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Op-Ed

Cookbook for a Down Day

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We got ourselves another buying day folks. Unfortunately, when I was asleep there were some pretty good deals going on. I woke up to find some okay prices, but they went back up to those purgatory prices that weren’t eye popping enough. I wanted to share what I do on days like this to stay on top without having to go crazy about it. Alarms and Limit orders. I will also share a coin that interests me on a day like today.

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Alarms

This is a 24/7 market. There are no days off, and the best deals can come at the worst times. For me, they always do. I wake up at 5 a.m. and I am still not ahead on the day. What I do is very simple: go on the Coinbase app and set alerts on all three of the major coins (LTC, ETH, BTC).

The alerts I set are usually in the not-so-crazy downside. For example, my alerts are at $10,999 for BTC, $999 ETH, and $160 LTC. These may not be buying prices, but merely checking prices. At those prices, I want to pick up my phone and check alts. We may have some very big sales going on.

I don’t need to set 50 different alarms, I just need to know what the majors are doing at all times and I will almost be able to predict what an XRP/NEO is doing. If ETH is $999, chances are XRP is near $1.10-$1.20 and NEO is $110-$120 usually. Of course, we are never certain; that’s why we must check.

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Limit Orders

For the layman, a limit order is the process of setting a price at which you would like to buy something instead of buying it in the market at whatever price. So, if you want XRP at $1.00 or below, you set an XRP buy limit order of $1.00. Same goes for selling.

These are probably the best tools that are at your disposal. If you have been investing, you’ve probably found a major asset that you like and have been using as your own virtual coin bee hive. For some it’s BTC, and for others  it is ETH. Having a portion of your base currency always tied up in correction limit orders may be a strategy that you could employ to take advantage of the market’s 24/7 nature.

I wake sometimes and my jaw drops at what coins hit when I was asleep. So, what I did was sell when the market was up the other day into ETH, and have my base currency limit orders. ETH hoarding is my specialty. I have the added benefit of doing so, while also maybe getting a fantastic deal that I can either hodl short/long term (I only buy certain coins that I have mentioned) via limit order.

I take great pride in business picking, and I am confident in it. So, I set prices for when good businesses are tanking for no reason. I knew the market was irrational, but not this irrational. I must take advantage.

The Coin

XRP: Ripple will be added to Coinbase at some point in the near future, along with other cryptocurrencies (XMR, DASH, ZEC are also rumored… I will be doing individual write ups on these soon).

I am an ETH and XRP hoarder. I just have to wait for Coinbase to add XRP, and then pop in the ledger and sell it at an exchange that hasn’t collapsed from the amount of buy orders that XRP will cause when it can be bought in fiat. I have prepared for this day like a cowboy would for a bull ride.

This angry bull is going to jump in the air very quickly, and my performance will be measured in seconds, not minutes. I truly believe in the product, and I will be a long term hodler, but I want my money back. I have a cost basis, and I want to replenish it. I suggest everyone does it on major pumps for any coin.

Coinbase had to shut down BCH at $4,000 to save people from themselves. They were apparently getting reads way above $4,000 and got spooked. This confusion would be an exact entry point into Ripple.

XRP being added to Coinbase is still “somehow” a speculation because the exchange came out and said it had no plans to do so. Coinbase needed to handle the insider trading that took place ahead of the BCH launch, and then they would most likely begin taking strides to rounding out the exchange with more currencies. They have handled the BCH deal already.

The worst case scenario is that they don’t add new currencies in the next few months, and even in that scenario I am okay. Angel List has about 10-20 exchanges that have been going full steam ahead, and are all having dinner parties together each and every day that Coinbase doesn’t add any new coins. These folks will come out with apps, they will come out with perks, and they will come out ways to buy that don’t take nine days like they sometimes do with Coinbase.

This market is going through an exponential expansion (bubble). No denying a bubble. The bubble will burst and the project coins will all fall. Who knows when that will happen. During this bubble, no one is safe. Not even exchanges. They must innovate at a 100 MPH pace to keep up with demand or they will get trampled. Mt. Gox is an example of a trampled exchange. XRP is on every fiat exchange’s wish list. They know their exchanges probably can’t even handle the demand, but they want to open the flood gates. Raiden will be on his surf board when this happens.

Oh, and XRP at $1 is something I want to buy. I make sure I buy it down there. Always. Alerts and Limit orders help me never miss it.

Conclusion 

This market is confusing and scared at all hours of the day. Please make sure that you are investing smartly. There is no reason to pay for something when it is 20% up because you think it will go up another 20%. You missed it. There will be another time to get into the coin, and there is always at least 2-3 coins that are attractive at all times. They will rotate in and out, and you must be prepared for when that happens. I don’t claim to have the best system, but this is best one for me. I check prices a TON, but alerts make sure I don’t miss the right times to check. If you aren’t looking at prices all the time, you shouldn’t be making short term trades. People who don’t look at prices rely wholly on people who are. I don’t invest that way.

 

This is NOT a recommendation to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. The orders I talked about are hypothetical, and XRP is nowhere near the levels mentioned. I want you to think about what you are doing, and what your goals are.

Feel free to chat with me @raijincrypto on Twitter, and I have been sending out some of my thoughts during the day.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

 

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Op-Ed

Decoding Ripple

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Market Update: As of this writing, bitcoin is up to almost $10,800 with ETH at $962. Great news. What we saw this week was slow, consistent gains. It looks like most coins are gaining 3-10% daily, with not too much parabolic activity that would make me more nervous. We had a ton of tailwinds, too many to count. A White House Official said cryptocurrency regulation would not be in the immediate future, Wyoming & Colorado are trying to legislate crypto-friendly offerings/enforcements, and of course “Coinbase Merchant” was launched; which is a payment platform for businesses to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the Chinese New Year.

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Big players are announcing partnerships, and of course, Ripple leads the pack. A coin is only as good as their buyers, so I want to make sure that all of my readers know who those buyers could potentially be, and what they can buy. I want provide a background on Ripple & their 3 Products (Xrapid, Xcurrent, Xvia). Ripple is one of my largest holdings, so full disclosure here.

Ripple’s Market

Ripple’s products are all designed to work with businesses on sending and receiving payments instantly and securely. Their main competitor is the incumbent, the SWIFT system.

SWIFT facilitates money wire transfers, with many checks and balances along the way. Overall, it takes about 3-5 days to clear a transaction with the SWIFT system. That means if you want to send money from USA to Germany, you can either wait a long time or you can pay a high fee to get it there quicker (via Remittance company like Western Union). During your wait time, there is also security risk. Just recently, we saw hackers take SWIFT via a Russian Bank for $6M. When you don’t encrypt your transfers & information, there is always a possibility that someone is smart enough to hack in.

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The SWIFT system, regardless of Ripple’s success, will phase out of existence. Their way of transferring money in the 21st century is outdated, and people should expect more out of their financial institutions than their money going through the equivalent of snail mail to get to it’s recipient.

Blockchain is a simple solution for payment processing, which is why you are getting so many people trying to enter the space altogether. There are trillions of dollars being moved back and forth each year around the world, and there are certain niches that will require different blockchain characteristics to serve them. One of them is banks & remittance companies. They need Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer procedures built in, just like the SWIFT system. Ripple (and Lumens!) designed their chains/coins specifically for this purpose.

XCurrent

The product I hate to love. This is Ripple’s solution for bank cross-border transactions. Their system not only uses blockchain, but also validates the parties in the transaction and the transaction itself BEFORE it even takes place, so there is no wait time in between.

One bank wants to send money to another bank, with a “correspondent bank” (wire facilitator) in the middle. There is a message sent from the sending bank that will outline their intended transaction. Ripple will decode the message, and put it into ledger format for all 3 banks to read, compliance screen, and validate instantly (Inter-ledger Protocol). Sender, receiver, account information, and transaction details are all used to determine the fee that each bank will tack on for their services to determine total cost to sender for approval.

The next step is cryptographic hold of funds. This puts a hold on the transaction at all 3 banks, so that they can generate a cryptographic signature that will serve as evidence that funds are available and have been pledged for dispensing. In other words, the banks send each other “I’m ready” signals. Once all parties have provided their cryptographic signatures, Ripple automatically releases the transaction, which is sent and settled within seconds.

Communication and uniformity are the solutions that Ripple brings with this system. No longer should banks have inboxes and outboxes. Blockchain ledgers automatically validate participants in the transaction, and the blockchain itself can serve as the highway to transfer the funds instantly. Overall, this is expected to yield a 30% decrease in transaction costs for customers, while also providing instant settlement. No brainer.

Raiden, why do you love to hate it? This is the main side chain product culprit. You don’t need to use XRP in these scenarios, and banks aren’t. Sure, there is some trial periods, but I haven’t heard a major bank using XCurrent with XRP. This is when I wish I was a shareholder, not a coin holder. The best we can hope for is that XRP will become a base currency for banks once society has warmed up to the thought of virtual shells that encapsulate and mimic the value of fiat currency. Until then, I am not happy when I hear the word XCurrent.

XRapid

Our future hero. This is XCurrent, but with XRP being added in. Cross-Border/Currency payments are completely inefficient. In order for me to send dollars and someone to receive Rupees, Currency (USD) must be sent to a correspondent bank, and exchanged in a “Nostro-Account”, which serves as a liquidity pool of the foreign currency (INR). Then it has to be sent to the receiving bank in the foreign currency, going through the wire system. Long, expensive, and complicated. It is so troublesome, that most banks and remittance companies need to set minimums on transactions because it is so economically inefficient for smaller users.

Nostro-Accounts, what Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse calls “Dormant Cash” are just pools of sitting money that have to remain there in order to convert all of these cross-currency transaction requests. XRP can serve as the unified currency for all banks to transact with, and exchange into their intended currency. Ripple takes a multi-step/multi-party process, and eliminates almost of all it.

The U.S. dollar can eventually take the form of XRP, be sent anywhere in the world, and XRP will then take form of the intended foreign currency, and settle itself within the intended bank account. As coin holders, this is what everyone should be dreaming of prior to the Beta version launch in the Spring of 2018.

During my research, Ripple’s 2016 White Paper was the only source I could find to properly explain this system, and even my explanation may be lacking. This system is expected to free up massive amounts of Emerging Market liquidity through the lessening use of the “nostro-account” system, while also cutting transaction costs by up to 60%. I am trying to get my hands on more XRapid material, but this is very very new. I am going to keep you all posted on developments, as I have set up an RSS feed to give me anything related to XRapid as it comes out in the future.

Xvia

This system for is a platform for point of sale payments. There is not one piece of information on XVia. It is actually kind of scary how little information is available on any of these products. Here is my most educated guess based on the limited information. This is Ripple’s version of Coinbase Merchant. It is software that can be imbedded in E-Commerce sites that people can use XRP to pay for goods and services. Based on the level of information, XVia is not going to be used in the near future. If it is, then their customers must have more information on it than the public does.

Conclusion

This research was tougher than I expected. Ripple has provided good information on XCurrent, but the others are severely lacking. There also isn’t much interest in the Youtube community, with rocket ship memes being more important than content. As a coin investor, I am disappointed. Their main product right now is private labeling chains, which does not benefit coin holders. I want more information on XRapid and Xvia. You can go look at my Lumens article. There is enough information from Jed, IBM, and followers to fill a textbook. If Ripple wants to have products listed on their site, there better be some information for me to look at. We may not be owners, but we are investors. I think it’s time for them to start treating us that way.

 

None of what I am saying is an offering to buy or sell coins. Full disclosure, this author owns XRP. You certainly wouldn’t think it based on this article! I wish you the best of luck on the exchange. Please do follow me @raijincrypto on Twitter. I try to send out thoughts throughout the week.

 

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 17 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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Op-Ed

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.

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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.

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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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4.3 stars on average, based on 17 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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Op-Ed

Who Killed The ICO?

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For all the hype and chatter we listened to going back to last year, initial coin offerings have suddenly gone dead.  The entire month of January 2018 raised only $52 million according to ICOWatchlist.com.  In the halcyon days this was the rate of  inflow every three days (it’s important to note that crowdfunding amounts vary, but there seems to be a general downtrend in the market from the data we were able to collect). What happened and what does it mean?  First, let’s take a look at some numbers that may bore you but help illustrate the point.

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Last year produced just under $4 billion in fresh capital to fund startups. According to ICOWatchList, $1.8 billion was raised in the five months ending in October.  About 78% of the ICOs used the Ethereum platform.  This explosion helps us understand some of the energy that pushed Ethereum into the forefront of the cryptocurrency sweepstakes.  Between Halloween and mid January the price of Ether quadrupled in value hitting $1338 (Coinbase).

Investors suddenly viewed Ethereum as the poster child for ICOs.  Obviously the open source nature of its blockchain platform along with its smart contracts feature offered a natural fit for startups looking to raise capital.

The reality, of course, is the use cases for Ethereum go vastly beyond facilitating ICOs but for an investing public getting started on crypto investing, it didn’t matter.  When outsized returns are being achieved, who needs to understand the details.

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ICOs Get a Bad Rap

In recent weeks a lot of bad press has been earned by certain bad actors in the ICO space.  Much has been written about the cryptocurrency startup Confido. Someone posing by the name Joost Van Doorn raises and then vanishes with about $375,000 sometime just after November 15th.   Trouble was Joost also deleted the Confido website and his presence on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Subsequently, Mr. Van Doorn resurfaced and is working to make financial amends but the media has yet to say much about this side of the story.

Some analysts of ICOs claim the incident of scamming with ICOs runs a high as 20%.  It is difficult to verify how these numbers are derived.  These and related ICO stories can not be helping instill investor confidence.  

Regulation of ICOs Would Be a Mistake

There is an argument suggesting that in order to improve the ICO marketplace, it should be regulated presumably by some authority such as the US Securities & Exchange Commission for example.

Here is why that won’t work.  The presence of ICOs have their origins in crowdfunding, that being the outgrowth of The Jobs Act passed during post financial crisis by the Obama Administration.  The whole purpose was to create pathways for unregulated capital raising by young companies.  To date ICOs have evolved into the most efficient way to accomplish the goals of The Jobs Act.  

One of the most compelling arguments in favor of ICOs is their ability to circumvent the jaws of venture capitalists.  In a typical arrangement for a young company to raise money a VC might demand a 50% equity stake and a lengthy 5-7 year lock up in exchange for providing just the first few million in capital.  By the end of the lock up, the company may have many more millions in capital but the founders are left with just a sliver of equity.

Last year three companies: Tazos, Filecoin and Finney went the ICO route raising a total of nearly $600 million without giving up equity.  This represents democracy in the capital market and that is a good thing.

Misconception About Size of Offerings

One of the biggest misconceptions about ICOs relates to the perception that they are all  tiny little startup companies that have little more than a whitepaper and a wish for fast cash. Reality is there were thousands of ICOs that were attempted last year but few went very far.

ICO Watchlist data covers about half of all capital raised last year: about $2.3 billion. The average ICO raised nearly $40 million and that is required some greater substance that a whitepaper and a wish.  Granted that the data is bias toward larger sized offerings but that does not reduce the importance that ICOs are playing in the capital formation process.   

Institutional Investment Opportunity

Rather than tighter regulation of ICO, there should be tighter research on the buy side.  For the individual investor this could present a problem.  How much research can one person do if 20 or more ICO come to market in a short period like a single month.  This is where Venture Capital and hedge funds with their well staffed analytical departments have the edge: 2018 could be the year it happens.  

Here is the key point for institutions everywhere.  Global stock markets are clearly overvalued based on interest rates.  The shaken US market is confirming this fact.  This raises the question of relative risk.  Is there greater risk in global equity markets than in cryptocurrencies?  The answer appears to be yes and that will increasingly favor cryptocurrencies.  

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 20 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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