Tell us a little about your story and background. What do you work on now?
For quick intro on myself, I have an academic background in finance and data science. When I was in school I discovered this thing called blockchain and the more I got into it the less I seemed to go to class. Realizing that this was going to be bigger than the internet, I decided to go all in. Started on the investment side of things, but as Mike Novogratz has said, once you make money in something you start to dig into it more and more, which I did by exploring the technical/development side of the business. Shortly after graduation I was lucky enough to snag an invite to the Consensus Hackathon, so jumped on a train to New York with zero planning and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. I was fortunate enough to meet the right people in the space and won one of the best hacks with the project, Quickblocks, so not too shabby.
Straight out of school I started at a boutique consulting firm doing forensic accounting, then came to my senses and realized this blockchain technology was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity so I quit to work in the industry full time. Having this background now gives me an advantage when I do due diligence on all these projects. I think having both financial and technical skills are very important when evaluating all of these protocols as they require an array of skills to have a thorough understanding and decide if they are truly viable projects.
While I still have a focus on crypto-asset investing, some of the things I currently work on include designing blockchain systems, ICO advisory, and personal projects of which include CoinScore and CryptoPets.
How did you meet the Alluminate team? What does being the Head of Research entail?
I met the Alluminate team through local meet-ups in the Washington DC. At the time I was new to the area and wanted to find other people who shared the same passion for this tech.
Being the Head of Research at Alluminate requires that I be vigilant of current market trends and influences in the blockchain industry. While most people currently only know blockchain in the bitcoin sense, there are many other applications of the technology. This new found ability to distribute trust and transparency across the digital world will be bigger than anyone expects. I think the study of these blockchain enabled ecosystems are so intriguing because they combine the fields of computer science, finance, psychology, and game theory.
Some of the things I am specifically focusing on include governance models, digital identity solutions, and the monetization of distributed systems. In my opinion, future automatization and AI will require us to design and monetize these technologies to produce a form of basic income.
CoinScore seems like the most comprehensive portfolio manager there is. Could you elaborate how it really differs from others, such as Blockfolio? How are you able to give so much transparency?
I think what really sets CoinScore apart from other portfolio managers is our methodology, taxonomy, and value-add features. While any application can show you the price graph, CoinScore gives people the tools best used for cryptomarkets.
If you think about the Great Recession of 2008, one of the parties at fault were the rating agencies. They were evaluating these assets with little transparency to the public. I believe that decentralized due diligence is the future. By open sourcing our methodology for crypto-asset valuations, users will be able to leverage our framework and easily analyze potential investments. The plan is to automate the quantitative aspects (token metrics) and allow users to input their own qualitative assumptions. Users will be able to monetize their analysis reports on the platform marketplace.
We have indexed the market into subsectors. These allow for much better clarity and evaluation of projects. For instance, the projects in the platform (supporting smart contracts and dapps) and supply chain sectors have outperformed the majority of the industry, including BTC. These will help investors manage their risk by hedging via sector instead of betting on individual tokens. Just as the stock market has indexes and ETFs for specific industries, it is only a matter of time before the token market does as well. The next index planned is by platform; with NEO, EOS, and QTUM quickly closing on Ethereum it will be interesting to watch which will win.
Finally, predictive analytics like sentiment and search trends will allow our users to be ahead of the curve. There is so much data available in this space it's literally a digital gold mine. CoinScore has created machine learning algorithms to detect real time sentiment monitoring on the markets via social media and community groups. These will give investors and traders valuable predictive indicators of market trends.
What’s the business model for Coinscore?
The business model behind CoinScore was designed so that all parties in our ecosystem will benefit from its growth. For us, we will be taking a small fee when people want to use certain features of the application or access our data banks. This will incentivize our team to continue improving the platform and ensure our users have the best experience possible. Our marketplace is where users will be able to buy and sell their market information. The economic incentive to provide quality information will allow CoinScore to develop into the go to location for those interested in crypto market intelligence.
Cryptokitties, cryptodogs, and now cryptopets. What do you think the future looks like for this gaming/trading sector?
I think the future looks very exciting! Blockchain allows for individual ownership of goods and services in the digital world, which last I checked is worth $15B+, and will increase dramatically as blockchain continues to evolve.
There are some projects in the space that have tokens for trading these virtual goods; we don’t need a token because ownership can now be assigned at the underlying asset level. This is possible through a non-fungible smart contract standard which allows for unique attributes and features. Imagine you personally own the best gun in Call of Duty, it is one of a kind, and you can easily trade or sell it...I think there are more than a few suitors that would pay highly for that.
We are currently working with Arcade Distillery, a boutique game development company, to bring CryptoPets to life across various gaming platforms. We are planning to release further details on game play, platforms, etc. in late February. Prepare to see games embracing blockchain for virtual good ownership and microtransactions. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation supporting these games as they move from the desktop to mobile and consoles.
How was the Bitcoin conference in Miami? Tell us about your experience and the people!
It was quite an experience lol. I was surprised as to the number of people and cryptocurrency exposure the city of Miami received for the weekend. It seemed that everywhere I went there was some reference to bitcoin or the industry, in fact, even some of the restaurants and clubs were accepting/promoting crypto!
Apparently there were only ~1000 people at the conference last year, so a 4x to over 4000 registered up is a great sign. What wasn't a great sign was the number of ICOs in attendance that couldn’t explain to me what their purpose of blockchain or tokens was for their project. I will agree this is a great time in the market, but would highly encourage everyone out there to take their time and really strive to know everything about a project before investing. While there are some great projects out there, unfortunately many will end up getting rekt along with investor funds.
For the types of people there, most seemed to be from the investment/business side and for many this was probably their first time learning about the industry outside of Bitcoin. It was great to speak to the next wave of people entering the blockchain space and I am excited for what will come in 2018; there is more than enough money coming in to fund some revolutionary projects. I would expect infrastructure (scalability/interoperability), masternodes (governance), security tokens, and private sales to be major themes this year.
What resources do you use now to stay updated (podcasts, books, blogs, etc)?
I prefer the most up to date information so my top resources are things like crypto-twitter, telegram, and discord groups. For me, the newer the information and the closer I can get the the team the better.As I mentioned earlier, performing live sentiment analysis on communities give me great indicators. For books and podcasts, I recommend everyone check out Cryptoassets by Chris Burniske. Great read for anyone interested in the market side of crypto. Some of the podcasts I enjoy are Unchained by Laura Shin and The Bitcoin Podcast Network guys. Medium is another great resource for the more detailed news from teams and specific industry influencers.
Where/when did you first here of crypto?
The story starts out at James Madison University. I had heard of bitcoin from my friends using it online, but it came off as sketchy drug money so I largely ignored it at first. Fast forward to my senior year, I was in the business of flipping concert tickets. Being a data analytics student, I had made an algo to buy tickets specifically based on spotify top 100 hits and college students habits (thanks to social media this is pretty easy now). I was looking on the deep web for bots to buy the tickets and saw that grey diamond looking thing we call ethereum as a payment method. You could call that night a hardfork for me as I fell down the rabbit hole learning about blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the communities behind them.
Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, and they are one of the keys to staying sane in a world that never stops with 24/7 markets and new projects popping up everyday. Currently, I am working on my internal zen with daily meditation and yoga sessions. Another hobby that is important for me is traveling and experiencing different cultures from my own. I think it is key to have the ability to accept and learn from people different than ourselves. Having an open mind seems to make things come much easier in life