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Humility Before a Fall: Your Crypto Startup Hasn’t Done Anything Yet

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Dave Balter is the CEO of Flipside Crypto. His book, “The Humility Imperative,” will be released on June 30.

This is a message to every cryptocurrency entrepreneur, employee, executive or leader: Dig a hole, throw your ego into it and pour concrete on top. Find humility instead.

Hello, my name is Dave Balter, and I’m a CEO who used to be totally ego-driven. (There. I said it.)  This ego gave me the confidence to be a great leader, but also nearly destroyed BzzAgent, the word-of-mouth pioneer I created in 2001. Had I not dramatically adjusted my leadership style, in all likelihood my partners and I wouldn’t have found our way to a successful exit to Tesco in 2011.  

In the decade since I’ve built and exited a number of businesses. My most recent one, Flipside Crypto, delivers insights and analytics to blockchain organizations. This provides us a front row seat to the behaviors and attitudes of leaders and employees across hundreds of blockchain platforms, dapps, exchanges and other ecosystem participants. 

See also: Taylor Monahan – As We Hunger for Viability, Let’s Stay True to Our Values

Here is something I’ve learned: Many leaders think just being in the blockchain space makes them untouchable. They count an easy ICO raise as validation of success. They’re proud of developing something so technically complex their team barely understands it. 

In one meeting a senior executive admonished a teammate in front of us, exclaiming her work as, “useless, irrelevant and without impact.” In another, the leadership of an Asian exchange asked us to distribute a series of splashy press releases, even though we were still working out our working relationship. One crypto executive had the nerve to gloat in front of us, “We literally just print money.” 

Last autumn I was in a restaurant (remember those?) in Boston and found myself seated near a group of employees from a crypto organization recently fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its illegal ICO offering. They were celebrating. Waiters were bringing them chop after chop of cut meat. Many drinks were drunk. They cheered and toasted each other in hoodies emblazoned with their company’s logo.

What’s the one simple thing that will bring this industry down? It won’t be scams and frauds, it will be something much more damaging: hubris.

I was outraged. Their CEO deceived investors and broke the law. Should the team rebrand? Nope. Should they quietly melt into the woodwork? Nope. Instead, they should party. They should let everyone know where they work. That they won. They considered it a victory.

These are all danger signs. Indications that leadership is acting with unchecked confidence. With attitudes of self-worth, grandiose thinking and a terrible case of “we-have-it-all-figured-out.” 

What’s the one simple thing that will bring this industry down? It won’t be scams and frauds, it will be something much more damaging: hubris.  

See also: Michael Casey – Money Reimagined: Crypto’s Diversity Problem

Don’t get me wrong. There are some terrific leaders in the crypto industry. Brian Armstrong of Coinbase is one. So is Jeremy Allaire of Circle.

Two very different leadership styles.  Brian began as an engineer. Jeremy is a longtime entrepreneur and a seasoned executive. Their similarity lies in a distinct truth: Each approaches his businesses with maturity, clarity and delivery, all traits of leaders with the humility to build strong organizations.

Case in point: With the onset of COVID-19, Armstrong immediately takes action. He listens to his employees, to his customers, to the market. He makes adept shifts to the organizational infrastructure and institutes a remote first policy , and on May 20 published it publicly so it could serve as a roadmap for others.

Case in point: Allaire’s Circle has gone through a series of dramatic evolutions. Early Bitcoin ATMs made way for a truly massive over-the-counter trading group  – and as the market evolved again, he executed a nimble pirouette and developed USDC, a stablecoin business. 

Strong leaders recognize the art of humility. Neither Armstrong nor Allaire lack confidence. They have it in spades. But that confidence doesn’t root them so deeply in place that they can’t adapt. They listen to their teams and focus on execution vs. promotion. That’s humility at work.

The humility imperative is simple: If you’re an ego-fueled leader, find humility today before it’s too late. Disregard the fawning fanboys and king-like power you feel right now. Recognize your place in the universe is no more important than anyone else’s. Know you can learn from every single interaction,  no matter the person’s credentials. Understand that your competitors are smart ,  perhaps (gasp!) even smarter than you. Believe that media glory is fleeting. Remember that fundraising is a tactic, not a strategy; your reputation isn’t forever golden because a high profile VC firm backed you. 

Here’s what matters more: You treat your employees with kindness. You are willing to be wrong; and  –  yes, this is hard  – you share the spotlight.

Having trouble admitting your ego is out of control? Ask your family, friends or most trusted adviser what they think. Find someone willing to tell you straight. Your cryptocurrency will be much better for it and you’ll truly have the opportunity to create something sustainable. Humility will prepare you for the endurance test to come. It will give you the flexibility to create an organization that can thrive in good times and survive the bad.

Unless it addresses this, the crypto industry will become “what might have been.” It will become a case study in what not to do. It will end not with a flourish or a bang, but with a whimper.

Have humility, or your hubris will have all of us.

Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/humility-before-a-fall-your-crypto-startup-hasnt-done-anything-yet

Blockchain

Staking frenzy pushes 0x (ZRX) to highest user activity since April, price jumps 14%

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The recent infatuation for most in the cryptocurrency market is with DeFi tokens and staking, with the sectors seeing strong growth in both technology and price values since the past month.

Buoyed by the interest is 0x protocol, the open, permissionless protocol that enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Surge in active ZRX wallets

Recent data shows active wallets reached an all-time high in two months since April 2020, while ZRX—0x’s native token—has jumped 14 percent at press time.

On-chain analytics firm Santiment tweeted Friday on 0x’s wallet addresses and the corresponding price bump:

The metrics indicate wallet activity on the protocol has bolstered, presumably as public interest in staking application and passive incomes from cryptocurrency holdings grow.

Protocols like Compound and Balancer are leading the pack. The former returned over 800 percent to holders within two days of COMP issuance on June 18, eventually falling to $185-$190 level as on June 4.

Up for the taking is “risk-free” returns of 10-120%. While 0x is nowhere close to such returns—it’s a project not governed by complex eternal factors, such as MakerDAO’s zero-fee DAI sales in March.

After 0x’s beta staking launch in early-2020, holders have three main ways to lend their tokens. Previously, this was possible using some third-party protocols.

Staking frenzy catches on

Data on Staking Rewards shows ZRX “delegates” stand to gain an annual reward of 0.51% with a lockup period of 14 days. “Liquidity pool” owners get 3.45% on a similar lockup, with a risk rating of “moderate.”

(Source: Staking Rewards)

On Compound, ZRX’s gross supply is over $42 million, up 0.4% since Friday. Gross borrow is $16 million, with borrowers charged 14% per annum. The table below shows:

Compound dashboard. Displayed are ZRX lending/borrow values. (Source: Compound)

Developers can use 0x as a platform to build exchange applications on top of (0x.js is a Javascript library for interacting with the 0x protocol), as the project notes.

For end-users, 0x will be the infrastructure of a wide variety of user-facing applications i.e. 0x Portal, a decentralized application that facilitates trustless trading of Ethereum-based tokens between known counterparties.

Meanwhile, ZRX is seeing some token selling after a rip above the 34-EMA on July 3. Sellers sold at the $0.42 level, but charts show there might be buyers waiting on the $0.37-$0.38 price band.

0x, currently ranked #36 by market cap, is up 13.09% over the past 24 hours. ZRX has a market cap of $288.9M with a 24 hour volume of $116.44M.

0x Price Chart

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/staking-frenzy-pushes-0x-zrx-to-highest-user-activity-since-april-price-jumps-14/

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With Tether trading at a discount, is Bitcoin in trouble ?

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For the most part, Bitcoin has struggled to go past its psychological resistance at $10,000 in the year 2020. Just like traditional financial markets, crypto-markets also took a significant blow as soon as the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic came to the fore. However, with half of 2020 now gone, Bitcoin’s fortunes may not necessarily change for the better; instead, it may get even bumpier.

Bitcoin’s price action does have a lot of influence over the market’s altcoins. And interestingly, Bitcoin’s future may be tied to the fortune of the world’s largest stablecoin – USDT. A recent report by Longhash, citing Bitcoin Options trader Theta Seek, argued that USDT being sold at a discount is likely to be a sign of weaker Bitcoin market sentiment historically.

Elaborating on Bitcoin’s recent price development, the report noted,

“Bitcoin has rejected the $9,700 to $10,000 range repeatedly in the past two months, reacting to relatively high selling pressure. Data from ByteTree shows miners have been selling most of what they mine throughout the past week. Since June 24, Bitcoin miners have mined 6,506 BTC and sold 6.267, holding just 239 BTC.”

Tether is widely used by Chinese traders, with a report by Diar observing that a majority of Tether’s on-chain volume came from Chinese investors in the second half of 2019. The fact that Tether is being sold at a discount implies that in markets like China, there are fewer BTC buyers given the current macro-economic scenario. It added,

“The decline in the price of Tether could indicate that there are fewer Bitcoin buyers from China, given that Chinese users account for the majority of USDT’s trading activity.”

Source: Glassnode

With Tether recording increased demand when the price of Bitcoin fell earlier in the year, the volume of Tether held by exchanges subsequently grew. In fact, according to data from Glassnode, USDT balances on exchanges reached an all-time high in April after the market crash, dubbed today as ‘Black Thursday.’ However, according to Longhash’s report, the present drop in Tether’s value may even be a positive sign for Bitcoin. It noted,

” When investors in the crypto market seek safety, they typically turn to stablecoins. As such, Tether can be considered capital on the sidelines, held by investors waiting to re-enter the market. When they re-enter, the value of Tether can drop as investors sell USDT to purchase Bitcoin or other crypto assets.”

For now, with Bitcoin just about keeping its head over the $9K mark, the value and premium on Tether might just be the only determinants of the king coin’s price action.

Source: Coinstats

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Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/with-tether-trading-at-a-discount-is-bitcoin-in-trouble

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Philippines financial regulator issues warning against three unregistered crypto firms.

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The Philippines’ securities regulator has issued a warning to investors to be aware of three cryptocurrency companies that might be a potential scam as they are not registered with the proper authorities. The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) flagged three cryptocurrency firms, including Forsage, RCashOnline, and The Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. The financial regulator noted that none of these three companies have the appropriate licenses or registration requirements in place, leaving investors vulnerable to being scammed. 

SEC asks investors to remain cautious of these crypto companies.   

The Philippines Securities Exchange and Commission, in its warning, urged investors to be cautious of the three crypto companies. Under the Securities Regulation Code, anyone who engages in unlawful investment activity faces sentences of up to 21 years in prison, in addition to a fine of up to P5 million. The crypto company Forsage, founded by Lado Okhotnikov, is not registered with the proper authorities and therefore does not have the legal standing to solicit investments or sell cryptocurrency investment products. According to the regulator, the other crypto company, RCashOnline, is not even constituted as a partnership or corporation.

This is the latest list of cryptocurrency companies that do not meet regulatory requirements to operate in the country. 

Crypto scams continue to rise amid the global pandemic.  

The scams related to cryptocurrency around the world have grown significantly with the rise in mainstream exposure of crypto. Earlier, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had issued a warning saying scammers might be looking to unleash a surge in crypto scams amid the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. Singapore government revealed that the country had witnessed a significant uptick in ransomware attacks last year. Countries across the world are working on enforcing crypto regulations, with some already implementing strict laws to protect users from fraudulent crypto companies.  

Source: https://coinnounce.com/philippines-financial-regulator-issues-warning-against-unregistered-crypto-firms/

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