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In it for the long haul

Is the Klondike Gold rush over, and will we ever see the likes of 1,000x again (or for that matter the giant gains of firms like Pantera)? Answer: Probably not.

Tibor Duris / Shutterstock

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Five years into the life of the Pantera Capital crypto company, they flagged a 10,000% return on their investments. This success was based on a simple belief, stated back in 2013 that, “Bitcoin can do all of the things that cash, electronic fiat money, gold, bearer bonds, can do. It’s the first global currency since gold. It’s the first borderless payment system ever.” Pantera stuck to their guns throughout the five years, even as Bitcoin rose and fell, and now they have reaped the rewards.

There are similar stories of investors who were there at the start of crypto, or who got in at the right time. A combination of savviness, and perhaps a degree of luck, produced returns of 100x, or 1,000x. Catching up with an old acquaintance recently, I mentioned that I was involved in the cryptoworld. “Oh that’s Bitcoin isn’t it?” he mentioned the crypto that everyone now knows. It’s the Biro, Hoover, and Kleenex of the cryptoverse. “In that case you must be a millionaire.” When I confessed that I was not, he snorted in disbelief, because everyone who touches crypto becomes a millionaire. The mainstream press says so, therefore it must be true.

Expectations vs. Reality

It got me wondering about the realities of expectations within the cryptoverse. Is the Klondike Gold rush over, and will we ever see the likes of 1,000x again (or for that matter the giant gains of firms like Pantera)? Answer: Probably not. Volatility is flattening out, professionalism is elbowing its way into tokenized offerings, the exchanges are becoming smarter, and – here’s the biggie – the banks are now in on the act. Yes, those big baddies, who five minutes ago were lobbying for restrictions on crypto, woke up and smelled the money to be made. Along with the Tech Giants too of course. Google and Facebook and their like stood at the edges for a while and made bleating noises about ‘protecting users’, but now they too are swooping in, because now things are more stable and less scarily volatile.

Is it because they’re looking for the 1,000x returns as well? Of course they wouldn’t object to that, but their business model is more reserved. So, what are the expectations of corporates occupying the more conventional markets, where stocks and shares and other assets are still traded? What do investors outside the cryptoverse look for?

Fiat money – fuggedaboudit. In the last 100 years, the US dollar – for example – has lost roughly 90% of its value. Keep fiat in a shoebox at the back of the wardrobe for all the good it will do as an investment. OK, so gold, that’s a great store of value, isn’t it? Well, kinda, except the gold price can be pretty variable, and it doesn’t really appreciate. On the other hand, bricks and mortar can supply a goodish return on investment, and if you hang on in there, you could see a whopping 10%.
Then there’s investment into businesses – the favorite way of making big money.

Economists record that over hundreds of years, the best performing stocks return dividends averaging roughly 7%, allowing for inflation of around 3%. At the top end of the scale, a great investment might give 15%, and the occasional hyper-great investment 20%. As for 10,000x returns? In your dreams!

The financial writer Joshua Kenyon has observed: “If you expect to earn 15% or 20% compounded on your blue-chip stock investments, you are delusional: Anyone who promises returns like that is taking advantage of your greed and lack of experience. You will either do something stupid by overreaching in risky assets or arrive at your retirement with far less money than you anticipated.”

I’ve slightly edited Kenyon’s quote, but I think the point he makes is very valid, and that in no place outside of the cryptoverse is there even a hint of truly massive earnings.

This is the new normal

So if the new normal is basically, normal, then that implies smaller earnings for investors, and longer time periods in which to make those earnings. People will have to be in for the long haul if they want to make income from speculating in a cryptocurrency. And the other way of investing will be, as it is now, to back new enterprises, using the power of the cryptoverse, and the flexibility of tokenized offerings to create wealth of the sort which could be more permanent, and more widespread. As John Lennon sang, “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

The irony of this is that having been the wild and ungovernable kid sister of the established financial markets, it could be that the cryptoverse becomes the great repository of trust and business confidence.

We all have to grow up sooner or later.

A crypto airdrop is a good way to get free tokens

How do you find a crypto airdrop?

Danish YasinOct 17, 2018
zoommachine / Shutterstock

ICO drops are a good way to get started with cryptocurrency. You can practically invest in a project, without actually investing money into it. Basically, a crypto airdrop is an event, in which a project gives out free tokens to community members. This is seen as a good marketing strategy, because it attracts more participants to a project and allows them to have a stake in it.

An ICO airdrop can also be used to pump the value of the token of a project, by increasing its demand while keeping the supply limited. The strategy of employing a crypto airdrop to increase the marketing of the project and value of the coin is being used by numerous projects out there.

To participate in a crypto airdrop, you will need social media profiles on some of the most widely used social network platforms. The most commonly required profiles are that of Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram. The last one holds a special place in the crypto community and almost all ICO projects have a Telegram profile, through which they actively communicate with the community.

Are airdrops a scam?

Airdrops have gained a lot of attention in the last year and with it, they have also gained considerable critics. Many consider them scams and think that such a marketing strategy is ineffective. However, for many projects, airdrops have managed to successfully raise community engagement for a project.

But, there have been projects, which were unable to produce the desired results, despite having a good crypto airdrop. Ubex and Shivom are some of the projects that were unable to reach their hardcaps, despite enjoying a significant increase in their community members after airdrops.

There have also been instances of people promoting a purported airdrop that was actually a phishing scam or other fraud.

To conclude, airdrops are not necessarily a scam, they are a legitimate marketing strategy. However, their effectiveness has been questioned by many.

Finding a Good Airdrop

There are a number of scam airdrops out there and it is important to be careful while participating in an airdrop. Participating in a scam airdrop may result in becoming a victim of identity theft. Your data may be leaked and used for malicious purposes. Moreover, if an airdrop is asking for the private keys of your wallet then it is probably a scam.

Providing your private keys to a company means that you are putting your wallet at risk and run a strong chance of losing the tokens in it. Therefore, never send your private keys and be on the look out for companies that ask for them, they are most likely scams. Use your public keys instead, they do not put your wallet as risk.

Keeping the above discussion in mind, you may require assistance in finding legitimate airdrops in which you can participate. Our airdrop list contains a list of airdrops complete with information about the project including their whitepaper, website, and social media links. You can use the list to find out about new airdrops and find out what would be required to participate, before actually participating in it.

Finding legitimate airdrops can be as difficult as finding honest ICOs, therefore, always be careful and do your due diligence before participating in any of them.

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A smug ICO expert

The Conundrum of ICOBench and its TOP 20 Experts

Karnika E. Yashwant, KEY Difference MediaOct 16, 2018

There have been decades of study performed to discover the hallmarks of expertise and how it can be achieved. Most scientists in the field now agree that there are two distinct forms of intellectual expertise: heuristics and biases (HB) and natural decision-making (NDM). While these two schools of thought differ in major and important ways, both rely on objectively successful completion of tasks within a domain as prerequisites for being deemed an expert.

How do we define expertise?

In the crypto space, we can use the legal definition of what an “expert” opinion is and why it must be admissible as proof of expertise. According to Odgers and Richardson, the traditional rules of evidence in Australian courts include:

  • The opinion must be relevant to a fact in issue.
  • The expert must disclose the facts (usually assumed) upon which the opinion is based.
  • The facts upon which the opinion is based must be capable of proof by admissible evidence.
  • Evidence must be produced to prove the assumed facts upon which is the basis of the opinion.

I’ve researched deeper on the phenomenon of ICO “experts” cropping overnight and came up with amusing findings. Most of today’s top ICO experts are average people who decided to start advising ICOs within the past year or two.

Experts don’t seem to have any special knowledge except they were invited by an organization or a group hoping to launch an ICO based on what they deem is this personality’s influence in the crypto/blockchain field.

A track record of rating ICOs for over 3 months apparently becomes acceptable as “expertise”. Some of them were part of some ICO, but at that point, they were clueless about how ICOs work. It’s only after that they established their knowledge about them.

Those were observations of insiders in the field and I’m not about to name names except when these early ICO advisors make you think that they are super specialists and you “don’t belong in the same group with them”. That is the biggest deception they spread.

The funny part is, only a few ICO advisors could be called well-known and popular but ICO founders are led to believe that their ICO’s success depends on the popularity of an ICO advisor/expert, which could not be further from the truth. But as things stand, you can apparently advise your way to popularity, as the current crop advisors seem to be doing.

How does ICOBench choose its TOP 20 experts?

Here’s the thing, there’s some “mystery” in the way ICOBench ranks the experts in the “TOP 20” and so on. Currently, it’s based on the success score where for each ongoing or upcoming ICO, a person (or an agency) receives a number of points that is calculated based on the ratings of the ICOs that they are a part of.

The problem is, the top 30 guys all have something like 40-70 projects or around that range under their belt. Make no mistake, after I reached out to ICOBench, they modified their “Experts” listing page based on “weighted score”, but still the Top 20 and Top 10 are based on the Success Score. The ICO space has been active for around 2 years now or an equivalent of 24 months of existence.

Let me show you how this expert rating CANNOT possibly work by simple calculation if you will bear with me.

A typical ICO takes anywhere from 4-6 months from start to full completion. Even in 2017, it was taking at least 4 months for full completion. Considering 5 months as an average, we are looking at 10 active projects at all times for an ICO Advisor assuming he takes up 2 new projects every month.

From my experience, if you are hands-on involved to advise, assist, and consult the ICO, reviewing all activities and so on, it can take up to 40 hours a week – as a “working advisor”. For just advising and consulting for Q & A, maybe 20 hours a month.

Considering an average of 30 hours, that’s 300 hours a month of advisory time there. THEN the rest of the time for learning, marketing themselves, living a life, and so on. I know we all work for 300 hours a month, but we just don’t get to work on advisory all those 300 hours.

These computations reveal the fact, that these top advisors/experts are less “knowledgeable” as they never really advised the ICOs, which would be impossible as we have deduced from the computation, but just had the name to the list and may be helped with a thing or two.

I have spoken in recent days with many ICO founders who had reached out to me saying they did not get any value or directions or assistance of any kind from the “top advisors” and wanted my assistance. Of course, I cannot do more than 2 advisories at one time (not 2 per month, but 2 active advisories at one time irrespective of how many months I’ve been at it), so I have to decline. Investors depend on expert’s rating to judge who the “best” is.

Bottom line, it’s my kind suggestion to not just consider the number of ICOs these “experts” are part of, but to decide their competence by the way they actually served the ICOs and in the manner they are rating the ICOs. I hope it’s taken as a positive suggestion for the betterment of the community by all rating sites who adopt a similar calculation.

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Hate speech has no place in the crypto community

Anti-Semitic, Violent, and Bullying Activity Crawls into Crypto Community

On YavinOct 15, 2018
Live2Create / Shutterstock

One of the best things about crypto is the coming together of people all over the world whose goals are to make it a better place. Every race, religion, nationality, and language is represented in the crypto universe. As a member of the crypto community, it is extremely troubling when in this world we call our own, we see instances of racism, bigotry, and sexual violence.

Warning: The images in this article contain racist, anti-Semitic, and violent sexual imagery. They are offensive and may be considered Not Safe For Work.

Nazi symbols and other offensive imagery in Telegram sticker pack

We recently discovered these stickers on the messaging platform Telegram Many people throughout the crypto world rely on Telegram to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a place of discourse that should be free of hatred and narrow-mindedness. Unfortunately, we are not so lucky. These disgusting images should not have been allowed to be added to the platform, but this goes to show that either Telegram does not screen their user created content, or they simply do not care. 

This is what happened when one person called out the admin of a group for allowing such content:

Name calling, belittling, and bullying, just for trying to remove insensitive material. We have also received reports that one Telegram group took a stand by banning this content and the users who posted it, only to be subject to similar attacks and bullying.

I am calling out all Telegram founders, managers, group admins, and staff to fight against such behavior. Because this behavior is not just limited to this sticker pack. We’ve found several other packs that have similarly offensive material, in addition to anti-black memes and sexually violent images.

Offensive sticker packs on Telegram

We in the crypto community have a duty to keep one another in check and to not let this kind of behavior slide. As a Jew whose family suffered a terrible fate in the Holocaust, I especially take offense to the Nazi and anti-Semitic imagery we have recently seen. I know what it is like to be the subject of such hate. And it angers me that this imagery is being used on Telegram, and encouraging people to bully those who would call it out. If we do not speak out against this, it just welcomes these actions again, but maybe next time towards another minority group. Today it’s Jews, tomorrow it’s you. It is important to remember that the Nazis also persecuted the Romani people, the LGBTQ community, and people with developmental disabilities. Furthermore, tolerating imagery related to one hate group only emboldens other hate groups to act openly as well. Hitler and the Nazi symbols not only show hatred towards Jews, but are a symbol of hatred towards humanity. It is all our responsibility to call these people out for the cowards they truly are, and let the world know that we will not sit idly by and let these people and their ideals win.

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