Living and working in South Florida has its benefits, and not just the weather! We’re only a short drive from Miami, where the annual North American Bitcoin Conference was held last week. Given how popular cryptocurrency investing has become, there was no way I was going to miss out on attending – especially with the official launch of our Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings right around the corner.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived were the rows of loud colored (orange, yellow, etc.) Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces. There was even one Rolls Royce that someone painted in camouflage colors. What in the world? Why would someone desecrate a timeless, rare exotic car, the pinnacle of luxury, with something that garish? Enter the crypto millionaires.
You see, it used to be that money = power. But in this universe, it’s technology = power. The swarms of attendees who attended the conference come from all walks of life. Some were ex-Goldman Sachs finance men. Some were venture capitalists. Others provided services like accounting, legal and such.
But one thing was clear: Each team that worked on crypto projects needed developers and technology experts to make their businesses hum – and they’re being showered with extremely large sums of money. So they’re saying goodbye to mom and dad’s basement, and hello to a world where fast-gotten millions are being spent on luxury cars, high-end clothes, and decadent parties.
Of course, the lure of fast, easy money always attracts scammers and rip-off artists. I heard many stories about folks that were electronically swindled out of their tokens on soft-wallets (all digital, and non-removable from computers). A friend of mine who became an auditor for companies looking to raise capital in Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) also alerted me to the fact that a large majority of companies were get-rich schemes — in some cases, scams led by former convicted felons.
Just a few days ago, in fact, I briefly saw an invitation for others to join a coordinated “pump and dump” scheme while I was surfing some of the crypto forums where web-based discussions take place. In short, this is a fledging industry. Even though its underlying blockchain technology could usher us into a new era of technological growth, it’s an industry that is fraught with greed and malfeasance.
But here’s the thing: Not everyone is bad. In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the Co-founders of ARK – a revolutionary coin that truly offers a big jump in functionality and utility from nearly all other blockchain coins. His team of 27 employees, in 15 different countries, launched ARK a year ago, and this year it reached a market cap of $1 billion.
That’s right – from $0 to a billion dollars in less than a year. It’s currently facing market volatility and is well off those highs, as are most other coins. But this is one of the better names that were at that conference.
Bottom line: The field is muddled, and in desperate need of impartial, practical advice and direction. In fact, when we struck an engaging conversation, a crowd would form around us. That’s because just like with any revolutionary, increasingly popular new investment, there’s a palpable fear of missing out — and everyone wants to know what other people are doing and should be doing.
That’s why our firm Weiss Ratings — and founder Martin D. Weiss — have committed to leading the way. We’re offering a thoroughly objective and completely unbiased ranking system for a wide range of cryptocurrencies. It builds on the decades of success we’ve had in the past rating stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, banks, insurance companies, and more.
Stay tuned for more details. We trust this system will provide you with much needed clarity and guidance soon.