So, I’m back with Michael again. It’s another glorious day here in Gibraltar and I’m keen to learn more about where the cryptocurrency industry is headed and get a more in-depth understanding of its vision. I’m already psyched about what will be happening here in Gib soon, and that’s sparked my curiosity more so. And, apparently, I’m not the only one!
is a cryptolution pre-determined?
Such is the zeitgeist that Michael is currently putting his work skills together with his knowledge and understanding of the cryptocurrency space and has developed a website; (pococoins.com) to educate and introduce people to the world of cryptocurrency. His vision is for an easy to navigate, edifying and friendly website that can help everyone from the complete newbie to the more experienced hodler. He says, ‘I believe in the technologies behind what I’m investing in and I genuinely believe in a cashless society’.
I am impressed by the man’s conviction and having looked at the site itself I’m inclined to think he is currently realising this vision. It has easy to read explanations and user guides that will explain to even the newbiest of newbies how to buy crypto, where to keep it and what to do with it.
For the experienced investor it then has in-depth info about the various up and coming ICOs and the technologies they are associated with. This is an important part of investing in cryptocurrency – all new currencies are born of and therein associated with a new technology, so by assessing and considering what you think will be a viable and ultimately successful piece of technology you can invest in those ICOs that you think have a bright future.
Simple, right? Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But that’s the remarkable thing about the site – it takes the doubt and the uncertainty and the confusion out of it all. The team endeavor to do the hard work for you and assimilate all the information you would need in one place – and they translate it into clear, understandable English too.
Michael’s other project right now is putting his business growth skills to good use by helping new ICOs and start-ups establish themselves and develop their businesses commercially. A busy man!
hasn’t crypto lost momentum?
Given that it’s all a relatively new thing, the industry has seen a lot of action. Michael explains: ‘Recently, unfortunately, we’ve seen a slowdown in the speed of blockchain for bitcoin which complicates it because the fees have suddenly become quite high.’
At this point I have to ask him to explain. ‘This is because it’s harder to mine’ he says, ‘it’s tricky to explain, but it’s basically supply and demand. As they’ve released more coins and because the price has gone up there isn’t as much profit to be made by miners.’ I cast my mind back to remember what a miner is (I always have a mental image of a dirty guy in a hardhat with a headlamp ramming a pickaxe into the screen of a PC in his bedroom. I think I need to get out more.) Anyway, it’s not that – miners are the people or software who verify the transactions before they are added to the blockchain.
‘So basically, it comes back down to business and a lot of miners have switched over to Ethereum, and smaller coins where they are able to mine more coins collectively at a faster rate for less money.’ Aha. I think I can extrapolate from there that less miners are willing to work on Bitcoin and therefor it takes longer to authorise a transaction. I get it.
However, we have good news, though, we’ve got the lightening network coming – which is speeding up bitcoin again. It’s a technological advancement on the blockchain itself. So, whilst right now, Bitcoin is used more as a storage of wealth or value, it’s not really used for microtransactions but due to the introduction of this new tech, we should see that change in the future.
how do we realise this fee-free utopia?
Ah and isn’t that another long answer!
Michael starts be reiterating his faith in the industry – ‘I think that banks have had a very good time with our money, but I think now it’s great to see something where the people have spoken – “we are in charge of our bank”.’
He then makes clear to my tired, little brain, the fundamental differences between established currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin and the smaller coins and ICOs so that he can talk about where he sees each of them headed.
the big three
Let me try and pass on those gems of info. Bitcoin, LiteCoin, Ethereum etc. are all established currencies that are already trading. Michael says that the success of any cryptocurrency will depend upon the performance of the ‘big 3’ as it were – ‘Essentially I suppose cryptocurrencies are all related to Bitcoin, if Bitcoin goes up then confidence in the market will also rise and people will buy.’ They’re your flagships. He also speculates that, ‘Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, I would say they would be your storage of wealth and value, and we will see those continue to go up and up.’
Now, again, I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t the bottom just drop out of it all after Christmas?”
However, according to Michael it really isn’t what it seems – ‘Contrary to general consensus, it hasn’t bummed out, if you look historically, there are big drops and there are big gains. But we’ve just seen something touch $20,000 in the space of 2 months (November to January) from around $6000- which is huge. Then all of a sudden, we watched it drop within a month this year more than 50%. So, people got very scared, but historically if you look at the chart it’s just a bump in the road when you look at it long term.’
It’s hard not to see Michael’s belief in this industry as, frankly, a tad zealous. Would evangelical be a bit too far? However, he makes a very interesting comparison – ‘You could compare it with .com, you could look at the web and at the companies that were there and your Amazons, your Googles, they went up meteorically and all of a sudden, they crashed – and those that held their investments with the long-term view, those people who actually believed in the technology, who believed that we were going to have websites and that you will actually be able to buy your book online… well, they did alright, didn’t they?’
And yeah. He’s definitely got a point there, eh?
Now let’s do ICOs. ICOs are start-ups – its stands for Initial Coin Offering. They want to establish a business to develop and market a radical technology. In order to raise funds for this start-up they sell ‘tokens’ for their business – (Not unlike shares in a company when it’s listed – or you could think of it as crowd funding?) only these tokens happen to be a cryptocurrency.
As for the ICOs, well apparently last year was a big year for them. They’ve had a bit of a bad name given to them recently; a few unscrupulous, or maybe just plain old misguided ICOs have been less than proficient with people’s investments and some people have lost money. However, this is where regulation comes in.
And we know Gibraltar will be leading the way in terms of laying out and enforcing these regulations – making investments in these ICOs safer.
fantasy becomes reality?
All in all, I’m feeling even more excited and optimistic after this meeting with Michael than the last. He might be a bit of a silver-tongued devil but his conviction and faith in blockchain and the crypto industry is contagious. And his knowledge seems to be second to none.
He states, ‘I think this industry will evolve for sure, I think blockchain technology is absolutely here to stay. There’s no doubt about it. Call it the web 3.0’
Add in the undeniable regulation progressions happening all around us, combined with a heightened awareness of the ideology behind the movement. It all seems substantial, convincing and optimistic. The future of finance is bright.
By Amy Reyes