Compilation of Insights from the Top Minds of Crypto

GAINS Associates
Jan 21, 2020 · 36 min read

Hey! We’re super excited to share this article. It contains the thoughts, wisdom and experience of the best and most active people in this space.

We’ve reached out to people spanning diverse backgrounds: influencers, C-level executives, traders, partners at VCs or HFs and some of the sharpest GAINS members.

We’ve compiled all the answers right below. From the rise of DeFi to more regulations and adoption, without forgetting about the very expected halving, these passionate experts share their insighful views!

Here are the questions we’ve asked them:

0) Very short and sweet presentation of you.
1) Looking back, What do you think of crypto 2019? Any funny story, anything that makes sense (or doesn’t) in retrospect, most important lesson learned maybe?
2) What are your current investments? Any project you’re particularly excited about?
3) What do you think 2020 has in store for us?

Here’s the list of people featured, in case you want to jump in somewhere. If they’re included, it means they all bring something interesting though ;)

  1. Roger Ver
  2. Tone Vays
  3. Ian Balina
  4. Bobby Lee
  5. Evan Luthra
  6. Zoran Kole
  7. Rob McNealy
  8. Didi Taihuttu
  9. Ian Friend
  10. Brian Kerr
  11. Ian Kane
  12. Johnny Lyu
  13. Alexander Chepurnoy
  14. Michael Chen
  15. Joel Kovshoff
  16. Marie Tatibouet
  17. Alexandre Orfevre
  18. Anonymous GAINS Friend
  19. Joe Roets
  20. Sam Bankman-Fried

Let’s get started!

1) Roger Ver

Presentation
The very first person in the world to start investing in the crypto currency ecosystem, and CEO of the first established business to start accepting Bitcoin for payments.

1) 2019 Thoughts
It was a ‘best of times and worst of times’ year for crypto. I think a lot of people are really starting to feel more consciously how much we were set back by BTC’s failure to scale and the division of the market into a thousand altcoins. It’s frustrating because some of the adoption gains that took years to make were lost in 2019, and the freer and wealthier world cryptocurrency can create has been delayed maybe a decade for no good reason by a lot of people who are very confused about the economics of cryptocurrency. But this growing frustration is also a reason to be excited.

People are realizing that a coin needs to be useful if it is going to be a good investment, which is fantastic. We saw more people publicly question the dominant narrative in BTC this year that a coin can maintain its value while being unreliable as cash. We also saw a point-of-sale service recently drop BTC as a payment option because it was shown that replace-by-fee destroyed the incentive structures that made BTC reliable as point-of-sale cash. Those same incentives still exist in Bitcoin Cash, which is why, for example, over 90% of Australia’s cryptocurrency retail transaction volume this fall was in BCH. It’s a funny, sad, and useful lesson for everyone who wants to see cryptocurrency used by real people in their daily lives. If you mess too much with the economics of Bitcoin, it won’t work as Bitcoin was intended to work in commerce.

2) Investments
I suppose my New Year’s resolution will be to update Rogerver.com to reflect my current portfolio.
It is nearly half a decade out of date.

I’m most excited about the investments that have the ability to tear town barriers to trade. Orchid, and Pronomos Capital are two of the most recent in my long list of investments.
I also hold plenty of the most popular crypto currencies and tokens, in addition to old fashioned securities and fiat cash.

3) 2020 Outlook
We’re going to continue to see that coins that have real utility and follow a rational economic policy are the future and that coins that aren’t useful or try to distort the economics of their system may retain some temporary speculative value, but that their long term trend will be towards stagnation unless their roadmaps change.

Bitcoin Cash is by far the most useful as cash in commerce, which is one reason I’m so excited about 2020, but there’s so much more than that to look forward to now. Tools like SLP tokens are going to allow organizations, content creators, startups, corporations — anyone to run a truly free-market capitalist ‘IPO’ and pay dividends to pseudonymous holders around the world, rich or poor, for the first time in history. It’s one of the most important innovations in cryptocurrency in the last several years and it is only possible on Bitcoin Cash now. I don’t think anybody really has a clue yet how much potential this has to drive adoption. We’ll see people doing this in the coming year for the first time, and I expect we’re going to see even more creative uses for this technology once people start playing around with it. We’ve also got more on-chain scaling, better wallets and applications, and a lot more merchant adoption coming in 2020, at least for Bitcoin Cash and hopefully for the industry as a whole.

I’m more focused on things like this in 2020 than I am in the Y2K-like fear around the halving or in speculating about the exact price. Coins like BCH that can continue to become more useful for everyone around the world, increase their adoption, and develop through market-driven action (as opposed to economic planning) shouldn’t have anything to worry about long-term.

2) Tone Vays

Presentation
Tone worked on Wall Street for 10 years and joined the crypto space full time as a YouTuber & Conference speaker in 2015. His main focus is trading & markets but he also organizes 3 events.
Unconfiscatable.com is a general Bitcoin “Not Blockchain” Conference
UnderstandingBTC.com is designed to teach people how to use Bitcoin properly by Developers
TheFinancialSummit.com is a networking event for successful traders & hedge funds.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 might not go down in history as a very memorable year. I will remember it for the year Shitcoins started to die as we saw Bitcoin dominance rise form 40% to 70%. This really helped pump the price of bitcoin to $14k but here at year end we are down over 50% from that top but still up 100% from start of the year. I also like the progress of both Liquid Sidechain and Lightning Network.

2) Investments
My only investment is Bitcoin itself, it’s unfortunate that I now have to be more specific in saying BTC, as there are still many fake Bitcoin bad actors that are trying to sell as Bitcoin like BCH and BSV. That has always been my focus, I am not in the VC business in picking winning & losing companies at the start up stage, I will wait for the market to decide. In the crypto space, 99% of them will fail. And also to be clear, every single token besides Bitcoin is a centralized currency/security of a company, none of them should be compared to Bitcoin. 99% (probably more) will fail completely. Good luck getting right the one that doesn’t.

3) 2020 Outlook
I think that too many people still want to be scammed by bad projects & ideas. Everything in this space is still over hyped. I think that Bitcoin dominance will grow from 70% to over 85% as more people realize the things they are holding are actually shitcoins as they trend to 0. More people will use Lightning for day to day Bitcoin payments and all future ICOs will be more like legal STOs launching on the Liquid Sidechain. As for the price, Ithink Bitcoin will struggle to break $10k next year, I can even see it not happening until the second half of the year. It took the total MCap of the Nasdaq 15 years to break the high of 2000, I can see it taking closer to 5 years for the Crypto market cap to go above the 2017 high but this time, it will be 90% Bitcoin’s value when it does.

3) Ian Balina

Presentation
Founder and CEO of Token Metrics, a crypto investment research platform that leverages human capital, analytics, and machine learning to help crypto investors find profitable investments and filter out scams.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 can be summed up by IEOs and Facebook Libra. Interestingly, some projects we were initially bullish on started doing well 1–2 years later. The lesson being some times you can be right in the long term but wrong short term. It helps to have long term conviction if you invest in something.

2) Investments
Current mining Helium Network (HNT) using a hotspot. I’m also an equity investor in Alkemi Network, a recent graduate of Techstars Accelerator.

3) 2020 Outlook
I think 2020 will have even more growth for DeFi, lending, and stablecoins. With the Bitcoin halving and Ethereum 2.0, this should be the moment of truth on crypto gaining more mainstream exposure.

4) Bobby Lee

Presentation
Bobby Lee is the founder and CEO of Ballet, a company that makes non-electronic cryptocurrency storage solutions. Ballet’s first product is the Ballet REAL Series wallet — the world’s first non-electronic, multi-currency, physical cryptocurrency wallet. Bobby Lee was previously the founder and CEO of BTC China, the first Bitcoin exchange in China. He is also a board member of the Bitcoin Foundation.

1) 2019 Thoughts
Positive open-source developments:
Lightning Network is increasing Bitcoin’s transaction capacity, wallets with built-in, user-friendly coinjoin features (Wasabi, Samourai) are improving privacy, and BTCPay Server is driving the growth of borderless, censorship-resistant, cryptocurrency-only eCommerce. These applications are adding tremendous value to Bitcoin and paving the way for mass mainstream adoption.

2) Investments
Bobby is heavily invested in Bitcoin and believes 2020 will be a great year for mainstream adoption and price growth. Two main reasons support his optimism: positive developments in the Bitcoin open-source ecosystem and the reckless fiscal and monetary policies of governments around the world.

3) 2020 Outlook
Legislators and regulators in the United States and Europe understand that non-government currencies are a threat to their power, so they strongly oppose the idea of Facebook’s Libra (a stablecoin pegged to a basket of fiat currencies). However, I believe government opposition will diminish over time and we will see large corporations create their own digital currencies. Governments will change their stance because they will come to understand that they can’t control or stop Bitcoin, and they will prefer to have their citizens use centralized corporate coins that can easily be regulated, monitored, taxed, and pegged to fiat currency.

Government (fiat currency) problems:
The ongoing incompetence of governments around the world in managing their fiscal and monetary policy is another factor that is bullish for Bitcoin. As governments accumulate debt at an ever-increasing rate and print vast amounts of fiat currency, more and more people will buy Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and insurance policy for a global financial crisis.

5) Evan Luthra

Presentation
I am Dr. Evan Singh Luthra, I build and invest in fast and cutting edge technology companies. Outside of crypto, my main business is Startup Studio where we work with non tech entrepreneurs who have great ideas. For the right entrepreneur and the right idea, we don’t just invest money in them, we actually build the company with them from the ground up by providing resources such as technical, marketing, fundraising and more. I come on board as CTO of most of these companies. Today, the combined market cap of the companies we have built and invested in is in excess of a billion dollars and we have tens of millions of users across the globe.
I have opened the world’s first Blockchain Center in India.
I also have a lot of various business interests: I own a fashion company, a vodka company but mostly we use technology to go to existing industries and disrupt them.

1) 2019 Thoughts
Not the best year but still a great year. Got to learn a lot. The most important lesson I would say is be careful who you work with because the scammers are getting smarter and smarter and are looking more and more credible. In this industry, a lot of people made a lot of money very fast and with money you’re able to buy some sort of credibility from the market, so make sure the people you’re working with are who they say they are and have done what they say they’ve done. From a business perspective, it was a great year. From a personal perspective, I lost my younger brother to cancer, so I rate 2019 as my worst year on a personal level. But when it comes to making money, I’ve had a lot of success over the last year.

2) Investments
I invest very heavily. I invest in a new company every 2 to 3 weeks. Today, I have over 100 investments and I very rarely sell my investments. I’m mostly someone who buys and holds and waits for them to go up. There are a few projects I’m excited about. In the blockchain space: GL Brain, it’s SAP for the masses. Their CEO is 3 times my age, a very successful guy. I’m very happy to have had the chance to invest in them. They won the pitch competition from me at an event in London.
Inside the crypto space, I have a crypto investment bank, iyoko.io: we work with companies for fundraising and we take equity, cash and tokens in exchange for the funds we raise for them. I have equity in projects like Ripple, Hashgraph and others. I have tokens from various other projects. I have helped raised over hundreds of millions of dollars.

Another project that I’ve recently invested in and I feel has strong potential is dreamer.app. It’s an app that helps people fund their dreams and I love what these guys are doing. It’s the first US based STO/IEO. It was interesting to see how they got to do an IEO from the US.
I’m also invested in Relictum, which is blockchain 5.0. They have the fastest transactions per second. The technology is really strong. They have 200 people in Russia working on building the blockchain of the future. I think this industry really needs infrastructure support and better infrastructure to really grow. I believe Relictum can provide that infrastructure with their one million transactions per second.

Outside of the blockchain, I have many projects I’m invested in. A good one is Gameform which is a skill based gaming platform where you can bet fiat money on arcade games like Flappy Bird and if you reach a high score, your money doubles. It’s doing really well, they have strong growth.
I do many other things. There’s a fashion app that lets you design a digital wardrobe and get feedback from your friends. And some more!

3) 2020 Outlook
You can only connect the dots when you look back. And right now, with how the year started with the potential for war and people talking about WWIII, I think there are other more important problems we need to solve on a human level. Technology is a fast growing industry, it’s going to grow, no doubt and we’re going to see exponential growth in some places. This decade has been amazing, I call it the decade of the technology take over. I’m actually publishing an article in Forbes about this where I talk about everything we do has completely been disrupted by technology. A decade ago, we just came up with the App Store. I started building apps, I was one of the first 100 guys building apps for the iPhone around a decade ago. And now, we can’t really imagine our lives without our apps. We use apps to order food, call a taxi, a hotel, to travel, to work. Everything is won by apps. And blockchain is the decentralization of apps. I think it’s going to give power back to the people because we have seen in this decade, power being taken from the people by these technology companies: they have too much power today. Ten years ago, the five biggest companies were all oil companies, today if you don’t count Saudi Aramco which is basically a government company, all the five biggest companies are tech companies. So, I think 2020 is going to be very exciting and I look forward to seeing it. Like I said, you only connect the dots when you look back but if you want to predict the future, the best way is to go build it.
Thank you. If anyone wants to talk about business or app ideas, investing or to just have a chat, you’re always welcome to reach out on evan@evanluthra.com. You can follow me on Instagram. I’m always very approachable and happy to chat. Happy New Year!

6) Zoran Kole

Presentation
I am a 24 year old self employed derivatives trader. I am also the founder of Crypto Insiders, a massive community of aspiring and seasoned traders/investors looking to collectively improve and achieve financial freedom.

1) 2019 Thoughts
The 2019 crypto market was probably the most exciting year for me personally. I shattered personal trading milestones while nurturing a community of 100 people all the way to the 3300 members we have today. 2019 was also the year I took some of my biggest trading losses but I couldn’t be more thankful for them. They taught me to follow the rules and system that I preach on a daily basis in Crypto Insiders.

A general take for the 2019 market conditions however revolves around the rise of derivatives and their subsequent effects on price movements.

We saw first hand how powerful narratives, such as the Bitfinex short squeeze in Q1, can lead to massive changes in momentum. We learned that the majority of price action when Bitcoin is range-bound is mostly driven by the liquidation of retail participants and highly leveraged derivative hedges. Lastly, we’ve accepted that crypto is mostly a flow driven market compared to a technical one. The greed and hubris market players exhibit is at the crux of where all the volatility in the space comes from.

2) Investments
Currently, my only investment is in Bitcoin itself.
Having bought the top in 2013 and “hodling” ever since — the landscape hasn’t changed much and those with a long term investment strategy will likely be the ultimate beneficiaries of the price appreciation Bitcoin is assumed to provide.

I can’t honestly say that I’m excited for any of the other ERC20 tokens or shitcoins as I call them. 2019 was a wake up call for many. Vaporware projects have fallen down from their all time highs and even their current rallies are likely to fall short of ICO buyers’ expectations. The handful that have surpassed their USD ATH’s are nothing more than this cycle’s “flavor of the month/quarter/etc”.

However I will say that I do believe a handful of these alternative coins will have longevity in the space as long as bitcoin is around. I am adamant that larger players utilize these shitcoins for the sole purpose of accumulating more bitcoin through the alt/btc pairs exchanges provide. As long as these “whales” as we call them continue to accumulate Bitcoin through any means possible, we will from time to time see mini “alt seasons”.

Lastly I am excited for one project coming out in 2020; however, this is a personal one and don’t want to come off as too much of a shill!

My partner and I are currently developing the most robust curriculum to educate aspiring retail traders on how to navigate and trade the crypto markets. While many of our principles and fundamentals are universal to any market, there are a handful of strategies we want to make known to newer traders. In a market dominated by algorithms, stop runs, and liquidations — we believe its our duty to educate the masses and give them a fighting chance to achieve financial freedom.

3) 2020 Outlook
2020 is likely going to be a repeat of 2019 in terms of market price movement. We will likely see new narratives form as retail traders are continuously pushed from side to side by the titans of industry. With the Bitcoin Halving this year, except to see much more volatility. On the flip side, I expect 2020 to bring fourth a lot of regulation for traders/investors as it relates to their exchanges of choice. Regulators are no longer taking a passive stance on the space; expect strict KYC/AML laws and their subsequent negative affects on price movements. Ultimately, 2020 will test the previous cycle’s wounded participants and force them to acknowledge their mistakes this time around.

7) Rob McNealy

Presentation
Rob McNealy, is a serial entrepreneur, shooting sports enthusiast, personal liberty advocate, recovering corporate MBA, maker, doing, problem solver, and certified welder. He has been married to his wife Kristie since 2000, and they live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area where they raise and home school their four children.

1) 2019 Thoughts
Getting a bunch of developers to volunteer to work on TUSC was a story all by itself. However, I think keeping people motivated to work on and to build a crypto project, while the crypto market appeared dead, was hard but very rewarding.

2) Investments
If you include time, I have invested more into TUSC than anything else. Besides TUSC, I personally own BTC, ETH, RVN, and some dead tokens I won’t mention by name.

3) 2020 Outlook
I am most excited about TUSC. However, I feel 2020 will be a big year for crypto on a lot of fronts.
- I think the halving of BTC block rewards will cause to be a lot of focus there.
- We are going to grow TUSC as much as we can.
- I think more of the dead and illegal ICOs will fall away and finally die, leaving more room attention for solid projects like TUSC.
- I think there will be more regulation and regulatory clarity.
- I think customers are going to become important when evaluating crypto projects.

8) Didi Taihuttu

Presentation
Didi is a Bitcoin Entrepreneur, Author & Writer, Speaker and Crypto & Blockchain evangelist. He went all-in in Bitcoin selling all his assets and now travels the world with his family living only on crypto.

1) 2019 Thoughts
When i look back at 2019, I can honestly say again that it was a great year for Bitcoin adoption and investors. In February you could buy BTC for $3500 which was really cheap and you could have sold it for $13500. That’s almost your investment times 4!

When it comes to adoption, it depends on how you define adoption. For me crypto adoption means that I can spend cryptocurrency without using the banking system. How? There are many ways but you need to be creative and most of the time they are not as simple yet as spending fiat. You can pay with BTC direct from your wallet to another wallet, you can use third party apps like for example Elly which we got to know when we visited BTC city in Slovenia. BTC city was an amazing experience and an example of a place where I can buy 98% of my daily needs directly with Bitcoin, Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash. It’s really a cool place to visit and I would advise everyone that wants to see full adoption of crypto to go and check it out. Next to direct BTC wallet payments and third party apps, I also see the increasing market of coupons that you can buy online with crypto and spend in stores. The last thing I see growing is the crypto debit cards. I have been using Wirex and Bitsa for a few years now and yes they simplify the use of crypto by integrating Visa. Your crypto is exchanged to the local currency in your app and then you can pay the shop with a Visa debit card. I agree that it really simplifies the use and it’s amazing that Wirex and Bitsa are doing this and also support a BTC wallet that you can use for direct BTC payments but the ultimate goal should be that stores directly accept BTC. Let’s be honest most stores don’t even know about BTC so why would they accept it when there is no need. In countries where there is need like Venezuela, stores will understand that they need to accept BTC because many people are forced to use it because of a broken fiat currency. Either a huge economic crisis, war or any huge macro economic event will lead to the increasing need of BTC and other cryptocurrencies.

So, 2019 was a great year for crypto in my opinion and also for us as the Bitcoin family. We do everything to support BTC and in 2019 we were live on Dutch, Australian and Belgium TV. We were featured in 2 Documentaries and many international Newspapers. I joined 10 podcasts, appeared on 15 YouTube channels, created 75 own YouTube videos, gave 25 interviews and spoke at 15 events. Hahaha shit that sounds like working again hahaha.

2) Investments
We are still all-in in crypto. Our biggest hodl is Bitcoin and Litecoin but I own many other cryptos like ETH, BCH , XVG, Dash, DBET , EVED, XLAB and more.

3) 2020 Outlook
As a family we hope to support Bitcoin in 2020 some more. In 2020 I would keep an eye on projects like BlockchainValley, Xceltrip and Lite.im. Blockchain Valley is an amazing real estate smart city project that will support blockchain and crypto to the fullest. Definitely a place we could live as a family after the “sharing is caring” tour. Xceltrip is a working project that has created a decentralized travel ecosystem. You can book more than 1.5 million hotels and flights from 400+ airlines. Travel is a huge industry we as a family use as digital nomads so they have our full support. Lite.im is a crypto wallet you can use in combination with Facebook and telegram. This is huge because people can now buy, sell and exchange crypto by using a technology they are used to use like Facebook messenger or Telegram.

For 2020 I expect that many ICO projects from 2017 will not be able to survive because of running out of funds or the lack of a working product, that social media will start to decentralize and that there will be a huge growth in combining AI, IOT, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.

The adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptos in 2020 will grow partly out of need but also because of all the education people are getting about the current broken fiat system.

People will slowly understand why crypto is a solution because of events like Irak, Venezuela etc. If you take a look at what for example the Bitcoin, Litecoin and the Bitcoin Cash communities are doing to reach mass use of crypto is amazing. I really hope that in 2020 all those communities start to understand that we need to work together to reach mass adoption and we must stop fighting and trashing each others efforts or projects in doing so. And yes of course it’s ok to positively criticize a project or to trash a scam project or a trash a crypto that is created to only support the banking system hahahah.

9) Ian Friend

Presentation
I am the co-founder of Ferrum Network — a blockchain based FinTech project. Prior to Ferrum, I was practicing law in New York City. What I love about Ferrum is that we have an incredible community and a hard working team, and we are building products that actually help people’s lives through blockchain technology.

1) 2019 Thoughts
I think crypto began to find its identity in 2019. With the rise of DeFi, a focus on emerging markets, and Bitcoin becoming a store of value in an uncertain global economy, people are finally recognizing that crypto has valuable use cases. And with the mania, scams, and vaporware mostly a thing of the past, crypto can really come into its own in 2020. The most important lesson I learned is that for a "trustless" technology, everything still comes on down to trust and relationships. If you're honest, follow through on your promises, and are a good person, you can be successful in this business. Trust still matters in crypto, perhaps more than anything else.

2) Investments
Unfortunately I don't have a lot of disposable income to invest right now, but I am highly encouraged that the wider community has started to rally around low cap projects with working products, good token metrics, and strong communities. History has shown that the popular alt coins from the last bull run will be replaced by a new crop of alt coins. If this new batch of emerging alt coins are viable, serious and sustainable projects, then the entire market will benefit because the perception of the market will improve.

3) 2020 Outlook
I am bullish for 2020. It’s clear that central banks are flooding the market with cheap money and artificially inflating the stock market. The bubble will eventually burst and investors will flock to sound money and safe haven assets. Turbulent geopolitics will also contribute to a renewed interest in an apolitical, global, decentralized asset class. In terms of alts, the market will decide who has built useful products that people need, and those projects will see adoption. Others will run out of funding and close. Fortunately, investors have wisened up and can differentiate between hype and vaporware, and those with real substance. I am looking forward to a continuing maturation of the market and a recognition from the outside world that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can actually benefit people’s lives.

10) Brian Kerr

Presentation
Hello, I'm Brian Kerr, CEO and Cofounder of Kava Labs. Kava is a cross-chain DeFi platform for offering loans and stablecoins for users of major cryptocurrencies such as BTC, XRP, BNB, and ATOM.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 was a year where I think crypto really “found itself”. The illusion that crypto payments and dApp use cases would be wide spread in a couple of years has been destroyed. It’s very clear to the industry that the use case of crypto assets is speculation at this point and much like the internet, it will take many years of development before real world use cases would be wide spread and adopted by the general public.

2) Investments
I’m very excited about the launches of many projects in the months to come. Many long awaited platforms will ship and we shall see if they can deliver. (Polkadot, Dfinity, etc.)

I am excited of course for DeFi — the protocols like Kava and Compound, as well as the many new applications like Frontier and Instadapp that are being built to integrate with them.

I am particularly excited about all the zones popping up within Cosmos and see the wide array of services they are offering. The developer community is expanding rapidly within Cosmos. I am quite excited for Akash — a decentralized compute platform and Microtick which is a new exciting play at the oracle problem. It will be great to see how these projects grow over 2020.

3) 2020 Outlook
I have 3 predictions:
1. 2020 will be the year of staking as it reaches mainstream consumers. I believe those assets offering staking will see aggressive adoption from mainstream consumers.

2. DeFi will grow 10x the size it is now. DeFi platforms are getting the lion’s share of attention across the board. Capital will flow into DeFi applications as the only obvious place to put long-term assets you hold and earn a return.

3. 2020 will be a year of exchange disruption. Many of the players in the space will go out of business or get bought by the winners. I expect a few new entrants and some serious consolidation. We are already seeing this with Circle/Polo and others.

11) Ian Kane

Presentation
Ian Kane is the Founder and COO of Ternio. Ternio provides products that give blockchain and cryptocurrency real world application. Ternio is best known for their BlockCard, which is a crypto VISA card that allows users to spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies anywhere VISA is accepted. You can get your own Blockcard at GetBlockCard.com.

Ian has worked in technology & digital media for over 10 years with a heavy focus on business development, sales, and strategy. His career started as the 1st employee in a media startup which grew into a $50mm a year business during his tenure. A native of the New York area, Ian now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina where he is expanding the Ternio team. Follow him on twitter at @IamIanKane or connect on LinkedIn.

1) 2019 Thoughts
I think 2019 was a great year for the crypto industry. The downtrend was reversed and BTC made some nice gains. Things overall may not have returned to previous highs, but 2019 once again demonstrated that blockchain/crypto is here to say. 2019 was also special for Ternio because we opened BlockCard for the US market. It’s very rewarding as a founder to be able to fulfill on the promises and expectations of our community. To see people posting pictures or videos of them using their BlockCard to buy things with cryptocurrency is so cool. We had one customer posting videos of her trip to Egypt with the pyramids in the background! I’m very excited about what’s to come in 2020.

In terms of important lessons learned, I wish we would have gone to market with BlockCard first (instead of Lexicon) when starting Ternio. We spent way too much time selling scalability as a feature to a market that simply isn’t quick to move. It’s easy to say that now, but I wish we would have been more receptive to the feedback we were seeing in the market. We were so focused on the enterprise market (and solving problems for 2 years out), that we didn’t realize we had a product (BlockCard) that could solve problems for people today.

2) Investments
I hold a number of cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, etc.) and feel that diversification is key. I’m very focused on utility of an asset or some competitiveness it may have. I don’t own equity in any other crypto company other than Ternio. I’m very focused right now on getting through our Reg-CF equity raise on Republic. We’ve already had over 1,000 investors commit to more than $300,000 and we still have more than 100 days left.

3) 2020 Outlook
Clearly I’m biased, but I’m most excited about what Ternio has in store for 2020. This year we have already released a completely refreshed UI as well as support for Apple, Google, and Samsung Pay. In the coming weeks and months we are also going to:
- Release FDIC insured checking accounts. Allowing individuals to store USD on our platform.
- Buy or sell cryptocurrency and move those funds directly to your BlockCard, checking account, or private wallet.
- Release a staking/rewards program associated with BlockCard.
- Open BlockCard for residents in 31 EU countries.
- Shortly after the EU launch, we will then open to AU, CA, APAC, LATAM, and other regions.
- Release a full credit card program.

All of this is already in the works, so I know 2020 is going to be our best year to date!I think 2020 will be very interesting year for the crypto market with the BTC halving coming up. It will likely bring some level of renewed interest to the crypto markets and that’s going to be important in order to keep growing. Companies in the space need to just keep building and don’t get caught up in headlines or bullshit. Talk is cheap and execution is everything. I think many crypto holders who have weathered the last 2 years feel beaten up and distrustful — which they are entitled to. However, the companies that are still in the space today are going to be that much stronger going forward.

One thing I’d like to see from the crypto industry in 2020 is a bit more maturity and less tribalism. People treat cryptos like sports teams, but the reality is there are a lot of great options and there won’t be just 1 winner. Any cryptocurrency out there today is better than the status quo and I think people forget that. Someone else doesn’t have to lose in order for you to win. A rising tide lifts all ships, so let’s focus on bringing new people into the space and demonstrating how any blockchain/crypto is a better option for someone because of the technology and use case.

12) Johnny Lyu

Presentation
My name is Johnny Lyu and I’m the co-founder of KuCoin. I’m now in charge of listing, business development and strategic investment at KuCoin, and my goal is to make KuCoin one of the best financial platforms that everyone can easily trade and hold crypto.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 was a very fruitful year for KuCoin! In the beginning of 2019, KuCoin was a pure crypto to crypto trading platform while we’ve introduced plenty of new features and services throughout the year. Our token launch platform Spotlight was launched in March. OTC service, soft staking service and futures trading were introduced in July. Our PoS mining pool Pool-X was launched in August and in October, we started to offer margin trading service.

Crypto exchange is a highly competitive market and we feel that sometimes we are still not as agile as our competitors. In the previous year, we saw many initiatives of our competitors while we failed to catch up with them, as a result, we missed many opportunities to grow our user base. In 2019, I learned that the most important thing in the business world is to stay alive. When the market goes down, only the companies that survive could enjoy the benefits when the market covers. KuCoin has a very solid product, team and service, and we are confident that we could outperform most players in the industry in the long run.

2) Investments
I personally only believe in BTC and KCS, our native token. While that does not imply only these two tokens worth investing. Actually there are many good projects listed on KuCoin and we are always trying our best to find the hidden gems in the crypto world.

3) 2020 Outlook
I think 2020 will be an important year for Bitcoin and the whole crypto world. We all know the halving will happen and many people are expecting it, this will make all the traders more active and more sensitive to the market changes. For instance, if the market goes up, many people will jump in due to FOMO while if the market does not go well as expected, the selling pressure of BTC will be very big and hard to predict.

13) Alexander Chepurnoy

Presentation
Hi! I'm kushti (Alexander Chepurnoy), core developer of Ergo Platform, a conservative but also very innovative Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency. Before Ergo, I used to be Nxt core developer, smartcontract.com (now more known as Chainlink) co-founder, and one of the first employees in IOHK (mostly known for working on Cardano, but I did research not related with Cardano).

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 was very hard for the industry. While Bitcoin price increased throughout the year, many projects lost a lot! We had a reframing of the industry, sometimes painful: no expected Lightning Network explosion, Bitcoin re-considered as digital gold (during recent US-Iran tensions Bitcoin did show itself as digital gold indeed), DeFi explosion in Ethereum, launch of many VC coins making the space painfully overcrowded. About funny events, charlatan Craig Wright delivered a lot, delisting of DGB from Poloniex also was about a lot of fun (a little bit terrible joke though).

2) Investments
I’m fully focused on the blockchain I’m working on, the Ergo Platform.

3) 2020 Outlook
Whether will we have a bullrun with a lot of hype around like in 2017, or another hard year for many projects like 2019. The cryptowinter slaughtered a lot of projects, maybe more of that is needed still.
Anyway, we will not have more sleep in 2020 definitely!

14) Michael Chen

Presentation
Michael Chen is an experienced blockchain marketer with over 3 years of experience in the industry. Michael has previously advised and worked with large cryptocurrency exchanges, and multiple top 50 projects as marketing executive or CMO.

1) 2019 Thoughts
I think 2019 has been a year of surprises. Projects that would have commonly been popular in 2018 faded into disappearance, and projects without any buzz behind them became superstar projects. It shows how newer projects can bring cool things to the table, and that older projects need to stay on top of their game.

2) Investments
I hold stablecoins, ATOM, FTM, and BTC. I only wish to hold assets which I can use in DeFi, so that I can put them to work. Tokenized fiat, or fiat-backed stablecoins do exactly what I want from a sound money point of view, and ATOM and FTM allow me to partake in the governance of the networks I love so much.

3) 2020 Outlook
I’m expecting China to play a huge role this year with them allegedly regulating trading of crypto assets, and with their CBDC setting an example for the vision of digital money.

15) Joel Kovshoff

Presentation
I’ve been a crypto investor, consultant, trader, community developer, and marketer in the space for about 3 years. My first two and a half Bitcoins were bought in 2013 out of sheer speculation. I really enjoy developing this space and bringing people together to push for the adoption we’re looking for.

1) 2019 Thoughts
It was the year where we eradicated a lot of the spammers and scammers. Of course a lot of them still linger amongst us, but we got rid of a lot of the trash so to speak. It started off with me saying, hey, we’re probably going to see a bull run in April back in December. Let it be known, on April 2nd, kind of a funny story: We had a $1,000 candle, which was pretty insane sparking us into a 3x bullrun that lasted until my birthday June 26th.

In terms of how it went, I think 2019 was a positive year for Bitcoin, from the start to the end, we doubled the price and did way more than 2x for adoption. Many in the cryptosphere focused on building projects that actually had use cases. Everex wallet made crypto easier and connected directly to your bank, and Blockstack being regulated. Something important was that projects were producing MVPs, many had mainnets go live and we saw piece by piece industry growth.

The most important lesson learned in 2019 was similar to those learned in 2018: be patient with this market and the tech. You need to look and see what projects, funds and companies are doing, not what they are saying. The most important lesson is to be very diligent in everything you do. It doesn’t matter what you do, how connected you are or who you know. Own up to your mistakes when they happen, learn from them, and don’t make them again.

Something funny: 2019 was the year you didn’t know if you were going to get paid for anything you did from anyone. It was literally rolling the dice as projects saw tight budgets and many saw those run dry.

2) Investments
I’m mostly a BTC maximalist, so I HODL Bitcoin. I’m starting to look at XRP again, maybe as a long term investment but it’s not in my portfolio as of now. I’m really interested in some small cap projects like Ferrum Network, with real on-the-ground grind working and getting things done, not just saying it. I also hold BNB because exchanges like Binance with all the innovations they’ve been adding, like futures and options etc. I would say the major exchange players in the space are still Binance, BitMEX, Huobi and OKEx.
What I’m most excited about though is the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) space: loaning, borrowing, getting interest on those loans with very generous rates, especially with companies like Nexo and Celsius, Uphold.

I’m very excited about Everex, because they have a real case application where you can travel to the UK, Europe, Thailand and America and actually use your crypto and take it out in cash. So, if I travel to Europe, I actually don’t have to change money and pay the massive amounts of fees to do so both ways. I can literally go to a cardless ATM and take the money out directly from USDC. Monaco (MCO) with their VISA card which is not offered everywhere yet is another way to do so and many more will pop up. These are the things I’m most excited about.

3) 2020 Outlook
Regulations. Bank of America has a lot of patents that are said to be launching this year. The SEC said this year their main priority is to regulate the crypto space and streamline it. In Thailand, Ripple just made a connection with the SCB Bank, which is one of the biggest in Thailand. They’re going to use Ripple’s technology to do cross border payments. You will read headlines that link to the traditional markets more often in 2020 bridging the gap.

I still don’t believe we need 3,000 currencies to be honest. I believe a lot of them will start to close shop. We’ve seen that in 2019 and that trend will likely continue.
2020 will likely be the year of DeFi. We should see more growth for Bitcoin, specifically in Q3 and Q4 after the halving. With the most recent Conflicts with the US, Iraq and Iran, we saw the power of Bitcoin. It followed gold and silver almost to the tee.

I think 2020 will be the year we see a lot of companies starting to use blockchain tech and you’re not even going to know it. This is going to continue its steady growth throughout the next 5 years.

In my opinion, in 5 years, most countries won’t be using cash any longer. We’re seeing China leading the way with that with WeChat and Ali pay as well as their Yuan digital currency at the moment. I believe that near the end of 2020, privacy coins such as Monero, and Zcash will have large scale growth. II don’t think they have a really great future vs the governments who oppose them, but they will come out of necessity, because places like China are going to know everything you do with your money. Many people will want some privacy still so with that here is to 2020.

16) Marie Tatibouet

Presentation
My name is Marie Tatibouet, I’m the CMO at Gate.io and it’s my job to promote our crypto currency exchange and the value it espouses: security, transparency and integrity. I also take pride in educating people around the world about blockchain technology.

1) 2019 Thoughts
The entire industry was so sure that 2019 would be the year we saw regulation. In a way, we have, but not in the way we expected: Japan & S. Korea have really pushed things ahead, Venezuela has definitely promoted crypto as well, and even France pushed forward on crypto taxation. We’re still waiting for the heavy hitters like the US and Malta to finalize their plans, and I expect that’s what 2020 will bring.

2) Investments
I’ll preface this by saying I’m a big Bitcoin believer, but I’m also very excited about GT: GateChain Token, and I see a lot of room for growth. The GateChain blockchain that we’ll be launching in Q2 is nothing short of revolutionary: by enabling revocable transactions without holding private keys, we are giving users the opportunities to escape the claws of devious hackers and their own forgetfulness.

3) 2020 Outlook
The May halving will see a lot of activity around Bitcoin, which inevitably lead to a lot of activity around the crypto space. We won’t be seeing mass adoption as of yet, indeed I believe it to be impossible without regulation, but it will definitely leave a more lasting impact than in previous years, in particular if we see any sort of economic crisis this year.

17) Alexandre Orfevre

Presentation
Hey,
I am involved in crypto currencies full time since more than 2y working on multiple aspects of crypto assets as a consultant / advisor. I am not at all a trader as I prefer to focus my energy on building stuff and tools. I am a geek, I love the tech, but I am not here for the tech only ;)

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 cleaned the market of the shitshow and many of us (all of us?) got definitly rekt on bad investments done in the past months or years. However, 2019 was also full of opportunities with the IEOs wave.
During this year, I learned to value more my own decisions and choices but also to trust mostly my own efforts. I learned that the hard way with bad investments.

2) Investments
I am back to the basics for most of my funds. BTC Maximalist, ETH, BNB (bought very early), NEO.
I have also some beloved projects such as LTO Network, Fantom Network, TE-FOOD or Celsius. Besides the quality of the team and the constant delivery of product and releases, I love these projects because of the capability for passive income (POS / DPOS / LENDING).
I still hold some other alts just in case, but it is not worth mentioning them.

3) 2020 Outlook
I think that CZ may have some stuff for BNB to rise again. To be honest, just the fact that more and more fiat are available on Binance is really positive. BTC Halving could (hopefully) be the beginning of a new bull market.
A lot of service providers will also stop their activities if they haven’t yet. Only the very best will remain. We will see less shitcoins and the very few that will rise will have a very strong product and team.
We may have also a second market regulated for STOs.

18) Anonymous GAINS Friend

Presentation
I was first introduced to crypto via Bitconnect in 2017. I spent 6 months chasing ponzi ICOs. And that’s when I missed all the good stuff like BNB. Since then I’ve only been involved in the more traditional crypto markets and I constantly network and try to learn as much as I can.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 was the official death of the ICO and the ultimate year of rekt OTC deals. If a token is being mass sold OTC you should run away!

2) Investments
Aside from BTC, ETH and stablecoins, I’m holding very few cryptos currently. My early bets for 2020 are Tellor, RSR and Luna. I will hold these and look to grow my position when there’s a good entry. Other than that I’m a huge fan of passive revenue. BitMax offers the best returns by far for this

3) 2020 Outlook
2020 is about jumping early on new opportunities. IEOs replaced ICOs in 2019 but now their time has come as well. Keep an eye out on the next trend and get in early.

19) Joe Roets

Presentation
I’m Joe Roets, Founder and Architect of Dragonchain.
I’ve spent over 25 years as a Software Architect and Developer at Disney, Lockheed Martin, Sprint, FBI, DoD, createTank, and Dragonchain.
I’m a long time advocate of open source/free software and individual liberty.

1) 2019 Thoughts
2019 was rough.
So many important projects were bogged down with regulatory uncertainty, and the long-winter in crypto didn’t help.
Lesson learned, keep building, ignore negativity — — always keep building.

2) Investments
BTC, ETH, DRGN, and small balances of ETC, BCH, XMR, ZEC, BAT, SC, and many more mostly held from 2016 and 2017.

I’m excited mostly about projects that focus on creating specific utility on a blockchain. For example, decentralized/encrypted storage (Storj & Siacoin), BAT for its real adoption, and Augur for its possibilities. I consider most blockchain & cryptocurrency projects as analogous to websites on the early Internet. The world should want as much variety and competition in utility as the market can bear. This is important to me because Dragonchain seeks to make it easy to integrate any other chain to extend utility and flexibility to its customers.

3) 2020 Outlook
Very hard to say, but I’d love to see a bull market driven by real business and user adoption.

20) Sam Bankman-Fried

Presentation
I started off my career trading ETFs on wall street. In 2017, I started up Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency quantitative trading firm. Last year I started FTX, a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange.

1) 2019 Thoughts
I think that in 2019 a lot of the crypto space caught up to what had really been true for the last year and a half: that derivatives were huge, lots of spot volume was fake, and that the industry could really use some more use cases.

2) Investments
FTT, obviously :) . Outside of that — we have some more investments on the stack which we hope to be talking more about very soon!

3) 2020 Outlook
I’d guess that 2020 will be the year of consolidation in the industry, as exchanges and coins vie for relevance. I’d also guess there will be an increasing focus on use cases, and on more exotic derivatives.

Thank you for reading! We would love to know what you think as well. Come chat in our Telegram Group!

Want to learn more about us? Check out this nice and short article that summarizes our 2019 and outlines our vision and direction for 2020.

Join us:
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