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Deep Dive with Ryan Selkis

posted 9 months ago

with or if you'd like to join the discussion.
Nick Neuman
Who is your target audience for Messari, and how will this affect the design and content of the site/platform? For example, a site geared for sophisticated investors & funds would likely be very different than one for retail investors who are new to the space & may not know what they're doing.
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Ryan Selkis
@nneuman Can we upvote this to the top of the thread?

Messari is building an open EDGAR database, so it's supposed to be relevant for everyone. BUT we recognize that this doesn't have a mandate to exist from a regulator like the SEC, so we need to instead rely on social pressure and good citizenship, and our most natural allies in standardizing this information are in the investment community who want to make their diligence processes easier, and ensure their projects are on the right side of industry best practices in case the regulators do in fact come knocking. If the investors are our partners in enforcing data disclosures, the projects become our customers as we're building tools that make it easier to report about their projects. If we get the right data in the open library, we could build very different products for investors, retail investors, and the projects themselves. And we are incubating businesses and building separate teams that focus on all three prongs.
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Kevin Moore
Really enjoyed your take on Ripple, and would love to hear your compare/contrast on their perceived little brother, Stellar.
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Ryan Selkis
@kevrmoore I don't know Stellar nearly as well, and honestly need to do more research there. Sorry to disappoint, but it will be the subject of another long post soon!
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Nathaniel Whittemore
@kevrmoore @twobitidiot upvote for "I don't know" and "need to do more research"! Way to be real
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Calvin Chu
@kevrmoore @nathaniel-whittemore definitely need more people that research before they speak within this space
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Ben Tossell
If you haven't seen @twobitidiot's post, go check it out now! It should give you some questions for sure.

95 Crypto Theses for 2018: https://medium.com/tbis-weekly-bits/95-crypto-theses-for-2018-ca7b74f8abcf

My question: What are the top thoughts from this post that most people disagree with you on?
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Ryan Selkis
@bentossell by far the most controversial was my claim that almost all utility tokens would trend to zero. So I wrote a follow-up post about it. https://medium.com/@twobitidiot/skin-in-the-game-coins-da0afdfdc650

After that I caught a lot of flak for saying that Craig Wright could be part of Satoshi. It's a fun conspiracy theory that I think could be true, but honestly, I hope we never know who Satoshi is, as the real-life version would disappoint vs. the deity he's become.
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diggableme ツ
@bentossell thanks for providing this information. hadn't seen it and was wondering. appreciate it!
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Stanley
1. Which ICO's are you most excited about?
2. Which coins in the top 10 would you not touch at all?
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Ryan Selkis
@stanleyhataria I don't make investment recommendations, but the only projects that I have backed to date have been Filecoin and 0x. I will participate in the Telegram sale if I can snag an allocation. I wrote more about the types of tokens that I think are interesting in my "95 theses" post and "skin-in-the-game tokens" post if you'd like to learn more.

I won't disparage the rest of the top 10, but suffice it to say that I think any token which isn't vying to become a true crypto-*currency* is overvalued by an order of magnitude or more.
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Nick Neuman
@stanleyhataria @twobitidiot It's interesting that you are a backer of 0x given your stance on utility tokens. Multicoin Capital has expressed similar views and also holds 0x. What do you think will drive value for their token long-term? I'd argue it may have some of the same velocity problems as other tokens (I get in & out only when I need to use a relay). Are you banking on potential future uses in protocol governance (causing large stakeholders to hold 0x coins for influence) to increase value?
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Ryan Selkis
@stanleyhataria @nneuman I'm still not sure about 0x token value, but I liked the team so I put a couple thousand bucks into the ICO and am holding for the long-term.
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Glen Thomson
@stanleyhataria @nneuman Would also love to hear a reply to this regarding 0x and token velocity. I also went in on the ICO, also big fan of the project, also struggle to see how token doesn't suffer from the same velocity problem other utility tokens do.
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Ben Tossell
What would you recommend to users just starting out in crypto?
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Ryan Selkis
@bentossell A helmet.
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Ben Tossell
@bentossell @twobitidiot haha probably good advice!
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soona
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startupguy [SE]
What’s the deal with tether (USDT) and is it artificially inflating the prices of bitcoin and alts?
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Ryan Selkis
@startmeup13 Bitfinex is making an absolute killing right now, as are all of the exchanges, so I doubt they are insolvent / lack adequate reserves. It almost seems impossible. That said, when prices correct sharply, we've seen a pattern of sell-off -> print tethers -> recover almost like clockwork and repeatedly over the past few months. I don't know about bitfinex, but I am just about certain that there is behavior at multiple crypto exchanges worldwide that's outright illegal. Working on transparency and self-regulation at Messari so hope we can help shed some light on the bad actors and let the cream rise to the top.
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soona
Top 3 or 4 things you evaluate when reading a white paper:
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Ryan Selkis
@soonaorlater I'm not technical, so 1) team, 2) team, 3) how big is the addressable market, and 4) why do you need to hold this token?
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Ryan Selkis
Hi everyone! Excited to get started. I'll start replying directly to the threads below. Please start upvoting the q's you think are most interesting!
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Promillebereich
what are you favorit picks / projects for 2018 and longterm?

btw awesome 95 crypto post
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Ryan Selkis
@promillebereich For the long-term, whichever wins the use case as digital money is going to be worth trillions of dollars. I like the privacy coin projects, but there are other token models that are interesting as well. https://medium.com/@twobitidiot/skin-in-the-game-coins-da0afdfdc650
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Erik Torenberg
What's the biggest thing you've changed your mind about in last 6 months?
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Ryan Selkis
@eriktorenberg Ethereum. ETH has become a reserve currency for ICOs, but even if that goes away, I'm no longer convinced that the winning "reserve" crypto-currency will be used for payments and digital gold vs. utility. Requiring ETH for gas and ERC-20 apps is a killer 1-2 punch. I wish I hadn't been so skeptical, but part of ETH's rise has been due to BTC's piss-poor community dynamics right now. That said, a lot has to go right for ETH to scale and win long-term.
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Erik Torenberg
I'll name a person and you tell me what you disagree with them on (whether a huge difference or slight nuance):

Vinny Lingham
Balaji Srinavasan
Vitalik Buterin
Roger Ver
Naval Ravikant

Obviously that's very high level but I'll just start there :-)
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Ryan Selkis
@eriktorenberg I agree with all of these guys on most things. I'll marinade on this while I answer other q's
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bogdan nutu
What are your thoughts on Tether?
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Todd Goldberg
@xpcbogdansky Expanding on this, if Tether is determined to not actually be backed by real dollars and that they've been "printing" money, what do you think the implications would be on the broader market?
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Erik Torenberg
What have you learned in the first 18 days that has challenged or confirmed one of your 95 theses?
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Ryan Selkis
@eriktorenberg I've been in fundraising / recruiting mode to start the year, so haven't had much reading and analysis time, but if everyone helps us recruit data engineers and distributed systems engineer to help build the open-source Messari project, I'll write more. ;)
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Nick Neuman
Where did the name TwoBitIdiot come from?
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Ben Tossell
@nneuman @twobitidiot kind of like @startupljackson in the startup world!
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Ryan Selkis
@nneuman Great question. In my first tumblr blog post and email blast during the volatility in Nov 2013, I wrote that I was "doubling down on bitcoin like a damn fool." At the same time, a friend suggested I only write on r/bitcoin under a pseudonym because I didn't want bitcoin being tied to my name anywhere online. This was brilliant on two fronts - I got to say a bunch of stupid shit on reddit and get corrected (look up Cunningham's law), and then I built a following for being a sarcastic know-it-all that actually made some good points. So I got to have fun and let loose with the writing style. Combine all that together and ta da TBI. Never looked back. I even had @twobitidiot on my business cards at DCG.
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Nick Neuman
I enjoyed your post on Skin-in-the-Game coins. I have been thinking about proof of human work systems for a while; I think there's some currently unexplored use cases there. Do you have any suggested reading about this type of system? Ideally at a higher level than individual company white papers?

Reference post for others here: https://medium.com/tbis-weekly-bits/skin-in-the-game-coins-da0afdfdc650
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Ryan Selkis
@nneuman Hmmm, honestly I don't think there are higher level posts yet, but I'll probably write one or curate one at some point. I just started a medium publication if you write one! https://medium.com/tbis-weekly-bits/early-stage-blockchain-valuations-f04c01a684e2
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ZINC
@nneuman @twobitidiot try the R_Block project. We bring your 'proof of work' performance and 'proof of reputation' ideas together. Whitepaper: https://github.com/R-Block/_Whitepaper_/blob/master/%7BWhitepaper%7D.pdf
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ɔɔ.cc
1. Are we due for a longer bear market, or a quick recovery?
2. How do you feel about the state of regulation ahead (2018)?
3. Was the recent correction enough of one, or ar vaulations still insane?
4. What do you think are some of the most undervalued projects currently?
5. What kind of shifts do you forsee in 2018 in the ecosystem?
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Jeger Ali
@cryptocurrent @twobitidiot hey you watch it lol.. high tech ambulance chaser though
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Ryan Selkis
@cryptocurrent
1) I think we're going to see "THE" big bubble in the next year or two. That will pop viciously and then it will be a long recovery. My crystal ball is as good as yours though.
2) Regulators will probably only crack down hard once people start losing a lot of money. The ambulance chasers will enter too. So we've got a limited window of time to self-regulate. At messari.io we're trying to regulate via improved data transparency and project disclosures. (sunlight as a disinfectant)
3) Non "money" cryptoassets are stupidly overvalued. But no one cares because everyone is just gambling that a greater fool will buy from them at a higher price.
4) None. Unless you get in at the equity round at a reasonable level. That's not to say these things won't keep getting bigger. Gun to my head I own much more XMR and ZEC than I should in a balanced crypto portfolio.
5) More security tokens.
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Sepehr
What's your take on mainstream crypto ATMs? There has been a sharp rise in supply and demand but do you consider this physical machine that's very much the first connection of the fiat money to the electronic world a viable and long term solution for a connection between fiat money and crypto currency? Will the banks who handle the cash cooperate in long run? Thank you!
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Ryan Selkis
@sep3hr I see the value in crypto ATMs, but have never been a big believer in the model. That said, they are picks & shovels plays that some people are making a lot of money off of.
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Dario ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Fav ice cream flavour ?

Ur shoe size ?

What do you luv / hate most about crypto people ?
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Ryan Selkis
@dariotepotec anything my wife lets me have. 15. these type of questions.
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Calvin Chu
@dariotepotec @twobitidiot wow 15 is impressive!
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Arthur
What job roles do you feel like are best for those who aren't devs but want to enter the crypto/blockchain space (i.e. where can non-devs contribute most to crypto/blockchain startups at this stage of the industry)?
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Ryan Selkis
@arthur-yep Plenty of places to help. My best advice for newbs is to write every day. Messari is working with dozens of volunteer analysts to populate our crypto project database: https://medium.com/@twobitidiot/the-apprentice-crypto-b74b2e0120f7

Here's some examples of young non-devs who have quickly developed stellar reputations through nothing more than careful analysis and terrific writing on twitter and medium: Nic Carter, Chris Burniske, Alex Sunnarborg, Kyle Samani

I was in this bucket four years ago.
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soona
What are products you've seen on the blockchain that should not be on the blockchain?
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Micah
@soonaorlater or rather, the inverse. Which do make sense on the blockchain?
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soona
@soonaorlater @micahalcorn haha love both
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Ryan Selkis
@soonaorlater Don't want to disparage certain projects, but there's a LOT of smash and grab bullshit in ICO land. Some of the old-school bitcoin scammers came back for seconds during the ICO boom and are getting rich marketing products that haven't been built and partnerships that haven't been inked. Those teams will get sued and should be sued.
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Dennis Stücken
1) What do you think of the WePower ICO / Project ( https://wepower.network )?
2) When do you think will Bitcoin reach $20k again?
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Ryan Selkis
@dstuecken 1) Don't know. 2) January 27th at 7:56am ET.
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Calvin Chu
How do you compare coins looking to solve problems in similar problem spaces? Do you think that one will dominate the rest, or rather see an Uber/Lyft kind of dividing of market between multiple players
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Ryan Selkis
@calchulus Probably a power law distribution. Assuming you need to hold either token/coin at all for any non-trivial length of time.
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alvaricoque
Do you foresee different gpu/mining-hardware needs and/or have any specific product recommendations for those that want to future-proof an ethereum mining rig once proof-of-stake is fully implemented?
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Ryan Selkis
@albarvaro Can't help here. Not a mining expert.
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Crypdope
Given that protocols (e..g, Ethereum) can be upgraded to employ attractive features (e.g., privacy tech), does it stand to reason that the ultimate success of a protocol is reliant upon the development / leadership team and marketing?
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Ryan Selkis
@cryptogw I'd say leadership team and community development / culture vs. marketing. But each protocol can't be all things to all people.
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Jacopo Ranzani
What do you think about Ark?
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Ryan Selkis
@jajaranza Not very familiar with the project.
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George Dy
What do you think of Radar Relay, will wallet-to-wallet exchanges ever outpace a traditional currency exchange?
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Ryan Selkis
@georgedyjr I love the relayer model. I am a big fan of decentralized exchange as a theme in 2018. I doubt volumes ever outpace traditional centralized exchanges, but I hope they are a competitive option for retail investors.
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ZINC
Why did you choose to move on from ConsenSys? What do you plan to do in 2018?
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Ryan Selkis
@r-block Left on great terms to build Messari, which we agreed would be better off independent from an optics / conflicts of interest perspective.
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ZINC
@r-block @twobitidiot Good luck with Messari.
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Anup Gosavi
A newbie, so probably dumb questions:

1. Is it true that holding a token makes sense only if it becomes THE protocol/ standard? In other words, there has to be mass belief that this will be a standard.

2. If yes, won't companies like FB/ Telegram, who can create this belief at scale, always have an advantage once they decide to get tokens out?

3. If no, how can one decide if we should hold on to a token? Can we learn from how Bluray/ TCP-IP etc. became protocols?

4. Can it be argued that if Telegram TON gets more adoption, Ethereum is threatened?
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Lisa Marrone
Who are the voices in the crypto community who people might not have heard of, but that we actually should be paying close attention to?
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PJ Kershaw
RS, whats your take on security tokens and in particular Polymath?
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Jeger Ali
Do you ever forsee a company swapping tokens given to investors with shares in the company?
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Jeger Ali
what is your take on Enigma Project? - providing privacy for data computation while scalable is a major solution to blockchain like ethereum...any thoughts?
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Micah
Can you offer a primer or point to one that covers when/why KYC is necessary? There doesn't seem to be any real consistency across ICOs when it comes to compliance, security/utility tokens, and US availability. And do you have any advice for bootstrapping a compliant coin?
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Ryan Selkis
@micahalcorn Your best bet is to look through Coin Center's archives and see if they have any primers here. (I believe they do.)
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Pranay Srinivasan
What do you think of EOS as an operating blockchain?
Do you feel a centralized blockchain has use cases inside business functions?
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Ryan Selkis
@utekkare Haven't gone deep on EOS yet.
0
Pranay Srinivasan
@twobitidiot Thanks!
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Scott DeMichele
1) Telegram has a huge captive market. Could that make all the difference for their tokens even though they are behind on development?
2) Any thoughts on the NULLs platform?
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Ryan Selkis
@mscottdemichele Telegram's team, existing network, existing encryption-first product, and plans to distribute its hardware make it one of the most likely candidates to bootstrap an alternative winning digital currency. Like Facebook aping Snapchat features. All this industry does is build open source software, so network is everything.
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Todd Goldberg
What do you think is required for the market to see more transactional volume occur through DEXs? When do you think DEXs will gain traction vs. their centralized counterparts?
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Ryan Selkis
@todd-goldberg Censorship will lead to more txn volume. We will also see a lot of people using DEX's to evade taxes. I think these take off quickly. The radar relay / ledger integration was a very big deal. I'm playing around with that this weekend. (RR and Ledger, not tax evasion.)
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Todd Goldberg
Given the success of Cryptokitties and ongoing development of standards like ERC721, what do you think 2018 has in store for non-fungible assets?
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Ryan Selkis
@todd-goldberg Will be a big year for non-fungible assets. No idea what else will be built, but cryptokitties proved how compelling that could be for gamers and digital goods.
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Zach Segal
Do you look at the privacy coins category as winner take all? Do you think privacy coins are a hedge against things like private transactions via Lightning, or are they going after a different market opportunity?
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Ryan Selkis
@zosegal Winner take most.
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Crypdope
Everyone seems to acknowledge that we are in a bubble, yet everyone thinks it's still early. What signs are you looking for to tell you to get out?
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Ryan Selkis
@cryptogw I only buy things I'm comfortable holding for 10 years. Problem solved. I don't own many assets for that reason.
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Jeger Ali
wanchain has just launched their mainnet, which is in brief ethereum code+monero sig+cross chain txs, what is your take on their project? Jack lu of factom as we know has a track record..interested to hear your take..
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Abhishek Bhutra
How to apply for EIR at Consensys. Working on blockchain project since a while and feel nothing can be better then being part of Consensys to keep building awesome stuff.
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Steven Zheng
How are you going to convince the cryptocurrency (which is paranoid by nature) to offer data to Messari?
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Ryan Selkis
@dogetoshi we're starting with data that's non-controversial to share, generally available already and quantifiable. Things that project supporters would want aggregated and polished for general consumption.
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The Coinish
What are your thoughts on decentralized companies being able to outscale centralized companies who tackle the sameness problem in the future?

Token holders being all business processes (sales, marketing, even HR) while foundation focuses on creating the building blocks.
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Ryan Selkis
@flynnjamm Could happen. Will take decades though.
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George Adams
Hey Ryan, awesome to see you here on tokendaily. What types of sectors do you think are most important in Crypto right now? Smart contract platforms? Decentralized exchanges? Privacy coins?

And similar to portfolio construction in equities, how do you feel these sectors should be weighted?
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Hassan Ahmed
What is your view on this raft of 'interoperability' chain projects (like WAN, ICX, AION) that seem to be popping up every week? Do we need yet another protocol to solve interoperability?
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Ryan Selkis
@hassan-ny It's a good question and I don't know. Someone will figure it out though, and it's an important problem to solve.
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SGK
How would you go about best measuring the value of a given token? Do you agree with the valuation criteria put forward by Chris Burniske (https://medium.com/@cburniske/cryptoasset-valuations-ac83479ffca7)
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Ryan Selkis
@sjeekay I think Chris does great work. But some of his advanced thinking isn't really relevant. Your models are only as good as your assumptions, and with everything as overvalued as it currently is, none of the models really work - unless you are investing pre-ICO.
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Pranay Srinivasan
For a non technical founder, where would you recommend starting if we're trying to solve a business problem using the blockchain?
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Ben Floyd
What do you think is the key differentiator/s between the numerous crypto funds that are launching?
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암호화폐 공부방
What we have to learn from XRP price history?
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