The “Everything Rally” & Shifting Macro Tailwinds

Below is a write-up by Kevin Kelly, Co-Founder & Chief Market Strategist at Delphi Digital, an independent research boutique providing institutional-grade research on the digital asset market. He shares some of the key takeaways from the team’s latest Macro Outlook report examining this year’s rally across asset classes and the shifting macro backdrop for Bitcoin. Disclosure: I currently sit on Delphi’s board of directors.


The "Everything Rally" aptly summarizes much of this year's above-average returns for most conventional asset classes; developed and emerging market equities, long-dated Treasuries, U.S. investment-grade and high yield corporate bonds, oil and even gold have all posted double digit percentage gains this year. Of course, we can’t forget about bitcoin, which, despite its +45% drawdown since late June, still boasts one of the best 2019 returns of any asset globally. But why have so many asset classes run up this year and how sustainable can this “everything rally” really be?

Central Bank Pivot 

For starters, this year’s turnaround coincided with a drastic shift in rhetoric among major central banks. Rewind the clock a year and the macro backdrop was radically different. The Federal Reserve was about to hike its benchmark interest rate another 25 bps, marking its 9th rate increase in just three years. The European Central Bank (ECB) had just confirmed the discontinuation of its vast asset purchase program. Even leaders of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) were hinting at the potential reversal towards tighter policy following an extensive period of massive monetary stimulus.

Despite central bankers’ best efforts, the seemingly global shift towards more restrictive monetary policy caused havoc in the financial markets. The mere threat of higher interest rates coupled with the end of massive asset purchase programs was enough to send asset prices into a tailspin; the S&P 500, for example, was down over 10% on the year through Christmas Eve last year. We’ve noted before how sizable corrections in bitcoin often coincide (or in some cases even lead) spikes in equity market volatility, and the Q4 2018 BTC bloodbath was no exception.

BTC (Orange) vs. 14-Week Moving Average of VIX Index (Inverted)

Fast forward to early 2019 and the pendulum of monetary policy was already beginning to swing the other way. Escalating trade disputes between the U.S. and China were starting to threaten global economic activity at the same time geopolitical tensions were heating up. As a result, the Fed (and other major central banks) walked back their hawkish commentary, citing the economic slowdown and below-target inflation as key catalysts for what became known informally as the “Powell Pivot.”

The reversal towards more accommodative policies sparked greater demand for precious metals, most notably gold, which are often viewed as hedges against fiat currency devaluation or inflation. Growing concerns over the “synchronized global slowdown”, heightened geopolitical tensions (driven by more frequent populist uprisings), and the swift rise in negative yielding debt instruments added further fuel to the trade as investors flocked to safe haven assets.

Bitcoin, arguably the most levered asset to broad-based currency devaluation and increased demand for an apolitical store of value, was on the forefront of this summer’s run up, inspiring many crypto enthusiasts to take to the streets proclaiming Satoshi’s good word. After all, this was the moment we’d all been waiting for – the moment bitcoin would finally break into the mainstream and claim the throne as the ultimate store of value for the digital age.

BTC (Orange) vs. Inverted 2-Year U.S. (Green) & German (Blue) Government Bond Yields

Shifting Macro Tailwinds

The amplified enthusiasm for bitcoin seemed to wash back out as quickly as it came in as the “digital gold” narrative faded with the summer sun. However, a few parallels can be drawn between bitcoin's latest drawdown and the pullback in gold prices given both face similar headwinds, the back up in real yields being one of the most notable. The outlook for the global economy has improved modestly the last couple months as key economic indicators like manufacturing PMIs show signs of bottoming. The subsequent decline in total debt carrying negative yields also marks a turnaround in one of this year’s macro drivers supporting bitcoin and gold.

BTC (Orange) vs. U.S. 10-Year Treasury Real Yield (Inverse)

Source: U.S. Treasury Department

Additionally, the Fed has shifted to a more neutral stance, putting a hold on further rate cuts for the time being. The probability of another Fed rate cut at this week’s final FOMC meeting of the year is zero, according to data tracked by CME.

BTC vs. Probability of Fed Funds Rate (Dec.’19 & Jun.’20 FOMC Meetings)

Source: CME

Interestingly, the demand for gold has remained vibrant despite its recent price consolidation, evident in the record high AUM for gold-backed ETFs and the continued accumulation of gold reserves among global central banks. Despite the Fed’s recent shift, several other major central banks have also continued to push forward with more accommodative policies. For example, the ECB recently reinstated its asset purchase program (despite signs of discord between its members over the future path of monetary policy) while the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has proven its willingness to intervene if economic growth decelerates faster than desired.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The “Everything Rally” has benefited a lot of investors, but the risk-reward trade-off for many assets is not nearly as favorable today as it was just a few years ago. Near record-low bond yields and above-average equity market valuations indicate lower future returns and greater asymmetric risk to the downside for several asset classes, which is why we believe a small allocation to BTC is warranted at current levels.

The backdrop remains favorable for bitcoin, especially over longer time horizons, but in our view it’s important to understand how various macro tailwinds can shift. Improved growth prospects aided the latest move higher in real yields, which tends to hurt non-income producing assets like gold. However, the potential policy divergence between the Fed and other major peers may cause the U.S. dollar to break higher, especially if we see another surge in demand for “safe” assets, which could accelerate economic weakness (the greenback’s recovery following its 2017 sell-off has coincided with the narrative shift away from “synchronized global growth” to one more characterized by a “synchronized global slowdown”). Moreover, the economic outlook remains muddled at best, especially given elevated uncertainty around global trade and rising political tensions, so we don’t expect demand for non-sovereign, scarce assets to fade much going forward.

If you’re interested in reading our latest Macro Outlook report in full, please visit our website or email us at team@delphidigital.io. You can also find us on Twitter. We’re always looking to connect with those who share our passion for crypto and investing!


THE RUNDOWN:

Bakkt Goes Live With Options, Cash-Settled Futures Products: Barely three months after launching its long-anticipated physically settled bitcoin futures product, the Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt has gone live with its bitcoin options and cash-settled futures contracts. The New York Stock Exchange’s sister firm announced that it's using its physically settled bitcoin contracts as a benchmark to support the new products, which were both announced in recent weeks. Read more.

Cryptojacking Malware Devs Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison: Two members of the prolific Romanian hacker gang Bayrob Group were sentenced to two decades in U.S. prison apiece after their malware mined crypto on 400,000 infected computers. Group leader Bogdan Nicolescu and co-conspirator Radu Miclaus were sentenced to 20 and 18 years respectively after being found guilty on 21 different counts of wire fraud, money laundering aggravated identity theft and other crimes. The gang was also accused of developing malware which mined bitcoin and monero using their host computers' processing power. Read more.

South Korea: Government Seeks to Tax Crypto Transaction as Capital Gains: The South Korean government plans to tax capital gains on cryptocurrency transactions. A Dec. 9 report from The Korea Times reveals that a revised bill to introduce the measure will be drawn up by the country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance by the first half of 2020. In parallel, the Korean National Assembly is in the process of advancing a related bill aimed at increasing transparency in cryptocurrency trading. If passed, the new regulations would come into effect one year after the Assembly’s plenary session. Read more.

Brazilian Police Bust Alleged Crypto Fraud That Cost Investors $360M: Brazilian police have shut down a purported bitcoin investment scheme they allege stole 1.5 billion Brazilian reals ($359 million). According to the Paraná state government, civil police in the state raided an unnamed organization in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and other regional cities last Thursday, claiming the group promised as many as 5,000 victims that they could produce sky-high returns on bitcoin investments. Read more.

Nvidia Battles Shareholders in Lawsuit Over Crypto Miner Claims: Chip making giant Nvidia has been making its case for why a court should throw out a lawsuit alleging it misled investors over cryptocurrency mining demand for its graphics cards. At a hearing over Nvidia's motion to dismiss in Oakland, California, the firm said Friday that shareholders had "cherry-picked" some company statements in an attempt to show that it had not been transparent over how much of its sales were due to miners, while ignoring others. Read more.


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Representative Warren Davidson is one of the biggest Bitcoin proponents in Congress. We recently had the chance to schedule this interview during the Blockland Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Davidson has been very vocal about his beliefs around American liberties, along with the negative position the US government finds itself in from a fiscal and monetary policy standpoint. I have always found him to be fair and rational, which made this conversation a lot of fun to record. Highly recommend you don’t miss this one!

In this conversation, Warren and I discuss:

  • Bitcoin

  • Financial privacy

  • Taxation as theft

  • Debasing currencies

  • Libra's future prospects

  • How his peers are being educated

  • What he would do to fix the current issues

I really enjoyed this conversation with Warren. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE OFF THE CHAIN PODCAST HERE


Interested in crypto research? Look no further. The premier research firm in the space, Delphi Digital, has two subscription offerings for individuals and institutions alike. Take a look at their Bitcoin and Ethereum reports to get a taste of their analysis. [Click here]


If you enjoy reading “Off The Chain,” click here to tweet to tell others about it.

Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial advice. Do your own research.


Money Is Too Dangerous An Idea For School

This installment of Off The Chain is free for everyone. I send this email to our investors daily. If you would also like to receive it every morning, join the 38,000 other investors today.


To investors,

The co-founder of YCombinator, Paul Graham, recently published an excellent article on “The Lesson to Unlearn.” While I highly recommend you read the entire piece, here is the general premise:

“The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn't something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.”

Graham goes on to explain that as he was running YCombinator, founders kept optimizing for the wrong things. They thought they were taking a test, just like in school, and they wanted to know what they should do in order to find success.

“When I started advising startup founders at Y Combinator, especially young ones, I was puzzled by the way they always seemed to make things overcomplicated. How, they would ask, do you raise money? What's the trick for making venture capitalists want to invest in you? The best way to make VCs want to invest in you, I would explain, is to actually be a good investment. Even if you could trick VCs into investing in a bad startup, you'd be tricking yourselves too. You're investing time in the same company you're asking them to invest money in. If it's not a good investment, why are you even doing it?”

This argument is rooted in the idea that school didn’t teach you to learn information, but rather it trained you to prepare for, and pass, periodic tests. But this isn’t how life works. Life requires that you learn and retain certain sets of information. There is no single test of life, but rather a continuing set of opportunities and challenges that are presented.

Startups are the same. For them, this continuing set of opportunities and challenges can be consistently solved by one thing — growth. Paul Graham says it best in his piece:

“Oh, they'd say, and then after a pause to digest this revelation, they'd ask: What makes a startup a good investment?

So I would explain that what makes a startup promising, not just in the eyes of investors but in fact, is growth. Ideally in revenue, but failing that in usage. What they needed to do was get lots of users.

How does one get lots of users? They had all kinds of ideas about that. They needed to do a big launch that would get them "exposure." They needed influential people to talk about them. They even knew they needed to launch on a tuesday, because that's when one gets the most attention.

No, I would explain, that is not how to get lots of users. The way you get lots of users is to make the product really great. Then people will not only use it but recommend it to their friends, so your growth will be exponential once you get it started.

At this point I've told the founders something you'd think would be completely obvious: that they should make a good company by making a good product.”

Reading through this, it is obvious why Paul and YCombinator have been so successful over the years. They really understand the most important points of building a company. They don’t get caught up in the shiny, sexy stuff. It involves a lot of hard work and the understanding that as a founder, you aren’t taking a test, but rather you are having to learn what to build by learning what your customers want.

But this article got me thinking deeper about learning and tests — what if there were subjects that we were never taught in school? What if we were never tested and therefore lacked complete exposure to the topic? I figured there would be many topics that fit the bill, but were any of them actually important for life outside a classroom?

And then it hit me.

One of the most important subjects — money — is almost never taught in school. The closest thing is probably an economics course, but that is a far cry from the intricacies of how to manage the money that you will make in your life.

Educating millions of people on how to make money, how to save money, how to budget, and how to invest is a really important task. The first step though wouldn’t be a lesson on savings accounts, writing a check, or how to invest in the S&P. It would have to be about money itself. What is money? How does it work? Why do we have it? Who controls it? What are the structural nuances that help and hurt you as an individual citizen?

Basically, what is money and what are the rules of the money game?

The answers are probably counter-intuitive. Imagine teachers educating every student in America that the money they get paid today will be devalued over time and they are incentivized to not hold on to cash, but rather to spend the money or invest it. This isn’t exactly the message of “Save! Save! Save!” that is constantly shouted at everyone.

That single idea would drastically change the mindset of the American consumer and investor. They would begin to realize that the deck is stacked against them. That the feeling of never being able to get ahead has very little to do with their lack of effort, but much more to do with the structural design of the system. Quite literally, hundreds of millions of people are playing a game and they don’t even know what the rules are.

Image

The education of money would be important, but it would also be very dangerous. There is much more social continuity and lack of unrest because people don’t understand how money works. They can’t get mad about something that they don’t know about. As Henry Ford once said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

He is probably more right than wrong. So now I’m left thinking — do we refrain from teaching students about money because teachers don’t have the knowledge to share? Maybe because the topic would be too complex and students need to focus on “tests” designed to evaluate their book smarts? Or maybe it is because teaching every person about what money is and how it works would be too dangerous?

I’ll let you decide for yourself. Either way, it struck me as interesting that Paul Graham was highlighting such an important point about the difference between optimizing for tests vs learning, but our education system actively avoids what may be the most important topic for people outside the classroom walls.

Bitcoin is helping to drive more people to start asking these questions. It is educating folks on how money works. And it is showing them that there is a different path. A path that could be more beneficial to them personally. A path that protects their wealth and doesn’t require them to be an expert at their career, while also being an expert investor.

If teaching people about money in school would be dangerous, hopefully Bitcoin’s continued price appreciation against the US dollar will incentivize people to become personally curious enough to understand how fiat money works and why half of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency payment.

At some point, we hit a tipping point. The internet has democratized access to information that will ultimately break down the walls of elitism and expose the structural theft of the wealth of billions of people.

-Pomp


This installment of Off The Chain is free for everyone. I send this email to our investors daily. If you would also like to receive it every morning, join the 38,000 other investors today.


THE RUNDOWN:

Is Blockchain the New Ethical Gold Rush? Maybe: Generations Y and Z, soon to be the world’s most numerous consumers, are concerned about responsibly sourced and sustainable products. But when it comes to purchasing a gold chain or new hoop earrings, how often do they really know what they are buying? The gold industry’s solution: blockchain.Read more.

Asset Manager Secures SEC Approval to Create Novel Bitcoin Futures Fund: The New York Digital Investment Group has secured approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to offer institutional investors shares of a new fund focused on bitcoin futures. According to a filing published on an SEC database Monday, the NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund, a portfolio fund in the Stone Ridge Trust VI, will invest in cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts traded on exchanges registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The fund does not intend to invest in bitcoin directly, or any other cryptocurrencies. Read more.

Bank of China Issues $2.8B in Bonds for Small Businesses Using Blockchain Tech: Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in China, has issued 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) in blockchain-based bonds for small and micro-sized enterprises with their own blockchain platforms. The bank announced Friday that it completed pricing and issuance of the bonds for the first period this week and the two-year bond will come to the market with 3.25% coupon rate, according to a statement. The bank aims to raise funds to support these businesses. Read more.

A Bitcoin Wallet Is Hurtling Toward the International Space Station: At exactly 12:29 EST on Thursday, a crypto wallet built by developers at SpaceChain hurtled into the stratosphere aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. When it arrives at the International Space Station, the 1kg node – only a fraction of SpaceX CRS-19 resupply mission's 2,600kg payload – will become the first active bitcoin node on the ISS. Read more.

SEC Reveals Telegram’s Communications With Investors: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants Telegram’s former chief investment advisor to testify and hand over documents related to the company's $1.7 billion 2018 token sale. The SEC has asked the High Court of England and Wales to obtain the testimony and documents from John Hyman, a former investment banker with Morgan Stanley and Renaissance Capital who resides in the U.K. Read more.


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Ryan Leslie is the CEO of SuperPhone and a Grammy-nominated producer who has worked with the likes of Kanye West, Beyonce, Britney Spears, and more. In 2014, Leslie launched SuperPhone to help enterprise brands acquire, retain, and engage with mobile customers in a new and impactful way. Investors in Superphone include renowned VC Ben Horowitz, TechCrunch's Josh Constine, and Kanye West.

I have known Ryan for some time now and always find our conversations to be entertaining, educational, and refreshing. This one was no different. He has an unique understanding of technology, society, culture, and psychology. Highly recommend listening to this one!

In this conversation, Ryan and I discuss:

  • Attending Harvard at the age of 15

  • Becoming a world-renowned musical artist

  • What it is like to produce music for Jay-Z and Kanye

  • Great behind-the-scene stories from working with legendary artists

  • Ryan’s early Bitcoin stories

  • How he first heard about Bitcoin through Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong

  • What the plan for SuperPhone is moving forward

  • How Ryan sees technology, culture, and society all evolving over time

I really enjoyed this conversation with Ryan. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE OFF THE CHAIN PODCAST HERE


Interested in crypto research? Look no further. The premier research firm in the space, Delphi Digital, has two subscription offerings for individuals and institutions alike. Take a look at their Bitcoin and Ethereum reports to get a taste of their analysis. [Click here]


If you enjoy reading “Off The Chain,” click here to tweet to tell others about it.

Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial advice. Do your own research.


Funding The Future of Finance

To investors,

Figure Technologies, one of the portfolio companies at Morgan Creek Digital, announced yesterday that we led their $103 million Series C fundraising round and I will be joining the board of directors. This news has led to a lot of inbound questions about the company and our view of the opportunity they are pursuing, so I thought that I would take today’s letter to address as many of those questions as I could.

For context, we have previously invested a number of times in Figure and Provenance (the blockchain-based settlement system that spun out of Figure earlier this year), including the Series B of Figure. Over the last year or so, we have watched the team continue to execute and have been impressed by their growth. While Figure hasn't previously touted themselves as a "blockchain startup," they are by far the furthest along in building an ecosystem where every stock, bond, currency, and commodity will eventually be digitized (this is our core investment thesis in the space).

Figure has grown from an idea approximately two years ago to become the fourth largest HELOC originator in the United States. The company has originated approximately $1 billion in loans so far and they have garnered significant interest from partners and customers like Jefferies, Franklin Templeton, Experian, Caliber Home Loans, and many others. We anticipate this will continue as they roll out new products in the lending space — so far they have also launched a digital mortgage refi product and a digital student loan refi product.

It is no secret that there has been a lot of hype surrounding blockchain technology and we think many of the companies trying to implement the tech are merely chasing a buzzword, rather than using the new piece of technology to solve a real problem. In the case of Figure, along with many of our other investments, we are intrigued by large market opportunities that have been immune to true automation because the assets in financial transactions have either been analog (ex: physical paper mortgages signed at a bank and stored in a filing cabinet) or electronic (ex: electronic CUSIPs that have multi-day settlement times).

In our opinion, you need digitally-native assets (ex: Digital HELOC) and triple entry accounting (ex: Provenance) in order to unlock the potential of true automation in these financial transactions (near instantaneous settlement, lower costs, more accurate ratings, etc). Figure has built a system that is materially better than the existing systems like DTCC and the largest financial institutions in the world are not only recognizing that, but they are making serious commitments of time, money, and resources to leverage this new way of originating, servicing, financing, and transacting lending products.

It is important to highlight the fact that Figure’s disruption of the HELOC market is not only due to blockchain technology, but rather a mix of newer technologies that give the company access to better information, in a shorter time frame, which allows them to make origination decisions with the same or better accuracy as they have done traditionally. For example, in a traditional loan origination an applicant will be asked to verify their employment, income, and banking relationship. The applicant normally submits a pay stub, employment verification letter, and some sort of documentation from their bank. Those documents are typically reviewed by a human and can sometimes require phone calls to the employer or bank to verify that the documents weren’t doctored.

In the Figure system (or other entrants into the Automated Finance market), the same applicant can simply sign into their bank account with their username and password during the application — this gives Figure access to verification of the banking relationship (you just signed in!), the bank account balance, and transaction history. This transaction history can quickly illuminate what corporation is direct depositing every two weeks (employment verification!) and the exact amount (income verification!). By utilizing these types of methodologies around data and loan underwriting, Figure is able to give an applicant notice of approval of their loan within 5 minutes of submitting the application and fund it within 5 days.

The traditional HELOC process can take 45-60 days due to the bureaucracies and lack of technology integrations, so Figure’s 5 day process to vet, approve, and fund HELOCs is incredibly disruptive to the marketplace. But don’t take my word for it, here is a satisfied customer’s tweet to me yesterday after the announcement:

Now imagine the same customer-friendly experiences coming to mortgage refi and student loan refi — the future of finance, especially lending products, is unlikely to look the same.

But remember, the advantageous origination process is only one part of the value proposition for the Figure / Provenance ecosystem. Most loan originators want to de-risk their balance sheets, so they sell the loans off the backend through the DTCC to another counter-party on Wall Street. The issue is that Figure’s digital loan products are incompatible technology with DTCC’s system that is built to settle electronic CUSIP asset transactions. Think of this as trying to jam a CD-ROM into a cassette tape player — it just doesn’t work.

So Figure had to build a new blockchain-based settlement system (Provenance) for these digital loan transactions. Provenance is a decentralized system which has 12 separate node operators validating the transactions, including Franklin Templeton, Experian, and other financial service firms. Figure does not own Provenance and it is merely one market participant in the ecosystem, which is encouraging because it solidifies the likelihood that Provenance will continue to remain decentralized.

Unfortunately, I can’t share too many nuanced details about the structure, processes, or customers of Provenance yet, but the important thing to understand is that the settlement system is a material improvement — it provides same-day settlement times, lower costs of transactions, and the rating agencies will now have access to much more real-time data which is likely to lead to higher ratings on the debt (because they won’t have to be overly conservative due to latency of information reporting on a 30, 60, 90 day period).

As the Figure team continues to iterate on the product, the cost savings is becoming fairly compelling by itself:

The idea of cutting 130 basis points out of a transaction for these Wall Street firms is something that makes them salivate. We are talking big dollars given the volume of loan origination and asset backed security transactions.

In totality, Figure was a compelling investment opportunity to my partners and I from day one, but our bullishness has only continued to deepen. The team has the rare combination of courage to be incredibly ambitious, while remaining grounded and ruthlessly executing their plans. It has allowed them to build one of the fastest growing companies in finance in recent years and we couldn’t be more excited to continue partnering with them as they work to disrupt some of the largest financial markets in the world.

-Pomp


The “Off The Chain” podcast has been downloaded in every country in the world, with more than 1,500,000 combined downloads. You can listen to the latest episode with Mark Yusko, Founder & CIO at Morgan Creek Capital Management here: Click here for Off The Chain podcast


THE RUNDOWN:

BIS Wants Central Banks at Center of Digital Cash Revolution: Central banks must embrace the revolution under way in digital money to ensure they remain at the heart of the global payments system, according to the head of the Bank of International Settlements. Agustin Carstens’s argument is that while the private sector “excels at customer-facing activity,” central banks provide the basis for trust, ensure liquidity and set standards. He’s unenthusiastic about Bitcoin and worried that big tech companies like Facebook offering payment services means they could become unfairly dominant because of their existing data resources. Read more.

British Virgin Islands, Home to Crypto Expats, to Issue Own Coin: British Virgin Islands, home to cryptocurrency companies such as Tether and Bitfinex, is planning to release its own national cryptocurrency. The British Overseas Territory, which consists of more than 50 Caribbean islands, has relied on the U.S. dollar since 1959. But it’s planning to create a token pegged one-to-one to the greenback for use within its territory. In creating its own coin, it’s following countries such as the Marshall Islands. Read more.

Multicoin Capital Hires Principal in Asia as Crypto VCs Look East: As American cryptocurrency markets remain relatively subdued, investors are turning to Asia for fresh lifeblood. Case and point, Multicoin Capital just hired Beijing-based investor Mable Jiang, formerly of Nirvana Capital, to spearhead the venture firm’s hunt for new deals in Asia. The Texas-based Multicoin started publishing research reports and announcements in Mandarin last summer, so Jiang will also help “capitalize on the structurally broken information flow for secondary-market investment,” the company said. Read more.

Ripple Files Last Bid to Dismiss XRP Securities Lawsuit Before Court Meeting: Even if XRP were a security, the investors suing Ripple brought their case far too late for it to proceed, the company said in a new filing. Further, subsequent arguments made by the plaintiffs contradict their original claims, Ripple said in the Dec. 4 filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It's the latest document filed in the back-and-forth since a federal court appointed Bradley Sostack the lead plaintiff in the ongoing case. Sostack filed his initial amended complaint in August 2019. The plaintiffs claim the company sold XRP as an unregistered security to retail investors. Read more.

Former eToro Analyst to Provide Crypto-Trading Course for Cointelligence: Mati Greenspan, the financial-markets analyst who stepped down last month from crypto-friendly trading platform eToro to start his own research and consulting firm, plans to offer training videos on trading bitcoin and other digital assets through the website Cointelligence. Greenspan, whose new firm Quantum Economics specializes in research and analysis on financial markets, says the new online training course will include some interactive features and will likely cover trading strategies as well as a broad overview of the crypto industry and economic topics that could affect the price of digital assets like bitcoin. Read more.


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LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE OFF THE CHAIN PODCAST HERE


Ryan Leslie is the CEO of SuperPhone and a Grammy-nominated producer who has worked with the likes of Kanye West, Beyonce, Britney Spears, and more. In 2014, Leslie launched SuperPhone to help enterprise brands acquire, retain, and engage with mobile customers in a new and impactful way. Investors in Superphone include renowned VC Ben Horowitz, TechCrunch's Josh Constine, and Kanye West.

I have known Ryan for some time now and always find our conversations to be entertaining, educational, and refreshing. This one was no different. He has an unique understanding of technology, society, culture, and psychology. Highly recommend listening to this one!

In this conversation, Ryan and I discuss:

  • Attending Harvard at the age of 15

  • Becoming a world-renowned musical artist

  • What it is like to produce music for Jay-Z and Kanye

  • Great behind-the-scene stories from working with legendary artists

  • Ryan’s early Bitcoin stories

  • How he first heard about Bitcoin through Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong

  • What the plan for SuperPhone is moving forward

  • How Ryan sees technology, culture, and society all evolving over time

I really enjoyed this conversation with Ryan. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE OFF THE CHAIN PODCAST HERE


Interested in crypto research? Look no further. The premier research firm in the space, Delphi Digital, has two subscription offerings for individuals and institutions alike. Take a look at their Bitcoin and Ethereum reports to get a taste of their analysis. [Click here]


If you enjoy reading “Off The Chain,” click here to tweet to tell others about it.

Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial advice. Do your own research.


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