We had the pleasure of interviewing Tone Vays, a prominent trader who is a former analyst at JP Morgan and a well-known Bitcoin maximalist. In our first interview, he talked about why he got into Bitcoin from Wall Street and the appeal of this cryptocurrency.
Interview Date : 14th July 2020
It’s Like Playing Poker
Whales will certainly influence the markets if they execute large trades, but I don’t consider that malicious as long as they are playing by the rules. However, if an exchange is changing the price against their users, that’s manipulation and probably criminal as well. If an exchange is providing information to a whale to give him an advantage in the market, that’s manipulation as well. That is what is regulators are supposed to prevent. For me, as long as the whale is playing by the same rules as me in the market, he gets to push the price around because he has more money.
It is the same as a poker game. When I sit around a table to play poker, I have a certain amount of money in the form of my chips. If someone else sitting across the table has 10 times more chips than me, he can turn the table around to his favor, he has all the right to do that. I could walk away from the table, or I can play him knowing that he has an advantage with more chips, but I also have an advantage that I can take those chips those chips if I feel like that I am the more superior player. Now, if he knows what my cards are, that is not an even playfield anymore. But as long as everyone is playing by the same rules, it is a fair game.
Blockchain – A Diluted Term
The word blockchain has become very popular, but it does not appear in Satoshi’s white paper. Anyone that reads that white paper will not find that word. It actually does come from a comment inside the Bitcoin code that Satoshi wrote, and because he wanted to explain how proof-of-work works. Bitcoin is the end result of Satoshi’s innovation that is a decentralized database, and that database relies on the burning of electricity solving a math problem. That math problem is just guessing a very big number. That solving and process is called proof-of-work. You have to prove that you solved an equation by burning electricity to guess enough numbers to solve it. This is how proof-of-work allows Bitcoin to work, and Satoshi described that process as “blockchain”. There is really no such thing as blockchain, it’s just Bitcoin.
The reason why that word became popular is that a company named itself blockchain which was BLOCKCHAIN.info. This was one of the first wallets which people used to store their Bitcoins. However, as Bitcoin got a reputation to be criminal money, which is not really true because money is agnostic just like the US dollar, people refrained from it. Hence, companies started referring to it as blockchain instead of Bitcoin because they wanted to do investments and sound “cleaner” for the authorities. Today, everything is a blockchain, even your excel spreadsheet can be a blockchain. That is how loosely and meaningless the word has become.
Does Your PoW Matter?
The only thing that matters to me is Bitcoin, and if you want to name something a blockchain confirms if it is Bitcoin or if it is proof-of-work. If it’s not a proof-of-work, then it’s not a blockchain. That is what that word originally was about; describing proof of work. Let’s say you are proof of work, then surely you are a blockchain but does your blockchain matter? When you start digging into other proof-of-work blockchains, you will realize fairly quickly that the only blockchain that matters is Bitcoin.
It is just like it our internet. It doesn’t matter how many internet companies there are in existence, we are all using the same and one internet. We don’t have a bridge between the internet, and surely different countries do not have different internet. Even if you consider places like China or North Korea who have put walls around the internet in their regions, even they don’t have their own internet. This is what it means to have a giant decentralized network. The rest is just irrelevant.
If there is a book that I would recommend, it is The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous who wrote an excellent book talking about the history of money and bitcoin. It is 14 chapters in which 11 of the chapters are about the history of money, and the last 3 chapters are about Bitcoin.
Swing to Intermediate Trader
I have never been big on books, and I have read more textbooks in my life than non-textbooks. We are talking about physics, chemistry, etc. I have a degree in geology and mathematics, so I have read many technical textbooks too. I have a background in computer science as well with my degree in financial engineering. However, I have not read many general books. I learned to trade from professional traders, I am more of a swing to an intermediate trader.
The only long-term investment that I have is Bitcoin, and that is the only one I can trust for the next 10 to 15 years. Everything else to me is a trade. I have been talking about a stock like Amazon and Tesla as decent investments for years on my youtube channels and other platforms. I am not an investor in Tesla but I have traded Tesla when I think that Tesla will go up in the short term. I can’t believe how high it has gotten recently. However, for me, it’s more about short- intermediate trading vs. investing. You are not supposed to but all one’s eggs in one basket, but I do believe in the Bitcoin basket to take the risk.
Most Memorable Years
Almost every year has its moment. The most memorable in the crypto space for everyone has to be 2017 because of the huge price appreciation in Bitcoin. Although, 2013 was the year that I finally got into Bitcoin, so for me personally it was 2013. There were 2 bubbles during that year. The first was when Bitcoin when from 10 dollars up to 250, and I finally started taking it seriously at the end of the 250 dollar bubble. at the end of the same year, it went up to 1300 which is when the Mt.Gox collapsed. Also, crowd software was shut down that year as well, and even the Cyprus event which made me get into Bitcoin happened that year. 2013 was the year of the first Bitcoin halving to place, and there was an incident that caused a little bit of a fork in Bitcoin which was actually the last incident when Bitcoin was down for a few minutes. There were so many things that happened in 2013 that were very critical.
The only other event that I would point out as a critical event to Bitcoin was in 2015 when Greece banking crisis occurred. and that entire region shut down, I felt that this was another very important event in Bitcoins life cycle. Furthermore, 2017 was the year of the code upgrade to include SegWit or to allow for lightning network integration. On the other hand, all the people who didn’t understand how proof-of-work and the longest chains work, went off to create copy cats of Bitcoin. Those are the incidents and events which have been the most critical years for Bitcoin so far, and we have to wait and see what 2021 brings. I believe that 2021 should be very memorable as well.
I am very busy with too many projects, and I keep taking on new ones. Usually, I spend 10 months of the year traveling to events, but with COVID-19, I have been stuck in my little cave for a while. My main project is still about education. Although I didn’t like being a high school teacher, I did spend a little time being a college professor. I still like to teach I just don’t like teaching people who don’t want to learn.
My projects are events. We have an unconfiscatable conference, which is a general Bitcoin conference in Las Vegas. We have Understanding Bitcoin Conference, where the technologically inclined people in Bitcoin like developers try to educate the non-developers on best practices and how to use Bitcoin blockchain. The last one is the Financial Summit (fiancialsummit.com), which is a week-long event for traders, investors, hedge funds, etc. It is pretty secluded at a high-end resort, designed for the high net-worth individual, and it is week-long networking. I also do trading event educational boot camps, and I have webinars where I try to educate people on how to trade by focusing more on risk management as that is the only thing that will keep you in the game as a trader. Lastly, I have my Youtube channel and so many podcasts as well.
I want to do them all, but there is not enough time. I used to have a show called Crypto Scam, which everyone wants me to bring back, where we take a critical look at all the projects in the crypto space and try to expose the bad things they all are doing. You can check some of the podcasts out on Youtube. Also, if you are close to the places where the conferences are held, please attend. They are absolutely incredible.
Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada
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