Early Evangelist David Drake Never Stops Believing in Crypto 6 3036

David Drake

David Drake, Founder and Chairman at LDJ Capital, a $200 million cryptocurrency fund, recently put a bold stake in the ground when he went on Bloomberg to declare Bitcoin may be valued at $30k by the end of 2018. Drake’s commentary was picked up by just about every crypto trade publication with other industry leaders adding their two cents.  

Over the last seven years, Drake has steadily made a name for himself as a leader in cryptocurrency. He saw the value of digital assets back in 2011 when other investors were still avoiding it. About six years later, a lot of others had faith in the market too. 2017 was the year cryptocurrency went mainstream, more institutional investors got in on the market and we saw Bitcoin close out the year with its highest valuation yet.

Since then, we’ve seen a roller coaster of sharp falls, followed by steady growth and so on. “We see organizations of people using strategies that are forbidden in traditional trading environments, including pumping up certain cryptocurrencies and then dumping them. These types of Black-Box trading strategies manipulate the market and cause a large part of the volatility we are seeing at this stage,” says Drake.

In response, there has been a lot of talk about what needs to be done in order to improve the cryptocurrency ecosystem. “There needs to be regulation, self regulation and SEC guidance, plain and simple,” adds Drake. However, this is something many coin offerings have been hesitant of given the digital asset’s somewhat nefarious beginnings. The anonymity and decentralization of cryptocurrency markets will be lost once governments and regulatory agencies get involved, but this is necessary according to Drake. “We need to work collaboratively in order for the market to reach its full potential,”he says.

When asked what the market will look like ten years from now, Drakes confidence never wavers. “It will be 85 times bigger and we will see complete fluidity between the market, Wall Street and financial institutions.”

Despite the ups and downs of the current market, the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple have, for the most part, been the top three cryptocurrencies in the market. Drake believes we may see that disrupted. “Despite all of the media buzz and widespread consumer interest, this market is still in its infancy. There is definitely potential for existing and new coin offerings to shake things up. Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Cardano and Litecoin have been gaining ground in their own right.  “I could see EOS surpassing Ethereum’s position by year-end,” says Drake. “Admittedly, it is all speculation without knowing what other coin offerings may enter the market. Anything is possible.”

Regardless of those possibilities, watching the cryptocurrency market evolution is sure to be interesting.

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Tina Mulqueen is the founder of The Block Talk and the CEO of Kindred PR. She consults with blockchain projects on marketing and public relations strategy, helping clients to secure more than $10M in funding. She is a 2x Top 100 Women in Media honoree and was named one of the top young communications professionals by INC Magazine. She's an advocate for women in technology, and often speaks about the intersection of technology, media & marketing. She writes regularly for Entrepreneur, and has written for Forbes, Huffington Post, Today, Thrive Global, Elite Daily, New York Lifestyles Magazine, and more.


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We’ve Taken Another Step Towards Blockchain Usability 3 3017

Widespread blockchain adoption. It didn’t happen in 2018, but it still feels like we’re right on the cusp.

One of the biggest obstacles blockchain is still trying to overcome is accessibility. For all its great potential, we won’t see far reaching implementation until people can use it easily. How can blockchain take a form that’s approachable to the general, non-coding public?

For now, much of the world, including small business leaders who form the backbone of many nations’ economies, still doesn’t know what they’re missing.

Who Needs Blockchain?

Let’s say you own a small to midsize enterprise with a strong digital presence, but you’re tired of the problems associated with traditional internet. You can’t reach potential clients in China, content regulations are different in Europe, and payment across borders is cumbersome.

You’d prefer to have your data management distributed and open source instead of locked up in some centralized server that hopefully won’t crash. Switching to a blockchain system would solve all these problems, but you don’t have the revenues to hire a team of blockchain devs who can transfer your digital presence to dApps.

You’re not alone. World Bank estimates over 90 percent of the world’s private companies are not large enterprises, but SMEs like yours. These modest enterprises are responsible for over half of the world’s GDP and employment, and they’re particularly important in emerging markets where they create 4 out of 5 new jobs.

Making blockchain technology accessible for global SMEs is a necessary push in achieving widespread adoption. To do this, setting up on blockchain needs to be as easy as using Squarespace, WordPress, or GoDaddy.

Ethereum Provides a Platform, but User-Friendly Implementation Has Remained Elusive

For all the ICOs launched in the past couple of years, only a handful have devoted themselves to this particular problem. After an encounter with Vitalik Buterin five years ago, retired fintech engineer Joe Lubin realized that blockchain “has the potential to shatter the silos of power and re-balance the information asymmetries that disadvantage so many.” He developed ConsenSys, a support system for devs and entrepreneurs to build on Buterin’s Ethereum platform.

Ethereum is perhaps the first and certainly the biggest platform for such developments. But ConseSys isn’t quite aimed at the everyday user. While it pushes blockchain’s potential forward, it will take more to bridge the gap for the general populous.

Bringing Blockchain’s Potential to the Everyday User

Eric Tippetts takes things a step further with NASGO. Aiming to be the ‘GoDaddy of blockchain,’ NASGO offers toolkits geared towards artists, influencers, humanitarian organizations, independent businesspeople and SMEs. It’s a “decentralized hosting environment”, according to Tippetts.

It gets around regional internet censorship and “allows content to be seen in every part of the world, opening up blocked boundaries for communication and collaboration.” And it makes things intentionally user-friendly so clients don’t need to show up with previous skills in tech, finance or coding.

Putting Down Roots in Asia’s Emerging Markets

Just last month, NASGO took a step forward into the spotlight by partnering with BitForex, one of the top ten digital asset trading platforms in the world. The partnership went live after a signing ceremony in Nha Trang, Vietnam on January 11th, and Singapore-based BitForex began offering NASGO tokens (NSG) for exchange a week later.

Tippetts is ambitious, calling this only the first among many indexes that will begin listing NASGO over the course of 2019. NASGO already has more partnerships in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Palau. These countries are looking at ways to expand their revenue base while embracing blockchain’s increased transparency and the protection it provides against fraud. As emerging economies, these countries also stand to gain by enriching their private sectors, which are made up primarily of SMEs, with empowering blockchain knowledge.

“Of all we are accomplishing, our most important mission for 2019 is to drive complete utilization of blockchain,” says Tippetts. “We are creating the infrastructure and widespread adoption that will allow the blockchain to achieve its highest potential in driving revenue for organizations all over the world.”

Usability is the Key to Blockchain’s Future, and the Reclamation of Our Data

With ConsenSys, NASGO and BitForex pushing the agenda of blockchain usability into 2019, the ‘new internet’ could be right around the corner. If history is any indicator, it’s only a matter of the 100th monkey catching on before we finally see the blockchain blow up that was prophesied throughout last year.

When we eventually cross that cusp, we can finally hope to have control of our data and transactions. We’ll be able to conduct small scale business and creative work more freely. And the world of banks and governments will have some adapting to do.

Happy 10th Birthday, Bitcoin!! 7 156

On January 3rd, 2009, block number zero produced the first 50 bitcoins. They were mined by none other than the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Thus was born the phenomenon of the decade. And on January 8th, ten years ago today, bitcoin became a public network when Nakamoto released bitcoin version 0.1.

Nakamoto announced the release via the Metzdowd cryptography mailing list, calling bitcoin “a new electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to prevent double-spending.”

Nakamoto’s description of the software that would revolutionize technology is sparing and to the point. “It’s completely decentralized with no server or central authority,” the succinct announcement goes on. “Windows only for now.  Open source C++ code is included.” It describes the proof of work as “ridiculously easy”.

It follows with a brief description of how transactions work, how many coins will be released and how they can expect to split every 4 years, along with the caveats that the software was still “alpha and experimental,” offering “no guarantees”. It’s signed with no letter closing, simply:

“Satoshi Nakamoto”

Bitcoin, This Is Your Life

My what a ten years it has been. Just to recap:

On January 12th, 2009, programmer Hal Finney, who had downloaded the new bitcoin software immediately, received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto. This was the first ever bitcoin transaction. Over a year later in May 2010, programmer Laszlo Hanyecz received 10,000 bitcoins in exchange for two Papa John’s pizzas, initiating the first real-world bitcoin purchase and thereby creating the pizza index.

Bitcoin simmered until 2017, when it’s value jolted from $900 to over $19,000, and bitcoin became a household name. Over the past year, the original crypto has settled to a more modest $4,000 valuation, and stirred up a lot of public din in its wake.

Where Were You on January 9th, 2009?

So where were you on the day of Nakamoto’s announcement? Probably on your couch watching DVDs of Pineapple Express and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia seasons 1 through 3, or laughing at Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog on your iPhone 2.

It was a simpler time. Wired was calling Google Earth the number one app on the fancy new iPhone app store. Competition was fierce with Windows 7 in beta. Facebook had recently dropped the “is” from status updates, and a fun app called Twitter (formerly “Twttr”) had just introduced a feature called Trending Topics.

Trending Topics

David Bowie was celebrating one of his eight final birthdays, while Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze were enjoying their last few months among us mortals. Only days later, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles made aviation history by skillfully crash landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, saving everyone on board.

A burgeoning class of ennui soaked fashionistas, deemed “hipsters,” were described in Time Magazine as “smug, full of contradictions and, ultimately, the dead end of Western civilization,” a vermin who “manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity.” They went on with this colorful character sketch:

“Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They’re the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you’ve never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.”

Time Magazine, 2009

Is it time for any of that to come back into style yet? Maybe give it a few more years. We need a break.

Williamsburg was gentrifying and Portland was still America’s best kept secret. The streets were flooded with fixed gear bikes and the sounds of Grizzly Bear, Real Estate, Kings of Convenience, and TV on the Radio.

Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was just a few days old, and Fever Ray’s self titled was about to drop. The world was listening to Lady Gaga, whose single “Just Dance” hit number one on Billboard’s top 100, and Taylor Swift’s Fearless, which was the top selling album.

That same month, box offices favored the cuddly Marley & Me, while The Dark Knight swept the people’s choice awards. Audiences were still getting wowed by Avatar, paying a lot to be disappointed by Mall Cop, and getting hyped about the upcoming Watchmen movie.

Meanwhile in Washington DC, a president with a multisyllabic vocabulary was about to be inaugurated (a rarity in the 21st century, we would find out), and his kids were playing with a Wii they got for Christmas.

Here’s To Another Decade Ahead

What a time it was, the dawn of 2009. And most of us, at least for a few more years, had never heard about blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or bitcoin.

And now here we are.

So, dear reader, here’s to ten more years of crashes, booms, bubble scares, hype, derision, libertarian fanboys, pizza and moon lambos. Happy tenth birthday, bitcoin!!1

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