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What’s Happening in the Cryptoverse #3

Welcome to this week’s crypto update.

It’s been an interesting week in the crypto and NFT worlds. Bitcoin just broke the all time high this morning getting close to $67,000 as of this writing. Bitcoin is up around 20% in the last week, largely on the heels of the first Bitcoin Futures ETF launching in the US on Monday. More on that below. 

One NFT collector turned down almost $10 million for an NFT. Younger people are getting more into crypto building, mining and creating. Check out this very inspiring video by young, Teresa Melvin but don’t worry. Older billionaires and old school corporate-types are also jumping on the bandwagon.

News

  1. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn thinks Bitcoin may be the best hedge for inflation
    Billionaire investor Carl Icahn warned Tuesday that the next market crisis may be on the horizon, and Bitcoin (BTC) could be the best hedge against inflation.“In the long run, we are certainly going to hit the wall. I really think there will be a crisis the way we are going, the way we are printing money, the way we are going into inflation. If you look around you, you see inflation all around you, and I don’t know how you deal with that in the long term,” Icahn said on Monday with CNBC.
  2. Bitcoin futures ETF debuts with highest-ever first day ‘natural’ volume of $1BProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy ETF saw around $1 billion in volume on its opening day, with 24.313 million BITO shares changing hands.
  3. Mariah Carey buys Bitcoin, hopes to empower fans through educationPop icon Mariah Carey is the latest celebrity to embrace Bitcoin (BTC) through the Winklevoss-led Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, offering another sign that digital assets are becoming mainstream.
  4. Chicago Board Options Exchange to aquire cryptocurrency market ErisX
    The news of institutional interest in the crypto market continues to gather steam with the announcement of the CBOE acquiring ErisX. The CBOE looks like they’re going to continue iterating on the Bitcoin futures product they launched in 2017 with this acquisition.
  5. Morgan Stanley CEO says he respects cryptocurrencies and praised blockchain
    Morgan Stanley CEO says he respects cryptocurrencies and praised blockchain
    “I don’t think cryptocurrencies are a fad. I don’t think that goes away,” he said on the bank’s third-quarter earnings conference call with analysts yesterday morning.
    “I don’t know what the value of bitcoin should or shouldn’t be, but these things aren’t going away. And the blockchain technology supporting is obviously very real and powerful.”

Meme / Tweet of the Moment

Some of you may have been hearing about DeFi lately. “DeFi” is short for “decentralized finance”. It threatens to upend how banks, money lenders and many other aspects of the financial system around the world works. If you would like a quick primer on DeFi, check out this article on Investopedia.

This post also appears on my Invest Stream Substack

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Startups

What’s Happening in the Cryptoverse #2

Intro

It’s been another exciting few days in crypto. I was planning to send this on Fridays but as is the case with the crypto world, things move fast so here’s some midweek news.

El Salvador recently launched Bitcoin services across the country. In just a few short weeks, 50% of the country has a Bitcoin wallet. Preliminary anecdotal reports suggest that people are actually using Bitcoin for transactions in the country of a little more than 6 million people. Satoshi Nakamoto’s use case for Bitcoin is finally seeing a real world scenario play out. Keep a close eye on this “sovereign beta test”.

News

  1. Google Partners With Bakkt to Bring Google Pay to Crypto Users 
    Digital asset marketplace Bakkt has partnered with Google to expand the usability of cryptocurrency. Thus, users will soon be able to add their Bakkt Visa Debit Card directly into Google Pay. Bakkt will also be using Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider to market its services to leading US retailers and merchants.
  2. Wyoming’s Senator Lummis Discloses Apparent Bitcoin Buy of up to $100,000
    The senator’s purchase was from bitcoin brokerage River Financial. Lummis was a supporter of an amendment in Congress’s infrastructure bill in August that would exempt hardware wallet makers, cryptocurrency transaction validators, node operators and other non-brokers from tax regulations.
  3. Top 10 Upcoming NFT Drops According To Survey Of 500 NFT Experts
    We asked 500 NFT analysts to rate the attractiveness of 100 upcoming NFT drops. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 NFT collections based on the rating of these analysts. These projects are only just gaining momentum and therefore have the potential to yield some impressive ROI in the future.
  4. Bitcoin for beginners: Here’s what to know before you invest in cryptoHad you bought bitcoin in early April 2017, for example, you could have seen a 3,700% return in just four years. 

    But there also have been plenty of price plunges along the way. If you’d bought in mid-April of this year, you would have lost more than half your investment in just four months.So if you’re tempted to invest, here’s some thoughts on what to consider before taking the leap.
  5. The U.S. Replaces China as World’s Biggest Bitcoin Miner
    Mining is the process by which transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain are executed. It uses a “Proof of Work” algorithm. The U.S. has become the world’s epicenter for Bitcoin mining after a crackdown in China effectively eliminated the practice in the former cradle of the industry. 
  6. Reese Witherspoon Gets Into Ethereum NFTs, Snoop Dogg Gives Advice
    Actress Reese Witherspoon tweeted on Monday that she bought her first NFTs and rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid NFT collector, offered advice on one of the “most influential women” to follow in the space.

Meme / Tweet of the Moment

This isn’t just a meme. It’s a tweet – check out the thread if you have time to kill.

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Startups

What’s Happening in the Cryptoverse: 2021-10-08

I thought you might like a short, curated list of interesting headlines from the crypto world. For now, on a weekly basis, I will include links to the original stories but I figure a lot of people just want a paragraph or two of the news of the day so here’s a start. Let me know what you think, e.g. “This is awesome”, “This is nice but I don’t understand”, “This is interesting but too time consuming”, “This is utterly useless and I’m unsubscribing”

The past week has been quite exciting for crypto “hodlers”. Bitcoin and Ether have both run up quite a bit and NFT projects continue to be hot. My Twitter Spaces is probably 95% NFT and Crypto.

  1. Ethereum Outpaces Bitcoin in Derivatives Open Interest: CryptoCompare Report
    The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has, throughout September, outpaced the flagship cryptocurrency in terms of open interest across cryptocurrency derivatives products. aggregate open interest in Ethereum-based derivatives products grew 4.7% to $5.8 billion last month, while open interest in bitcoin derivatives fell 3.7% since August to $11.9 billion. 
  2. Institutions buying Bitcoin rather than gold as inflation cranks up: JPMorgan
    According to a note shared by JPMorgan with clients on Thursday, the recent increase in price for BTC was predominantly attributed to institutional investors looking for a hedge to inflation. “The re-emergence of inflation concerns among investors has renewed interest in the usage of Bitcoin as an inflation hedge,” the analysts said, arguing there has been a shift in perception as to the merits of BTC in relation to gold.
  3. NFT sales surge to $10.7 bln in Q3 as crypto asset frenzy hits new highsSales volumes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up more than eightfold from the previous quarter, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, as the frenzy for crypto assets reached new highs.
  4. AMC Theaters’ acceptance of Dogecoin follows viral community appeal
    Following an overwhelmingly positive response to a Twitter poll on Sept. 21, CEO of AMC Theater Adam Aron announced Wednesday that the chain would officially accept Dogecoin payments for digital gift cards via BitPay Wallet.The Dogecoin community — notoriously passionate for adoption initiatives — tweeted in droves to advocate for the asset’s integration within the theater’s payment options.
  5. Someone Bought $1.6 Billion Worth Of Bitcoin
    Bitcoin could officially be out of the woods after an unidentified buyer purchased a whopping $1.6 billion worth of the asset on Wednesday, leading to price spiking by over 8% in just under 15 minutes.
  6. Bitcoin beats stocks, commodities to become the best-performing asset of 2021
    Despite Bitcoin’s wild ride throughout the year, downside has failed to grip the market, with a 60% retracement from highs in May now all but cancelled out. The largest cryptocurrency is thus at least 13% ahead of commodities for the year, figures show this week, and 17% ahead of United States micro-cap companies.

Though not incredibly important news, definitely, very cool news: CoinDCX brings in Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador

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Advice Entrepreneurship Startups Venture Capital

Founders Doing Due Diligence On Investors

Doing due diligence on investors is something that should be discussed more frequently. It’s important for founders to take the time to understand who the investors are, how do they help and support the companies they invest in, how do they react when things aren’t going as well as hoped for.

Spending some time doing due diligence on potential investors can save you lots of grief in the long run. I’ve talked about this often and it’s great in theory but it’s not as easy to do in person. Now that I’m back on the operating side of a startup, here are some tips on how to diligence possible investors:

  • Start with making a list of the investors you think would be interested in your startup keeping a few broad things in mind (use a spreadsheet or a CRM)
    • Vertical the company is in and is the VC firm + partner interested in the space
    • Stage of the company and does the firm invest at this stage
    • Check size that you’re looking for and what the firm writes
    • Any existing competing investments that the firm has made
  • Find people you know that may be connected to these individuals
    • Have a prepared email that you can send to the people you know who can possibly connect you to these investors. The email should be a very short email that explains why you would like to connect to the investor, a summary of your startup and have a teaser deck attached. Some people like to use DocSend but I prefer a PDF.

Once you’ve exhausted your personal network, find 5-10 founders that the firm and the partner have invested in (ideally should include failed startups).

  • Reach out to them on social media, via common contact or a cold email to see if they will chat with you about your startup and provide some advice on your round as well as share some info about the investor(s). If they say yes to a meeting, do some research on them, e.g. understand what their startup does, maybe check out the product, use Crunchbase to get an idea of some of their investors, how many rounds they’ve raised, you can use tools like Workomo (shameless plug) to get some background about them and common interests you might have.
  • Founders can be very open with other founders. Do what you have to in order to maintain that trust. Use the meeting to do your due diligence on the investor. Ask the founder about the firm on your list and how they were to work with through the ups and downs. Make sure you are clear that this is confidential and DO NOT repeat it to anyone, even in conversation. Don’t be shy about getting into details as long as the founders are comfortable sharing. Don’t pry but don’t hold back on asking the questions you think will help you get an understanding of who the investor is and how they work.

In short, make sure you take the time to do your due diligence on investors. It’s critical to know who you’re potentially partnering with for the duration of your startup.

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Business Entrepreneurship Startups

Time to “Workomo”

For the better part of the last decade, I’ve been a startup investor and community builder. It’s been a lot of fun and I have loved learning from all of the founders I’ve met. I’m hoping to meet even more founders and operators during the next part of my journey, where, I’m taking the plunge back into the world of building and joining Workomo as COO.

Why Workomo?

Workomo is a young startup based out of the San Francisco Bay Area founded by my friend Soumitra Sharma. Soumitra and I have known each other for a few years, having crossed paths in the Indian startup ecosystem and having invested together. Soumitra reached out to me when he was raising his pre-seed round in late 2019. We had a conversation about Workomo and I committed to invest on the spot.

Since then, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the team testing out the product, providing feedback, and talking strategy with Soumitra. I even wrote some code to help them with a problem they were dealing with.

In the context of my professional career, I’ve often said that “what you do matters less than who you do it with”. I feel very lucky to have an opportunity to work with an incredibly sharp team and a founder with a crystal clear vision for Workomo.

I look forward to sharing more details about what we are building at Workomo and what we have in store over the next few months.

If you want to take the Chrome extension for a spin, please add your name to the waitlist.

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