Episode 3 — A conversation with Blockchain Beach Co-Founder John Marchesini, about the topsy-turvy year of uncertainty for the crypto markets and industry.


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Host:
Chitra Ragavan
Chief Strategy Officer
Gem

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It’s been a long hard year for crypto investors globally. As 2018 drags to a close, we are left with scary memories of the market’s many ups and downs and the relentless volley of bad news.

Exhaustion has set in, coupled with pessimism, making it difficult to look back on this roller coaster period without feeling somewhat nauseous. The irrational exuberance of 2017 has long dissipated. Going into 2019, most pundits predict that the crypto market is likely to be as flat as the remnants of those bubbly glasses of champagne from last December.

Oh, what a difference a year makes!

And although it’s easy for money managers and financial planners to say comfortingly, “Look, the best time to buy is when the market’s down,” or, “Hey, you can always harvest those losses for taxes,” the cold emptiness of investors’ once plump crypto wallets cannot be understated.

This new normal is daunting for the companies that exercised their crypto muscles Schwarzenegger-style in 2017, launching ICOs with bold proclamations. The SEC dropped a hammer as big as Thor’s on those dreams, leaving these ICOs to pick up the pieces and sweep up the dust. The institutional money that experts predicted would accelerate markets to the next level, never came. Already the rumblings of industry layoffs and various consolidations have begun. It’s a time for reckoning, no doubt.

Amidst all this gloom and doom, I invited Blockchain Beach Co-Founder John Marchesini over to our studio in Venice, California to look back at the year and identify some of the biggest factors that moved us into crypto winter. And I asked John to spot some rainbows in the dark clouds in 2019. We analyzed the SEC’s proclamations on ICOs and other important decisions — or sometimes lack thereof — like the agency’s twice delayed pronouncement on Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). We looked at how the industry is handling all these setbacks. John highlighted the predictions of 2018 that came true and others that were a miss. Finally, he left us with some key takeaways going into the New Year.

I can’t promise you that all this deep analysis will be comforting. But at least, you’ll feel better informed and it will help set the year in perspective. They say reflection is always necessary, painful as it may be. Let’s hope!

Perhaps the most positive thing one can say at this stage is that after every winter, even crypto winter, there’s always spring!

On that optimistic note, here’s wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! We’ll be back in the New Year with many more exciting episodes of Chasing Unicorns, including a very useful tax primer and an uplifting episode about crypto for good -– how to donate cryptocurrency to help those in need.

Topics Covered

  • Describe 2018 for crypto market and industry as a whole
  • Onset of crypto winter
  • Crypto markets aligning with global equity markets
  • Crypto markets sensitive to global news events
  • Concept of digital gold as alternative to stock markets
  • SEC putting a damper on the markets with ICO rulings
  • Significance of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton speaking at Consensus Invest
  • SEC rulings tip of the iceberg
  • Potential impact of 2019 anticipated SEC ruling on Bitcoin ETFs
  • Impact of market downturn on industry with consolidations/job losses
  • Consensus 13% layoffs as an example of industry impact
  • Looking at the rest of the industry
  • Importance of treasury management during market downturns
  • 2018 predictions that came true
  • 2019 predictions — SEC’s ETF decision, possible Ethereum fork
  • Whither institutional money? Will they remain on sidelines?
  • How institutional money is impacted by SEC regulations
  • Alternative Trading Systems (ATS) for tokenized securities
  • Potential 2019 Coinbase IPO
  • Crypto in culture and pop culture
  • Advice for new investors: Vet your information
  • Finding credible reporting on crypto news
  • Top takeaways

About Your Host, Chitra Ragavan

A little background about me — I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at Gem, a Los Angeles-based crypto portfolio startup. Prior to Gem, I was Senior Counselor to the CEO of Palantir Technologies. Before entering the software startup world as advisor to CEOs, I was a long-time journalist at WTTW/Public Television in Chicago, National Public Radio (NPR) and U.S. News & World Report Magazine (U.S. News).

My goal is to provide independent and thoughtful analysis of the events and news shaping the industry.

By way of full disclosure, I am a crypto investor. If we ever mention a specific cryptocurrency in the context of a discussion, I will fully disclose my investments, if any, in that currency and expect the same from my guests. I’ll avoid any and all conflicts of interest in the course of these discussions.

You can learn more about me on LinkedIn, my website, or my Instagram.

Enjoy your crypto journey, unicorns!

Chitra Ragavan