“Mommy, What is Bitcoin?” How to Teach Kids About ...

Quit My Job...

I quit my job and today was my last day. This was made possible in part by Ethereum.
I first bought Ether at 10 dollars back in January after hearing an interview with Vitalik. It sounded like a neat techonlogy and I thought maybe in 5 years I would see some returns. I had no idea what was about to happen.
Fast forward 9 months and all I can say is it's been a hell of a ride.
For my fellow Ethtraders, here a few lessons I've learned - usually the hard way - along the ride so far...
1) You, me, Jamie Dimon, Mike Novogratz, ScienceGuy9489 and even Vitalik have no fricking idea what's gonna happen. He's said so himself.
Ethereum could shoot up to 750 tomorrow and then fall to 75 the next day. Or it could lurk around 300 for the next two years before exploding to 3000. Who knows! If you have conviction in the technology invest what you are willing to lose and don't get hung up on the day to day movement. It's just noise.
2) This has been said a million times, but for good reason: Don't invest more than you're willing to lose. For most people, this means no more than 10-20% of your money. This really goes for any asset class, even cash since there's inflation risk - but especially crypto. Ideally, in addition to crypto your money is diversified among a variety of asset classes like fiat, stocks, bonds, gold, etc.
3) Never, ever buy or sell on emotion. As a rule, if you feel like you have to buy or sell right away, then you don't. Sure, you might luck out once or twice doing so, but this is called gambling, not trading. Being impulsive will ultimately screw you over.
Our brains are running on millennia old legacy software designed to run away from threats e.g., panic sell, to follow the herd e.g., fomo buy, and in general to survive, not to be rational. When big dollar signs are flashing around, our lizard brains think it's life or death and all reason goes out the window. This is why the vast majority of traders, even professionals, lose money.
Of course in a bull market everyone is a genius. So it's easy to kid yourself, but you're probably not a great trader. I know I'm not. I've read books on trading, and I'm not a total idiot, but the fact is I would be sitting on a lot more Ether right now if I had just bought and held rather than getting all fancy.
There are a few folks who have zen-like discipline or years of experience, but for the rest of us, short-term trading is a losing game. That said, you can treat a small portion of your holdings as play money that you daytrade. Just don't be surprised if it's gone next week.
4) Don't be a maximalist. God knows I was when I first arrived here. I thought Bitcoin was Myspace and Ethereum was Facebook. I came to realize Bitcoin and Ethereum are not competitors; they are trying to do different things. The world needs both gold and oil.
5) This may sound blasphemous, but don't be absolutist about HODL-ing. For most, I think it's wise to take some profits as it goes up by selling a small to moderate portion of your holdings. Then, if/when it majorly corrects you won't freak out and panic sell. Instead, you can buy some back at a lower price. And if it doesn't correct, you'll still walk away with some profit and peace of mind.
Now, if you are very patient and don't need to take profits it's fine to 100% HODL if you are truly able to stick with it. Just be honest with yourself. There are a lot of fair-weather 'hodlers' here who hit the sell button whenever there's a major pullback. It's better, not to mention a hell of a lot easier to sell when it's pumping up than when it's plummeting.
6) It's human nature to never be satisfied. No matter how low you bought, you'll wish you had bought lower or bought more. Or you're gonna kick yourself for not selling at a peak. Remember, most people in this world still have no idea what Ethereum is and even if they do, they do not see its potential like you and me. We're early to the party.
7) Keep your life in balance. This is more important than all the above combined. Sure, it's fine to go through a phase where this consumes your life, but if you spend all day and night staring at red and green on GDAX your health and happiness will suffer. Trust me, I've been there.
Trading is already addictive but throw in a 24/7 market that never sleeps with bewildering volatility and you have the perfect recipe for sleep deprivation, anxiety, and manic ups and downs.
If you're overly obsessed with checking prices, try either setting ground rules (what I do is that I only check prices between 10am and 10pm) or step away completely for a few days or a week. I've done this a few times and I always return to the markets with renewed energy and perspective.
Money is important but once you have enough to get by, it's far less so than friends, family, health, and finding meaningful things to do in life. Remember guys, love over lambos, balance over Binance, and bros over blockfolios.. okay that last one was a stretch..
Finally, it's been said before, but that's because it's the truth: the joy is in the journey. Everything in this world is temporary. Whether Ethereum faces some existential threat and gets wiped out tomorrow or goes on to revolutionize human civilization for centuries to come, someday something else will come along and replace it.
Likewise, your stash may someday be worth zero or a million. But either way you will have won the bigger game in town if you enjoyed the ride and learned a few things along the way.
Stay safe, stay hungry, and enjoy the ride!
Note: Thank you guys for all the replies and encouragement, it means a lot. I had no idea this post would blow up like this. In hindsight, I wish I had titled this post something different and put less emphasis on the quitting job part because that's not what this post is really about. I realized from the responses that the post gives the impression that I am retiring for the rest of my life and intend to never work again. This is definitely not the case! Ethereum simply expedited me getting out of a job situation that I wanted out on anyway and has afforded me some more flexibility and freedom in the short to medium term. While I'm taking a bit of the break from the grind right now, I'll be pursuing work a bit down the line both for financial reasons and because it's part of a meaningful life
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Consensus Network EP35: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/9/8/ep35-cryptocurrency-and-asymmetric-risk-with-teeka-tiwari
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is no stranger to the show. He's a guy who grew up in foster care and came over the US at the age of 16 with just 150 bucks in his pocket and the clothes on his back. And then by the age of 18 becomes the youngest employee at Lehman Brothers. By 20 he becomes the youngest vice president in Lehman history. Later in his career he goes on to launch successful hedge fund and lived the Wall Street dream. I mean he's known on Wall Street as the guy who's made a fortune on what is known as asymmetric risk which is what we’re going to talk about in quite a bit and for the rest of us, for many of us that is, he is best known for being the editor of the Palm Beach confidential newsletter which focuses on digital currencies and I am a subscriber to this by the way. Teeka, welcome back to Wealth Formula Podcast, Teeka Tiwari.
Teeka: Thanks Buck. It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for having me.
Buck: Yeah so you know you were on not too long ago and some people are listening to the stuff about cannabis and they're probably thinking to themselves, why is this guy talking about cannabis and digital currencies like what is his specialty? In fact the way I'm thinking about this there's one main thing that they have in common, they're both in this area that you call and we call asymmetric risk which is really your thing. Discuss what that means and if you would how have you applied it to your own growth and ultimately to your own wealth.
Teeka: So before I get into asymmetric risk I want to talk about how I discovered asymmetric risk and how I changed the way that I yeah. So when I was in my 20s I developed a lot of wealth by taking massive risk in the stock options and commodities market. And I would bet huge positions. And then that all came to an end in the late 90s when I was on the wrong side of a series of trades that were triggered by the Asian financial crisis which ultimately compelled me to file for bankruptcy. And so I had lost about ten years of wealth creation which was considerable at the time. And what I learned was that I had to change my approach that I couldn't get it all every single time otherwise I would never get off this boom-and-bust merry-go-round. So what I realized was is that I would I would build the portfolio of somewhat safer more income oriented investments and then I would focus on these ideas that are called asymmetric risk trade. So what's an asymmetric risk trade? An asymmetric risk trade is where you can take a relatively trivial sum of money and if the idea doesn't work out it doesn't impact your net your net worth or your day-to-day lifestyle in any way shape or form. But the asymmetric part of it is is that if it does work out it can absolutely move the needle on your net worth. So an example of that would be something like neo which I recommended at around 12 cents that ended up going up to about a hundred and sixty one dollars so that's something that you could have put a thousand dollars in and turn it into over a million dollars. That's a classic asymmetric trade. So what I what I tell my readers is you can't build your whole portfolio around high-risk asymmetric trades. But if you take let's say five to ten percent of your liquid net worth and allocate it to these types of situations in a and one of the things I talk about is using uniform position sizing, what you put yourself in the position to do is absolutely grow your network sometimes three four five six X without putting your current lifestyle at risk and it is a sweet spot of wealth creation that I've created and popularized now for several years that has not only transformed my financial life but the financial life of many of my readers.
Buck: So as you know Teeka my group the Wealth Formula Group in general I mean there's a lot of people who are well-to-do they're you know accredited investors they have you know typically probably more money to invest than others they're you know and I say this because there is a little bit of a difference there when it comes to somebody who's barely getting by living check to check, that there is an opportunity in your portfolio to say okay what percentage of this portfolio could I put in that I mean listen if I lose it no big deal I mean I won't be happy about it but it won't hurt me that much on the other hand this could explode. Now when you look at it from the perspective of somebody who's got a fair amount of money and link who's investing you know several hundred thousand dollars a year or maybe a million dollars or something like that like what do you think is a reasonable amount of a portfolio? Like I know for example that even universities are getting into this and they're looking at hey maybe you know 1/2 of 1% or something like that I mean I know you're not in the business of giving financial advice but I'm just curious kind of what your approach would be in terms of allocation.
Teeka: So again generally speaking I would say 5 to 10% of your liquid net worth. So let's say you've got a business that kicks out a million a year that you have to allocate for your investment 50 to $100,000. Definitely nobody likes to lose 50 or a hundred thousand dollars but it's not going to have a material impact on your lifestyle but if you invest 50 to $100,000 and these asymmetric bets pay off you're talking about five six seven eight ten twelve million dollars in returns on what is a relatively tiny investment relative to your net worth and that is the beauty of this approach.
Buck: Yeah and and I'm glad you said that because that's exactly kind of where I'm at sort of lingering between five and ten percent you know and for me you know I I kind of put this in there about you know I kind of put this in that area with startups right I'm not gonna I'm not gonna have a separate category just for digital currencies but anything that is super high risk and high reward and I'm sitting about five or ten percent.
Teeka: That all goes into the same bucket so that's right that for everybody it's not just oh this is crypto currencies five to ten percent and startups is five to ten percent. No all go into the same bucket is asymmetric risk.
Buck: Yeah now okay so we kind of got ahead of ourselves and you know you haven't been on the show talking about crypto currency in a fair amount of time we have a lot more new listeners now so for those who know very little about cryptocurrency but they're smart they're sophisticated say they're a group of you know I know worth investors you're talking to you they've not heard about this how do you explain this in the most efficient way possible and what the significance of it is?
Teeka: Okay so that's a really big question.
Buck: Yeah no I don't but I bet you've answered it a few times.
Teeka: I'm gonna take a shot at it. So listen as a wealthy investor myself why would I want to bother with cryptocurrency? I'm already rich why do I want to mess around with this? So I'm gonna answer it from that perspective. One it's always nice to make more money. But two the bigger reason is, is what I want people to understand especially wealthy investors is that it's very rare to invest at the beginning of a brand-new asset class very very rare right it's brand-new asset classes though just don't come about. Digital currency is a brand-new asset class that has legs. So why does it have legs? It has legs because we have never had an asset class that is completely non correlated with the business cycle. It's never existed before. Every asset class in the world is somehow tied to the business cycle gold, industrial, metals, currencies, stocks, bonds, they're all tied to the business cycle in one way shape or form things like Bitcoin are not so why why does that make it valuable it makes it valuable because if you are pension fund you're allocating capital across traditional and non-traditional assets you still have this problem of deep correlation right the business cycle falls apart and you're taking hits across the board. So there have been studies that have shown just with a small allocation of Bitcoin anywhere from one to five percent across the portfolio even though Bitcoin is wildly volatile because it is not correlated and not tied to the business cycle it actually reduces your overall volatility and your overall risk in your portfolio and that is incredibly valuable. So just from a high level portfolio construction standpoint you will see the world's hedge funds, pension funds, massive allocators of capital start to move tiny slivers of their money into things like Bitcoin and we're talking tiny slivers of an 80 trillion dollar pie right it's in real terms its enormous money in relative terms relative to what they have under management it's a small amount but when you're coming off a base where the whole markets only worth 300 billion it doesn't take much to move the market. So that's from the high level that's why you must have some cryptocurrency. And then the next level beyond that is that mankind has never had an asset there's never been an asset we're a stronger man couldn't take it from a weaker man. So whether it was the caveman knocking one guy over the head for his shells or the government coming in in Venezuela and confiscating money or the Argentinian government saying oh we're having a holiday and taking all your assets from the bank something Brazil has done on multiple occasions. You know the everyday person has not had this ability to hold an asset that has been beyond the confiscationability of a government so something like Bitcoin and digital currency if you are smart and how you buy it if you don't talk about it you buy quietly and you store it appropriately it is absolutely impossible short of somebody putting a literally putting a gun next to your head for them to take that asset from you and that is remarkable because even if you've got a million dollars in gold and you somehow manage to hide it how are you gonna travel the world with a million dollars in gold how are you gonna spend a million dollars in gold you just gonna go to the store and break a piece off with a piece of pliers you just can't do that the beauty of digital currency is you can walk around with a thumb drive that big with a billion dollars in it and nobody knows and let's say hey oh I don't want to keep a billion in Bitcoin I want to do it in a stable coin fine put it in a stable coin. But this idea this portability of money and this complete ownership of an asset that nobody else has any ability to take from you that is valuable that is incredibly valuable.
Buck: So let me ask you a what may seem like a very basic simple question but I think it's worth asking. So why is it so volatile why is Bitcoin Ethereum for example why these are the major the two biggest by market cap why are they so volatile and you know to the extent that they are uncorrelated do you see that as a function of the size of the market cap or is it something else inherent about digital currencies that makes it this volatile?
Teeka: I think it's both. One they're relatively small so if for instance if you look at Microsoft in its early days it was a crazy volatile stock up 40% down 40% down 30% going through bear markets that lasted two years wrecking billions of dollars in value you look at the early days of Microsoft from the 80s into the mid 90s the stock was all over the place and then as the stock got bigger and more mature of course volatility tamp down so you will see that. So what I say with volatility is that welcomed that volatility without it the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money off a small amount of money won't exist. At some point Bitcoin and the theorem will move to this more blue chip status where maybe you make eight percent a year or six percent a year or something or something like that thank goodness we're not there yet. The other side of it is is that there you know the markets that are built around trading these are completely unregulated. They're wild. And there's all types of crazy manipulation that goes on in the market you have some Bitcoin whale let's sell a thousand coins and scare the market down and then let's go buy back 2000 coins it's the Wild West and somebody a skeptic might say well why do I want to buy now why don't I buy when the market calms down because when you buy when the market calms down and it's moved to this very highly regulated very low volatility asset it could have ten x between now and then. So yes there is volatility but I believe if you position size rationally you will be well rewarded for that moment for that volatility and that uncertainty.
Buck: So admittedly I was skeptical of cryptocurrency early on and you know I finally did get in and my timing was actually really good it was a fall early fall 2017 right before a massive bull run. And that of course was followed by what has been called crypto winter. So the question is, is winter over because it sure seems like it's an awful long thawing period I mean no we seem like to have gotten there but there's a stall is it over or do you still see some you know rocky shores ahead before there's a you know big move potentially to all-time highs?
Teeka: Well no crypto winter was over in April. I put out a report talking about that and I pinpointed when that happened it happened when Bitcoin broke its downtrend line. So if you go back and if you look at each of the so-called crypto winters or horrible bear markets that have been in the space Bitcoin will always lead the market first always and then the altcoins play catch up right so it feels worse than it is right now because the alt coins got crushed and many of them have stayed crushed they haven't come back that’s probably the most popular question I get take okay bitcoins up and it's you know been up as much as 400 percent this year but why aren't the old coins moving and my answer is because it's not yet time. If you look back at the data generally there is at least a six-month time lag between the time Bitcoin breaks its downtrend line and the time that the alt coins move higher. So that that next stage we'll be entering to in about October and you'll see a percolation in the alt coins and they'll start playing catch-up.
Buck: Does that also correlate Teeka with Bitcoin like an all-time high for Bitcoin though? I mean I mean obviously Bitcoin has recovered substantially we're like you know three four hundred percent up from you know where we were when Bitcoin was at you know three thousand. The question I have is and I have not looked at this history closely even though there's this recovery, do you have to start approaching all-time highs for those alts to really make their move is that what you've seen historically?
Teeka: No you look back when they all started playing catch up in 2016 Bitcoin was starting to move higher and then going into 2017 and then the alts really didn't start kicking in until around May and that's when they started moving and eventually the alts outpaced the type of action that was going on with bitcoins. So if we look back at how the altcoins move generally what happens is you have a new series of buyers that come into the market and they're all centered around Bitcoin. And that's happening right now. Kelly Lafleur just announced from backed that they're gonna have physically backed futures have been approved September 23rd I believe is the date that they're actually gonna start trading. So this brings in a whole new group of traders a whole new group of investors and then so they start getting their feet with Bitcoin and all of a sudden they're there they might not even know anything about alt coins Buck that that's the thing right for a lot of people out there to them when they think digital currency the only thing they really think of is Bitcoin.
Buck: So as the alt coins are just anything that's not Bitcoin for anybody what we keep talking about so anything Ethereum, any other and any other token that's not Bitcoin generally it's called an altcoin.
Teeka: Right so as they come in they start getting exposed to these other coins and then they start playing with them and they start investing and then they start trading with them and all of a sudden people look at look at Bitcoin and they look at something else it's a little bit smaller and they say okay let's let's play around here and then you start seeing this broadening of the rally.
Buck: So you think that this time around though specifically I know you you you're part of your thesis is that this time around may be different because you know bigger money institutional money, but one of the things that we've really looked at or you've looked at and talked about is you know one of the limitations to big money coming into this stuff is custodianship but the altcoins a lot of the old coins most of them are not gonna have that kind of infrastructure so does that I mean just playing devil's advocate does that then say well they may just stick to whatever they can buy on Coinbase and Bakkt.
Teeka: Well they have well these coins most of the all coins are ERC 20 coins so in terms of having the infrastructure as long as you can support ERC 20 you can support hundreds of coins that currently trade and so if you look at what Bakkt is doing they're gonna be supporting Bitcoin first and then they're going to be supporting Ethereum. So if they support a theory they will naturally support every other ERC20 that's out there and remember companies like Bakkt they're in the business of incentivizing trading because they get paid for everything that that goes through their network. So it would be odd to imagine that they're only going to limit their entire business models with just the trading of Bitcoin it doesn't make any sense. If you look at what they've done in the securities market they haven't just limited themselves to the trading of the S&P 500 they trade everything so I do think that liquidity will trickle down into the whole market and of course the ERC 20 coins I think will be the first to get the most amount of liquidity because it will be the easiest to support from from a back end technology standpoint. The other thing I want to mention is that another driver of the alt coins would be what I believe will be a proliferation of securitization products. So ETF's different types of futures I see a world I've gotta believe within the next 12 months we will see an ETF that will give us the ability to own 20 30 40 maybe 50 coins in one ETF that trades or one type of security that trades maybe it's a coin put out by back and says okay you buy this coin and you've got the top hundred altcoins exposure to the top hundred alt coins.
Buck: Right and then you know I know a lot of people bring do you talk about the ETF for Bitcoin and this has been sort of bounce back but yeah you know we're delayed with the SEC several times do you really think of that as a big deal compared to some of the other movements that you you mentioned Bakkt and I think there's LedgerX things like that where that are allowing for institutional buyers to dissipate is an etf really make much of a difference in your view?
Teeka: I think an ETF is important but I think the SEC is becoming less important in that process and I'll tell you why. Several very large brokerage firms from the Fidelity to eTrade to TD Ameritrade have announced that they want to offer Bitcoin trading to their users. So I'm talking about a system where you can log in click on a button on your Fidelity account and you can start trading Bitcoin the way you with the sp500. Once that comes out let's assume it comes out this year which they've talked about but they want to do it this year but we'll see everything seems to run a little slower than people think. But if that that comes out this year and something like 15 to 20 million people can now trade Bitcoin directly from their brokerage accounts to me it makes an ETF a foregone conclusion because the SEC has no reason now to stand in the way of it. And that's what I'm think that they're waiting for Buck the SEC is not known for blazing a trail the SEC is not known for moving ahead of the market. So if they can look and say well Fidelity is offering it TD Ameritrade is offering it Schwab is offering it we are asses covered if we approve an ETF I think it's really a CYA problem with the SEC they don't want to be the first to make this move and let's say there's a problem with it and everybody blames the SEC.
Buck: You know there is this product data that I know of maybe you could talk about this because then you know in the context of an ETF and being able to buy Bitcoin easily you know.
Teeka: I look at the there's a grayscale Bitcoin trust gbtc which is publicly traded I mean what's the difference what am I missing there I mean that's a closed-end fund that has limited liquidity and sometimes trade at a hundred percent premium.
Buck: Yeah okay so lots of things happening in the spaces you mentioned and one of the things that I think that that you said that is very seems very clearly true whether or not what you know whether or not you believe there's gonna be another bull market is there's a ton of of Technology improvements and infrastructure and all these things that are going on and price mean a lot more by the way then back in 2017 when prices were off the charts so within that context what are you know say they the one or two things that are you most excited about in the space that gives you the greatest confidence that this is you know this is the the new you know the new dot-com era I guess after the rebels fell as you mentioned before offline and you know the rise of the Amazons and the apples in the crypto world.
Teeka: I'll tell you why it's because I'm finally seeing major corporations real corporations doing partnerships with crypto companies not memorandums of understanding MOU’s are meaningless but real partnerships where they're actually using the technology this is stuff i talked about a year ago. Eighteen and a half months ago I said like real companies are going to start coming into this space they're gonna start partnering with some of these companies and start using the technology and it's happening. I'm seeing real businesses like Barclays put up their own money to back certain platforms I was like for instance with trade finance. BMW putting up their own money for back in logistics. So this is a huge shift in in in the type of person that is getting involved in the marketplace. I'm seeing massive credit card processors get involved with tiny startups because they want to piggy back what's going on and the markets that they're opening up with with their with their applications. So this to me Buck is is such a difference maker right like if we came into 2019 and none of these deals were happening I would say I would be on here and I would say buck you know what the cake just isn't baked yet man we just probably gotta wait another year. But when I start seeing very large very smart corporate players making strategic moves to align themselves to certain projects, you can't ignore that. This is something you can't ignore. And so this is what has me incredibly excited for this next phase that I see taking place in crypto.
Buck: You know one of the one things that you mentioned earlier and you've mentioned in the past which I agree with generally speaking is that you know some level of regulation is a good thing so that it becomes less of a manipulated market. So it becomes something that you know larger big money investors and institutional investors take an interest in because they don't want to be in something that's you know that's that's not legit. There is a negative a little bit to that and that some opportunities out there are you know start or you're starting to get restricted in terms of American investors. You know one of the examples I can think of to me is one of what I'm probably one of the biggest things is Binance which is you know the number one trading platform in the world is now effectively you know saying US investors we'll see you later we're gonna build something you know sometime and we're gonna call it you know Binance US and we're gonna have a lot fewer tokens there what concerns me is an investor in some of the various digital currencies at that point is well how does that affect my liquidity as a US investor and I'm wondering how it is affecting your your portfolio?
Teeka: Okay so there's a couple of things around that and I can't advise people to do this I can only report on what some people are doing to get around this geofencing. They're using Virtual Private Networks. With the use of a virtual private network can get access to any exchange in the world so long as they're using a VPN that mimics a country that this exchange is allowed to operate in. So as far as I know Binance is not doing anything to prevent anybody from using a VPN so just want to get that out there.
Buck: Jut to interrupt there I mean that that in itself is a little tricky though right I mean isn't it because then you've got to deal with you know US taxes and all that if you're dealing…
Teeka: Well you always have to deal with US taxes no matter what whether you're using a VPN or not.
Buck: So it wouldn't be illegal technically to use Virtual Private Network to use Binance?
Teeka: For me as an individual would I be breaking any laws, I don't think so but I'm not an attorney. Binance might be breaking some laws or but I don't think that I would be but again this is something everybody has to make their own decision with. But the other side of this is that by Nance is putting together their own decks which is a decentralized exchange which will allow for peer-to-peer trading and I think you'll see more of these types of decentralized exchanges which I'm a big fan of I hate the idea of centralized exchanges anyway. So there are some speed problems with decentralized exchanges but they're getting ironed out and I think within in the future a lot of trading is going to move to peer-to-peer but you're right it's certainly a concern for now I would say the biggest solution that I have read about and again I can't formally tell people to do this is to use a virtual private network.
Buck: The other question though I think as just as a follow-up on that Teeka is that okay so say you use a VPN but not everybody's gonna do that you know probably most people aren't gonna do that didn't then there's an issues just in terms of liquidity right or don't you think that's a problem anymore?
Teeka: I do think it's a problem but I also rely on the greed factor of the participants in this market that they will figure out a solution because there's too much money to be made for liquidity that wants to come into the market somebody will find a way to bring that liquidity into that okay so anyway so like you you know I believe that Bitcoin bull run is inevitable what do you think of anything what are you looking for that might trigger and I know you you're saying already that we're kind of in a bull market already but what triggers that sort of next level all-time high thing is there anything or do you think this is something that's gonna be more of a gradual rise or organic than it was in 2017?
Teeka: Well there are several things which I'm gonna be talking about specifically I don't really want to spill the beans on that here but I have an event coming up which I talk in more detail about a very specific event that I think will act as a massive catalyst. Outside of that I think this whole idea of I call it this kind of new narrative right among institutions where before two years ago three years ago they looked at Bitcoin and they said oh my gosh Bitcoin that's for Gun Runners and pornographers where we we have no interest in Bitcoin. And now they're starting to see Bitcoin as a way to eliminate this correlation risk in their portfolio. So I think that narrative will gain more ground in fact I've been invited to a conference in San Moritz with 500 top-tier investors and I will be putting forward that research that I've drawn together to that audience and really helping propagate that narrative because it is transformational if you manage a large pool of capital what you can do with your overall volatility and how you can adjust it lower through just a tiny amount of Bitcoin is absolutely remarkable. So I think that's more of a slow burn Buck, but as that gains speed I mean can you just imagine just the amount of buying if pension funds say okay going forward half of 1% of all our assets are going to be in digital currency.
Buck: I mean in part of part of understanding that for people is to understand one of the the great things about Bitcoin in particular is that this is an asset with that is fixed to a certain number of Bitcoin that'll ever be created so you know we've never really had a that kind of monetary thing before I mean to a certain extent gold is that way of course but even you know gold there's always more gold every year a little bit more gold. This is a truly deflationary asset that really where you know you put more money in the pot you know each one of those bitcoins gonna be worth a lot more and that I can't think of anything else that's out there like that.
Teeka: I agree.
Buck: I know you've got you know the the Palm Beach Confidential Newsletter Teeka I just have to compliment you because I you know I have been a reader for a couple years it is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful investment newsletters I've ever subscribed to. I mean it is totally the real deal and I appreciate that and one of the things that people can't join any time and it opens and closes and I know that it is going to be opening up and you're going to do a webinar coming up on that but can you talk a little bit about the newsletter and the event that's coming up?
Teeka: Yeah sure so in the newsletter what I do is I will typically find one idea each month and give you a complete breakdown on the idea. And what I try to do I understand not everybody is a cryptocurrency enthusiastic of their currency investor and so what I try to do is write in a way that is easy to digest, easy to understand, not simplistic but very easy for the layperson to get their head around and to really understand the concept that we're talking about. And I have not opened up Palm Beach confidential for any new members for this whole year, this is the first time that I've done that and the reason is, is I only open up Palm Beach confidential to new members when there's an event that I think can have a massive impact on the broad market. So on September 18th at 8 p.m. I'm going to talk about one of these events and the last time this event took place you could literally take 500 dollars and turn it into five million dollars. There's only a few times in the history of crypto where you have those types of windows of opportunity and so one of those windows of opportunity is about to open and so at this event I'm gonna explain what it is why it works and why it will absolutely happen this particular event will absolutely happen there's nothing that can stop the event from taking place. And so I'm gonna share my five top coins, one of which I'll give away for free during the webinar that I think have that ability to go from five hundred dollars literally into five million. So it's an exciting time and I'm really kind of chomping at the bit to kind of get in front of everybody and talk about this research that I've discovered.
Buck: One last thing I want to point out is I get you know when we talk like this sometimes people get really skeptical they're like yeah that sounds a little salesy Buck that's not really kind of the usual thing that you're talking about and I get it right. The reality is this is a situation this isn't you know there are real people out there there are kids out there who've become multimillionaires by doing exactly this. And so it's real, that's why I'm interested.
Teeka: In my own investing I've seen a thousand dollar investment go to as much as 1.6 million dollars, ok so it's real. The other thing I want to convey to everybody I don't have to write newsletters anymore I don't have to come on podcast I can sit on a beach all I want ok. So why do I do this I do this because moving the needle on somebody's net worth maybe not this audience maybe my broader audience it's incredibly gratifying right helping people change their lives without putting their current lifestyle at risk that's I mean if that's my one legacy in this life could you ask for anything more Buck? Really it's incredibly gratifying to be able to do that and we have this opportunity now and but this opportunity won't last forever at some point this will be a multi trillion dollar asset class and the ability to make gains like that just won't exist.
Buck: Teeka, as always it's been a pleasure talking to you and thanks again for being on Wealth Formula Podcast.
Teeka: Thank you Buck.
Buck: We'll be right back.
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Wealth Formula Episode 175: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Wealth Formula Episode 175: Cryptocurrency and Asymmetric Risk with Teeka Tiwari

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/175-cryptocurrency-and-asymmetric-risk-with-teeka-tiwari/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is no stranger to the show. He’s a guy who grew up in foster care and came over the US at the age of 16 with just 150 bucks in his pocket and the clothes on his back. And then by the age of 18 becomes the youngest employee at Lehman Brothers. By 20 he becomes the youngest vice president in Lehman history. Later in his career he goes on to launch successful hedge fund and lived the Wall Street dream. I mean he’s known on Wall Street as the guy who’s made a fortune on what is known as asymmetric risk which is what we’re going to talk about in quite a bit and for the rest of us, for many of us that is, he is best known for being the editor of the Palm Beach confidential newsletter which focuses on digital currencies and I am a subscriber to this by the way. Teeka, welcome back to Wealth Formula Podcast, Teeka Tiwari.
Teeka: Thanks Buck. It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for having me.
Buck: Yeah so you know you were on not too long ago and some people are listening to the stuff about cannabis and they’re probably thinking to themselves, why is this guy talking about cannabis and digital currencies like what is his specialty? In fact the way I’m thinking about this there’s one main thing that they have in common, they’re both in this area that you call and we call asymmetric risk which is really your thing. Discuss what that means and if you would how have you applied it to your own growth and ultimately to your own wealth.
Teeka: So before I get into asymmetric risk I want to talk about how I discovered asymmetric risk and how I changed the way that I yeah. So when I was in my 20s I developed a lot of wealth by taking massive risk in the stock options and commodities market. And I would bet huge positions. And then that all came to an end in the late 90s when I was on the wrong side of a series of trades that were triggered by the Asian financial crisis which ultimately compelled me to file for bankruptcy. And so I had lost about ten years of wealth creation which was considerable at the time. And what I learned was that I had to change my approach that I couldn’t get it all every single time otherwise I would never get off this boom-and-bust merry-go-round. So what I realized was is that I would I would build the portfolio of somewhat safer more income oriented investments and then I would focus on these ideas that are called asymmetric risk trade. So what’s an asymmetric risk trade? An asymmetric risk trade is where you can take a relatively trivial sum of money and if the idea doesn’t work out it doesn’t impact your net your net worth or your day-to-day lifestyle in any way shape or form. But the asymmetric part of it is is that if it does work out it can absolutely move the needle on your net worth. So an example of that would be something like neo which I recommended at around 12 cents that ended up going up to about a hundred and sixty one dollars so that’s something that you could have put a thousand dollars in and turn it into over a million dollars. That’s a classic asymmetric trade. So what I what I tell my readers is you can’t build your whole portfolio around high-risk asymmetric trades. But if you take let’s say five to ten percent of your liquid net worth and allocate it to these types of situations in a and one of the things I talk about is using uniform position sizing, what you put yourself in the position to do is absolutely grow your network sometimes three four five six X without putting your current lifestyle at risk and it is a sweet spot of wealth creation that I’ve created and popularized now for several years that has not only transformed my financial life but the financial life of many of my readers.
Buck: So as you know Teeka my group the Wealth Formula Group in general I mean there’s a lot of people who are well-to-do they’re you know accredited investors they have you know typically probably more money to invest than others they’re you know and I say this because there is a little bit of a difference there when it comes to somebody who’s barely getting by living check to check, that there is an opportunity in your portfolio to say okay what percentage of this portfolio could I put in that I mean listen if I lose it no big deal I mean I won’t be happy about it but it won’t hurt me that much on the other hand this could explode. Now when you look at it from the perspective of somebody who’s got a fair amount of money and link who’s investing you know several hundred thousand dollars a year or maybe a million dollars or something like that like what do you think is a reasonable amount of a portfolio? Like I know for example that even universities are getting into this and they’re looking at hey maybe you know 1/2 of 1% or something like that I mean I know you’re not in the business of giving financial advice but I’m just curious kind of what your approach would be in terms of allocation.
Teeka: So again generally speaking I would say 5 to 10% of your liquid net worth. So let’s say you’ve got a business that kicks out a million a year that you have to allocate for your investment 50 to $100,000. Definitely nobody likes to lose 50 or a hundred thousand dollars but it’s not going to have a material impact on your lifestyle but if you invest 50 to $100,000 and these asymmetric bets pay off you’re talking about five six seven eight ten twelve million dollars in returns on what is a relatively tiny investment relative to your net worth and that is the beauty of this approach.
Buck: Yeah and and I’m glad you said that because that’s exactly kind of where I’m at sort of lingering between five and ten percent you know and for me you know I I kind of put this in there about you know I kind of put this in that area with startups right I’m not gonna I’m not gonna have a separate category just for digital currencies but anything that is super high risk and high reward and I’m sitting about five or ten percent.
Teeka: That all goes into the same bucket so that’s right that for everybody it’s not just oh this is crypto currencies five to ten percent and startups is five to ten percent. No all go into the same bucket is asymmetric risk.
Buck: Yeah now okay so we kind of got ahead of ourselves and you know you haven’t been on the show talking about crypto currency in a fair amount of time we have a lot more new listeners now so for those who know very little about cryptocurrency but they’re smart they’re sophisticated say they’re a group of you know I know worth investors you’re talking to you they’ve not heard about this how do you explain this in the most efficient way possible and what the significance of it is?
Teeka: Okay so that’s a really big question.
Buck: Yeah no I don’t but I bet you’ve answered it a few times.
Teeka: I’m gonna take a shot at it. So listen as a wealthy investor myself why would I want to bother with cryptocurrency? I’m already rich why do I want to mess around with this? So I’m gonna answer it from that perspective. One it’s always nice to make more money. But two the bigger reason is, is what I want people to understand especially wealthy investors is that it’s very rare to invest at the beginning of a brand-new asset class very very rare right it’s brand-new asset classes though just don’t come about. Digital currency is a brand-new asset class that has legs. So why does it have legs? It has legs because we have never had an asset class that is completely non correlated with the business cycle. It’s never existed before. Every asset class in the world is somehow tied to the business cycle gold, industrial, metals, currencies, stocks, bonds, they’re all tied to the business cycle in one way shape or form things like Bitcoin are not so why why does that make it valuable it makes it valuable because if you are pension fund you’re allocating capital across traditional and non-traditional assets you still have this problem of deep correlation right the business cycle falls apart and you’re taking hits across the board. So there have been studies that have shown just with a small allocation of Bitcoin anywhere from one to five percent across the portfolio even though Bitcoin is wildly volatile because it is not correlated and not tied to the business cycle it actually reduces your overall volatility and your overall risk in your portfolio and that is incredibly valuable. So just from a high level portfolio construction standpoint you will see the world’s hedge funds, pension funds, massive allocators of capital start to move tiny slivers of their money into things like Bitcoin and we’re talking tiny slivers of an 80 trillion dollar pie right it’s in real terms its enormous money in relative terms relative to what they have under management it’s a small amount but when you’re coming off a base where the whole markets only worth 300 billion it doesn’t take much to move the market. So that’s from the high level that’s why you must have some cryptocurrency. And then the next level beyond that is that mankind has never had an asset there’s never been an asset we’re a stronger man couldn’t take it from a weaker man. So whether it was the caveman knocking one guy over the head for his shells or the government coming in in Venezuela and confiscating money or the Argentinian government saying oh we’re having a holiday and taking all your assets from the bank something Brazil has done on multiple occasions. You know the everyday person has not had this ability to hold an asset that has been beyond the confiscationability of a government so something like Bitcoin and digital currency if you are smart and how you buy it if you don’t talk about it you buy quietly and you store it appropriately it is absolutely impossible short of somebody putting a literally putting a gun next to your head for them to take that asset from you and that is remarkable because even if you’ve got a million dollars in gold and you somehow manage to hide it how are you gonna travel the world with a million dollars in gold how are you gonna spend a million dollars in gold you just gonna go to the store and break a piece off with a piece of pliers you just can’t do that the beauty of digital currency is you can walk around with a thumb drive that big with a billion dollars in it and nobody knows and let’s say hey oh I don’t want to keep a billion in Bitcoin I want to do it in a stable coin fine put it in a stable coin. But this idea this portability of money and this complete ownership of an asset that nobody else has any ability to take from you that is valuable that is incredibly valuable.
Buck: So let me ask you a what may seem like a very basic simple question but I think it’s worth asking. So why is it so volatile why is Bitcoin Ethereum for example why these are the major the two biggest by market cap why are they so volatile and you know to the extent that they are uncorrelated do you see that as a function of the size of the market cap or is it something else inherent about digital currencies that makes it this volatile?
Teeka: I think it’s both. One they’re relatively small so if for instance if you look at Microsoft in its early days it was a crazy volatile stock up 40% down 40% down 30% going through bear markets that lasted two years wrecking billions of dollars in value you look at the early days of Microsoft from the 80s into the mid 90s the stock was all over the place and then as the stock got bigger and more mature of course volatility tamp down so you will see that. So what I say with volatility is that welcomed that volatility without it the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money off a small amount of money won’t exist. At some point Bitcoin and the theorem will move to this more blue chip status where maybe you make eight percent a year or six percent a year or something or something like that thank goodness we’re not there yet. The other side of it is is that there you know the markets that are built around trading these are completely unregulated. They’re wild. And there’s all types of crazy manipulation that goes on in the market you have some Bitcoin whale let’s sell a thousand coins and scare the market down and then let’s go buy back 2000 coins it’s the Wild West and somebody a skeptic might say well why do I want to buy now why don’t I buy when the market calms down because when you buy when the market calms down and it’s moved to this very highly regulated very low volatility asset it could have ten x between now and then. So yes there is volatility but I believe if you position size rationally you will be well rewarded for that moment for that volatility and that uncertainty.
Buck: So admittedly I was skeptical of cryptocurrency early on and you know I finally did get in and my timing was actually really good it was a fall early fall 2017 right before a massive bull run. And that of course was followed by what has been called crypto winter. So the question is, is winter over because it sure seems like it’s an awful long thawing period I mean no we seem like to have gotten there but there’s a stall is it over or do you still see some you know rocky shores ahead before there’s a you know big move potentially to all-time highs?
Teeka: Well no crypto winter was over in April. I put out a report talking about that and I pinpointed when that happened it happened when Bitcoin broke its downtrend line. So if you go back and if you look at each of the so-called crypto winters or horrible bear markets that have been in the space Bitcoin will always lead the market first always and then the altcoins play catch up right so it feels worse than it is right now because the alt coins got crushed and many of them have stayed crushed they haven’t come back that’s probably the most popular question I get take okay bitcoins up and it’s you know been up as much as 400 percent this year but why aren’t the old coins moving and my answer is because it’s not yet time. If you look back at the data generally there is at least a six-month time lag between the time Bitcoin breaks its downtrend line and the time that the alt coins move higher. So that that next stage we’ll be entering to in about October and you’ll see a percolation in the alt coins and they’ll start playing catch-up.
Buck: Does that also correlate Teeka with Bitcoin like an all-time high for Bitcoin though? I mean I mean obviously Bitcoin has recovered substantially we’re like you know three four hundred percent up from you know where we were when Bitcoin was at you know three thousand. The question I have is and I have not looked at this history closely even though there’s this recovery, do you have to start approaching all-time highs for those alts to really make their move is that what you’ve seen historically?
Teeka: No you look back when they all started playing catch up in 2016 Bitcoin was starting to move higher and then going into 2017 and then the alts really didn’t start kicking in until around May and that’s when they started moving and eventually the alts outpaced the type of action that was going on with bitcoins. So if we look back at how the altcoins move generally what happens is you have a new series of buyers that come into the market and they’re all centered around Bitcoin. And that’s happening right now. Kelly Lafleur just announced from backed that they’re gonna have physically backed futures have been approved September 23rd I believe is the date that they’re actually gonna start trading. So this brings in a whole new group of traders a whole new group of investors and then so they start getting their feet with Bitcoin and all of a sudden they’re there they might not even know anything about alt coins Buck that that’s the thing right for a lot of people out there to them when they think digital currency the only thing they really think of is Bitcoin.
Buck: So as the alt coins are just anything that’s not Bitcoin for anybody what we keep talking about so anything Ethereum, any other and any other token that’s not Bitcoin generally it’s called an altcoin.
Teeka: Right so as they come in they start getting exposed to these other coins and then they start playing with them and they start investing and then they start trading with them and all of a sudden people look at look at Bitcoin and they look at something else it’s a little bit smaller and they say okay let’s let’s play around here and then you start seeing this broadening of the rally.
Buck: So you think that this time around though specifically I know you you you’re part of your thesis is that this time around may be different because you know bigger money institutional money, but one of the things that we’ve really looked at or you’ve looked at and talked about is you know one of the limitations to big money coming into this stuff is custodianship but the altcoins a lot of the old coins most of them are not gonna have that kind of infrastructure so does that I mean just playing devil’s advocate does that then say well they may just stick to whatever they can buy on Coinbase and Bakkt.
Teeka: Well they have well these coins most of the all coins are ERC 20 coins so in terms of having the infrastructure as long as you can support ERC 20 you can support hundreds of coins that currently trade and so if you look at what Bakkt is doing they’re gonna be supporting Bitcoin first and then they’re going to be supporting Ethereum. So if they support a theory they will naturally support every other ERC20 that’s out there and remember companies like Bakkt they’re in the business of incentivizing trading because they get paid for everything that that goes through their network. So it would be odd to imagine that they’re only going to limit their entire business models with just the trading of Bitcoin it doesn’t make any sense. If you look at what they’ve done in the securities market they haven’t just limited themselves to the trading of the S&P 500 they trade everything so I do think that liquidity will trickle down into the whole market and of course the ERC 20 coins I think will be the first to get the most amount of liquidity because it will be the easiest to support from from a back end technology standpoint. The other thing I want to mention is that another driver of the alt coins would be what I believe will be a proliferation of securitization products. So ETF’s different types of futures I see a world I’ve gotta believe within the next 12 months we will see an ETF that will give us the ability to own 20 30 40 maybe 50 coins in one ETF that trades or one type of security that trades maybe it’s a coin put out by back and says okay you buy this coin and you’ve got the top hundred altcoins exposure to the top hundred alt coins.
Buck: Right and then you know I know a lot of people bring do you talk about the ETF for Bitcoin and this has been sort of bounce back but yeah you know we’re delayed with the SEC several times do you really think of that as a big deal compared to some of the other movements that you you mentioned Bakkt and I think there’s LedgerX things like that where that are allowing for institutional buyers to dissipate is an etf really make much of a difference in your view?
Teeka: I think an ETF is important but I think the SEC is becoming less important in that process and I’ll tell you why. Several very large brokerage firms from the Fidelity to eTrade to TD Ameritrade have announced that they want to offer Bitcoin trading to their users. So I’m talking about a system where you can log in click on a button on your Fidelity account and you can start trading Bitcoin the way you with the sp500. Once that comes out let’s assume it comes out this year which they’ve talked about but they want to do it this year but we’ll see everything seems to run a little slower than people think. But if that that comes out this year and something like 15 to 20 million people can now trade Bitcoin directly from their brokerage accounts to me it makes an ETF a foregone conclusion because the SEC has no reason now to stand in the way of it. And that’s what I’m think that they’re waiting for Buck the SEC is not known for blazing a trail the SEC is not known for moving ahead of the market. So if they can look and say well Fidelity is offering it TD Ameritrade is offering it Schwab is offering it we are asses covered if we approve an ETF I think it’s really a CYA problem with the SEC they don’t want to be the first to make this move and let’s say there’s a problem with it and everybody blames the SEC.
Buck: You know there is this product data that I know of maybe you could talk about this because then you know in the context of an ETF and being able to buy Bitcoin easily you know.
Teeka: I look at the there’s a grayscale Bitcoin trust gbtc which is publicly traded I mean what’s the difference what am I missing there I mean that’s a closed-end fund that has limited liquidity and sometimes trade at a hundred percent premium.
Buck: Yeah okay so lots of things happening in the spaces you mentioned and one of the things that I think that that you said that is very seems very clearly true whether or not what you know whether or not you believe there’s gonna be another bull market is there’s a ton of of Technology improvements and infrastructure and all these things that are going on and price mean a lot more by the way then back in 2017 when prices were off the charts so within that context what are you know say they the one or two things that are you most excited about in the space that gives you the greatest confidence that this is you know this is the the new you know the new dot-com era I guess after the rebels fell as you mentioned before offline and you know the rise of the Amazons and the apples in the crypto world.
Teeka: I’ll tell you why it’s because I’m finally seeing major corporations real corporations doing partnerships with crypto companies not memorandums of understanding MOU’s are meaningless but real partnerships where they’re actually using the technology this is stuff i talked about a year ago. Eighteen and a half months ago I said like real companies are going to start coming into this space they’re gonna start partnering with some of these companies and start using the technology and it’s happening. I’m seeing real businesses like Barclays put up their own money to back certain platforms I was like for instance with trade finance. BMW putting up their own money for back in logistics. So this is a huge shift in in in the type of person that is getting involved in the marketplace. I’m seeing massive credit card processors get involved with tiny startups because they want to piggy back what’s going on and the markets that they’re opening up with with their with their applications. So this to me Buck is is such a difference maker right like if we came into 2019 and none of these deals were happening I would say I would be on here and I would say buck you know what the cake just isn’t baked yet man we just probably gotta wait another year. But when I start seeing very large very smart corporate players making strategic moves to align themselves to certain projects, you can’t ignore that. This is something you can’t ignore. And so this is what has me incredibly excited for this next phase that I see taking place in crypto.
Buck: You know one of the one things that you mentioned earlier and you’ve mentioned in the past which I agree with generally speaking is that you know some level of regulation is a good thing so that it becomes less of a manipulated market. So it becomes something that you know larger big money investors and institutional investors take an interest in because they don’t want to be in something that’s you know that’s that’s not legit. There is a negative a little bit to that and that some opportunities out there are you know start or you’re starting to get restricted in terms of American investors. You know one of the examples I can think of to me is one of what I’m probably one of the biggest things is Binance which is you know the number one trading platform in the world is now effectively you know saying US investors we’ll see you later we’re gonna build something you know sometime and we’re gonna call it you know Binance US and we’re gonna have a lot fewer tokens there what concerns me is an investor in some of the various digital currencies at that point is well how does that affect my liquidity as a US investor and I’m wondering how it is affecting your your portfolio?
Teeka: Okay so there’s a couple of things around that and I can’t advise people to do this I can only report on what some people are doing to get around this geofencing. They’re using Virtual Private Networks. With the use of a virtual private network can get access to any exchange in the world so long as they’re using a VPN that mimics a country that this exchange is allowed to operate in. So as far as I know Binance is not doing anything to prevent anybody from using a VPN so just want to get that out there.
Buck: Jut to interrupt there I mean that that in itself is a little tricky though right I mean isn’t it because then you’ve got to deal with you know US taxes and all that if you’re dealing…
Teeka: Well you always have to deal with US taxes no matter what whether you’re using a VPN or not.
Buck: So it wouldn’t be illegal technically to use Virtual Private Network to use Binance?
Teeka: For me as an individual would I be breaking any laws, I don’t think so but I’m not an attorney. Binance might be breaking some laws or but I don’t think that I would be but again this is something everybody has to make their own decision with. But the other side of this is that by Nance is putting together their own decks which is a decentralized exchange which will allow for peer-to-peer trading and I think you’ll see more of these types of decentralized exchanges which I’m a big fan of I hate the idea of centralized exchanges anyway. So there are some speed problems with decentralized exchanges but they’re getting ironed out and I think within in the future a lot of trading is going to move to peer-to-peer but you’re right it’s certainly a concern for now I would say the biggest solution that I have read about and again I can’t formally tell people to do this is to use a virtual private network.
Buck: The other question though I think as just as a follow-up on that Teeka is that okay so say you use a VPN but not everybody’s gonna do that you know probably most people aren’t gonna do that didn’t then there’s an issues just in terms of liquidity right or don’t you think that’s a problem anymore?
Teeka: I do think it’s a problem but I also rely on the greed factor of the participants in this market that they will figure out a solution because there’s too much money to be made for liquidity that wants to come into the market somebody will find a way to bring that liquidity into that okay so anyway so like you you know I believe that Bitcoin bull run is inevitable what do you think of anything what are you looking for that might trigger and I know you you’re saying already that we’re kind of in a bull market already but what triggers that sort of next level all-time high thing is there anything or do you think this is something that’s gonna be more of a gradual rise or organic than it was in 2017?
Teeka: Well there are several things which I’m gonna be talking about specifically I don’t really want to spill the beans on that here but I have an event coming up which I talk in more detail about a very specific event that I think will act as a massive catalyst. Outside of that I think this whole idea of I call it this kind of new narrative right among institutions where before two years ago three years ago they looked at Bitcoin and they said oh my gosh Bitcoin that’s for Gun Runners and pornographers where we we have no interest in Bitcoin. And now they’re starting to see Bitcoin as a way to eliminate this correlation risk in their portfolio. So I think that narrative will gain more ground in fact I’ve been invited to a conference in San Moritz with 500 top-tier investors and I will be putting forward that research that I’ve drawn together to that audience and really helping propagate that narrative because it is transformational if you manage a large pool of capital what you can do with your overall volatility and how you can adjust it lower through just a tiny amount of Bitcoin is absolutely remarkable. So I think that’s more of a slow burn Buck, but as that gains speed I mean can you just imagine just the amount of buying if pension funds say okay going forward half of 1% of all our assets are going to be in digital currency.
Buck: I mean in part of part of understanding that for people is to understand one of the the great things about Bitcoin in particular is that this is an asset with that is fixed to a certain number of Bitcoin that’ll ever be created so you know we’ve never really had a that kind of monetary thing before I mean to a certain extent gold is that way of course but even you know gold there’s always more gold every year a little bit more gold. This is a truly deflationary asset that really where you know you put more money in the pot you know each one of those bitcoins gonna be worth a lot more and that I can’t think of anything else that’s out there like that.
Teeka: I agree.
Buck: I know you’ve got you know the the Palm Beach Confidential Newsletter Teeka I just have to compliment you because I you know I have been a reader for a couple years it is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful investment newsletters I’ve ever subscribed to. I mean it is totally the real deal and I appreciate that and one of the things that people can’t join any time and it opens and closes and I know that it is going to be opening up and you’re going to do a webinar coming up on that but can you talk a little bit about the newsletter and the event that’s coming up?
Teeka: Yeah sure so in the newsletter what I do is I will typically find one idea each month and give you a complete breakdown on the idea. And what I try to do I understand not everybody is a cryptocurrency enthusiastic of their currency investor and so what I try to do is write in a way that is easy to digest, easy to understand, not simplistic but very easy for the layperson to get their head around and to really understand the concept that we’re talking about. And I have not opened up Palm Beach confidential for any new members for this whole year, this is the first time that I’ve done that and the reason is, is I only open up Palm Beach confidential to new members when there’s an event that I think can have a massive impact on the broad market. So on September 18th at 8 p.m. I’m going to talk about one of these events and the last time this event took place you could literally take 500 dollars and turn it into five million dollars. There’s only a few times in the history of crypto where you have those types of windows of opportunity and so one of those windows of opportunity is about to open and so at this event I’m gonna explain what it is why it works and why it will absolutely happen this particular event will absolutely happen there’s nothing that can stop the event from taking place. And so I’m gonna share my five top coins, one of which I’ll give away for free during the webinar that I think have that ability to go from five hundred dollars literally into five million. So it’s an exciting time and I’m really kind of chomping at the bit to kind of get in front of everybody and talk about this research that I’ve discovered.
Buck: One last thing I want to point out is I get you know when we talk like this sometimes people get really skeptical they’re like yeah that sounds a little salesy Buck that’s not really kind of the usual thing that you’re talking about and I get it right. The reality is this is a situation this isn’t you know there are real people out there there are kids out there who’ve become multimillionaires by doing exactly this. And so it’s real, that’s why I’m interested.
Teeka: In my own investing I’ve seen a thousand dollar investment go to as much as 1.6 million dollars, ok so it’s real. The other thing I want to convey to everybody I don’t have to write newsletters anymore I don’t have to come on podcast I can sit on a beach all I want ok. So why do I do this I do this because moving the needle on somebody’s net worth maybe not this audience maybe maybe my broader audience it’s incredibly gratifying right helping people change their lives without putting their current lifestyle at risk that’s I mean if that’s my one legacy in this life could you ask for anything more Buck? Really it’s incredibly gratifying to be able to do that and we have this opportunity now and but this opportunity won’t last forever at some point this will be a multi trillion dollar asset class and the ability to make gains like that just won’t exist.
Buck: Teeka, as always it’s been a pleasure talking to you and thanks again for being on Wealth Formula Podcast.
Teeka: Thank you Buck.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Cryptopia CEO Alan Booth on the Cryptocurrency Exchange Realm (Full Article No Link)

Alan Booth is the CEO of one of Cryptopia, an exchange regarded as having one of the widest selection of tokens. Founded in 2014, Cryptopia is one of a handful of blockchain-focused companies in New Zealand.
The Cryptopia team is often tasked with researching hundreds of projects to determine their efficacy before any other major exchange has touched them. The exchange lists many projects in their early stages and post-ICO.
As an entrepreneur and business consultant for over 50 years, Alan Booth’s story is fairly atypical of that of many entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency world. His perspective on the cryptocurrency is grounded in decades of business development experience, and he views the cryptocurrency exchange realm as one of the most exciting opportunities yet.
In the following interview, we dive into everything from cryptocurrency psychology, the coin listing process, and blockchain entrepreneurship.
How did you get introduced into the crypto world?
That’s interesting. I was consulting for Cryptopia or consulting to assist them in their development path for several months when it became obvious that they needed some senior leadership to move them from where they are, which was basically a reactive technical focus to a more business global focus on how we develop their business model. We are very conscious of the fact that you need a higher level of thinking. You need a global perspective, particularly from New Zealand because there’s not a lot of us down here.
That probably predicates why we’re a global business grown out of such a small population. We’d known each other for a while, certainly six months or so, and when the opportunity came up, why wouldn’t I move from a very safe, comfortable, fun job that I had previously, which was the chief executive of an international flying school. Nothing really scary goes on there.
I am at the latter end of my working life, somewhat semi-retired and all my colleagues went, “You’re going to do what? Are you kidding?” Of course, the blood pressure went up and I said, “yeah, I’m going to have a go at this.”
So, it’s really about the opportunity when you’ve learned so much over 40 or 50 years of developing business models and floating companies and taking them to the world, which is primarily what I’ve done. To find something that’s new and a full of excitement and fear and trepidation and where is all this going? Then it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to pass up. So, it’s just the daredevil saying let’s go.
The risk and the general fervor for the industry have gotten a lot of people very excited. What are the top concerns for exchanges moving forward from your perspective?
They are many fold and they are variable based on feedback from the community and somewhat driven by legislation, driven by corporate requirements. The FinTech world, we’ve got to look at that as well as the coin world. If we want to grow and deliver a product that the average consumer can consume, then we have to deliver all the things that they would typically expect. So, if you went into a retail store to buy a heater, you expect to have a warranty.
You expect to be safe, you expect to be treated well with clarity. And typically, the coin industry to date has not been very good at that because it’s been evolving and mostly evolving from a technical perspective with probably less weight put on the public consumption of the coin. It’s being technically driven as a technical product when you look at it. When you go to the exchange, some of them take a fair bit of thinking about before you can operate.
So, for us, the first thing is trust. If people can’t trust your brand, and that means every part of it, you’re not going to succeed. So, we are very proactive here in New Zealand, talking to legislators, government agencies in and out of New Zealand. KYC, AML, CML, all of that stuff. We are drafting our own internal rules and then most cases they exceed the requirements of our banking partners. So, they look at us and they go, wow, you’re way ahead of where we thought it would be. So, developing a trust relationship with our consumers and business partners is vital. The next thing is developing a stable and functional platform. I don’t just mean the coin exchange itself, but all of the underlying technology. Will we be up? Do we have latency? Are we speedy? Have we purchased the right partnership relationships for our equipment and how do we continue to be able to scale at will and not risk failing to deliver a result? That means helping people get an exchange done, their coins on and off. I suspect it’s the same as every other exchange.
Only thing is, down here, we have really focused on three things to move us very quickly forward. One is the public-facing components. That’s the help desk if you get stuck. We want to be able to respond very quickly. And like the other exchanges, we headed enormous influx in the early part of the year and that was debilitating. Nobody was ready for it. We employed teams of people to come in and train as support operators. We’ve since then spent a huge amount of money on a new ticketing system, which actually went live yesterday.
So, this morning when I come in, there’s smiley faces trying to get their head around it going, wow, this is amazing. So, we triage all the tickets on the inbound route now and puts it in a good space for our response team to reply as quickly as possible, I want. At the moment, we’re not there. Instead of being 40 or 50 hours and all these horrible delays, I want people to have a response from us immediately and I mean within seconds saying we’ve got your ticket. I can’t answer it right now, but we’re on you. Then, within hours, get back to those customers and fix their problem. They don’t deserve to wait 24 hours or 48 hours. People are anxious. Ticketing, we’ve done something about it. Highly trained staff, we’re employing all the time. We’ve developed foreign offices to beat the time zone thing. We now have a support office in the UK that we have had for some time, actually. The next thing is just the stabilizing of our software and hardware.
When you start these things, the enthusiasm and the inexperience of the development team may not know what’s here to them and now we’ve bought in bigger, stronger, international teams. So, that’s great what you’ve got, but let’s do this. So, that’s the phase we’re on now. We’re spending all of our money. In fact, every penny that we generate in this business goes straight back into furthering and developing the products. Nobody’s racing home in Lamborghinis or flying their jets around. They’re just piling into it.
So, that’s how I am in terms of producing a high-quality product. It’s not a decision we just made. It’s always been there, but we are now articulating it internally, that we want to be in the top five of crypto exchanges and digital asset exchanges of some form within the next two years. In the top five, bar none, in every respect.
Would you say the number one component of being thought of as one of the top five would be trading volume? Is that the primary metric?
I absolutely agree with you, but you can’t have trading volume unless you provide the other things first, like security, safety, a good trading platform. If you want trading volume, I have to have a reason for you to trust me, which has to be if I have a failure, will my ticket, be answered? If you do those things, you will get trading volume. I don’t believe you look at it the other way and say, hey, let’s create trading volume because if that comes at you hard and sharp, how are you going to cope with it when something breaks?
It’s technology, things will break. It’s how you address things that go wrong that made you successful, not what you put in place to drive that business in. That will happen if you’re good. The word gets out saying this is a great exchange. They fixed my tickets, they’re fast, they’re responsive, it’s safe. That will create trading volume.
Trading volume for us is income and of course, we want it. We have actually slowed down on coin listings. We’ve slowed down on taking new customers and we’ve slowed down on developing relationships with partners simply to get our platform in better shape so that we can become the most reliable, trusted partner you can have. That will create trading volume, no doubt about it.
Although trading volume does bring in a sizable amount of revenue, there comes a point where it just becomes a vanity metric where people are using an exchange simply because there just aren’t any better alternatives out there.. So, if there is an exchange that can offer all the features that you’re talking about and a premium level of service, then the trading volume will trickle down. There’s no real loyalty for exchanges other than preferences.
Absolutely. We wouldn’t ask for that. Why would you say to somebody, hey, you got to be loyal to us? That’s just silly. You will be loyal to us if I offer you a great experience. That means volume of coins, a huge range to trade through. Ease of trading. One click, two clicks. How about some trading tools just like you see in a modern foreign exchange opportunity? Some arbitrage tools, some tools for measurement, some nice desktop tools.
We want to introduce other things. It just means that you’ve got control over your own reporting and your own desktop environment. It can become a very powerful tool to use as long as we listen to the customers and say, hey guys, we can develop that. Give us a couple of months, let’s put it in front of you.
What is the coin listing process for you guys? What’s the process for someone who wants to get their coin listed on Cryptopia?
We’re just reviewing that and we’re being very focused on changing the way we list coins and who we list. We’re very conscious to gain trust. We are actually your first port of call for particularly those people who don’t know much about coin, so they have to trust their exchange partner. Therefore, we have to make sure that if we list a coin, it’s a viable trusted, honest coin that’s going to give value.
Not just to us as an exchange but it’s not a scam coin. It’s not something just to raise money, pump and dump thing. We have coin listing teams who are very tough. I have introduced people as the CEO to my coin listing team and I can’t get it through them. I’ve said, but these are great guys and I have a great story and I met them in Vancouver and boy, they’ve convinced me.
My coin listing technical team does all the due diligence. Everything from GitHub, Facebook pages, normal stuff like that. If it doesn’t look like a viable product to us on many levels, then it doesn’t get listed. That’s the end of it.
If [the coin] gets past that, we do further due diligence. We’ll actually interview the company. We’ll ask why do you want to list? Why do you want to list with Cryptopia? What’s your plan for the coin? What do you want us to tell customers because they’re going to be relying on us? So, we’d like to do more than just have a coin called 21 Million sitting on the exchange. How about if we had a link to that with some of the criteria we use to judge whether that was a good opportunity. Whether it was a good coin. We might have a 10-point plan and we might say, hey, this coin passed at 9.7. This coin is in, but it only got in at 2.4. Whereas the negative coins, the coins that have gotten negative plans, negative equity in our mindset, they just don’t get on the exchange.
We have a very large number of coins at the moment. We want to remain in that space, be the leader. That means that clearly, we’re not going to get it right all the time because we make mistakes and actually, so do the some of the honest and reliable coin generators. Their plans might not just happen, so they get the benefit of the doubt for a while.
As long as we see that they’re not doing something deliberately to disrupt the market or just to take money, then we’ll support them until they get their business model right. But we’re very focused on a coin listing to us is actually a business partnership. We’re not just going to throw coins up there.
I think 2018 is the year of reckoning, wherein 2017, pretty much anything got listed anywhere. It didn’t really matter how functional the coin was or whether it was legitimate or not. So, it’s really cool to see the trend in exchanges making a stance against that because if the ax falls, it doesn’t fall on the anonymous coin team that could be in Switzerland and Ethiopia. It’s falling on the CEOs and the exchange teams that are allowing access.
People come to us and they say, hey, I haven’t got my money. You’re the exchange. I go, well actually, the coin that we listed, I’m afraid the wallet’s faulty or they didn’t do this, or they ran away. People don’t care. They’re relying on us. That’s why Cryptopia has to be a business partner with each and every user, not just a provider of some coin listings. That would be unethical.
Absolutely, and it’s good to hear. Speaking of regulations, how do you think that’s going to evolve for exchanges, especially being out of New Zealand?
I welcome a regulatory intervention for many reasons. The primary one is that as soon as the regulators start imposing their will and taking notice, it means that it’s a genuine opportunity. They don’t waste their time on something that’s not going to affect global economies or our economy. For example, the New Zealand regulators, we’re working and we’re working with them because they recognize that somebody has got to work with them to tell them what’s going on.
The other side of the fence, that’s us. We have to work with them to say, you can’t do that because it won’t work in this environment. So, working with regulators is critical, in my opinion, and we’re doing that very well. Regulation has to come.
It was just announced in New Zealand a few days ago that we’re going to start, this is unrelated to coins, collecting GST, which is our equivalent of your local taxes, on online purchases. So, typically anything up to $400 that you buy online from Amazon, for example, in New Zealand, you wouldn’t pay tax on and they’re changing that. They’re taking the same view with coins. So, the government is saying, how do we tax revenue? When do we tax revenue? What should it look like? How do we make it fair for you, the exchange and how do we make it fair and manageable by the consumers who may have to declare a capital gain if they’re going, for instance, as an equity or a property as pure speculative fun like betting? And if that’s the case, when should we do this? Should we backdate all that stuff?
Every country is going through this and some have jumped in and made decisions that they’ve had to backpedal on. They were a little bit hasty. In New Zealand, in particular, we have a great relationship with the regulators and all the powers that be, right down to the banks, and are all looking at the space saying, you know what? We don’t quite know what to do, but let’s start doing something and I welcome it.
And the more understanding and control we have on these things at this early stage these next few years, the neater and cleaner will be over the next few years. Just as banking has become very stabilized through regulations, so will this crypto business, whatever it ends up looking like.
New Zealand has its advantages because a smaller population could make building direct relationships with regulating authorities easier. Tim Draper, for example, is investing in Papua New Guinea to try and make this whole digital citizenship country. The Binance guys just moved over to Malta. The global landscape just opened up, and governments will have to start offering distinct advantages to attract companies that could hypothetically set up virtually anywhere.
That’s great because that’s exactly what online trading is about. It’s online and it’s global. We have to join the global party, but we better start from a position of understanding and strength in our own environment. Make sure we have our own stuff together before we start yelling about what someone else should do.
Yeah, absolutely. Shifting gears a little bit, what do you think about decentralized exchanges and how they’re going to affect the whole exchange thing?
The quick and easy answer to that is it will definitely affect the global exchange market. It will definitely affect FinTech because if people who are regular investors and that’s people with mom and pops with a few dollars, right up to institutional investors, if they can see a way of generating revenue and it’s safe, they’re going to move there. They’re not going to discard their other investment opportunities and they’re not going to discard regular exchange-traded equities or working on the stock exchange. But there’s a space here that we haven’t quite worked out who that’s going to work for or how, but the more we regulate, the more we make the tools visible.
The stronger we look to the market and the more professional we look. That doesn’t necessarily mean just wearing a suit into a meeting, but the more gravitas we have behind those discussions demonstrating that we’ve done on the work and that we’ve got smart people here and the technology’s good. We’re ready to come and meet and talk equitably to investors and traditional investment houses. Then there will be a way that they join up. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, it can’t be helped.
How about the lightning network and atomic swaps where you could pretty much exchange peer to peer. You could trade Litecoin for Ethereum directly in one single transaction without an exchange. Centralized exchanges have their benefits, like for example, there’s someone you can knock on their door and say where’d my money go? I need customer support. So, there are advantages there, but then the advantages of a decentralized exchange are just the efficiency. I’m wondering how is that viewed for the centralized exchange world?
I don’t want people to take away my income opportunity. We’re building a business. We would argue, and I think it could be demonstrated to date until the blockchain comes up with some technical solutions. We’re building a trust environment and we are taking on, at considerable cost, the responsibility for providing the trust. First, it’s a coin that we like and here are the reasons. We’ve done the due diligence on your behalf. We allow the transactions to take place and here’s how we regulate, manage and deliver that transaction and manage the wallet relationships.
Cryptopia’s Coin Information display
That’s a role we take on. So, if you trade with a centralized exchange, you’ve got a whole lot of advantages that you don’t have by trading peer to peer. It’s fairly obvious what a peer to peer relationship looks like. If that’s on a personal level, that risk is much greater. If it’s on a more corporate structured level, I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I think we’ve got a long way to go before we could move from centralized exchanges to peer to peer simply because there’s going to have to be some regulation around it. How would the regulators engage in that space? Who are they engaging with? Every single person who wants to trade?
At the moment, they can deal with an exchange that has potentially 2,000,000 to 10,000,000 customers. That’s not easy for a regulator or a tax authority. So, there’s the regular regulatory component. That’s got to be there. Then there’s the trust management and then there are just a few more technical issues that I think have yet to evolve.
It all comes down to running a business. It takes money and capital to get all these users you want to get. If the technology works, that’s great, but onboarding users take resources. How do these projects plan on doing that? It’s just a missing component of every single white paper that tries to go after that who isn’t trying to build a centralized business to oversee it.
I think philanthropy is wonderful and when people are talking about decentralization. It’s a great idea and it’s philanthropic and it would be wonderful if the world could work like that. But there’s never been a business model that has worked without generating revenue. There isn’t one. Everyone’s tried, but you can’t name one that doesn’t have to generate revenue at some point or another.
Even if that revenue is simply generated to make the action happen, the hardware, the software, the bandwidth, someone’s got to pay. So, if you’re decentralizing, how do you get paid? How do you police it? How do you manage it? Why not stick to a model that works? And it’s not just about centralized coin exchanges. It’s not just about front-end institutions. This is a model that’s worked since the first inhabitants of Earth swapped a bean for a stick or can I give you my dinosaur to cook while I bring you a giraffe? I don’t know, but you can’t have a society without an exchange happening of some value in exchange.
Even if I go to a coffee bar with you, here’s the simplest thing. I would say, hey, I’ll meet you for coffee, on me I might pay for the coffee, but guess what? We’ve sat down and exchanged information. I’ve gotten something out of it. How do you do stuff without exchanging value?
It’s push and pull between advancing technology and proving the model works but then what’s the incentive to run it and popularize it because you’ve got that whole chicken and egg problem. We need a bunch of users for this to work efficiently, but we’re not going to make any money doing it. Hopefully, we’ll see how things play out in the next couple of months or years or decades.
I’m down for decades and a lot of failures. We’ll be there watching them saying we’ll help you if we can and hey, go and play guys, but come back here when it doesn’t work because we are going to be here.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin dominance in general compared to all the other coins out in 2018? So, what does a cryptocurrency landscape look like if Bitcoin happens to fall down to, let’s say, 15\% or 10\% of the market?
Does Bitcoin really dominate or is it just big? If you look at the exchanges and watch the traffic, can you see as much traffic taking place and as much interest in the CoinCash or 21 Million or Kenya or any of these things? They’re all there and people are trading them for various reasons. Mom and pops are going to be doing this to buy a new car.
Someone else purely looking as a store of wealth and other people are looking to dominate a market. So, I’m not sure that you could say Bitcoin dominates. It might be the largest store of wealth at the moment. Does it dominate people’s thinking? I’m not sure about that. If you’re a coin developer, it’s your coin that’s dominant in your mind and you’ll go after a particular vertical, even a geographic market. So, you have the potential to develop your store or your story within that business scope.
Why does Bitcoin dominate? Simply because it was seen as an opportunity? Is it dominated because the people who trade in Bitcoin put so much faith in it being a store of wealth or an opportunity for capital gain? But a lot of those people have run away. That’s why it’s not $20,000 at the moment. It’s just trading between 8,000 and 10,000 in there. So, it stabilized. So, what if it fell over? Some people will lose money.
It’s not going to change the blockchain, it’s not going to change our thinking about cryptocurrencies. It’s not going to change Cryptopia’s approach to the market. It might dominate in volume. I’m not sure it’s the dominant force supporting cryptocurrencies.
I see what you’re saying. It might just be a dominance of user acquisition because there’s a larger chance they heard of Bitcoin instead of Ethereum if they have heard of cryptocurrency at all. So, it’s like the gateway crypto.
Take care that people aren’t saying Bitcoin just like a Hoover, the vacuum cleaner. Every vacuum cleaner for 20 years was called a Hoover. That was the dominant brand. Hey, I’m going to Hoover the floor. What they meant was I’m going to get my vacuum cleaner of which there are 80,000 different makes out there now and they’re going to vacuum the floor, but they just called it a Hoover. So, I trade in Bitcoin.
I’ll bet you someone who says, yeah, I trade Bitcoin, he’s only saying bitcoin because he knows or she knows that people understand that you’re referring to a cryptocurrency. If you say to someone I trade in Clearpoll or CoinMedic3, they have no clue what you’re talking about. They go what is that? Oh, it’s Bitcoin. Oh, I get it. If you went home to your mom and dad and they asked what are you doing? You’d say, oh yeah, I’m trading cryptocurrency. They’d go, oh? What’s what? You’d go, Bitcoin. They go, oh, that thing.
Bitcoin Cash is competing to be known as the Bitcoin for a reason. In the next four or five years, there are millions of people that haven’t even heard of crypto that would probably receive a lot of benefits from being onboarded into the cryptocurrency world. I’m not really sure how what they get onboarded to first matters immediately, but I know it plays a substantial role for a lot of people.
It’s an initiator. It’s a keyword that attracts them to the space that we’re in. It’s simply because it’s got brand dominance in the public persona. If you say a Bitcoin, most people know you’re talking about that strange online thing that no one understands and there are a few other coins, but we don’t know what their name is. As soon as they hit an exchange, if they really want to try it, they’re going to look at the next one down and say oh, I didn’t know that existed. They’ll make their way right to the bottom of the 2,000 list.
So, I really don’t think we should worry too much about dominance or anything that’s measured in that way in the space because the variables that change our value perception on any of these products is a mystery to everyone. A rumor can cause change overnight and things like that have happened. Guess what? They also happen in traditional exchanges.
Go to the London stock exchange and you’ll see a piece in the paper tomorrow that prices rocketed or have fallen over the next day because the public is there. The public is there late, remember. If you see it in the news, it has already happened. That’s the same thing for this.
So, what are your favorite projects out right now?
It has to be blockchain focused. I mean, coins seem to be a tool that are being used to raise capital, raise awareness, create hysteria over or some fun. Some of them, and I believe it’s very few of them, I wouldn’t like to statistically put a number on that, but I think it’s very, very few have actually got a basis of a typical good investment. Is company strong behind it? Do they have good ethics? Why are they doing this? What’s it for? Or is it just to raise money?
When they’ve got money they can go, oh, look how much money we’ve got. Let’s do something. That’s not the way to grow a business. Somebody has to have a good story that’s technically supported. It has to have social value these days. And that means is it good for mankind? Is it going to save the planet? Will it do something? Create manufacturing? Whatever it is.
Hey, I’m not a philanthropist. I’m not saying you’ve got to do something to save the planet. But the youth of today are much more conscious about anything we/they do is about social conscience and social values and responsibility. So, for me, any of those projects, whether they be blockchain based or coin based that do something more than just making money for a bunch of guys, so they can go buy a Lamborghini, gets more of a look and support from us than the others.
There are ways of going and creating wealth for yourself than preying on opportunities that exist simply because exchanges listed them. So, we’re very careful about that. So, I wouldn’t like to say at this stage, we have anyone in particular. We do have some businesses we’re looking at, but they all are very well rounded in terms of their sales pitch. It’s ethical, it’s got a good background.
They have strong management, a history. They’re well-funded already. They’re not just grabbing money to then decide what they’ll do with it.
Well said. The one point you made about how these projects need to be ethical and how that impacts those business models because again, you tap into to the same vein of projects that are looking to substantially change industries that had been stifled by inefficiencies or corruption.
It stretches a long way. If you find a solution that bugs business and usually if it bugs a business, it bugs and effects people, consumers, in some way. That might just be, where it’s blockchain related, securities and tracking things to make this whole trust environment that we live in. The point is we say we can trust but we can’t trust.
Everything we do is about trust. We get lawyers to look after our trust issues and we shake hands and we still wonder whether it’s a deal. So, solving trust issues globally is probably one of the biggest benefits to mankind because once we solve the trust issue, you can then be positive or confident that something that you want to happen and agreed to happen is actually going to happen. If it doesn’t happen, it’s not just about the broken trust. It’s then about the finances involved before you got there.
That’s all gone. The future has all gone around that business model. So, trust management in blockchain and around coins and around exchanges, decentralized exchanges, is probably the biggest thing we have to deal with. Which takes me back to my core development program right now, which is developing a trustworthy exchange.
Make it clear, unambiguous. Make it reliable, deliver what we said we were going to do.
What does a day in the life of Alan Booth look like? What do you do for fun when you’re not doing exchange type things? If there’s even time for fun.
If you’re running an exchange, it’s 26 hours a day to run an exchange. If you can squeeze another hour in, you might find some fun. This is probably my last employment opportunity. I’m in my 60’s. I’ve spent 50 years being an entrepreneur and an arm waver. Wave your arms and see who’s taking notice and make something happen.
So, fun for me is actually the exploitation of a business opportunity. I go to bed hoping that I wake up in the night with an idea to scribble on the pad. I come to work a very early. I’m up at 5 am. I get here at 7 am if I can with the work already done. I don’t want to arrive at work and look at emails. If you’re looking at email and other stuff, it’s other people’s requests on your time. I’m going to arrive here being creative.
I want to arrive every day going, I’ve got nothing to do except be creative and compel all of my employees and partners to support that creativity and bring their own creativity to it. So, you couldn’t have more fun than that, could you? What else is there? Just to make stuff and see people get excited and give them the opportunity.
But when I’m outside of this, hey, I liked to fly light aircrafts. I ride fast motorbikes. I do guy stuff, and when I’m not doing guy stuff, I’m at home helping my wife in the garden. Just an ordinary guy. Most of my daylight waking hours is about being that global entrepreneur with regard to this huge global opportunity which is let’s change the world.
It’s like moving from coal to steam, steam to mechanization, mechanization to electronics, and now we move into the digital age and we’re in it. What a fantastic place to be.
So, how exactly do you do that? Do you just wake up earlier and just get everything done at 5:00 AM?
There’s never enough time in the day. What it is, it’s being super critical about what’s actually important. If you open your email when you get to work, I will guarantee that you will sit there procrastinating and jump between emails. Most people don’t work from the top to the bottom or the bottom to the top. You’re a little bit selective, so already you failed to do what people expect you to. Email and inbound inquiry are other people’s expectations of how to use your time.
They’re imposing their requirements on you. So, you’ve already allowed yourself to be managed by outside rules. You’ve got to arrive at your office with nothing that interferes with the creative process of why am I at this office? Why did I come here? I came here to understand what we’ve got. So, that’s a constant job. To work with the clever people that you have employed. I have a major role in employment and myself. Only employ smarter people than yourself, only. Because if you’re employing people that aren’t smarter than you, you’re going to have to tell them what to do and you don’t have time for that.
Now, employing people smarter than yourself, for me, that sets the bar quite low, that’s easy, so I get really good pickings. But, generally speaking, you need to employ the best people and get them going and then you’ll be so busy running around trying to keep up with him, not them keeping up with you, that you actually have no time for all that outside noise. You’ve got to impose on the world what you want, not the world imposing on you what they want. Turn it around.
Every time I have a conversation with somebody, it’s about what I want, in the nicest possible way. We will listen to inbounds but we already have a path to follow. If you start following other people’s paths, you’re not going to get where you want to go.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been a business mentor for probably 20 years.
Mentoring basically new CEOs. New CEOs, it’s the loneliest job in the world because it might be your first CEO job, so you can’t talk down because those people below you expect you to be the boss, so you can’t ask them. You can’t talk up because you’re the CEO. It’s no good asking the board, they’re looking down at you. You can’t talk sideways because they’re your competitors. So, the first year or two as a new CEO is the loneliest place on the planet.
So, what you have to do is be entirely focused on what you need to get done and that is by changing what you used to do before you became a CEO or a boss. What you used to do is respond to every bit of noise that came at you and it filled your day up until you went nutty.
Thank you! Cryptopia CEO Alan Booth on the Cryptocurrency Exchange Realm
CoinCentral's owners, writers, and/or guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the above projects and businesses. None of the content on CoinCentral is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner.

Alex Moskov

Alex is the Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex also advises blockchain startups, enterprise organizations, and ICOs on content strategy, marketing, and business development. He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.
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My weekend with Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, TBIS

This is my first ever blog post so please excuse me if I don’t adequately meet up to your writing expectations or answer all of your questions. Just a warning I tend to be wordy.
In the Telegram world, my name is “Titanium Big Fish” and I hold a 6-figure amount of Titanium’s utility token, TBAR. As many of you know, Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure was hacked February 21, 2018. Prior to the hack, I had always been active on the telegram channel and enjoyed talking of our future riches to others as I found myself loving the banter and comradery. Moon landings and Lambo’s were often the fun conversation. Unfortunately, this hack happened immediately after I sold my business and a week after my first child was born. I went from someone mentally retired on Titanium and crypto to someone unemployed with a newborn, having to now bust out my 2011 resume.
By February 21st, I was known to the top level in the company as a 6-figure token holder and I was still actively accumulating, so when I noticed A LOT of BAR being dumped on IDEX, I sent a telegram to Richard the COO questioning the ‘sale’ of so many tokens. Much to my surprise, and until today, I have kept this to myself, Richard asked me for my email and to sign an NDA and I was to call into a group chat. Much of what I write here might “bend” this NDA.
Besides myself on the call there were a few top-level managers. I was informed that there was a hack. Michael, the CEO sounded extremely upset. I could hear despondence and stress in his voice. Before they decided to go with their plan A, they wanted a token holders’ thoughts. Someone who might have some other insight into a different idea and hear how the community might react. I came up with an idea that was not feasible at the time which was to fork into the ‘ingots’ but Richard said the blockchain would not be ready for a few months and not a solution to stop the hacker from profiting. They then discussed an actual fork, that Richard and James could start working on ASAP. Everyone agreed that the fork was the best idea to prevent the hacker from profiting and TBAR was created at this point. Apparently, the team had previously contacted the exchanges, because our call ended when the IDEX owner called for Michael and Michael had to get off the phone with us to take that call.
There were 4 takeaways from this phone conversation that I had. One: I strongly suggested NOT to reveal this hack to the community and to make up ANY excuse but ‘hack’ to the token holders. I knew the mention of that word, would cause the BAR price to plummet and as a large holder I wanted to avoid that. Michael said, that we had to take the high road, and be honest and transparent. I really felt that was a strong statement for him to have made and it was something that I am certain that I would not have been able to do in that moment had I been the CEO. Two: I immediately noticed there was one top level manager NOT on the phone call, the CTO. I had been following Titanium and knew all the management and expected the CTO to be on this call. Literally that week I had run background checks on everyone so when someone was not there, I took notice, especially since his background check had some minor criminal issues. Three: when I asked whom I thought could possibly do something like this, it was evidently clear to me that the others on the call had a definite idea who the hacker was and it seemed Michael even wanted to blurt it out, saying something about not knowing who your true friends are. Four: I found myself somewhat on the ‘inside’ of the company.
The next few weeks were basically a nightmare. I had added to my holdings all month leading into the hack and even had a 5-figure order on the books that the hacker grabbed up. To say I was fully invested is an understatement. I became the voice of reason to many on the telegram channel, because I really believe in the project, and knew they would pull through and also suspected they knew whom the hacker was and his being caught was inevitable. Also, hearing Michael and Richards voices on the call to discuss options, gave me confidence that they had nothing to do with this. I also felt it best to be reasonable about my holding and think everything through logically and clearly before taking a negative stance on this. My logic and reasoning led me to fully believe in the team after seeing how hard they were working on resolving this. I always felt, if it was not for Hitbtc, this would have been a minor issue that would have been incredibly resolved quickly, brilliantly and with almost no loss of BAR. Over time, I started to grow closer to Richard and others on the team in my private discussions about the hack and my own Sherlock Holmes investigations. Unfortunately, I am still under my NDA and even now can not reveal things that I know because mostly they are circumstantial or might hinder the investigation. My NDA also prevented me from revealing other things that I had known in the past. For example, when a youtube interview was rescheduled, people blamed Michael for this. He seemed to be an easy fall guy, whom everyone felt just didn’t show up. However, I had known all along that it was cancelled by the interviewer and Michael was actually ready for the interview. One of the team members took the fall blaming themselves for this miscommunication. People questioned this when it was revealed, but I saw it as a team that never places blame on others and never speaks negatively about anyone, nor do they try to counter FUD even when they can and should. To me that is the sign of a company specifically thinking long term. I still have not seen a team member bad mouth anyone or any company (even HBTC).
On a whim, I reached out to Richard and said that I wanted to meet him, to see the office and meet Michael. I was concerned about my purchase, of course, and felt as a token holder I needed to see what was going on. There was a blockchain event coming up in LA and I was told that weekend would work as Martha, the CCO, would also be there.
For this trip, I rented my own car, paid for my own airfare and rented my own hotel room. Titanium did not pay for me to come out to LA and they did not suggest that I come. Titanium is not paying me to write this nor are they demanding I say or not say anything.
I never intended to write anything about my trip and my trip was not intended to answer Q and A for myself, nor did I take notes until the last day. My purpose of the trip was not to learn roadmap details nor product details, so I apologize to those that think I will fill you all in on the goodies. I was told many goodies, but I took them in stride as a big whole positive picture. I went to see if this was a long-term hold, if I should actually buy more, and to meet the humans behind Titanium, to get a feel for them specifically.
I have been careful in what I have written as to not excite people too much with mentioning things not fully completed nor have I mentioned things told to me that might violate others NDA and I do not go into detail at all on any road map dates nor many specific products really. For example, we discussed the Element wallet in detail, but I won’t mention it in this blog at all, nor will I mention many of the products being worked on. All I will say is that there are a lot of things going on.
It took me 2 weeks to get this blog out, and as we know in crypto 2 weeks is a lifetime, so many of the issues discussed below have been resolved, as well as some of the questions at the end, have already been answered.
My initial meeting with Richard and Martha was brief. It was a cordial meeting- the conversation focused on HITBTC, the big hack, the twitter hack, as well as the fud group. I initially asked what the plan was for HITBTC. Richard had told me he was waiting on their contact there to do what is asked of them, and though they seem to want to help, and they have agreed to help, they always seemed to stop short of helping. I asked if HITBTC wanted money to resolve this, he said yes, and he was willing to pay. Plan B, Richard said, will take place very soon. Although It is not an ideal solution, Richard would have to have each of the 1500+ wallet holders left on HITBTC send in proof that they have BAR on HITBTC, prove when that purchase was made, and individually, each wallet will be sent TBAR if they qualified. It would be a slow and tedious endeavor, that would use up a lot of manpower, but it would get done.
The conversation then turned to the hacker. I can’t speak to most of this as it is under investigation and I don’t know the full details, neither did Richard nor Martha. We all have our suspicions, and everything is unfortunately circumstantial at this point, so we just had an in-depth conversation on the circumstantial evidence. I can’t really discuss some of this information however, it is my opinion that this hack was a hack of vengeance, and not really for profit for they would have waited for a much better time to hack and BAR was really under the radar at this point with very low volume. This person does not want Titanium to succeed and more so, has a personal vendetta against Michael. The amount of people on this list is very, very small and it seems apparent that this is what the FUD group was set up for. Interestingly, this same person that I suspect is often in the FUD group. I suspect the person that publicly stated they did not want a fork and also publicly insinuated we should have paid the hacker, is to blame. You can all decide on that one… Interestingly, when I asked the telegram group to send over some Q and A, only 1 person asked about the hack. It seems that people are starting to move on from it.
The conversation then turned to the twitter hack and the FUD group (note: this group is currently shut down as of the writing of this blog). Much to my surprise these two things did not seem to bother Richard nor Martha very much at all as they were already past this and implemented new company protocols and procedures. They felt that they have done nothing wrong and were not concerned as the price of the token was moving downward with the market and was now currently sitting near or above ICO Ethereum price (actually as I finish this, it is double the ICO ETH price). It seems Richard was focused more on moving forward, hiring and getting the product created and out. Laser focused actually! We all suspected the twitter hacker and this FUD group are related. I suspect the same people. I learned, there is only 1 person that no longer works with the team, that would have access to the ‘released’ database (that was threatened to be released), and that person is active in that FUD group. That person still had access to the websites and I learned, apparently had shut them down a few times over the weeks. Richard said they are not even investigating the twitter takeover as it would not lead to much and they needed to focus on putting resources where they are better served. There were a lot of conversations back and forth between the founder of the FUD group and Richard. The founder of that group, was asking a large sum of ETH to do an AMA right after the hack. She was pretty upset that she was being ignored, to me it just made sense that during this moment of crisis, she obviously would not be priority #1, nor would a discord AMA be worth the price of many dozens of ETH. It is now old news, so lets move on.
Prior to my arrival in LA, I received a message from someone on Telegram who had “secret information” and correspondence from Michael regarding moving the office to Europe. This individual had once worked for the team and worked on setting up a possible international office and wanted me to know this information. I thought that would be a great idea, to get away from the regulations of the USA. Initially the person seemed to be telling me this as if it was secret FUD that he had, but when questioning him more, he said this was discussed months earlier and definitely not an escape plan, but more so to expand our offices internationally. I asked Richard his thoughts on moving the company, and he said that there are definitely no plans on doing so, however they do plan on running the DEX exchange in a favorable European country. Malta (where Binance recently opened office), Switzerland and Belarus had all come up, but no decisions were being made as to where. They went as far as looking into the intricacies of opening bank accounts and offices if necessary in these European locations, but it has not moved forward at this moment. More details might be released soon, and if so, it is not FUD, but a well thought out plan by Titanium. They truly thought everything through on this.
After about 90 minutes, Richard and Martha were heading to the office to meet Michael and interview 2 new engineers. My takeaway from the initial meeting was that I was surprised to hear Martha had recently just met Michael that morning, in person, for the first time. I had always thought they knew each other well, Michael always acted on the telegram that he was very personal with Martha, but I soon found out he is very warm and friendly to everyone. Richard and Martha had also just recently met face to face and only knew each other from Core through the ICO. My initial impression of meeting Richard is that he does not seem phased by anything. Every amount of FUD thrown his way he seemed to brush off with his answer of “we did nothing wrong, the product will speak for itself”. This seems to be his true belief. He is pretty certain of whom the hacker is, and does show some emotion when discussing that. Regarding the investigation, all Richard could say was that he was told something was definitely happening and news will be released soon. He is pretty calm and collected for someone basically running the helm here. Martha seemed to have her ducks in line and was very passionate about the project. She has the high energy and the knowledge it takes to fill her position with the company.
That night I met Richard and Martha in bar in LA. We had a few drinks and the topic of course turned to Titanium. Most of the discussion that we had made me super excited, as it detailed many of the future products. I recall texting “Dr Hodler” the telegram manager, that night and telling him I am loading up on more TBAR (since my trip my position has increased by 5 figures). Much of my memories of the conversation revolved around the master nodes. This is where my NDA really kicks in, so I can’t go into detail about them. I know they will be tiered and they will exist, though Richard mentioned unlike regular master nodes that we know of, because those pay a dividend and as a utility token we have to avoid paying a dividend. They will be blockchain rewards based. So token holders that have master nodes will earn block rewards. This was very well thought out. What I will say, and this was a running theme for the weekend, is that Richard is extremely brilliant. Not the nerdy brilliant, one-subject brilliant or boring brilliant but the type of brilliant that probably knows more about your profession, than you do. The Jeopardy champion brilliant. He thought of so many intricate details on every product and regarding these nodes, and this company, that his excitement, passion and intelligence made me excited. He did go into technical detail on these things, but I would never be able to explain it correctly. It was very detailed and thought out. Though after this evenings conversation, I do see why Michael mentioned Elon Musk once in a telegram chat.
What I would later find out about Richard was that at age 12 he was building and taking apart computers, and probably charging more to tutor people in computers, than a doctor was charging. He is someone that can lead Titanium to the top, someone that is motivated to, desires to, has the financial ability to, financial incentive to, and someone that will certainly be a huge success story in anything he wants. I am extremely confident in him and Titanium. Everyone wants to hear Michael speak, but Richard in my opinion is really the man behind the tech here. Unfortunately, like many tech guys (or geeks, though he does not come across as that), he is more comfortable behind the scenes instead of in front of a camera and never seemed to bite on my idea of getting him to do weekly video updates.
The next day we met at the Blockchain conference. It was not a great conference, but I did end up meeting 3 guys from the LA office, the amigos as Richard would say. They seemed excited to be working for Titanium. They were all intelligent and high energy, amicable and knowledgeable on this space. They were open to doing whatever it is that Richard asked of them. They were however not engineers and are part of the admin team working with Michael out of the LA office and they were there to help network with some of the youtube speakers at the conference and to get TBIS name out. Eventually one of the guys, Alex, got us in the backroom with the main speaker and a youtube personality that I follow. I was excited that this happened however that youtuber seemed only interested in how we could help him, and since his future ICO seemed like shit to me, that was not gonna happen. One takeaway was that I was a little dismayed at the teams elevator pitch. Hopefully in the future if they get to sit down with a big player off-the-cuff like that, it would be a bit more organized. I know it was the first time something like this might have happened, so next time hopefully they prepare better. Sales is extremely important in this space, and being able to spew EXACTLY what you need, what you do and how you do it, all within 30 seconds, has to be practiced. I can tell it was not. It did not matter because this guy was a dud, even though he was a main youtuber, it just goes to show these youtubers just are out only for themselves. Interestingly, in later conversation, I asked if Titanium ever paid “Supoman” and I was not surprised to hear that they 100 percent never had.
Our next stop after the conference was to head to the new office to meet Michael. One of my many reasons for investing into the ICO was because this was a USA based company, something located close enough that I could visit if I needed and because of Michael. When I first met Michael, I could see he was extremely well liked by his staff. A few of the guys that I met had come along to the office, and he hugged them when he saw them and seemed to be very warm, friendly and easy going. I have only heard great things about Michael from people that know him and worked with him and I remember our conversation on the phone after the hack how he seemed pleasant even in crisis. He was very professional as well as friendly, we shot the breeze a bit. It was mostly small talk. I had wanted to bombard him with a bunch of questions, but at the time, it didn’t seem appropriate as I was not one on one with him. Richard had already told me there was an investigation going on, but that it was secret and unless I could get alone with Michael I foresaw that was not going to be answered. He definitely seemed more the sweet, caring, puppy loving, family loving, honest and easy-going type, rather than anything else I could have imagined. I didn’t see any ‘snake oil salesman’, ‘used car salesman’ type at all. In fact, how this guy could have any enemies anywhere actually is surprising. I immediately liked him and could see why he would be good in sales. I assume anyone that does not like him, has clearly never met him.
When I thought about the office, I envisioned it where every techie developer on the team would be flown in worldwide, living out of a commune together and working 24/7 on Titanium. I envisioned team brainstorming meetings in a huge conference room with 100s of people running around. Well this I have come to understand is not what happens in the real ICO world. Titanium has a really nice office (the new carpet smell was prevalent) though it was not set up completely. It is perfect size for a start-up and I suspect mostly will be Michael’s home base /private office. Especially since Richard said he was not only not moving to LA, but that he was opening up his own office in Oregon (apparently Eugene is a tech town). Much to my dismay, the LA office is just not going to be an active hub of developers and engineers burning the midnight oil. What I have come to know is that the best developers and engineers, just don’t live in LA, nor do they want to, and I can definitely understand that. So, although Richard interviewed a few developers the day before, that might work in the office, he even said they could probably work from home (after implying he was hiring them). The LA office will house most of the admin people working for Michael and possibly the future sales staff, but really won’t be much of an active office with engineers working so anyone wanting that 24/7 camera set up in the LA office, I have given my two cents that it is stupid idea and a complete waste of time, money and energy as there will not be people burning that midnight oil like I suspected.
Previously, Richard had mentioned to me and to the telegram group that they have hired about 40 contractors and subcontracted engineers and Michael agreed with that statement when I brought it up. Richard has also told me they are hiring up to about 60 in total. I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a large number. He said they will be located worldwide and did mention what cities he was advertising in, but I have since forgotten. For the most part, people working for Titanium, will work remotely. Richard did state that anyone working for TBIS moving forward will be solely employed exclusively by TBIS and not allowed to work on any other project but ours. That was also refreshing.
Other things that were discussed with Michael was the FUD group. Again, I found it interesting that Michael did not seem to care too much about this group. I was under the impression he did not even know much about them at all. Seems the team doesn’t feel they have anything to worry about. The common theme is that they are a utility token, a product, sold to the public for future use in their ecosystem. When asked by me if they thought about getting a cease and desist on the group, they shrugged off the idea. Interestingly, everyone that bought into the ICO is now up money on TBAR compared to ETN, ETH and probably every other coin used to purchase BAR (unless fiat was used) Titanium is trading spectacularly compared to the rest of the market. One last thing that happened in the meeting with Michael was that when I revealed someone wanted me to reach out to the ex CTO for a conversation with him, Michaels demeanor completely changed. He went from a smiling happy guy shooting the breeze about the office furniture, to a complete 180 turn, becoming a stern father figure telling me exactly not to go play in shit. Basically, he gave me warning that it would be a bad idea and lets just leave it at that.
That night we ended up going back to Richards Airbnb. We all played a bit on the telegram and chatted about how inexpensive TBAR was. It was here that one of the main team members that I was with went on IDEX and purchased 12,000 TBAR after confirming the price was just too cheap at .25 cents. I also was told that recently another main team member bought a larger amount of TBAR in the 40 cent range. That was confidence building for me. Then it came up that immediately after the hack happened Richard and Martha confirmed that Richard went through ALL 22000+ wallets, one at a time, to take a snap shot of each wallets BAR holdings, to know who had what at the time. This took many hours. I was impressed. It seems that he has a lot of passion for this company and desire for it to succeed and, also that he doesn’t mind taking a back seat to all the work he does. I felt at that moment that I should write a little blog about my trip so that others can see how much work these guys are doing. Martha is also completely on the ball. She is overwhelmed I am sure with her duties, but seemed to handle everything perfectly in stride. She is also very intelligent and has her Master’s Degree in Communications from an amazing school. So even though she came from CORE, seems she is a great fit for the job.
Sunday afternoon we spent a little time going over some questions that were asked of me on the telegram chat. Much like some of my blog, some of the issues and questions have already been resolved. I apologize it took me so long to get this out.
I do want to make clear, the purpose of my trip was not for me to get answers to certain questions, it was for me to meet the team, see real substance, and get a better understanding of Titanium, it was not a Q and A session for me. It was about absorbing and getting a feel for TBIS. It was for myself and not really to make this blog. I am not technical, so I could not dig too deep into technical details, if you want those answers, hopefully the new Q and A weekly newsletter will answer those for you. I am under an NDA so some of the questions or concerns that I might have answers to, are tough for me to relay. But here are a few paragraphs of what came from these questions.
As far as partnerships are concerned, Titanium is obviously seeking out many strategic partnerships, but the product is high priority right now. Politically it is hard to discuss potential partnerships before they actually happen, so there was no set name of a partner that was mentioned. Nor did I ask. This seemed to be the theme with exchanges as well. There was a mention to me of a few exchanges that were seemingly definitely coming, but they cannot be revealed by me because there are NDA’s with those exchanges and of course things could change. I assure you from what was randomly said to me, possibly by accident, there is a real great one coming. But again, that can always change.
Product completion is imperative for acquiring customers as well, but I was happy to hear Richard and Michael are flying to Thailand to meet with a potential customer. That seems to be something Michael mentioned in a video and it was confirmed with me that it was indeed definitely happening.
As for seeing Michael more, Michael is now focused on the big picture of Titanium as a whole and will be fostering past and new relationships and partnerships for the most part. Due to this he won’t be available as much for video interviews going forward. Hopefully that changes, but the team feels that it is a positive for him to concentrate on the connections he has first and foremost.
Masternodes will be tiered and might be set up like block rewards as opposed to dividends. The larger the amount of tokens, the more possible rewards could be earned……. No word yet on how many tokens are needed for MN, rewards will be based off the new token and not TBAR. 10,000 was recently confirmed as one tier.
The way it is set up, the # of tokens will not be diminished in our lifetime, I am not sure exactly where this supply is coming from but when I asked where do the never ending supply of blockchain rewards come from, I was told, block rewards are similar to how bitcoin works and the economy is designed to last longer than any of our lifetimes.
Tbar will not be minable.
There are plans to un ban everyone that has been banned in telegram and start a new slate, once things clear up with all the TBAR HITBTC nonsense. It might be read only or they might open it back up with a short leash, but that is definitely on the agenda. I myself will probably unban everyone banned to read only shortly.
There are no patents at the moment- can’t really patent some of this kind of software but if they can they will try. They are looking into all IP patents however, and any patents they can get, they certainly will.
Technical whitepaper- a new version is coming with more tech specs and with a tech write up but not how things will work, that isn’t going to be released.
No public github but Richard will write a readme writeup for github explaining their open source stance. Some will be open source but it takes longer to open source. Companies often do this. Telegram for example has their app open sourced and some server tech but not all of it.
Titanium is concentrating on only hiring the best people around. When asked exactly how many are currently hired full time the answer was- there were already 35 direct hires and they have some contract employees working on a couple of the projects with them (I guess this is the 40 total mentioned before).
The website is being redeveloped because it was still in control of the ex CTO, who actually might have crashed it multiple times and took the ICO site offline a few times. Hmmmm, interesting.
Some of the new projects will have one-of-a-kind technology. Some were explained in depth and sound awesome…
As far as competitors go, Richard seemed happy that Google and others have been very clear on what they will be creating and he says it is not anything like what TBIS is doing.
Here are some other direct questions answered briefly. How can long term holders be rewarded? Staking of their tokens for services as well as Master Node options. Is there an ever a reduction of supply? Burning is being heavily considered as services are being paid for. Premium Michael promised after the hack? ICO supporters will have something. It is not solidified yet, the team can’t wait for ICO buyers to hear about it in the official announcement. When can we expect a working product? They currently have working versions of their product and it’s constantly evolving. Open Betas and Alphas are upcoming but I couldn’t get exact dates yet. Apparently, software design is often tricky but they have a good team and always hiring.
As far as some past FUD I would like to answer. Many brought up the home address as the address of record on TBIS website and incorporation. Those of you who question this have clearly never set up a small business in the USA. The process is simple. You can NOT lease an office without a corporate bank account, you can NOT get a corporate bank account without incorporating and you can NOT incorporate without an address. It is all one big catch 22. So, the VAST majority of business have 1 or 2 options. One is to use a home address or maybe a PO Box though I don’t think that is allowed in my state, the other option is to pay a ‘registered agent’ to collect your mail and use their random address. This is what a lot of companies do, but it costs money and there is no need for it. There is absolutely NO FUD nor concern that TBIS used a residential address as their initial address. All of my businesses have been incorporated at a residential address.
Also, I ran a background check on the 5 current and an ex main player of Titanium and 4 of the 5 background checks (the 4 current and new employee) were clean as can be, completely stellar, the 5th was not.
I also have a friend that works for the FBI. She is a psychological forensic profiler. Now I personally do not have an answer to whom was contacted regarding the hack, but my FBI friend said there is no chance, zero chance that the FBI will discuss any ongoing investigation with any Joe from the general public. She went on to say, unless you are an interviewed suspect or the victim, you would not be told about an ongoing investigation. She was very adamant about this. Even stating, “Do you think they would have fielded your call about Madoff?” However, she went on to say that the FBI would be the wrong people to contact regarding a crypto hack and that a private company that specializes in this stuff would be better, as FBI agents (in her words have no clue about this stuff) and make about 1/3 what a private company would pay their hackers.
So, this sums up my visit. I learned many things and I hope I could help you with some of your questions. I know I could not answer the whodunit question nor give a price prediction of the future of TBAR, nor resolve HITBTC for you, sorry. One of the most important things I realized is that this is truly a startup. If you are looking for a quick buck it is probably not happening. I think this frustrates many of you, causing unnecessary FUD. Much like my newborn stretching and kicking and making awkward faces, Titanium is in the newborn phase doing similar things. Finding their strong points, falling down a little, scratching themselves and even maybe a little crying / firing. Eventually, like my son, things will fall into place and what we will end up with is a very successful operation because all the groundwork is being laid right in front of our eyes. I was privileged to see the office blueprints, hear conversations about the hiring of team members, meet the CEO, hear about other offices being started, and the intricacies of products that are being built. I believe that once they overcome the hack and hitbtc and the fud, things will be smooth sailing when they can truly focus on all things positive. Those that are interrupting this process are like the big dumb schoolyard bully that doesn’t realize that instead of picking on the cool nerdy kid, they should join forces with this kid, help him off his feet as this will one day grow into something extremely successful. But like the big dumb bully, unfortunately you just can’t reason with stupid.
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A long story and lesson about trusting people and managing expectations

So I'm not sure I'd you guys will enjoy this story or if it will just be removed but I currently need to vent because well this happened. And I've lost alot of faith in people. If you don't feel like reading the whole thing I tried to put a TL;DR in each paragraph.
Trading- So to kindof preface the story, I am a young guy that is very interested in all things finance such as investing/trading. Because of this I got involved into the Foreign Exchange market(Forex) at the beginning of 2016 and I got very lucky going from $200 to ~$15,000 in 6 months and then unluckily went from ~$15,000 to $0 in less than a minute. So while I was trading this I still worked my normal job(military) and at this job people knew I was trading and doing quite well, they'd frequently ask where I'm at with my trading. So when I lost everything I still thought I will trade again but I'll wait until the new year of 2017. -TL;DR- 2016- Young, like finance, made alot of money, lost all of it and plan to try again.
First half of 2017- So during my trading in 2016 I had offered to alot of people at work that I would teach them or show them how to trade. At the time I really just wanted to have someone at work to talk about trading because all I really had was Reddit for Forex talk. So in 2017 I start up again and one of the Civilians I work with decides he wants to join me in trading (most military jobs have civilian slots where they do basically the same thing but get paid 2-3x more, in this case retired mil now civilian). So I help him get setup very excitedly because I finally have someone to talk about trading with he also says he will put in ~$200 to start with as well. So I think oh awesome I can teach you better since our accounts will be the same, so I trade by myself talking to let's call him Civ about trading consistently for about 3-4 weeks. One day suddenly Civ says "hey I put money into my account what are we trading today?" So obviously I'm like "awesome today I'm gonna trade this pair and I think it's a good setup" Civ says OK I put a trade in. So I go about my day and I don't see him until around the end of the day and our trade did go well, I had made about $45 on my at the time $130 account so I'm pretty happy at this point. So I see Civ and he's like super happy and this was our conversation Civ- "wow that was a good trade man" Me-"Yeah pretty good return for a day" Civ- "So how much did you make today?" Me- "I made $45 so like 40ish% pretty sweet" Civ- "man I made a little over $70,000" yes that is $70,000 Me- "....What the fuck? But how?" Civ- "well I kindof put in close to $75,000!" Me- "but even if you scaled up how did you make almost 100%?" Civ- "well I kindof just put in a trade as if I had $200,000 in the account, and then I did another one" So at this point I'm just completely blown away that he just made double what I make in a year in under 8 hours, but after the complete shock and awe wears off I'm legitimately happy for him because I helped in the trade but it definitely made my $45 feel like nothing.
So to speed this story up what I just said above actually happens about 3 more times to the point where he makes over $140,000 thanks to the trades that I let him know about. But eventually I start to seriously resent him cause his true character starts to show in a series of events. First he starts to claim the trades were all his idea never even giving me credit, second he never even thanks me for helping him make 4 times as much as I get a year. Third he Basicly tries to rub it in my face a few times throughout this mess saying things like "you should put more money in so you can make more" or "just put half you paycheck in" which is pretty much impossible considering I'm a young E3 at the time and I don't have just money to blow. And fourth he tries to throw me under the bus multiple times for things I didn't do at work. Now here comes in Dirtbags 1 and 2 these two are the worst enlisted personnel I've ever seen but are basically protected by Civ he always stands up for them to higher ups and keeps them from getting in trouble by blaming others for there mistakes and they know this(They will be important later on). There is alot of icing on the cake as far as these 3 but I'm not gonna make this story any longer than it has to be. TL;DR- Help Civ make shitloads of money, Civ shits on me and starts a Sortof witch hunt after me, no longer trade with Civ.
Civ in a nutshell- now this Summary of who Civ is isn't really important to the story(skip if ud like) but I felt a need to explain this guy so that people have an understanding of who I'm dealing with. Civ is Basicly a true narcissist he encompasses every meaning of the word. At work he chooses favourites and actively tries to ruin the careers of everyone that isn't his favourite and he's one of those people that laughs about everything he says, he does this so that he can decide based on your reaction if he wants it to be a joke or be serious since every "joke" is in a somewhat demeaning tone. He knows nothing about saving or investing in fact he actually gambles everyday via online poker or fantasy football, during football season hes openly said he gambles over $500 a day since he "wins quite frequently". He's a 45 year old man with a family and kids but he expects invites too all the house parties that people at work have and if he doesn't he has a legitimate hissy fit where I've seen him actually curse people out about how he will no longer invite anyone else to do anything with him(he doesn't do anything tho). He tries to be the guy at work thats "just so cool you gotta be friends with him" but there's a few of us who see straight through his lies and BS. TL;DR- Civ=Narcissistic man child with a gambling problem.
Second half of 2017- So I no longer really talk to Civ we talk work related stuff here and there at this point I know he's very two faced and selfish so I avoid him because I can see straight through it. In around July we have a conversation about the up and coming Crypto currencies I tell him I don't really have any idea how to judge if they will keep going up or not. Supposedly Civ buys 0.30-0.40 a Bitcoin(BTC) not sure the price he got it at. Around this time he was pestering me for trades everyday which at this point I'd lost what I put in so I was no longer trading. But when I'd tell him that he took it personally kindof as if I owe him more trades(wtf right?) So I just basically ignore his asshole tones and go about my day. Around this time Civ gets out of Forex he tells me he withdrew over $240,000. Also tells me he never told his wife he made anything and that she thinks he only has like $2,000 in the account(more signs of a gambling addiction).
FAST FORWARD to about 2-3 weeks ago- At this point I really don't care about Civ being ungrateful of all the money I've made him and in my life im getting hardcore into crypto currencies. I see BTC hit an insane high of over $18,000 and I see Civ the next day and ask about the BTC he bought he says he's still got it not paying attention to BTC at all tho so I tell him about it and how it could be a time to get out and get into something else so he says OK and that he will look into it. Next day Civ says hey I got out what should I do with it I want to keep it in Crypto, so I tell him about Litecoin and how it's cheaper and promising so he buys 55 Litecoin. (Why am I still helping this guy right? I have no idea)
FAST FORWARD to this week- Litecoin explodes to $335 a coin when Civ got in at $90 a coin so he makes about $18,000. I'm pretty happy for him because I called another good investment even tho my little $350 crypto account hardly moved, at this point I don't expect anything from Civ because I expect he's still two faced. This time I actually show him the Litecoin price at work and he's super happy and actually thanks me so I'm like wow that's surprising. But then proceeds to tell co-worker's that he did this on his own (of course). Civ then asks me what he should do now. So at this point I just think well whatever I'm used to this and I'm never getting anything out of this so what's one last investment that I give him gonna hurt right? So I tell Civ about other altcoins on Binance.com and how he needs to get a Binance account to get to them instead of his Currently Coinbase account so he is like okay cool.
NOW IT GETS FUCKING INTERESTING- so I tell Civ to get a Binance account and what Coins could be big here soon and he says he will make an account. Remember that Binance has a referral system going on and so I look into it and see that Binance would give me 50% OF WHAT HE DEPOSITS AS A REFERRAL REWARD AND IM FINALLY GONNA GET SOME SORT OF REWARD FOR ALL THE MONEY I'VE HELPED HIM MAKE AND IT WON'T COST HIM ANYTHING. It hits me like a freight train that if he uses my referral code I can get potentially $8,000 into my little coin account. I start to get excited BUT then remember who I'm dealing with so first I sent him my referral code and he says "cool no problem" then I start to think shit what if he forgets to put the code in so I text him again but this time IFU by saying
"Hey if you have any questions let me know just don't forget to put in my Referral code cause I get free BTC lol" .....TIFU by showing a narcissist how to fuck someone over....AGAIN.
So on the Binance referral page it shows you the first few letters of the person's email that used the referral and how much commission you have made from said person. Civ says he's going to make an account on Binance that night I say OK cool. That night my referral page gets one attached email that doesn't have letters I'm expecting so I'm kindof confused then I remember Civ is a 45 year old Neckbeard gamer so he likely had a wierd email address. No big deal, I see Civ next day at work and ask him how his account setup went (usually takes a few days) he says great and that DIRTBAG #2 also wants to get into crypto so he gave DB2 my referral code.
.... Wait a minute the email attached to my account was actually DB2s because the first letters are his Initials of his name no doubt about it. But I don't think this is wierd at the time I carry on through out my week.
UNTIL TODAY(Yes an actual TIFU) I see Civ at work (this is three days after he was supposed to setup his account and it still hasn't popped up on my referral list) and he says "I'm actually gonna not put money in to anything without doing research" this to me is wierd because for the last year he's made over $155,000 by literally doing no research and just listening to me. So I say cool whatever good idea. Meanwhile I'm also weirded out by how DB2 has not talked to me about crypto at all since using my referral code and he's been in this extremely happy mood lately so I'm like wtf is going on? Since I had taught DB2 Forex less than a year ago and he had the IQ of a house fly this strikes me as extremely odd compared to when I taught him last he wouldn't stop asking questions.
BUT THEN IT HIT ME today when I got home I checked my referrals again because I was still pretty excited for $8,000 and how much it will help me and my wife with Christmas this year and then seeing that he hasn't popped up on the referral list it dawned on me.
When I exposed that I would get free BTC to Civ he took it upon himself to have DB2 create an account on Binance and use my referral code so that I would think this was Civ meanwhile Civ put in DB2s referral code giving DB2 $8,000 and then he proceeds to lie to me. Going into investigative mode after calming down from an absolute rage I text DB2 knowing he literally knows Zero about crypto and my hypothesis being very very plausible I go to the weakest link directly and that's the low IQ DB2 and I start to talk to him about crypto first he says he has a Binance account with a bit of coins so I ask him what's next and he tells me he needs to get a coinbase account...... Which is Basicly the only way to put money into crypto so I ask him how he put money in before if he wasn't using coinbase and he says "I think it was Coinable.com" So I continue the conversation about crypto trying to get more of a clue of what Coins he owns he of course lists the exact list I gave Civ earlier that week . At this point I'm about 98% sure my hypothesis is correct and that I work with two of the most narcissistic people I've ever met. BUT THEN I get confirmation in the form of DB2 Being so clueless about crypto because he explains that he has "about 0.23 of BTC" which is roughly $4,000 which I know DB2 Does not have due to the fact that he recently totaled his 4th car this year.
So Civ had DB2 create an account on Binance in order to give DB2 $8,000 in free money and to avoid giving me a single dime even tho I'm the one that's helped him make over $155,000 this year and then continues to lie to me thinking that I'm to stupid to figure this out. This is the single most fucked up thing I've ever personally seen happen to someone, and of course that someone is myself.
Also to clarify the $8,000 does not come out of Civs pocket it comes out of Binances pocket as a thank you to getting people on their site so literally wouldn't cost Civ a dime.
TL;DR(FULL) I help a narcissistic piece of shit make over $155,000 in a year and he avoids giving me anything in return at all at all costs.
Now myself personally I made the mistake of putting myself in Civs shoes, you have a 21 year old guy at work that helps you make over a years salary and so I thought oh I'd totally being super appreciative and buy him lunch or maybe dgive him less than 1% of what he just earned you but this is where I really fucked up. In starting to put myself in his shoes I started to just completely resent Civ and everything about him because I started to feel like I deserve something. In the Forex community there are people who will trade your money for you or give you signals and those people can make lots of money either % returns of each trade or $ amounts for each signal. Looking back I shouldof come up with a Sortof contract after that first trade with Civ but at the time I didn't know what kindof person he really was.
I'm posting it here because it's kindof a lesson I've now learned on not to trust people to be decent to you in return when it comes to investing/trading I've learned that as you guys have probably seen or know about how certain people get extremely inflated ego when it comes to trading/investing. And if your ever in a situation where you could make someone alot of money just do yourself a favour and draft a small document of how that person should give you about 10% of what they make. That alone should tell you what you need to know about the person is how they react to signing a contract like that. Take it from a practically broke Enlisted member who just made a well off guy way more cushioned.
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Tutorial Cara Trading Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency di Binance Untuk Pemula 2020 - Giveaway

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