Crypto Kings and Queens: Emerging Leaders in the World of Digital Assets

Over the past decade, there has been a multitude of pioneers in the crypto space. As new advancements and updates are made each and every day, there is an overload of information to constantly keep up with. As the public looks to further understand the new comings of digital assets, a variety of crypto leaders have emerged as trusted experts in the industry. These people are developers, entrepreneurs, analysts, engineers, investors, and overall emergent leaders that contribute their knowledge, ideas, and expertise to further educate and grow the digital asset community. 

As 2021 has kicked into full swing, several young professionals have embraced the shift from a traditional financial system to one influenced by the power of digital assets. One individual in particular who has been taking the crypto world by storm is Flori Marquez. Since graduating from Cornell, Marquez has gone on to become the co-founder of BlockFi, making her way onto the Forbes 30 under 30 finance list. BlockFi is a very successful and rapidly growing crypto-lending platform that allows clients to open accounts with up to 8.6% APY, with revenues of over $100 million projected for the year ahead. Marquez keeps the public up to date on all things BlockFi, alongside her daily thoughts and opinions via Twitter, where her bio reads, “bridging the worlds of fintech and blockchain”.

While the capabilities of cryptocurrencies are spectacular, they would not be made possible without the engineers behind the protocols that make crypto transactions successful. Amiti Uttarwar is a 28-year-old Nevada native who works as a software engineer and coder of Bitcoin’s protocol in Silicon Valley. She strives to enhance the privacy of wallets in Bitcoin Core by studying the various transactions made on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Her efforts to help to facilitate the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies will allow for further mass adoption and will aid the everyday utilization of digital assets. 

Another emerging leader who deserves some recognition is Jesse Peltan, he is the co-founder of HODL ranch, a bitcoin mining company located in Texas. Peltan alongside his team works to allocate their resources to lower the cost of bitcoin mining to make bitcoin more profitable overall. His innovative approach to harvesting natural windpower elements and renewable energy sources makes for low costs in Bitcoin mining, as demand for advanced efficiency of networks increases. Mining historically can be difficult with a variety of costs, alongside trials and errors of harvesting energy, distribution, etc, and Peltan works to facilitate that process.

Lastly, a dominant force in the crypto world is Brian Armstrong, CEO, and co-founder of Coinbase. As Co-Founder and CEO, Armstrong has grown Coinbase into the largest crypto-exchange in the United States. He has built Coinbase up to be a secure and compliance-oriented platform in which accredited investors trust. In tandem, the trust that Coinbase has fostered among the community has contributed to the recent institutional adoption we have seen. According to Forbes, “Coinbase is the first principal issuer of debit cards that allow customers to spend their cryptocurrency anywhere Visa is accepted and to withdraw cash from any ATM,” thus making cryptocurrencies much more accessible for everyday use cases. Armstrong has a strong presence on Twitter and social communities as well, voicing his updates, opinions, and other crypto-related discussions for the crypto-curious to see.

These are just a few of the many young individuals who have seen firsthand just how far the blockchain and crypto sector has become and ran with it. Though their own day-to-day hustle and bustle may differ, they uphold a shared belief that the future of finance lies within the capabilities of digital assets and cryptocurrencies powered by blockchain technology. At Sarson Funds, we believe in that same shared idea. To learn more about our investment strategies, visit our YouTube Channel, follow us on social media, or visit our website to learn more about our holistic educational approach to crypto and digital asset investing.

By Abigail Almonte

Ethereum: Pioneering the Future of Financial Services

Ethereum: The Future of Financial Services

Ethereum: The Future of Financial Services

Congratulations—you’ve made it down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, and now you’re asking the tougher questions. If Bitcoin is the ultimate digital store of value, then what are all these other cryptocurrencies up to? What is Ethereum, how does it differ from Bitcoin, and why are prominent investors suddenly talking about it? Perhaps you’ve seen Ethereum’s (ETH’s) impressive price appreciation and are curious about future price movement. In this article, we will uncover Ethereum’s present use cases, recent price appreciation, and remaining upside potential.

Native to the Ethereum network, Ether (ETH) is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. However, Bitcoin’s value is commonly understood as a function of its adoption as a decentralized and deflationary store of value. In contrast, Ether’s value is derived from user demand for smart contract execution on the Ethereum network. In essence, smart contracts execute decentralized applications (dApps) automatically, creating value in part by eliminating the need for central authority. Because Ethereum’s bandwidth is limited, users pay transaction fees with Ether to incentivize miners (network transaction validators) to process smart contract execution. Since anyone can create a dApp, the Ethereum network has become a vibrant and competitive ecosystem for technological innovation. With promising opportunities to decentralize and automate (read: disrupt) some of the world’s most valuable markets in finance, logistics, real estate, and more, exposure to Ethereum and its dApps may be a critical component to the modern investor’s successful portfolio.

So, what dApps exist today that contribute to Ethereum’s soaring values? Lending protocols such as Aave (AAVE) and Compound (COMP) enable users to earn interest or borrow crypto instantly. Synthetix (SNX) enables users to issue and trade synthetic assets that track the price of external assets, such as US dollars or exchange-traded stocks, making derivatives more accessible and liquid. Decentralized exchange (DEX) protocols like Uniswap (UNI) facilitate automated trading of Ethereum tokens through liquidity pools, allowing users to maintain custody of their assets as opposed to being held by centralized exchanges. Though these are only several examples, these rapidly growing dApps demonstrate real adoption and represent a broader wave of change which echoes Bitcoin’s ethos of decentralization: the decentralization of finance, or “DeFi.” Observing this trend begs the question: How much higher can ETH’s valuation go?

At the time of writing, Ethereum’s market cap is hovering around $200B USD; one year ago, today, that figure was $13B. Still, Ethereum accounts for only a miniscule share of wealth when compared to the stock markets. Globally, stock markets have an estimated value approaching $90T. But the financial markets don’t end there. Low-end estimates of global derivatives markets are $560 trillion. High-end estimates reach as high as $1.2 quadrillion. Considering the recent advent of dApps like Synthetix, it seems that Ethereum may just be getting started tapping into these markets.

When faced with Ethereum’s exploding levels of innovation and adoption, it is easy to get carried away with such numbers. In truth, nobody can precisely predict the extent to which Blockchains such as Ethereum will continue to replace legacy financial systems. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand the enormity of Ethereum’s upside potential and consider the risk of not being exposed to its growth. At Sarson Funds, we believe the trend of decentralization will continue to manifest itself through Ethereum and other blockchain-based technologies like DeFi. For education and news updates on other emerging cryptocurrency sectors like NFTs, DAOs, stablecoins, internet-of-things, data sovereignty, and more, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and check out our newsroom.

By Nathan Frankovitz

Understanding Decentralized Finance: DeFi 101

Decentralized Finance 101

Decentralized Finance 101

In 2020, the cryptocurrency market cap surpassed $1 Trillion. This year, you owe it to yourself to learn how you can get involved in digital asset investment opportunities.

We get it. We live in a digital age full of constant technological changes – keeping up with these changes can be overwhelming. This is especially true for digital assets like Bitcoin. With access to an abundance of information on the topic, sometimes it can be hard to make sense of new terminology and the cultural memes born from societal change. As this ecosystem surfaces, it can be hard to understand even the most basic terms that industry experts take for granted. 

Despite the seemingly overwhelming nature of the digital asset industry, it really isn’t so complicated once you learn the basics. In our view, once you understand the basics, you’ll see that adding digital assets to your portfolio is one of the most critical investment decisions you’ll ever make. That’s why we left Wall Street – to bridge the gap between crypto and traditional finance. You don’t want to be on the sidelines for this emergent industry. 

Start your cryptocurrency and blockchain education with some basic themes and terminology, here:

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Decentralized Finance, also known as “DeFi,” refers to a broader series of financial services that uses blockchain technology to reimagine traditional finance. Using publicly available and verifiable ledger systems, DeFi systems support financial transactions that remove many of the costs of counterparty risk. For example: instead of paying an organization to act as an escrow service, you’d use software known as a smart contract to verify financial transactions. 

One example of how DeFi is changing the world is how money is transferred through it. Global remittances total nearly $700 billion a year. Remittance services typically charge high fees and take time to transfer money from one country to another. With DeFi, those transactions can be done rapidly, for a fraction of the cost, and are done directly from peer to peer, offering a more private and secure transaction. 

According to the OCC, DeFi is on pace to overtake traditional financial services.

Smart Contracts 

But what exactly is a smart contract? And why does it matter whether there are 3rd parties involved in a transaction? Smart Contracts are a new type of software that facilitate a cryptographically secured transaction on a blockchain. Smart Contracts function as rules written in code which dictate the execution of the transaction. 

Decentralized Applications – DApps and DEXs

Decentralized Apps (DApps in the crypto world) are unique applications that use smart contracts for different purposes. Smart Contracts have allowed for the creation of decentralized exchanges (DEXs), which are smart contracts that facilitate peer-to-peer market making using complex smart contracts, rather than relying on 3rd party clearing houses, broker/dealers and bank custodians. These applications run exchanges using a permissionless network (no 3rd parties are involved), therefore making DEXs secure. Popular DEXs include Compound and Uniswap.

You may be wondering, why wouldn’t you just use a centralized exchange like Robinhood or Coinbase? The real value behind decentralized applications like a DEX is that you own and maintain custody of your asset up until the transaction takes place. The application cannot restrict your ability to transact with any asset as what recently occurred with the Robinhood’s restriction of Gamestop stock. 

Becoming your own Bank: Decentralized Lending Platforms 

Lending platforms offer a flexible alternative to traditional banking services. They provide users the ability to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies on a peer-to peer network, insinuating the idea of “being your own bank.” Privacy is heightened as classic bank requirements such as identity and credit scores are not required through the platforms.

Stablecoins 

Most people are familiar with Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry because of industry wide price volatility. Stablecoins were created as a way to mitigate volatility risk in the DeFi space. These coins are pegged to the value of traditional fiat currencies. For example, USDC is a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. Dollar.

Decentralized finance is in for a wild ride in 2021. As you follow along, it will be critical to be educated on what powers these technological advances and how they are changing the future of finance.

Final Thoughts

At Sarson Funds, we understand that you’re not going to jump straight into a new investment opportunity without educating yourself first. That’s why our core mission is to thoroughly educate financial advisors on this emergent investment class with Wall Street-grade standards. To learn more about how digital assets can support your investment objectives, stay tuned for more educational materials or reach out to schedule an appointment with one of our experts today.

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For more updates on the world of digital assets, follow the journey via our Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, or here at: https://www.sarsonfunds.com

By Abigail Almonte

Crypto Basics: How to Buy Bitcoin

Sarson Funds: How to Invest in Bitcoin - Cryptocurrency Financial Advisor

Sarson Funds: How to Invest in Bitcoin - Cryptocurrency Financial Advisor

As Bitcoin and the digital asset ecosystem continue to reach all time highs, investors are being awakened to the true value of crypto assets. As newcomers gain interest, the most frequently asked question has become: how can I buy Bitcoin? This article will provide a step-by-step manual on how to invest in cryptocurrencies and the various elements to consider before investing.

First, every investor should consider how they would like to invest: individually or with a digital asset manager. You should invest individually if you believe you have a firm grasp on the various tokens throughout the ecosystem and would like to diversify your holdings based on your own strategy and methodology. Investing individually would provide you the freedom to invest and own various tokens on your own, versus owning a portion of a larger-scale investment strategy. If you are new to the crypto space and are looking to join in on the fun without knowing much about individual coins, or would rather entrust professional portfolio managers to drive returns for you, then you should choose a digital asset manager and a specific strategy that fits your investing interests.

To invest individually, you must first choose how you’d like to invest. If you are simply looking to own Bitcoin, a very basic entry point would be to invest through a Bitcoin ATM, which are widely available in grocery and convenience stores across the United States. These ATMs allow you to buy Bitcoin with cash, debit and credit cards, and most allow the sale of Bitcoin in return for cash on your card. Purchasing and selling Bitcoin through an ATM will provide you with a paper wallet and a private key password to keep your Bitcoin safe. This paper wallet must be kept safe and secure, as loss of this wallet and the private key would mean a total loss of the assets stored on these until the address and private key are recovered. If you already have a Bitcoin wallet, you can scan the QR code of the wallet or provide its address to send the Bitcoin straight to your pre existing wallet.

If you’d like to actively trade Bitcoin and other digital assets, as well as track their progress and keep up to date with the ecosystem daily, we recommend purchasing Bitcoin through a crypto exchange. First, you must decide what type of investor you are looking to be. If you are simply looking to trade and keep up with crypto whenever you can, we recommend setting up an account with Coinbase, Gemini or Kraken. If you are looking to be a more sophisticated investor, Binance US offers real time analysis and price trends, giving investors the ability to witness active and past trading candles as well as buys/sells coming through the platform. Access to these price trends and real time market activity provides investors insight into where Bitcoin’s price will move in the short term.

Once you have decided which exchange will give you the capabilities you need, it’s time to set up an account. Setting up an account on a crypto exchange requires investors’ information for proper KYC background checks. This will require a government issued ID, a bank account to source money flows, and an onboarding process for account verification. Once your account is set up, you are free to invest on the platform.

Purchasing Bitcoin and other digital assets on crypto exchanges is an easy process. You simply look up the coin you would like to invest in, then select the dollar amount of the coin you would like to purchase (crypto assets can be bought in small parts, so you do not need to buy a whole coin), and confirm the purchase to finalize the transaction.

Once you own your coins, it is crucial to know how to protect them. Keeping your coins on exchanges is the simplest way to consolidate your assets in one place, but if you want true ownership of your tokens, you must own and control the private key to your wallet, which acts as a password to gain access to your coins. When your coins are located on exchanges, you do not truly own them because your private key passwords are stored on the exchange. When your private key is stored by a centralized platform, your coins may risk compromise if the platform is hacked. Thus, to ensure the true security of your tokens, we recommend taking your coins off of crypto exchanges and holding them on cold storage wallets like the Ledger Nano X.

At Sarson Funds, we aim to enable and empower our community to access the new age of financial freedom. To learn how to invest with a digital asset manager, stay tuned for our next segment of Crypto Basics. Until then, do what you came here to do and go buy some Bitcoin. Happy HODLing!

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

Market Update: Crypto Market Cap Breaks Past $1 Trillion

Crypto Market Cap Reaches 1 Trillion

Crypto Market Cap Reaches 1 Trillion

BREAKING: Last night, the entire crypto market cap broke past USD $1 Trillion. This escalation is indicative of the global pace of crypto adoption as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and crypto tokens around the ecosystem break past all time highs as the world is awakened to the true utility of digital assets. Fueled by the economic uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the macroeconomic response of countries worldwide, we expect this momentum to continue as regulation strengthens, Wall Street and global institutions validate the utility of crypto, and the world leans more and more on digital commerce. 

As global sentiment shifts to embrace crypto, we are here to educate the world on the power of the blockchain ecosystem and enable true financial sovereignty. Please reach out to us for educational inquiries and our recommendations on how to get involved in the next great shift in global finance.

By Liam McDonald

Cryptocurrencies and Quantum Computing: A Future of Coexistence

Sarson Funds - The Future of Crypto - Cryptocurrency Financial Advisor

Sarson Funds - The Future of Crypto - Cryptocurrency Financial Advisor

Recent developments in both quantum computing and the crypto ecosystem indicate that neither are going anywhere. As both continue to grow, it is crucial for the crypto community to understand that quantum computing poses both an existential threat and lucrative opportunity towards crafting the future of the ecosystem. As we have expressed in previous segments, quantum computers will soon be fully capable of cracking into crypto wallets only through knowledge of wallet addresses, as they are able to use these addresses as the foundation to further derive the public and then the private keys. As this quantum functionality arises, the future of crypto depends on quantum-resistant encryption solutions.

The bottom line is that crypto and quantum computing must coexist. At Sarson Funds, we believe that an upside to quantum computing risk is that it will push blockchain to become truly unbreakable, pushing cryptocurrencies to be the indisputable medium for future commerce. Thus, quantum computing should not be viewed as an existential risk, but rather a tool to drive crypto towards a future of quantum-resistance and assured value protection. The future-proof security that will emerge from the next wave of crypto advancements will provide a pathway of irrefutability for crypto as a means of consensus for our future financial system.

The next wave of crypto advancements will likely see an emergence of two key avenues towards quantum-resistance: quantum-proof blockchains and digital assets wrapped with quantum resistant encryption algorithms. While we are only beginning to understand what the future of crypto will look like with the recent release of the Crown Sterling token, we know that the crypto community will respect the pace of innovation and understand that even the most underlying mechanisms that we’ve trusted for so long are at risk.

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