Crypto Likes the Stock: How Blockchain Empowers WallStreetBets to Trade “Stonks” on Their Own Terms

Wall Street Bets Finds Easy Solution to Censorship in Mirror Finance

Wall Street Bets Finds Easy Solution to Censorship in Mirror Finance

The market revolution surrounding WallStreetBets (WSB), Gamestop (GME), and electronic trading platforms Robinhood and TD Ameritrade is inspiring a renowned cry for financial freedom in traditional finance markets. The overarching realization many investors are experiencing is that the United States’ “free market” is not so free after all, as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade took actions to limit trading on GME and AMC to protect Wall Street hedge funds from collapsing. At the cost of small-scale investors, Wall Street’s vulnerabilities are being protected by the platforms originally designed to empower we the people, and we the people are furious. 

Crypto and blockchain-based solutions have quickly surfaced to quench the modern investor’s need for a censor-free, frictionless financial system. Mirror Finance is bridging the gap between Wall Street, everyday investors, and crypto, as this decentralized financial (DeFi) protocol gives barred investors a pathway toward true financial freedom. Mirror Finance is a DeFi protocol on the Terra blockchain that allows the creation, use and trading of synthetic assets known as Mirrored Assets (mAssets). mAssets are designed to mirror the price behavior of real-world assets on a blockchain, giving traders all over the world 24/7 access to financial markets without actually owning or transacting with real assets.

Crypto synthetic assets are blockchain-based financial instruments that combine derivative products like futures, options and swaps to imitate and track the value of any traditional asset, allowing for crypto integration with traditional finance. These crypto synthetics enable users to trade these mirrored-assets at their real-time value 24/7, 365 days a year regardless of stock market hours. Mirror brings the financial freedom that crypto offers to traditional finance, permitting fractional ownership, open access and freedom from censorship for everyday investors.

WallStreetBets investors looking for more exposure to WSB-pumped stocks that were censored by Robinhood and TD Ameritrade can regain their stance with these assets through synthetic replicas on Mirror’s protocol. 

The collusion between Wall Street and electronic trading platforms is awakening our society to the true need for decentralized finance. Inspired? So are we. We hope the capabilities that Mirror brings to the world will empower the finance community to continue bridging the gaps between traditional and decentralized finance to inspire the next frontier of financial services.

By Liam McDonald

Investing in Crypto: 5 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

Crypto Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

Crypto Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

As Bitcoin and the digital asset ecosystem break past a total market cap of $1 Trillion USD, we want to be your resource for all things crypto. Thus, to help you along your digital asset discovery, we have compiled what we believe to be the five questions you should be asking your financial advisor about crypto.

  1. How can I invest in digital assets?
  2. What digital assets should I invest in?
  3. Should I invest with a digital asset manager or an exchange?
  4. What are the best educational resources to learn more about crypto?
  5. What strategies are driving the best returns?

As crypto emerges as the most lucrative new asset class in finance, it is crucial for your financial advisors to know how to best serve your digital asset needs. We are a crypto education, investment, and marketing firm that manages some of the highest-returning digital asset investment strategies in the industry. It is our duty to provide Wall Street-grade educational, investment, and marketing services to our community. If you have questions about how you to get involved in this exciting new space, please reach out to us – we are here to help.

By Liam McDonald

2020 in Crypto: Top Stories of the Year and a Look Towards the Future

Crypto 2020 - Sarson Funds Cryptocurrency Financial Advisors

Crypto 2020 - Sarson Funds Cryptocurrency Financial Advisors

Reflecting on a year that brought its handful of challenges, 2020 proved the importance of adaptation. Life in a digital world became inevitably crucial, and as changes in everyday life were made rapidly, the cryptocurrency ecosystem followed suit.

With more talk than ever surrounding the world of decentralized banking, we’ve compiled the top stories of 2020. 

Throughout the year, our team focused on understanding the importance of digital asset data security. With the emergence of quantum computing capabilities, we’ve identified Crown Sterling as one of the leading engineers of the future of quantum-resistant data security. Led by mathematician Robert Grant, Crown Sterling has created the first quantum-resistant digital asset, the Crown Sterling token. The token, protected by their new quantum-proof encryption algorithm, CrownEncryptOTP, provides lifelong protection of user-sensitive data. As cryptocurrencies grow vulnerable to quantum-hacking, this future-proof digital asset provides a pathway toward progressive and sustainable encryption advancement. 

In October, the crypto ecosystem welcomed PayPal into the space. The company announced they would be adding Bitcoin and crypto transactions to their payment options for users. CEO Dan Schulman hopes this change will drive momentum for PayPal’s 375 million users and registered merchants to become more comfortable with digital payments through the crypto ecosystem. Tech giants Square and Venmo followed suit with integrating buying, holding, and selling capabilities for cryptocurrencies. The commercial adaptation by large institutions is positively shifting public comfortability towards digital payments as they are continuously mainstreamed. 

Aside from the use of digital assets in big tech, Wall Street began to embrace Blockchain as well. Leaders in the finance world such as J.P Morgan, Guggenheim, and AllianceBernstein have all noted that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Overcoming CEO Jamie Dimon’s 2017 claim that Bitcoin was a “fraud,” JP Morgan proceeded to release their ‘JPM Coin,’ in addition to their new branch for digital asset operations and custody services, Onyx. JPMorgan spearheaded the use of blockchain on Wall Street, and it is no surprise that Guggenheim and AllianceBernstein were so quick to follow as blockchain proves to be a profitable and efficient way to secure transactions without lag time or third-party interference. Bitcoin is becoming increasingly valued as a medium of exchange, as growing adaptation occurs on Wall Street and beyond. 

As Bitcoin continued to gain value with record-breaking prices, business intelligence company MicroStrategy bought  70,470 Bitcoin, a total of 1.1 billion dollars. CEO Michael Saylor says, “The acquisition of additional bitcoins announced today reaffirms our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value.”

A common saying for the new year: out with the old, in with the new. In the world of Fintech, rather, out with traditional financial services, in with decentralized banking. Brian Brooks and the OCC began emphasizing the cost effectiveness and efficiency of removing third parties. As we saw with the shift from postal services to email, instant and direct financial services solutions are now being provided by decentralized finance (Defi) platforms to simplify the future of banking. With Defi’s increasing capabilities, the entire banking system will soon be forced to adopt blockchain technology. 

In September, Kraken, one the largest US-based crypto exchanges, made history as the first digital asset company in the United States to receive permissions as a bank charter. The Wyoming-based Special Purpose Depository Institution will offer depository, custody, and fiduciary services for cryptocurrencies. The integration of both banking efforts along with crypto services is projected to expand into a variety of initiatives including cryptocurrency debit cards, mobile banking, etc., paving the way for regulatory adoption from banks everywhere.

In the last month of 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple Labs. The company had raised over $1.3 billion dollars through the sale and distribution of XRP, which was recently declared an unregistered security.  XRP is one of the largest and most valuable coins in the crypto industry, known for its rapid speed and accessibility in over 50 countries. The SEC plans to ban Ripple’s ability to participate in XRP’s market trading. The case is being referred to as “the crypto trial of the century.” 

In 2021, we expect the pace of crypto adoption and innovation to continue as competition from big tech grows. Crypto’s integration into banks and the strengthening of regulation will add to the continued growth of the ecosystem,  making for 2021 to be another year of crypto’s outperformance of traditional finance.

By Liam McDonald

Protecting Your Bitcoin From Quantum Computing Risk: Cold Storage with the Ledger Nano X

Guaranteeing Bitcoin Safety with Quantum Computing Advancements

Guaranteeing Bitcoin Safety with Quantum Computing Advancements

As discussed in the first part of our quantum computing risk advisory, taking your Bitcoin off of centralized exchanges and keeping them safe in cold storage (off exchanges) is a sure way to guarantee the protection of your digital assets. Our recommendation for the best hardware to store your assets on is the Ledger Nano X, which enables users to control their coins through the personal storage of their private keys. The Ledger Nano X is the first and only certified hardware wallet on the market.

When users activate their Ledger Nano X, private key ownership is restored to the rightful owner of the coins, taking control away from centralized exchanges that typically hold and control wallet addresses, public and private keys of their holders. When all three of these, especially private key ownership, is returned to users, users become the true owners of the coins as private key storage is removed from the centralized cloud. When wallets and keys are taken off exchanges, quantum computers have no way of beginning to find them, as referenced in part one, and no complicated tactics are needed to continue safety assurance.

With the Ledger Nano X, users have access to millions of private key passwords for their wallets, so they can engage in as many transactions as they want and have automatic wallet and key regeneration to completely sidestep risk of quantum hacking. The encyclopedia of randomly-generated private passwords is accessible through a recovery phrase, which must be kept private by the user, or else they risk hackers gaining access to all of their private key combinations.

We have no paid partnership with the Ledger team, we are simply recommending our best practices as the future of the crypto ecosystem evolves alongside quantum computing. You can purchase the Ledger Nano X, here.

For more information on quantum computing, the risks and opportunities associated with it, be sure to explore our Cryptography Lite Paper and Digital Asset Investor Guide to Cryptography.

By Liam McDonald

Bancor Network: Stake and Protect with Liquidity Mining

Bancor Network Provides Liquidity for Yield Farmers

Bancor Network Provides Liquidity for Yield Farmers

This week, Bancor Network launched their liquidity mining program. So far, the addition skyrocketed Bancor’s total value locked and has been a positive catalyst for its token price, which is up 50% this week. The goals for the Bancor liquidity mining program are to increase liquidity to its exchange and encourage LP’s to stick around once the mining period ends through incorporating interesting features like single sided liquidity deposits and a stake and protect feature for liquidity providers.

One of the main reasons why I was originally drawn to Bancor Network was because their stake and protect feature seems to be the perfect hedge against risk of impermanent loss. While Bancor provides inherent risk management opportunities, they originally did not have enough liquidity or volume to make it worthwhile to become a liquidity provider on their platform. Bancor’s liquidity mining program solves the original liquidity and volume issues of Bancor. Below, find images of the total value locked in the protocol and the liquidity mining reward APY’s investors can receive if they became an LP on Bancor.

Source: https://defipulse.com/bancor

Source: https://app.bancor.network/eth/data

In summary, if yield farmers are looking for high returns and mitigation of their impermanent loss risk, then Bancor Network is a great platform to provide liquidity.

By Jacob Stelter

Harvest Finance Hacked: Flash Loans and How to Mitigate Risk of Loss

Harvest Hacked and how to protect against losses

Weekly Analyst Thoughts

This past weekend, Harvest Finance, a Defi yield farming protocol, was hacked using a Defi transaction mechanism called a flash loan. A flash loan is a specific type of transaction where the borrower must repay the loan in the same blockchain transaction. If the borrower does not repay the full loan (principal + interest), the transaction reverts, so as to seem like the flash loan never happened. Like Harvest, Aave also supports flash loan transactions and credits much of its meteoric 2020 price rise to this feature.

The Harvest Finance attack was executed through the Curve Finance Y pool with a flash loan. As seen below, Harvest’s near $3 billion in volume and over 170% APY raised concerns that there was irregular activity in the Curve Finance pool.

Source: Curve.fi

The takeaway from this clever arbitrage on Harvest Finance is that even if a yield farming protocol has multiple layers of audits (as Harvest did), it can still be vulnerable to attacks. So, don’t let the fact that a protocol is audited give a false sense of security when investing in Defi yield farming protocols. Instead, it is safer to diversify risk by investing with several reputable yield farming platforms (Ex: Uniswap, Balancer) to mitigate the risk of lost funds through sophisticated flash loan attacks.

By Jacob Stelter

Cream Finance: New Crypto Exchange Rivaling Uniswap and Balancer

Weekly Analyst Thoughts

Cream Finance: New Crypto Exchange Rivaling Uniswap and Balancer

Introducing Cream Finance, a new Defi liquidity exchange that is as robust as competitors like Uniswap, Balancer, and Compound. Cream stands for “Crypto Rules Everything Around Me” and its token jumped 145% just last week. Cream Finance allows the borrowing and lending of multiple cryptocurrencies and offers better yields than Compound Finance, as pictured below.

Cream Finance also allows liquidity providers to yield farm Cream on Balancer and Uniswap pools, pictured below.

Finally, Cream Finance has its own Uniswap and Balancer exchange, “Cream Swap,” that delivers yield farming rewards for being a liquidity provider on their platform. One of their liquidity providing pools has a 200% APY just for depositing a different type of Ethereum into a pool, as seen below.

In summary, Cream Finance provides a platform to borrow and lend a multitude of cryptocurrencies, yield farm and become a liquidity provider on their Cream Swap exchange, and yield farm in Uniswap and Balancer Pools.

By Jacob Stelter

Multi-Platform Yield Farming With Curve’s CRV Token

Weekly Analyst Thoughts

Curve Dao Token- CRV

In the Defi ecosystem, three major decentralized exchanges, Dexes, are used. These Dexes are Uniswap, Balancer, and Curve.

Balancer’s BAL token incentivizes Defi users to become liquidity providers within their Balancer pools to earn BAL tokens, while Uniswap has the network effect of being one of the first Dexes to have liquidity pools. Curve, on the other hand, is known as the stablecoin Dex where users can seamlessly exchange stablecoins like sUSD, DAI, USDC, and USDT, making them one of the most popular Dexes in the ecosystem. To add to their fervor, Curve has released their own CRV token to incentivize Defi users to contribute to their liquidity pools.

The rewards for CRV tokens are between 57-150% for contributing to a Curve liquidity pool. I would recommend that Defi users combine Compound liquidity rewards with CRV liquidity rewards to maximize their yield farming earnings.

Example Yield Farming Scenario:

  1. Supply $10,000 of USDC to Compound Protocol: Estimated Interest Revenue: $671, Compound Liquidity Earnings: $817
  2. Supply $10,000 cUSDC tokens received from supplying to Compound Protocol: Estimated Interest Revenue: $822, CRV Liquidity Earnings: $6,056

Estimated Yield Farming APY: 83.66%

In summary, with the addition of new yield farming tokens, there is new opportunity to combine different Defi protocols and earn higher than normal APY, all while helping other Defi users trade seamlessly between different Ethereum ERC-20 tokens.

By Jacob Stelter