Down the Rabbit Hole


😎  Inspired by Laura Shin’s account of her journey into crypto ten years ago, I’ve put together my short version, of my journey ‘down the rabbit hole’ 🐰🐇.

🧧 My journey starts at fintech startup Welendus (now Fund Ourselves) I was busy working with CEO Nadeem Siam on a £300k Seedrs raise in early 2017 with invaluable PR help from CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal to guide our efforts..

📺After connecting with Arjun on Twitter about an ICO for AR device Lampix in early August 2017 I was hired by CEO George Popescu (also founder of the Lending Times news site) to support the public ICO.

The private and public Lampix ICO in July and August 2017 together raised over $14m.

🚩China banned ICOs shortly after the private sale in September. The China-based Lampix investors did not get their funds returned. BigONE CEO Tian Yobin, reminded me of this in July 2021. Clearly Lampix is not without controversy.

🗻🌛At the height of the ICO hype I wrote an in-depth guide to ICO marketing including a ‘HT’ to Lampix adviser Jeremy Epstein, who later became CMO at Radix;

🤝In September 2017 after creating a pitch deck on my services, I returned to Canary Wharf to assist PR and content for BABB, a ‘banking for the unbanked’ crypto startup “facilitating borderless P2P transactions”.

💲Their ICO raised around $20m in early 2018, and are still going strong led by founder and CEO Rushd Averroes.

🖥️My ICO marketing post also led to a CMO marketing role with blockchain-enabled data transport startup OpenCryptoTrust (OpenCT).

Not the easiest topic to communicate to an ICO audience in Kazakstan, but I perserved..

♦️♥️ Back in the US the team won an industry award in 2018 in Atlantic City at the Blockchain World Conference, as well holding a little poker tournament of their own. Headline speaker John McAfee failed to appear in person!

😇 I aso squeezed in some work with Novum Insights in mid-2018, and later in 2022 I invited CEO Toby Lewis to speak at an expert panel on NFTs at BigONE Exchange which included crypto journo Tom Farren, head of Global Blockchain Initiative Ben Baldieri and Corrales Cachola, founder of Brand New Voices.

😎 While OpenCT went into fundraising mode I kept my crypto work going through crypto winter, from a webinar for JACS (to a spot of marketing for Radix (it recently raised $10m on a $400m valuation).

🏂❄️The end of crypto winter for me was the opportunity to join AI startup HUMAN Protocol in early 2021, raising over $50m in the process and working with crypto VC Bering Waters..

⛳The rest of my crypto rabbit hole journey you can find here, in my sister post on my ‘Fun in crypto’ with BigONE Exchange and DappRadar.

Fun in crypto (+ news in 2023)


😎 Worked with Ronaldinho and BigONE Exchange on a NFT‌ collection

👍 Including working with Andre Figer, the son of Juan Figer, whom
Pele said was, “the first businessman in Brazil to respect the football player!”

⚽ See Andre in the panel below..with Matt House of SportQuake
and Daniel Liu CEO of Influxo, in a discussion I hosted on NFTs in football!

💵 My fav article for BigONE was a piece on ‘Why DeFi holds the key to metaverse success’ which appeared in Forkast.News.

📚 Contributed to Dr Mark Van Rijmenham’s book, ‘Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy’ 

📔 Edited a book on NFTs (that sold out its own promo NFT) for Anndy Lian after the LUNA crash.

🤩 At DappRadar I organised a top NFT influencer event for NFT.London (in a Westminster pub in the heart of Government), which attracted top crypto influencers including Travis Wright of Bad Crypto.

📺 Secured top coverage from cyber reporter Joe Tidy at the BBC in a story about the growth of the metaverse (see on iPlayer, YT and the BBC news website)

🤝Worked on crypto wallet partnership at DappRadar with browser Opera — four years after their first crypto browser launch at Rise in London (me, in the audience 😇)

🏖️🩴DappRadar’s Barcelona ‘workcation’ highlight for me?
The Axie Infinity event.

🏅Where I went to my first eSports contest! 

🎩 And where I met and chatted with top crypto investor
and entrepreneur Yat Siu, Chairman of Animoca Brands. 

Yat Siu has just (17 Jan) facilitated a merger between Forkast.News and
CryptoSlam to form a new web3 info hub, Forkast Labs (Bloomberg report)

😇 However, the recent (4 Feb) FT article ‘Can the pioneer of blockchain gaming survive the crypto winter?’ takes a distinctly sceptical look at Yat Siu and his Animoca crypto empire. (But with such a sceptical story angle, there’s no mention of the smart merger work Siu facilitated between CryptoSlam and Forkast;)

UK Crypto Report Highlights Opportunities and Challenges for Regulation and Investment

Following the UK Government’s aim to establish the UK as a global hub for cryptocurrency investment the Crypto and Digital Assets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) initiated an inquiry to understand the opportunities and challenges in the sector.

The inquiry focused on various areas, including regulation, the role of regulators like the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), consumer protection, and economic crime.

The inquiry identified that cryptocurrency and digital assets have the potential to transform the financial services system, but they need to be regulated to protect consumers and ensure investment and economic growth. The industry presents opportunities for financial services innovation, economic growth, job creation, research, collaboration, and financial inclusion.

The growth of the sector without comprehensive regulation also poses risks such as consumer protection issues, economic crime, and financial instability. Therefore, regulation is vital to mitigate these risks and harness the sector’s potential.

To become a global hub, the UK needs to develop clear regulatory frameworks and provide regulatory clarity to attract companies. The report found that the government should explore the potential of a digital pound and ensure sufficient education and awareness among the public. Regulators should have the necessary resources, capacity, and technical expertise to deliver the government’s vision.

A coordinated approach is necessary across all government departments and agencies impacted by cryptocurrency and digital assets. The appointment of a “Crypto Tsar” could help coordinate this effort. The regulation of cryptocurrency and digital assets should align with existing financial services regulations and achieve similar investor protection and market integrity outcomes.

The report provided several recommendations, including capitalizing on investment opportunities, supporting regional growth, attracting talent, improving financial inclusion, monitoring risks, keeping pace with technology developments, and considering environmental impacts. The role and approach of UK regulators need to be strengthened, and the government should ensure easy market access for UK-based businesses.

Overall, the report emphasized the need for comprehensive regulation, strategic planning, and coordination to realize the government’s vision for the UK as a global hub for cryptocurrency and digital asset investment.

In August 2022 the Crypto and Digital Assets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) announced an inquiry into the UK Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets sector following the UK Government’s announcement of its landmark vision to make the UK the global hub for cryptocurrency investment.

The APPG published the findings of this inquiry in its report – ‘Realising Government’s Vision for the UK to Become a Global Hub for Cryptocurrency & Fintech Innovation’ on Monday 5th June 2023.

Download the full report here

Download the summary report here

AI creation note:
This post was witten using ChatGPT which provided a draft based on the report summary. The accompanying image was generated by the Bing Image Creator.

How people can say bitcoin is decentralized?

I asked ChatGPT, and here’s the answer (and a pretty good one..)

Bitcoin is often referred to as decentralized because it operates on a decentralized network called the blockchain. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that is maintained by a network of computers, known as nodes, spread across the globe. Each node stores a copy of the entire blockchain, which contains a record of all Bitcoin transactions.

When people say that Bitcoin is decentralized, they mean that no single entity or authority controls the network or has the power to manipulate it. Transactions are verified by the network of nodes through a consensus mechanism, typically through a process called mining, which ensures the integrity and security of the network.

Now, when it comes to Coinbase or any other cryptocurrency exchange, it’s important to distinguish between the underlying technology (Bitcoin) and the platforms or services built around it. Coinbase is a centralized entity that provides services to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It has a physical address because it is a traditional company with headquarters and offices.

While Coinbase acts as an intermediary for users to interact with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it does not control the Bitcoin network itself. You can think of Coinbase as a bridge between the traditional financial system and the decentralized world of cryptocurrencies. Users can send their Bitcoin from Coinbase to any other Bitcoin address, and the transaction will be recorded on the blockchain, independent of Coinbase.

So, the decentralization of Bitcoin refers to the network and the consensus mechanism that powers it, while centralized platforms like Coinbase are separate entities that facilitate the use and exchange of cryptocurrencies.