Goethe’s saying “Everything is hard before it is easy” perfectly describes many people’s feelings during their first steps into the crypto world. Our DAA manager Menno Peter Pietersen knows this. In this interview, he breaks down blockchain’s bigger picture and its potential impact on our lives.
Menno, do you find that your friends are adopting bitcoin-related things much easier than, for instance, your parents? How hard is it to explain what you do to your parents’ friends?
Ever since I started to share my opinions and my take on Bitcoin and crypto online, I have been flooded with people asking me to explain what crypto is, how it works, and how to invest. With the recent rise in price for Bitcoin, this is now happening even more.
In early 2016 (when I started explaining Bitcoin to people) it was very hard to explain the basics of blockchain and Bitcoin. The mainstream media opinion seemed to be mostly “Bitcoin is nerd money,” or worse, “Bitcoin is money for criminals.” This truly has changed into “Bitcoin is digital gold” and “Crypto is a new asset class.”
I try to focus on the fundamental technical revolution — the blockchain — and how it can change a huge number of industries.
I explain the double-spend problem and how Bitcoin solves it, then expand to how data and privacy are two of the most valuable assets in this modern internet age. Once people connect these two fields, understanding why blockchain and crypto will become a huge industry is not difficult.
Whose point of view do you investigate when thinking about the bigger picture in the crypto world? What long-term trends do you see?
I read everything I can, both opinions in the crypto space and views from the “mainstream” fintech, investing, and banking spaces. The main trend I see is that the mainstream is mostly focused on blockchain but is starting to take Bitcoin more seriously. I also see a huge amount of funds and investments flowing into this space, which confirms my idea that the crypto space is truly going mainstream and that very exciting times lie ahead.
From a more long-term perspective, I think many crypto projects will fail, but some will become amazing, revolutionary companies. I think Bitcoin will become a truly new and open worldwide asset class, with traditional investors using it as a hedge to more traditional markets. My goal with CARUS-AR is to find a balance between holding Bitcoin but also profiting from the rise of other solid crypto projects.
You have mentioned that you are not a fan of short-term profit taking. Is this buy and hold strategy something you witnessed in the old finance world?
Because my background is in front-end web development — I run my own web agency, Any Screen Size — I do not have any trading experience in traditional markets or crypto. On my own, I have bought a few highs and lows, and I learned the hard way that trading is very difficult and time-consuming work. In the long term, I believe that very few traders will outperform the market and that a better strategy for general investors is simply to buy and hold a reliable mix of promising crypto. With CARUS-AR I plan to hold very solid long-term blockchain projects and provide a very nice return for all investors.
How do you verify that an ICO is not a scam?
This is a hard one. It simply takes time and effort to investigate the many different aspects of an ICO. Some of the main things to look out for when researching an ICO are:
- Company history: Does the company have experience? Have they created a valuable product in the past?
- History and work of individual team members: If the ICO does not have a team, this is a red flag to me.
- Good code: GitHub or other platforms should display proofs of work or beta code for an ICO (as a developer, I can understand some code; if necessary, I have a network of coders to help me review).
- Marketing: A huge number of Facebook ads or claims of greatness is a bad sign. Marketing is great, but it should be about the concept and the team, not just a sales pitch.
- The ICO structure itself: How much is sold? What percentage of funds is set aside for the team or for marketing? Are solid security measures being taken to prevent hacks?
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