I've been getting several messages lately inquiring about my old post from which I borrowed $30k to buy ETH back in May: https://np.reddit.com/ethtradecomments/68oshw/just_borrowed_30k_to_buy_eth_stay_tuned_for_the/
I started typing a long response to someone who asked me whether he thinks there's gonna be another opportunity like ETH in the future (from which I made over 100X returns, buying most between $10 and $100, and cashing out 90% at $1000-$1200)...and I realized I typed so much info that it could be worthwhile to share it with the community.
Before I start my rant though... about the loan I had taken out at the time: don't ever invest in more than you're willing to lose.
Opportunities will always come, in one way or another. Today is crypto, yesterday was flipping houses, before that was penny and internet stocks. But from a crypto standpoint, opportunities in this field are gonna be more rare. Bitcoin, ETH, and other large caps coins are probably done for for a while -- they'll go up in the long run but I don't think we'll see another new parabolic rise of 1000+% gains for a long while. People switched to ICOs after seeing some of the 3-10X gains, but the wild west of unregulated ICOs is starting to lose steam, mostly due to regulatory barriers.
Identifying Fundamental Disruptions
I invested in ETH first at $10 and buying all the way up to $100 (the $30k loan got me ETH at $80 each), and while others were selling for 2x flips, I was able to hold it all the way to $1000+. I think this is important to mention in the context of this post because of the necessity to realize the long-term disruption that lays ahead. At the time, I realized that ETH was about to give altcoins/tokens the ability to be speculated on due to their direct utility association in a tech startup's main business mechanism. I firmly believed that ETH should be worth at nearly as much as, if not at least, BTC in market cap because of this. Prior to ETH, it was just Bitcoins and then all clones/shitcoins. ETH gave rise to ICOs and speculative coins that could be assigned potential business value to it, thereby making crypto markets what it is today. Frankly, the entire crypto market owes ETH, and respectfully BTC of course, for what is today. Note though: I rolled the dice big for ETH, but even my $30k investment at the time was only about a quarter of my savings at the time. So again, don't invest in more than you are willing to lose or sleep soundly at night.
The Future: Increasing Regulation
Anyway, turning to the future. Here's what I think is going to happen. SEC is going shutdown alot of ICOs; they are really cracking down on ICOs claiming to be utilities, even if disguised through airdrops or SAFTs. In fact, just today's WSJ news said SEC issued subpoenas to multiple ICOs and have taken interest in SAFTs for so-called utility tokens. Just like the dot-com bubble, 90%+ of these previous ICOs are gonna tank and fail. We're gonna see a massive correction probably later in 2018, when roadmaps with major expected milestones start missing their deadlines, and a domino effect happens when SEC starts really flexing their muscle and forcing exchanges to go into delisting mode (we already are starting to see this with Bittrex).
But a Hidden Opportunity
So about looking for another crypto pump opportunity.... When the culling happens, the survivors are gonna be as follows. Look for US-based ICOs that have been SEC-compliant from the outset, or at least making a strong effort to do so. Having a legal advisor or team member will be big this year. Don't be afraid of lockups or holding periods if it's for the purpose of being SEC compliant (signs are mentions of Reg CF, Reg D, Reg S, and Reg A+ offerings... you could google these keywords with their company name to see if they have a filing record in SEC's database). See if these ICOs and team leaders had a successful and profitable business in the past, or at least spun out of a profitable company. Also, there's way too much bullshit with partnerships, many which are fake or with useless no/name companies. Next, a lot of these open ecosystem platforms rely on partner companies to attract customers -- but why would companies join when there are no customers, and vice versa. It's all bullshit and often pump and dump shilling. What you want is a closed ecosystem (think Apple iOS) to help consumers navigate the business model. An open ecosystem where customers have to attach their own crypto wallet, blah blah blah, yay decentralization, yeah... well that's all never gonna see mass adoption (think Linux... some hardcore advocates exist, but what layperson actually wants to operate command lines or deep menus all day long and accidentally break their system with one wrong syntax). Look how successful Coinbase has become by simplifying crap. Too much shit is focused on the crypto side and it's like a foreign language to mainstream customers who won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Look for ICOs that are consumer focused rather just have solely an ICO page. It's particularly appealing if they have a self-directing strategy in the form of a tangible product they can sell to generate data or transactions in their ecosystem, which would naturally attract additional customers/companies into their platform.
These companies with revolutionary ideas, who are making an effort to be legally compliant and also have a tangible product, are the ones that are gonna survive the mass culling of alts and ICOs later this year. If we ever get our first ICO unicorn (from revenue, not pumped market cap of their token), then it will bring truly mainstream recognition of the crypto markets that will give the traditional stock markets a serious run for their money. I'm not talking about less than 1% of the $70 trillion stock market value of the world -- I'm talking like double digit levels of the entire global stock market. And I bet you it will happen. This is the sorting-out phase of the future -- a shift from old world Wall Street-type money to Silicon Valley. Crypto allows direct investments into technology startups, and tokenization of the actual business transaction mechanism cuts down all the traditional valuation crap dealing with public relations and whatever meta valuation factors. If the business is making sales, then the token is worth something, and that's all that matters. If the business is losing sales, then the token is worth less. Straightforward.
- https://www.epigencare.com/ico - Selling a 23andMe-like skincare test to generate skincare profiles, then seeing how product ingredients affect the profiles. Then skincare companies can target their products to customer profiles through their recommendation engine, and present them as personalized solutions in the customer's test report.
- https://holo.host/ico/ - Creating a new blockchain 3.0 that allows you store full websites and databases directly on the blockchain (instead of just transaction data), in order to allow decentralized hosting via peer-to-peer internet. They're selling small server boxes or software so you get paid crypto for cloud hosting (and apps and sites needing hosting pay the hosts).
When All The Puzzle Pieces Fit Together
Two more things to note. First: If ETH successfully pulls off scaling through sharding/raiden and drastically reduces gas fees through proof of stake, then it will be fit for enterprise use. ETH's stress tested blockchain with upgrades will facilitate real world adoption (Most of these ERC20 platforms are currently not fit for real adoption due to high gas fees and low TPS). Otherwise, consider hedging into alternative smart contract-, high volume-, low cost-capable platforms with implementation documentation (e.g., Stellar) to potentially get some good gains. Second: A lot of these current crypto exchanges are not registered ATS's (alternative trading systems) that are permitted to trade securities by the SEC, so they can only trade utilities. But SEC is cracking down on these fake-utilities and are deeming them all securities... that's gonna leave these exchanges in the dust. So we're seeing big companies entering this space, Overstock building tZero, Circle/Goldman Sachs acquiring Polo, Cobinhood, etc. They are prepping for ATS compliance, and when legal tokenized securities become tradeable, they will be traded on these platforms... not hot messes like Binance. And they will be user friendly -- gateways for mainstream to invest directly in the tokenized assets of a company's core business model. It's all culminating to the survival of legit companies, mainstream adoption, and these are your clues. Enjoy trading shitcoins while they last, but don't get caught with your pants down bagholding them.
TL;DR Look for coins based on fundamentals and legal compliance so they will survive the massive culling in late 2018 when roadmaps don't meet milestone deadlines
Edit: Grammar, and Readability
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