If you do, you should know that Joe Lubin, the less famous co-founder of Ethereum Network and lead of ConsenSys, has decided to join a company …
Satoshi Nakamoto might not be very happy right now, as Wall Street and the crypto world were never as closely linked as they are in 2019.
Do you doubt that? If you do, you should know that Joe Lubin, the less famous co-founder of Ethereum Network and lead of ConsenSys, has decided to join a company backed by some Wall Street traders, ErisX.
The story, which was first reported by The Block Crypto, affirms that Lubin has been appointed as one of the board directors of ErisX. During the same occasion, Cris Conde has joined ErisX as an adviser.
ErisX’s CEO, Tom Chippas, which has worked in the Citigroup as the head of quantitative execution before going to the crypto world, affirmed on the official documents that he’s very pleased to welcome the new people to the team and that the company will be very benefited from having in its team so many important and decisive people from the industry.
At the same time, Cliff Lewis was leaving the board of directors. He was responsible for helping to shape the company and Chippas thanked him for the guidance and support in the market.
The Wall Street crypto company has big plans for 2019, as expected for a company that gets Joe Lubin as part of its board. The company intends to launch a derivatives market tied to the crypto industry this year. The market will start to be available during the second quarter of the year.
Last year, the company confirmed that it wanted to support futures trading tied to ETH, BTC, BCH and LTC in the first half of 2019. However, at the moment it is not entirely clear if the regulators will allow the company to move forward with its plans.
Surely, the company won’t lack the financial resources to do it. It is backed by many Wall Street companies like Susquehanna International Group, Virtu Financial, DRW and XR Trading. At its funding round, the company was able to raise over $27 million USD.
During the announcement of his new position, Lubin has confirmed that he will use his experience with decentralized tech and digital assets to democratize the access for the market and that the year of 2019 will represent a huge breakthrough that will help the industry.
Making an appearance at the 2018 iteration of Devcon4, Consensys CEO Joe Lubin went on record to say that the “next killer Ethereum app” was …
Making an appearance at the 2018 iteration of Devcon4, Consensys CEO Joe Lubin went on record to say that the “next killer Ethereum app” was already in the market.
For those who may not know, Devcon is an annual gathering of ETH developers where the industry’s creme’ de la creme’ comes together to push forth ideas that help in the evolution of the Ethereum ecosystem. The latest edition of the conference was held in Prague and it saw some of the biggest crypto names talk about the future of this burgeoning industry.
Snippets From The Conference
As was to be expected, one of the main draws of the three-day conference was ETH co-founder Joe Lubin, who in his keynote address highlighted some of the core advancements that the Ether dev team had made over the course of the past 8-12 months.
In this regard, the folks over at Consensys recently published a blog post which noted:
“Reverberations from Lubin’s address are still being felt in early 2019 as Ethereum 2.0 comes into view and teams, businesses, and individuals alike prepare for the next phase of development”
Also, during his speech, Lubin remained highly optimistic about the next-generation of dApps to come out of the ETH ecosystem.
For starters, Joe Lubin pointed to a robust new suite of developer tools and protocols that had been built over the past two years (that would give devs all over the world the power to create “the next big thing” for the crypto ecosystem.)
More On The Matter
Another point that Lubin highlighted during the course of the conference was that the altcoin industry was facing “more hurdles than ever before”.
Not only that, but he also said that many pundits who have been criticizing the market for failing to create new apps just didn’t understand that “cryptocurrencies themselves were the latest killer app(s)” to come out from within this niche’ space.
On the matter, Lubin also stated that Ethereum’s second iteration is now working to make the idea of ‘Web3’ a reality. If successful, Web3 will be able to help in the “enabling, creation, issuance, distribution, exchange, and management of a wide array of different crypto assets” in a seamless, hassle-free manner.
In rounding out his talk, Lubin stated that Ethereum’s native ecosystem is poised to transform the “global economic, social, and political engine” the same way the dotcom revolution did all through the ’90s and early 2000s.
During his speech at the 2018 Devcon4, Joe Lubin, the CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, addressed the current state of the Ethereum …
During his speech at the 2018 Devcon4, Joe Lubin, the CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, addressed the current state of the Ethereum ecosystem and said that the next killer app is much closer than you might think.
Lubin’s Devcon Address Brought New Hope to Developers
Ethereum Devcon, the annual Ethereum developer meeting, has been a congregating spot for the industry’s brightest and most forward ideas since its conception. The conference’s fourth iteration, held in Prague, Czech Republic, saw some of the biggest names in the game talking about the industry’s future.
One of them was Joe Lubin, the current CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum. In his speech, Lubin reviewed the state of the Ethereum ecosystem and brought forward some of the accomplishments made by its developers.
ConsenSys highlighted Lubin’s take in a Medium post on Jan. 9th, saying that its importance grew as ConsenSys prepares for the launch of a more lithe ConsenSys 2.0.
“Reverberations from Lubin’s address are still being felt in early 2019 as Ethereum 2.0 comes into view and teams, businesses, and individuals alike prepare for the next phase of development,” the company wrote in a blog post.
Lubin was optimistic about the next generation of decentralized applications, saying that the next killer app will be a killer ecosystem. He pointed out that the robust suite of developer tools and protocols built over the past two years have provided developers with everything they need to build “the next big thing” in tech.
Ethereum Is The New Killer App
Lubin’s words gained more weight as the industry entered the new year facing even more hurdles than before. He said that the crypto space has been criticized by pundits for “being all about speculation” and failing to provide any killer apps.
Arguing that cryptocurrencies themselves were the latest killer app(s) to has come out of the space, the same way the Internet drove the market almost two decades ago. The new killer app is already in the works and is bound to change the world in ways we have never seen.
Ethereum’s second iteration has brought the idea of Web3 closer than ever, enabling the creation, issuance, distribution, exchange, and management of “so many different kinds of crypto assets,” Lubin said.
He said that Ethereum is the killer ecosystem the industry has been waiting for, calling it an ecosystem that will transform global economic, social, and political systems.
While one could argue that Lubin’s praise for Ethereum is nothing short of biased, decentralization is the next killer app—one that’s meant to stay. Just as the Internet experienced its ups and downs in the early 2000s, the blockchain industry is going through the cycle, ready to change the world as we know it.
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And there appears to be a line of small-time investors that dabbled in cryptocurrencies for the first time in 2018, only to get financially burned.
“There was an element of a bubble involved. But while there’s been a big drop in price, there have been before too. It’s cyclical and interest is still there.”
This year, analysts say, will go some way to sorting things out.
But the last few months in Ireland have not been particularly promising. Towards the back of 2018, the country’s highest-profile project – Ireland’s ‘Crypto Coast’ initiative – petered out for a variety of reasons, according to one of its founders, Reuben Godfrey.
Meanwhile, a succession of court cases and high-profile hacks placed Bitcoin and Ethereum in a negative light, associating them with the proceeds of crime rather than efficient alternative payments.
And there appears to be a line of small-time investors that dabbled in cryptocurrencies for the first time in 2018, only to get financially burned.
“People got overly excited and now they’re overly depressed,” says John Gleeson, a Dublin-based Bitcoin trader and writer. “It’s dropped a lot, but it’s the fourth time it’s dropped 85pc or more. A lot of what happened is related to the false promises of other alt-coins that have come to light. But if you bought and held Bitcoin for any longer period than two years ago, you’re actually up.”
How many people actually own or have traded Bitcoin? Some industry practitioners estimate it at around 100,000. “We’ve dealt with around 40,000 ourselves in Ireland,” says Nagle, whose firm helps people to buy and sell Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and other cryptocurrencies. “But there are lots of different services out there.”
One difficulty in estimating the size of the Irish crypto market is a policy of non-engagement by banks and conventional equity-trading firms.
None of the major financial companies that people usually go to will deal in crypto-assets such as Bitcoin.
“Goodbody does not advise on or invest in cryptocurrencies on behalf of clients and does not have any plans at this time to offer access to that asset class,” a spokesman for the brokerage told the Irish Independent.
Other main brokers here have a similar rule. This doesn’t mean that Irish investors using such companies don’t invest in cryptocurrencies. Within mainstream financial firms, some funds have allocated percentages for what are called ‘alternative strategies’. This sometimes includes crypto-related enterprises or funds, although brokerages here say that they don’t provide advice on such entities.
The biggest problem in tackling crypto assets, bankers say, is its unregulated status. The rules aren’t transparent or reliable enough, nor is there an administrative chain of responsibility that regulated investors can live with.
In the US, some institutions are moving to address this. The owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental, is launching a new crypto-focused exchange called Bakkt to let people buy, sell and spend digital currencies like Bitcoin. Its big draw is that it promises to be regulated, giving a degree of assurance to those interested in cryptocurrencies. (It is still waiting for approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission). Because of this, and the bluechip array of investors it has assembled (including Microsoft), it has just raised $182m in funding.
But even if cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin become more acceptable as traded commodities, they still face the enduring problem that cryptocurrencies have had since the beginning: when, if ever, will ordinary people feel they can use the technology?
From the effort to setting up a Bitcoin wallet to finding somewhere you can actually spend it, cryptocurrencies are simply out of bounds for the vast majority of ordinary people.
“We have a cryptocurrency ATM in Cork and are going to put one in Galway and then hopefully in Dublin,” says Bitcove.ie founder Nagle.
The idea is to let people exchange euros for Bitcoin and vice versa. But even if this works, it’s not clear that people have many options to use cryptocurrencies for the kinds of activities they associate with conventional money.
While retailers such as Microsoft’s Store and Overstock.com have accepted Bitcoin-compatible payment systems (such as Coinbase) for a while, most online retailers do not. For example, two-thirds of Irish shoppers use Amazon, but the web giant doesn’t take cryptocurrencies.
In some respects, things have actually gotten worse. The influential online payment firm Stripe recently stopped processing Bitcoin payments because it took too long for transactions to go through.
The lack of regularised commerce that involves cryptocurrencies places an inordinate spotlight on shadier activities where crypto is front and centre. So when the Luas.ie website was hijacked earlier this month, most people learned the hackers were seeking a Bitcoin to unlock it.
Fraud, too, is a problem. Because so much activity around crypto currencies is unregulated, scams and flim-flam operations are common. Last year, US authorities undertook hundreds of formal crypto fraud investigations with 50 cases taken.
The high-profile digital coin BitConnect went bust in dramatic fashion last year following a cease-and-desist order from US regulators. The enterprise, which had been valued at over €2bn, is being pursued for losses of almost €1bn. Market analysts say that much of this was invested by ordinary people, lured by the promise of getting rich quick on a rising crypto market.
But it’s not all doom. Among the scepticism and doubt lies enthusiasm for the most important enabling technology behind cryptocurrencies – blockchain.
Here, business looks brisk. Dozens of Irish institutions have committees or steering groups committed to integrating more blockchain principles into their own systems. Banks such as AIB, Ulster Bank and Permanent TSB are trialling blockchain-based payments through schemes like Project Greenpay.
“This is a big year for adoption of the technology in real life applications,” says Lory Kehoe, managing director of ConsenSys’s Ireland office. ConsenSys is a blockchain company set up by one of Ethereum’s co-founders, Joe Lubin.
“A number of companies are bringing their solutions into the world for consumers to use,” says Kehoe.
That includes platforms such as Komgo, a new blockchain platform to facilitate oil and gas deals that has been launched by large multinationals such as Shell, Citi, BNP Paribas and ABN Amro. The venture will “seek to digitalise the trade and commodities finance sector through a blockchain-based open platform,” the consortium said in a statement.
“This is real,” says Kehoe. “The Government and public sector are getting involved too. There are now three projects that the European Commission are working on and Ireland is a part of this. The aim is to try and create standards sooner rather than later, so that by summertime there will be hundreds of companies that are part of it. We will have a functioning legal entity as to how to drive forward with the technology.”
Despite the upbeat assessment, ConsenSys itself has not been immune from industry pressures. The firm recently announced that it was letting 13pc of its staff go in a ‘streamlining’ exercise.
Kehoe says that this does not extend to the recently opened Irish office, which currently employs 40 and is still hiring.
“There’ll soon be significant announcements from ConsenSys in Ireland as to projects with Irish companies,” he says. “We’re still growing in Ireland. We’re a really strong team here. So the answer to whether we’re downsizing here is no.”
Kehoe isn’t alone. Blockchain, as opposed to straight cryptocurrencies, has a growing number of advocates from ‘respectable’ business circles.
“With the amount of the institutional money entering the space and increasing involvement and adoption by such top-level financiers, it’s inevitable that in 2019, blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies will come to the fore,” says Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus, a blockchain-powered Internet of Things network for food and pharmaceutical supply chains.
Some services are already there, others say. “In growing numbers, consumers are trying the Rize app by livestreaming company YouNow, downloading the Brave web browser, or utilising events ticketing service BlockParty which runs concerts and music festivals through their blockchain-based application,” says David Wachsman, founder and CEO of Wachsman, a services firm with clients such as Coindesk and Indiegogo.
“The recent sharp plunge in crypto markets … has had a knock-on effect and has created a PR challenge for the entirety of blockchain technology. This is a short-term problem, as the actual technology continues to mature and advance with real-use cases.”
Wachsman’s view that cryptocurrencies are set to be around for the long-term is echoed by others in blockchain businesses.
“We will continue to see expansion in this area,” says Brent Jaciow of Utopia Music, a blockchain-powered music tracking and attribution platform. “Some of the primary functions include enabling fractional ownership of assets, allowing the tokenisation of assets and ideas formerly impossible with traditional capital markets.”
Local Irish proponents haven’t lost heart in cryptocurrencies.
“For me, Bitcoin has never been stronger,” says Gleeson. “The network is still extremely secure and has never been hacked. We’re in a cycle.”
Earlier this month, ConsenSys founder and “cryptobillionaire” Joe Lubin circulated a letter to company employees stating ConsenSys would be getting more serious:
“In ConsenSys 1.0, we built a laboratory instrumented to prove the moon existed, using complex engineering and math and creative philosophical arguments…Now we need a streamlined rocket ship to get us there, since the actual proof, ultimately, is in the landing.”
ConsenSys now incubates about 50 startups or “spokes” (as the company calls them, employing the language of “decentralization”) in 29 countries and has largely been engaged in exploring the potential of Ethereum, a blockchain network funded by a cryptocurrency called “ether” which seeks to become an autonomous “world computer” controlled by no one.
So far, most of the spokes have failed to produce viable products or significant revenue streams. Funding has come mostly from the project-specific cryptographic tokens issued on the network to raise money from investors, or from Lubin himself.
Lubin is one of several co-founders of the Ethereum, all of whom vested themselves with significant amounts of tokens before they were publicly-sold and later became multi-millionaires.
ConsenSys got more specific regarding the recent contraction about a week after the Lubin letter when it announced in another letter that about 13% of the workforce could be let go:
“…(W)e are streamlining several parts of the business including ConsenSys Solutions, spokes, and hub services, leading to a 13% reduction of mesh members.”
Now an unnamed source to The Verge says cuts could go much deeper at the company:
“They’re using the 13 percent announcement I would imagine to give comfort to potential investors about the small-scale downsizing.”
The source cited here appears to be from one of the “spokes” facing a cut. The Verge was reportedly provided with a term sheet regarding a plan of “accelerated spin-offs” which would see underperforming spokes, according to outlet, severed, “…without the financial support they’d need to find outside funding and succeed”:
“They’re asking us to take a one million dollar valuation for less than a month and a half of runway.”
The Verge says it confirmed the rumours of hasty cuts on a private Slack channel used by ConsenSys employees:
“Those spokes being shut down now without option to get outside funding (i.e., CS no longer wants to invest) get the 2-month severance package and COBRA.”
Another source described an end to halcyon days at ConsenSys of, paraphrased by The Verge as chart terraced by, “…buying day-of Emirates business-class tickets (and)…expensing $14,000 in two weeks.”
ConsenSys offices are described as ’empty’ now by another source, who also called the methods of the firings ‘shady’:
“The office is empty, people are only finding out who’s getting fired because you try to to send Slack messages and they’re not there. ConsenSys won’t create a list [of the projects that are being spun out] or send out anything in writing because they’re afraid of everything going to the press.”
“It was so shady…They were firing people they had hired two weeks beforehand. They were firing people who were pregnant. Whose wives were pregnant.”
But Brian Patrick Eha, whose outlet Breakermag has received some funding from Lubin, says the 50% layoff figures may be exaggerated:
“A report on Thursday that blockchain venture studio ConsenSys was kicking underperforming projects to the curb and preparing to axe half of its workforce may have been overblown. The report raised alarm and sowed consternation among ConsenSys employees, many of whom were aware of the restructuring but had received no indication it would be so severe.”