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Reformed ‘altcoin slayer’ Eric Wall on shitposting and scaling Ethereum – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Reformed ‘altcoin slayer’ Eric Wall on shitposting and scaling Ethereum – Cointelegraph Magazine

Although he’s had a variety of jobs in the industry, including a stint as Arcane Asset’s chief investment officer, Eric Wall is probably best known for shitposting and arguing with people on Crypto Twitter.

“Just like any other person, I’m scrolling my Twitter feed, and then you see people saying dumb shit that is incorrect, and that is based on a lie. And then I just argue with that person, and then those arguments lead to long-form Medium articles,” he says with just a faint trace of a Swedish accent.

“I’m just trying to correct ‘incorrectness’ in the space.”

He’s been working on a super-secret project ever since he left Arcane early last year, so he doesn’t have an official title apart from “blockchain researcher” and board member for Ethereum scaling solution the StarkNet Foundation.

After arguing with people for years for free, more recently, Wall has been attempting to make money from challenging antagonists to a bet and has also (semi-literally) begun collecting the skulls of his enemies. “That has been paying off in tungsten cubes and actual money,” he says.

“There’s multiple cryptocurrency communities who have me as their favorite hate object basically. They want to put you in your place. And they have all sorts of idiotic ideas.”

Eric is the ‘prime antagonist’ for Richard Heart and Hex
Eric is the “prime antagonist” for Richard Heart and Hex. Source: Twitter

Wall recently moved to Portugal from Sweden, attracted by the crypto-friendly regulation and the lifestyle — and for safety reasons, after the next most prominent crypto future in Sweden was physically attacked in an attempt to steal his crypto. He explains the tax system there is so transparent that anyone can look up your net wealth. “If you combine that with the fact you know they’re into crypto, and it’s very easy to pick out targets in Sweden,” he says.

Wall says he paid for the rent on his new flat through the hatred of HEXicans. He’s been at loggerheads with the HEX community since 2019 when founder Richard Heart explained the scheme to him. In February last year, he made a bet with HEXican Dixon Piper that HEX — then trading at $0.18 — wouldn’t reach a new all-time high by February 2023.

While he hasn’t won yet (but almost certainly will, given HEX’s current price), after HEX plunged to $0.04, he was able to hedge the bet and lock in a profit of $16,000 to pay for his apartment in Lisbon.

“I have this place now with just the most amazing view that I’ve ever seen in my life. I see the entire Portuguese coast from that window, from that balcony. I can have these HEXicans telling me how stupid I am while looking at that view.”

Similarly, he bet Blockstream CEO Adam Back that PlanB’s “floor model” was going to be wrong — which it was. “So, Adam had to pay up a tungsten cube with his face engraved into the cube,” he says. He won another bet against Bitcoin Magazine’s CK Snarks that the Ethereum Merge really would happen in 2022.

His plan is to build up a collection of 20 tungsten cubes with the faces of his vanquished foes so that people think twice about arguing. “You’re going to be pretty intimidated,” he says. “Do you want to be the next face in this collection?”

Bitcoin maxi to mini

Wall is a recovering Bitcoin maximalist who was once known as the “altcoin slayer” for his brutal takedowns of altcoins during the era of ICOs. One of the most qualified critics in the space — he literally wrote his Master’s thesis about blockchain — he can zero in on technological issues and communicate those problems effectively to less technical members of the crypto community.

Back when he was pointing out that most ICO altcoins were centralized shitcoins with myriad security issues, he was a hero to Bitcoiners. But ever since he started busting myths about Ethereum and suggesting that Bitcoin was being left behind by smart contracts, scaling and NFTs, they’ve liked him much less.

As you have no doubt gathered, Wall goes to great lengths to prove he is correct and once spent a month downloading an Ethereum node purely to bust the Bitcoiner myth that it took 8 terabytes of data to fully validate transactions.

“It was extremely difficult, but it was possible, and it didn’t take 8 terabytes of space on the hard drive.”

One of the big reasons for the shift from maxi to mini (he’s still a proponent of Bitcoin) is that Wall has been fascinated for years with building decentralized finance on an open and permissionless settlement layer. That was the essential subject of his thesis, and the need for decentralization to bring it about was only reinforced by seeing the limitations of permissioned blockchain platforms while working for Cinnober and Nasdaq. So, he was naturally drawn to the DeFi sector on Ethereum when it began to emerge in 2019.

That same year, it became clear that Ethereum and other blockchains could scale using zk-Rollups or optimistic fraud proofs, whereas Bitcoin had “almost entirely abandoned” the idea of doing anything with DeFi. So, he got behind DeFi on Ethereum.

“That made me fall out of favor with Bitcoin maximalists because I was their golden kid: the one that was supposed to slay the altcoins, not one that was supposed to say actually, there is a use case here though, and this system actually does scale, and it’s not as bad as you think.”

Eric WallEric Wall
Eric Wall. Source: LinkedIn

“So, then I had to change Bitcoiners’ understanding of the Ethereum system because they were now the ones that were spreading false facts about how the system works.”

He concedes his former Bitcoiner friends think he’s become a “shitcoiner for financial motives.” But Wall also wants to scale Bitcoin, too, and is involved in a research project with StarkNet and the Human Rights Foundation to investigate how to apply zk-Rollup scaling to Bitcoin, pondering “what the benefits of that would be and how feasible it is.”

“So, I am working on that, on trying to introduce that system and those technological benefits to Bitcoin.”

What’s behind the Wall?

Wall was born in 1991 in the Swedish city of Linköping and spent a gap year after high school traveling through Australia and Norway, working odd jobs from a deckhand on a luxury yacht to a “chugger” (charity mugger).

He studied computer engineering at Lund University, and his time there was notable for his organizational efforts as the “funmaker” of “Sweden Silent Party,” a series of silent disco events inspired by one the best nights of his life in Byron Bay. He also became one of the first Scandinavian engineers to write a Master’s thesis about using blockchain to run a securities exchange in conjunction with local fintech Cinnober.

Eric Wall organized silent discos while at UniEric Wall organized silent discos while at Uni
Eric Wall organized silent discos while at university. Source: Lund University

He was introduced to Bitcoin in his first year of university in 2011 by a classmate who showed him an article about darknet marketplace Silk Road. Buying Bitcoin at the time for $4 was a week-long process that required wiring money to Mt. Gox in Japan, so he gave up. A year later, Bitcoin had doubled to $8, and he thought he’d “missed the boat.” “But I became interested in this asset that increased 100% in one year” and saw an opportunity to “get an edge” in a totally new asset class. He lost everything in Mt. Gox but gained a new career as a blockchain researcher and, later, blockchain lead at Cinnober.

During his time there, and later at Nasdaq, he realized that companies or even countries weren’t going to agree to create the sort of infrastructure required to build a genuinely decentralized, cross-jurisdictional system for the settlement of securities.

“It needs to be something that the Chinese and the Japanese and the U.S. can use as a mutual system,” he says. “But that was a gargantuan task. That’s never going to happen from the inside. I understood that later. It has to be a system that comes from the outside and keeps growing.” The only likely candidates were Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

He told his bosses to put a hold on the enterprise blockchain stuff and to instead sell their incredibly fast matching engine tech to the big crypto exchanges. His colleagues thought crypto was a game or a joke — until Bitstamp turned up in a private jet.

“Even big stock exchange teams didn’t spend that kind of money on a meeting with Cinnober,” he says. “Then they actually did take it seriously, and we did deliver a solution to them.” 

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During this time, he also became the Swedish media’s go-to guy for crypto commentary. He was determined to seize the opportunity but hated the stressful, anxiety-inducing process of appearing on live TV, so he’d load up on valium to get through it. 

“Then everything was fine. It didn’t matter like getting a big camera in my face. I was completely zoned out,” he says.

Eric sometimes adopts the persona of the slightly nicer Erica Wall onlineEric sometimes adopts the persona of the slightly nicer Erica Wall online
Eric sometimes adopts the persona of the slightly nicer Erica Wall online. Source: Twitter

“But because I was so into crypto, I was doing crypto 17 hours a day. Even in that state, I could still articulate and explain everything about Bitcoin and what was going on even if I was only half conscious.”

It was a similar story at crypto conferences, where Wall’s ingrained Swedish standoffishness made the hundreds of brief interactions he had as a well-known figure quite stressful.

“For them, they only get, like, five seconds with me on an escalator, and that’s how they’re going to remember me for years. So, I always feel like I want to deliver on that interaction. Which makes me feel a lot of pressure.”

He’s stopped taking meds these days after realizing he was meeting the same people multiple times at conferences and forgetting them.

“I have realized that now, at this point, like, I’m gonna just be natural. I think I feel comfortable. I’ve overcome my Swedishness eventually.”

Nasdaq takeover

Cinnober was eventually taken over by Nasdaq in early 2019 for $190 million, and Wall found himself in a massive bureaucratic organization with little agency and lots of rules.

“After Nasdaq acquired, they told us, well, ‘The great thing about Nasdaq is you’re never gonna have more than six bosses above…’ It’s a very flat organization,” he says with dry humor. “Every tweet that I wrote had to go through the Nasdaq approval department.”

At the time, Wall was fighting with multiple token projects online about their hyped claims. “I thought that I was doing something very important,” he explains. One notable conflict, still running today, was with the Iota founders after he argued in a 2017 Medium post saying the protocol does not provide any censorship resistance and is centralized around the Iota foundation’s coordinator node.

Unfortunately, Iota was also being considered by the Swedish Central Bank to help create a central bank digital currency, so Wall’s online antics were not considered politically helpful.

“People were lying about what their technology could do, and you still had to treat them as respected industry participants, which I wasn’t going to do. So, I didn’t ask for permission from Nasdaq to tweet, and it ended up with us going our separate ways.”

Arcane Assets

Wall then decided the best way to participate in the blockchain revolution was to participate in the economy, So, I changed strategy and became a hedge fund manager,” he says.

It’s quite the leap from engineer to trader, and Wall tried and abandoned a variety of approaches. Initially, he learned technical analysis, using rules-based trading around indicators like Bollinger Bands and moving average convergence/divergence. But after writing an algorithm to backtest the rules, he realized they performed no better than random chance. Similarly, he thinks most charts and models are ludicrous, which is why he constantly jokes about the superiority of the Rainbow Chart (“has emoji”).

Then he moved on to investigating the technological fundamentals of projects to guide investment decisions, only to see his returns totally dwarfed by people who invested based on what the logo looked like. He’s since settled on a new approach to trading: Work out what unsophisticated investors will buy in the future and buy it first.

“The price is driven by just social factors. Basically, there’s no fundamentals,” he explains. “When I go out and I write some articles about a particular technology component in some cryptocurrency that undermines the whole value proposition, that’s a completely different thought process than the investment process. The investment process is just about, well, are people going to buy it?”

But having to explain to his serious hedge fund bosses that he was buying tokens because he thought the masses would buy any old token with a dog on it, was tricky.

“That was one of the things that I didn’t like so much. These are regulated, traditional ‘we run a pretty posh hedge fund that took capital from institutional level investors’ and they don’t want to hear: ‘Well, people like the dog picture.’ But that’s how the market works.”

He recalls investigating whether investing based on the viral growth of crypto hashtags on TikTok could be a path to riches, but the fund wouldn’t give the strategy the go-ahead. Instead, Arcane insisted he invest based on rules and a checklist “to make it an institutional-grade crypto fund that avoided all the bullshit.”

“Problem is if you avoid all the bullshit, you avoid most of the profit.”

So, again, Wall found himself chafing at the requirements of working for a big organization.

“I think I’m like a degen in my blood. I think that the cryptocurrency space moves extremely fast, and you have to be as nimble as the space is. If the market one day says ‘Okay, but screw all the technology — we’re trading pictures of monkeys now,’ you have to make the decision extremely fast that monkeys is what it is all about.”

“So, if I’m going to do something else, now it’s going to be somewhere where the mandate is completely open.”

He handed in his resignation in the first quarter of 2022 to work on a super-secret project that he’s yet to reveal even a year on.

“I’m now in the process of doing something else that hasn’t been announced yet,” is all he’ll reveal. 

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Based in Melbourne, Andrew Fenton is a journalist and editor covering cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has worked as a national entertainment writer for News Corp Australia, on SA Weekend as a film journalist, and at The Melbourne Weekly.


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Bitcoin Has Entered Into The Early Bull Phase — Crypto Pundit Avers ⋆ ZyCrypto

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Still Bullish: Billionaire Money Manager Bill Miller Maintains View Bitcoin Will Rise Again Despite FTX Chaos

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Ki Young Ju, the CEO of data analytic firm CryptoQuant is convinced that Bitcoin is on the cusp of a major lift-off as crypto traders continue to switch from a risk-off to risk-on mode.

Earlier yesterday, Young tweeted that Bitcoin had “entered into the early bull phase”, suggesting that the top cryptocurrency by market capitalization could be preparing to push higher. Despite plunging by roughly 77% on the back of macroeconomic headwinds and a wider route in the crypto industry last year, Bitcoin has had a good run so far this year. This month alone, the crypto asset’s value grew over 40%, fully recovering from the FTX-induced sell-off and perching above levels last seen in August.

According to Young, whereas the asset’s price could pull back following the recent pump, there is a higher chance that it will continue to rise as various metrics turn positive. Highlighting the MVRV ratio, a profit and loss indicator that measures if the bitcoin price is undervalued or overvalued, the pundit noted that most investors were still underwater, reducing the incentive to sell.

Typically, when MVRV is above 3.7 (red area), bitcoin is said to be overvalued (market tops), and when it is below 1 (green area), bitcoin is said to be undervalued (market bottom). Recently the MVRV indicator moved above 1 (1.07), signalling the beginning of a bull cycle. 

In Young’s words;

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“No one would want to sell here at a significant loss. If someone sells a lot, it’s highly likely forced & unwanted selling due to bankruptcy, government-seized coins, etc.”

On Wednesday, Young also stated that there was a likelihood that wealthy investors would purchase struggling US-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining companies and their crypto holdings at a discount this year, preventing further miner capitulation. According to him, such acquisitions would significantly remove systematic risks associated with the mining sector, igniting a bullish storm for BTC and other cryptocurrencies.

“BTC miner capitulation might play out differently this time. Less likely, but it could be bullish if someone(s) acquires US-based Bitcoin mining companies and their crypto holdings at a significant discount this year,” he said.

Notably, the total supply of BTC in loss hit a 9-month-low this week, the lowest since April 2022, when Bitcoin was trading in the $40,000 range. Cryptoquant noted that “every time the supply in loss reaches values above 50%, capitulations occur, and price bottoms can be identified along Bitcoin’s history.” Currently, 32% of Bitcoin’s total supply is in loss after dropping from about 55% a month ago.

BTCUSD Chart by TradingView

At press time, Bitcoin was trading at $23,049, up 0.14% in the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap.


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FTX Attorneys To Drag SBF’s Parents And Brother In Questioning About Their Personal Wealth

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FTX

The tragedy of FTX appears to be becoming more personal, as the bankrupt exchange’s legal counsels are now seeking to drag the founder’s family members and grill them about how they established their affluence.

In a court filing, FTX attorneys requested that Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, testify under oath and produce financial papers regarding their personal fortune as part of the company’s effort to reclaim funds that may be used to repay creditors.

Gabriel, the brother of former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried, will also be questioned in court over any financial benefits he may have gotten from the company.

SBF, although being collaborative to the point of spending the rest of his life in prison, has neglected to provide federal prosecutors with all the necessary information regarding the diverted money, resulting in the current situation.

Image: Euronews

Lawyers Seek Answer From SBF Family If They Received Money From FTX

In light of claims that FTX shifted billions of dollars in investor cash to prop up his Alameda Research trading unit, federal authorities have accused him with fraud. SBF entered a not-guilty plea.

According to reports, other FTX executives may be subject to the same inquiry in an attempt to locate assets associated with the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.

Sources also have it that Bankman-Fried’s mother provided tax advice and recruitment assistance to FTX personnel.

SBFFTX former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried. Image: CNA.

Reportedly, his father served as a tax counsel to employees of the company and provided recommendations for the appointment of the company’s legal team.

Supposedly, Gabriel established a lobbying group and housed its operations in a mansion worth several million dollars not far from the U.S. Capitol.

It has been stated that his mother and brother are not helping with the investigation that is currently taking place into FTX.

Reuters reported in November that Bankman-Fried’s parents were signatories on a $16.4 million residence in the Bahamas, which was designated in property records as a “holiday home.”

FTX Owes Thousands Of Creditors  Money

SBF faces eight criminal counts, including violations of campaign finance regulations and wire fraud. Since his extradition from the Bahamas to the United States, he has been under house arrest at his parents’ home. His trial is scheduled to commence in October.

After the collapse of the once-powerful cryptocurrency exchange in November, newly released bankruptcy records revealed thousands of creditors to whom FTX owes funds.

Wall Street stalwarts like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs were included on the 116-page list of creditors, which also included firms, charities, people, and other institutions.

Crypto total market cap at $996 billion on the daily chart | Chart: TradingView.com

Meanwhile, FTX has opposed to a request from the U.S. Department of Justice for an independent inquiry into the company’s collapse, claiming that it is already conducting a comprehensive review that includes family members of SBF.

FTT, the native token of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, had risen by 185% over the last 30 days.

At the time of writing, the altcoin was trading for $1,940, a decrease of approximately 22% from its previous price of $2,4.00.

-Featured image: Novel Suspects


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Kraken Appoints CJ Rinaldi as Chief Compliance Officer

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Kraken Appoints CJ Rinaldi as Chief Compliance Officer

New CCO brings three decades of financial services experience

SAN FRANCISCO – Jan. 24, 2023 – Kraken, one of the world’s largest and most-trusted crypto platforms, today announced the appointment of CJ Rinaldi as Chief Compliance Officer. CJ’s decades of experience, both in traditional and decentralized finance, will further strengthen Kraken’s compliance program amid a fast-evolving regulatory landscape. 

“To accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies around the world, Kraken must continue to navigate an increasingly complex regulatory landscape,” said Kraken’s incoming CEO David Ripley. “CJ’s impressive international career in both the private and public sectors positions us for continued success in meeting global compliance needs.”

CJ was previously Chief Compliance Officer at Blockchain.com, where he was tasked with building out global compliance frameworks and mitigating compliance risk for the firm. Prior to that, CJ had several roles at Deutsche Bank, including Chief Compliance Officer for its swap dealer and US broker dealer. He also served as Head of Business Line Anti-Financial Crimes Compliance supporting its investment bank, where he led a global team tasked with mitigating financial crime risk, implementing procedures and controls through effective and efficient operational solutions. 

“Kraken’s commitment to security and transparency while building world class products and services makes it the gold standard in an industry that’s shaping the future of finance. It is trusted players like Kraken that will help ensure the crypto ecosystem operates within all regulatory frameworks” says Rinaldi. “I am excited to grow Kraken’s data-driven approach to compliance, ensuring the protection of both the company and its clients.”

Prior to Deutsche Bank, CJ worked at UBS Investment Bank in multiple roles, including as Global Head of Client Infrastructure. He also served as Senior Counsel in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

For more information, please visit kraken.com or reach out to [email protected].

About Kraken:

Kraken is one of the world’s longest-standing digital asset platforms. Globally, Kraken clients trade more than 200 digital assets and 8 different national currencies, including GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, JPY, CHF, AUD and AED.

Kraken was founded in 2011 and was one of the first exchanges to offer spot trading with margin, parachain auctions, staking, regulated derivatives and index services. In 2022, it launched a custodial NFT marketplace. Kraken is trusted by over 9 million traders and institutions around the world and offers professional, round-the-clock online support. Kraken was the first company to have ever conducted a Proof of Reserves audit and has since committed to undergoing Proof of Reserves on a regular basis.

Kraken is backed by investors including Tribe Capital, SkyBridge, Hummingbird Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group, among others.

Kraken markets can be monitored and traded through the Kraken iOS and Android apps, and through the Cryptowatch iOS, Android and Desktop apps.

Contacts: 

[email protected]

Alex Rapoport

###

These materials are for general information purposes only and are not investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any cryptoasset or to engage in any specific trading strategy. Some crypto products and markets are unregulated, and you may not be protected by government compensation and/or regulatory protection schemes. The unpredictable nature of the cryptoasset markets can lead to loss of funds. Tax may be payable on any return and/or on any increase in the value of your cryptoassets and you should seek independent advice on your taxation position. For more information, please see our Terms of Service.

 


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