crypto

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

“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!

Episode 15

These talented and high energy entrepreneurs are set to disrupt the crowdfunding space.

Episode 14

In this episode we Interview Entrepreneur, CEO & Crypto expert Phillip Nunn.

Episode 13

In this episode we chat about The Top Five Crypto Fails of All Time!

Episode 12

In this episode we Interview crypto millionaire Nate Ginsburg

The Top Five Crypto Fails of All Time!

The Top Five Crypto Fails of All Time!

Welcome back! We’ve got a treat for you here, or is it a trick? It’s hard to tell with some of these crypto fails, and, of course, there were so many crazy tales from the cryptosphere that we couldn’t possibly write about them all. We’ve chosen five that the Cryptopulse team thought were pretty darn hilarious!

Listen to this story in podcast form here.

10,000 Bitcoins… for pizza?!

May 22nd, 2010, programmer Laszlo Hanyecz paid a fellow ‘Bitcoin Talk’ forum user 10,000BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas. At this time, Bitcoin was only about a year old, and all of those BTC were worth just $25. At today’s price, that’s about £66.5m for our British readers, and $92m in US dollars. Staggering.

This is largely considered the first real-world Bitcoin transaction, and is celebrated as such each May 22nd. For most people reading, this is pretty hilarious, at Laszlo’s expense!

“It wasn’t like bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool” – Hanyecz in 2013, denying the fail.

Millions lost when Mt Gox collapsed

This fail is much worse than £66m pizza – this fail cost nearly half a billion.

In February 2014, then largest crypto-trading platform ‘Mt Gox’ went bankrupt and shut down, losing 850,000 bitcoins and £22m of user cash. The Tokyo-based exchange pointed the finger towards hackers who exploited a software security weakness, but later revealed they had found 200,000 of the coins.

The fail deepens. The chief of Mt Gox, Mark Karpelés was arrested, accused of embezzlement of user funds, and is largely responsible for the total fail that left 127,000 people out of pocket and claiming money back. He managed to avoid prison, but must remain in Japan.

Karpelés is a bit of a failure specialist as it happens, having been caught ‘pirating’ servers several times in France, and being accused by Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road, as the true mastermind behind the dark web marketplace.

Where did HODL come from?

If you caught Episode 3 of our podcast, you’ll know all about HODL, and the story that accompanies it. But if not, or if you want further detail, here’s the post that led to the crypto-culture slang.

‘I type d that tyitle twice because I knew it was wrong the first time.  Still wrong. w/e. GF’s out at a lesbian bar, BTC crashing WHY AM I HOLDING? I’LL TELL YOU WHY.  It’s because I’m a bad trader and I KNOW I’M A BAD TRADER. Yeah you good traders can spot the highs and the lows pit pat piffy wing wong wang just like that and make a millino bucks sure no problem bro.  Likewise the weak hands are like OH NO IT’S GOING DOWN I’M GONNA SELL he he he and then they’re like OH GOD MY ASSHOLE when the SMART traders who KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY’RE DOING buy back in but you know what?  I’m not part of that group. When the traders buy back in I’m already part of the market capital so GUESS WHO YOU’RE CHEATING day traders NOT ME~! Those taunt threads saying “OHH YOU SHOULD HAVE SOLD” YEAH NO SHIT.  NO SHIT I SHOULD HAVE SOLD. I SHOULD HAVE SOLD MOMENTS BEFORE EVERY SELL AND BOUGHT MOMENTS BEFORE EVERY BUY BUT YOU KNOW WHAT NOT EVERYBODY IS AS COOL AS YOU. You only sell in a bear market if you are a good day trader or an illusioned noob.  The people inbetween hold. In a zero-sum game such as this, traders can only take your money if you sell.

so i’ve had some whiskey

actually on the bottle it’s spelled whisky

w/e

sue me

(but only if it’s payable in BTC)’

 

Explanation – Man gets drunk, decided to hold his crypto, misspells the title and becomes bitcoin folklore and slang!

Guy threw out 7,500 bitcoin in a hard drive

Well, at least Laszlo got two pizzas for his £45m loss! In terms of crypto fails, this is a bad one.

Meet James Howells, from Newport, Wales, who threw out 7,500 bitcoins. Howells bought his Bitcoin back in 2009, when the tech was very new, and after years he simply forgot about it, until the boom. Then he remembered, oh boy, did he remember!

After spilling a hot drink on his computer, he simply threw it away. Now, he’s on a mission to get it back, and he says that it should be easier than if he’d lost a lottery ticket, in theory. Quite optimistic there James…

He’s on the lookout for investors who will help him excavate his local landfill to try and find the bitcoins, in exchange for a cut.

“I could go back to work for the rest of my life but then I would always be thinking about it,” Mr Howells said. “At least if I give it a shot, then it’s checked, the box is checked, I tried.”

Bitcoin and CoinDaddy

We couldn’t decided which of these was a more tragic crypto fail – a 79 year-old rapper called Bitcoin, or a rapper who ‘spits’ exclusively about different cryptocurrencies called CoinDaddy.

Where do we even begin with this one?

Bitcoin

He raps about not having a cell phone, and that he still uses a landline, and he publicly addressed Donald Trump in what can only be described as… strange (link: viewer discretion advised). Bitcoin also has a song about smoking weed for his glaucoma. Why he is called Bitcoin we still don’t know, but he claims that whilst making a pilot for a new tv series, he was asked for make a rap music video for a sketch, and it evolved from there.

One thing that is not part of our crypto fails concept, is the message behind his music, which is to help himself live longer and to remind other elderly people that they are still capable of doing the things they enjoy.

Learn about Bitcoin here.

CoinDaddy

Self-described as a bitcoin entertainer, personality and crypto-rapper, CoinDaddy is the sort of cryptospherical (it’s a new word) evolution that nobody in their right mind envisioned.

Laugh at him all you like, his shameless approach to ‘stardom’ has earned him a lot of crypto, a lot of YouTube revenue, and a lot of fans. He lives in the California Bay Area too, so he can’t be doing too badly!

In CoinDaddy’s cover of Eminem’s Stan, he does a pretty good job of writing a letter to Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin. Here’s the chorus…

‘Charlie Lee just sold I’m wondering why

I bought Litecoin at all

The morning FUD drove down the price so

Now I can’t sell at all

And even if I could I would still just hold

With my limit on the wall

To remind me that I’ve got these bags, I’ve got these bags’

 

What did we miss?

We want to hear your favorite crypto fails. Please email us at hello@cryptopulse.co.uk

Episode 11

We’re excited to be joined by a Serial entrepreneur, Pete Martin from Votem.

Episode 10

In this episode, we talk to the founders of Agent Not Needed.

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