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Dara Albright: Sharing the Inspirational Wealth


Dara Albright – Sharing the Inspirational Wealth

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Digital Asset Strategies Summit (DASS), in Dallas, where prominent institutional investors and industry thought leaders gathered to explore crypto investing strategies.

To say that it was the most inspirational conference I had ever attended would be an understatement.

I spent the entire day completely engrossed in each session, devouring information. In fact, I nearly missed my flight back because I couldn’t bring myself to leave in the middle of Mark W. Yusko’s outstanding closing presentation.

Given that, according to Mark, “learners will inherit the earth,” the last thing I wanted to do was to interrupt my learning just to catch an airplane.

So I didn’t.

I eventually returned home feeling rejuvenated and more optimistic than ever — not only about the future of cryptofinance, but about the future of civilization.

This is truly a phenomenal time to be alive!

Never before has there been this much enthusiasm for innovation. The excitement for blockchain even dwarfs the widespread euphoria during the dot com boom in the mid to late 1990s. This is because, by all accounts, blockchain technology is far more disruptive. And, it is impacting every single industry in each and every microcosm across the planet.

But, what resonated most is the extent and scale of blockchain disruption. As Ric Edelman, one of the nation’s top financial advisors, stated in his keynote, “40% of S&P companies will not even exist by 2025.”


That’s more than disruption. That’s practically an extinction.

With all existing financial paradigms on the verge of colossal change, Ric made me realize that everything we know about retirement planning and asset allocation modeling is completely wrong.

In fact, the entire financial advisor curriculum is obsolete.

Cryptofinance is the future. And it is here to stay — regardless of what is being written in the mainstream media.

Despite the recent volatility and negative press, there is a substantial amount of institutional capital looking to be deployed in not only public (actively traded digital coins), but private (yet to be liquid) blockchain endeavors.

These novel investing strategies will completely redefine capital formation — impacting every aspect of corporate finance including venture capital, private equity and public finance.

Personally, I have found that waves of disruption bring opportunities to amass different types of fortunes. One is the kind that can be seen on financial statements. The other is the hope that can only be felt in the promise of a better tomorrow. I call the latter, inspirational capital.

Since I accrued so much of it at DASS, I figured the least I could do is share some of my inspirational wealth. Hence, highlighted below are some of the summit’s most thought-provoking quotes and sentiments.

“Never ask an incumbent what they think of new technology. A BIG RESET is imminent and those who go to sound money will win. All things of value will eventually be tokenized.” — Mark W. Yusko, Morgan Creek Capital Management, LLC
“Coinbase [a 6-year-old company] now manages over 20 million customer accounts. Charles Schwab [a 45-year-old company] manages only 13.5 million accounts.” — Bart Stephens, Blockchain Capital

According to Lou Kerner, Founding Partner of CryptoOracle, we are entering the golden age of securities innovation. Security tokens will be bigger and more innovative than anyone can presently imagine. The industry will go well beyond simply bringing digitization to today’s securities. He likened it to how television began simply as transporting radio to TV, but ultimately evolved into something much grander than was originally foreseen by both radio and television pioneers.” (Read: Prepare Yourself! The Security Token Tsunami Is About To Hit).

Fortunately, the United States possesses the existing regulatory infrastructure to govern security tokens. The experts on the regulatory panel — David Hirsch, Senior Counsel and Cyber Liaison at the SEC; Kathleen Moriarty, Partner Chapman & Cutler, LLP and Mark Rasmussen, Partner Jones Day — recommend that in addition to the Howey case, investors and issuers, alike, familiarize themselves with the DAO report. The legal panelists also agreed that the REG A+ exemption could be the most ideal for security token offerings — particularly considering the liquidity restrictions of Reg D.

“The best projects are presently illiquid with plans to issue tokens at some point. Many of these can upend some of the public crypto assets. Blue Chip Crypto has yet to be defined.” — Mark Thorsen, Yeoman’s Capital.

“Crypto allows us to unlock the liquidity premium.” — Mark W. Yusko, Morgan Creek Capital Management, LLC

“The baseline between crypto investment and crypto usage is nuanced. This is the first time that you can invest in technology directly.” — Reuben Bramanathan, Coinbase Asset Management

Currently, there are approximately 400 crypto funds that manage a total of $10–12 billion. These include hedge funds, venture capital, private and corporate equity funds as well as family offices. Yet, according to Lex Sokolin of Autonomous Research, “Crypto funds are tiny compared to the asset class opportunity.”

“Israel and Berlin have two of the most booming crypto ecosystems.” — Lou Kerner, Founding Partner of CryptoOracle

“Most information has been rumor based. The latest rumors move markets.” — James McDonald, CIO of Vishnu Wealth Management

“Sell-side research is lacking. The best research comes from LPs.” — Paul Pagnato, CEO of PagnatoKarp

“Twitter is crypto’s Bloomberg terminal.” — Tyrone Ross Jr., NobleBridge Wealth

I was completely blown away by Ric Edelman’s keynote. Never in my life would I have predicted that a presentation seen at a finance event would change my life. But this one did. Whether I’m working, shopping or playing weekend soccer mom, I haven’t been able to stop thinking or talking about it.

Ric’s discussion centered around the profound impact that exponential technologies will have not just on finance, but on humanity.
According to Ric, mankind is about to enter a longevity boom where editing DNA will be as simple as editing a word document, and numerous diseases — including cancer — will be eradicated.

Ric predicts that 2030 will be a pivotal year. All those who are fortunate enough to be alive in 2030 can expect to make it to 110 or even 120 years of age.

That makes me very young. Like VERY, VERY young. In fact, by previous metrics, I’m barely even a teenager.
In my newfound youth, I have never felt so optimistic and hopeful about the future.

I’m going to wrap this up with one final quote from Fintech Strategist and futurist Lex Sokolin who stated that, “TIME & CURIOSITY are the best tools for learning about cryptocurrency.”

Lex’s words serve as a reminder of the two ingredients most needed to succeed in this space.

It doesn’t take any effort for me to allocate the curiosity. I have an endless supply of that. Time, on the other hand, always seems much harder to come by. Fortunately, in addition to the decades being added to my life expectancy, there are conferences like DASS that make it so easy to dedicate the time.

This article was originally published on Medium.

Dara Albright: Sharing the Inspirational Wealth2018-10-24T21:46:11-07:00

Gabriel Allie – Get ready for BTC to breakout next week


Gabriel Allie – Get ready for BTC to breakout next week

With BTC beginning to test the high price point of the current wedge we are coming to the end of the trend. Therefore, BTC will be making a decision which direction it will be breaking out by roughly October 16 (the day I will be doing a live trading demo at Digital Asset Strategies Summit). When miners stop being profitable (which is when BTC is below $6,000), it gives them great incentive to keep the price above the lower channel where we have been seeing the current support level (between $5,800-$6,200).

Additionally, we are consistently seeing higher lows providing confirmation of upward buying pressure leading to a likely potential breakout to the upside. Therefore, I believe we will see a move upward and BTC breaking the $7,000 range by the start of the conference.

Gabriel Allie – Get ready for BTC to breakout next week2018-10-09T07:23:48-07:00

DASS Adds Adamant Capital’s Tuur Demeester and Trammell Venture’s Christopher Calicott to Wall Street-Dominated Speaking Faculty


DASS Adds Adamant Capital’s Tuur Demeester and Trammell Venture’s Christopher Calicott to Wall Street-Dominated Speaking Faculty

From Digital Journal

ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / October 1, 2018 / The Digital Asset Strategies Summit (DASS), the premier “allocators only” all-in-one, 2-day due diligence solution for digital assets, announced its updated agenda and new speakers for its upcoming event. The Summit (October 16 – 17 – Dallas, TX) offers critical research and insight for institutional investors interested in learning about digital assets. A top tier group of Wall Street veterans and cryptocurrency experts help to educate investors on the most important issues in the digital assets space including volatility, custody/security, regulation/legal, risk management, valuation and portfolio construction. The event offers seven hours of continuing education credits.

“Digital assets have seen exponential growth over the last few years offering several use cases for moving away from traditional financial services,” said Chris Smith, Co-Founder DASS and CEO of phix Solutions Group. “In order for cryptocurrency and blockchain to realize mainstream adoption, institutional investors and family offices need to consider digital assets as part of their portfolio. If you’re an allocator considering an investment in digital assets we’re the only event that has every angle covered.”

One of the biggest challenges to cryptocurrency adoption is the ability to acquire cryptocurrency. During one of the sessions, a demonstration takes place on how to follow a specific cryptocurrency, download and set up a wallet and make a purchase and trade through an exchange.

Read more at Digital Journal

DASS Adds Adamant Capital’s Tuur Demeester and Trammell Venture’s Christopher Calicott to Wall Street-Dominated Speaking Faculty2018-10-03T23:03:22-07:00

Lex Sokolin – How Digital Assets will Take Over Your Asset Allocation


Lex Sokolin | Autonomous Research

How Digital Assets will Take Over Your Asset Allocation

Here is how Digital Assets will Take Over Your Asset Allocation

Over the last 10 years, there have been four separate themes for blockchain-based assets.

The first, Bitcoin, is a global macro motivated play with aspirations to power payments and store inflation-protected value. Conceived by cypherpunks and techno-utopians, Bitcoin has dozens of millions of users and has run a production-level platform for a decade. Whether we like it or not, it works, and $7 trillion of traditional gold investment is at play.

The second, enterprise blockchain, is a cost-cutting effort by an oligopoly of financial firms to mutualize processes and costs around the back office. Nearly $250 billion of industry cost across payments, banking, capital markets and insurance is available for transformation. That’s a net present value of $3-5 trillion, but requires competitors to co-operate.

The third wave, Initial Coin Offerings and Decentralized Applications, posited scarce and functional digital objects into digital economies. Tokens, like a coin at an arcade, power up the use of consumer applications and serve as a proof-point that blockchain-based assets can be involved in economic activity. Over $20 billion has been raised in this way.

And fourth, the Security Token wave is re-running the crowdfunding theme through token-based securitization on public blockchain rails. While original crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and SeedInvest captured some public imagination, the crypto version of the same is both far more global in capital and much more functional in its infrastructure.

We do not have to believe any one of these particular themes to accept and believe in another. For example, you may think that the only true cryptocurrency is Bitcoin and that all the other innovations will fail given the network effects off the original. Or perhaps, you may think that digital assets are a technology solution looking for a business problem, and only inside large financial organization can that problem be solved.

The real question for today’s asset allocators and investors is how to treat blockchain technology within the existing allocation framework. The narrowest approach is to see it as any other technology theme sold into financial incumbents, and invest into the private equity of Fintech companies delivering such platforms. This would imply an investment into a venture capital fund that targets Fintech companies.

One step broader would be to treat these new digital assets and currencies as alternative commodities, looking to endowment investment strategies for inspiration. Such large investment mandates for decades have kept 5-20% of their portfolios in private equity, commodities, hedge funds, and other esoteric bets. Crypto is no more esoteric than pork bellies.

Yet another level would be to understand that securitization as married with tokenization allows for fractional liquidity across all asset classes. This implies that everything from interests in commercial real estate to valuable art can be sliced into digital pieces, and held publicly by the crowd. Exchanges like Binance and Huobi already facilitate trading in hundreds of digital tokens, and adding an asset-backed one is not a meaningful technical challenge. They can also be bolted onto a roboadvisor and directed at a consumer.

Such tokenization can extend further to the entire portfolio, including the core holdings of equities and fixed income. As an example, the Australian Stock Exchange is working with Digital Asset to swap in a blockchain-based trading chassis that will power over a trillion of equity value. Similar efforts are under way with the world’s largest custodians. It is only a matter of time until such chains are interoperable with the public ones, under common standards, with machine regulation. Until then, adjust your risk accordingly.

Lex Sokolin – How Digital Assets will Take Over Your Asset Allocation2018-09-25T14:13:00-07:00

Lou Kerner – Over the next 7-10 years, Security Token market cap will top $10 trillion


Lou Kerner | CryptoOracle

Over the next 7-10 years, Security Token market cap will top $10 trillion

Lou Kerner is a Founding Partner of CryptoOracle. He is recognized as one of the most influential crypto bloggers. At one point in his storied career, he was an angel investor, best known for investing in Facebook and writing the first Wall Street style research report on the company in 2010. We recently sat down with Lou, who will be providing the keynote luncheon address at our Digital Asset Strategies Summit (Oct. 16 – 17 – Dallas), as he shared his thoughts on the economic impact of tokenizing private assets.

Lou KernerDigital Asset Strategies Summit: Bringing liquidity to private assets through tokenization will undoubtedly affect private company valuations. Where do you see valuations of emerging growth companies headed as a result? How do you think the tokenization of private equity will impact the venture capital industry?

Lou Kerner: Depending on the asset, liquidity should provide 10%-20% increase in value.
Liquidity will also significantly increase the amount of capital committed to PE or VC, because no liquidity is a deal stopper for the majority of global capital.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: What do you predict the economic impact of tokenizing private or illiquid assets could be?

Lou Kerner: Tokens are a new asset class, similar to how junk bonds used to be. When they come out they are shiny, they are volatile, and they are shunned by most of the traditional world. Over the next 7-10 years, I think Security Token market cap will top $10 trillion.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Can you discuss how tokenizing private ownership will enable the scalability of fractional ownership? How will this impact cap tables?

Lou Kerner: Ownership of things that people want to own, like art, or sports teams, can easily be fractionalized in a token world, bringing liquidity and massively increasing the pool of potential owners.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Why do you see digital assets as the golden age of securities innovation?

Lou Kerner: It’s the beginning of a brand new Medium, like TV was at some point. We’ll use these new tools to design securities that blow people’s mind.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: It seems like Wall Street is eager to embrace blockchain, yet many influential names on the Street are negative on bitcoin. Why do you think so many conventional players are having trouble “seeing the crypto light”?

Lou Kerner: I wrote an article “The Top 10 Reasons People Can’t See The Crypto Light”” For people on Wall street, I think success is an impediment to seeing the light.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Thanks Lou. We look forward to hearing more of your thoughts at the Digital Asset Strategies Summit October 16 – 17 in Dallas.

Lou Kerner – Over the next 7-10 years, Security Token market cap will top $10 trillion2018-09-20T12:24:45-07:00

Ric Edelman – Most Wall Street executives are older, scared and unaware of the speed of innovation brought about by exponential technologies


Ric Edelman | Edelman Financial Services

Most Wall Street executives are older, scared and unaware of the speed of innovation brought about by exponential technologies

Ric Edelman is the Executive Chairman of Edelman Financial Services. Previously ranked the nation’s #1 Independent Financial Advisor three times by Barron’s, Ric is regarded as one of the nation’s top financial advisors We recently spoke with Ric, who will be speaking at our Digital Asset Strategies Summit (DASS) Oct. 16 – 17 in Dallas, TX, as he explained why firms pledging to stay away from cryptos “will be eating their words”.

Ric EdelmanDASS: You recently stated that Vanguard and wirehouse firms that have pledged to stay away from cryptocurrencies “will be eating those words.” Why do you think there is such a backlash from conventional Wall Street players?

Ric Edelman: Two reasons: most Wall Street executives are older. They went to college in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Many are simply not keeping up with technology, and they are unaware of the speed of innovation brought about by exponential technologies. They believe the old rules apply, and many of them point to absurd comparisons, like tulip bulbs and Beanie Babies. They simply don’t understand blockchain technology.

Second, many are simply scared. Cryptoassets and blockchain represent existential threats to their business models – just as buggy manufacturers once derided horseless carriages as nothing but a fad. Many of these companies have infrastructures and costs that render them obsolete when compared to these new platforms, and they don’t know what to do about – so they pooh-pooh the newcomer in desperate hopes it’ll go away. It won’t.

DASS: How much of one’s portfolio, if any, should be allocated to crypto?

Ric Edelman: No more than five percent of your portfolio. For many investors, that figure should be much less – even zero. There is little regulation at present in the cryptoasset world, and lots of bad players. It’s really the Wild West for now, with massive price volatility. So buy a variety of cryptos because diversification can help reduce your risks somewhat (nothing can truly protect you from losses, of course), invest only what you’re willing to lose, and be prepared to hold your investment for years – especially through periods of volatility.

DASS: Will bitcoin remain the bellwether digital coin, or will it be replaced by some other cryptocurrency – much like Facebook replaced MySpace or how the cassette player replaced the eight-track? Is bitcoin a Google or a Webvan?

Ric Edelman:
No one knows. Bitcoin has a huge head start. But so did Lotus 1-2-3, until Microsoft Excel came along. Bitcoin has some technological limitations, which is what prompted the creation of other coins. And let’s see what happens when governments stop their foolish game of denial and finally embrace cryptoassets. Will they adopt Bitcoin? Or will they issue their own like they’ve done with currencies? No one knows. Run away from anyone who claims to have the answer.

DASS: You have stated that advisors can use blockchain to improve how they collect and store client data as well as make financial plans more accurate, easier to maintain and update, and more secure. Do you think that if more advisors are actually incorporating blockchain technology into their business, they would have a better understanding of digital assets as an investment opportunity?

Ric Edelman: Perhaps, but not necessarily. You don’t need to understand the principles of internal combustion in order to drive a car. It’s likely that advisors will use the blockchain because it’s provided for them by vendors – Vanguard has already shifted its S&P 500 stock fund to the blockchain, for example, so anyone buying that fund is using the technology whether they know it or not. In the not-too-distant future, advisors will be buying blockchain services just like they currently buy photocopiers.

DASS: You’ve recommended that investors treat crypto like a lottery ticket. As the industry matures, are you seeing new or innovative ways for investors to hedge their crypto holdings?

Ric Edeleman: Of course. Innovation is constantly occurring, and new tech is being developed at a faster pace than ever before. Just as the Model T inspired the need for roads, traffic signs, line painting, toll booths and parking garages, blockchain and cryptoassets are creating the need for exchanges, trading platforms, reporting programs and more. I’ve personally invested in several start-ups and I continue looking for what’s next, because what didn’t exist yesterday is state-of-the-art today and will be obsolete tomorrow.

DASS: Thanks Ric. We look forward to hearing more of your thoughts at the DASS October 16 – 17 in Dallas.

Ric Edelman – Most Wall Street executives are older, scared and unaware of the speed of innovation brought about by exponential technologies2018-09-20T12:20:03-07:00

John Davi – Bitcoin is neither a legit currency or a mere tulip right now


John Davi | Astoria Portfolio Advisors

Understanding the catalysts behind Bitcoin’s volatility

John Davi is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Astoria Portfolio Advisors; an investment management firm that specializes in quantitative & cross asset investing. We recently sat down with John, who will be speaking at our Digital Asset Strategies Summit (Oct. 16 – 17 – Dallas), as he explained the catalysts behind Bitcoin’s volatility and what’s needed to temper it going forward.

John DaviDigital Asset Strategies Summit: Is bitcoin a legit currency or a mere tulip?

John Davi: Neither. Right now, bitcoin doesn’t satisfy the criteria of being a legit currency. There have been too many cases of exchanges being hacked, it’s not overly liquid, bid/ask spreads are wide, and there are limited places that accept bitcoin as payment. Does bitcoin have any value? Yes. Ultimately, Bitcoin’s value will largely depend on what people determine its market clearing price to be worth – this is how the price of gold is determined. Bitcoin and gold are storage of values and neither produce cash flows so traditional stock/bond valuation models (i.e. discounting future cash flows) cannot be used. More Bitcoin users + more knowledge + more access/hedging solutions will empower investors to determine its value in society. Ultimately, Astoria views bitcoin as another form of an alternative asset class but faces significant challenges (little regulatory oversight, difficult to access, etc).

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: What do you attribute bitcoin’s extreme volatility to?

John Davi: From 2011 to 2017, Bitcoin experienced on average 7 times the volatility of the S&P 500. There have been times during this period where Bitcoin was 20 times more volatile. We believe this volatility premium is justified for 3 reasons 1) We are in the early infancy stages for the adoption of digital assets 2) investor knowledge base is low 3) Bitcoin has characteristics of 3 different and distinct asset classes. Let’s dive a bit further into the 3 different asset classes that characterize bitcoin.
1.) Currency: Bitcoin can be used to purchase goods and services – hence, it has characteristics of a currency.
2.) Commodity: There are production costs to create bitcoin which influences its price. Miners are paid for their efforts. Hence, bitcoin exhibits commodity-like characteristics.
3.) Private Equity / Venture Capital: Purely from a price volatility perspective, bitcoin resembles a private equity, venture capital start-up where risk of failure is sky high. There is no cash flow generated from owning bitcoins – which is very similar to private equity and venture capital where future growth is significantly more important than generating cash flows.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: The SEC recently approved plans for public comment which would make it easier for investment companies to bring new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to market. Could these new rules inspire a new wave of crypto ETFs?

John Davi: Digital assets remind me of the internet and technology stocks of the late 1990s. People argued these companies were going to change the world and paid insane valuations. Some of these internet companies did indeed change the world but a large number of these startups failed. Only a few select (ie. FANG stocks) maintained pricing power and developed into truly elite companies from an earnings perspective. We think the same protocol will follow with digital assets.
Ultimately, we believe US regulators will allow the creation of pooled vehicles. However, not all 2,000 digital assets will survive (and neither should they).

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Should investors fear or embrace crypto regulations?

John Davi: There have been many instances of crypto exchanges being hacked. It’s pretty obvious that there are investors who won’t touch digital assets for fear of hacking. Bitcoin fanatics shouldn’t fear more government or regulatory oversight. This will bring more credibility and elevate the stature of digital assets.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: You have likened the pricing of Digital Assets to stock trading in the early 1900s or emerging equities 15-20 years ago where spreads were wide, volatility was sky high, and information flow was low. Can you discuss what you believe is needed to temper price volatility?

John Davi: More knowledge of digital assets + more education + more technology + more access/hedging solutions should temper price volatility. This will all take time, however.

We don’t doubt that digital assets are uncorrelated to traditional asset classes and can help diversify investor portfolios. But currently the majority of the digital assets are not liquid, spreads are wide, and the costs to trade them are very high. Astoria is pulling for digital assets to evolve as we believe the capital market system desperately needs uncorrelated assets to traditional capital markets. We hope that as the liquidity of digital assets improve, their uncorrelated nature remains intact. Investors should realize, however, that liquidity and correlation tend to go hand in hand (more liquidity tends to result in higher correlation).

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Thanks John. We look forward to hearing more of your thoughts at the Digital Asset Strategies Summit October 16 – 17 in Dallas.

John Davi – Bitcoin is neither a legit currency or a mere tulip right now2018-08-23T17:35:43-07:00

Dara Albright – Cryptocurrencies will ultimately displace equities


Dara Albright is the President of Dara Albright Media. She is a recognized authority, thought provoker and frequent speaker on topics relating to fintech, digital-, peer- & crowd- finance. Dara co-founded Lendit – the largest and most recognized global p2p & online lending conference as well as FinFair, the first conference platform to feature the leadership, products and technologies driving the crowd-centric retail alternatives market. We recently sat down with Dara, who will be speaking at our Digital Asset Strategies Summit (Oct. 16 – 17 – Dallas), as she shared with us the game-changing impact cryptocurrencies will have including ultimately displacing equities.

Dara AlbrightDigital Asset Strategies Summit: How will the current political environment influence the cryptocurrency market?

Dara Albright: On my current radar are a number of recent legislative and politically-driven events which I believe could have widespread implications for the cryptocurrency market.

First, I am keeping my eye on the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018 – also referred to as JOBS Act 3.0 – which just passed the House by a 406-4 vote and received praise by President Trump. Among other things, the bill broadens the definition of accredited investors from those who qualify based solely on meeting financial thresholds to include those with financial job experience and investment knowledge. Expanding the accredited investor definition is something that I have been advocating for quite some time as I believe it is a significant step towards democratizing access to investment opportunities as well as narrowing the national wealth gap. If nothing else, the strong bipartisan support for JOBS Act 3.0 demonstrates a willingness by both parties to ease some of the regulatory restrictions and injustices presently faced by smaller retail investors. Shifting the barometer from net worth and income to knowledge and expertise could significantly alter the domestic ICO landscape by fueling the growth of STOs (Security Token Offerings) – especially Reg D STOs – thereby empowering crypto to become a more mainstream financial product.

While JOBS Act 3.0 looks very promising, I found the comments made by Rep. Brad Sherman at the recent congressional hearings on virtual currencies to be extremely troubling. Sherman essentially called for a blanket ban on buying or mining cryptocurrencies – including the incarceration for issuers of crypto-offerings. While Sherman’s harsh and ill-conceived views were certainly in the minority, I worry that the ongoing Russia investigation – which seems to implicate cryptocurrencies as the method used to fund illicit activity – may give them more prevalence.

I am carefully following the Russia investigation as it relates to the usage of cryptocurrencies, for I believe it will increasingly force crypto into mainstream news conversations as well as create the impetus for regulators to expedite the implementation of the regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies. I am optimistic that both the intensified mainstream awareness as well as the regulatory clarity will only help accelerate the growth of the cryptocurrency marketplace.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Does the SEC have the infrastructure necessary to properly regulate cryptocurrencies?

Dara Albright:
According to the SEC’s 2019 budget request, it appears to be lacking the resources presently needed to effectively regulate cryptocurrencies.

In its FY 2019 budget, the SEC is requesting $1.658 billion – a 3.5% increase over its FY 2018 budget request of $1.602 billion. While that seems like a substantial figure, consider that the SEC presently oversees approximately $75 trillion in securities trading annually on U.S. equity markets and the activities of over 26,000 registered market participants. Additionally, the SEC also oversees 21 national securities exchanges, 10 credit rating agencies, and seven active registered clearing agencies, as well as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Furthermore, the SEC is responsible for selectively reviewing the disclosures and financial statements of over 8,000 reporting companies including 78 of the top 100 public companies in the world.

In addition to all of that oversight, the SEC has the daunting task of keeping pace with financial innovation which is continuously advancing at warp speeds.

A mere 3.5% increase in funds is barely enough for the SEC to meet its present responsibilities. How is it going to be able to meet the challenges of overseeing an entirely new and complex asset class that is rapidly scaling and constantly evolving through technological innovation?

The lack of adequate resources will not only result in a logjam of issuer qualifications but also delays in framing and implementing the rules for cryptocurrencies. The longer the wait for regulatory clarity, the greater the risk of the U.S. being surpassed by nations that are all too eager to seize leadership of global financial markets.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: What kind of impact will crypto have on equities as an asset class?

Dara Albright: I believe that Crypto will ultimately displace equities. Now, I am not saying that equity markets will simply disappear. However, based on technological and cultural trends, I predict that equities will ultimately evolve into a novel hybrid asset class that retains some of the characteristics of equities, but look and feel a lot more like token-type assets.

Thanks to technology, at approximately a $300 billion market cap, crypto is already by far the fastest growing asset class in the history of mankind. And with the amount of digital wallets increasing at unprecedented rates, the growth of the crypto market shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

But it is the technology which underpins cryptocurrencies that will ultimately transform equity markets. At some point, blockchain or distributed ledger technology will drive the digitization of all conventional securities – making all securities more trackable, liquid as well as easier to clear.

But, if you look at it from a cultural standpoint, support for the displacement thesis is even stronger. There are a number of significant cultural trends that have had and continue to have monumental implications on the equities market.

Despite a 9-year bull market where the S&P 500 saw gains in excess of 300%, retail’s appetite for equities has been declining for more than a decade. According to Goldman Sachs, U.S. households have $900 billion less invested in stocks today than they did in 2007. And millennials, especially, have a particular disdain for equities. According to a recent survey by Blockchain Capital, more than 1 in 4 millennials prefer bitcoin to stocks.

With an estimated $30 trillion – the current size of the U.S. equity market – expected to imminently pass from baby boomers to millennials, millennial mindsets will soon have tremendous influence over the economy and financial markets. Thus, in order to predict how the markets will perform, it is imperative we understand how millennials see the world. And, their view is diametrically different from all previous generations.

Even more pronounced than their negative attitudes towards traditional financial institutions, are millennials’ views on economic structure overall. Millennials – who have been drivers of the “sharing economy” – have exhibited a growing distaste for ownership in general. Whether it is car-rides, living quarters, office space or even luxury watches, millennials simply prefer “access” or “sharing” to “ownership”.

As a result of this fundamental move away from ownership, the sharing economy is estimated to grow from $15 billion to $335B by 2025.
Anyone who believes that “sharing societies” will not significantly impact equities markets would be amiss. As farfetched as it may sound today, we are headed towards a future civilization where owning stock is deemed unpalatable and unnecessary while trading tokens for goods and services is valued and strongly favored.

I would also argue that flawed market structure is helping fuel the migration from traditional equities to crypto. The small cap IPO is long dead. With companies IPO-ing so late in their lifecycle, today’s most coveted emerging growth companies appreciate in the hands of venture capitalists instead of in the retirement portfolios of ordinary Americans. Even despite all of the recent legislative pushes to help small emerging growth companies go public, there isn’t enough liquidity or demand to support a viable public market for most small cap stocks. Already, during the second quarter of 2018, ICOs raised a staggering 45% of the amount raised by traditional IPOs and 31% of the amount of venture capital raised. The longer conventional equity markets remain fractured, the more likely it is that investors will look to token offerings as liquid growth alternatives.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Many experts believe that the institutional growth of crypto will be driven by increased regulatory certainty and custodial solutions. You have stated that other factors are at play. Can you discuss what you believe will fuel the institutional acceptance and proliferation of the cryptocurrency marketplace?

Dara Albright: Based on recent reports as well as atypical trading patterns, it is clear that institutions have begun dipping their big toe into cryptocurrency waters. Maybe even an entire foot.

Both Coinbase and Circle have recently reported an upsurge in interest from institutional clients. Circle affirmed that it experienced a 30% increase in new institutional clients in May, and it has also doubled its minimum order size due to the increased activity emanating from large-scale buyers.

Hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen recently invested in a hedge fund targeted at crypto assets and blockchain-based companies – supporting recent comments from an employee at Morgan Stanley that cryptocurrency trading will be a “shot of adrenaline” for hedge funds. It was also just announced that the world’s largest money manager, BlackRock is setting up a working group to “study” cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

There are also reports of ample institutional money sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the right conditions. Many industry experts believe that those “right conditions” constitute regulatory clarity, institutional grade data and enterprise ready infrastructure.
I respectfully disagree.

I need only one word to describe the catalyst that will ignite a surge of institutional demand: ARBITRAGE.
Regulatory uncertainty and lack of infrastructure never precluded institutions – including BlackRock – from entering the digital/online lending space. That is because institutional investors were readily able to leverage both technology and capital in order to minimize their losses and amplify returns. Likewise, once institutions discover effective arbitrage strategies for crypto, they will flood the market.

Such strategies are imminent. In fact, I’ve been talking to crypto enthusiasts and traders who have been creating and testing very innovative and complex hedging strategies for crypto. As these strategies become rampant, institutional demand for crypto will proliferate – ultimately transforming the cryptocurrency landscape and expediting its growth.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: What role will crypto play in retirement planning?

Dara Albright: As crypto continues to accumulate mainstream acceptance, as the industry’s ecosystem matures and especially as crypto hedging strategies become more formulated and accepted, it is inevitable that new asset allocation models will emerge with crypto playing an expanding role in modern investment portfolios – particularly in retail retirement accounts.

But, while these shifts in asset allocation models will play an important part in fueling the growth of digital assets, it is crypto’s underlying technology that will ultimately uproot the entire retirement planning industry, enabling the digital asset universe to skyrocket. The watershed moment will arrive once distributed ledger technology meets the self-directed IRA industry.

Distributed ledger technology provides the self-directed IRA industry with the capability to automate tax-deferred micro alternative asset investing. In doing so, retail investors will finally be able to seamlessly and inexpensively spread their retirement dollars across a wide array of alternative asset classes including crypto. This hi-tech self-directed IRA has the power to unlock $14 trillion of capital trapped in traditional retail retirement accounts that curtail diversification and limit returns.

This is an absolute game-changer – not only for crypto but for financial services at large.

Digital Asset Strategies Summit: Thanks Dara. We look forward to hearing more of your thoughts at the Digital Asset Strategies Summit October 16 – 17 in Dallas.

Dara Albright – Cryptocurrencies will ultimately displace equities2018-08-23T17:52:24-07:00

DASS Confirms Keynote Speakers


DASS ConfirmsKeynote Speakers

From AccessWire

ATLANTA, GA | ACCCESSWIRE | August 22, 2018 | The Digital Asset Strategies Summit (DASS) is the premier “allocators only” all-in-one, 2-day due diligence solution for digital assets. DASS offers critical research and insight for institutional investors at this inflection point for digital asset investing. The Summit (October 16 – 17 – Dallas, TX) will focus on educating allocators of the opportunities and challenges of investing in digital assets as well as present a variety of innovative disciplines and portfolio construction ideas designed for today’s forward-thinking money managers.

DASS is being produced by 16-year conference veteran Don Friedman, Founder and CEO of JV Events Group and Co-Founder/Co-Creator of Inside ETFs, and Chris Smith, Founder and CEO of phix Solutions Group, a growth strategy and insights firm with years of experience in the Blockchain category. Strategic partners include Dara Albright – a FinTech veteran and original Co-Founder of the Lendit Fintech Conference; RIA Channel, Hedge Fund Association (HFA), Hedge Fund Alert and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA). DASS will be chaired by Lex Sokolin, Partner & Global Director of Fintech Strategy at Autonomous Research.

“We take great pride in our ”allocators only” format which is dedicated to investment professionals and accredited investors seeking actionable investment ideas. Our investor attendees appreciate that the focus of our program is centered around research, due diligence, risk management and education as they seek to commit capital to digital assets.” says Friedman.

“The Summit explores solutions for the most pressing issues facing professional investors looking to allocate to digital asset strategies. Topics include investor protection, valuing crypto assets, performing fund manager due diligence, regulatory updates, blockchain/crypto use cases and portfolio construction,” says Sokolin. ”The Summit’s comprehensive agenda explores the spectrum of emerging blockchain-based asset strategies, highlighting their impact on diversification, portfolio returns, unique risks and role within an asset allocation.”

“We are extremely excited to have investment luminaries Ric Edelman, Thomas Lee, Bart Stephens, Lou Kerner and Mark Yusko keynoting our event. Couple that with Lex Sokolin, who’s one of the leading minds in the world of Fintech, chairing the event we believe we’re offering investors a truly unique educational opportunity to learn more about investing in this burgeoning asset class,” says Chris Smith. ”Education on portfolio construction, asset allocation, risk management and product innovation continue to best position investors in achieving their investment objectives.”

Featured speakers include:

Dara Albright – Dara Albright Media
Reuben Bramanathan – Coinbase
Stephen Browne – Paul Comstock Partners
Keenan Carstens – EMC Capital Management
Julie Cooling – RIA Channel
John Davi – Astoria Portfolio Advisors
Ric Edelman – Edelman Financial Services
Andre Huaman – Three Bell Capital
Matt Jennings – Kingdom Trust
Matthew Johnson – Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC)
Sean Keegan – Digital Asset Strategies
Lou Kerner – CryptoOracle
Thomas Lee – Fundstrat Global Advisors
James McDonald – Vishnu Wealth Management
Kathleen Moriarty – Chapman & Cutler
Pete Najarian, Xapo
Timothy Peterson – Cane Island Alternative Advisors
Tyrone Ross Jr. – NobleBridge Wealth
Lex Sokolin – Autonomous Research
Bart Stephens – Blockchain Capital
Mark Yusko – Morgan Creek Capital Management
Greg Xethalis – Chapman & Cutler
DASS is exclusively for family offices, hedge funds, institutional investors, financial advisors, accredited investors, venture capitalists and private equity funds.

DASS Confirms Keynote Speakers2018-09-25T14:04:59-07:00

Trials and Tribulations of Buying Cryptocurrency


The Trials and Tribulations Of Buying Cryptocurrency

By Don Friedman

For any event I produce I feel it’s important to own one of the products or strategies related to the conference subject matter. Talk is cheap. I feel you need to have skin in the game otherwise you’re not a legitimate participant.

With that being said, as we prepare for our Digital Asset Strategies Summit, I bought XRP on June 28, 2018 on the Kraken exchange. What a confusing process it was. The GUI/front end is drastically different from any of the Wall Street GUIs I’ve used such as E*TRADE, Fidelity, Schwab or TD Ameritrade.

I’ll spare you the details but now that I own it, when I go to the “Positions” screen it says “no open positions currently available”! That got me a little freaked out because in my Wall Street accounts you can track your portfolio by looking AT YOUR POSITIONS.

I might add there is no phone number to call and when I sent an email I received the following response:

“Thanks for contacting Kraken Support. Your request (xxxxxx) has been received.

We’ll reply to your ticket as soon as possible, but in some cases it can take several days if we experience a heavy volume of requests.
We have site content that answers many of the most common support questions. Please take a moment to visit the pages below and see if your question is answered there.

If you’re able to solve your request before we reply, we’d be grateful if you let us know by replying to this email.
Thanks for your patience. You’ll be hearing from us soon.

The Kraken Support Team”

Several days????? Hmmm…

I did spend some time using their Chat feature and the person was somewhat helpful. Bottom line is if the goal is to have institutions adopt cryptocurrencies there needs to be drastic improvement in simplifying the order entry process and making the front end far easier to read and understand.

I’m also aware that other firms tout they have a far more user-friendly front end which very well might be so. The industry as a whole (similar to Wall Street) would benefit if all exchanges learned from how Wallstreet has built their GUIs to make it easier on the investor.

I’m excited that we’re planning to execute a crypto trade at the Digital Asset Strategies Summit. I’m confident this will not only be helpful to me but to the rest of our allocator audience as well.
Happy trading!

Trials and Tribulations of Buying Cryptocurrency2018-08-10T10:21:18-07:00
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