Exclusive: Interview with Kieran Mesquita, Chief Scientist at Railgun.org

Exclusive: Interview with Kieran Mesquita, Chief Scientist at Railgun.org

Recently, BTCManager got the opportunity to interview Mr. Kieran Mesquita, Chief Scientist at Railgun, a privacy system built directly on Ethereum that enables users to interact directly with decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and other decentralized finance (DeFi) applications without having to worry about being spied on by anyone. In the interview, we ask Mr. Kieran about Railgun, factors that motivated him to ideate Railgun, the significance of online privacy in today’s digital age, what’s in pipeline for Railgun, and a lot more. The interview follows from below.

Interview

BTCM: Tell us a little about Railgun, what is its primary objective?

Kieran: Railgun is designed to let you use stablecoins, the most popular tokens, to make transactions and exchange with the same privacy level as using cash: anonymous and private. This is especially useful for people like attorneys who want to maintain attorney-client confidentiality in their billing and useful for traders who do not want spies copying their strategies and investments.

BTCM: What prompted you to come up with the idea of private ETH?

Kieran: I was speaking with a hedge fund friend who told me over 45% of all wall street trades were done via dark pools. This was only one day after I spoke to a friend who co-founded a coin project, who was paranoid about moving coins because of hundreds of people watching his wallet, who might spread FUD online if he switches wallets or divides them up. I moved away from centralized exchanges a long time ago, especially after the Binance kyc leak, Bitmex email leak, and other leaks that made my friends and I targets of criminals. While I love Defi,  in many ways it’s less private: watchers can monitor your trading patterns. We needed a privacy solution for stablecoins and defi, and it needed to work without sacrificing Ethereum security or the liquidity of existing dApps and DEXes.

BTCM: Besides Ethereum, what other networks are you planning to launch Railgun on?

Kieran: Railgun will deploy on every blockchain that has significant DeFi use. Ethereum is the most important and the first. The ones in the near future will be Binance Smart Chain, Tron and Solana. Polkadot and Cosmos will come next, along with any others that have active defi services.

BTCM: Can you tell us a little about the Railgun private DEX?

Kieran: Because two people who both use RAILGUN can swap with each other secretly, it makes sense to build a DEX within railgun. It will be a peer-to-peer atomic swap system (no AMM), it will be completely private, and market makers on there will easily be able to pull liquidity from Uniswap and other pools outside Railgun, so there will always be liquidity.

BTCM: Why do you think privacy is so critical in today’s age? Especially in the DeFi space?

Kieran: Privacy is a human right – those who know more about you can control and manipulate you.  With trading specifically, your profit depends on the only opportunities you see that other people are not yet aware of. If you reveal yourself as a good trader, you will be front-run every time she your edge so be destroyed.

Furthermore, most people live in countries where people who have jobs in the government can exercise corrupt power. It’s often very valuable to be able to build up a private balance to stay under the radar in oppressive regimes, especially for pro-democracy journalists, or lawyers who are legally obliged to keep their clients confidential.

BTCM: Has Railgun been audited? What are the security measures in place?

Kieran: Railgun has been privately audited and is now being independently audited by ABDK, who are experts in cryptography. There will be a public report before the launch of the Railgun DAO.

BTCM: What’s in the pipeline for the Railgun ecosystem for the rest of 2021?

Kieran: There are a few plans for the future. Firstly, the Railgun deployment. Then, we will have community members launch web front ends for people to easily use Railgun. Railgun is decentralized, so there is no company or server that hosts it (other than the Ethereum network.)  Currently, a mobile wallet for Android and iPhone is being developed, and developer tools for normal apps will be released. These will mean it will only take a few minutes for wallet devs to upgrade their own apps to add Railgun (“private trade” “private send”) as a feature.  Any DEX website or wallet app will easily be able to offer users privacy by adding a “use via Railgun” button.After this, there are talks of creating a derivative and lending system, but we are being hush about that for now.

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How smart regulation can improve the future of blockchain

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If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.

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Bearish or Bullish? Bitcoin Traders Argue Over Death Cross Outcome

Bearish or Bullish? Bitcoin Traders Argue Over Death Cross Outcome

On Saturday, cryptocurrency analysts and traders have been discussing bitcoin’s recent chart patterns and the infamous death cross pattern has been a topical conversation. A number of traders believe when bitcoin’s short-term moving average (MA) dips below the long-term MA, the crypto asset could be bracing for a major sell-off. Meanwhile, others are sure the death cross technical pattern means the price is due to rebound and possibly double-top to higher values than the previous all-time high.

The Return of the Infamous Death Cross

On June 19, a number of Twitter conversations, forum posts, and even headlines discussed the technical pattern called the death cross in regard to bitcoin’s (BTC) chart. Bloomberg published an article concerning the death cross on Saturday and the publication featured a few statements from billionaire investor Mark Cuban. The definition of a death cross stemming from Investopedia notes the pattern suggests “the potential for a major sell-off.” The website’s definition adds:

The death cross appears on a chart when a stock’s short-term moving average crosses below its long-term moving average. Typically, the most common moving averages used in this pattern are the 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

However, the death cross doesn’t necessarily mean a bearish market is due. Investopedia details that death cross events led to traditional stock market crashes during the past century including 1929, 1938, 1974, and 2008. Death crosses are not unusual and data from Canterbury Investment Management indicates the Dow Jones Industrial Average has experienced 84 death crosses since 1929. The popular economist and trader Alex Krüger recently discussed the situation of a death cross in relation to BTC/USD charts.

“The Death Cross takes place when the 50 day moving average crosses below the 200 day moving average,” Krüger tweeted. “The Death Cross takes place when the 50 day moving average crosses below the 200 day moving average. Journalists love writing about how a death cross could bring forth a bear market. However, one week historical returns following a bitcoin death cross are POSITIVE. Relax,” Krüger stressed.

Bearish or Bullish? Bitcoin Traders Argue Over Death Cross Outcome
Picture via Alex Krüger on Twitter.

The popular creator of the bitcoin stock-to-flow model, Plan B, also tweeted about the infamous death cross on Saturday. “Study this chart to see what happened [the] last two times the death cross happened, Q4 2019 and Q1 2020,” Plan B said to his 566,000 followers.

Bearish or Bullish? Bitcoin Traders Argue Over Death Cross Outcome
Picture via Plan B on Twitter.

However, an individual named Mohit Sorout responded to Plan B’s tweet and noted that there’s been a number of death cross occasions throughout bitcoin’s lifetime.

“There have been 6 past death crosses in bitcoin’s lifetime,” Sorout replied to Plan B. “4 have resulted in enormous downside. The two that didn’t lead to a downtrend were towards the end of a bear market, not after a full blown bull run. Choose your bias wisely,” he added.

Bitcoin Traders Hope a 2013 Double-Top Pattern Emerges

The creator and host of CNBC’s Crypto Trader show Ran Neuner also wrote about the death cross on Saturday too. “Bitcoin shorts are being closed,” Neuner said. “This is confirmation that the shorts were speculative and that it wasn’t miners hedging. We said this would happen in anticipation of the ‘death cross’ that should cross around the 24th June. Expect more FUD. I’m not selling.”

Bearish or Bullish? Bitcoin Traders Argue Over Death Cross Outcome
Picture via Sultan on Twitter.

A crypto enthusiast called Sultan discussed the death cross situation with his followers as well and said that it may mean the worst is behind us. “Death cross,” Sultan wrote. “Ironically, death crosses are often a sign that the worst is already behind us. At the 2019 DC, Bitcoin had already went through a -47% dip before the DC flashed, with a 52% recovery after. And a -64% dip before the 2020 DC, with a quick 150% recovery,” he added. Another person wrote to Plan B and said:

A real death cross is when both MA’s are facing down. Good luck to anyone trading the current cross on BTC.

No one really knows what will happen even though a number of traders are confident their predictions will play out. Investor and market watcher John Hostetler also talked about the death cross scenario as well on Saturday. “Only a fool could deny that this Bitcoin DeathCross is more like a bearish cross in red than a bullish one in green,” Hostetler said. “But I do like how the BTC price fell this week, as if to say ‘let’s get it over with, then we can rise’”

“In the end, the cross changes little,” Hostetler further stressed. “Big question remains: has this halving cycle peaked? 2 weeks ago I would’ve assigned that a 1% possibility, because I hadn’t looked at the now-dismal chart of Bitcoin S2F multiple in a while. Since then I have raised the odds to ~20%. But that still leaves 80%. So I continue with the Bitcoin double top model, drawing hope from the summer of 2013, when $BTC came within a breath of a Death Cross: grey arrow on the chart,” he concluded.

What do you think about the bitcoin death cross chart pattern? Do you expect a bear market or a bull market going forward? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Tehran Government Bans Iran Blockchain Association

Tehran Government Bans Iran Blockchain Association

The Ministry of Interior of the Islamic Republic has suspended the Iran Blockchain Association (IBA). The measure comes after the organization allegedly breached government regulations. IBA unites participants in the country’s growing crypto sector who are engaged in blockchain technology development.

Iranian Authorities to Review IBA Dealings With Crypto Exchanges

The Iranian government has moved this week to block activities of the Iran Blockchain Association, the Financial Tribune business daily reported on Sunday. The Ministry of Interior banned the prominent crypto industry organization following various accusations including that the IBA was operating against its own articles of association.

Tehran Government Bans Iran Blockchain Association

According to a notice published by the Persian-language newspaper Hamshahri Online on Wednesday, IBA was also ordered to submit detailed reports about its financial performance and activities to Iran’s Social Affairs Organization. The government is particularly eager to learn more about the association’s interactions with cryptocurrency exchanges, the publication revealed.

Earlier in June, a member of the Iranian parliament, Rahim Zare, accused “domestic NGOs involved in cryptocurrencies” of transferring foreign currency overseas, without providing any evidence to support the claim. IBA strongly denied any wrongdoing stating that its efforts were focused on promoting blockchain technology development.

Established in 2017, the Iran Blockchain Association operates as a nonprofit and self-governing body of entrepreneurs, experts and activists involved in the blockchain industry. One of its key priorities is to spread awareness among Iranians and prevent losses from cryptocurrency scams. The association stated:

Informing people and the authorities on risky websites and fraud cases is among IBA’s objectives.

Iran Blockchain Association Hit After Exposing High-Risk Crypto Companies

The new government notice was never delivered to the association and its board members, the head of the IBA Sepehr Mohammadi said in a press release on the its website. The publishing of a crypto alert could have become the main reason for the ban, he pondered. The IBA recently released a list of high-risk domestic companies involved in cryptocurrency-related business. Mohammadi further commented:

Obviously, vested interests will do anything to stop IBA’s efforts. They managed to publicize the notice before IBA was informed.

With rising crypto prices over the past year, a growing number of Iranians have started investing in bitcoin and other digital assets, turning away from traditional markets such as forex, gold and stocks. A recent study by the Tehran Chamber of Commerce has estimated that around 12 million Iranians have already put money into cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin trade in Tehran alone amounts to around 30 – 40 trillion rials ($130-174 million), found a separate study carried out by the High Council of Cyberspace.

In March, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) ordered the country’s domestic payment settlement network Shaparak to block online payment gateways of crypto exchange websites. The IBA criticized the move stating that measures against innovative technologies are costly and unsuccessful.

“Technology moves forward come what may,” the association said, warning that the blocking of local crypto portals will simply push Iranians towards foreign platforms. Similar concerns were echoed by Iran’s economy and finance minister Farhad Dejpasand who concluded this month that the government cannot stand in the way of crypto development indefinitely.

What’s your opinion about the ban imposed on the Iran Blockchain Association? Share your thoughts on the case in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Bank of Uganda Launches Regulatory Sandbox Framework — One Fintech Firm Already Approved

Bank of Uganda Launches Regulatory Sandbox Framework — One Fintech Firm Already Approved

The Bank of Uganda (BOU) has announced the launch of a regulatory sandbox that will allow fintech start-ups to test their innovative financial solutions in a controlled environment. Already, one firm, M/S Wave Transfer Limited, has received approval to test its quick response (QR) technology under this sandbox arrangement.

BOU Launches Regulatory Sandbox for Fintech

In its statement on June 15, the BOU says it is now inviting more firms to develop and similarly test their financial innovations under this framework. Meanwhile, the BOU statement also expands on why the central bank has chosen to launch the sandbox. The statement explains:

The Regulatory Sandbox Framework will promote financial services innovation, attract capital and funding for fintech firms, and provide shared learning opportunities for the innovators and regulators. This is expected to promote uptake of electronic payments, digital financial services and financial inclusion in general.

Meanwhile, according to a March 5, 2021 Ugandan government statutory instrument, the BOU will conduct “a fit and proper test on each substantial shareholder, director or manager of the applicant.” In addition, the central bank will also determine if “an applicant meets the criteria and minimum requirements for operating a sandbox.”

According to the statutory instrument, some of the determining factors that the BOU will consider include whether the innovation is genuine or whether the sandbox has consumer benefits and safeguards. The central bank will also consider the sandbox’s readiness for testing as well as the suitability of the exit plan.

In the meantime, the legal document says fintech start-ups that wish to be included in the regulatory sandbox framework will have to pay an application fee of about $290 (one million Ugandan shillings).

What are your thoughts on the BOU’s launch of the regulatory sandbox framework? Share your views in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Decentralized identity can bring the analog world into the digital one

What can I do to prevent this in the future?

If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.

If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices.

Revised Bill ‘On Virtual Assets’ Aims to Regulate Ukraine’s Crypto Space This Summer

Revised Bill ‘On Virtual Assets’ Aims to Regulate Ukraine’s Crypto Space This Summer

The Ukrainian parliament has released an updated version of the draft law “On Virtual Assets.” The revised bill requires exchanges to obtain government authorization, disclose their ownership and implement mandatory KYC procedures. The document has been criticized by regulators in Kyiv but the government wants the legislation passed before the parliament’s summer break.

Draft Law Proposes Regulations for Cryptocurrencies in Ukraine

Ukrainian lawmakers have revised the draft law designed to regulate the country’s expanding crypto space. The deputies have introduced a number of amendments since December when it was voted on first reading in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. The latest version of the document was released this week by the parliamentary Digital Transformation Committee which recommended its adoption.

The bill recognizes a virtual asset as an “intangible good” that has value and is an “object of civil circulation,” Forklog reported. Virtual assets can “certify property or non-property rights,” including “rights to claim other objects of civil rights,” the publication detailed. The draft also distinguishes between financial instruments and virtual assets backed by currencies.

Revised Bill ‘On Virtual Assets’ Aims to Regulate Ukraine’s Crypto Space This Summer

One of the key regulations concerns cryptocurrency exchanges and exchangers. To operate legally, they will have to be authorized by the Ministry of Digital Transformation. Crypto service providers will be obliged to reveal their ownership structure and monitor financial transactions to prevent money laundering. The permits will be valid for a period of one year. Russian platforms will not be allowed to do business in Ukraine.

Another important aspect is the introduction of mandatory identification and verification procedures. As part of the know-your-customer (KYC) process, individuals will be required to provide IDs, bank accounts and information about their electronic wallets. Companies will also have to share their business registration numbers. Trading platforms that do not currently carry out client verifications will have to update their onboarding procedures to comply with the law.

Revised ‘Virtual Assets’ Bill Draws Criticism From Ukrainian Regulators

The authors of the new legislation have tasked the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the National Securities and Stock Market Commission (NSSMC), and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) with oversight of the law’s implementation. NSSMC and NBU representatives have criticized the draft and called for further revisions in correspondence with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Dmytro Razumkov.

The central bank has pointed out that the bill “On Virtual Assets” is riddled with “significant gaps and conceptual errors” that could create legal uncertainty. At the same time, the securities commission has complained that the law does not clearly define the responsibilities of each regulator and has no mechanisms in place to coordinate regulatory activities in the market.

Revised Bill ‘On Virtual Assets’ Aims to Regulate Ukraine’s Crypto Space This Summer

The NSSMC also insisted that the adopted virtual assets classification and regulatory approach do not correspond to the best international practices and the EU legislation. The agency is concerned about the absence of texts dealing with investor protection and crime prevention. The NBU added that while virtual assets are not recognized as legal tender in Ukraine, the law does not explicitly prohibit their exchange for goods and services and does not limit trading with other virtual assets or the national fiat currency in any way. The bank fears this could lead to the emergence of a parallel settlement system outside its control. The Rada’s legal department called for more amendments to the draft.

The Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Alexander Bornyakov, acknowledged that the ministry faces criticism from various government agencies that consider the bill “insufficiently perfect.” However, he noted that the need to protect the interests of the state is often understood as a need to establish additional restrictions and to unreasonably complicate the business environment. Bornyakov stressed that the interests of the crypto market participants would be his department’s main priority and promised his team would do their best to ensure the bill hits the floor of the Rada during its last plenary week ending on July 13.

In the past few years, Ukraine has emerged as a generally crypto-friendly destination. The country was ranked first among over 150 nations in last year’s edition of the Global Crypto Adoption Index by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis.

What’s your opinion about the proposed crypto legislation in Ukraine? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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Former Goldman Sachs Exec Explains Why He Is Bullish on Ethereum and Dogecoin

In a recent interview, former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal talked about his investments in the crypto space, and more specifically, he explained why he more bullish on Ethereum than Bitcoin and why he got into Dogecoin.

Prior to founding macro economic and investment strategy research service Global Macro Investor (GMI) in 2005, Pal co-managed the GLG Global Macro Fund in London for global asset management firm GLG Partners (which is now called “Man GLG”). Before that, Pal worked at Goldman Sachs, where he co-managed the European hedge fund sales business in Equities and Equity Derivatives. Currently, he is the CEO of finance and business video channel Real Vision, which he co-founded in 2014.

On 30 November 2020, Pal revealed that he was about to sell his entire gold holdings and use the money to invest in Bitcoin and Ether.

I have a sell order in tomorrow to sell all my gold and to scale in to buy BTC and ETH (80/20). I dont own anything else (except some bond calls and some $’s). 98% of my liquid net worth.

Then, on Janaury 18, Pal provided this update on his crypto portfolio allocation:

#irresponsiblylong BTC and ETH. My split is now 70/30.

On April 21, Pal explained why he has become much more bullish on Ethereum:

He then went on to say:

  • The ETH space is growing at 100% YoY (vs 50% YOY for BTC) and it is attracting a massive proportion of the developer talent and applications too.
  • At this point in the risk cycle and with ETH 2.0 coming (cheaper fees and less supply), I’m struggling to not sell all my BTC to move my entire core position to ETH. To be clear – I’m a massive BTC bull, but I think ETH is the better asset allocation for performance right now.

Pal’s latest comments about Bitcoin and Ethereal were made during an episode of the “UpOnly” podcast that was released on YouTube on June 15.

He got really interested in Ethereum once he realised that those people who were saying that Melcalfe’s Law only applies to Bitcoin were wrong:

So I started then trying to understand more about Metcalfe’s Law, how it affected the mobile phone industry, the internet, and then stuff like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and all of that. And so that was the huge breakthrough for me was figuring out all of this and that ETH was actually gaining faster adoption than Bitcoin.

And we know it by the number of developers working on it, the number of applications working on it, and the number of wallet addresses. The rate of increase is growing at about twice the speed of Bitcoin right now. So ETH’s growing about a hundred percent a year and Bitcoin’s growing about 50 percent a year. The entire digital asset space is growing about 113 percent a year, which is twice the speed that the internet get at. So, this is the fastest adoption of any technology in all recorded history, and ETH is the frontrunner right now. That doesn’t mean it always will be, but right now it’s clearly winning network effects and therefore I think the network is undervalued.

Pal also said that after investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum, he decided to invest in some other cryptoassets:

I wanted to allocate money into a basket of other alts. I didn’t know which ones. I knew ETH and Bitcoin I wanted. I have no idea which other project is going to get proper network effects. Everybody kind of screams about them all day on Twitter, but there’s not many of them that have yet. Some of them are starting to. So I just said right, I’m just gonna choose a kind of basket of 10. And I’m gonna have a mix of protocols like Cardano, Polkadot for interoperability, I’m gonna choose some DeFi stuff… I just watch it and they all went up 250% or something in a month and a half… and then I was now fully invested.

I had no cash left… so I thought ‘OK, what do I want to do here?’. So I added to my ETH because this is the biggest bag I wanted. Switched more Bitcoin into ETH, and then I thought okay, I want to get involved with some other stuff. I want to make some proper macro bets, and I will also want to enjoy some of the fun.

So, the two enjoying the fun that I want to learn from — I bought DOGE because I got I’ve got a thesis on it, and the reason being is I don’t think people understand that it has a higher probability of network effects than people imagine. Because you’ve got so many retail investors in it, all you need to do is create applications for it, and you change the entire game. So it’s one half the war. So I thought ‘you know, that’s interesting’, and everyone tells me I shouldn’t do it, so I’m gonna do it… so that was my idea with that.

Later in the interview, he talked more about Dogecoin:

So it’s become accessible. It’s become a bit of a joke, and we know that actually drives adoption right now, and then Mark Cuban started adopting for Mavs merch and tickets, and I was like, ‘OK, that’s interesting’ because you know Mark’s a good guy and he gets this stuff, and then you know, Elon’s all over this, and my guess is he’s gonna try and capture that attention of all of these people that invested in this joke and turn it to something real. Then they feel part of it… whether it’s useless streaming payments from Tesla cars or whatever. It doesn’t really matter. The probability of a network of that size now being turned into an application is extremely high.

DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.

IMAGE CREDIT

Photo by “AgelessFinance” via Pixabay