenver covers snippets from the event along with Brady’s on-stage performance and an interview of Dmitry Buterin (Vitalik Buterin’s father). Read about how the recent fintech M&A deals will influence markets in this article by Hydrogen. The team sat down for an AMA with Crypto Cabital this week and also hosted a 150k $HYDRO giveaway. Fintech nerds, check out Hydro’s explainer blog post on open banking and WSO2. Is the project ticking off its roadmap items on time? Click here to find out. As a 2020 cohort member of the MassChallenge Fintech accelerator, Hydro’s Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships, Ken Kavanaugh travelled to Boston to talk about “platformication in fintech” at their meetup. If you are attending the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference in March, don’t forget to say Hi to Biz Dev Lead Mark Anstead where he will be a featured speaker. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, there’s a 50% discount coupon available for you. $HYDRO got listed on DeFi aggregator Totle this week. How does Sentivate aim to solve HTTP / TCP bottlenecks? Click here to find out. For a primer on UDSP, click here. The Mycro Hunter landing page went live this week. OST’s Pepo is the official community app and partner of Europe-based Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) where it will also be collaborating with Epicenter podcast for the event. The first browser version of Pepo was released. Crypto exchange Mine Digital will be joining SelfKey’s exchange marketplace. SelfKey’s R&D team shared a 2020 update on the identity management space and how the project aims to place itself in this segment. Early preview of the SelfKey Mobile Wallet to be submitted to App Store for review For the latest Constellation community update, click here. Don’t forget to send in your questions for the AMA happening next week. Attendees of VeneCoiners meetup in Argentina next week, don’t forget to say Hi to the crew from Wibson who will be presenting the Rewards Marketplace at the event. The team also published a paper on “WibsonTree” which preserves data privacy when interacting with an agent. They hosted an Ethereum meetup this week to discuss DeFi. Here’s a video demo of how fast the Harmony mainnet is. The weekly #pow tweet thread summarises updates from across the team. KuCoin’s $ONE token swap is now complete. A new page was launched to monitor mainnet and testnet status. The crew attended a Binance meetup in Ukraine to talk about latest project updates. Harmony announced a partnership with IBC Media to incubate and accelerate Indian fintech startups. Safe Haven’s digital inheritance solution, Inheriti, will be available on the Harmony chain. $ONE was listed on MathWallet. Intellishare co-founder Nicholas Wan shared a sneak peek of the testnet mobile UI. dGen listed GET Protocol’s GUTS Tickets as one of the notable startups in the Dutch blockchain space in their Blockchain in Europe 2020 Review report. For a project overview click here – nicely summarised by Generation Crypto. GUTS will be ticketing 3 new shows of Chef’Special. Global Crypto Alliance live streamed another demo of its IoT prototype smartlock device being operated through $CALL tokens. The team also hosted a fun quiz on their Telegram this week. YouTuber Crypto Rich interviewed the crew on all things $CALL (Part I, Part II). Nik Patel’s detailed research report on COTI was published this week. $COTI was added to the Staking Rewards platform. And here’s a biggie, Binance listed both the ERC20 and BEP2 versions of the token this week with a bonus airdrop for deposits. Woot! Before the listing frenzy started, the team took a moment to take stock of the situation. A big listing like Binance leads to a lot of new eyeballs that could trigger scams. COTI crew shared their anti-scam guide for this reason. DOMSCRYPTO covered the project in their latest video. DoYourTip was covered in an iHODL news feature. And with that, we close for this week at Parachute. See you again with another update. Ciao!
Chance a Chinese Internationals student born in Spain (Maths)
I am applying to Syracuse, Stony Brook, Umass Amherst, Purdue, Binghamton, Uni of Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia Tech. If you want to suggest any Uni pls Do so. I am interested in Math and CS. I want to have a traditional US college experience based on the East Coast. Hook: Entrepreneurial extracurriculars BAD Childhood: Father deceased when I was 9 years old. GPA: Unweighted: 9.4/10 Single SAT: 1230 -Math: 680 -Reading and Writing: 550 Single Toefl ibt: 94 -Reading: 24 -Listening: 25 -Writing: 23 -Speaking: 22 Extracurricular Experience -Social Media Marketing Agency Online Affiliate Marketing Business Creation, Promotion, and Brokerage of eCommerce Assets (March 2017-June 2019) ● Developing B2C web marketing campaigns via Shopify and blogging platform WordPress. Made €2,000 from multiple streams of online income. ● Estimated 25,000 unique web-visitors from multiple sites ranking for competitive search terms● Developed various business connections with people from across industries such as Canada and Dubai. Acquiring, Managing, and Selling Domain Names (March 2017-January 2018) ● Bought and managed around 20 various domain names. ● Acquired teachingrubikscube.com domain for an affiliate website. ● Data mining through RegisterCompass for valuable expired or expiring domains. ● Bid, competed and won various domain auctions on GoDaddy, SnapNames, and NameJet. Web Development and SEO Education at Marin Web Design (March 2017-June 2018) ● I spent long hours after school conversing and working with the CEO Chanuka and the team at CashfloeCEO, a six-figure dollar web and social media marketing firm in Australia and many virtual offices based in Hong Kong. ● Learned fundamentals in domaining, customer service, web development, Facebook, and Instagram advertisement, SEO, and industry. Bitcoin Investment (January 2018) ● Learned and Educated from sources such as tailopez.com about cryptocurrency, mainly Bitcoin. ● After learning for 6 months, I invested 200€ on it and lost everything after the bitcoin crash. I learned big lessons about getting rich quick and easy. Created and managed FBA: Fulfillment by Amazon stocks (2016) ● Starting second-semester Freshman at my new school, I started to buy 5 euro second books, toys, and technological devices and resold them on Amazon. ● I persuaded my sister to lend me 300euros to buy a Spanish Amazon FBA online course where it teaches you all the basic knowledge that you need to operate this business. ● I only earned enough to pay my sister back but had a great experience. That was my first time trying to do business online and making my own money. Advertisement and social media management for restaurants (December 2017- February 2019) School clubs and activities -President of the Math Club (September 2017-Present) ● Tutoring classmates and students from other classes on Mathematics levels such as Algebra, Calculus, and Geometry. Since my Sophomore year until the present. ● Helped them to pass the classes as well as tutoring them to go from 6 grade to 9 grade out of ten. ● The best part of these experiences is when I created my own methods to teach students about the system of equations, derivatives, and Integrals. Created my own Social Media Brand called “Teaching Rubik’s cube” (February 2018-February 2019) ● Due to my love with Rubik’s cube, I started my Business Instagram account about how to solve the Rubiks Cube. ● The photos and videos have reached a total amount of 250.000 people and It has 7.000 followers and engagement over 50%. ● With the Instagram Brand, I joined into a private group online allowed for Instagram Influencers over 5.000 followers in the Rubiks industry. At the time, there were 20 people. -Leadership and Community CEO of the School Café (September 2017- April 2018) ● Elected to be the CEO for School Café out of numerous other competitive high school applicants. ● The business was established by the school counselor and principal in order to earn money to pay our Final year Cross-Europe cruise. ● Run the Café on Christmas festival dates and school Sport Olympia dates; There were a total amount of 1000 people including children, and parents. ● Established the new school record for the highest gross and net revenue since 1995. Founder and president of Rubik's cube club (2016- Present) ● Organized over 20 Rubiks cube events, club activities, and competitions. ● Currently, there are over 30 students at the club and with the help of other students, the motivation of learning how to solve the Rubiks cube has increased ever since Founder and president of the Robotics Club ● Held many robotics events and activities. Introduced to the club Programming skills such as Arduino. Build and taught many Freshman students about how I Arduino work and functions. The most successful project is the Arduino car that avoids objects with a sensor. -Family Responsibilities Work at the restaurant/bar ( January 2012- October 2018) Work at the souvenir shop ( October 2019- Present) Honors ● Highest class rank, Schoolwide (9th,10th,11th, and 12th grades). ● Leadership Award, Schoolwide (9th,10th,11th, and 12th grades) ● Rubik's Cube Championship Semifinalist, Nationwide (9th grade) ● MMA Canary Island Champion, Local/7 Island recognition (11th grade) ● Most Entrepreneurial Student Of The Year, Schoolwide (9th, 10th, 11th grades) Proficiencies Languages ● Mandarin (Native). ● Putian dialect( Native). ● Spanish (Fluent- I have been living in Spain for 17 years ). ● English (Fluent). ● German ( High Intermediate level). ● French ( Basic). EdX and Coursera Courses on C++ programming language (January 2019 - June 2019) MIT Open Courseware on Artificial Intelligence. (June 2019- December 2019) Tai Lopez, Tonny Robbins, Grant Cardone, Sam Ovens social media, real estate and personal development courses. Books (2014-Present) ● I have read over +150 books about Business, Fiction, Philosophy, Biology, Psychology, mathematics, physics, leadership, personal development, and biographies. ● My favorite authors: Stephen Hawkings, Will & Ariel Durant, Dr. David Buss, Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkings, Dale Carnegie and Ashlee Vance. Thanks
I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland. I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported. Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/ Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018 Hey all! I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉 Some history before I head into the future. I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history. In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever. On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015. In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought. The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
Investors buy because the price is less than the value they see in the investment. Speculators buy because they think that someone will pay more in the future than they are paying now.
Investors trade on information (The white paper was really well-written, had a clear technical advantage over other alternatives, and addresses a need that I can understand and value.) Speculators trade on sentiment. (Buy the rumor! Sell the news!)
Investors usually look at the investment and themselves and can describe why they purchase in those terms (ABC-Coin provides (service) that isn’t addressed yet and matches (requirements) for an investment.) Speculators usually describe why they bought something in terms of how other people think (I think that other people think that the price will rise, so I want to get ahead of that.)
Investors don’t necessarily check the price every day. The can, and very often I do, but it isn’t required because fundamentals don’t often change on a dime. Speculators need to be glued to a price feed, because sentiment very often changes on a dime.
Investors like ideas, people, business plans, and market opportunities. Good ones are like Spock. Speculators like trends. They are tribal.
Investors have a longer time horizon than speculators. In cryptoland, the notion of a “longer” time horizon is still laughably small (months) compared to traditional markets, but it certainly isn’t weeks or days or hours, which is whre speculators often live.
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8. I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market. But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money. When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it. Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
ETH will still be my core holding. It is the “deepest in the stack” crypto investment that I have. “Deep in the stack” is a programming term that gets at the idea that most software is built on other software. If you just think about your notebook, you have your OS, and programs run on that. But even inside the OS there is a stack. The bottom of your stack is the kernel, and on top of that are the drivers, protocols, and other layers that allow the programs to talk to the OS, the hard drive, the screen, the mouse, your printer, etc. You can change your mouse or printer easily. Changing things deeper in the stack becomes harder and harder. ETH is deep in the crypto stack, so is very hard to dislodge – Around 60 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap run on top of Ethereum, so getting rid of Ethereum is something that would take a long time to do.
DNT, QTUM, ZRX, and OMG are all, to varying degrees, “deep in the stack” tokens that, once established, will be very hard to dislodge.
That said, I am peeling away some of my holdings into USD right now, because big changes are afoot and they are going to cause market disruptions. I’m going to come right out and admit that this is speculative, but I’m also going to back it up with some non-speculative facts.
The SEC has been sending out hundreds of subpoenas to cryptocurrency organizations over the past 3-4 months. These subpoenas are simply asking for information and nobody has been charged with any crimes or misdoings, but it is clear that the SEC is getting together information so that they can begin to regulate cryptoland. When that happens, other countries will follow, and that means:
Some tokens will be deemed outright scams and people will be prosecuted.
Some tokens will be deemed securities and will be regulated.
Some tokens will not be deemed scams or securities and will continue as they have.
Looking at this, it is clear to me that the tokens that escape prosecution and regulation should do better, but the short-term impact will be brutal and ugly. It would not surprise me at all to see a 50% drop in overall market cap within Q1-Q2, with Q1 being more likely.
Cryptoland has always been a bit nuts, but it is more nuts now than I have ever seen it. Back in 2011-2014 it was a freaks-n-geeks show where people were all about the technology and I would sit around for a 3-day weekend installing a *nix VM on my Windows machine so that I could compile the most recent source and run a CUDA SHA-256 routine rather than thrash my CPU. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you wouldn’t have even thought about being involved.
Now, people see Bitcoin advertisements in their Facebook feed and think “I gotta get on the BTC train!” before going to Coinbase and buying some with a credit card. They don’t know anything about crypto, and they are getting eaten alive – It is no coincidence that BTC peaked after the Thanksgiving holidays when people sat around the table and Janice got Uncle Mike and Cousin Bob all excited as she talked about going to Cancun for Christmas because of her crypto winnings. Huge amounts of fiat got transferred from newbies to BTC whales during this period, and once the whales were done, BTC had dropped from $20,000 to $12,000. It’s now back at $15,000, but for people who bought at a higher level, this sucks. As a result many have moved from BTC to ETH, with the single biggest money flow in crypto in December being the BTC à ETH flow. As a result, it’s no coincidence that ETH is at all-time highs now. The thing is, though, that even most people that moved from BTC to ETH really have no idea what they are doing. They are acting on buzzwords and emotion. They are speculators and are going to get crushed.
The stock market is quite high right now, but people are starting to worry that it is too high and that we are going to enter into a period of inflation again. This has caused gold to go up a lot the last quarter and is likely also responsible a bit for the rise in cryptos. If this view is correct, then cryptos stay stronger than if that pressure wasn’t there. If wrong, then cryptos will swing down as money exits cryptoland for more traditional markets.
I am spending most of my time and money on the arbitrage effort. The nice thing about arbitrage is that it works as the markets go up, and it works as the markets go down. When markets are too volatile, however, arbitrage can get very messy and dangerous, with each trade generating a loss instead of a profit, so I am working right now to tune the algorithms to take into account rate-of-change and add in some circuit breaker triggers. Once this is done I will expand those operations.
I am getting much more serious about systems security.
I have a Nano Ledger and recommend that anyone with >$1000 of crypto have one. The Trezor is also supposed to be good, but I haven’t used it.
I will set up a dedicated *nix notebook that is used for nothing except my crypto work. All it takes is one keylogger to get on your PC/Mac and your crypto is gone. What is on your Nano Ledger will be OK, but they will sweep out your exchange account or Coinbase account faster than you can type. A standard Linux installation with Chrome and nothing else is as about as secure as you can get in the civilian world.
If you don’t use LastPass or a similar password manager yet, you need to do that. Your password to LastPass should be at least 16 characters long and should not have a recognizable English word in it. If you think that “Iluvu4evah” is a secure password, you’re wrong.
Hackers know that “4”=”for” and “u”=”you”. Writing a script to substitute those in is trivial if they want to write the script, but it’s much easier for them to download one of the many, many programs out there that already do this.
If your password contains any string of numbers from anything that can be associated with you at any time in your life, it is insecure. Take those numbers out of the character count because they are an insignificant barrier to cracking your account.
The good news is that you probably won’t be targeted, but if you ever mention online that you are doing anything significant in crypto, that chance increased enormously.
*Never* talk with *anyone* about how much you have in crypto. You’ll notice that I haven’t here. There is no reason to tell even a family member how much you have unless you are sharing a tax form. Sure, you may trust them, but all it takes if for someone to overhead someone else mention at a party that a relative got into crypto a long time ago and made a bunch of money. That person can also then be subjected to the $10 hack and force you to send all your crypto to them.
Your password to LastPass (Or equivalent.) should look something like this -> 6k0jQMoziX&D#4W8
Yes, it’s a headache. Imagine your headache, though, were you to open your account one day and find all of your money gone.
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way. ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto. iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve. iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments. Happy 2018.
https://preview.redd.it/nrbrb96i6in21.png?width=240&format=png&auto=webp&s=2792d16cbb58e45bf8d947cbde8b810b6e641534 Genesis Vision Just one of those days… Hmm, this looks like an interesting project. Chart looks good plus it didn’t really go up a lot the last couple of days, unlike the other coins. Or maybe it didn’t go up because there is something that I don’t know yet? Let’s look online a bit longer to see if something fishy is going on before I buy some. The chart does look really good! No, nothing out of the ordinary here, I think it might just not have gone up yet but it probably will. If Bitcoin manages to not drop double digit percentages out of nowhere today that is… Seems to be close to resistance, and there are a couple BTC worth of sell orders at 140 sats, I’ll wait for that to break, and buy when it shows some strength. Getting close now, let’s wait for it to break by gluing my face to the screen to watch the 1 minute chart. There it goes! Ok, I’ll start with a small buy - Oh man It’s really going! Buy a little more - Market buy ALL the things! What, no wait. No not again! Please, please no not again… Argh… https://preview.redd.it/cup9237n6in21.png?width=256&format=png&auto=webp&s=91264c3cbfe10a0d9e699b1774a2e74b7d79bb49 Guess I will hold for a couple of days, don’t feel like taking a loss. It will probably rebound on the ‘resistance turned into support’ zone, right? I am already watching this chart for 2 hours.. I should really go do something productive. Lets just set some sell orders here and here. That market buy order really got my buy-In high, close to a 2% loss at present. I Totally wasted this evening, and I am still in the red. How is that even possible? Next morning Let’s check my portfolio. Ah man the support didn’t hold, now what? Actually, it looks like this might even go lower now. This 130 sats support is really strong so I guess I’ll use that as a stop-loss. - Stop loss triggered Oh my god man, why am I always so unlucky? Close to a 5% BTC loss, besides the loss of time. Talking about Bitcoin, how’s the big guy holding up? Hmm also looks weak to be honest. It’s dropping as we speak. Should I sell and rebuy lower? That could at least get me a bit of Bitcoin back. Yeah it’s really dropping now. The entire market is going down. Sell volume is increasing as well. I should really sell some. Whatever just sell it all. Yeah, like I thought, it’s going lower. I’ll rebuy when it goes a little bit lower. There she goes! Just a little bit lower before I buy in, might just get me back all my lost BTC at least! Bit of buying pressure going in now but that’s normal, nothing goes down, or up for that matter, the entire time. I will wait it out, got my buy-in set anyway. Please stop going up. Please STOP going up. Oh my frikkin god, got to buy back higher now. No way, I won’t do that. I’ll wait for it to drop. This is unreal! It won’t go back down. Why won’t it go back down?! Fine I’ll buy it back. Can’t believe it, I always lose, forget it, at least I will get some USD profits when I buy now – Market buy all the things! https://preview.redd.it/vc5eg4vv6in21.png?width=259&format=png&auto=webp&s=5185cc6498524de856db27b2f4bfcb2568ae4ccb NO WAY, IT’S GOING DOWN THE SECOND I BUY? HOW, WHY, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? The above is probably an experience that a lot of (retail) traders can relate to, and have probably gone through somewhere in their trading career, be it crypto or any stock, commodity, index or whatever else is possible to trade online. It’s a common problem, and it is the reason why only a small percentage of people manage to ‘beat the market’. People simply have the internal emotional trigger to buy something when gains are in line of sight, and sell something when losses are made. The bars being green (good) and red (bad) also don’t really help with trying to shake off that feeling. Genesis vision tries to solve this problem, giving people willing to invest in cryptocurrencies, forex and in the future probably commodities and indices, the possibility to invest in experienced, successful and hardened traders that have a solid track record, instead of taking the time and trading education (which some of those experienced traders say to be just as expensive in the end as a regular college degree, with all the losses and all) to get solid results themselves. Obviously this already exists. You can give your money to for example hedge funds, private equity funds and nowadays even robo-advisors. But do they really get the biggest return on investment? Are you important enough to have the best trader in the company actually managing your account? Are you leaving your hard earned money at the company that hired the best traders at all? Or do they squander and play the above mentioned game themselves? Who knows really. In the end, you give your money to a company that says it could, possibly, get you a whopping 7% return after a year. But only if everything goes right, the economy doesn’t implode or a stock they are too heavily invested in doesn’t go belly-up. Scrap that, they will make a whopping 7% return, but they obviously need to take some of those profits for their fees. A entry fee, a profit-fee, some unforeseen fees, and the list goes on and on. When you want to invest some of that money you earned after a long 40 hour workweek, it better be handled by the best, giving you the highest return on investment without any catch. Transparency and clarity Again, Genesis vision tries to solve this. How? By putting EVERY trade on the blockchain, giving extreme clarity in the trades made, and more importantly, the results of the trader or company (called Genesis Vision Manager). This means that people that want to invest their cash can decide for themselves who will handle their funds. No more excuses why the expected return on investment wasn’t accomplished, or uncertainty if any of these companies are actually telling you the truth when it comes to the results they have had with your funds. No more sweeping the bad trades under the rug. We. Can. See. Your. Mistakes. And successes of course! It creates extreme openness, and it gives a lot of power back to the consumer that wants to invest. Most financial instruments are (deliberately made) so hard to grasp and confusing that most general investors don’t even want to bother, and just believe the suit with the impressive building and the nice car. But now you don’t even have to look up the terms collateralized mortgage obligation or the exotic inflation derivative. They have the option to simply look up the manager, his results, and his requirements to invest with (in) him or her. https://preview.redd.it/ghu8t5p17in21.png?width=245&format=png&auto=webp&s=566cff3b153c97ead5c122ba7d775b2fabecd778 Genesis Vision gives the possibility to invest in both Funds and programs. The biggest difference being that investors can withdraw their profits from a fund at any time, while their funds are locked in a program until it ends, receiving a part of the profits made directly linked to the share of the pool they invested in. However, if you are satisfied with your current manager, the program and the results so far, you can select the option to auto-invest your stake into the next program, getting that compounding interest effect rolling. Of course only when you have found the right manager to handle your funds! A loss is obviously still a loss, and although Genesis Vision tries to limit the risk by implementing a tier system to filter managers by their previous results, you can never be sure you actually make gains on your investment. The same rules apply as to investing wherever else. Don’t put it all in one basket, only invest what you are willing to lose, do NOT take out loans or credit to invest and above all do your research before you enter into any program or fund! The dashboard https://preview.redd.it/j8k03ht37in21.png?width=550&format=png&auto=webp&s=9ef4f590ffb25518a293b87993afc205075da288 The Genesis Vision dashboard looks very appealing, going for a futuristic style that resonates with the entire crypto and financial sector. Investors are first shown a couple of filters to make the search for the right vehicle to invest in easy to accomplish. Below the first general filters investors can find the different programs with a vast array of stats available to make the right decision. However, there is a lot going on here, and it would be smart for Genesis to implement some kind of tutorial showing new investors what everything shown on the screen actually means. After finding a program that matches your personal investing style regarding buy-in, duration of the program, entry fee and generally your risk tolerance, the people behind the program can be examined. Managers are able to tell a little bit about themselves and their investment style. Statistics and graphs of previous results are shown and this helps to get some reassurance, or lets you ignore a certain investment possibility. If everything seems to fit, and people are willing to pull the final trigger, they can invest with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether or their own Genesis Vision token. The bottom line Genesis Vision could be the instrument for (crypto)investors to try and maximize their profits, but for the regular amateur trader it will mostly help with erasing their beginner mistakes and trading losses. It gives back the power to the consumer and the client. Where normally the investing is done by traders on for example Wall Street, using complicated schemes to grab as much as possible of the retail investor who is taking all of the risk, Genesis Vision creates transparency, brutally rejects losing managers and lets investors get a honest and deserved piece of the pie. It is yet another example of the power of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, disrupting one of the largest sectors worldwide. That concludes this review! If you want to add anything or have questions, please feel free to comment below. Are you feeling generous, and did you enjoy this article? I accept donations! BTC: 369AyfgLtZ349omHgafUGkrNCGHLuhPGtx ETH: 0xd74635002Af9e191665D2AaDD03921E7f1201387 LTC: MEvKQ1d4GYsyMjqYwizVb6RZmEUjDXj5ty GVT: 0x9450d2c145a7758c1d2bcfd03a1374de90fea028 Connect with me on twitter: @BullishOnCrypts
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman on Hong Kong’s Unrest, the Rise of Bitcoin, and Fundraising as an ‘Out-of-Body Experience’
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has built one of the largest investment firms in the world, which specializes in private equity, credit, and hedge fund investment strategies. In his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, Schwarzman reveals some of the biggest lessons he’s learned from his 50-year career in business. “I wanted to lay out my years of experience of doing things right as well as doing things wrong,” he tells _Fortune._“You learn the most when you make a mistake.” Part memoir, part leadership guide, Schwarzman addresses the highlights (and low lights) of his career including quitting his high-power job to start Blackstone, raising capital as a first-time fund manager, and dealing with the fallout from the unraveling of his presidential CEO business council. (I personally enjoyed the part was when he talks about meeting “Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z.” He writes: “We talked for a few minutes, reminiscing about her Kennedy Center performance in 2005.”) Schwarzman was 38 years old when he founded Blackstone in 1985, and he’s been at the helm ever since. Today, the firm boasts $545 billion in assets under management and 2,500 employees. Blackstone recently converted from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation, which makes it easier to own Blackstone stock and allows the firm to be included in more indexes. I sat down with Schwarzman for a wide-ranging conversation about Blackstone’s dealings in China, the ethical challenges surrounding artificial intelligence, the rise of cryptocurrencies, and whether he sees a looming recession on the horizon. This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length. FORTUNE: In the book, you discuss some of the personality traits you look for in a candidate before hiring them at Blackstone. What are some of those characteristics? SCHWARZMAN: I’m undoubtedly better at identifying people who have enormous potential, and it’s actually pretty easy. When someone’s interviewing for a job, you can tell if they’re comfortable in their own skin and whether they’re able to handle anything conversationally. I’m looking for people who can hold the table, who are intelligent, curious, courteous, and they can deal with stressful situations. Can you give an example of how you determine those things? You need three to five minutes to figure out if someone’s comfortable.I like to bring up something interesting that has happened in the world that day. Today, I might ask, “What do you think about what’s been going on in Hong Kong?” There’s no right or wrong answer to these things, but it’s a discussion that can show you how someone’s mind works. Once you see how somebody’s mind works, you also get a sense of whether they’re playing within their comfort zone. If you’d like to spend more time with them, then that’s probably a good person to hire. Speaking of Hong Kong, hasthe current unrestaffected Blackstone’s dealings in China? Hong Kong’s a real hub for us. It’s our biggest location in Asia, and people like working there. It hasn’t interfered with our office at this point, but longer-term, you can’t have a place where you do business where no one knows if they can get in or out. Ultimately, there has to be a resolution. The business community really wants one, and if you have a core of demonstrators who say on TV that they are prepared to die, that’s not a great benchmark. Right now, it’s looking like a difficult resolution. What are you investing in, and where do you see growth opportunities? Growth is certainly going to technology, services, and experiences. You have things like shopping centers. When I grew up, it was like: What could go wrong with a shopping center? And now that thing is called Amazon. Just that technological innovation has changed people’s shopping patterns, changed the delivery mechanism, and it’s led to shopping centers going bankrupt. It’s disrupted a whole chain of things people took for granted. It took 10 years for an entire stable structure to be dismantled. We saw that in 2011 when we started buying warehouses. We’ve been the largest buyer of warehouses in the world for the last eight years, and we did that because that’s where Amazon and retailers needed to stage their goods before they get delivered. So that area has exploded with growth. If you’re investing now, you have to recognize that almost everything’s about to have its business model changed. What’s another example of a sector you think will experience Amazon-like growth? Artificial intelligence. AI will affect the whole healthcare industry, from billing, to admissions, to diagnostics, to the development of drugs, to telemedicine, which will have enormous growth. You look at all of this, and there are a lot of different things that go into what you or I believe is _just_a hospital. AI is going to have a profound impact on our society. There will also be serious ethical implications that come with that innovation. That’s why I did this big donation at MIT and Oxford. [Note: Schwarzman donated$350 millionto MIT for computing and AI research and$188 million_to Oxford University for AI ethics research.]_One involves technological innovation, and the other is about making sense of it in society. What are good outcomes and what are not-so-good outcomes? Who makes that determination, and how do you control for not having bad outcomes? That’s a challenge that we have to face. Are you confident we’ll be able to solve the ethical challenges quickly enough given the pace at which technology is evolving? Like most things in technology, it’s moving faster than your ability to control and implement things. On the other hand, everybody who’s running a company or is part of the discovery of AI watched the Internet get developed. I haven’t met a mature person yet who was involved in the development of the internet that hasn’t regretted they developed it. They said, “We just thought this would be really cool. Everyone in the world can connect, and it’ll be a positive sum game.” They weren’t aware that [the internet] would destroy the ability to govern. Everything is so short-term, there’s so much divisiveness, and social media is very destructive. They’ve looked at what they’ve created, and they’ve all said, “If I could have it back, I’d take it back.” I was shocked. So with AI, we have to get right on it so that the technology itself doesn’t overwhelm society. There’s enormous interest and good will to doing something important in terms of AI ethics. No matter what country you’re in, if you make a huge cut in your workforce, you’ll have social unrest of some type. We already have that in the West. You could even have that in China, although they’re investing so much in the area, they’re actually creating a whole bunch of new jobs too. Speaking of innovation,a 2007 _Fortune_articlecalled you “the master of the alternative universe” because Blackstone made its name by investing in alternative assets. What do you think about frontier assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? I don’t have much interest in that because it’s hard for me to understand. I was raised in a world where someone needs to control currencies. There’s a reason to want to control currencies, which is why governments all do it. There’s no one who says, “I don’t care.” Part of that is to make sure the economy is as insulated as it can be from excesses. Another part of it is to control bad behavior. So the idea that you can transact without anybody knowing anything, you could have a lot of criminal behavior — dirty money, drug money — running all over the world. It only encourages that kind of activity. I may be a limited thinker, but that’s a problem. If they could solve that problem and also the problem of controlling the money supply, then it might be OK. That doesn’t mean that the blockchain technology applied to non-tradable currencies is not a good thing. That is clearly a good thing. And why do you say that? There’s all kinds of uses you can have from certain executions. [Blockchain technology] is a very good idea, and it will end up being adopted because it’s good technology. Applying it to the creation of money is sort of, for my taste, pretty odd. So in the future, you do see Blackstone investing in companies that are using blockchain technology? That would be good because it’s a sound, very interesting technology. But you’re not going to own any Bitcoin? That’s an easy one: No. Capital has become quite abundant these days. Softbank’s Masayoshi Son tells this infamous story about how he raised$45 billion in 45 minutesfor the Vision Fund. Blackstone’s assets under management crossed half a trillion for the first time — to $545 billion. You recently described your fundraising efforts as “an out of body experience.” Why? When I started in 1985, we had no reputation, and even worse, no experience making investments. In 1986, we went out and started raising money. We got rejected by 16 out of 17 people, some of whom we knew very well. If you’ve ever had the experience of getting rejected by almost everyone you know, it’s very sobering. We sent out somewhere around 500 offering documents, and we ended up with 32 investors. That’s 468 out of 500 people who are saying, “I don’t trust you, I don’t like you, I don’t think you’re competent, and I don’t like what you’re trying to do.” The only way you interpret that after a while is that they don’t like _you_and they don’t trust your abilities. It was unending. So my experience was so searingly negative that every dollar we raise from anyone now, I regard as precious and that we can’t disappoint them. Before, I’d fly across the country to see if we could get $5 or $10 million, and now, people just give us a billion dollars. After a while, people develop confidence in you. And part of the art of running a good organization is that you don’t mess it up. It’s been such an ordeal to get here. I had a conversation this morning where someone [at the firm] said, “If we do this type of structure for this type of activity, these people will give us $2 billion.” I know the people, and I know they’ll give us $2 billion, but I ask, “Do we want to do what they’re interested in or not?” Whenever one of these conversations happens, I think back to spending two days of my life flying around to raise $5 million, and here’s just a casual conversation [about $2 billion]. I take nothing for granted, and I want people at the firm to think like that too. It’s harder when you get bigger, but it still is an out-of-body experience for me. In the book, you give your rules on identifying market tops and bottoms. Where in the cycle do you think we are today? We’re getting pretty toppy. The prices of things have gotten high in large part because interest rates have gone down so much but that props up the value of a dollar of earnings, or cash-flow. It’s a bigger yield. That’s driven prices up. There’s quite good liquidity in terms of credit. It’s led to markets that have gone up almost continually for about 10 years. So that doesn’t mean it can’t go on for a while longer, but you’re closer to the top than the middle or the bottom. Do you see a recession on the horizon? I don’t. Over 70% of the economy is consumer [spending], and consumers tend to be employees or workers. Their compensation is going up 3 to 4% a year now, significantly outpacing inflation. What we’re doing is we’re loading up consumers because as employees, they didn’t have a good enough experience with financial sufficiency and they were angry because they didn’t have enough money. So society’s going to give them that money, I believe, in the form of higher wages. That’s good for the system because people will have to work to get more money, but they’ll take that money and they’ll spend it. If they’re spending it — and that’s the vast bulk of the American economy — then that’ll be the part that keeps the economy moving forward. Unless there’s a major geo-political issue that takes away confidence from everyone, I think we’ll continue growing for the next year or two but at a lower rate than we were because manufacturing’s off, global trade is off, and we’re facing some lack of confidence around issues like Brexit, European growth, and China’s real growth rate. All these issues contribute to less optimism, but I don’t see us falling off some kind of cliff. You don’t think it’ll be comparable to the last recession? Oh gosh no. No, that takes virtual complete abdication by regulators as well as imprudent behavior by parts of the business community. We haven’t forgotten lessons that quickly. The system has been significantly reformed, so I don’t see _anything_of the type of global financial crisis of 2008. Of all the things to worry about, that’s not one of them. What’s next for you? Do you see yourself stepping away from Blackstone? In a year or two, I’ll probably still be sitting at this conference table. I love what I do, but there’s always an evolution. Jon Gray is president of the firm, he’s 49 — I’m not. [Gray is Schwarzman’s likely successor.] My plan for my life is to stay involved with Blackstone, but I also like doing big impactful things that involve the creation of something new. I don’t know what the next one will be because it has to be something I see in society where I can help provide a unique solution. Both MIT and Oxford involve building new facilities, creating new organizations, and developing knowledge in a way that can be applied for the good of society. I wish I could tell you exactly what the next chapter is, but one of the things that makes life fun is experiencing new things with developed skills from your past. I’ve loved doing that within Blackstone, I’ve loved doing it in the not-for-profit area, and I’d love to do in the political area if I can help. **Oh, you have political ambitions? ** No, no. None. * More Details Here
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman on Bitcoin: “I Was Raised in a World Where Someone Needs to Control Currencies”
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has built one of the largest investment firms in the world, which specializes in private equity, credit, and hedge fund investment strategies. In his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, Schwarzman reveals some of the biggest lessons he’s learned from his 50-year career in business. Part memoir, part leadership guide, Schwarzman addresses the highlights (and low lights) of his career including quitting his high-power job to start Blackstone, raising capital as a first-time fund manager, and dealing with the fallout from the unraveling of his presidential CEO business council. (I personally enjoyed the part was when he talks about meeting “Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z.” He writes: “We talked for a few minutes, reminiscing about her Kennedy Center performance in 2005.”) Schwarzman was 38 years old when he founded Blackstone in 1985, and he’s been at the helm ever since. Today, the firm boasts $545 billion in assets under management and 2,500 employees. Blackstone recently converted from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation, which makes it easier to own Blackstone stock and allows the firm to be included in more indexes. I sat down with Schwarzman for a wide-ranging conversation about Blackstone’s dealings in China, the ethical challenges surrounding artificial intelligence, the rise of cryptocurrencies, and whether he sees a looming recession on the horizon. Below is an excerpt from our conversation. (Read the full Q&A here.)What are you investing in, and where do you see growth opportunities? Growth is certainly going to technology, services, and experiences. You have things like shopping centers. When I grew up, it was like: What could go wrong with a shopping center? And now that thing is called Amazon. Just that technological innovation has changed people’s shopping patterns, changed the delivery mechanism, and it’s led to shopping centers going bankrupt. It’s disrupted a whole chain of things people took for granted. It took 10 years for an entire stable structure to be dismantled. We saw that in 2011 when we started buying warehouses. We’ve been the largest buyer of warehouses in the world for the last eight years, and we did that because that’s where Amazon and retailers needed to stage their goods before they get delivered. So that area has exploded with growth. If you’re investing now, you have to recognize that almost everything’s about to have its business model changed. What’s another example of a sector you think will experience Amazon-like growth? Artificial intelligence. AI will affect the whole healthcare industry, from billing, to admissions, to diagnostics, to the development of drugs, to telemedicine, which will have enormous growth. You look at all of this, and there are a lot of different things that go into what you or I believe is _just_a hospital. AI is going to have a profound impact on our society. There will also be serious ethical implications that come with that innovation. That’s why I did this big donation at MIT and Oxford. [Note: Schwarzman donated$350 millionto MIT for computing and AI research and$188 million_to Oxford University for AI ethics research.]_One involves technological innovation, and the other is about making sense of it in society. What are good outcomes and what are not-so-good outcomes? Who makes that determination, and how do you control for not having bad outcomes? That’s a challenge that we have to face. Are you confident we’ll be able to solve the ethical challenges quickly enough given the pace at which technology is evolving? Like most things in technology, it’s moving faster than your ability to control and implement things. On the other hand, everybody who’s running a company or is part of the discovery of AI watched the Internet get developed. I haven’t met a mature person yet who was involved in the development of the internet that hasn’t regretted they developed it. They said, “We just thought this would be really cool. Everyone in the world can connect, and it’ll be a positive sum game.” They weren’t aware that [the internet] would destroy the ability to govern. Everything is so short-term, there’s so much divisiveness, and social media is very destructive. They’ve looked at what they’ve created, and they’ve all said, “If I could have it back, I’d take it back.” I was shocked. So with AI, we have to get right on it so that the technology itself doesn’t overwhelm society. There’s enormous interest and good will to doing something important in terms of AI ethics. No matter what country you’re in, if you make a huge cut in your workforce, you’ll have social unrest of some type. We already have that in the West. You could even have that in China, although they’re investing so much in the area, they’re actually creating a whole bunch of new jobs too. Speaking of innovation,a 2007 _Fortune_articlecalled you “the master of the alternative universe” because Blackstone made its name by investing in alternative assets. What do you think about frontier assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? I don’t have much interest in that because it’s hard for me to understand. I was raised in a world where someone needs to control currencies. There’s a reason to want to control currencies, which is why governments all do it. There’s no one who says, “I don’t care.” Part of that is to make sure the economy is as insulated as it can be from excesses. Another part of it is to control bad behavior. So the idea that you can transact without anybody knowing anything, you could have a lot of criminal behavior — dirty money, drug money — running all over the world. It only encourages that kind of activity. I may be a limited thinker, but that’s a problem. If they could solve that problem and also the problem of controlling the money supply, then it might be OK. That doesn’t mean that the blockchain technology applied to non-tradable currencies is not a good thing. That is clearly a good thing. And why do you say that? There’s all kinds of uses you can have from certain executions. [Blockchain technology] is a very good idea, and it will end up being adopted because it’s good technology. Applying it to the creation of money is sort of, for my taste, pretty odd. So in the future, you do see Blackstone investing in companies that are using blockchain technology? That would be good because it’s a sound, very interesting technology. But you’re not going to own any Bitcoin? That’s an easy one: No. Read much more here. WE WILL WAIT: WeWork’s much-anticipated IPO is now TBD. The co-working behemoth is expected to cancel its roadshow planned for this week and postpone its IPO until at least October. The decision could threaten a $6 billion credit financing that was contingent on a successful offering. The facility reportedly requires We to go through with its IPO by Dec. 31. Read more. VC BREAKUP: The founders of Aspect Ventures, a prominent female-led venture capital firm, are parting ways to launch separate firms, according to The WSJ_._Jennifer Fonstad is creating Owl Capital to invest in early-stage companies, and Theresia Gouw will form her own early stage firm called Acrew. “We saw very much eye to eye in terms of our investments and strategy. But we had very different leadership styles and different ways of operating at the portfolio level,” Fonstad told the WSJ. Read more. * More Details Here
Cryptopia CEO Alan Booth on the Cryptocurrency Exchange Realm (Full Article No Link)
Alan Booth is the CEO of one of Cryptopia, an exchange regarded as having one of the widest selection of tokens. Founded in 2014, Cryptopia is one of a handful of blockchain-focused companies in New Zealand. The Cryptopia team is often tasked with researching hundreds of projects to determine their efficacy before any other major exchange has touched them. The exchange lists many projects in their early stages and post-ICO. As an entrepreneur and business consultant for over 50 years, Alan Booth’s story is fairly atypical of that of many entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency world. His perspective on the cryptocurrency is grounded in decades of business development experience, and he views the cryptocurrency exchange realm as one of the most exciting opportunities yet. In the following interview, we dive into everything from cryptocurrency psychology, the coin listing process, and blockchain entrepreneurship. How did you get introduced into the crypto world? That’s interesting. I was consulting for Cryptopia or consulting to assist them in their development path for several months when it became obvious that they needed some senior leadership to move them from where they are, which was basically a reactive technical focus to a more business global focus on how we develop their business model. We are very conscious of the fact that you need a higher level of thinking. You need a global perspective, particularly from New Zealand because there’s not a lot of us down here. That probably predicates why we’re a global business grown out of such a small population. We’d known each other for a while, certainly six months or so, and when the opportunity came up, why wouldn’t I move from a very safe, comfortable, fun job that I had previously, which was the chief executive of an international flying school. Nothing really scary goes on there. I am at the latter end of my working life, somewhat semi-retired and all my colleagues went, “You’re going to do what? Are you kidding?” Of course, the blood pressure went up and I said, “yeah, I’m going to have a go at this.” So, it’s really about the opportunity when you’ve learned so much over 40 or 50 years of developing business models and floating companies and taking them to the world, which is primarily what I’ve done. To find something that’s new and a full of excitement and fear and trepidation and where is all this going? Then it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to pass up. So, it’s just the daredevil saying let’s go. The risk and the general fervor for the industry have gotten a lot of people very excited. What are the top concerns for exchanges moving forward from your perspective? They are many fold and they are variable based on feedback from the community and somewhat driven by legislation, driven by corporate requirements. The FinTech world, we’ve got to look at that as well as the coin world. If we want to grow and deliver a product that the average consumer can consume, then we have to deliver all the things that they would typically expect. So, if you went into a retail store to buy a heater, you expect to have a warranty. You expect to be safe, you expect to be treated well with clarity. And typically, the coin industry to date has not been very good at that because it’s been evolving and mostly evolving from a technical perspective with probably less weight put on the public consumption of the coin. It’s being technically driven as a technical product when you look at it. When you go to the exchange, some of them take a fair bit of thinking about before you can operate. So, for us, the first thing is trust. If people can’t trust your brand, and that means every part of it, you’re not going to succeed. So, we are very proactive here in New Zealand, talking to legislators, government agencies in and out of New Zealand. KYC, AML, CML, all of that stuff. We are drafting our own internal rules and then most cases they exceed the requirements of our banking partners. So, they look at us and they go, wow, you’re way ahead of where we thought it would be. So, developing a trust relationship with our consumers and business partners is vital. The next thing is developing a stable and functional platform. I don’t just mean the coin exchange itself, but all of the underlying technology. Will we be up? Do we have latency? Are we speedy? Have we purchased the right partnership relationships for our equipment and how do we continue to be able to scale at will and not risk failing to deliver a result? That means helping people get an exchange done, their coins on and off. I suspect it’s the same as every other exchange. Only thing is, down here, we have really focused on three things to move us very quickly forward. One is the public-facing components. That’s the help desk if you get stuck. We want to be able to respond very quickly. And like the other exchanges, we headed enormous influx in the early part of the year and that was debilitating. Nobody was ready for it. We employed teams of people to come in and train as support operators. We’ve since then spent a huge amount of money on a new ticketing system, which actually went live yesterday. So, this morning when I come in, there’s smiley faces trying to get their head around it going, wow, this is amazing. So, we triage all the tickets on the inbound route now and puts it in a good space for our response team to reply as quickly as possible, I want. At the moment, we’re not there. Instead of being 40 or 50 hours and all these horrible delays, I want people to have a response from us immediately and I mean within seconds saying we’ve got your ticket. I can’t answer it right now, but we’re on you. Then, within hours, get back to those customers and fix their problem. They don’t deserve to wait 24 hours or 48 hours. People are anxious. Ticketing, we’ve done something about it. Highly trained staff, we’re employing all the time. We’ve developed foreign offices to beat the time zone thing. We now have a support office in the UK that we have had for some time, actually. The next thing is just the stabilizing of our software and hardware. When you start these things, the enthusiasm and the inexperience of the development team may not know what’s here to them and now we’ve bought in bigger, stronger, international teams. So, that’s great what you’ve got, but let’s do this. So, that’s the phase we’re on now. We’re spending all of our money. In fact, every penny that we generate in this business goes straight back into furthering and developing the products. Nobody’s racing home in Lamborghinis or flying their jets around. They’re just piling into it. So, that’s how I am in terms of producing a high-quality product. It’s not a decision we just made. It’s always been there, but we are now articulating it internally, that we want to be in the top five of crypto exchanges and digital asset exchanges of some form within the next two years. In the top five, bar none, in every respect. Would you say the number one component of being thought of as one of the top five would be trading volume? Is that the primary metric? I absolutely agree with you, but you can’t have trading volume unless you provide the other things first, like security, safety, a good trading platform. If you want trading volume, I have to have a reason for you to trust me, which has to be if I have a failure, will my ticket, be answered? If you do those things, you will get trading volume. I don’t believe you look at it the other way and say, hey, let’s create trading volume because if that comes at you hard and sharp, how are you going to cope with it when something breaks? It’s technology, things will break. It’s how you address things that go wrong that made you successful, not what you put in place to drive that business in. That will happen if you’re good. The word gets out saying this is a great exchange. They fixed my tickets, they’re fast, they’re responsive, it’s safe. That will create trading volume. Trading volume for us is income and of course, we want it. We have actually slowed down on coin listings. We’ve slowed down on taking new customers and we’ve slowed down on developing relationships with partners simply to get our platform in better shape so that we can become the most reliable, trusted partner you can have. That will create trading volume, no doubt about it. Although trading volume does bring in a sizable amount of revenue, there comes a point where it just becomes a vanity metric where people are using an exchange simply because there just aren’t any better alternatives out there.. So, if there is an exchange that can offer all the features that you’re talking about and a premium level of service, then the trading volume will trickle down. There’s no real loyalty for exchanges other than preferences. Absolutely. We wouldn’t ask for that. Why would you say to somebody, hey, you got to be loyal to us? That’s just silly. You will be loyal to us if I offer you a great experience. That means volume of coins, a huge range to trade through. Ease of trading. One click, two clicks. How about some trading tools just like you see in a modern foreign exchange opportunity? Some arbitrage tools, some tools for measurement, some nice desktop tools. We want to introduce other things. It just means that you’ve got control over your own reporting and your own desktop environment. It can become a very powerful tool to use as long as we listen to the customers and say, hey guys, we can develop that. Give us a couple of months, let’s put it in front of you. What is the coin listing process for you guys? What’s the process for someone who wants to get their coin listed on Cryptopia? We’re just reviewing that and we’re being very focused on changing the way we list coins and who we list. We’re very conscious to gain trust. We are actually your first port of call for particularly those people who don’t know much about coin, so they have to trust their exchange partner. Therefore, we have to make sure that if we list a coin, it’s a viable trusted, honest coin that’s going to give value. Not just to us as an exchange but it’s not a scam coin. It’s not something just to raise money, pump and dump thing. We have coin listing teams who are very tough. I have introduced people as the CEO to my coin listing team and I can’t get it through them. I’ve said, but these are great guys and I have a great story and I met them in Vancouver and boy, they’ve convinced me. My coin listing technical team does all the due diligence. Everything from GitHub, Facebook pages, normal stuff like that. If it doesn’t look like a viable product to us on many levels, then it doesn’t get listed. That’s the end of it. If [the coin] gets past that, we do further due diligence. We’ll actually interview the company. We’ll ask why do you want to list? Why do you want to list with Cryptopia? What’s your plan for the coin? What do you want us to tell customers because they’re going to be relying on us? So, we’d like to do more than just have a coin called 21 Million sitting on the exchange. How about if we had a link to that with some of the criteria we use to judge whether that was a good opportunity. Whether it was a good coin. We might have a 10-point plan and we might say, hey, this coin passed at 9.7. This coin is in, but it only got in at 2.4. Whereas the negative coins, the coins that have gotten negative plans, negative equity in our mindset, they just don’t get on the exchange. We have a very large number of coins at the moment. We want to remain in that space, be the leader. That means that clearly, we’re not going to get it right all the time because we make mistakes and actually, so do the some of the honest and reliable coin generators. Their plans might not just happen, so they get the benefit of the doubt for a while. As long as we see that they’re not doing something deliberately to disrupt the market or just to take money, then we’ll support them until they get their business model right. But we’re very focused on a coin listing to us is actually a business partnership. We’re not just going to throw coins up there. I think 2018 is the year of reckoning, wherein 2017, pretty much anything got listed anywhere. It didn’t really matter how functional the coin was or whether it was legitimate or not. So, it’s really cool to see the trend in exchanges making a stance against that because if the ax falls, it doesn’t fall on the anonymous coin team that could be in Switzerland and Ethiopia. It’s falling on the CEOs and the exchange teams that are allowing access. People come to us and they say, hey, I haven’t got my money. You’re the exchange. I go, well actually, the coin that we listed, I’m afraid the wallet’s faulty or they didn’t do this, or they ran away. People don’t care. They’re relying on us. That’s why Cryptopia has to be a business partner with each and every user, not just a provider of some coin listings. That would be unethical. Absolutely, and it’s good to hear. Speaking of regulations, how do you think that’s going to evolve for exchanges, especially being out of New Zealand? I welcome a regulatory intervention for many reasons. The primary one is that as soon as the regulators start imposi