BitCoin: Zen Yotta Mond Data - CoinGeek

batching in Bitcoin

On May 6th, 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in transactions processed on the network in a single day: it moved 375,000 transactions which accounted for a nominal output of about $2.5b. Average fees on the Bitcoin network had climbed over a dollar for the first time a couple days prior. And they kept climbing: by early June average fees hit an eye-watering $5.66. This was quite unprecedented. In the three-year period from Jan. 1 2014 to Jan. 1 2017, per-transaction fees had never exceeded 31 cents on a weekly average. And the hits kept coming. Before 2017 was over, average fees would top out at $48 on a weekly basis. When the crypto-recession set in, transaction count collapsed and fees crept back below $1.
During the most feverish days of the Bitcoin run-up, when normal users found themselves with balances that would cost more to send than they were worth, cries for batching — the aggregation of many outputs into a single transaction — grew louder than ever. David Harding had written a blog post on the cost-savings of batching at the end of August and it was reposted to the Bitcoin subreddit on a daily basis.
The idea was simple: for entities sending many transactions at once, clustering outputs into a single transaction was more space- (and cost-) efficient, because each transaction has a fixed data overhead. David found that if you combined 10 payments into one transaction, rather than sending them individually, you could save 75% of the block space. Essentially, batching is one way to pack as many transactions as possible into the finite block space available on Bitcoin.
When fees started climbing in mid-2017, users began to scrutinize the behavior of heavy users of the Bitcoin blockchain, to determine whether they were using block space efficiently. By and large, they were not — and an informal lobbying campaign began, in which these major users — principally exchanges — were asked to start batching transactions and be good stewards of the scarce block space at their disposal. Some exchanges had been batching for years, others relented and implemented it. The question faded from view after Bitcoin’s price collapsed in Q1 2018 from roughly $19,000 to $6000, and transaction load — and hence average fee — dropped off.
But we remained curious. A common refrain, during the collapse in on-chain usage, was that transaction count was an obfuscated method of apprehending actual usage. The idea was that transactions could encode an arbitrarily large (within reason) number of payments, and so if batching had become more and more prevalent, those payments were still occurring, just under a regime of fewer transactions.

“hmmm”
Some sites popped up to report outputs and payments per day rather than transactions, seemingly bristling at the coverage of declining transaction count. However, no one conducted an analysis of the changing relationship between transaction count and outputs or payments. We took it upon ourselves to find out.
Table Of Contents:
Introduction to batching
A timeline
Analysis
Conclusion
Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
  1. Introduction to batching
Bitcoin uses a UTXO model, which stands for Unspent Transaction Output. In comparison, Ripple and Ethereum use an account/balance model. In bitcoin, a user has no balances, only UTXOs that they control. If they want to transfer money to someone else, their wallet selects one or more UTXOs as inputs that in sum need to add up to the amount they want to transfer. The desired amount then goes to the recipient, which is called the output, and the difference goes back to the sender, which is called change output. Each output can carry a virtually unlimited amount of value in the form of satoshis. A satoshi is a unit representing a one-hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin. This is very similar to a physical wallet full of different denominations of bills. If you’re buying a snack for $2.50 and only have a $5, you don’t hand the cashier half of your 5 dollar bill — you give him the 5 and receive some change instead.
Unknown to some, there is no hardcoded limit to the number of transactions that can fit in a block. Instead, each transaction has a certain size in megabytes and constitutes an economic incentive for miners to include it in their block. Because miners have limited space of 2 MB to sell to transactors, larger transactions (in size, not bitcoin!) will need to pay higher fees to be included. Additionally, each transaction can have a virtually unlimited number of inputs or outputs — the record stands at transactions with 20,000 inputs and 13,107 outputs.
So each transaction has at least one input and at one output, but often more, as well as some additional boilerplate stuff. Most of that space is taken up by the input (often 60% or more, because of the signature that proves they really belong to the sender), while the output(s) account for 15–30%. In order to keep transactions as small as possible and save fees, Bitcoin users have two major choices:
Use as few inputs as possible. In order to minimize inputs, you can periodically send your smaller UTXOs to yourself in times when fees are very low, getting one large UTXO back. That is called UTXO consolidation or consolidating your inputs.
Users who frequently make transfers (especially within the same block) can include an almost unlimited amount of outputs (to different people!) in the same transaction. That is called transaction batching. A typical single output transaction takes up 230 bytes, while a two output transaction only takes up 260 bytes, instead of 460 if you were to send them individually.
This is something that many casual commentators overlook when comparing Bitcoin with other payment systems — a Bitcoin transaction can aggregate thousands of individual economic transfers! It’s important to recognize this, as it is the source of a great deal of misunderstanding and mistaken analysis.
We’ve never encountered a common definition of a batched transaction — so for the purposes of this study we define it in the loosest possible sense: a transaction with three or more outputs. Commonly, batching is understood as an activity undertaken primarily by mining pools or exchanges who can trade off immediacy for efficiency. It is rare that a normal bitcoin user would have cause to batch, and indeed most wallets make it difficult to impossible to construct batched transactions. For everyday purposes, normal bitcoiners will likely not go to the additional effort of batching transactions.
We set the threshold at three for simplicity’s sake — a normal unbatched transaction will have one transactional output and one change output — but the typical major batched transaction from an exchange will have dozens if not hundreds of outputs. For this reason we are careful to provide data on various different batch sizes, so we could determine the prevalence of three-output transactions and colossal, 100-output ones.
We find it helpful to think of a Bitcoin transaction as a mail truck full of boxes. Each truck (transaction) contains boxes (outputs), each of contains some number of letters (satoshis). So when you’re looking at transaction count as a measure of the performance and economic throughput of the Bitcoin network, it’s a bit like counting mail trucks to discern how many letters are being sent on a given day, even though the number of letters can vary wildly. The truck analogy also makes it clear why many see Bitcoin as a settlement layer in the future — just as mail trucks aren’t dispatched until they’re full, some envision that the same will ultimately be the case for Bitcoin.

Batching
  1. A timeline
So what actually happened in the last six months? Let’s look at some data. Daily transactions on the Bitcoin network rose steadily until about May 2017, when average fees hit about $4. This precipitated the first collapse in usage. Then began a series of feedback loops over the next six months in which transaction load grew, fees grew to match, and transactions dropped off. This cycle repeated itself five times over the latter half of 2017.

more like this on coinmetrics.io
The solid red line in the above chart is fees in BTC terms (not USD) and the shaded red area is daily transaction count. You can see the cycle of transaction load precipitating higher fees which in turn cause a reduction in usage. It repeats itself five or six times before the detente in spring 2018. The most notable period was the December-January fee crisis, but fees were actually fairly typical in BTC terms — the rising BTC price in USD however meant that USD fees hit extreme figures.
In mid-November when fees hit double digits in USD terms, users began a concerted campaign to convince exchanges to be better stewards of block space. Both Segwit and batching were held up as meaningful approaches to maximize the compression of Bitcoin transactions into the finite block space available. Data on when exchanges began batching is sparse, but we collected information where it was available into a chart summarizing when exchanges began batching.

Batching adoption at selected exchanges
We’re ignoring Segwit adoption by exchanges in this analysis; as far as batching is concerned, the campaign to get exchanges to batch appears to have persuaded Bitfinex, Binance, and Shapeshift to batch. Coinbase/GDAX have stated their intention to begin batching, although they haven’t managed to integrate it yet. As far as we can tell, Gemini hasn’t mentioned batching, although we have some mixed evidence that they may have begun recently. If you know about the status of batching on Gemini or other major exchanges please get in touch.
So some exchanges have been batching all along, and some have never bothered at all. Did the subset of exchanges who flipped the switch materially affect the prevalence of batched transactions? Let’s find out.
  1. Analysis
3.1 How common is batching?
We measured the prevalence of batching in three different ways, by transaction count, by output value and by output count.

The tl;dr.
Batching accounts for roughly 12% of all transactions, 40% of all outputs, and 30–60% of all raw BTC output value. Not bad.
3.2 Have batched transactions become more common over time?
From the chart in 3.1, we can already see a small, but steady uptrend in all three metrics, but we want to dig a little deeper. So we first looked at the relationship of payments (all outputs that actually pay someone, so total outputs minus change outputs) and transactions.

More at transactionfee.info/charts
The first thing that becomes obvious is that the popular narrative — that the drop in transactions was caused by an increase in batching — is not the case; payments dropped by roughly the same proportion as well.
Dividing payment count by transaction count gives us some insight into the relationship between the two.

In our analysis we want to zoom into the time frame between November 2017 and today, and we can see that payments per transactions have actually been rallying, from 1.5 payments per transaction in early 2017 to almost two today.
3.3 What are popular batch sizes?
In this next part, we will look at batch sizes to see which are most popular. To determine which transactions were batched, we downloaded a dataset of all transactions on the Bitcoin network between November 2017 and May 2018from Blockchair.
We picked that period because the fee crisis really got started in mid-November, and with it, the demands for exchanges to batch. So we wanted to capture the effect of exchanges starting to batch. Naturally a bigger sample would have been more instructive, but we were constrained in our resources, so we began with the six month sample.
We grouped transactions into “batched” and “unbatched” groups with batched transactions being those with three or more outputs.

We then divided batched transactions into roughly equal groups on the basis of how much total output in BTC they had accounted for in the six-month period. We didn’t select the batch sizes manually — we picked batch sizes that would split the sample into equal parts on the basis of transaction value. Here’s what we ended up with:

All of the batch buckets have just about the same fraction of total BTC output over the period, but they account for radically different transaction and output counts over the period. Notice that there were only 183,108 “extra large” batches (with 41 or more outputs) in the six-month period, but between them there were 23m outputs and 30m BTC worth of value transmitted.
Note that output value in this context refers to the raw or unadjusted figure — it would have been prohibitively difficult for us to adjust output for change or mixers, so we’re using the “naive” estimate.
Let’s look at how many transactions various batch sizes accounted for in the sample period:


Batched transactions steadily increased relative to unbatched ones, although the biggest fraction is the small batch with between 3 and 5 outputs. The story for output counts is a bit more illuminating. Even though batched transactions are a relatively small fraction of overall transaction count, they contain a meaningful number of overall outputs. Let’s see how it breaks down:


Lastly, let’s look at output value. Here we see that batched transactions represent a significant fraction of value transmitted on Bitcoin.


As we can see, even though batched transactions make up an average of only 12% of all transactions, they move between 30%-60% of all Bitcoins, at peak times even 70%. We think this is quite remarkable. Keep in mind, however that the ‘total output’ figure has not been altered to account for change outputs, mixers, or self-churn; that is, it is the raw and unadjusted figure. The total output value is therefore not an ideal approximation of economic volume on the Bitcoin network.
3.4 Has transaction count become an unreliable measure of Bitcoin’s usage because of batching?
Yes. We strongly encourage any analysts, investors, journalists, and developers to look past mere transaction count from now on. The default measure of Bitcoin’s performance should be “payments per day” rather than transaction count. This also makes Bitcoin more comparable with other UTXO chains. They generally have significantly variable payments-per-transaction ratios, so just using payments standardizes that. (Stay tuned: Coinmetrics will be rolling out tools to facilitate this very soon.)
More generally, we think that the economic value transmitted on the network is its most fundamental characteristic. Both the naive and the adjusted figures deserve to be considered. Adjusting raw output value is still more art than science, and best practices are still being developed. Again, Coinmetrics is actively developing open-source tools to make these adjustments available.
  1. Conclusion
We started by revisiting the past year in Bitcoin and showed that while the mempool was congested, the community started looking for ways to use the blockspace more efficiently. Attention quickly fell on batching, the practice of combining multiple outputs into a single transaction, for heavy users. We showed how batching works on a technical level and when different exchanges started implementing the technique.
Today, around 12% of all transactions on the Bitcoin network are batched, and these account for about 40% of all outputs and between 30–60% of all transactional value. The fact such that a small set of transactions carries so much economic weight makes us hopeful that Bitcoin still has a lot of room to scale on the base layer, especially if usage trends continue.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the increase in batching on the Bitcoin network may not be entirely due to deliberate action by exchanges, but rather a function of its recessionary behavior in the last few months. Since batching is generally done by large industrial players like exchanges, mixers, payment processors, and mining pools, and unbatched transactions are generally made by normal individuals, the batched/unbatched ratio is also a strong proxy for how much average users are using Bitcoin. Since the collapse in price, it is quite possible that individual usage of Bitcoin decreased while “industrial” usage remained strong. This is speculation, but one explanation for what happened.
Alternatively, the industrial players appear to be taking their role as stewards of the scarce block space more seriously. This is a significant boon to the network, and a nontrivial development in its history. If a culture of parsimony can be encouraged, Bitcoin will be able to compress more data into its block space and everyday users will continue to be able to run nodes for the foreseeable future. We view this as a very positive development. Members of the Bitcoin community that lobbied exchanges to add support for Segwit and batching should be proud of themselves.
  1. Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Remember that we said that a second way to systematically save transaction fees in the Bitcoin network was to consolidate your UTXOs when fees were low? Looking at the relationship between input count and output count allows us to spot such consolidation phases quite well.

Typically, inputs and outputs move together. When the network is stressed, they decouple. If you look at the above chart carefully, you’ll notice that when transactions are elevated (and block space is at a premium), outputs outpace inputs — look at the gaps in May and December 2017. However, prolonged activity always results in fragmented UTXO sets and wallets full of dust, which need to be consolidated. For this, users often wait until pressure on the network has decreased and fees are lower. Thus, after transactions decrease, inputs become more common than outputs. You can see this clearly in February/March 2017.

Here we’ve taken the ratio of inputs to outputs (which have been smoothed on a trailing 7 day basis). When the ratio is higher, there are more inputs than outputs on that day, and vice versa. You can clearly see the spam attack in summer 2015 in which thousands (possibly millions) of outputs were created and then consolidated. Once the ratio spikes upwards, that’s consolidation. The spike in February 2018 after the six weeks of high fees in December 2017 was the most pronounced sigh of relief in Bitcoin’s history; the largest ever departure from the in/out ratio norm. There were a huge number of UTXOs to be consolidated.
It’s also interesting to note where inputs and outputs cluster. Here we have histograms of transactions with large numbers of inputs or outputs. Unsurprisingly, round numbers are common which shows that exchanges don’t publish a transaction every, say, two minutes, but instead wait for 100 or 200 outputs to queue up and then publish their transaction. Curiously, 200-input transactions were more popular than 100-input transactions in the period.


We ran into more curiosities when researching this piece, but we’ll leave those for another time.
Future work on batching might focus on:
Determining batched transactions as a portion of (adjusted) economic rather than raw volume
Looking at the behavior of specific exchanges with regards to batching
Investigating how much space and fees could be saved if major exchanges were batching transactions
Lastly, we encourage everyone to run their transactions through the service at transactionfee.info to assess the efficiency of their transactions and determine whether exchanges are being good stewards of the block space.
Update 31.05.2018
Antoine Le Calvez has created a series of live-updated charts to track batching and batch sizes, which you can find here.
We’d like to thank 0xB10C for their generous assistance with datasets and advice, the people at Blockchair for providing the core datasets, and David A. Harding for writing the initial piece and answering our questions.
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Cryptocurrency Terms And Definitions - Common Crypto Words To Know

The blockchain community is not left out when it comes to the use of jargon and phrases. The use of words that look strange to those who are not involved in crypto is totally inevitable. It’s definitely going to be difficult for anyone not in this space to understand words like “ERC20, ICO or gas. So in order to help such people out, we have made a list of the most common cryptocurrency terms and definitions. Please sit back and enjoy your ride.

Cryptocurrency Terms And Definitions
One can categorize these terms into various parts. First of all, we will deal with general cryptocurrency terms and definitions.

Blockchain
Blockchains are distributed ledgers which are secured by cryptography. Everyone has access to read the information on every blockchain which means they are essentially public databases but the data update can only be done by the data owners. In the case of blockchains, data doesn’t remain on a single centralized server, they are copied across hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. Projects such as Ethereum, Vechain, EOS etc. fall under this class of technology.
Mining: The means of trying to ‘solve’ the next available block. One needs huge amounts of computer processing power to carry this out effectively. There is always a reward for doing this.
Mining rig: A specially designed computer that processes proof-of-work blockchains such as Ethereum. They consist of multiple high-end graphic processors (GPUs) so as to maximize their processing power.
Node: This is a computer that has a copy of the blockchain and is working to keep it in a good shape.
PoW: The full meaning of this is Proof-of-work. The Ethereum network currently makes use of this algorithm.
PoS: Its full meaning is Proof-of-stake. It is the proposed future algorithm for Ethereum. Those that own ETH will be able to lock up all or a portion of their ether for a given amount of time in order to ‘vote’ and generate network consensus instead of mining in its current form. Stakeholders will get rewards in form of ETH by doing so.
Fork: This takes places when a certain blockchain splits into two different chains. This usually happens in the crypto space when new ‘governance rules’ are infused into the blockchain’s code.
Software wallet: A crypto-currency storage that exists purely on a computer as software files. You can generate these kinds of wallets for free from diverse sources. MyEtherWallet (MEW) is one of the most popular sources around.
Hardware wallet: A device that one can securely keep cryptocurrency. People often say that these wallets are the most secure way to store cryptocurrency. Examples of the most common hardware wallet models around are Ledger Nano S and Trezor.
Cold storage: This is a way of moving your cryptocurrency from an online wallet to an offline one, as a means of safekeeping them from hack. There are a lot of ways to carry this out. Some methods that are commonly used include:
· Using a hardware wallet to store your cryptocurrency.
· By printing out the QR code of a software wallet and keeping it somewhere which is safe.
· You can also move the files of a software wallet onto an external storage device such as USB drive and keeping it somewhere safe.

Trading Related Cryptocurrency Terms And Definitions
Exchange: These are websites where people trade (buy and sell) their cryptocurrencies. Some of the popular crypto exchanges we have around include Binance, Poloniex, Bittrex etc.
Market order / market buy / market sell: A sale or purchase which is made on an exchange at the current price. A market buy acquires the cheapest Bitcoin available on the order book while a market sell fills up the most high-priced buy order on the books.
Limit order / limit buy / limit sell: These are orders which are placed by traders to buy or sell a cryptocurrency when the price reaches a certain amount. They are pretty much like ‘for-sale’ signs you see on goods.
Sell wall / buy wall: Cryptocurrency traders are able to see the current limit buy and sell points using a depth chart. The chart’s graphical representation is very much like a wall.
FIAT: Refer to a government-issued currency. An example is the US dollar.
Whale: A person who owns huge amounts of cryptocurrency.
Margin trading: This is an act of increasing the intensity of a trade by using your existing coins. It is very risky for an inexperienced trader to partake in this. Stay safe!!
Going long: This is a margin trade that gives profit if the price goes up.
Going short: It is a margin trade that gives profit if the price goes down.
Bullish: Being optimistic that the price of cryptocurrency is going to increase.
Bearish: This is an expectation that the price of cryptocurrency is going to decrease.
ATH: This simply means All-Time-High. This is the highest point that has been reached by a particular coin or token. Take for instance, Bitcoin’s ATH is about $20,000 and this was achieved around December 2017 and January 2018.
Altcoin: A word used to qualify other cryptocurrencies which is not Bitcoin. Examples of altcoins are Ripple, NEO, EOS, Vechain, Electroneum etc.
Tokens: These are ‘currency’ of projects which are hosted on the ethereum network. They raise money by issuing their own tokens to the general public. Tokens have a significant use in the project's ecosystem. Examples of tokens are Enjin Coin (ENJ), Zilliqa (ZIL), OmiseGO (OMG), Augur (REP) etc.
ICO: The full meaning is Initial Coin Offering. This is synonymous to an IPO in the non-crypto world. Startups give out their own token in exchange for Bitcoin or ether.
Shilling / pumping: An act of advertising another cryptocurrency. It is mostly done in a way that tricks as many people as possible into believing that a coin or token will get to a higher price in the future.
Market Cap: This is the total value of a cryptocurrency. To calculate this, one has to multiply the total supply of coins by the current market price. You can get a run-down of several cryptocurrency projects on Coinmarketcap.
Stable coin: This is a cryptocurrency which has an extremely low volatility. You can use a stable coin to trade against the overall crypto market.
Arbitrage: A situation where a trader takes advantage of a difference in the price of the same coin / token on two different exchanges.
FOMO: Simply means Fear Of Missing Out. That overwhelming feeling that one needs to get on board when there is a massive rise in the price of a commodity. This is also applicable in the crypto space.
FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It is a baseless negativity which is spread intentionally by someone or a group of people who want the price of cryptocurrency to decrease.
FUDster: A person who spreads FUD.
Pump And Dump: This happens when an altcoin gets a ton of attention, leading to a massive increase in price, and likewise followed by a big price crash of that altcoin.
ROI: Return on Investment. The percentage profit a trader makes on an initial investment (i.e. A 100% ROI simply indicates that a trader doubled his money).
TA: Trend Analysis or Technical Analysis. A way of examining current coin charts so as to make predictions for the next market movement.

Next, we will be moving on to crytocurrency terms and definitions that are ethereum related.
Dapp: Decentralized Application. It is an application that uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network like Ethereum smart contract as its back-end code.
Bagholder: A person who still holds on to a particular altcoin despite having a pump and dump crash.
Smart contract: This is a code that is deployed onto the Ethereum blockchain, it often helps with the direct interaction of how money flows from one point to another.
The Flippening: A future event showing the capacity of Ethereum’s market cap (or some other cryptocurrency) surpassing Bitcoin’s market cap, making Ethereum the most ‘valuable’ crypto-currency.
Gas: It is a measurement of the amount of processing needed by the ethereum network to execute a transaction. More complex transactions like deploying a smart contract onto the network requires more gas than sending ether from one wallet to another which is obviously a simpler operation.
Gas price: This is the amount of ether an initiator of a transaction is willing to spend for each gas unit on a transaction. The higher the gas price, then the faster the processing of the transaction.
Wei: It is the smallest denomination of ether.
Gwei: This is a denomination of ether (ETH). Gwei is the unit for measuring gas prices. 1 Ether = 1,000,000,000 Gwei (109).
MEW: MyEtherWallet is a site where users can generate ethereum wallets for free.

We also have a handful of cryptocurrency terms and definitions that are memes. See some of them below;
Hodl: People use this word when signifying that a person is keeping his coins / tokens for a long period of time. A couple of years back, someone on a Bitcoin forum made a post with a typo HODL in place of HOLD. Ever since then, this term has become one of the most popularly used term in crypto.
Mooning: In crypto, this term comes to play when the price of cryptocurrencies move up astronomically.
Lambo: This is highly synonymous with crypto. You can't leave out this word when discussing about cryptocurrency terms and definitions. This is the car we’re all goona buy when crypto makes us rich.
This is gentlemen: People use this phrase when pointing out positive things that are currently taking place in the cryptosphere.

Now that you are conversant with some of the commonly used cryptocurrency terms and definitions, you can now go out there and showcase your new crypto vocabulary to the world.
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Wealth Formula Episode 179: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/179-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
submitted by Buck_Joffrey to u/Buck_Joffrey [link] [comments]

Why I'm all in on BNB and maybe not crazy

You may remember my post a few weeks back: Yes, You Should Buy Some BNB.
At that time, BNB had just started holding above 0.0019-20 BTC, a level it failed to hold three times. The timing was not the primary reason for investing, but it made the decision urgent. The price subsequently rose to roughly 0.0026 BTC and now appears to be settling into a floor around 0.0020-21. They say resistance becomes support, ceilings become floors. Historically for BNB, the downtrend normally ends before hitting the former ceilings. If there was ever a time to of all in, I think now is it… so I did.
Figured this would be a good time to dive a bit deeper on why I’m so ultra bullish on BNB.
Charisma - Binance feels deeply charismatic to me. It’s a word I didn’t think of in investing until this Peter Thiel interview. Binance strikes me as especially charismatic. Investors largely love Binance as a product and as a company. A lot of this charisma comes from the trust people have in Binance. CZ recently spoke about how Binance now has a “2-hour rule” which is where they update the community every two hours. You may not have known about this exact rule, but you probably have felt it and you certainly have read CZ now-famous “funds are safe.” This expression is so pervasive that you see people racing to comment with it. Bizonaci made this masterpiece which introduced the spelling “safu,” or as CZ recently said Binance is the “safust.” I mean shit, look how calm things were with BNB after after an unexpected SYStem wide freeze. The market stayed calm and BNB is the largest exchange… Let me repeat, Binance—the world’s largest exchange of trustless assets—had to emergency halt trading and the entire market is NBD… The morning after, Jackson Palmer tweeted this sentiment summary, Sherman Lee posted this beautiful piece in Forbes, and Binance announced S.A.F.U. as an official part of their commitment to protect investors.
Antifragile - Antifragile is a concept Nassim Taleb coined to describe things that get stronger with stress. Binance seems to strengthen with bad news. When China last banned exchanges, Binance up and moved to Malta and the price soared. Now Binance is in three countries/jurisdictions and probably entering more. These emerging crypto hubs are competing for epic tax revenues, especially relative to their size. If the EU were to push Malta for more regulation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Malta leave the EU. After all, is Malta better off with Binance, EOS, et al or with the EU? The latter may still be true but it’s increasingly less clear cut. This puts it in a position of incredible strength when it comes to negotiation, staying automomous, and gaining the government cooperation to build financial bridges across the world. In short, I see Binance as having a real shot as delivering on it’s mission of financial freedom. Exchange the world.
Adoption - BNB is rapidly gaining adoption. In the past few months, we’ve seen small exchanges list BNB. In the last week, this pace has increased dramatically as Bitmex and Metamask have joined the BNB party. YouTubers and the Twitter sphere seem to be talking about BNB more frequently. The $1B impact fund is to be denominated in BNB and a team member noted in the recent Binance Labs AMA that partners will be able to accept payments in BNB. New coins have already been paying Binance humungo checks to gain access to Binance’s user base; if Binance pulls of Binance Chain DEX (powered by BNB), they’re going to compete at the ERC20 level for the ICO market, at least to some extent. It’s still unclear what Binance Chain will look like, but the support volume is definitely more compelling than other DEXes would be launching with. ICOs numbers are holding strong and Binance continues to be the most attractive place to list. Moreover, with the recent investment ChiliZ, founded by Alexander Dreyfus (founder of e-gaming companies), Binance has demonstrated an interest in the broader speculation market, which basically is crypto right now… and Binance hasn’t even introduced options/futures…
Team - The Binance team seems truly world class to me. A good chunk of my last post was about the team (and CZ’s fly-af shorts), but one thing I did not say last time was the value of CZ’s cult-leadership. Don’t get me wrong, I consider this a double edged sword much like ETH and nearly every coin but BTC has. But on the positive edge, this gives Binance an incredible edge when it comes to execution, recruiting, and a ultimately achieving their vision. You can feel the team support for CZ; you can see it in this video and in Binance’s recent staff re-tweet. I also think not enough of my last post was about the community manager(s) who I feel are killing it compared to other subreddit mods.
Market - IMO the market will mostly bounce around/move sideways for some time and Binance will make money either way. There may be big moves up but I expect them to be met with significant resistance. Technical analysis is a major driver of price action in crypto specifically because most coins/token have no underlying value (i.e. it is largely emotional responses). As such, alts will continue to have trading value even if they lose a lot of expectation-based value. After all, look how many alts recently went up 20-30%. Get rich quick sentiment has not dried up nearly to the degree some people say. Maybe I’m following the wrong people, but I haven’t seen anyone talk about Bitcoin being “dead”—only people talking about people talking about it being dead. Do you really think Tron and IOTA will die any day now? No, you don’t. The FOMO and FUD are real and the firepowereserve capital many alts have is massive. If a mostly sideways market plays out, then profit chasing will increasingly turn to algo trading, which Binance is well positioned for. In a recent interview, CZ mentioned Binance is planning to expand it’s capacity by 100-1,000x to prepare for a massive increase in usage, and he said it before the algo traders temporarily broke Binance’s API… Okay, but let’s say it’s not like this, let’s say there’s a major breakdown in alts much sooner (maybe everyone realizes Lightning makes a XRP useless). In this case, I expect Convert-to-BNB to do quite well given how many alts are on Binance (especially those who paid to show up because they were so shitty they couldn’t get the crowd to vote for them). Moreover, if you’re losing your life savings and BNB continues to grow, many investors are going to try to an dig themselves out of a hole by selling for BNB. Either way, BNB probably has a bright future.
Q3 - Right now, BNB is performing poorly because of the sell the news paradigm crypto seems to operate under. But at about this time last quarter BNB was at peak BTC and ETH value. Compared to last quarter, we’re two weeks ahead, which would make this bottom somewhere between yesterday and next weekend. The growth during the last quarter was also sharper than this quarter, suggesting less to fall, and I suspect the hype train is going to be larger this cycle as rumors of the DEX become more imminent. There’s also extra worry this quarter because the market assumes Binance’s profit will be lower and the second year discount will be lowered (50% BNB discount —> 25% off with BNB discount). I sense that these fears are already priced in. For starters, Binance hasn’t shot up directly after the great quarterly news; why would it shoot down on bad news, especially if it is expected? Regarding the discount, 25% is still better than 0% off, so people should keep using it (especially if the BNB they’re holding is appreciating), and for the next year, Binance should be making 50% more profit (before they made 0.05%, now they will make 0.075% profit). I believe the sentiment on this concern is oversold when the math appears way better to me.
Concerns - With all this in mind, I do still have a few concerns. For instance, what do Binance founders/team plan to do with their 100M coins as the BNB supply approaches 100M supply? Will they sell a-la Charlie Lee or will their sell-off be more pre-meditated a la Ripple’s 55mo escrow release? In theory as the price of BNB rises, it will take longer for the supply to get to 100M so this question could be a ways off, but I still would prefer clarity over this (even if it relies on trust). There’s some sentiment concern that the 1/5 vesting coming up will cause a large sell off. I assume inside folk see world-dominating growth ahead given the recent all-star Binance Labs hires, but still would be nice to understand this risk better. Finally, perhaps my largest concern is will Binance have an EOS moment with the freezing functionality laid out in the DEX competition requirements? I can certainly envision a decentralized use and Binance has demonstrated doing the right thing when they take emergency action, but I want to share the concern nevertheless.
Deflationary - One concern I do not have with with BNB but recognize others do is about the utility of BNB after the discount goes to 0. Binance says BNB will be used as gas in the eventual Binance Chain DEX. This gives it utility, and unlike other blockchains, Binance already has usage demand. So, if you think any altcoin has value, then BNB—at the DEX stage and without a discount—has value. Beyond dominating trading utility (a huge industry use case), BNB has a decent store of value argument (the other huge industry use case). Unlike most coins/token have unreleased supply for inflation, fees, etc., BNB supply is already fully diluted. While BTC expands its supply for some time to come, BNB will be lowering its supply through the burn. Sure, people lose BTC which is a deflationary force, but I suspect this will become less common as wallet tech improves and the industry matures. To be clear, I don’t think BNB and BTC are otherwise comparable and I don’t think BNB (or any coin/token) will replace BTC. But, BTC has demonstrated that investors want stores of value, so whether your thesis is high usage will appreciate or store of value will appreciate, BNB checks both boxes.
submitted by ohitsthatguygreat to BinanceExchange [link] [comments]

What is an IEO?

What is an IEO?
Source - https://coinscapture.com/blog/what-is-an-ieo-initial-exchange-offering

https://preview.redd.it/s4k8fr5n7u631.jpg?width=5001&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e73ceaec3fc60ace4cfb7178f06c83b91a31f196
In the Cryptoworld, ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is a fundraising mechanism that supports the start-ups. Similarly, IEO (Initial Exchange Offering) is another mechanism that helps the new business enthusiasts, both of them have the same goal but they walk on different paths to reach the destination. Many individuals often get confused between them and use them inversely.
ICO v/s IEO
ICO is a token sale in which the developer team themselves conducts the fundraising, collects the denominated contributions either in Ether or other cryptocurrencies and issue the minted token. The entire ICO procedure is governed by a smart contract. On the other hand, IEO is a token sale in which the fundraising is conducted on an exchange (Binance and Bittrex), project developers mint the token and send them to the exchange. In IEO, each participant has to create an account with the exchange and send ETH to this account. When the IEO commences the tokens can be purchased from the exchange. In contrast, the ICO participant has to send ETH to a specified address and the developer sends the token.
How is IEO launched?
Before an IEO token sale, the exchange team performs the analysis of the project through their audits, technical analysis, the potential of the token in addition to managing the sale directly on their platform throughout the entire process and the sale parameters like fixing token price, its supply to be distributed is decided. If the exchange team is impressed and comfortable with the project an agreement will be signed between both parties and the date with token price will be released.
How to participate in an IEO?
If you wish in becoming a contributor in IEO, you can follow these steps before investing:
  • Search for the exchanges hosting the IEO
  • Select the exchange on the basis of their experience and reviews
  • Create an account in the exchange and get yourself whitelisted by completing Know Your Customer (KYC) screening.
  • Fund your account appropriately by checking the cryptocurrencies accepted
  • Once done with all the procedures you can participate and purchase your tokens!
Benefits of IEO
  1. User-friendly: Users do not have to maintain the on-chain transactions but they just need to Sign-up on the exchange, fund their wallet with appropriate cryptocurrency and through the website, interface participate in IEO.
  2. Trustworthy: The exchange is backing the project and staking its earned reputation so the highest degree of trust is offered that eliminates the spam.
  3. No loss: As exchange act as mediators investors will get to lower the chances of losing their funds to scammers.
  4. The Exchange’s user base: The exchange backing the ICO gives the developer the full advantage of using their existing user base thereby cutting down the marketing cost.
  5. High Liquidity: Token listed through exchange offers immediate and highest liquidity to the investor with the ability to pay for token through various methods like fiat, BTC, or even other altcoins in some cases.
Every change is better!!!! Developing an IEO project is not a tedious task and can definitely be a fruitful venture for every business enthusiast and investor. Just a little knowledge and a simple procedure to be followed. Let’s spread this work and help to raise the new start-ups in the cryptoworld.
submitted by coinscapturecom to u/coinscapturecom [link] [comments]

Hydro AMA Q&A Roundup with BitcoinMarkets (Slack), 15 June 2018

I've taken the liberty of rounding up all the questions and answers provided from Hydro's most recent AMA hosted with BitcoinMarkets incase you missed it. Enjoy!
Hydro Q&A’s
Q (knonsu): How does Snowflake relate to other identity protocols out there like Civic and uPort ?
A.1 (Anurag): We see snowflake as existing a layer below these types of projects. Even without blockchain, identity is a broad term. Different people around the world have different forms of identity (state ID, country ID, social media IDs, etc). Civic, uPort, and other blockchain projects help to build specific types of an on-chain identity for a user; however those IDs are meaningful in different ways to different observers. For instance, imagine that a government or business builds a system that accepts Civic as a form of identity while another government/business only recognizes uPort identities. On top of this, certain systems only care about information tied to a user’s social media profile. A user can maintain one standard Snowflake as a base layer and set each of these different forms of identity as a resolver. Snowflake eliminates the need for global unanimous adoption of a singular identity standard and rather allows systems to build business logic off of identity standards they themselves recognize.
Follow up Q (knonsu): thats cool. so its totally depends on the person/ institute utilizing it . One problem I found is how easy its to create fake identities (in their basic system).
A.2 (Anurag): Yup! So people can conduct off-chain verifications to prove that you own a snowflake, and then tie an on-chain verification to your Snowflake. This links real-world KYC to your on-chain ID, so sure you could mint another snowflake, but that same party won't validate it again for you. Anyone who trusts that party would be able to accept their validations, and people who don't trust that party can rely on a different validator they do trust.

Q (kat): How big is the team working specifically on Hydro products? Can we get a numbers breakdown of engineers, biz dev, etc? Do you have plans to scale this team as the Hydro project develops?
A.1 (Andy): Our Hydro team is 8 people.
Devlopers (Myself and Noah)
Product (Anurag and Shane)
Community (Nahom)
Founders (Mike and Matt)
Partnerships/BizDev (Gunjan)
The nice thing about Hydrogen though is we have a team of 30 people who we can leverage for different things. For example, Noah and I do not build mobile apps, but we have a front end team that is well versed in mobile app development. So while they are not directly on the Hydro team they do have a direct impact on Hydro.
Hydrogen as a company is working to grow pretty rapidly. As we grow we will be filling out more positions in both blockchain and non-blockchain rolls.
A.2 (Anurag): To add to Andy's answer - pretty much everyone working for Hydrogen helps out with Hydro in some way, whether via design, front-end development, API support, business discussion, etc.
Here's our full team: https://www.hydrogenplatform.com/about

Q (rocket man): So in the age of ICOs, what motivated your team to not pursue that funding model and instead have a token distribution for developers?
A (Andy): This was something that we spent a very long time considering and discussing. We spent a lot of resources (time, money & energy) trying to find the best solution for us going forward. When it was all said and done, we decided on an airdrop because of two main things, getting the token into the hands of people who will actually use it and regulatory concerns.
We feel as though our distribution was the fairest approach that allowed for people with actual interest in the Hydro community to get involved. Overall, we have been very pleased with the level of community engagement from people who are interested in the utility of the Hydro token and we feel that a lot of this can be credited to our distribution strategy.

Q (matheussiq8): How hydro tokens will be used is still vague in the Snowflake whitepaper draft. Would the amount required to hold depend on the volume of API calls or some other parameter? For example, if I decide to implement raindrop and later snowflake in my small webshop would I need to hold the same amount of tokens as Binance (if they ever implement it of course…)?
A (Noah): as always, the permissionlessness of public blockchains is a double-edged sword. smart contracts partially solve the problem by letting us enforce certain things on-chain (minimum token balances, signature validity, etc.), but there are limits. so, re. your specific question: in raindrop we do not vary the staking requirement across users, because that would necessarily involve value judgements we are not comfortable making as a centralized entity. however, there are two types of staking required for raindrop:
  1. “institutional staking” requires entities who wish to sign up raindrop users *on their behalf* (i.e. passing new users’ addresses to the smart contract as parameters rather than new users transacting directly from their accounts) to stake a significant amount of hydro. these are the players we want to ensure are acting in the best interests of the community. in this model, hydro is simply one of many institutional stakers (where we sign up users on our kickass mobile app, which will be out soon).
  2. “user staking” requires individuals who wish to sign up for raindrop on their own, i.e. transact directly with the smart contract, are able to do so by staking a much smaller amount of hydro.
What this all means for you, as a potential customer of our API, is that you don’t actually have to worry about the staking requirement or signing up users at all, and can simply use our API in conjunction with the Hydro app.
Looking ahead to Snowflake, we have big plans to integrate increasing sophisticated uses of the token into the product. to some extent these are still up in the air, but rest assured that we are very focused on building a strong tokenomics structure. At a high level, the core token mechanism for snowflake will involve depositing tokens into the snowflake smart contract. These deposits will allow native staking/payment/incentive functionality denominated in hydro, without the hassle and worry of using ether with every call.

Q (Hodlall): When is raindrop Android app is releasing
A (Andy): It is currently under development. We have a bunch of android phones with different OS on the way. It is hard to give a set date as we don't know what unforeseen issues could come up during the process though. All I can say is it is literally all that our mobile development team is working on

Q (Jeff_We_Cannafi): To piggyback on matheussiq8’s question, how do these identity tokens compare to existing forms of identity authentication, and do you anticipate the tokens themselves will be traded on exchanges?
A (Andy): In my opinion, the main difference between what we are working towards and others like civic and uport is the scope of what we are aiming to do. We understand the value of having KYC on the blockchain and "One click signup", but really I think blockchain identity can be so much more than that. We are aiming to create a completely extendable and modular protocol which will allow for people to link anything they desire to their blockchain identity. Other protocols can tend to lean towards centralization (more a fault of current KYC procedures than the projects themselves) and we feel like this doesn't have to be the case. At least for now, something like KYC needs to have central authorities to verify user information, but why can't I also link my crypto kitties to my blockchain id or my linkedin profile to my blockchain id?
Overall, what we are trying to build will easily allow for other blockchain developers to create robust identity solutions for whatever application they feel fit with Snowflake being at the core of that. We feel that this is crucial to eventually creating a completely open and decentralized identity system. Anyone can join and anyone can add what THEY consider to be an identity, but I only have to accept what I consider to be an identity.
As far as trading, Snowflake Identity tokens will never be tradable. We feel that you identity should always be linked to you. This would be a dangerous road to a very easy black market for people's identities

Q (Jrock): What do you find the hardest part of pitching icos to regular companies?
Also what do you think needs to happen for widespread crypto adoption?
A (Shane): If you mean pitching Hydro to regular companies (we're not an ICO :stuck_out_tongue:), I would say the hardest part is getting the larger companies to move faster than a snail's pace. There are too many chefs in the kitchen and sometimes there is a lack of top-down strategy on blockchain, and it leaves large enterprises paralyzed sometimes. We try to resolve this by pitching how easy Hydro is to use, and how it connects to our broader Hydrogen ecosystem which can add value in a lot of places.
In my opinion, widespread crypto adoption is going to be dependent on how parallelization plays out. If crypto's only option is to create a new parallel economy, widespread adoption is going to be slow and arduous and will take decades. However, if blockchain is able to be infused or layered on some of the current systems we have in place, the adoption will be much faster and broader. Ultimately this comes down to the usage of private vs public chains - the more private and centralized chains that get implemented, the farther the mainstream adoption will get pushed out.

Q (Luke): One aspect of Hydro that is beginning to really intrigue me are the potential use cases and dapps that can be built by external developers ontop of the Hydro protocol layers for each phase.
  1. Having held various dev meetups and networking at various conferences, how are you finding the process of attracting developers to start building dapps and products in your ecosystem?
  2. I understand the HCDP is getting updated with various new rules and bounties for dapps to be built, have you approached any developers yet with this new offer, and if so, how has the reception been?
  3. How else do you intend to attract developers towards building on the Hydro protocols?
A (Anurag):
  1. Through our events, we're mainly focused on helping expand the blockchain-focused developer community. We help give exposure to projects we find to be doing neat, innovative work in the space and keep ongoing dialogue with these communities.
  2. In particular, to provide impetus to developers in the Hydro ecosystem, we've established the HCDP. The new process will involve putting out specific task requests. In the next week or so we'll have published specifications for dApps that can be built on top of Snowflake. We ourselves will not be building these dApps (they have nothing to do with Hydrogen's space as a company). This helps the ecosystem expand outside of Hydrogen-specific use-cases.
  3. ^^Through the above process to get them started. Eventually, we want the Hydro development process to be community-driven, so people are building on Hydro because it benefits their own programs and applications.

Q (elmer_FUD): Hey Hydro Team! Here's a few question I've got for you after checking out the Raindrop and Snowflake whitepapers:
How has your experience working in the Ethereum ecosystem been so far?
While you are currently focused on the financial sector, would you consider actively marketing to other sectors such as healthcare and education in the future?
It seems like both Raindrop and Snowflake would be useful in any environment that processes or stores sensitive data.
Do you have plans to release official Raindrop SDK packages in other languages in the future?
A bit more of a specific question: Raindrop is looks like a great product to use in a PCI-DSS environment - do you have thoughts on whether or not it the product is ready for primetime and do you think the industry standards and government regulation is prepared to handle these kinds of systems?
A (Andy): Thanks for the questions! I'm gonna answer each in a separate response in this thread
Overall it has been pretty solid. There is still a ton of room for growth in terms of documentation and stuff like that, but it is miles ahead of basically every other blockchain platform I have worked with. By far the biggest pain has been handling gas costs when considering the user experience. When trying to build actual products that people will want to use we feel that making it user friendly is something that many blockchain projects have not focused on nearly enough.
Yeah certainly. We focus on fintech as that is where the rest of our companies APIs focus and that is where we have the most connections, but much of what we are building is much further reaching than that. Just as far as authentication goes, it really can apply to any major field and we intend to market it as such.
We currently have Python and JS SDKs and have had a few java ones submitted through our community dev program. We have been revamping that program, but I anticipate we will be putting up more bounties for most major languages. I have considered making a few more myself, but we feel that they could be better suited as community projects.
I completely agree. Raindrop and blockchain authentication when handling anything around payments is a great application. I think the biggest thing is actually convincing regulatory bodies that the protocols we have build are secure (since many can still be scared of blockchain). I definitely see this as a direct use case though

Q.1 (khonsu): What kind of banking relations do you have as a company, do they (banks) understand what you are trying to do ? Any VCs approached you for funding ? explain your business model.
A.1 (Shane): Hydrogen has existed since 2009 in the form of Hedgeable. Hedgeable is a consumer-facing online investing app, and the tech behind it eventually spawned the Hydrogen tech platform. The story of how the transition happened goes essentially like this: (1) Hedgeable was disrupting banks & investing firms, (2) banks & investing firms started contacting us and seeing if we would help them digitize & automate their own businesses, (3) we started packaging up our tech and selling it to the banks. There was so much demand for this from financial institutions that we spun out a new company (Hydrogen).
So to get back to your original question: we have some long-standing relationships in the banking & finance world, and to this day we have inbound leads from that space coming in every week. The key thing to keep in mind is that these institutions move extremely slowly, but they do understand the core value prop of our platform. Many of these firms are still in the midst of basic digitization efforts (i.e. moving from really slow offline processes to simple digital infrastructure), and that is the primary thing we are helping them with in early stages. But they are also keen on blockchain tech and they will naturally turn to us for that once they reach that point. We do have a few relationships with big financial companies in which Hydro/blockchain are already part of the discussion.
We have revenue and don't need to rely on VCs. It is our general philosophy that building a business sustainably with actual clients and revenue is a good approach, but we would consider working with the right VC if that came to be and we wanted to scale more quickly. Right now, that is not an immediate concern for us.
Our business model is in charging developers and enterprises to access the Hydrogen technology platform, which currently consists of products like Atom, Ion, and Hydro. Developers pay a per-user fee to hit our core APIs, while large enterprises negotiate custom (usually multi-year) contracts with us that typically include recurring revenue. Hydro, specifically, is being offered for free right now, as we attempt to gain adoption. But it is important to note that Hydro is just one piece of our ecosystem.
Q.2 (Joleen): When you say fee - is this fee HYDRO? And when do you envisage HYDRO to no longer be offered FOC?
A**.2 (Shane):** Sorry if it wasn't clear, I meant free to use our Hydro tech/APIs. The usage of HYDRO tokens within that is a separate issue - they still need to have HYDRO and we do not give it away for free to clients

Q (guacam0le): Adoption of an identity management solution (etc) would potentially involve a lot of identities. Further, scalability is a hot topic w/ blockchain. Is this a potential bottleneck? What is or might be done to address such?
Tackling a competitor like Google or Authy's 2FA is no small feat. Also, not everyone is yet to embrace blockchain-based solutions. Have you found it difficult to interface with enterprises & get them excited about the idea of an overhaul?
A (Anurag): nowflake is designed to be relatively low-load on the blockchain. A user needs to conduct a single transaction to “mint” their Snowflake. Once this is complete, they would need to complete one-time transactions to set each of their different forms of identities as resolvers as needed. A Snowflake is designed to be built out via resolvers over the duration of a user’s lifetime, so there’s never a need for heavy, frequent transactional capability. Similarly, smart contracts simply need to be set as resolvers by users; they do not themselves transact. Network scalability improvements will increase the range of use-cases for smart contracts that can be tied to Snowflake, but they aren’t a necessary prerequisite to some important early use-cases such as KYC platforms, and a few basic user-interaction platforms.
As far as competition, we feel that current adoption of 2FA is, in general far short of where it should be, and any 2FA is generally better than none. Many businesses use text-message based 2FA, etc. In the short-run we are aiming toward pilot implementations with small businesses. To further this, we have put out many integration resources, guides, and documentation and accordingly believe implementation of Raindrop is a more straightforward workflow. As far as large enterprises go, Hydrogen has clients, so it is helpful for our project to have those connections. Large institutions are generally relatively slow-moving, but have expressed interest in using Raindrop, in particular for securing employee accounts. As the product grows, we may eventually move in this direction with Client Raindrop, but resources will always be available for any site that wants to adopt it. Additionally, we are looking into making a wordpress plug-in to make implementation much more accessible for many developers.
--
Q (Smithymethods): I know Hydro is a fintech company, hydro plan to curb phishing and hacking to the bearest minimum we know that hacking is very rampant these days on MEW and with other wallet. Is Hydro planning to create a wallet that support hydro and other tokens using their raindrop Technology?
As this will put an end to the problem of phishing and also promote hydro
A (Noah): like everyone in the crypto space, we’re very worried about phishing, both personally and on behalf of all hydro token holders. we first want to reemphasize that preventing scams and fraud has to be a community-driven effort: teams and users need to be vigilant and promote best practices (never trusting links in public chats, shunning fake accounts, etc.). we are excited about raindrop’s potential to help combat phishing, though. we actually talked with someone about mycrypto about integrating raindrop into their desktop app. we’ve forked their code and are researching how feasible an implementation would be, stay tuned for updates!

Q (Hodlall): What security measures in place for hydro , I see lot of tokens being hacked nowadays , and money is stolen.. how does hydro make sure their team tokens are completely secured or as much as possible
A (Andy): We all have been in crypto for a while and are pretty well versed in securing our stuff. Our tokens that are currently locked are in cold storage. Others are held in hardware wallets

Q (Joleen): We know that the Hydrogen platform is going to be used by CI Investments, a large insurance firm and a world top 20 bank, have these companies already begun purchasing Hydro OTC?
A (Andy): This is something that we feel is best to be hands off with. It is really up to the discretion of our partners

Q (khonsu’s mumaffi): Ill be honest i have not yet fully read the whitepaper but id like to know other than investor growth do you truly believe there is interest in a model where users have to pay each time for access? How big do u expect this fee to be...for large companies dont you believe this is an unscalable practice? This may be a question more about most technologies built on token based economics too.
A (Andy): So we have 2 different authentication protocols. One happens less often and is in the same vein as OAuth. This is called Server-Side Raindrop. This requires tokens to be sent. This protocol would only happen once per day for a business when accessing something like an API. I don't feel that these values are extremely high for increased security.
Our second protocol, Client-Side Raindrop, functions much more like google auth. This logic actually does not require any tokens or even a transaction by the end user. It is 100% free for them to use and they will never have to pay for a transaction. Here the responsibility is on the implementing party to stake tokens. This allows them to onboard users and authenticate them.
We felt it was crucial to have an authentication that did not have a cost per user login as it is not scalable

Q (khonsu’s mumaffi): Also do u plan to tokenise atom and ion too and if not covered earlier how big of an impact do the market conditions have on your business
A (Anurag): Tough to say we're going to "tokenize" them since that word can carry a lot of different meanings in different contexts, but we do plan on integrating the entire Hydrogen platform with Hydro. This will most likely take the form of enhancements to systems leveraging Hydro. You can find a more detailed breakdown on our Hydro roadmap: https://medium.com/hydrogen-api/project-hydro-features-in-depth-look-39faa29f0d61
Market conditions don't really have an impact - we're still building the same tech on a day-to-day basis

Q (ghost): As a company in the space, do you see the fact that tokens have to be acquired on exchanges as an issue? How would a company that wants to develop with you acquire tokens?
A (Anurag): Depends on what they're developing. dApps developing using Hydro smart contracts to create native functionality to their applications would need to acquire those tokens on their own; however, companies using the Hydrogen API will not. Here's a detailed article outlining when a developer would need the token for the Client Raindrop smart contract: https://medium.com/hydrogen-api/how-to-use-client-raindrop-without-using-the-hydrogen-api-bb04934ae293

Q (jarederaj): Can you describe your stakeholders and give me a better sense of the exigency of your products? Who are you focused on serving with your platform and why are they motivated to use your platform?
A (Shane): The Hydrogen platform serves developers and enterprises who want to build applications. We are specifically targeting the financial services sector, including banks, investing firms, insurance providers, and financial advisors. This includes large enterprises, individual developers, and startups.
Our products are Atom (core digital infrastructure & engine for finserv), Ion (AutoML & business intelligence capabilities), and Hydro (blockchain & decentralization layer). Each has a different use case but these products combine to form an ecosystem of tools for developers to build sophisticated applications with.
The main pain point we are addressing is the resources required to build, launch, and run a digital financial application. These resources include both time and money.
Large enterprises have resources, but they waste years and millions of dollars trying to launch digital platforms (we've seen this first-hand), often unsuccessfully. The motivation here is obvious. Startups and smaller developers, on the other hand, do not have access to huge resource pools, so they are forced to look for solutions that make the process more efficient.
In the same way that Wordpress makes launching a blog easy and also allows for extended functionality, Hydrogen makes launching fintech application easy.

Q (shujjishah): When the app will be released???
A (Anurag): We're going through our mobile development very iteratively. Since we work very closely with the product, there are things we can't recognize until we've got people beta testing the app. As we started Beta testing and conducting user-research, we realized that one aspect of the UI for the app was not intuitive to about half of our testers. We decided to make a few API changes to enable the mobile app to display a "linked" vs "unlinked" status in order to improve the user experience. Our front-end team is finalizing these changes, so our Beta testers will receive a new build in their testflight apps within the next few days. This new build will require another round of Beta testing to ensure that none of the code changes causes any problems on devices; if this change goes smoothly, and our mainnet testing goes smoothly, we will be able to release the app this month.
Since there isn't much precedent on releasing a product into the app store that connects users with the ethereum mainnet, our primary concern is making sure the product works fully as intended and provides an intuitive user experience.
Misc Q&A’s
Q (elmer_FUD): What's your favorite thing to drink?
A.1 (Andy): Overall, I really love Baja Blast Mountain Dew. If I am drinking, I'm a big fan of fruity beers like Blue Moon and Shocktop. Also had a really good raspberry sour recently
A.2 (Nahom): Primary=water but i do enjoy Jamaican ginger ale/beer. We keep honest tea in the office too, i love it because it brings me back from the dead:skull_and_crossbones:, @Hydro Andy drinks most of it behind my back though :triumph:
A.3 (Noah): hard: tequila or picklebacks
soft: any sour beer
other: mango juice
i also crush like 2 nalgene’s worth of water every day at work
A.4 (Shane): For hard alcohol: whiskey/bourbon
A.5 (Anurag): ooh, went to the finback brewery last weekend; was wonderful

Q (Joleen): Do you HODL any other tokens personally?
A.1 (Andy): I do. I think it is probably best to not say which, but if you follow me enough in #altcoins I am sure you will see me talk about a few
A.2 (Noah): im a bit of an eth maximalist actually :grimacing: i do dabble though

Q (Joleen): Who got who in the World Cup sweepstakes?
A.1 (Andy): I'm going for Germany, but I know next to nothing about soccer
A.2 (Shane): I'm rooting for Portugal, but I don't think they're going to win the cup

Q (Joleen): Who's got the best banter in the office? And who has the worst?
A.1 (Andy): One of our backend devs, Paavan, typically has some great banter
and even better hot takes
A.2 (Noah): dont @ me for worst banter
A.3 (Shane): Sabih (BA @ Hydrogen) banter is by far the best
submitted by ljb1187 to ProjectHydro [link] [comments]

When US Entrepreneur Meets Chinese Crypto Group Chat

When US Entrepreneur Meets Chinese Crypto Group Chat
If you happened to read my previous post, you would know WeChat group chats plays a phenomenal role to connect the Chinese crypto circle. The night of July 12th, a unique interview took place in one of those WeChat groups. You may even say the first of its kind.
On the one end is my friend Matthew Roszak, co-founder and chairman of Bloq; on the other, there are 499 women--all of them blockchain entrepreneurs and journalists from different parts of China.
I worked as the host of the event. Questions were collected from all members in advance. During the next hour and half, we discussed with Matt his experience as an investor, his insights on the future of blockchain, and the launch of his latest project, Metronome.
https://preview.redd.it/m1o89yit3cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=3203cb1edb87872caf7a7468e19fc6fd07d1d86f
Here is the complete interview. I have tried to keep it as close to the chat history as possible, though minor tweaks were made for easier reading. Enjoy!
Matt: So cool to be here -- and talk about my favorite subject in the world :-)
Bianca: It is my favorite subject as well and glad to do this with one of my favorite people in this field.
Matt: I am so thrilled you asked me to be a part of this special chat -- ever since you produced that blockchain documentary, your star has been rising higher and higher -- congrats Bianca! I see so many amazing women entrepreneurs on this channel -- super impressive!
Bianca: Many incoming questions. We have selected a few. First of all: You’re an experienced blockchain investor. How did you start investing in cryptocurrency? By contrast, what’s your view on the future of Wall Street?
Matt: When I started out I was so inspired by bitcoin -- it was a true innovation, an invention (on the scale of a Nobel prize for Satoshi) and became a social movement.
https://preview.redd.it/ea30tjsv3cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=77a71ff0c873ced7e782c7e5759d9fbec3e63b74
I initially invested in bitcoin, then invested in over 20 companies in the blockchain space -- bridges, roads and tunnels -- think wallets, exchanges, miners, payment processors, software layers, etc. -- that helped me create a mental roadmap on this space back in 2012/2013. More importantly, I met some of the most amazing entrepreneurs in this ecosystem -- folks like CZ at Binance, Ted at Xapo, Charlie at Litecoin, Bobby at BTCC and even my co-founder Jeff Garzik.
My co-founder Jeff is a rare bird -- he worked on the Linix kernel with Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux) -- and worked on the Bitcoin kernel with Satoshi -- these are two of the most important open source projects in history -- so grateful to have him on my team and as my dear friend…
I hosted dinners in every city I traveled to -- about 20-40 people -- that helped me build great relationships and guide my thesis in this space.
I thought Wall Street/institutional investors would have been in crypto more substantially by now -- there is very little institutional money in our space -- the infrastructure to accommodate them, namely custody platforms, is being built however not in the format nor risk tolerance they are comfortable with -- that will change and we will see a lot of money flowing in by the end of this year with 2019 being a breakout year for institutional adoption.
Bianca: You participated in the first ICOs. What are the lessons you learned from those experiences?
Matt: I originally was a bitcoin maximalist -- I was lucky to change that thinking as it would have made me miss other networks like Ethereum, Qtum EOS and many others -- this space is a movie, and not a static picture -- the innovation is rapidly developing and it creates unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.
Another key point is that I am an investor, and not a trader -- so I buy and hold for the most part -- and that discipline has served me well.
https://preview.redd.it/oy765oi04cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=c29c40c6633f7a6c04bf9d1a36aab7bf39c13109
Bianca: Compared to bitcoin or ETH, what are some innovations of Metronome?
Matt: From a tech standpoint, Metronome (MET) is an autonomous network -- meaning there is no author or founder influence or control on the code since its launch -- autonomous networks will be some of the most powerful and valuable networks in all of crypto -- they are also very hard to build as we saw first hand with the DAO, which broke ETH in half -- that project was way different, very complicated and poorly built, hence it's fate -- but getting autonomous networks right is in many ways a key part of this decentralized future we are all building and investing in.
The other key tech component is that MET is the world's first cross-chain crypto -- meaning MET is born on Ethereum but will be able to move to any other EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) -- think ETC, QTUM, RSK/BTC, etc. -- like a boxcar on a railroad that you can move to another track -- this creates a new dimension and relationship between the user and MET where you self govern where your MET resides -- we even called our whitepaper an Owner's Manual :-)
I do not think people will be moving their MET around from track to track, but from a longevity and durability standpoint -- it has staying power even if ETH or any other underlying rail goes away in the future (as you can move it).
So we created MET as an expression of many years of watching the crypto space and believed there was room for more innovation.
The other thing that I am proud of is that the proceeds from the auction didn't go to a foundation or a company, they went into code (a smart contract) -- and all that smart contract does is provide liquidity and price support to the MET community through a decentralized exchanger -- all engineered for the benefit of the MET users/community.
https://preview.redd.it/gtn3zeu24cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=08239f7dda379e731db99b5da3fc68bfa564aa8d
Bianca: Talking about the auction, Metronome used the descending price model during Initial Supply. Did you observe a lower auction price (for instance, due to buyers using bots to do last-minute biddings), thus bringing fewer funds to the pool than you had expected?
Matt: The auction raised about $12MM USD in proceeds during the most difficult week in crypto in 7 months -- we are very proud of the fact that the network launched, the system works, and there were no security issues -- the future is incredibly bright for Metronome!
Most other projects raise money and launch several years out -- MET was made alive at launch! -- again, very difficult to build and create these systems -- I am so proud of the team!
Bianca: What are the differences between working at private equity and crypto investment? How do you normally evaluate a blockchain project?
Matt: OMG sooooo different -- private equity (and even traditional venture) and crypto are two different planets.
The common denominator in how you approach people in PE or VC or crypto is people -- you always back people -- no whitepaper or product roadmap is going to build themselves.
We are in the early days, so great people are raising lots of money with just a whitepaper -- pretty soon the bar will be raised to ensure projects have a working product/protocol -- the bar will raised even further to have users and utility and metrics on that network.
With the total crypto market cap of $250 billion, we are still in the stone ages for crypto -- we have a lot of building and adoption ahead of us -- feels like early Internet or early mobile days -- big fun ahead!
https://preview.redd.it/av8sxmu44cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=4c9f925974372f126dadb4c545a436a241dde879
Bianca: Vitalik just commented “I definitely hope centralized exchanges go burn in hell.” What’s your take on centralized exchanges such as Bitfinex, Binance, and Fcoin?
Matt: Oh boy, good question -- well I think we are watching the evolution of all of this -- we need certain infrastructure to get from A to B in crypto adoption -- even centralized exchanges and wallets -- they are not for everybody but serve an important purpose and address a market need for folks that have no clue how to manage private keys.
In the exchange space I love watching innovators like CZ and team at Binance -- they created an incredible platform, with a tokenized model that many are trying to emulate -- imitation is the greatest form of flattery ;-) they also have a strategy on how to construct a decentralized exchange.
So if you are not innovating and looking to decentralize, your business model may be at risk in the future -- however decentralized applications like this are hard to build and rely on infrastructure and tech that has not been built or not ready for prime time -- decentralization is a journey.
https://preview.redd.it/jbyfe7l64cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=54fdc23caa27b1fac15e0d3770282a03b87bb5e4
Bianca: Many governments are tightening on crypto regulations. Where do you think the government policy on crypto can go?
Matt: Historically technology innovation has always outpaced regulations -- we are seeing that play out big time in crypto.
I am inspired by what Singapore, Switzerland, Malta, Barbados and other countries are doing to attract projects and innovation to their boards in our industry.
Lots of jurisdictional arbitrage is playing out -- countries smell the crypto ;-) and want to bring jobs, innovation and investment to their borders.
This happened before with online gaming, hedge funds, etc. -- however with crypto, these networks can be trillion dollar blood vessels of value.
Bianca: Given the current market situation, what suggestions do you have for investors, entrepreneurs, and service providers?
Matt: Never has a technology frontier like crypto had the potential to impact power centers like Wall Street and Silicon Valley -- that is and will continue to be tested with crypto.
MONEY = POWER (old adage)
MONEY = TECHNOLOGY (with crypto)
TECHNOLOGY = POWER (new adage)
https://preview.redd.it/suyc16f84cd11.png?width=350&format=png&auto=webp&s=7a4a906d87a9d519569f60ed3e2ef37f0d265de6
Bianca: Any story you can share when you sent bitcoins to Clinton and Branson? What were their attitudes towards crypto and blockchain?
Matt: Several years back bitcoin was so abstract to people outside of our industry -- I used to always keep a physical bitcoin on me to use as a conversation starter -- I love the Kialara physical bitcoins -- they are works of art and exposes a cool reaction when I give them to people -- the physicality always helps in a discussion over dinner or a drink -- gives tangible to the intangible ;-)
I was fortunate to meet some great people and try to open their minds to this new technology frontier -- I gave bitcoin to: Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Steve Wozniak, Robin Wright and many more -- Branson is an inspiration for me in how he conducts business and gives so much back to society and the environment.
Bianca: Last question from the group member: do you think the market value of many digital coins will return to zero?
Matt: My sense is that about 90%+ will go to zero -- I think BTC and ETH will continue to do very well as they are the two "gateway cryptos" for new money (institutions) coming into this ecosystem -- that logic will spread to the top 10-20 large and mid-cap cryptos -- speculative network effects will kick in -- we are still in the investment and speculative phase crypto (like it or not) -- once there is real utility, transactions and throughput, we will see which networks wil remain for the long haul -- the potential here is tens of trillions of value -- we have a long way to go…
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Bianca: Before you go, would you like to share your feelings today? Do you have any other words for the ladies in the 499 WeChat Group? :)
Matt: Once more, I am so honored to spend time with you all -- super impressed by the women in this group -- this is the best time to build, invest and be a part of one of the most important societal shifts in history!
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