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Blockzero Jed McCaleb Interview: My Outlook on XLM

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In terms of price trends, we recently saw a bit of a dip, with Ethereum and bitcoin losing about 10% no reason. I am staying away from this market until it starts to act according to good news and bad news. All of this bouncing around for no reason just smells like market manipulation and/or stupidity. Two things I don’t trade into.

As I have looked through the content YouTube “stars” and some of the more well-known cryptocurrency enthusiasts are putting out, I am noticing one shocking thing. They come up with new coins daily to invest in. They just poof one out of thin air, they say how great the idea (not the business) is, and that it could change stuff. Wow. Well, I pride my reputation on being a broken record. I only like 4-5 coins, and I only talk about those coins. I don’t invest in anything else, nor do I want to talk about anything else. Stellar Lumens is one of those coins, and a great interview just came out with CEO Jed McCaleb. Although I have followed what Jed has said throughout Stellar’s business cycle since 2014, hearing him talk about the market right now (as of Feb. 8) was something I sorely needed as an investor when XLM is trading at a mere $0.38.

Most of these coin projects have founders who shouldn’t be anywhere near a microphone, as their explanations of their businesses is actually detrimental to marketing, not helpful. Digging into deep technical jargon on a public forum when you are supposed to be marketing your coin is not helping anyone. There are so few people who understand blockchain that companies are paying high s9x figure salaries for amateurs. Marketing should be an explanation on who’s buying, why, and how much. Jed did exactly that in his interview. He talks faster than a New York City stock broker on speed, but wants to provide only information that will give investors better insight into the XLM business; not the deep tech of the coin. I will touch on some of the key points that I loved: update on corporate relationships, innovations for public use, and ICO platform.

Corporate Relationships

CEOs are not often people who talk candidly. They are the head salespeople of the firm, and everything has to be perfect at the company. Jed is taking a humble blockchain approach. He wants to make sure that the record is straight about what partners are doing at Stellar, and how it will help/affect XLM specifically. Case in point: he said explicitly that bank relationships are far off for Stellar, and the market as a whole. He admitted the banks he works with are very early on in the sales cycle, and that 1,000+ year incumbents aren’t too used to working with new entrants. The trial runs and beta versions are all common practices in every industry. They don’t mean adoption. This was a surprise to me. I was under the assumption that these banks had a fire lit under them to catch up to blockchain. It seems they aren’t in a hurry, or just making it seem that way.

This is where it gets good. Jed has since re-shifted focus to companies that he knows will be immediate adopters, just because of how easily it can fit into their structure. Remittance companies (Western Union, Moneygram, etc.) are the low hanging fruit in his mind. These are high volume transfers of cash, with high fees to come with it. The biggest demographic of remittances are obviously foreign workers, who also happen to be the last people who can afford to spend 5-10% of their capital on transfer fees. With an industry size of $500 billion in 2016, remittances can feed quite a few companies that have friendly corporate technology.

XLM is a shell. It can take form of fiat currency, transfer anywhere in the world, and settle in a bank account in any currency. There are 300 coins that claim they can be the new PayPal, and most them are still spouting off about decentralization. This is a company that wants control mechanisms so it can give tangible control to their corporate customers.

The way he spoke about his corporate partnerships is translucent. He doesn’t tweet (says he only watches, not talks) out random fodder that happens each day. He wants to be the business person that people can depend on. People will go back and read through the information that all of these coins put out during late 2017/early 2018. I think his spot in the annals of the crypto boom will prove to be very noble. I am happy with remittances, and I am happy he was open that banks just aren’t there yet. I haven’t heard anyone else admit it, have you?

Public Use

I was unaware of the infrastructural scope that Stellar has built since 2014. Jed created a conglomerate, not a business. He has a platform for the public to launch DAPPs/smart contracts, token offerings, and an exchange soon capable of atomic swaps (no base currency; you can trade LTC for KMD). His main goal is to create an exchange capable of housing the U.S. cryptocurrency market, while also having ICOs launching on it in tandem. The recent $30 million ICO of Mobius (I don’t invest in any ICOs) had all the looks and smells of a compliant offering. If the exchanges play well with the government, we can see some very big moves.

The next public project was partnered out. Because remittances are so large, the big companies are just necessary evils in the early adoption phase. He is working with a confidential company on creating a global Venmo-type network that can work directly with any kind of bank account. You can send USD from an American bank account, and it will deposit in yen in a Japanese bank account. All on the app in 3-5 seconds. XLM was designed specifically for this purpose, and its use cases are beginning to take up speed. XLM is the sought after technology, not private chaining. I am very excited to see what he comes up with here because this fiat currency settlement mechanism is almost monopolistic right now.

ICOs

Staying far away from ICOs right now, even Stellar’s. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t find the winning race horse before the race. Stellar’s platform works with fiat currency, and it can launch ICOs. Need I say more? I have harped on this fact many times, but this is just too good not to repeat. If central banks, corporations, institutions, and high net-worth individuals feel comfortable enough with Stellar’s way of handling their native paper currencies, we could see Regulation D token securities being offered on Stellar. Big American business is waiting for the rulebook to be written, and then they will pounce. Stellar is already working with banks in the South Pacific with America’s tech darling IBM: we are seeing the heir being groomed in my opinion. All of the information listed is leading to me to a rather large conclusion.

Conclusion

My conclusion is getting fast out of XRP, and putting it all into XLM. XRapid, Xcurrent, X-me out of this XRP business. Ripple is creating blockchain systems, and has gotten the taste of private chain revenue. Their coin does not need to be used, and each company they work with has specific press releases saying they aren’t using XRP.  On the contrary, we have the head of blockchain for IBM saying they love XLM, and are actively working together to introduce it to banks. XLM, not just Stellar. That is crucial for coin holders. I am not running over to the computer to sell right now, but I will get up to my basis, and exit. I will most likely keep some for a Coinbase push, but XLM needs more of Raiden’s money. Jed McCaleb has created 3 gigantic blockchain companies (Mt. Gox, Ripple, Stellar), and smart money doesn’t bet against him. I sure won’t be.

 

This is not a recommendation to buy cryptocurrencies. I am not buying or selling anything right now, and I suggested you don’t either. If you do, be aware of the risks. I wish you the best of luck.

Disclaimer: The author has an investment stake in XRP.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 27 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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  1. citizen_x

    February 11, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Really great and very interesting article, like your reasonable point of view, the fundamentals have to be solid for the project to succeed long term. Thanks for sharing those ideas.

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Bitcoin

Morgan Chase’s JPM Coin: A Banker’s Intranet, or the First Major Attack on Bitcoin?

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JP Morgan Chase unveiled plans for its JPM Coin on Thursday, sending the cryptocurrency universe into equal fits of both rancour and rapture.

While some see institutional adoption of cryptocurrency as the most bullish news of 2019, many are not quite sold on the concept; and some are already fearing the emergence of a ‘Ripple Killer’ or even a ‘Bitcoin Killer’.

As ever, the truth is probably more subtle, and more interesting than the sensational headlines suggest.

JPM Coin ‘Would Have Pumped BTC’ In Bull Market

At the most extreme end of the enthusiasm spectrum we have the assertion by one ‘crypto influencer’ on crypto-twitter that JPM Coin would have have positive effects on Bitcoin in a bull market scenario.

“This JP Morgan news would have pumped $BTC $1000+ in a bull market…”

Of course, a $1,000 increase when BTC’s priced at $20,000 is very different from when BTC’s priced at $3,000. One would equal a 5% increase, and the other a 33.3% increase – but let’s not deprive influencers of their fun and games.

One thing that influencers are good for is that the following they attract (43k in this case) can be put to good use. The poll below, taken from a relatively large sample size, shows that opinion is split on what JPM means for the broader crypto market.

Poll results showing response to JPM Coin.

But let’s bear in mind that all that really happened was a new stablecoin was announced. The concept of it having a bullish or bearish effect on the cryptocurrency sphere is a loose one.

Bitcoin and Ripple Killer?

Any notion of JPM Coin being a Bitcoin killer was put to bed pretty quickly in this takedown by CCN’s P.H. Madore: Why JP Morgan’s ‘Bitcoin Killer’ Isn’t Even a Real Cryptocurrency – but that didn’t stop panic from spreading initially.

Where panic might be more readily directed however is in the vicinity of Ripple and XRP. Not to underplay some of Ripple’s payment solutions – which have already been massively adopted – but if major institutions now have the choice of doing business with JP Morgan Chase, or the often controversial, and relatively unknown Ripple Labs, which one are they more likely to choose?

A Banker’s Intranet?

Cypherpunk and maintenance man for one of the internet’s prime hubs of blockchain info, Jameson Lopp compared JP Morgan Chase’s stablecoin to private bankers intranets of the early 90s. He said:

“Banker stablecoins are a step forward, just as banker intranets were in the 1990s. Adoption of this technology will make the transition smoother when they are forced to capitulate and adopt the Internet of Money.”

This is probably a fairer assessment of the situation, and one that gives room for nuance – although the nuance is shattered by the cock-sure assertion that Bitcoin will become the internet of money.

Speaking of bankers intranets – one can imagine internet diehards complaining in the early 90s that the bankers were taking over their thing – their apparatus for freedom, from censorship and surveillance by corporations and the state – and that soon the internet would be taken over by the very people they had hoped to escape.

But that didn’t happen… did it?

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 146 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Solve.Care Has Potential to Transform the Field of Healthcare Administration

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The last few years have been a crazy ride in the crypto markets.  We’ve seen both the buying frenzy and the panic selling.  Although the industry has a lot of potential, it is undoubtedly true that many projects will fizzle out during the next 12-24 months.  Traders need to carefully analyze projects that have the best chance for real world adoption.  Part of the analysis certainly needs to center around projected industry growth.  One of the areas in desperate need of transformation is healthcare administration and Solve.Care may have just the solution.

Problems with Traditional Healthcare

Healthcare administration around the world has become plagued by inefficiencies and soaring costs.  Global spending on health exceeds $8 trillion annually and is expected to increase to $18 trillion worldwide by 2040.  In the U.S. alone, up to $1 trillion is wasted through administrative costs, over-utilization, and fraud.  Much of this waste is due to an obsolete and cumbersome healthcare system.  These issues have placed a massive strain on patients, doctors, and system administrators for far too long.

For doctors, one of their major complaints is the amount of time spent completing paperwork and dealing with insurance companies.  For patients, one of the major complaints is lack of face time with their primary care physicians.

Change is definitely needed and that’s where Solve.Care comes into the picture.

What is Solve.Care

Solve.Care is a transformative healthcare administrative platform designed for use by patients, employers, doctors, healthcare groups, and insurance businesses.  This platform is the first to use blockchain technology as the underlying distributed ledger for all care events between patient, doctor, pharmacy, laboratory, insurer, and other parties.

Patients are encouraged to manage their healthcare decisions.  Employers can use the platform to administer benefits, reduce costs, and reward their employees.  Doctors and hospitals can issue prescriptions, manage appointments, and coordinate with a specialist.

The platform has the potential to save billions of dollars in annual costs by better coordinating all the normal healthcare administrative operations and thereby eliminating all the inefficiencies.

Prior Accomplishments

Solve.Care completed it’s token sale in May 2018 and has since had its token, SOLVE, listed on Bittrex and KuCoin.  The company sold 350 million tokens with a 100% subscription rate.  That certainly speaks to the demand of both the token to use Care.Wallet and the platform’s potential for real world adoption.

The company had made it a priority to hire some of the best talent in the world.  More than 100 people are currently working in the company with approximately 70 of them being engineers.  The engineers are making rapid progress as the platform is being continually expanded and improved.

Whenever new technology attempts to disrupt an industry hanging on to outdated software and practices, it is imperative that startup companies have the right leadership.  Fortunately, Solve.Care appears to have someone very capable at the top.  The company is led by Pradeep Goel, who has been in the CEO, COO, CIO and CTO roles at various technology companies over the past 26 years.  Pradeep has a wealth of knowledge from both the private and public sectors, most notably from his time designing and building solutions for public programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP.  Pradeep has also been named in the Goldman Sachs list of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the world.

The company has a growing pipeline with more than 25 clients and partnerships.  Perhaps the most impressive of which was the recent deal struck with Arizona Care Network.

Arizona Care Network Partnership

Solve.Care has a proven track record of developing blockchain-based healthcare solutions and introducing them to the U.S. healthcare market.

In February 2018, Solve.Care announced a multi-year contract for its decentralized healthcare administration platform with Arizona Care Network (ACN), one of the largest accountable care organizations in the United States.  ACN manages value-based care contracts for its network of more than 5,500 physicians covering more than 250,000 members.

David Hanekom, CEO of Arizona Care Network, had this to say about the partnership:

“ACN is focused on innovation in the healthcare industry and seeks to be the leading technology-enabled ACO in the U.S.  This is why we chose to partner with Solve.Care, a true innovator in the healthcare administration and payments sector.  Solve.Care brings a lot to the table in terms of their ability to simplify and decentralize complex processes related to value-based care delivery and payments.  We couldn’t be more excited as a result of this partnership and look forward to launching the platform with our providers and members.”

Since that announcement, Solve.Care has continued to innovate with the launch of Care.Wallet for Physician and Care.Wallet for Family.

Care.Wallet for Physician Development

Care.Wallet for Physician, launched in October 2018, allows the providers of the Network to track the successes and overall score, while receiving corresponding rewards according to the Provider Rewards Program.  These value-based payments inside the network of 5,500 physicians are happening with the healthcare digital currency, Care.Coin.  It is important to note that Solve.Care is the first company to implement digital currency and blockchain technology for value-based payments in the U.S. healthcare industry.

Conclusion

Of all the industries, I can’t think of any that needs a complete overhaul more than health administration and care coordination.  With soaring costs and an aging population that will need quick and easy access to care in the coming years, this is an area that could see a lot of innovation in the near future.  Solve.Care is already doing its part to transform the industry, and will no doubt reap the rewards for its innovative spirit.

 

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Gold Rush 2.0: Who’s Selling Shovels to the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Pioneers?

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There’s an old saying that goes something like: “During a gold rush, sell shovels.”

At the height of the California gold rush, the most profitable venture (on average) was not mining for gold itself, but selling the tools that facilitated the mining of gold.

The legacy of this fact is still present even today – your Levi jeans are a product of Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss, whose business boomed when he began manufacturing tough, durable trousers specifically for gold miners.

While adventurers took to the hills in search of their fortunes, the more conservative personalities found a way to make money from the process before a pick-axe even struck the soil.

So who are the ‘shovel sellers’ in the cryptocurrency space?

Exchanges

By the second quarter of 2018, Binance had already become more profitable than Germany’s Deutsche Bank. That was less than a year after launch, and the exchange’s meteoric rise was such that the likes of Forbes and Business Insider began writing about the likelihood of $1 billion yearly profits being recorded by CZ and the gang in 2018

By the end of the year those profits ended up being closer to half a billion, and Binance’s BNB utility token was the only major altcoin to increase in value from 2018 to 2019.

Although exchanges aren’t in the business of selling physical tools essential to cryptocurrency mining or usage, they do occupy a gatekeeper role similar to local goldsmiths in the old west. Yes, gold miners could just keep their bounty to themselves and use it (with some difficulty) as its own self-contained currency. But if they wanted to exchange it for an equivalent value of fiat currency, then they’d have to go through a confirmation and notarization process – one which would require some form of KYC, and would ultimately demand a percentage fee.

With the presence of authority-less services like Local Bitcoin, and a recent increase in the number of decentralized exchanges, it may seem surprising that one of the most profitable gigs in the cryptocurrency space happens to be that of a centralized exchange.

However, this phenomena makes a little more sense when viewed through the lens of human nature: Read: 5 Things Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Investors Should Beware of in 2019.

Mining Tools

Perhaps the most obvious example of ‘selling shovels’ to the crypto space comes from the mining hardware industry.

Bitmain Technologies Ltd has already earned its co-founder and CEO, Micree Zhan, an estimated $4 billion in profit – all from selling mining equipment to would-be cryptocurrency prospectors.

Towards the end of last year Bitmain announced its intention to undergo an initial public offering (IPO) – predicted to be worth an estimated $18 billion if it goes ahead. There are some obstacles to overcome before that can happen, such as gaining the approval of Hong Kong’s financial regulators.

But with that kind of money flying around, there’s a good chance Bitmain could become the modern day Levi. Even if crypto mining fades out due to concepts like Proof-of-Stake, we’d most likely see Bitmain continue to sell shovels of some kind, even if it were just general computing technology.

Bitmain’s estimated worth if the IPO goes ahead will eclipse the market capitalizations of Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), EOS (EOS) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) combined – possibly the best example of ‘selling shovels’ since the gold rush itself?

Storage

Cryptocurrency can be stored safely on its native blockchain without too much trouble. However, if you want to gain access to your funds in order to spend it, divide it, or move it from place to place, then you’re going to need a wallet service of some kind.

Many free software wallets exist for this purpose, however not all of them can be trusted. The most secure way to store cryptocurrency is with a hardware wallet.

The popularity of the secure storage service offered by Trezor is such that it had become a multi-million dollar industry by as early as 2017. That’s the same year the company had to issue an apology to its customers after it ran out of stock due to high demand, when a spike in the value of BTC saw a sudden influx of Trezor orders:

“With much regret, Satoshi Labs would like to inform you that due to the exceedingly high and unanticipated demand associated with the increase in bitcoin value, our stock at TREZOR Shop has been depleted. We would like to sincerely apologize for this inadequate foresight related to the development of bitcoin value. Production plans have been fixed and this situation should not occur in the future again.”

Ledger hardware wallets have proven just as popular in recent years, or even more so considering their compatibility with a higher number of cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile numerous would-be usurpers to the Ledger/Trezor dominance have also attempted to make their presence felt, with varying degrees of success.

Conclusion

In terms of pure profit, wouldn’t it be accurate to say that the people involved in the peripheral industries surrounding cryptocurrency have found more success than those involved in the main industry itself?

This also raises the question of just what the main industry is – is it mining? Is it trading? Is it purely the pursuit of profit? Or does all of this amount to no more than the setting of foundations for the true crypto use-case – i.e. it’s role as a global transactional currency?

Note that I didn’t mention the phenomena of ‘blockchain influencers’ and self-professed ‘experts’ – another booming industry that seeks to siphon off value from the main expedition; and one that also had its equivalency during the gold rush era.

When the global cryptocurrency market struck its all-time high on January 7th, 2018, its $835 billion valuation was worth 11% of the total value of all the gold ever mined (according to current gold prices).

If the value of cryptocurrencies continue to increase as the global supply available from mining continues to decrease (as predicted), then the gold rush isn’t anywhere close to being over – and it may be worth figuring out how to sell a few shovels of your own.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 146 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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