6 Questions for Pat Duffy of The Giving Block

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Pat Duffy, co-founder of The Giving Block a crypto donation solution that provides an ecosystem for nonprofits and charities to fundraise Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


Pat is co-founder of The Giving Block, and has raised over $100,000,000 in crypto for nonprofits in the last year. From 2020 to 2022, Pat and his co-founder Alex Wilson grew The Giving Block from a four-person team into one of the fastest growing companies in the nonprofit sector, with thousands of nonprofit clients and the worlds largest crypto donor community.

1 What is the main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?

People say education, and I think thats wrong. When people say education, I think that leads to people getting up on stages and explaining blockchain to people who dont even understand how their microwaves work. It feels very puritanical to me and its been stunting progress on adoption. I think people are too addicted to decentralizing everything, including crypto adoption, which leads to a lot of people creating educational content instead of building intermediary companies and encouraging beginner-level crypto ownership that doesnt require staking yams. Id love to see people stop trying to explain how the pistons fire in the engine block so we can focus more energy on creating a level of crypto access that requires zero technical understanding.


2 What has been the toughest challenge youve faced in our industry so far?

Teaching young crypto owners about the tax incentive to donate crypto. Its so hard to explain to a group of people who hodl at all costs that they actually end up with larger crypto positions when they donate crypto versus donating cash (they donate the crypto, then use the dollars they would have donated to buy crypto at todays cost-basis. Voila they owe no tax on the appreciated crypto they gave to a charity, and the new crypto they bought today resets their tax liability). Thats been a real uphill battle, since these folks havent been educated on this like older folks who donate stocks every year for the same reason.


3 Does it matter if we ever figure out who Satoshi really is or was? Why, or why not?

I couldnt care less, but a lot of people seem hell-bent on figuring it out. I dont see the utility of it, and think it just opens folks up to getting tricked into investing or not investing based on the moral pros and cons of the individual. The ideas arent any more true or false regardless of who developed them. I would fear the same thing will happen that we see in politics, where people support ideas based on the person whos saying it rather than the merit of the idea itself.


4 What do the people closest to you tell you off for? Feel free to offer more than one answer.

This is a wild question, but I dig it. Id say the main thing I hear is Thats not funny when I take a risk with a crazy joke. Which of course makes it more funny. Ive never done heroin, but I imagine that the closest Ive come to experiencing an opiate high would be telling jokes that make my mom a little mad while everyone else laughs.


5 What makes you angry, and what happens when you get mad?

Id say the main driver of seething rage these days would be seeing people I care about having heated discussions about things they arent actively working on (and never will actively work on). Seeing friends and family get upset about political situations or cultural changes that theyre not trying to impact personally is a bizarre self-harming obsession that every now and then gets me to blow up at the dinner table. Anytime someone is complaining about something, I like to ask them What are you going to do about it? If the answer is that theres nothing they can or will do about it, I think we all have an obligation to beg them to stop reading about it.

There is much less time in the day than people think there is. All the time people spend staying informed directly takes away from time theyre spending bettering their life or the lives of the people they care about. Would love to see more people obsessively learning about subjects that they actually leverage to make things work better.


6 Whats the silliest conspiracy theory out there, and which one makes you pause for a moment?

The Flat Earth theory is the funniest one right now. Right at that perfect intersection where just enough people are bought in to make you think the end of the world is near. Birds Arent Real would be my favorite if there were some NBA players who were pumped on that. Ones that make me pause arent all that outside the box generally its suicides or assassinations where theres a great deal at stake. When there are obvious reasons certain folks might want you dead, then it doesn’t take a leap of faith for you to start thinking there might be more to the story.


A wish for the young, ambitious blockchain community:

I hope you all leverage what youre learning to improve the lives of the people you care about. That can be by making transformative money, by solving important problems, building important companies or making important connections. Whatever it might be, youre in a position to do something important, so make the opportunity count.

6 Questions for Lisa Fridman of Quadrata

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Lisa Fridman, the president and co-founder of Quadrata, a network that brings an identity and compliance layer to DeFi across existing public blockchains.


Lisa Fridman was previously the head of blockchain strategy at Springcoin (Spring Labs). Prior to joining Spring Labs, Lisa served as a co-head of strategy at Martlet Asset Management, CEO of PAAMCO Europe and the global head of research at PAAMCO. Lisa is an experienced investor and a business builder. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with institutions, delivering bespoke solutions. She received her Master of Business Administration and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

1 What does decentralization mean to you, and why is it important?

Decentralization, to me, means not having to depend on a single entity to continue operations. For example, creating a network where different parties can validate the data necessary for various use cases mitigates the potential risk of a single point of failure. We embrace this philosophy at Quadrata in the context of our passport ecosystem.


2 What is the main hurdle to gaining mass adoption of blockchain technology?

The main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology is limited data availability on-chain and a lack of compliance-aware solutions. By understanding the need for identity, reputation and compliance on- and off-chain and creating products to address this gap in the market, we can help onboard more individuals and institutions to DeFi and Web3 overall. Its still technologically challenging, so for further retail adoption, more streamlined, easy-to-access solutions need to exist.


3 What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?

I think the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months will be a reassessment of which products are solving a need that exists in the market today vs. the solutions which were lifted by the rising tide of the bull markets in crypto and cannot stand on their own during a downturn. At Quadrata, we believe that identity needs have not yet been addressed on-chain, and we expect to see more peers competing in this space.


4 Whats a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve but hasnt been attempted yet?

Blockchain has the potential to improve a number of areas of day-to-day life. Its not that it hasnt been attempted yet, but theres a lot to cover. Being at the beginning of this journey is really exciting, and I look forward to contributing to future innovation.


5 Do you think governments will try and kill crypto?

No, I dont think governments will try to kill crypto. I do believe that for the digital asset markets to attract broader participation of institutions and individuals, a constructive regulatory framework would be necessary. For example, if a larger percentage of the population relies on DeFi for their financial needs, the governments would want to put protections in place to make sure people understand risks associated with these opportunities. The challenge is to put such a framework in place which creates the safeguards while still promoting innovation.


6 When you tell people youre in the blockchain industry, how do they react?

Anyone I tell that I am in the blockchain industry usually has a strong reaction. My friends who paved the way in transitioning to crypto years ago are welcoming me to the club of believers in the power of blockchain technology to transform our world. Many others are curious about what blockchain means in practice and what could be different ways to participate in the opportunities it creates. Almost uniformly, people are excited to talk about blockchain across settings, sharing perspectives on the value it brings and the hurdles to its adoption.

Crypto City: The ultimate guide to Miami

Miami is fast becoming one of the major hubs in the crypto world with more and more blockchain companies moving to the city each year.

Miami famously plays host to the Bitcoin Conference each year, and digital assets have been embraced by the mayor and the wider population. Heres your ultimate guide to the crypto city of Miami.



Crypto City Miami
This is your ultimate guide to crypto in Miami.



Fast facts

City: Miami
Country: United States
Population: 6.17 million (Metropolitan Area)
Established: 1896
Languages: English (official), Spanish (~60% of residents), Haitian Creole (widespread)


Party in the city where the heat is on,

all night, on the beach till the break of dawn.

Welcome to Miami,

bienvenido a Miami! Will Smith



Just over a century ago, Julia Tuttle, an American businesswoman and wealthy widow from Ohio, purchased a 640-acre estate located on the Miami River that would set the foundation for the modern-day city. In 18941895, Florida was hit by a blizzard that devastated the crops and vegetation within the state, but miraculously, Tuttles estate was left unscathed from the freeze. Immediately recognizing the areas economic value, Tuttle asked American industrialist Henry Flagler to construct a railway that would pass through what was then the Village of Miami. Flagler agreed. Within one year, economic development, primarily in real-estate interest, encouraged local residents to incorporate the City of Miami.



People come to Miami for the nightlife and stay for the low taxes.



The first wave of immigration into the area started as part of the Florida Real Estate boom in the 1920s, and Miami quickly became one of the states premier tourist destinations. During the 1950s to the 1970s, a combination of the Cuban Revolution, the civil war in Nicaragua, and the oppressive policies of Haitian dictator Franois Duvalier saw many emigrate to Miami in search of a better life.

Known for its all-year tropical climate, low taxes, sound infrastructure, entertainment venues and diverse population, Florida is one of only nine states that does not levy a state tax on ordinary personal income.

The Sunshine State has also become a premier destination for an exodus of Americans from high-tax states such as New York and California, attracted by low goods and services tax and property taxes. The city also serves as a major transportation gateway to access many of the Caribbean Islands offshore banking services nearby.

The recent wave of tech migrs has seen it become one of the most blockchain-friendly cities in the United States, leading the advancement of the crypto and Web3 realm.





Crypto culture and cityscape

Thanks in part to the leadership of Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami is leading the way in municipal crypto adoption. Suarez has personally set an example of taking his salary and portion of his 401(k) retirement savings account in Bitcoin. In August 2021, the City of Miami partnered with CityCoins to launch a municipal digital currency, dubbed (unsurprisingly) MiamiCoin, to fund local projects by generating yield. The project initially raised $23 million, but like everything, it was hit hard by the crypto bear market, and the token has lost nearly 90% of its value, while Bitcoins price has fallen around 70% since Mayor Suarez first announced he was taking his paycheck in Bitcoin.





Nevertheless, Miami is unique insofar as it has the Miami-Dade County Cryptocurrency Task Force, comprising municipal stakeholders, designed to research and enact crypto legislation to benefit local residents. Elijah Bowdre, chairman of the Cryptocurrency Task Force, says:

Crypto is on fire. And Miami-Dade County is poised to pierce the veil for municipalities and crypto. And Im leading that charge. Its an honor. I am very humbled by it. But its also very exciting.

A plan is also in motion to enable residents in all of Miami-Dade county to officially pay with crypto for things such as drivers license renewals, registration fees, water bills, and county bills, among many others. In addition, municipal employees will be able to receive a portion of all of their paychecks in crypto. Moreover, they can have a percentage of their salary put away toward a crypto retirement fund.

Each year, the North American Bitcoin Conference takes place in Miami. It was here in 2014 that a young Russian-Canadian called Vitalik Buterin first unveiled his idea for a decentralized, programmable smart contract blockchain dubbed Ethereum.



Cryptocurrency journalist and former Cointelegraph Reporter Ornella Hernandez at The North American Bitcoin Conference | Source: Ornella Hernandez
Cryptocurrency journalist and former Cointelegraph Reporter Ornella Hernndez at The North American Bitcoin Conference. Source: Ornella Hernndez



This years event was held from Jan. 17 to 19 and attracted over 4,000 participants, including notable attendees such as billionaire investor Mark Cuban. He returned in the first week of April for Miami NFT Week, an event that saw 250+ speakers and sponsors showcasing the latest innovations in the NFT space. Miami Tech Week also took place around the same time, consisting of prominent venture capitalists, tech executives and co-founders, such as CEO Peter Smith, MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wrightand Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.



The Miami Bull | Source: Ornella Hernandez
The Miami Bull. Source: Ornella Hernndez



Projects and companies

When it comes to Miamis presence in Web3, the No. 1 position undoubtedly goes to Yuga Labs. The firm currently owns two of the worlds most popular NFT collections: Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. Together, they have surpassed close to 1.6 million ETH in cumulative trading volume on NFT marketplace OpenSea. In Q1, Yuga Labs attracted $450 million out of $1 billion in venture investments in tech firms within Miami-Dade county via its Andreessen Horowitz seed round.

Perhaps the most notable physical presence of any crypto company is that of centralized digital assets exchange FTX. Last April, FTX paid $135 million to rename the Miami Heat NBA Arena located on Biscayne Boulevard to FTX Arena for the next 19 years. Three-time NBA Champion and Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem currently serves as an ambassador for the exchanges You In, Miami? campaign. The two plan to work together in the future to promote crypto within Miami-Dade county, where FTX also has a corporate office in the city.

MoonPay, a cryptocurrency fintech firm that allows users to buy crypto and NFTs with a debit or credit card, is also based in Miami. Last year, the firm raised $555 million in funding for a valuation of $3.4 billion. Recently, it launched an NFT platform with Universal Pictures and Fox Corporation called HyperMint that would enable firms behind popular consumer brands to potentially mint hundreds of millions of NFTs per day.





Institutional credit protocol Maple Finance can also trace its roots back to Miami and has issued more than $1.5 billion in loans since its inception. Unfortunately, the company has become caught up in the ongoing digital assets credit crisis.

In the realm of crypto philanthropy, Miami is also the home of The Giving Block, the worlds leading digital assets on-boarding platform for donations to more than 1,000 nonprofits. Last year, the platform facilitated more than $69.6 million in crypto donations volume, a staggering increase of 1,558% from 2020. The top five most popular cryptocurrencies used for donations were Ether, Bitcoin, USD Coin, Dai and Flow. The firm has also launched a crypto fundraising campaign for Ukraine in the wake of the invasion.



The Choice is Yours - Crypto Donations Campaign | Source: The Giving Block
The choice is yours Crypto Donations Campaign. Source: The Giving Block



As for emerging projects, in 2021, Algorand launched a bilingual 10-week accelerator program in Miami focusing on projects either built on the namesake blockchain or wishing to develop on the Algorand platform. Each of the 10 selected companies will receive $17,500 in cash from the Algorand Foundation and $17,500 in cash from Borderless Capital for a total of 3% or less of tokens and/or equity. Applications have just closed, and it is currently in the review stage.

Ibex, a Bitcoin Lightning infrastructure services company, also has an office in the city. The firm connects point-of-sale systems of businesses and merchants with Bitcoin, allowing them to accept the digital currency with very low transaction fees on the Lightning Network.

Located at the heart of the trendy community of Wynwood is BitBasel, a crypto-art and NFT tech hub for local artists and developers. Co-founded by Scarlett Arana and Jorge Cortes, BitBasel hosts everything from panel talks to workshops to hackathons for nearby crypto enthusiasts. In addition, it is also the creator of Miami DAO, an organization focused on expanding crypto education programs for residents across Miami-Dade county.



BitBasel Community | Source: BitBasel
BitBasel community. Source: BitBasel


This February, leased a 22,000-square-foot building in Wynwood for its employees, having stayed at a temporary office space in Brickell after moving its headquarters from New York. The firm was last valued at $5.2 billion in its recent fundraising round. Since its inception, it has processed more than $1 trillion in digital asset transactions on its exchange.

There is also the local folk hero of Miamis Little Haiti community, Nandy Martin. He created the Little Haiti Coin, a socio-economic cryptocurrency initiative. With each token purchase, Martin and his partners will volunteer to clear one square foot of his local Little Haiti community. Eligible residents will also receive one free token, which can be tendered as payment at local businesses as well as receive discounts on Haitian imports coming to the area. Though as of late, Martin says businesses that once accepted the Little Haiti Coin as a means of payment closed down due to gentrification in the area.



Blockchain folk hero Capitan Haiti | Source: Nandy Martin
Blockchain folk hero Capitan Haiti. Source: Nandy Martin



Martin is currently building a blockchain game called Captain Haiti with its token built on BNB Chain. The game seeks to educate users on concepts such as play-to-earn, tokenization and nonfungible tokens and already has over 10,000 downloads. Martin is also attempting to take back control of his community from housing speculators via a $14-million real estate NFT sale and use the funds to halt ongoing foreclosures.





Flying under the radar is QuickNode, a key player behind Twitters recent integration of NFT profile pictures for its Blue users. The blockchain infrastructure company checks NFT profile pictures on Twitter for authenticity to verify who actually owns their NFT avatar and who is simply using a downloaded image. The firm has raised $35 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Tiger Global.

Speaking of venture investments, a new blockchain firm in Miami is Security Token Group, the operator of, a repository of security token trading data and news, with a live-trading data feed for over 200 security tokens currently while also tracking over 500 primary offerings. The firm closed a $3-million Series A round in May.





Where can I spend my crypto?

Thesis Hotel, a four-star resort on South Dixie Highway, claims it was the first hotel in Miami-Dade county to accept crypto as payment via BitPay. Users can book rooms and amenities with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Dogecoin or any of the popular and regulated stablecoins, including Binance USD. It is also possible to dine at restaurants within the hotel on crypto.

Another venue taking crypto payments is Shelborne South Beach Hotel on Miami Beach, known for hosting weddings and upscale catering services. One can pay with BitPay at checkout. The hotel is owned by Menin Hospitality, where cryptocurrencies are accepted at all of its restaurants and hotels under its collection.

For catering, consider paying with crypto at Chotto Matte, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. In April, Chotto Matte debuted a $1-million NFT collectible whose owner is entitled to perks such as VIP invitations to all future restaurant openings. For those staying at Thesis hotel, Mamey Miami contains a mix of Asian and Polynesian influences, and one can again pay with crypto for meals thanks to BitPay. The menu is designed by award-winning chef Niven Patel, who also cooks at the Orno Miami restaurant (located in Thesis, too) this time with a New American-style menu. And again, crypto is accepted.

As it turns out, there is an entire suburb in the Miami Metropolitan area, called Miami-Lakes, where residents can use crypto to pay all municipal fees. Implemented via PayPal last March, users can tender digital assets for items such as permits, business licenses and facility rentals.

And if you want to party into the early hours while spending all your BTC, there is a popular nightclub located just six blocks from FTX Arena in the heart of downtown Miami that accepts digital currency. Dubbed E11EVEN, one can book a table at the venue, order bottle service and more with Bitcoin. The venue has hosted celebrities such as Cardi B, Wyclef Jean, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj and Drake.



Drake performing at E11EVEN | Source: E11EVEN
Drake performing at E11EVEN. Source: E11EVEN



Per Coin ATM Radar, there are over 850 ATMs in and around the Miami area acting as a gateway between fiat and digital currencies. Aside from being found on the street, they are also common among many of the citys gas stations and vape shops.

Education and community

In 2018, digital assets instructor George Levy founded the Blockchain Institute of Technology, or BIT, in the Wynwood district. BIT offers reasonably priced courses about cryptocurrencies and NFTs. On top of that, the institute provides the Certified Blockchain Professional Curriculum with a unique blockchain-verified, credentialed third-party proof of expertise to add to ones resume. The Institute has provided cryptocurrency training programs to entities such as the Mexican Ministry of Economy, the Central Bank of Curaao and Sint Maarten, as well as accounting firm Ernst & Young. Of course, you can pay tuition fees with crypto.

There is a less formal initiative dubbed Bitcoin Brunch. Every week, members of the tight-knit blockchain community in Miami gather in the palm tree glades of Naomis Garden Restaurant and Lounge for hearty Haitian food (deep-fried turkey, beans and rice, collard greens) and talk about emerging crypto technologies over glasses of rum punch. According to Prem Lee Barbosa, a crypto Miami native and the events host:

Bitcoin Brunch attempts as an aspiration of helping reshape this world with the creative potential unleashed by the digital currency. It enables the masses to organize themselves deterministically, free of the influence of centralized administrators.

Barbosa elaborated that our get-rich-as-quickly-as-possible-and-at-all-costs mentality enslaves us to the dollar and makes us complicit in all of its pitfalls. He then praised Bitcoins decentralized nature as a means of restoring dignity to the exchange of value. If you are a fan of the groups blockchain philosophy, Bitcoin Brunch takes place every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm at Haitian-inspired Naomis Garden Restaurant and Lounge at 650 NW 71st St., Miami.



Bitcoin Brunch at Naomis Garden & Restaurant | Source: Jorge Cortez
Bitcoin Brunch at Naomis Garden and Restaurant. Source: Jorge Cortes



Controversies and collapses

Being one of the more affluent states in the U.S., Florida has attracted its fair share of genuine crypto projects and con artists alike. Recently, Luiz Capuci, CEO of Mining Capital Coin and resident of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was indicted for his role in an alleged $62-million cryptocurrency fraud scheme. A few months prior, Florida resident David Pike pled guilty over his role in defrauding investors of OneCoin, one of the most notorious Ponzi schemes in cryptocurrency history, where victims lost anywhere between $4.4 billion and $19.4 billion.

Many early investors of now defunct Bitconnect were Florida residents, and they have just seen their class-action lawsuit against the perpetrators of the Ponzi scheme proceed after nearly five years.



The best of blockchain, every Tuesday

Subscribe for thoughtful explorations and leisurely reads from Magazine.

By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy



Notable Figures

Like the namesake song from Will Smith, I only came for two days of playing. But every time I come, I always wind up staying. People come and go to Miami for business and holidays as they please, blurring the line between full-time residents and visitors.

Suarez; Bowdre; Smith; Arana; Cortes; Barbosa; Levy; Soto-Wright; Martin;Peter Thiel, billionaire entrepreneur;Sydney Powell, co-founder and CEO of Maple Finance; Alex Wilson, CEO of The Giving Block; Anthony Elia, co-founder of TokenBot; Nic Carter, founding partner of Castle Island Ventures;Auston Bunsen, co-founder of Quick Node;Ornella Hernndez, cryptocurrency journalist and former Cointelegraph reporter, now at BlockWorks;andTatiana Moroz, American folk singer and blockchain personality.

If you have any suggestions for additions to this guide, please get in touch with





6 Questions for Rene Reinsberg of Celo

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Rene Reinsberg, a co-founder of Celo, an open platform that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.

Rene Reinsberg is a co-founder of Celo and president of The Celo Foundation, a grant-giving organization supporting the carbon-negative Celo blockchain. He has been working at the intersection of finance, technology and development for the past 15 years, including at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, General Catalyst Partners, the World Bank and TechnoServe. His previous company, Locu, was acquired by GoDaddy where he served as vice president of Emerging Products post-acquisition.

1 What is the main hurdle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?

For blockchain to achieve mainstream adoption, there must be a broader understanding of the technology, which requires better awareness and education for everyone from crypto novices to crypto natives and beyond. This responsibility falls largely on crypto to do the work when thinking about last-mile solutions and go-to market approaches.

We can build a protocol, but were also responsible for explaining our infrastructure and championing inclusivity. By presenting onboarding as a solution, dedicating resources to developing a simple or fun gamified user experience, and building quality ramps between crypto and fiat currencies, we make the industry more approachable and easier to navigate. Accessibility, which has always informed Celos mobile-first approach, is also key. With 6 billion smartphone users globally, easily accessible, decentralized financial building blocks are necessary for building long-term, real-world adoption.

Lastly, we should shift mainstream conversations around Web3 toward real-world applications and use cases that serve everyday people around the world. As Web3 can be used as a transformative tool to help uplift historically disenfranchised communities, such as the un- and under-banked, sharing how blockchain has benefited farmers in Kenya to at-risk environments like the Amazon rainforest will further illustrate its impact.


2 What do you think will be the biggest trend in blockchain for the next 12 months?

As early DeFi protocols mature, we are seeing a big push toward ReFi (regenerative finance) models, which align with the Celo Foundations values of recognizing individuals as unique and connected. Whereas classical economic models defined success by unfettered, exponential growth, they didnt consider the extractive nature of the industry, viewing our environment as an empty world with unlimited resources.

ReFi, however, acknowledges that we live in a full world, to quote economist Herman Daly, with planetary boundaries, carrying capacities and tipping points. ReFi aims to course-correct this exploitation, better intertwining our economic and ecological systems. By using money as a tool to ascribe value to natural capital-backed assets, ReFi places a price on externalities, charging those who create negative externalities and rewarding those who create positive externalities.

Projects such as ReSource, a bankless infrastructure for circular trade and mutual credit networks that benefit small businesses, and Flow Carbon or Toucan Protocol, which are tokenizing carbon offsets, are indicative of these efforts, among other ReFi leaders within the Celo ecosystem.


3 Whats a problem you think blockchain has a chance to solve, but a solution hasnt been attempted yet?

Blockchain has the potential to help solve the worlds wicked problems, from environmental degradation to deep poverty. Combining blockchain technology with Web3s ability to accelerate action is what inspired the creation of both Celos Climate Collective and the Alliance for Prosperity, designed to raise awareness for issues impacting individuals and communities throughout the world. We invite founders and builders to align with our shared purpose, leveraging Web3s mass-coordination tools to tackle these mass-coordination problems.


4 What would you like to see tokenized? When, if ever would you expect this to happen?

Bringing land and property on-chain would open up many interesting opportunities in creating use cases for DeFi beyond payments. Moss is a great example of restorative land-tokenization NFTs of the Amazon rainforest happening now, where one NFT represents one hectare of forest. Not only are owners bestowed with real estate rights, they are compelled to participate in the conservation process by digitally monitoring their biodiverse land via satellite.


5 What has been the toughest challenge youve faced in our industry so far?

While market downturns, like the one were currently experiencing, come with significant challenges, they also present significant opportunities. Celo was built during a bear market, launching its mainnet on Earth Day 2020. Despite this, our community has continuously demonstrated its resilience and commitment to innovation. Navigating todays market conditions is no exception for Celos ecosystem partners. Theres a palpable, new energy and optimism that has surfaced around Buidling our way out and returning back to the core mission: creating prosperity for all.


6 What is the single most innovative use-case for blockchain youve ever seen? It doesnt have to be the one likeliest to succeed!

Jonathan Ledgards Interspecies Money proposes the establishment of the Bank of Other Species to issue a CBDC that disburses billions of dollars annually to nonhuman life-forms (or their digital twins) and correctly pricing natural capital, called L-Marks. This would help finance ecological conservation by paying local communities for services that improve species life outcomes. Since many of the poorest countries have the richest biodiversity, financial incentives for these countries to benefit their surrounding ecosystems can reduce extreme poverty while protecting the environment and its inhabitants. Ledgards proposal aligns with the primary principles of ReFi, highlighting the potential to solve the worlds cascading crises.

Powers On… Summer musings after two particularly bad months in cryptoland

This columns goal has never been to provide investment advice on cryptocurrencies or other digital assets, nor has it been to provide individualized legal advice. It has mostly been about my desire to freely set forth in writing my thoughts on the state of the crypto market and the legal affairs surrounding it.

Powers On… is a monthly opinion column from Marc Powers, who spent much of his 40-year legal career working with complex securities-related cases in the United States after a stint with the SEC. He is now an adjunct professor at Florida International University College of Law, where he teaches a course on Blockchain & the Law.

So let me state the obvious: It has been a particularly bad past two months in cryptoland. Both in activities relating to digital assets and crypto prices. However there are silver linings to consider. And when considered, perhaps readers will gain a greater perspective and not act in a reactionary way with their digital assets or blockchain business.



It has been a particularly bad past two months in cryptoland. However there are silver linings to consider.



As I have alluded to in prior columns, I believe Bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies are here to stay. No one country, or group of countries or regulators, can stop their use and development nor can a series of failures or freezing of assets by a stablecoin issuer, other large crypto lenders like Celsius, or crypto hedge funds such as Three Arrow Capital which filed bankruptcy proceedings here in the United States last Friday. I also believe, like many blockchain and crypto experts including Dan Morehead at Pantera Capital, that over time, the prices for many of these cryptocurrencies, which are backed by solid blockchains or blockchain businesses, will recover and go higher.

First, there was the complete collapse of the stablecoin TerraUSD now known as TerraUSD Classic following a rebranding in early May. When I reported on this in my last column, I cautioned that crypto investors needed to better understand their stablecoin investments lack of protection, both in their failure to be tied and backed exclusively or even partially by a reserve currency like the U.S. dollar and by the lack of clear, guaranteed redemption rights in ones ability to convert the stablecoin to dollars. In addition, there was no government backstop for when the issuer of a stablecoin failed, such as SIPC insurance provided for securities at traditional SEC-registered brokerage firms and FDIC insurance at traditional OCC-licensed banks.

I also made the point in my columns takeaways from the debacle that investors should not take comfort in other stablecoin issuers with BitLicenses from New York state. That license does not create federal SIPC or FDIC protection for investors in stablecoins issued by the likes of Circle, with USDC, and Tether, with USDT. Moreover, nothing required them to provide redemption rights or be fully collateralized by the dollar.





The response from Congress and regulators

So, what happened within two weeks of my column? A very welcome development. Indeed, it seems that New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne Harris read my concerns and those of others. On June 8, Harris announced new regulatory guidance for BitLicense holders regarding stablecoins. In relevant part, the new regulations require all stablecoin issuers to have their coin fully backed by a reserve of assets, which are limited to U.S. government instruments and bank deposits. Equally important, investors must have clear redemption rights into U.S. dollars. Finally, the reserve assets must be segregated from the other proprietary assets of the issuing entity and not commingled with its operational capital.

The New York guidance came a day after another significant event for crypto. On June 7, United States Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced new legislation, the Responsible Financial Innovation Act. This is important in its bipartisanship and the breadth of areas covered involving digital assets. Of particular significance is a provision providing primary regulatory oversight to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, not the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the effort to provide legal clarity around the Howey test. This is done by defining certain assets that would be deemed ancillary assets and reducing their reporting obligations to twice per year. Given the importance of this proposed legislation, I likely will devote another full column to it and its implications. Suffice to say for now, it is an encouraging, thoughtful piece of legislation for the nascent industry that protects it and investors without overbearing regulation and costly requirements.

Finally, it is worth emphasizing a May 3 announcement from the SEC. On that day, Chairman Gary Gensler announced that the SEC would double the size of its newly renamed Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to 50 staff members. The release notes that the unit was created back in 2017 and has brought over 80 enforcement actions, obtaining monetary relief of over $2 billion. To me this was a clear land grab effort by Gensler to assert wide-ranging jurisdiction for the SEC perhaps aware that the soon-to-be-announced LummisGillibrand legislation would make the CFTC the primary crypto regulator. The release stated that the focus of the unit would be on investigating possible securities law violations related to crypto offerings, crypto exchanges, crypto lending and staking providers, DeFi platforms, NFTs and stablecoins. It seems like that covers pretty much the entire space for blockchain financial uses, no?



The best of blockchain, every Tuesday

Subscribe for thoughtful explorations and leisurely reads from Magazine.

By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy



What these moves actually mean

As I wrote back in early 2021 when he was initially nominated to be SEC chair, Gensler in my view is ambitious overly so and could be dangerous for the industry, as he is focusing on enforcement efforts by the SEC rather than ways to assist the industry in its healthy growth. Even Commissioner Hester Peirce was displeased by this expansion of enforcement staff at the SEC. On the same day as the announcement, she tweeted:




Well said, Crypto Mom!

I believe Gensler is, over time, further and further revealing himself to be in the mode of former SEC Chair Mary Jo White, a former criminal prosecutor, rather than a civil regulator. This is not a good thing, in my humble opinion. Its not good for blockchain. Its not good for innovation in technology. Its not good for more efficient, less costly financial services. Its not good for financial inclusion for all. And its not good for those citizens in parts of the world where their governments are corrupt, repressive or irresponsible and they need to protect the value and ownership of their assets and wealth without government interference or involvement.


Marc Powers is currently an adjunct professor at Florida International University College of Law, where he is teaching Blockchain & the Law and Fintech Law. He recently retired from practicing at an Am Law 100 law firm, where he built both its national securities litigation and regulatory enforcement practice team and its hedge fund industry practice. Marc started his legal career in the SECs Enforcement Division. During his 40 years in law, he was involved in representations including the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, a recent presidential pardon and the Martha Stewart insider trading trial.

The opinions expressed are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph nor Florida International University College of Law or its affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice.






6 Questions for Alyssa Tsai of Panony

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Alyssa Tsai, founder and CEO of Panony an incubator, investor and adviser for blockchain and Web3 business.

My name is Alyssa Tsai, and Im the founder and CEO of Panony. There are three pillars of businesses under our group umbrella. PANews is one of the earliest crypto media outlets in Greater China and South Korea. It has published over 20,000 articles, with an average of over 5 million page views per month. At Panony, we invest in blockchain projects worldwide and consult Fortune 500 companies for integration and expansion into the industry, spanning the entire spectrum of the blockchain industry from solution providers and exchanges to public chains, protocols and DApps. Im also a limited partner of NGC Ventures, the Animoca Metaverse Fund and the Delta Fund.

Before falling down the rabbit hole of crypto, my prior work experience included Cond Nast, Isentia, Ogilvy and a high-tech law firm. I also actively speak at and moderate global blockchain conferences.


1 What is the main hurdle in the way of the mass adoption of blockchain technology?

The industry is still in its infancy. We should be aware of the many challenges, though its already a buzzword in the tech world. The scalability problem is directly related to adoption and blockchain implementation. This question is about whether the system can operate smoothly as demand increases, which inevitably determines mass integration.

Its also important to address that the complexity of blockchain technology limits mass markets ability to appreciate the benefits. The entry barrier is high, so people need to make an effort to understand, not to mention having to keep up with the rapid changes and disruptions. Now they might as well use an adequately good solution for their needs, like regular financial services.

Thats why I feel like Im doing a meaningful job every day. Its early for blockchain and never too early for us. There are so many things to do and so many people we can support through education. The future is now.


2 Which countries are doing the most to support blockchain, and which ones will be left behind?

Since Im based out of Greater China, I can share whats happening here from my perspective.

Chinese President Xi Jinping once stated that the country needs to seize the opportunities given by blockchain technology. Following that principle, China has been developing a platform, known as the Blockchain-based Service Network, aimed at making blockchain technology implementation easier for businesses. Many governments are experimenting with a CBDC a central bank digital currency, which has blockchain at its core and China is piloting its digital yuan.

In recent years, the nation has issued statements supporting the development of blockchain tech across several sectors, with an ambition to consolidate the technology into its financial and growth strategies. We also appreciate its intention to build up industrial norms, or tariff incentives to support blockchain-based businesses.

Hong Kong has a robust system that has given birth to Animoca Brands,, BitMEX and many other exceptional companies in the industry. And on a global scale, Switzerland has SEBA Bank, the first regulated crypto bank in the country. In 2016, Zugs local government became the first municipality in the world to accept taxes in Bitcoin; and in 2020, the Swiss authorities allowed citizens and companies based in Zug to pay their taxes in either Bitcoin or Ether.

Other countries such as the United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and South Africa also play significant parts in the blockchain ecosystem.


3 What would you like to see tokenized? When, if ever, do you expect this to happen?

The history of art in museums, like the Dunhuang Murals. I visited years ago and learned that many experts and scientists are working tirelessly to discover a solution to slow down the oxidation of wall paintings caused by light and air exposure. Tokenizing these could help bring in more money for research and democratize art investment by making art pieces accessible to the general public. It could happen at any time.

In addition, charity work and support for research would be great to see tokenized, especially under the shadow of COVID-19.


4 What makes sense to you, and what makes no sense whatsoever?

Gender equality. As a young female entrepreneur who originates from the East and connects to the West, I plead for more investment and education around women. I have met so many powerful women of diverse backgrounds, and they are just as smart and hard-working as men. In reality, challenges remain: There is discriminatory legislation, societal practices persist, and women continue to be underrepresented in leadership at all levels.

Speaking of education, children being taught to learn for the sake of their parents pride does not make sense to me. We should pay attention to personal growth.


5 Which alternate movie universe would you most like to live in, and why?

Marvels. It dawned on me at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that we really could have a mighty superhero who could save thousands of lives. Furthermore, the films are about incredible, exciting voyages through time and space. Id love to discover new worlds. For the time being, Ill have to settle on crypto as my wild new world to explore.


6 Think of a favorite poem or musical lyric. What is it, and why does it speak to you?

From Bring in the Wine by Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty: When hopes are won, oh, drink your fill in high delight; And never leave your wine cup empty in the moonlight! Heaven has made us talents; were not made in vain. A thousand gold coins spent; more will turn up again. For people who might be interested in the original version

I learned this classical Chinese poem during middle school, and it was eye-opening for me at the time how people living thousands of years ago could live their life to the fullest even when excluded from a position working for the emperor. I guess thats how I learned about resilience and not being afraid of challenges.

Even today, I still remember every single word of this poem that inspires and empowers me its like Im encouraged to be someone like Li Bai, who continues to push forward despite the difficulties and stay truthful. I just keep on doing things I believe in, even when feeling down.


A wish for the young, ambitious blockchain community:

Be aggressive and inclusive. Get to know your community, and listen to your community. Lift and add value to one another through collaboration and fair competition.

Better than Axie Infinity: Kieran Warwick’s 2032 plan for Illuvium

Kieran Warwick created the play-to-earn game Illuvium with his brothers Aaron and Grant all siblings of DeFi maverick Kain, the founder of Synthetix. He shares his alpha on how NFT game mechanics can be designed in such a way that playing them can be fun and profitable in the long term.

Warwick entered the retail world right out of high school, eventually becoming an online shopping entrepreneur. He got his start in the crypto world at brother Kains company BlueShyft, which first made Bitcoin and crypto exchange payments available over-the-counter at more than one thousand physical retailers around Australia in 2015.



Kieran Warwick
Kieran Warwick is riding Illuvium until 2032.



Years later, with a number of business projects under his belt, Kain encouraged him to reenter the space, which led to the creation of Illuvium, a Pokemon-like play-to-earn NFT game. Unlike contemporaries such as Axie Infinity, which experienced dramatic in-game inflation, Warwick believes Illuvium will have a decade of staying power. In June 2022, the game brought in $72 million through the sale of 20,000 plots of NFT land, laying the literal groundwork for what Warwick envisions as a longstanding playing field.

Designing deflation

He explains the setup of Illuvium. When players first arrive or crash onto the planet, they find out that theres this society thats been built, and its your job to be a hunter and to go out and catch creatures known as Illuvials.

Like Pokemon cards, these Illuvials, which live in certain regions of the map, are limited edition. And much like the original 1999 Charizard or Pikachu cards, Genesis Illuvials are no longer available. Whenever a new set of Illuvials becomes available, they get progressively more difficult to find and capture based on a bonding curve comparable to the one that governs Bitcoins halvings and makes Bitcoins progressively rarer and more difficult to capture by way of mining. Thats what makes them valuable, Warwick notes.



Artwork from Illuvium. Source: Twitter



In addition to being limited in mintage and increasingly difficult to mine, Illuvials are deflationary due to a game mechanic termed Fusing, which consists of destroying lower-level characters to create higher levels.

Three level-one Illuvials can fuse into a single level-two version, whereas summoning a level-three Illuvial requires a sacrifice of three level-twos, equivalent to nine basic creatures that are forever removed from circulation.

Warwick is quick to note that the capped and deflationary nature of his Illuvial game pieces makes Illuvium the polar opposite of Axie Infinity, whose native Axie characters are created through a mechanism called breeding that produces an ever-inflating pool of characters within the game universe.





A single Axie cost hundreds of dollars in mid-2021 to the extent that individual gamers often rented them from owners and split their earnings but have now crashed in value to almost nothing. This price plunge can be explained by the runaway breeding of more Axies, which also caused possible earnings per Axie to fall.

Warwick is not surprised by the downfall of Axie Infinitys game economy. Ive been calling this for 18 months now, he says, explaining that he believes the game was doomed from the beginning, as its economics were unsustainable. The model attracted many players who worked full-time to extract value from the game, while few added any, he asserts.

Many people are finding that these games are smoke and mirrors. We are not that we are here for 10 years at the least.


Having held an interest in business from a young age, Warwick, now 32, reasoned that he wanted to start earning money right out of high school in 2007 and decided to skip college in favor of Australian retailer Harvey Norman, where he eventually became a franchisee responsible for running a store.

After leaving in 2012, he founded Audio Invasion, a competing online retailer for music and computing goods with his brother Kain and a mutual friend whod recently begun mining Bitcoin as a hobby. Around this same time, he dabbled in a business selling online tutorials.

That was the first I heard of Bitcoins he had hundreds of BTC, Warwick recalls, adding that the friend who introduced him to Bitcoin had tragically passed away in a biking accident, taking his private keys to the grave with him, like so many other early adopters who met untimely deaths.





When Audio Invasion ran out of money in 2014, Warwick worked as head of marketing for BlueShyft, a financial payments and retail network he founded with his brother Kain and billed as the first in the world over-the-counter exchange, which saw over 1,000 retail locations around Australia becoming outfitted with an iPad, with which customers could directly purchase BTC in-store. In short, anyone could walk in with cash and have BTC deposited to the address of their choice. In addition to the retail business, the company today operates, billing itself as the fastest way to buy Bitcoin in Australia.

In 2017, Kierans brother Kain, who is nine years older than him, founded Synthetix (originally Havven) an Ethereum-based DeFi platform. Kieran helped his brother raise money for the project. Around this time, Warwick started investing in Ether and other cryptocurrencies back when the price of ETH was in the single digits.

I was a little skeptical of crypto I had lost $30,000 margin trading ETH, which left a bad taste.

Instead of flipping crypto, the younger Warwick tapped into his taste for burgers in 2016 to create the Burger Collective, described as an app made for burger lovers that hosted reviews and discounts to nearby restaurants. With 200,000 users, the app experienced initial success and an imminent integration with DoorDash, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused restaurants to close for in-person dining. Our product was all about going to the store, Warwick explains regarding why the company had to wind down in May 2021 after running out of money.

It was while his burger app was beginning to fail that Kain peer-pressured him to get back into crypto, even loaning him $100,000 to do so. I ended up making a whole bunch of money 10x in six months, Warwick recalls. In June 2020, he had the fortune of learning about the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, which fascinated him.





They branded it as a Pokmon-like game, and I am an avid Pokmon fan, he notes regarding the initial appeal, which led him down a rabbit hole of learning about NFTs, upon which the game was based. Describing himself as a gamer, Warwick came to the view that this is exactly what the mainstream gaming world has been asking for decades.

What if we made a AAA Fortnite-like title? Thats exactly what gamers have been wanting! Warwick opined, a realization followed by what he describes as a couple of weeks of deeper research into the technology and possible game functions.



Art from Illuvium. Source: Twitter



What goes into designing a game? Designing game characters seems like a natural place to begin, so Warwick went to work to convince his more artistically inclined brother Grant to help out with design. Getting Grant on board was no easy task, however.

Nah man, I wont go into crypto its all scams, so I cant put reputation on the line, Kieran recalls of his brothers protests. He eventually relented and agreed to design five characters.

Five designed characters do not a game make. Though Warwick imagined himself capable of raising money and running the business side of things, he knew little about how to build a game a task that involves much more than mere artistic design.

The answer came in the form of yet another member of the Warwick clan, Aaron. Hes an accomplished game designer and was next in line to join the team. Aaron brought new ideas to the table, preferring more team fight tactics, League of Legends-style.

Being brothers, we just couldnt agree on game mechanics we were arguing for 23 days until Aaron designed a beta version. Thats how Illuvium came about.

“Were a game with Crypto elements rather than gamified crypto. The result of that gaming DNA is high quality gameplay that feels no different to the best of traditional gaming,” Warwick explains regarding the resulting first-hand gaming experience.

How to earn

There are a number of ways by which players can earn while playing Illuvium. The first of these is through capturing Illuvials in the wilderness, which can later be sold for a profit. This process is not without expenses, however, as players must expend in-game Fuel to travel into a specific region where Illuvials might be present and, upon encountering one, expend a shard in order to facilitate the capture. There are several tiers of shards, which cost progressively more, and the capture of a highly ranked Illuvial with a low-level shard is statistically unlikely. Fuel is what powers the entire economy in Illuvium, he says.



The tradeable Illuvials are very Pokmon-like. Source: Illuvium



There is also Illuvium Zero, a mobile companion game, which Warwick describes as a city builder with NFT land. Owners of the land can earn Fuel, which is linked to the Illuvium economy as an integral resource needed to effectively play the game. According to Warwick, land owners make 5% of in-game revenue in this manner. As of writing, the cheapest individual land plots trade for close to 1,000 USDT on the in-game marketplace.

Ranked battles are a driver of the demand of captured Illuvials, where they can be battled in order to climb the leaderboards and earn ILV governance tokens, of which 1 million are set aside as rewards for achievements such as tournaments. In these cases, the DAO that governs the game takes a small percentage. With a market capitalization north of $100 million, ILV sits in the top 200 cryptocurrencies. In addition to the governance-focused ILV token, which is in some ways comparable to Axie Infinitys AXS token in terms of function, there is sILV2.



Illuvials fight on a virtual battlefield.



SILV2 is our in-game currency, but its finite as well, Warwick says, explaining these tokens are commonly used to buy the all-important Fuel. The 2 in the name is the result of a January 2022 incident, in which the currency was exploited by a hacker just prior to launch.

Their plan was to wait until the game started and have an unlimited amount of SLV, Warwick explains, saying that the brothers decided to relaunch the token and make victims whole by personally putting up about $450,000. It was really Warwicks money, however, as the other guys arent liquid yet, but they said theyll pay me back, he says.



The best of blockchain, every Tuesday

Subscribe for thoughtful explorations and leisurely reads from Magazine.

By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy



Warwick has a wider vision for the future of blockchain gaming.

I think most games will migrate to Web3, he says with confidence, explaining that the advantages of the new paradigm that is giving power back to the players are so numerous as to make it a necessary upgrade due to consumer demand. Unlike in most mainstream games where players cannot generally sell their in-game items or monetize their achievements, Web3 gaming means that consumers have a choice.

Its the beginning of a new cycle, and consumers will have the power in this 1020-year period.





6 Questions for Alex Wilson of The Giving Block

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block a crypto donation solution that provides an ecosystem for nonprofits and charities to fundraise Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Alex is a co-founder of The Giving Block, a Shift4 company. The Giving Block is a leading crypto philanthropy platform that makes accepting and fundraising cryptocurrencies easy for nonprofits and empowers donors to give crypto to their favorite causes. Alex oversees The Giving Blocks growth in several areas, including technological innovation, crypto and financial partnerships, and institutional giving.

Alexs background is in management consulting, where he worked with Fortune 500 companies to develop strategies for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain and cryptocurrency. As he went down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole, he and co-founder Pat Duffy discovered a need for nonprofits to tap into the growing crypto donor demographic.

Alex graduated from Wake Forest University School of Business with a Bachelors Degree in Business and Enterprise Management specializing in International Business.


1 What has been the toughest challenge youve faced in our industry so far?

The biggest challenge is educating those we speak with about the benefits of the industry. I believe that cryptocurrency is one of the greatest forces of good on the planet, but there are many people we speak with who have misconceptions about crypto from its impact on the environment to the quasi anonymity behind it.


2 When you tell people youre in the blockchain industry, how do they react?

Ive found that most people are really receptive to what we are doing at The Giving Block. All too often, people hear that you work in crypto, and they have a preconceived idea of what that looks like. Then I go on to tell them what it is that we do and that weve raised over $100 million in cryptocurrencies for nonprofits, and their reaction softens. I think our use case is much more tangible to people than many others, which makes it easier than most to understand and relate to.


3 Have you ever bought a nonfungible token? What was it and if not, what do you think will be your first?

Yes, but only ones that benefit charities. The first I bought were from Nifty Gateway as part of a COVID relief campaign called COVID Heroes.


4 Which two superpowers would you most want to have, and how would you combine them for good or evil?

If I had to choose two superpowers, they would probably be teleportation and flying that way I can have more face-to-face time with the nonprofits we work with without having to wait in TSA lines.


5 Tell us about a hidden talent and give us a link to prove it!

Im bilingual I grew up speaking both English and German equally.


6 What talent do you lack, and wish you had? How would you use it if you had it?

Ive always wished that I could speak a third language. I think speaking fluent Spanish would be a really helpful talent to have.

6 Questions for Nikki Farb of Headline

We ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!


This week, our 6 Questions go to Nikki Farb an active investor and advisor to technology companies who is currently a venture partner at Headline, a venture capital firm.

I invest in consumer tech (with a real love for marketplaces) and Web3. Ive invested in Consensys (MetaMask), AfterParty, Fractal, Aloft, Wander, MarketerHire, SudShare and a few others I cant share just yet.

Before investing, I co-founded Darby a video shopping app that connected creators and their fans. It was such a journey. We built Darby up to 50,000 creators making videos for 5 million viewers. Working with the team at Darby was one of my greatest privileges. We were acquired by Grove Collective.

Prior to Darby, I was at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Group. I learned quite a bit. Especially because I was an English teacher right out of college.


1 What has been the toughest challenge youve faced in our industry so far?

There are two challenges that come to mind. The first is that its a noisy industry. Its challenging to face the tough questions: What is the fundamental reason that this industry is thriving? Whats a novel use case of the tech? Finding the signal through the noise is the most important thing you can do as an investor, since it impacts how you use both your time and money. I have that answer now; without it, you run the risk of losing a lot of money.

The second is the pitfall of rallying around a negative message. One of the quickest ways to succeed in this space as a female investor is to scream that its a boys club. That sort of negativity thrives on social media, where lots of crypto conversations take place. If I wanted to be self-serving, I would say that and build up my platform, but I dont believe it and its not the path I want to choose. If you say the message enough times, it could become a truth, and then we later hurt ourselves by being excluded from one of the most important technological innovations and the fastest way to even economic outcomes. If you fall into a negative message, it only hurts outsiders, not the insiders. We, as part of this industry, get to choose how this phenomenon plays out. Why would we choose to call it a boys club?


2 Do you subscribe to the idea of Bitcoin as a means of payment, a store of value, both… or neither?

For Bitcoin as a store of value. While there was a battle four or five years ago on what it would become, it has played out to be a store of value, and I think thats the right outcome. I do see some other cryptocurrencies like Ether and Solana as a means of payment.


3 Do you think governments will try to kill crypto?

What a spicy question! I think yes because crypto degrades governments power, and anyone that has power is susceptible to wanting to reclaim it though not everyone will pursue that path. So, I think its inevitable that some governments somewhere will try to kill crypto. As for which government and how far they take it who knows? Thats a movie, right there. I think some will embrace it wholeheartedly and try to make it fly, especially those with volatile currencies. But for now, its way too early to assume. Whats incredible about crypto is that it has the potential to decentralize power and give rise to economies that are struggling. Theres good and evil in it, just like with any other technological innovation. It will all depend on how people use it, and I want to steer in that direction, which is why I choose to invest in the space.


4 What were you like in high school?

Confused, but I made it through! I graduated high school in three years because my mom made a deal with me that if I graduated early, I could be an actress for my fourth year instead of going to school. I was also kicked out of two schools in my freshman year because I wasnt very well behaved, so I ultimately ended up at night school, where I later realized I wanted to change my behavior. I made another deal with my mom that if I got a 4.0 GPA in my sophomore year, I didnt have to go to school on Mondays, and I did it.

I loved rap and hiphop culture, and I was also very into punk music (my roots are in Orange County). I was happy with my social scene and the amount of friends I had. My little sister went everywhere with me. Shes three years younger and my partner in crime.

I had about 30 jobs in high school because if I didnt like something, I would just quit. The only job Ive ever been fired from is Dennys, and my favorite job was being the perfume spray girl in Bloomingdales. I came from a wealthy family but they later lost all of their money. In high school, I still wanted to live the life I grew up in, so I definitely had a hustler mentality and made my way. I probably skated the line of criminal behavior a few times.


5 Thinking of a favorite poem or musical lyric, what is it, and why does it speak to you?

There are two that come to mind. The first is a saying that only boring people get bored. Its my philosophy for life. I truly believe that most people get to be the captain of their own ship, so if youre bored, go fix it.

The second is really any line from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums two of my personal favorites are: Did you say you were on mescaline? I did indeed. Very much so, and Ive had a rough year, dad.

Its such an honest, humble and creative movie. Ive watched it 100 times and always seem to find something new. The pursuit of individuality, creative risk all of the characters take creative risks and building personality is something I am attracted to.


6 What is the book that influenced you the most and why?

I would say Pride and Prejudice. My grandmother actually gave me an original copy of the book. Its one of the first novels I ever read in high school. I was a very avid reader as a kid, and this is one of the most grown-up pieces I can remember reading at that age. To me, it was about the power of womanhood and the unique traits we have, and how much power that gives us in the world. Those traits are also different from the ones men have. It helped me realize that I was a different human from my dad or other guys, but how that could be powerful. I used to read it every year. I also loved how theyre all sisters and that dynamic.


A wish for the young, ambitious blockchain community:

If I share my wish, it may not come true!

Fail better: Scott Melker on defying the odds with crypto trading

Scott Melker, better known as The Wolf of All Streets, is a trader and crypto advocate who is far more approachable than his online handle might suggest. A former DJ, Melker operates a small crypto advocacy empire spanning YouTube videos, podcasts and a popular newsletter.

Scott Melker is open about his initial intentions in the crypto industry. I simply came to trade and make money, he admits, getting involved after hearing friends go on about the gold-paved streets of the blockchain world where 100x weekly returns were common. Being familiar with the more conservative movements of the stock markets since childhood, Melker was lucky to learn proper trading before entering the unregulated crypto casino.

XRP was like a penny or something then, he recalls. Crypto was also popular in the DJ community, something Melker attributes to the communitys risk-taking nature. He attributes his success to lucky timing in early 2016, soon cashing out his initial investment to play with his winnings.

There was this sort of groundswell in the DJ community. They understand technology, and they’re kind of wild and speculative. That’s how I first discovered it.

The crypto beats stopped soon enough. The 2018 bear market meant that If you wanted to stick around, you really had to justify it to yourself, and you probably went way further down the rabbit hole to understand the importance of the movement, Melker explains. He began to truly appreciate Bitcoins fundamentals and understand the purpose of individual altcoins.



Scott Melker
Melker has long been a favored commentator with Cointelegraph.



Though Melker has invested in hundreds of tokens over the years, he believes that Bitcoin is the most important asset ever created and that everyone should strive to have some exposure to it. Ether rises nearly to Bitcoins level of importance and may well have more upside, he says, while altcoins are akin to individual speculative technology investments.

Soon after changing his Twitter tune from music to crypto in 2017, Melker connected with Christopher Inks of TexasWest Capital, who became a mentor to him. Melker became something of an analyst for Inks fund, sharing charts and trading ideas. He clarifies that he did not trade anyone elses money, and lacks licenses to do so.





The Wolf emphasizes that trading is not easy, whether in stocks or crypto. To trade full time for decades, you are like a unicorn, he explains, adding that the crypto markets are especially brutal because they operate 24/7, without pause, meaning that traders dont have an opportunity to recharge while markets are closed. Of course, you dont need to trade all the time Melker himself uses leverage to trade Bitcoin only two or three times per year.

A curious aspect of trading is that as ones portfolio grows, so do the sizes of bets one should make to remain profitable doing otherwise would be akin to taking out $10,000 in casino chips only to spend all evening making $1 bets.

When your portfolio reaches a certain size, you have to be willing to ratchet up the size of your trades as a percentage and those numbers can start to become uncomfortably big.



Scott Melker
Melker as a DJ in 1998.



Learning to fail

Melker is quick to point out that the odds are stacked against day traders. 95% of traders fail they go bust quickly, Melker states, explaining that those aspiring to be serious traders need to be prepared to lose their invested assets several times over. Most dont have the time or capital for that, he says. In 2012, Melker invested his entire portfolio into ARYx Therapeutics, which went to zero. Despite such setbacks, Melker counts himself lucky for learning the hard lessons before crypto. He finds that most who first discover trading via cryptocurrency tend to lose everything to leverage.

You have to be able to learn on the job and go broke multiple times and still stick with it.

Though Investors almost always do better than traders, Melker strongly recommends those determined to trade study up on risk management. Long-term profitability, he explains, is not about selling tops and buying bottoms but rather the way that you protect your capital and allow yourself to hit home runs. He uses the example that a trader can be right less than half the time and remain wildly profitable if they know when to cut their losses. Even one win out of 10 can be a recipe for success.

It’s a math game of taking small losses and big wins.

Another piece of advice is to never risk more than 1% of ones portfolio on a single trade. However, this is far from foolproof. For example, 30% of a portfolio could be spread over 30 altcoin positions, all of which suffer when Bitcoin takes an unexpected dive. Ego is the enemy, and emotional attachment to positions is to be avoided something that may be even harder when it comes to NFTs.

To stay profitable long term is largely a result of your risk management strategy, Melker claims.



End of the bull run part 2
Melker was featured in Magazines extremely popular and prophetic How to prepare for the end of the bull runseries.

DJ Bitcoin

Melker, 45, grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where his parents hammered home the importance of financial literacy and investing and saving. He began to experiment with the stock market at 13 when he bought stocks in Disney with his fathers help. He headed for the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, where he majored in anthropology. The school was very business-focused, Melker explains, with consulting and investment banking firms recruiting a large number of graduating students. The late 90s, of course, coincided with the dot-com boom, and It was impossible to avoid excitement around financial markets at school like that, Melker recounts. He adds that there was an up only sentiment that is familiar in crypto circles.





Having taken piano lessons from a young age, Melker was consumed by music and began working as a DJ alongside completing his studies. This began with house parties, which soon led to him playing gigs at downtown nightclubs. In those days, DJing involved far more skill and investment than today, when someone can simply hook up a laptop to a sound system. This was the full vinyl era. I had to have four friends travel with me anywhere I went to carry all the equipment, he recounts. Hot girls thought it was cooler than the piano, he says with a laugh.



The best of blockchain, every Tuesday

Subscribe for thoughtful explorations and leisurely reads from Magazine.

By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy



Despite having the option to follow his peers into investment banking after graduation, Melker decided on the entrepreneurial route, founding nightlife startup Philly2Nite in 1999, which marketed events happening in the Philadelphia area. In 2001, he founded 101 Magazine, which he describes as a lifestyle rag a magazine for everything that was happening in Philadelphia, along with the sort of snarky content the likes of which I now post about crypto. The magazine was a success and eventually merged into the larger Frank Magazine, which saw Melker move to New York as the firms global brand ambassador in 2003.

He worked for various other companies, including as a music director and business developer and a short stint in marketing at Vice Magazine. Melker moved to Miami in 2012, where he worked as a realtor, only to return to Gainesville in 2017 to be closer to his parents after having children of his own.





Throughout his career, Melker continued to perform and produce music under names such as The Melker Project, Funkontrol and MBS. Over the years, this resulted in him gaining a significant 40,000 followers on Twitter.

One day, I stopped talking about music and began posting charts and talking about magic internet money.

As he continued endlessly posting about crypto, he saw his Twitter following drop by half. But soon, new engagement began to appear. When you want to go from one thing to another, people tend to dismiss it, Melker states. He explains that in his early days of crypto, he faced mean-spirited comments like Shut up, DJ when he brought up crypto.

Thats when Melker came up with his Wolf of All Streets moniker as a message to people that you can be more than one thing. The name stuck, and he takes care to point out that it was merely a play on words, that the real Wolf of Wall Street was a criminal and not someone he wants to emulate.





I become hyper-focused on that thing, and everything else disappears, Melker explains regarding his sudden turn from music to crypto. Like previous Journeys interviewee Carl The Moon Runefelt, Melker has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. Theres a lot of ADHD in crypto, he says, explaining that he considers it a superpower because it allows him to place total focus on his passion.

I followed all the big accounts. I was trying to learn, I was commenting under their tweets, trying to engage with them. This engagement could soon be seen in his follower count, and Melker grew more confident in sharing his ideas. Considering Twitter very shorthand, he started writing a newsletter, which soon came to resemble a full-time job. He was charging $15 per month and offering a limited free version, but he later made everything free because I dont want to monetize my audience in any way, shape or form.

By all appearances, Melker is driven more by passion than money. This did not, however, prevent controversy from blowing up last year amid a market downturn when he was criticized for deleting so-called shill tweets relating to low-market-cap coins whose price could theoretically have been influenced by a highly visible account like his. My account has grown to a size where I cannot tweet about certain things, he commented following the controversy. He says the blow-up resulted in threats against his family.





The newsletters success prompted Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, to approach Melker and suggest he start a podcast. I literally asked, Whats a podcast? as I had never listened to one, Melker recalls with a laugh. Today, he considers podcasting the best job in the world, partly because he feels he can get almost anyone onto The Wolf Of All Streets Podcast.

With multiple sponsors, the show has become a business but not one devoid of purpose. The overarching goal, Melker says, is to create content for the next wave of crypto investors, like grandma or the average person on the street. He sees himself as a crypto advocate, easily able to list the ways Bitcoin and crypto proliferation will benefit society. Considering the breadth of his YouTube channel, Twitter account, newsletter, website and podcast which are full of thoughtful, measured commentary its clear that new followers will have no shortage of support.

I wake up every morning at 4:30, excited to write the newsletter. I can’t sleep because of the thoughts that I want to get down on paper.