FFCON21 Breaking Barriers May 11-13, 2021

Category Archives: Fintech Opinions

This Slackbot wants to fix fintech’s workplace harassment problem

Sifted | Ryan Weeks | Apr 28, 2021

harassment guidance advice - This Slackbot wants to fix fintech’s workplace harassment problem

There have been hundreds of cases of harassment in the fintech sector. Today, InChorus launched a slack bot to track and collate data on microaggressions.

The fact that InChorus, a reporting platform for workplace harassment, chose fintech as its ground zero is a sobering sign for the sector.

More sobering still is the fact that, this time last year, more than 500 incidents of harassment were reported through InChorus’ system by fintech employees in the UK. Of those, 85% related to gender and 10% involved “unwanted physical contact”.

See:  Why workplace learning matters more than ever

Unsurprisingly, more than 85 companies in the sector have since signed up to the FinTech For All Charter, which aims to tackle these issues with the support of the Financial Conduct Authority, Innovate Finance, Level39 and others.

The next phase in that initiative begins today, with the rollout of a new Slackbot which will track and collate data on microaggressions relating to harassment and diversity issues within the fintech sector.

“We really believe in the ongoing collection of data around this problem in order to ultimately drive accountability,” said Rosie Turner, cofounder and co-CEO of InChorus.

The plan is to aggregate the data to provide freely available insights on the sector as a whole. A handful of companies — including Funding Options and Concirrus — have signed up to use the tool at launch and will be analysing their own data for benchmarking against sector-wide stats.

Turner told Sifted that all 85+ signatories of the FinTech For All Charter will be invited to incorporate the technology shortly after today’s launch.

See:  Culture and Diversity Leadership: Tale of Two Doors

Curve, the digital bank, recently signed up to the charter. The firm’s cofounder and CEO Shachar Bialick told Sifted that the tool could “only be a good thing, as no one should have to come to work and suffer harassment in any shape or form, ever”.

“Despite having 33% women at Curve across all workforce (and 14% across engineering), the lack of gender parity across the industry remains a painful issue, something which Curve itself is trying to address by actively attracting more women to its employee base, particularly in engineering,” Bialick added.

The number of incidents (more than 50) involving unwanted physical contact reported during InChorus’s first data collection effort early last year is particularly painful — and over half of these were not isolated incidents. Surprisingly, the data did not suggest that the majority of people who had experienced this were more junior than the perpetrators.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This Slackbot wants to fix fintech’s workplace harassment problem The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Tesla Sold Some Bitcoins

Bloomberg Opinion | Matt Levine | Apr 28, 2021

elon and bitcoin - Tesla Sold Some Bitcoins

Tesla Bitcoin

I wrote back in February:

A funny thing for Elon Musk to do would be:

  1. Tesla Inc. buys some Bitcoin.
    2. Tesla announces that Bitcoin is good now and that it bought some.
    3. The price of Bitcoin goes up, because institutional adoption of Bitcoin is good for its price, but also because, by the Elon Markets Hypothesis, anything that Musk buys goes up.
    4. Tesla sells some Bitcoin, making a profit.
    5. Musk tweets that the price of Bitcoin is too high.
    6. Bitcoin prices go down due to the Elon Markets Hypothesis.
    7. Go to Step 1.

Well, on Monday Tesla announced earnings, and guess what guess what guess what:

Tesla pulled a new lever to juice earnings in the quarter, generating $101 million in income from selling about 10% of its Bitcoin holdings.

Profit from the cryptocurrency and the sale of regulatory credits and tax benefits contributed about 25 cents to Tesla’s adjusted earnings of 93 cents a share, allowing the carmaker to beat Wall Street’s 80-cent average estimate, Dan Levy, an analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote in a note Monday.

See:  Elon Musk says people can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin

That’s wonderful, my sincere congratulations to them. People want to be mad about this? There is a vague sense out there that it is somehow fraud to buy a thing, say you like it, and then sell some of it. For instance Dave Portnoy, who I guess is an investment celebrity now, used the words “pumps” and “dumps” to describe Tesla’s actions on Twitter, prompting Musk to reply that “Tesla sold 10% of its holdings essentially to prove liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet.” (Tesla’s “Master of Coin,” Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn, also talked a lot about liquidity on the earnings call; Tesla decided to put a chunk of its corporate cash into Bitcoin and I guess needed to make sure that its money wasn’t trapped. A reasonable concern! “We've been quite pleased with how much liquidity there is in the Bitcoin market,” said Kirkhorn.)

For myself, I want to be absolutely clear that:

  1. I don’t think there’s anything illegal about Tesla buying Bitcoin, saying that it bought Bitcoin, and then selling Bitcoin when the price goes up. There’s no indication that Tesla, or Musk, were lying about any of this. (Not legal advice!)
  2. I think that's cool and fun, I’m glad they did it, and I hope they’ll do it again.
  3. I think that, if you can reliably do that — if you are Elon Musk and you can make Bitcoin go up by tweeting about it — you almost have an obligation to do it? Perhaps a fiduciary obligation to your shareholders, but at least a sort of aesthetic obligation to comedy. If Bitcoin wants Musk to manipulate it, Musk really ought to manipulate it.

As I wrote in February, when Tesla bought the Bitcoins:

Musk is in the nice position of being able to spend billions of dollars buying assets in liquid anonymous markets, and then make those assets go up just by tweeting about them. If you can do that, you should! If you can buy a thing secretly, announce “I own the thing,” reliably cause the thing’s price to go up a lot, and then — if you want — sell the thing secretly, then that’s a great business right there. Talk about clean energy; that’s a perpetual motion machine.

See:  Elon Musk Had a Private Meeting With Volkswagen’s CEO. It’s a Brilliant Lesson in Emotional Intelligence

Or people have a sense that these earnings are somehow fake, less real than earnings from making and selling cars? The New York Times says that the Bitcoin sales “led to a $101 million accounting boost,” which makes it sound like it’s not an economic boost. But it is! That’s an extra $101 million of real U.S. dollars that came in the door from selling Bitcoin for a profit.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Tesla Sold Some Bitcoins The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Robert Asselin: The federal budget has no answers on the question of growth

The Hub | Robert Asselin | Apr 21, 2021

NASAs helicopter landing on mars - Robert Asselin: The federal budget has no answers on the question of growth

To evaluate a budget, I’ve always asked a simple question: which problem(s) is it trying to solve?

A budget that needs 700 pages of (red) ink says a lot about government motivations.

I can only try to answer what to me is the most important question from a public policy angle at this particular moment: where will economic growth come from over the long term?

See:  Canada’s payment system needs more competition

To start, it was clear for some time that the government’s decision to spend more than $100 billion in so-called short-term stimulus was a political solution in search of an economic problem. If you search for an output gap, even in the short term, you’ll find the budget arithmetic doesn’t match the current economic data.

The budget document is clear on that front: “Private sector economists expect real gross domestic product (GDP) to rebound from a contraction of 5.4 per cent in 2020 to growth of 5.8 per cent in 2021 and 4 per cent in 2022, a faster recovery than the growth rates of, respectively, 4.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent projected in the November 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES 2020).”

And then a key sentence: “Real GDP growth is expected to moderate to about 2 percent on average per year over the remaining years of the forecast horizon, reflecting a return to trend long-run growth rates.”

One can try in the 739 pages to find a clear plan to make Canada more productive and competitive. Although some of the objectives and proposed measures — investments in child care, skills, life bio sciences and clean tech — should be applauded, it is hard to find a coherent growth plan.

See:  Monopoly-Friendly Canada ‘Does Not Treat Competition Policy Seriously’

Was there any debate on measures to prioritize? Any trade-offs? Governing is about making choices, but if this budget can be defined as anything it is everything. No one has been left out.

It seems we are often last to find out the world is moving faster than we are.

In which sectors do we think we can be competitive on the global stage?  It is impossible to find in the 270 measures this budget proposes.

Our labour force is aging and our low levels of business investment are reflective of a lack of large firms operating in our economy. We need to encourage more innovation to grow more firms. The government’s response in this budget? Essentially, doubling down on programs that do not address our innovation shortcomings and have yielded few results to date.

The Strategic Innovation Fund, which got a boost of $7.2 billion over the next seven years, is not the best of what industrial policy has to offer: instead of building sectoral capabilities in investing in applied R&D, which is what global leaders like the Germans, Americans and South Koreans do, it provides subsidies and repayable loans to firms. Does it drive more business investments and make our firms more competitive on the global stage? Nobody has ever tried to answer this question seriously in Ottawa.

What about the need to double down on applied research? Or commercialization of our publicly-funded research? IRAP, a well-intended but unambitious program at the National Research Council, is the best we could do apparently. Other countries, including the U.K. in its budget, are acting more boldly by creating mission-driven, DARPA-like institutions that are unconstrained by the pitfalls of Weberian bureaucracy.

See:  Penrose Report: Power to the People: Stronger Consumer Choice and Competition

While the Biden administration recently went big on leveraging public procurement to incentivize business innovation and create demand for new products and services, it’s still business as usual in Canada.

British Columbians will be happy to find out they will now have their own regional development agency, at a price tag of $550 million. Will it do regional development? As Professor Donald Savoie recently asked: “What does the policy not include?”

What does this budget say about our level of ambition, and our resolve for steadfast execution and implementation? How fast will we move to assert ourselves economically in this new geopolitical environment?

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Robert Asselin: The federal budget has no answers on the question of growth The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Lobbying: it’s high time startups up their game

Sifted | Nicolas Colin | Apr 14, 2021

Startups and lobbying - Lobbying: it’s high time startups up their game

The Greensill debacle shows that startups have a lot to learn when it comes to winning friends and influencing people.

Startups are getting stuck into some highly-regulated industries — and they need to start taking those regulations seriously. Long gone are the days when founders could “move fast and break things”, to echo Mark Zuckerberg’s famous words. Now startups are handling people’s money; they’re responsible for children’s education; and some of them are even taking our lives in their (healthtech) hands.

But staying on the right side of regulation is not easy. Most rules were designed a long time ago, well before the internet came about and made it possible to solve old problems with new solutions. Many things that are now possible don’t exactly fit in the old regulatory boxes that we inherit from the past — whether it’s rules that relate to taxi medallions or the 1835 Highways Act that effectively prohibits anyone in the UK from riding an electric scooter on the road. For some startups to take off while strictly complying with existing regulations in sectors such as transportation, financial services or healthcare, the sequence would have to be: first, change the regulations, and second, grow the business.

See:  The U.S. Only Pretends to Have Free Markets

In practice, however, many founders are so obsessed with moving forward that they are often oblivious to the fact that legacy regulations effectively stand in the way. Investors might be more clearsighted about the regulatory context, but they often assume that regulators go with the flow and upgrade their framework as it becomes obvious that new approaches are possible.

What needs to happen

First, founders need to embrace a less naive view of regulations and regulators. Too often, they don’t realise that many government officials are not that sensitive to the promises of technological progress. Rather, their focus is on maintaining order, creating jobs, appeasing various constituencies with conflicting interests — and, yes, winning the next election.

Second, investors need to realise it’s up to them to do the heavy lifting. In the US, the most prominent VC firms have seen enough regulatory issues in their portfolios to decide that they need to have their founders’ backs. They do it by investing in thought leadership and engaging with prominent regulators, as Andreessen Horowitz has been doing for years through their media operation.

See:  BC tech orgs lobby federal, provincial governments for scale-up funding

Finally, government officials themselves need to wake up and remember that adapting regulations is a powerful lever from an industrial policy perspective. This one, by the way, is especially true in Europe. China has the sheer size of its domestic market. The US has the unrivalled power of a financial system able to funnel vast amounts of money into the startup world. What Europe has, in comparison, is powerful governments able to pull the regulatory lever as they see fit. Too often, they do so to protect legacy corporations by maintaining backward-looking regulations. Instead, they should seek to lower barriers to entry and make room for the new business models that technology now makes possible.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Lobbying: it’s high time startups up their game The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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How Do Canadian Discount Brokers Compare With Robinhood?

Guest Post | April 12, 2021

online trading setup - How Do Canadian Discount Brokers Compare With Robinhood?

Robinhood is a US-based digital stockbroker and trading app that experienced exponential growth over the past few years. The company is on a mission to democratize investing by making the stock market accessible to all. To help with its purpose, Robinhood introduced zero-commission stock trades way back in 2013.

Unfortunately for Canadian investors looking to build their savings, Robinhood is not available to them. There is no indication that Robinhood along with rivals like eToro will make their way up north anytime soon.

In the meantime, the battle of Canadian brokers pits legacy and old-school institutions against newer-age online platforms. For example, this BMO Investorline vs Questrade guide compares and contrasts BMO’s brokerage service that was launched in 1988 with Questrade’s service that was launched just in time for the new century.

Why Isn’t Robinhood Available In Canada?

Robinhood Co-Founder and Co-CEO Baiju Bhatt said in a Reddit AMA in 2019 the company paused in 2016 all plans related to market expansion. Robinhood cited the surprising Brexit outcome and corresponding market uncertainty in its decision to focus exclusively on the US market.

By July 2020, Robinhood confirmed all international expansion plans are no longer part of the company's thought process. Expectations for Robinhood to become one of the online stock brokers available to Canadians has been shot down, possibly for good.

Robinhood said: “We’ve come to recognize that our efforts are currently best spent on strengthening our core business in the US and making further investments in our foundational systems.”

Chances are more likely that eToro will bring its online stockbroker platform to Canada. The Israel-based rival to Robinhood already has a presence in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. The company recently closed a deal to list itself on the US stock market and will have US$800 million in cash to support future growth initiatives.

In the meantime, the list of stockbrokers in Canada remains mostly the same in 2021 as it was 20 years ago. The list of some of the more notable online Canadian brokers including BMO Investorline, Questrade, Qtrade, Scotia iTrade, TD Direct Investing, WealthSimple, among others.

Do Any Stock Brokers In Canada Offer Free Trading?

Robinhood gained fame by letting all clients transact on its online stock brokerage platform for free. The challenge it presented to legacy brokers was immense and US banks scrambled to introduce free stock platforms of their own.

Only one of the online Canadian stock brokers offers free trading -- sort of. Wealthsimple is a zero-fee robo-advisor firm that only charges clients an annual fee equal to 0.4% or 0.5% of their total assets under management.

Users with up to $100,000 in assets pay a fee of 0.5% and those with more money pay a reduced fee of 0.5%. The math behind the fee structure could prove to be extremely beneficial or very disadvantages for users depending on their individual circumstances.

A Canadian investor that just opened an online brokerage account with $50,000 will pay roughly $250 a year in fees. The tradeoff is the investor is paying for an automated service that includes features like automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvestment, and tax loss harvesting.

However, knowledgeable and investment savvy Canadian investors looking for a do-it-yourself experience can set up a diversified portfolio with 12 stocks at roughly half the cost of one year’s worth of Wealthsimple fees. Wealthsimple charges a premium forex fee for all trades denominated in US dollars so it may or may not be advantageous compared to rivals like BMO Investorline and those from big banks that typically charge a flat fee of nearly $10 a trade.

Wealthsimple trading - How Do Canadian Discount Brokers Compare With Robinhood?

Source: Wealthsimple

Some Canadian Brokers Offer Free ETF Trading

A few other Canadian online brokers offer free access to buy and sell exchange-traded funds. Some of the brokers that offer free ETF trading include Qtrade, Wealthsimple, National Bank Direct Brokerages, among others.

Other brokers like BMO Investorline are stuck in the dinosaur era where buying and selling ETFs still cost close to $10.

Do Canadian Online Brokers Offer Fractional Share Ownership?

Another key feature that makes Robinhood stand out as one of the more popular online stock brokers is a feature that lets investors buy fractional shares. Investors can buy as little as one one-millionth of a share and upwards.

This gives investors of all shapes and sizes the ability to own what the big shots on Wall Street own. Investors can buy one-tenth of one share of Amazon's stock for around US $330.

Canadians hoping to take advantage of similar features on one of their online stock brokers are mostly out of luck. A Questrade representative on Reddit confirmed it has “no plans” for fractional trading at the moment.

Interactive Brokers is a US-based online stock broker available to Canadians and it started offering fractional share ownerships to its Canadian users in 2019. Aside from Interactive Brokers, Canadians hoping to do what Robinhood clients have been doing for some time are out of luck.

Conclusion: What Are The Closest Canadian Alternatives To Robinhood?

No single Canadian online stock broker offers an identical experience to Robinhood. Wealthsimple would be considered among the closest given its zero-commission fee structure although for many this could prove to be more expensive given its value-added fees.

Canadian brokers like Questrade and Qtrade might be viewed by some as a close alternative. All three embrace the digital revolution and target younger millennials looking to invest their small but growing fortune.

On the other end of the spectrum, old Canadian online brokers like BMO Investorline, RBC Direct Investing, and TD Direct Investing have the least in common with Robinhood that strives to make investing cheap and accessible to all.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How Do Canadian Discount Brokers Compare With Robinhood? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Techlash continues to batter technology sector

Brookings | Darrell West | Apr 2, 2021

Tech Backlash - Techlash continues to batter technology sector

Source: Felix Decombat

In our Brookings Press book, Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence published last year, John Allen and I note the backlash against technology that has reduced public support for many things digital. As an illustration, Pew Research Center surveys show people are worried about privacy intrusions, cybersecurity risks, and misinformation campaigns. Many individuals think the pace of technological change is advancing too rapidly and it is hard to distinguish fake from actual phenomena.

Now a new Edelman Trust Barometer poll shows how much more widely this “techlash” has spread. In the United States, trust in the technology sector has fallen from 78% in 2012 to 57% in 2021. Globally, tech sector trust has dropped from 77% to 68% during that time.

In less than a decade, according to that firm, the public has grown far more suspicious about misinformation, personal privacy, 5G networks, and AI bias, among other things.

The decline of public trust in the technology sector has profound consequences for how people view digitization and options for government oversight and regulation. The precipitous drop over the past year is noteworthy because of the crucial role technology has played in the pandemic response. Due to COVID-19, people have shifted to online learning, telemedicine, remote work, and e-commerce.

See:  Edelman Canadian Trust Report: Trust declines in all sectors including 8% in technology

In this situation of widespread technology utilization to cope with the social distancing requirements of the pandemic, one might imagine the public would see the benefits produced in at least some of these areas would outweigh the costs and the risks. COVID-19 forced what otherwise might have been five years of digital change into five weeks. Nearly everyone has grown quite dependent on technology to work, learn, and communicate. That should have boosted public confidence in technology.

In the United States, trust in the technology sector has fallen from 78% in 2012 to 57% in 2021. Globally, tech sector trust has dropped from 77% to 68% during that time.

Yet the loss of trust suggests many are not happy with the role technology plays in their pandemic lives and feel there are many problems that need to be addressed. Although digital connections helped them work remotely, a number are suffering from Zoom fatigue, misinformation, privacy loss, and social isolation. A significant percentage seems to feel that tech risks outweigh benefits.

In addition, widely reported problems with online learning platforms have frustrated students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Rather than boosting confidence, these issues have eroded public trust. Although technology enables some types of learning, some experts have concluded students learned far less from online platforms than what would have been the case with in-person classrooms.

See:  PwC Report: Canadian Digital Trust Insights 2021: Cybersecurity comes of age

If public opinion continues to trend in negative directions for the technology sector, both in the United States and around the world, it likely will broaden support for government actions that regulate technology, raise taxes, ban certain applications, and limit product rollouts seen as detrimental to humanity.

A lack of public confidence will encourage political leaders to take tough regulatory actions and limit the freedom private companies have had for decades to develop new products, bring them to the marketplace, and engage in international commerce.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Techlash continues to batter technology sector The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Crypto whale ‘Metakovan’ sees NFTs as ‘huge risk’ for traders

BNN Bloomberg | Joanna Ossinger | Apr 6, 2021

Vignesh Sundaresan - Crypto whale 'Metakovan' sees NFTs as ‘huge risk’ for tradersThe cryptocurrency entrepreneur who spent more than US$69 million for a piece of digital art has a message for speculative buyers of non-fungible tokens: be prepared to lose your money.

Vignesh Sundaresan, also known by the online moniker MetaKovan, vaulted into the spotlight last month after paying a record-breaking sum for the NFT of Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days.” As Sundaresan tells it, his motivation wasn’t to make money but to support the artist and showcase the technology.

Anyone trying to profit from NFTs is “taking a huge risk,” he said in a video interview. “It’s even crazier than investing in crypto.”

The comments may raise eyebrows coming from someone who made his fortune in cryptocurrencies and has done more than perhaps anyone else to fuel the mania surrounding NFTs with big-ticket purchases of digital art. But it’s also hard to argue with Sundaresan’s warning: Average prices for NFTs tracked by Nonfungible.com tumbled almost 70 per cent from a peak in February through early April.

See:  After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs?

B.20, a token created by Sundaresan to enable “shared ownership of an open art project” that includes some of Beeple’s works, has dropped to about US$7 from US$23 since he won the Christie’s auction for Everydays on March 11. It was trading below 50 cents in January, according to CoinGecko.com.

The extraordinary boom and bust has fueled a debate over whether NFTs -- essentially digital certificates of authenticity -- will have a lasting impact on markets for art, collectibles and beyond, or turn into the latest example of an investment bubble that enriches a select few while saddling latecomers with losses.

Some skeptics have questioned whether Sundaresan’s Everydays purchase was partly an attempt to drive up the value of his existing NFT positions. He denies having profited from the transaction and said he hasn’t sold his personal holdings of B.20 tokens.

On the long-term outlook for NFTs, Sundaresan agrees with aspects of both the bull and the bear case. He describes the technology as an enduring innovation that will enable a “new patronage movement” for artists and other content creators, many of whom now rely on ad-supported revenue models via internet platforms like Instagram. But Sundaresan also said the fervor around many of the highest-priced NFTs will likely fade.

See:  What’s possible with Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

“I don’t think NFTs will hold the same kind of hype forever around high-value items,” he said. “The market will get divided. There will be very few high-value items and an infinite number of very low-valued items.”  He said the best way to participate is by purchasing NFTs from artists you want to support. “It’s not primarily an investment,” said Sundaresan, who grew up collecting stamps and WWE playing cards.

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