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
- Tone Vays (All Interviews)
- Into Wall Street for a Better Living
- Confiscation Crises Lead me into Bitcoin
- Even Gold is Confiscatable
- Wealth is Being Demonized
- Bitcoin Still Relevant in 10 Years
- Bitcoin’s Side-Ways Trend
- The Only Important Thing To Me Is My Bitcoin
- Separation From Bitcoin Is Challenging
- Token Business Model Does Make No Sense
- A fluctuating Token Product
- Important Metrics to me
- Bitcoin is a Free Market
- It’s Like Playing Poker
- Blockchain – A Diluted Term
- Does Your PoW Matter?
- Swing to Intermediate Trader
- Most Memorable Years
Tone Vays (All Interviews)
My name is Tone Vays. I have been in the crypto space for over 6 years now, and it’s like time just flies by. Before that, I was working on Wall Street for about 10 years mostly building risk models. I have lots of experience as a trader, as I started trading in the early 2000s, and have continued until this day. I am just a little too busy for active trading at the moment because I travel the world to speak about Bitcoin at conferences a lot. I also organize conferences. I run a Youtube channel, and educate people about trading on the side with webinars and masterclasses.
Into Wall Street for a Better Living
I got into Wall Street ten years before getting into the crypto space. What got me into Wall Street was a slightly different motivation than Bitcoin. Honestly, it was money. I got my degree from an undergraduate university and became a high school teacher. I did not like my job, because you don’t get paid very well as a teacher, and I wanted to do something different. I had a lot of friends that were in university with me who went on to work in finance in the very early 2000s. They were very happy with their jobs and how they were doing. So I went and got a master’s degree in financial engineering, and got a job at a company called Bear Stearns. A few years later, the company went down due to the financial crisis, but I did not have any problem finding a new job in the Wall Street space.
Confiscation Crises Lead me into Bitcoin
I entered the crypto space around the same time I quit my job to start my career as a full-time trader. I always wanted to be a full-time trader. I was only a part-time trader while I was working on Wall Street, but I was enjoying following up with the crypto space. I had heard about Bitcoin 2 years before I got into the crypto space. However, it did not resonate with me until the Cyprus banking confiscation crisis hit. The people of Cyprus lost their savings in the banks beyond thousands of Euros, and that really scared me. It made me think it could happen to my savings in the banks as well. That is how I realized Bitcoin is the first unconfiscatable asset we have ever owned, and that got me into it. I was following up with the crypto space in 2013, quit my job in very early 2015, and started writing articles about Bitcoin. I also started being interviewed about Bitcoin because of the articles I wrote. I continued with public speaking, and all that as I was a full-time trader. Now, the situation has turned around. I am back to being a part-time trader, but have evolved to become a full-time Bitcoin “evangelist”.
Even Gold is Confiscatable
There is no other asset that we currently have besides Bitcoin, which is unconfiscatable. A long time ago, gold was an unconfiscatable asset because you could hide your gold, and no one could know you owned any. People still think that you can hide your gold today, but with modern technology like metal detectors, and radar and solar technologies, it has become impossible. Even if you bury your gold in the backyard, it can be found without digging and identifying where it physically is. It is also problematic to travel with gold. Back in the day, you could put your gold in a bag and hire a couple of bodyguards, and go to another country. Today, it is very challenging to get your gold from one location to another. You can certainly try to drive it in a car from one country to another, but when getting on a plane, metal detectors and X-ray machines will detect it. Therefore, if you have a valuable asset you want to protect, you really do not have many options. However, you can store Bitcoin, and that is incredible.
Wealth is Being Demonized
People have not realized the most important property of Bitcoin yet. Throughout history, it has always been “one nation conquers another nation” or “one country devaluing their currency” or “taxes going up”. It was all about confiscation. Even today, communists are taking over, and wealth is being demonized. The majority of innovation that you get are from innovative individuals. Indisputably, anyone can try to innovate, but it is hard to bring that innovation into the market without some wealth and measures. You can argue saying “Satoshi created Bitcoin”, but you do not know if he was rich or not. Satoshi clearly had the means to work on Bitcoin for years, which takes time. If you are poor and you have to work for a living, when are you going to find the time to be able to put in the effort to innovate? Once you realize this, you see how much wealth and social class disparity there already is.
If we take a look at one of our best innovators right now, Elon Musk, we will quickly find out he was a very wealthy man right from the start. With two prior companies that he established himself, he is now innovating with Tesla. I believe that some of the best innovators are people with some financial resources, and they can invent amazing things that help everyone become wealthier as well. If a person is not able to protect the life savings that you spend long years working for, the whole situation will become helpless for the majority of people. Imagine, you saved a lot of money, and now have the resources and the time to innovate something. What if those resources are taken away from you by someone with a bigger gun? That would be devastating for the person and the community’s development. This is why Bitcoin is so important, and why I have a conference called unconfiscatable.
Bitcoin Still Relevant in 10 Years
Bitcoin is a lot more than an investment for me. When I first bought into Bitcoin, I knew that Bitcoin was going to rise, but I was more intrigued by ideological reasons more than financial reasons. I saw it as an investment that would go up, but more importantly, I wanted to support what Bitcoin represented. Unfortunately, the problem with today’s investors in the crypto space is that since Bitcoin was created, everyone has been trying to print their own digital money. When I look at all other Altcoins and all the other projects in the crypto space, they do not seem fundamentally sound at all to me. The only reason why anyone would buy into them is, not to use the product but to try to get rich. A few people will get rich, but the majority of the people will be left with less than what they had, in the beginning.
Every year more and more of the altcoins collapse, and very new few rise to the top. I don’t believe any other currency besides Bitcoin is going to be relevant 10 years from now. There will be some new ones, but I think all of them will trend towards 0. A person coming into this space today might come with different expectations. If the only intention why you are here is to get rich, then you will realize you will be quite disappointed. That is regardless of whether you are here to buy Bitcoin, which is what I recommend, or to buy into other cryptocurrencies. People will get disappointed because they might buy at the wrong time, or the price does not go up fast enough, etc. I expect Bitcoin to rise, but I set realistic expectations. The struggle in your Bitcoin world is going to be a lot more challenging.
Bitcoin’s Side-Ways Trend
I actually anticipated that Bitcoin would have a sideways trend for a while. During the first week of the year, I wrote a blog post as to what my expectations were for the crypto space and Bitcoin. In the first week of January of this year, when Bitcoin was around 9000 dollars, I wrote that I expect “a big crash down to approximately 5000 dollars”, and I expected, “crash before the halving”. That was exactly what happened. Furthermore, I predicted, “Bitcoin would rise from the 5000 dollar area” and “get stuck under 10000 dollars for the rest of the year”. So, I anticipated this consolidation between the 6-7 thousand areas to the 10000 dollar area, because while Bitcoin is significant and it is extraordinary, Bitcoin is highly valued. To move the price of Bitcoin up is still very challenging. The other big problem in the crypto space is that people believe in scams, which is why many are buying into Altcoins.
The Only Important Thing To Me Is My Bitcoin
Over the last few months, we have seen Bitcoin dominance drop a little bit. Now, I expected Bitcoin dominance to rise over this year, and it will rise eventually, but for now, people are buying into a lot of scams. This is part of what is also holding Bitcoin back a little bit. Still, the supply is very heavy, and there was also a big Ponzi-scheme in China that collected a lot of Bitcoin, implying that everyone wants your Bitcoin. The most valuable thing I have is my Bitcoin. I almost do not care about anything else; you can hack my bank account, you can hack my pay-pal. I hope that you won’t, but if you do, I can probably get my money back through the banking system. There is only one thing that I cannot get back, and that is my Bitcoin. So I try to protect it, I try to make sure that it is safe from hackers, and anyone that wants to sell me something in exchange for my Bitcoin, I really want to think twice. Do I really want to lose or exchange my Bitcoin for something else? I don’t see anything in the market that is as valuable as Bitcoin over the long term, but that is just my view on it.
Separation From Bitcoin Is Challenging
The Crypto artist Vesa is great! I saw him at an event where he had one of his paintings on the walls displayed. His paintings come in only three pieces. During the event, two pieces were already sold as they had corporate logos on them, and there was only one clean piece left. I really needed to have it, but it was hard separating yourself from your Bitcoin when you want to buy a piece of art.
Afterward, we commissioned Vesa to create a painting for the Unconfiscatable Conference. He did a long interview with me to get the essence of what the conference is about, then I let his creativity and his vision to do the rest. He did a magnificent job, and we put together an awesome painting where we had the speakers of the unconfiscatable conference sign it. We auctioned it off, and one of my friends won the auction.
I think that what Vesa is doing id great, and he loves selling his paintings for BTC. Acquiring BTC is challenging, and to separate people from their Bitcoins you have to offer them something they really like. That is a way for him to earn Bitcoin, and I think if not the best, he is in the top 3 most famous crypto artists we have in the space today.
Token Business Model Does Make No Sense
The only cryptocurrency that I pay attention to is Bitcoin. I call the rest scams. Even if some of those cryptocurrencies are not really scams, I fell they are just silly, useless, and kind of stupid. If you have a product that uses a token for the functionality of the product itself while the token is being openly traded on exchanges, that token is a scam to me. There is absolutely no product that needs a fluctuating currency in the middle of a transaction. This business model makes absolutely no sense at all.
A fluctuating Token Product
If this business model would make sense, then we would be paying for Netflix in Netflix stocks. We would also be paying with e-bay stocks for e-bay, and we would be paying amazon stocks or amazon currency to purchase from Amazon. All these projects use a utility token that does not have a stable value. The only reason to have that token is to print money for yourself and sell it to unqualified investors. I think this business model has broken many security laws that have evolved in the 100 years to protect investors in such companies. Don’t get me wrong, all those are companies, and all of them, from Ethereum to the latest emerging coin, are companies with centralized servers. I don’t see how they are decentralized.
Important Metrics to me
My evaluation of a tokens stops the moment I realize the only reason for it to exists is for a selected few people to profit on the printing and the creation of that token. The only metrics I use are for Bitcoin, including the innovations which are being built and integrated on top of Bitcoin like the Lightning Network, the Liquid side chain, and the Hash Rate. Hash Rate just hit a new high, meaning the electricity securing Bitcoin has never been higher. Those are all positive metrics that ensure operations on Bitcoin go smoothly with no problems.
Besides, the Bitcoin network never goes down. It has not gone down even for a second in the last 5~6 years. Maybe the transactions are not always fast, they are not always private but they always work, but my Bitcoin transactions always go through. Those are the metrics that I really care about and with every passing day the confidence that I have in the Bitcoin that I protect only rises.
Bitcoin is a Free Market
I do not think there are people in the market that could influence the market because they have power. People think that they do but even if they do it is only temporary. I do not think anyone person has that kind of effect. Again, we have to separate the Bitcoin from the rest of the crypto coins.
In the world of Bitcoin, I don’t think there is anyone that has such kind of an effect influencing anything in the market. Now, if someone has a lot of Bitcoin and they actually sell that Bitcoin or they have a lot of money and they are going to buy Bitcoin, they will move the price.
A lot of people call that manipulation. I don’t like to use the term manipulation for someone with a lot of money or a lot of Bitcoin moving the market. I believe in free markets, and I believe that if you have a lot of Bitcoin, you can move it around. If you want to sell it you should not be restricted because it is risky for you not to take on big bets as there might be a bigger fish that will take you down in the market. The same applied to the US dollar market. If you are a billionaire who wants to come into space, and you want to throw a million dollars and buy Bitcoin immediately, you will move the price to the upside, and that’s great.
However, when it comes to the other cryptocurrencies, there is usually one person or a small group of people, that have an enormous influence on the markets. If the CEO of one of the big Altcoin company says something, the market or the price will move. So any markets in the crypto space can easily be influenced by these charismatic leaders. But when it comes to Bitcoin, I believe in free markets and I don’t think anyone has overwhelming influences in it.
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
The Article published on this our Homepage are only for the purpose of providing information. This is not intended as a solicitation for cryptocurrency trading. Also, this article is the author’s personal opinions, and this does not represent opinion for the Company BtcBox Co.,Ltd.