Joseph Kennedy

The 10 Most Influential People in Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain 2018

The cryptocurrency and blockchain world is evolving at an alarming rate.

It’s so current that if your crypto-project started back in 2015, it’s considered ancient technology. Every day dozens of ICOs launch, with millionaires being made on the daily. With this constant evolution and a revolving door of founders, CEOs and blockchain gurus, who, in 2018, can we view as a mainstay, or as a real industry influence?

 

We’ve handpicked 10 people that we think you should know about.

In no particular order…

 

Vitalik Buterin – The greatest mind?

As the co-founder of Ethereum and Bitcoin Magazine, the Russian-Canadain programmer is seen as one of the greatest minds in the ‘cryptosphere’. Buterin started out as a programmer and writer, producing his first articles in exchange for 5 bitcoins each (which would now be about $50,000 per piece). He became a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine based on his Bitcoin blogging abilities.

Vitalik later invented Ethereum as he felt that Bitcoin didn’t offer a scripting language for application development. He has also had a hand in many other projects, including Kryptokit, pybitcointools, multisig.info, btckeysplit, DarkWallet, Bitcoin Python libraries, and the cryptocurrency marketplace site Egora.

 

Nick Szabo – The legal genius?

Szabo invented the concept of smart contracts, and has been working as a computer scientist, cryptographer and legal scholar since the 1990s. Assumed by many as the true identity of Satoshi Nakamura (the unknown inventor of Bitcoin), he denies these reports and goes about his work in cryptography and micropayment technology.

You can learn more about Nick in his interview with Tim Ferris.

 

Charlie Lee – The idea generator?

Charlie is busy, he’s the creator of Litecoin and Litepay, as well as being the former Director of Engineering at Coinbase. His childhood was pretty interesting, being born in the Ivory Coast to parents from Shanghai, before moving to the US and studying at the prestigious MIT. Lee built Litecoin back in 2011, based on the Bitcoin architecture, but four times more efficient (which is why there are 84m Litecoins compared to Bitcoin’s 21m).

Lee is an influencer for many reasons, but one thing that stands out is his dedication to push the industry forward through technology and ethics, something he proved by donating his entire Litecoin stash after being accused of using his influence to affect prices for personal gain. His work for Coinbase has enabled countless wannabe traders to enter the market, and his work with Litepay could change everything in regards to brick and mortar businesses entering the cryptosphere!

 

Andreas Antonopolous – The most trusted voice?

British-Greek Bitcoin advocate and host of Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast (which now has 358 episodes!) Antonopolous has been shouting through a megaphone about the revolutionary potential of Bitcoin since its early days. He even quit his job as a freelance consultant and started travelling around, speaking at conferences about Bitcoin, and that was back in 2012.

Some have called him the most trusted voice of Bitcoin, Antonopolous is a fantastic writer and proponent of the cryptocurrency movement.

 

Philip Nunn – The expert advisor?

British crypto-expert, speaker and ICO specialist Nunn has been working in the financial services industry for 15 years, and has a burgeoning reputation.

We welcomed Phillip on episode 14 of the Crypto Pulse podcast, which you can listen to here.

His own LinkedIn account states: ‘Phillip has become a well-known, online influencer in the blockchain and crypto space and has travelled the world evangelising and talking on these subjects. Phillip has sat on the advisory boards of many ICO’s over the past 12 months and has helped structure and fund some of the biggest companies of the future. Along with his business Wealth Chain, Phillip will be launching his own crypto fund that looks to invest in ICO’s along with existing blockchain technology companies.

Catch him speaking at some of this year’s biggest Blockchain expos, like this one.

 

Marc Andreessen – The early pioneer?

If you working in the computer business, we’re pretty sure you already know of Andreessen, the inventor of Mosaic (the first widely-used computer browser) and Netscape. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay, and Hewlett Packard, and he sits on the world wide web hall of fame. He’s hot property.

But what about his crypto adventures? Well, his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into various cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoin, and boasts more than 500% returns! His personal wealth is estimated to be around £900m, with a percentage accreditable to his wise crypto-strategies.

Is Andreessen a hodler? Reports from his firm suggest they expect big wins in around 10 years. That’s long-term thinking!

 

John Matonis – The wordsmith?

Economist, Founding Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, CEO of Hushmail and Chief Currency Dealer at VISA – his resume is just the start. Matonis claims to have met Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious alias behind Bitcoin’s true creator, who he claims is Craig Steven Wright. Wright even claims that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, and actually has pretty good evidence – the bizarre thing being that few actually believe him.

Matonis is a key figure in the written crypto-sphere, contributing to CoinDesk as a writer, as well as having a popular Medium blog.

 

Roger Ver – Polarising pumper or divisive dumper?

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he has a massive influence on the cryptosphere. His Wikipedia page reads like the life story of some kind of wacky freedom fighter; he’s been imprisoned for selling explosives on eBay, he tried to enter politics with the Libertarian Party, he self-taught Japanese whilst in prison, he renounced his US citizenship and became a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis, even though he lives in Japan and was born in California, and, he put over $1m into bitcoin-related startups in 2011, leading him to have the early moniker ‘Bitcoin Jesus’.

 

He’s a divisive figure, on one hand, he has donated large amounts of bitcoin to causes like the Foundation for Economic Education, and helped to launch both Ripple and Blockchain.info, and on the other hand, he supports insider trading and wants the bitcoin blocksize limit increased, which is something that most believe would do more harm than good.

 

Brian Armstrong – The banker?

Co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, it’s hard to compile a list of who is most influential in the cryptosphere without mentioning the guy who runs the most common market entry point. So, Coinbase might not be popular in everyone’s books, but we appreciate that they make entering the crypto trading game pretty easy, meaning that the industry can grow, more investment can come in, and people who want to trade but aren’t so technical can start moving their chess pieces.

Before Coinbase, Armstrong was a software engineer at Airbnb, another platform that revolutionised a major industry – does he have some kind of secret recipe for success?

Coinbase and Armstrong are in the process of launching ‘Coinbase Index Fund’, with a lot of PR and marketing work to get adoption. This means that digital assets will be able to be invested in on Coinbase.

 

Sunny Lu – The wildcard?

So, Sunny Lu is probably the one name on this list that almost nobody will have heard of, but if you have – kudos! In the Chinese blockchain world, Sunny is very important, and more frequently now, his articles, research, and talks are getting translated into foreign languages for a western audience.

He’s the CEO of VeChain, which has some of the best technology China has produced behind it. It can do amazing things, and will potentially facilitate IoT integration, something that IOTA has claimed but not yet proven.

Sunny’s approach to the blockchain is quite different – he suggests a system in which we build useful tools, wait to see how they are applied by users, then use the application scenarios to support the development of the technology used to build the system in the first place. That may sound confusing, but it actually makes perfect sense, and in a way, it’s how Amazon has managed to scale and improve constantly – they have programming teams who use the common solutions that customers require to influence how they redesign their system.

 

Conclusion

We could only put 10 people on this list, but there are so many influencers in this industry. We’d love to hear from you about your favorite cryptocurrency figures, so email us at hello@crypulse.co.uk

Blockchain is on a Mission to Murder Facebook!

Unless you’ve been living under a digital rock recently, you will have heard people on the news, and on your various social media feeds talking about how Facebook allowed the personal data of about 50 million people to be harvested by a political consultancy.

This harvesting had a dramatic effect on the US election, and Brexit, as well as other global events, thanks to Cambridge University student Aleksandr Hogan, who used a third-party app to take all of this data and transfer it to Cambridge Analytica for commercial and political use. Hogan was also the whistleblower for his own work.

In Episode 16 of the podcast, we discussed this very subject. You can listen here:\

 

Since this has happened:

  • Mark Zuckerberg said “I’m really sorry that this happened”.
  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said “We know that this was a major violation of people’s trust, and I deeply regret that we didn’t do enough to deal with it.”
  • Facebook plans to audit and investigate thousands of suspicious apps
  • An online petition called for Facebook to notify the 50 million people involved
  • Facebook restricts third-party access for developers
  • Zuckerberg stated that Hogan and Cambridge Analytica said that the data had been destroyed back in 2015
  • Jonathan Albright, a research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism said “This problem is part of Facebook and cannot be split off as an unfortunate instance of misuse. It was standard practice and encouraged. Facebook was literally racing towards building tools that opened their users’ data to marketing partners and new business verticals. So this is something that’s inherent to the culture and design of the company.”

 

Facebook’s weak apology

Zuckerberg may not be a media darling, but when you make a monumental error, like, I don’t know, accidentally giving 50 million sets of personal data to an organisation that is hell-bent on changing the world through influencing elections, you should probably grovel for mercy. The ‘Zuck’ doesn’t seem all that bothered, saying “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”

 

How this scandal affected Trump’s rise to power

Both horrifying and impressive (from a growth hacking perspective), Cambridge Analytica took that data, performed intensive survey research, data modelling and performance-optimisation algorithms, and used it to get billions of views from around 10,000 different adverts in the build-up to the election.

Despite Trump’s campaign building up a lot of momentum by the time Cambridge Analytica joined his team in June 2016, he did not yet have a data-led political campaign strategy that used the techniques listed in the previous paragraph. This is how Cambridge Analytica came to influence the elections, and if you remember how close Hillary Clinton was to victory, you could say that this data harvest was the difference.

It is reported that Clinton was so confident of winning, that they gave up their Election Day masthead on the youtube.com homepage. Trump’s campaign paid for the space and posted ads depending on the state. Another part of their campaign sent anti-Clinton ‘facts’ to her swing state supporters.

 

What data does Facebook have on you?

  • Everything on the site – Your name, age, marital status, employment history etc
  • Everything you do on the site – likes, shares, follows, friends, photos, updates etc
  • Everything their trackers see – the websites you visit, for example, so that they can give you better adverts

Facebook will actually give you all of this data, on request, here.

 

How can blockchain solve this problem?

This is what you’ve really come to see – our take on how the blockchain can provide a solution to Facebook, a platform that has famously shunned the cryptosphere of late. Could it be a famous scenario, where Facebook’s lack of interest actually blossoms into a love obsession? We think it can, but not on its own.

Facebook is broken, it is a centralised organisation that can deeply impact our frail society, as we have proved in this article. But, what if the blockchain could help users regain power over their content? Here’s an example, instead of giving your photos to Facebook, you’d share them on the blockchain with the certain people that you want to see them, and that could be your entire friends list, the difference being that the photos would still belong to you.

The problem at this stage is that the blockchain has not really got invested in mainstream social media technology, and so at best right now, it would only offer increased data transparency, meaning you’d be able to see that Facebook sold your data to an advertiser, but you couldn’t actually do anything to stop that transaction in the first place.

Another problem exists. Does Facebook want to be fixed? It is a user-generated utopia for marketers unlike any other in the world, and for that reason, they make an absolute killing from advertisers. Change the structure, and you might risk the income. Facebook turns our personal data into advertising slots, and claim that they are the only ones trusted to safely extract value from this. It’s now evident that they’re wrong. It’s evident that the blockchain needs to create a social media that can actually rival Facebook.

 

Check out this video to see some of the supporters of the #DeleteFacebook movement.

What solutions has the blockchain already developed?

We’ve picked out three ingenious ideas for combining social media and the blockchain.

First up…

 

Indorse.io

Indorse is branded as ‘The Decentralized Professional Network’ that promises to create a revolutionary platform for the skills economy. It sounds great, especially as it’s made on Ethereum and based on two key issues: skills validation is very tough to do in the unregulated online world, due mainly to bias and fraud, and, you have to give up too much personal data when signing up for most social media sites. Indorse believe that users often get nothing in exchange for their data, which is unfair.

So how did they solve these issues? –They explain that ‘Indorse uses different methods to validate skills in a simple and objective way, for example: Decentralized consensus, where examples of skill are judged anonymously by random other users. Or A.I. based systems like chat bots for automated real-time validation.’

‘Users are rewarded for their activity on the platform with IND tokens. These tokens can later be traded or used on the platform to purchase services like advertising, or company pages with validated connections.’

Read more about Indorse

 

investFeed

We welcomed crypto-expert Phillip Nunn on episode 14 of the Crypto Pulse podcast, in which he mentioned investfeed, which is ‘a cryptocurrency epicenter combining a rich base of enthusiasts, investors, and innovators all looking towards the goal of revolutionizing the way we invest in and develop blockchain technology.’

Essentially, it’s a blockchain social media for people interested in the blockchain, so no pictures of your colleague’s dinner or baby photos from your old classmates.

Who is it for? – It’s for anyone who wants to use an open, transparent, and rewards-based platform for all users and content contributors. They welcome all newcomers, professionals, projects, journalists, or news outlets to join the community.

What’s their mission – “As we slowly reach beyond web 2.0 — the age of user-generated content and interoperability — we wish to use blockchain technology to be in the Vanguard of web 3.0 development. The development of our singular gateway for the crypto-community seeks to reward users who contribute towards our common goals of transparency and democracy.” – Ronald Chernesky, CEO of investFeed

Learn more about investFeed

 

Steemit

‘Your voice is worth something’ – these are the first words you see on their website, and it’s clearly something that Facebook could learn from. Are we worth more than likes and data breaches? Who knows.

What is Steemit?- This blockchain based social media site is a ‘living, breathing and growing social economy’ where content creators can be rewarded for sharing their stories. Gain people’s attention to really earn.

How does Steemit work?- The site has its own STEEM cryptocurrency, and its own blockchain platform which even hosts a range of other sites whose content gets sent to Steemit too. All the content goes to a ledger and each day new STEEM tokens are minted and added to a community reward pool, from which the most voted-for writers will earn. Users who have more tokens will get to decide who gets more tokens, through a concept called ‘Steem Power’.

Like Indorse.io and investFeed, Steemit is sharing the rewards with the users, and too right!

Learn more about Steemit

 

Did we miss something important from this blog? Email us at hello@cryptopulse.co.uk to let us know

“Revolutionizing Crowdfunding” Cryptopulse Interview with iCrowdU

In episode 15, Kevin spoke to Alex Holtermann and Ian Wright from iCrowdu, an exciting blockchain project set to change the crowdfunding space, potentially forever!

These exciting entrepreneurs are on a mission to disrupt the crowdfunding space with a revolutionary approach to the blockchain.

In this recap article, we will be pulling some of the key quotes from Alex and Ian…

 

Kevin: So, how did your crypto journey begin?

Alex: It began several years ago, around 5 years ago when I first read and heard about Bitcoin. Then, initially I wasn’t so sure, some friends of mine in Hong Kong asked me about it and whether they should buy some. I was like ‘Ah, buy a bit, sell it, and it will be ok. I don’t think this will be sustainable’.

 

So, initially, I wasn’t very keen, but then about three years ago, Ian and I had a class together (we did our MBA together) and in a team we worked on the legalities of cryptocurrency and I was introducing Bitcoin to the class, and that’s when I was really getting into it, and these little mining machines and how the technology works behind it.

 

Then, I came up with a mini business plan and introduced it to quite a few friends and said ‘Look guys, if we can raise half a mission dollars together, I have this place somewhere that electricity is very cheap and we could triple or quadruple the money’. They said ‘Ah, rubbish, all this Bitcoin stuff. Nah, it’s never going to fly!’. Had they listened, this would probably have turned into $50 million today!’

 

Kevin: From this idea around mining Bitcoin, how did that bring you to start a crypto project?

Ian: Well, for example my first introduction and understanding of cryptocurrency came when Alex gave this lecture at the university about Bitcoin. We set up iCrowdU as a crowdfunding platform, we saw many problems in the crowdfunding industry that needed to be changed – young companies are always going to need capital. It was a clear fit.

 

From day one, really, we had spoken about the blockchain, and one of our very early investors is actually also a blockchain expert. It was a question of how to actually implement it, and the costs when we were getting set up on our own when funds were very limited. This year, things have changed, we actually just completed out C-round [of investment] and realised our goal of pulling everything onto the Blockchain, and that has resulted in the CrowdToken.

 

The big goal is to build our own Blockchain and put the entire company and all processes on there.

 

Kevin: If I had never come across iCrowdU before, Ian, could you explain in Layman’s Terms what the project does, and what problem it solves?

Sure! So, essentially what the CrowdToken begins with is offering any of our customers an immediate return by offering a discount on products, so I suppose to really explain the full story we have to go to our company iCrowdU, where it all began.

 

We developed a concept, a business model called ‘consolidated crowdfunding’ that enables people who are searching for funding for their companies and projects to actually combine different funding mechanisms, like traditional donations and rewards, but adding Peer-to-Peer lending, equity investments and royalty deals and a way to combine all of these options into one kind of project or package and then present it to a wider range of potential backers, and on an international scale. We are heavily focused on Asia, we have a company set up in China and in Hong Kong, and we want to bring European companies out to the East.

 

Kevin: Just so I understand this correctly, you’re looking at doing crowdfunding for projects and for physical items as well. I know on your website there’s an example of some sneakers/trainers. If I’m a private manufacturer and I’ve got 20,000 sneakers to sell, I could put them on this platform, right? I’m just confused how the company funding works alongside that. Are there two separate options?

Ian: There are two sides to it, because with the allowing so that existing companies with products [can use it], it’s about opening new markets as well. One of our slogans is that the crowd comes before the funding, and it’s not only about crowdfunding, it’s about connecting companies and projects with a large group of people who can be beneficial to them. So, if you have an existing producer of trainers/sneakers, and they’re in the UK for example, but they want to go to China and access the Chinese market, well, that’s not so easy.

 

Aaaaand that’s your lot for now! If you want to know how iCrowdU helps companies enter the Chinese market, you will have to listen to the rest of the podcast. You will also hear the full details of Ian and Alex’s journey, including 32 minutes that cover:

  • The problem iCrowdu is solving by providing a peer to peer service between producers & consumers. They save a staggering 70% on average bypassing traditional e-commerce or retail channels
  • How the crowd token will work to help fund projects
  • The power of the crowd to help products go viral!
  • Some of the issues around current crowdfunding methods such as Kickstarter

 

Cryptopulse Interviews Blockchain & ICO Expert Phillip Nunn

Episode 14 was arguably our biggest show so far, with crypto expert Phillip Nunn joining us for 36 minutes of epic crypto and blockchain exploration.

Who is Phillip Nunn?

Phillip founded Blackmore back in 2013, a business with substantial assets and a suite of investment products for individuals and institutions in the UK and overseas. He has more than 15 years of experience in financial services, he’s a specialist in wealth management, angel investment, commercial property investment and financial technologies (FinTech). Blackmore was founded on the core belief that clients should be given real and tangible alternatives to poor investment performances.

In the cryptosphere, many of Phillip’s 180,000+ LinkedIn followers are there because of his global influence as a speaker at some of the world’s biggest blockchain events and because of his online influencing activity. He has sat on advisory boards of many ICOs over the last 12 months and has helped structure and fund some of the biggest companies of the future. Along with his business, ‘Wealth Chain’, Phillip will be launching his own crypto fund to invest in ICOs and existing blockchain technologies.

Enough about his impressive bio, we’re going to enlighten you to an abridged version of some of what Phillip said during the podcast, without giving too much away.

 

How did Phillip get into crypto?

We were curious how he came to be this mega-influencer in the space, but we wanted to start from the beginning. Phillip told us ‘I’ve been intrigued by the space for many years, my background is financial services, then it crossed over into FinTech, so that was really the sort of bridge to the technology side of the fence, and then ultimately I’ve always been intrigued by distributed ledger technology and the advent of blockchain via things like blockchain blowing up. It’s been a gradual process really.’

Kevin ‘nodded’ in agreement too when Nunn said ‘Now I’m completely obsessed and I never sleep’. We are sure that some of our listeners have the same crypto-insomnia issues!

 

How do you sniff out a good project as an investor?

You’re only as good as your track record, right? So, Phillip is on a pretty epic run in terms of his investment choices, but that’s not down to luck, there’s far more to it than that. With an abundance of ICOs, and many garbage ones out there, we weren’t surprised to hear him say that ‘the industry’s got ahead of itself’ and ‘even my gran can do an ICO’.

Phillip is a big fan of blockchain platforms and backed this up by explaining that 17 out of the top 20 cryptocurrencies on coinmarketcap.com are platforms. In making investment decisions, he said ‘I think the absolute fundamental for me is the tokenomics have to be right, so ‘why are you doing an ICO? Why are you not looking for angel investment? Why are you not going to the cattle markets, raising private equity or looking for VC money?’

So, is the fact that anyone can do an ICO a big risk for investors? Apparently not, if you’re switched on. ‘The market is maturing and people are much more switched on nowadays when the ICO market first popped up you could ICO anything and raise money’ he told us, adding ‘People are really looking at more sophisticated ways to choose an ICO’.

 

What kind of project gets Phillip excited?

‘The ICOs that really sort of get me going, in the most appropriate way and sense possible, are ICOs that have an experienced team and an established business that is pivoting that business into a blockchain strategy’ he shared, before giving us his checklist of things to be wary of.

  • Established team
  • Track record
  • Turnover
  • Active business
  • Technology works
  • A viable use case for blockchain fundraiser
  • Raised a few £mllion early doors to validate interest
  • Legitimate interest in the project

 

White paper talk

White papers are pretty contentious, let’s be honest. You can write whatever you like and if it’s passable as interesting technology, you could become an overnight millionaire. Without regulation, this won’t change, unless education dramatically increases and people become more aware. So, what’s Phillip’s take on all of this?

‘The market is starting to mature, and actually, the guaranteed success of ICOs will reduce because of that’ he stated, ‘last year you could put money into an ICO and make 3,000-4,000% for no real value at all.’

So, should people read the white papers? Phillip says yes, ‘I’d recommend that people do have a read of the white paper, but I think that top, high-level people, you’re looking at the strength of the team. Have they raised money before? Are they an established business? What’s the blockchain strategy?’.

 

How does Phillip Nunn find a good ICO then?

He does three things –

  • Look for impartial reviews on ICOs
  • Follow a due diligence process (which he joked has 27 factors)
  • Work with his team to research the 250+ ICO offers they receive every month

We are sure that having Phillip Nunn also helps improve the chance of success, he even said that perhaps is the ‘tabasco’ for ICOs.

 

What does Phillip think about others in the investment space?

‘I think there’s a balance between if the next IOTA or the next Monero looks like it’s coming along, then maybe that’s a buy and hold [situation], but actually I think if we’re all honest, a lot of people here are looking for short-term gains and they’re looking to pick ICOs that they will get in cheap and get out quite quickly. I think that will evolve when governance and regulations come in, it will settle down and people will have long-term strategies.’

We couldn’t agree more!

 

Which sectors are most at threat from disruption in Phillip’s opinion?

‘If you’d asked me this two weeks ago I would have listed about 15 different industries that are going to be absolutely turned on their head, but I’ve had my epiphany, and we’re all getting a bit too far ahead of ourselves. We’re still building the foundations of the blockchain industry and cryptocurrency industry, so I think personally for the next 12, maybe 18 months, the companies that are really going to thrive are the companies that are platform based, they offer a solution’ he told us, and naturally we were curious what he meant by this.

‘We are still in the infrastructure phase’ we were told, ‘I think we’ll have over $1 trillion market cap by the end of this year and I think that the big pension funds, the big ETFs, the big institutional money is going to find its way into the industry this year, whereby clients portfolios will see a 5% allocation to crypto because you just can’t ignore the growth and what it is doing. It’s a chicken and egg, they’re waiting to invest but they can’t monetize it because there’s no regulation there at the moment. I think that’s going to be the tipping point, where actually in line with regulation there will be an absolute avalanche of money coming into the industry, so I think it’s going to be a good thing.’

 

If you want to know what else Phillip enlightened us about, you’ll have to listen to the podcast!

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