We're having lots of really interesting conversations with blockchain and cryptocurrency experts, and making sure we are capturing it all, right here, for you in CryptoCoin Intelligence.
This time we're thrilled to have a chat with the humble Mason Marcobello, a bilingual writer, knowledgeable crypto investor and Amazon & IG Influence.
"It’s the questions we ask, not the answers, that pave the way for progress."
1. Tell us about your background in Blockchain & ICO businesses?
Compared to more seasoned investors and technologists, my background and experience within the blockchain industry is fairly embryonic.
It started roughly around one year ago when a friend recommended that I explore cryptocurrencies and more specifically Ripple XRP. At the time I didn’t have any understanding as per the use-case or value of distributed ledger technology. And when confronted with terminology like Proof of Stake, Ledgers, Nodes, Public Keys etc, I felt fairly intimidated at the complexity of the industry.
But after consistently educating myself through articles, YouTube videos, Podcasts, white papers, and asking questions to anyone I could engage with, I started to gain more confidence and eventually reached out to teams as to whether they needed a writer, proofreader, or anyone to assist with Chinese translations.
I know there are many paradoxes in life. But one of the most important that helped me navigate and accelerate my progress in this space is that it’s the questions we ask, not the answers, that pave the way for progress. To quote my favourite “Quoran” Dushka Zapata, this perspective is reflected through the Zen Buddhist notion of "shoshin", "beginner's mind".
Shoshin suggests that rather than approaching life as "I know" or "I am an expert", I approach life as a true beginner: in awe, with wonder, receptive, empty of preconceptions. It’s not about getting somewhere. It's about experiencing compassion and being truly open, the optimal state for learning. Shoshin is why I still consider myself an amateur in a lot of ways and constantly seek out more learned sources for knowledge.
2. What do you think is so remarkable about blockchain?
While I’ll always hold people like Satoshi Nakamoto and Vitalik in high regard, I believe a lot of the underlying technology subsequently developed has been overly hyped and romanticised through nefarious ICO marketing and media campaigns. But what I do consider remarkable is the state of mind and opportunity that it inspires for people the world over.
Included in the current cryptocurrency industry, the spectrum of existing technologies can be divided into three main categories. The first is primarily synonymous with digital currency’s first use-case and solves for exchanges of money and stores of value; the second relates to decentralised applications (dApps) built on the blockchain; and the third involves protocol level technologies such as NEO and Ethereum on which these applications are built.
From my experience and understanding, all of the above layers welcome collaboration in ways we haven’t seen before. What’s more is that it will eventually re-balance the power and global influence that permeates centralised institutions like governments, banks, businesses etc.
I also consider one of the most remarkable things about blockchain is the fact it reinforces the value of practical and contemporary knowledge as opposed to traditional forms of learning or paradigms so heavily espoused through institutions like university and traditional business models. While degrees and certifications will always have their place, through my own experience in blockchain industry, I’ve been able to find and capitalise on more opportunity through simply articulating my understanding of the way things are progressing as opposed to spending years studying in a formal environment. Does that make sense?
Although history always repeats itself, I believe opportunity will always come to those who are willing to embrace and elegantly sail on the evolutionary currents no rather than clinging to withered branches of the past.
3. Which industry do you think will be most disrupted by blockchain technology?
At the risk of sounding presumptuous, we’ve all read about the “disruption” that blockchain will cause to industries like banking, real estate, legal etc. But to apply a more balanced perspective, irregardless of industry, what I believe will be most disrupted are the types of businesses and concepts entering these sectors.
CZ recently published an article on LinkedIn that elaborated on the necessities of ICOs, within it he states:
“While some professional VCs investors are truly experts in their field, and genuinely trying to help entrepreneurs, I find the vast majority of “professional VCs” have no clue about the projects or field they invest in. Many of them have zero startup experience and don’t even have a basic understanding of the technologies involved their fields. Many VCs don’t use the products of the companies they invest in. They look at hundreds of projects, across a variety of industries, spends most of their time negotiating with entrepreneurs, while staying at five-star hotels and fly business all day long. Today, there are probably more of these “professional VC funds” than there are startups.”
I couldn’t agree more.
4. What project are you most excited about right now and why?
I’m most excited about Huobi’s recent Crypto ETF HB10. Being first to market, and the “The weather vane of digital assets” HB10 offers interchangeability with other digital assets hosted by Huobi Pro. HB10 will help users attain exposure to the digital assets market with a relatively small capital outlay and also provide users with greater diversification across constituent coin trading pairs.
Overall, the tracker product will help users who are interested in blockchain technology to trade the broad digital assets market.” Calculating the index using Pasche weighted composite price index formula and it includes most of the major cryptocurrencies listed in the market including HT at 29.3 percent, BTC at 23.1 percent, EOS at 17.3 percent, ETH at 10.9 percent, BCH at 5.2 percent, XRP at 4.1 percent, IOST at 3.1 percent, LTC at 3 percent, ETC at 2.3 percent, and DASH at 1.5 percent.
In essence, HB10 ETF will offer ease of investments in a mixed basket of cryptocurrencies to the institutional as well as retail investors. HB10 allows you to enter the world of cryptocurrencies simply and easily. Instead of buying multiple coins, thinking about which to choose and tracking numerous prices, you can just use a single token. The token copies the value of the portfolio it represents.
By owning an ETF, investors get diversification. The portfolio represents a basket of top-traded high-demand coins. All of the coins have high liquidity and good daily trading volumes. While the cryptocurrency ETF will be available to global investors including those in China, it is currently not available to the U.S.-based customers owing to the local regulatory stalemate in America over the cryptocurrency-related ETFs.
5. What advice would you give to consumers/investors thinking about investing in Initial Coin Offerings?
This may be an unpopular piece of advice, but my recommendation is that unless you’re involved with the team, have good relations to the founders, or are incredibly experienced and an SEC accredited investor with capital will to lose, then avoid them. There’s nothing to be lost if you spend 2-3 months observing the performance and engagement of the team before actively investing into their token/ coin. But that said a few key questions to ask before investing into anything are:
- Determine the Market Cap of the ICO:
Calculate the token price with this formula ETH Current Price/Num Tokens per ETH.
Now multiply Token Price * Number of Tokens in Circulation (tokens sold in crowdsale + presale)
This is the company market cap roughly if the ICO sells all available tokens during the crowd-sale. Take this market cap and compare it to the top 100 altcoins to see how the coin compares. If the market cap equals $30,000,000 then they would need to grow to $90,000,000 in order for you to make 3x your investment.
Now go to Cryptocurrency Market Capitalizations | CoinMarketCap and see what companies have the same market cap as this ICO. Ask yourself: Is this ICO as good as the existing altcoin and is it or should it be worth the market cap they are trying to achieve with the ICO launch. Now that you have determined that the market cap is good and that the altcoin has the potential to make you 3x – 5x your initial investment it is time to move on.
- Read the Whitepaper
Ask yourself these questions: Is the technology unique? Can this company survive/thrive without doing an ICO? What is the purpose of the token in the company ecosystem? Are they just creating a coin to profit in this ICO craze or does the coin serve an important purpose? How will the coin increase in value, is it based only on hype on exchanges or is it from it being used as a utility in the company? Does this company have competitors that may make this one irrelevant?
- Research the Team
First off, is the legitimate? Do they really exist on LinkedIn, etc. You would be surprised how often the team members can be faked. Read the LinkedIn description to see if the team member is full-time with the ICO and if the ICO is even mentioned at all.
- Research the ICO Advisers
Are the advisers relevant to the ICO or are they just a shiny attention grabber? If you see the same adviser on multiple ICOs then their credibility/value to the ICO diminishes greatly.
- Determine Level of Hype
Don’t underestimate this step. An easy way to get a feel for hype and popularity is to google the name of the ICO. See how many mentions are in the google search results. Make sure you use exact matches such as quotes in the google search so that you don’t get results for the word ‘the’ or something generic. How many times are they mentioned on social media?
The best way to do this is to go to BuzzSumo: Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers and type in the name of the ICO. This will give you a results list showing content and mentions on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and how many times the content pieces were shared.
Go to the ICO website and search for the websites, social media and chat programs where they interact. Some of the most popular are Slack Channel, Telegram Chat, Twitter, Bitcoin Forum - Index, the front page of the internet.
- Check out their existing product and code
For this step you don’t have to know programming or anything like that. You will just want to go to their Build software better, together account as this is where they will store the code for their project. You can see how often they update their code and how active they are developing. Also, do some research on their past products if they are an existing business that is just expanding by offering an ICO.
- Research similar altcoins
6. What is your prediction about the price of Bitcoin by end of 2018?
Haha unfortunately I stay clear of providing any predictions or analysis. My belief is that cryptocurrency investment should be a mid-long term game. As the crypto markets heave and crash their way up and down day after day, the wise investor can take control of the chaos. Your very refusal to be active, your renunciation of any pretended ability to predict the future can become your most powerful weapons. By putting every investment decision on autopilot, you drop any self-delusion that you know where coins are headed, and you take away the market’s power to upset you no matter how bizarrely it bounces.
Dollar-cost averaging enables you to put a fixed amount of money into an investment at regular intervals. Every week, month, or calendar quarter, you buy more-whether the markets have gone (or are about to go) up, down, or sideways. Any major mutual fund company or firm can automatically and safely transfer the money for you electronically, so you never have to write a cheque or feel the conscious pang of payment. It’s all out of sight, out of mind. The ideal way to dollar-cost average is into a portfolio of crypto-index funds like C20, which owns the top 20 tokens and coins within the market, or as mention in prior articles, protocols which serve as the foundational layer for many decentralised applications to then be built. That way, you renounce not only the guessing game of where the market is going but which sectors of the market - and which particular coin or token within them - will do the best.
Despite what the general consensus amongst speculators may be, day trading tokens or coins for hours at a time is one of the best weapons ever invented for committing financial suicide. Some of your trades might make money, most of your trades will lose money. And your own eagerness to buy or sell a coin can easily impact negatively into your returns. The costs of trading also wear away your returns like so many swipes of sandpaper. Buying or selling, along with repeated conversions to FIAT and vice versa can incur transnational fees end up totalling another 4 - 8 % of the total investment.
Irregardless of context, the overall lesson for any market is clear, don’t just do something, stand there. It’s fine for everyone to acknowledge that the term “long-term investor” is redundant. A long-term investor is the only kind of investor there is. Someone who can’t hold onto their investments for more than a few months at a time is doomed to end up not as an investor but as a victim.
Read a little more about Mason below:
Mason is a Sydney based bilingual (Chinese and English) writer, Amazon influencer, cryptocurrency advisor and consultant with experience helping build Chinese social media branding and engagement for international entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk .
Mason is also a professional Whitepaper proofreader and editor. Over the past few years he has represented Australia in the 15th annual Chinese Bridge Competition and is a recipient of the 2012 Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, the 2014 Taiwan HES Scholarship, and the 2016 Confucius Institute Scholarship.
Mason's written work has been published in several revered magazines including Passion Passport and Drift Magazine .
Mason’s Quora profile has received over 400,000 views with topics ranging from philosophy to psychology and he has also collaborated with numerous blockchain and cryptocurrency companies such as Huobi, OKCoin, BolttCoin, and Block18.
Mason welcomes anyone interested in reaching out to send him a message here: firstname.lastname@example.org