Bitcoin.com spoke with former Wall St. trader Tone Vays of Brave New Coin (BNC) and the LibertyLifeTrail blog to discuss his career change, his upcoming keynote at Inside Bitcoins in Seoul, South Korea and San Diego, California, as well as his latest outlook on the price and cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.
“STABILITY IS ALWAYS GOOD AND MAKES BITCOIN A MUCH MORE USEFUL MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE. THE PRICE REALLY REFLECTS THE CONFIDENCE OF THE ECOSYSTEM, AND I BELIEVE THIS CONFIDENCE WILL QUICKLY RISE ONCE THERE ARE MORE ISSUES WITH THE EUROPEAN BANKS.”
Bitcoin.com (BC): How did you discover Bitcoin?
Tone Vays (TV): I first heard of Bitcoin in mid-2011 when Wikileaks began accepting it for donations. I finally googled it in 2012, but all that came up was mining information that did not interest me. It was in early 2013 when I finally went out looking for my first bitcoins. There was no one single catalyst, but I’d say it was a combination of looking to hedge fiat currency risk with events like the Cyprus Banking shutdown, wanting to place a few unregulated bets on football games and just wanting to play around with what may be the future of financial transactions.
BC: You have traded assets, equities, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies. What would you say is the most difficult to analyze?
TV: Every asset is different in its own way. In the case of equities, most of the events are known but what is not known is the reaction to these events. In Bitcoin, there are a lot more random events that affect the entire ecosystem, so there is definitely more short-term risk especially if you are utilizing leverage. So I would say, Bitcoin is easier to predict intermediate and long term while equities and commodities are easier to predict short term.
BC: What brought you to writing in general and then writing about trading and chart analysis?
TV: It was charting and trading what got me writing to begin with. I was never a confident writer, and there are thousands of people writing about trading and economics of the traditional markets. Bitcoin was a new asset, and there really were no experts or professional traders writing or talking about this space. This was my way of contributing to this ecosystem in a competent way playing to my strengths and knowledge from experience.
BC: How long did it take you to learn to read charts and do you think your experience gives you some clairvoyance towards Bitcoin’s valuation?
TV: Charting and technical analysis is a skill that is continuously improved. I learned the basics about ten years ago, but it took years before being comfortable with reading signals. I feel that it does give an advantage, but it has a lot to do with consistency of following the plan. It is similar to a Blackjack player that follows the odds vs. one that draws based on a gut feeling. Of course, in the Blackjack example, the perfect player will raise his odds to just under 50%, but if you are a consistent technical trader, I feel you can raise it about the 50% mark. Of course, you have to be consistent and follow what the charts say even when it does not make logical sense.
BC: People say Bitcoin is very volatile. Others would say other currencies and assets can be as well. Do you think Bitcoin is more volatile than other traded commodities or currencies?
TV: I would say Bitcoin is certainly more volatile than popular liquid assets including 1st world currencies. However, there are reasons some are willing to hold an asset like bitcoin and willing to take on the volatility risk. Bitcoin is the only asset that if properly secured, cannot be confiscated in any way, as opposed to what happened to capital sitting in Cyprus banks in 2013.
BC: Can you tell our readers about LibertyLifeTrail?
TV: I started this blog in early 2014, and it was going to cover many things like Economics, Investing, and Trading along with living a healthy lifestyle with suggestions on Diet, Exercise, and Travel (which were my interests before Bitcoin came along and took over). I had about six articles posted, most about Bitcoin, and I was discovered by CoinTelegraph to write for them instead to reach a larger audience. At that time, I also started speaking at Bitcoin Conferences and doing other consulting, so there was not much time to turn LibertyLifeTrail into its original vision. Today I just try and keep up with at least linking all my BraveNewCoin Articles, Podcast, and Interview appearances, but I intend to go back to the original vision once I have more free time.
BC: What’s your opinion on the current state of Bitcoin with its price value and infrastructure?
TV: I think Bitcoin is in a very good place right now. We had a few unreasonable moves in the last six months with the big crash in August and an exponential rise to $500 early November. These moves did not last long, and the price has been pretty steady in the $225 to $325 zone. Stability is always good and makes Bitcoin a much more useful medium of exchange. The price really reflects the confidence of the ecosystem, and I believe this confidence will quickly rise once there are more issues with the European banks. I think the Cyprus and Greek shutdowns are only the beginning.
“Bitcoin is here to stay, but it needs to survive at least 3 more years to be trusted by the general public.”
BC: How’s it going with things over at Brave New Coin?
TV: Things are going well, we have released an index that we hope will become the standard in price settlement. We are also looking to be the crypto data provider to the traditional financial institutions in need of pricing data in this space. We are also going put out a lot more reports for those looking to better understand this ecosystem. The report that I personally write is the Bitcoin Traders Report.
BC: You are speaking at the Inside Bitcoin’s conference this December. Can you tell our readers what you will be discussing?
TV: Yes, I am speaking at both of the Inside Bitcoin’s events with the first in Seoul, South Korea and the second in San Diego California. I’m doing very different things at these events. In South Korea, I will be teaching a tutorial on technical trading and chart reading as well as solo presentations about Bitcoins’ role in our global economic system. In San Diego, I’m spending most of my time on panels. I will be a speaker on the investor panel with notable names like Brock Pierce and Michael Terpoin. I will also be moderating panels on Bitcoin Exchanges and Bitcoin Wallets & Security.
BC: Would you say Bitcoin is a safe investment or a safe haven like gold or other assets?
TV: No, it would not be responsible for me to say that between the high volatility of the asset and Bitcoin still being an experiment with an undetermined future. I personally believe Bitcoin is here to stay, but it needs to survive at least three more years to be trusted by the general public. It is, however, the best asset on the planet for a person to move their wealth cross borders without permission.
BC: What is your opinion on the block size debate?
TV: I think fungibility in Bitcoin is a much more important issue. I would rather see small increases in block size when it’s absolutely necessary in order to instantly achieve consensus. I would also not want to see anything else in the code change other than the block size increase. Also, people need to understand that increasing the blocksize is not a solution to the scaling problem. We need some kind of a sidechain in order to handle microtransactions. I do not think it should even be attempted on the chain.
“Bitcoin has now been around for 7 years, and it has proven that it cannot be controlled or censored.”
BC: Bitcoin holds many political ideologies and strongly gravitates towards libertarian circles. What does Bitcoin mean to Tone Vays?
TV: I strongly agree with Milton Friedman and what he said at the end of this now infamous interview where he predicted the invention of Bitcoin in 1999. During that interview, he said that it will be the private value transfer on the internet that will help curtail the role of Government and I believe that is where we are headed. Bitcoin has now been around for seven years, and it has proven that it cannot be controlled or censored. I believe Bitcoin will continue to put many barriers and laws into question and force relaxation of regulation in financial transactions realm.
Thanks, Tone, for talking with us; we look forward to your presentations and speaking engagements at the Inside Bitcoins Blockchain Agenda.
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Images courtesy of Redmemes, Tone Vays, and Inside Bitcoins