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Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve by George Soros ジョージ・ソロス : デリバティブのマジシャン、投資理論、経営哲学: ジョージ・ソロス

George Soros, has a lot of say that is worth reading about. This is really 3 books in one. The first section is about trading, and is called "Investing and global Finance". The second section is about politics and is called "Geopolitics, Philanthropy, and Global Change". The third section is about  "Philosophy" and includes his personal one he called "reflexivity". Most readers focus on the first section, but that seems to be a bit short sighted. George Soros only started trading the Quantum Fund in his 40s. He was already a well formed financier, and it is his foundation of ideas that made him stand out. I will concentrate on this first section as it is the most financial in its flavor within this review.

To hope that you could read "a few good tips" on how to do better trading, and then make billions like him, would be a poor use of time. If anybody is motivated to make really big trades, and learn the edge needed to make mega profits, the bigger picture of the man is needed. Every trader has areas they excel at, and George Soros, was no exception. Like a surfer, he needed a very big wave to show his conviction and really impress. Others could be impressive with smaller waves in more regular numbers, but that is not what he did best. George Soros, was always about the mega trade. He was ultimately an "elephant hunter" in the financial markets. It was never about a preferred type of trade, but more of a window of timing matched with size that really set George Soros, apart of many others of his hedge fund trading generation. To get a full flavor of what it takes to be a trader of his class and stature, I would read all 3 sections of the book. This will help give a much wider perspective of the man, and therefore the person you need to be, to repeat his level of success.


This is in great contrast to his own insecurity about how wrong he could be about recognizing any big wave of opportunity in a trade. He always knew he could be wrong, and put on a big trade in size, with this knowledge. He may have had conviction, but he also always admitted that timing could change and force him to exit a trade quickly. This could be the case even if 24 hours before, he was full of conviction. Many traders in the market do not have this mental attitude. Too many traders often "get married" to an individual trade or a single position, and then "hope" it will change back into a profitable outcome when it goes negative early on. George Soros, never got married to any single position. It sets him apart mentally from 99% of most financial traders and risk takers in the market.

Another rare factor about the trading style preferences of george Soros was actually, his lack of style. Unlike many hedge fund traders who had a usual or signature trade or strategy, George Soros, never had a single one to call his own. It reminds me of a quote by Bruce Lee, "be like water, if water is in a cup, you are the cup" that kind of thing. Part of the strength that george Soros had in regard to strategy was a lack of one that was a clear pattern. Size and conviction appeal was the only true pattern that he would often follow. Equities, FX, Credit or Fixed Income never really attracted him "per se" It was the size potential of any single trade, not the actual type or strategy.

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is no single position or trade worth getting married to. If it goes negative, just cut it and move on. Just put the position back on, if the price moves again in your favor.

2) The is no best kind of trade, asset class or strategy. There are many ways to make money in markets, and it is best to be as familiar with as many as you can. Focus on the size of a trade's potential, not the type.

3) You need to have a clear vision about life and your purpose in it, before you can trade sucessfully. Wanting a lot of money is not a good enough start. You must think more deeply about an ultimate purpose.

It is worth reading all of the main 3 sections, not just the financial one to fully understand what makes George Soros tick inside. Whatever your politics, he at least at a clear reason written down in advance before he took action. Many other can argue about his liberal views and ideas, but it is best to balance them with why he even formed them in the first place. Life is a zero sum game for some. As a child, he was shielded from Nazi crimes by being raised publicly as a non-Jewish person in a secret adoption. It kept him alive. Despite having to witness terrible atrocities against other Jews as a youth, he had to contain himself. As an adult later in life, he could finally let out any anger he saw when seeing any similar actions taking place politically. All of that mental baggage certainly makes you think what does it take to make such a man. If that 360 view works for you, then this book is Highly Recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

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      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: Other People's Money by Justin Cartwright OPM: 裕福な家族のお金 (ヨーロッパの物語): ジャスティン・カートライト

Ultra High Net Worth families spend a lot, perhaps even more than they should. Top wealth managers in Switzerland, like UBS & Credit Suisse, have moved away from investment banking. They have refocused on private wealth management due to this real need to help wealth preservation for rich families. Private Banking services for the 1% are the next clear trend globally. This book is about one of these rich families and the lifestyle that they lead. OPM is a wealth management term for "Other People's Money" and is still used today.

The plot involves a very old bank, a family office, and the people involved with running that money, not just the deals themselves. The main focus is on the many up and coming rich generations that feel entitled to wealth made by their parents or grandparents. The selfish view seems to be "the money's all in the family, and I deserve all of it!" This is the main story line. 

What world do the super rich in Europe live in? That is what this book describes. It is ultimately a description of a recent period of time post Madoff, post Lehman, and the aftershocks that may be going on now that are being felt by private banks today. It may be fair to say that this book shows what is happening to families in Europe. Similar families in China or Japan should take note as they may soon follow the slippery slope downward. Lessons on better financial habits could be learned. You cannot spend your way into making a fortune, no matter what generation of family wealth you are a part of. That lesson was clear to me, but not some of the characters.

It is pleasant light reading for lazy days by the beach on vacation anywhere, like in the south of France, where it is partly set. It describes the place very well. You certainly learn key insight about what kind of characters work inside a very old private bank. What are their old money customers like? Much is revealed about the attitudes of High Net Worth clients, and their typical actions around entitlement. It is revealing and shows all behavior, both good and bad by this pampered portion of society. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a clear detachment with multi-generational HNW families and their wealth. It is not about any return on capital, but more a return of capital with investments!

2) The South of France does seem to have a large number of British nationals spending away the family office wealth with no end in sight.

3) Keeping hungry economically after financial success has never been easy to families that want to continue past second or third generations of wealth.


It is worth a read if that kind of fiction is what you seek. It is not a fast-paced hard core thriller about the famous financial "City" of London, England. I say this because it touches on the financial world, but does not really live or breath it. It is more of a pleasant fictional novel about people, who happen to be wealthy. I did not mind myself, but financial markets are basically just the scenery around the story, and not intrinsic to it. If that works for you, it is Highly Recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo





      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Feature Review: TokenSky Blockchain Conference 2018 TOP 12 Speaker NOTES 金曜日のフィーチャーレビュー:トークンスカイブロックチェインカンファレンス 2018 トップ12スピーカーノート

The recent TokenSky Blockchain Conference in Tokyo, (July 4/5, 2018) attracted over 5,000+ attendees. Many were from overseas, in fact 40% were foreign non-Japanese, especially Chinese. These are my personal notes from 2 full days of speaker observations and follow up conversations during the event. I learned a lot, and much of it was unexpected insights. First of all, I had to pick and choose as there were 2 live stages with speakers. There were over 100+ booths with mostly global firms promoting themselves in Japan, often with China based roots. This is a growing powerful force.

To set the scene, there was a large presence of Chinese entrepreneurs. I felt like I was in Hong Kong, not Tokyo. As China has been at the forefront of Blockchain technology, this was a real world case of seeing this major influence for myself. However, the organizers were not as smooth as JBC last week. This showed in some of the presentations, and a lack of translation at times. There were not really enough panel discussions either. The few they had were really good. Some of the 160 speakers were really worth noting though. Often some of the local Japanese speakers had a high motivation to drive Blockchain innovation in Japan, in order to catch up with China. That was how it felt anyway. I have listed a lot of interesting facts that were explained live to the audience. I tried to record as many of the best speakers as possible.

1) Blockchain Patents: Globally, the use of technology drives forward by innovation and patents. They can often be leveraged and built upon via follow up product ideas. The race is not equal today though, China is clearly in the lead. 
China has 48 patents now registered, 
USA has  33 patents now registered, 
Korea has 8 patents, and surprisingly
Japan has just 3 patents in the Blockchain area.

2) Tao Jiang, has created CSDN (China software Developer Network) with over 25 million members! These massive numbers of developers on this single platform makes it clear to me why China is very far ahead of the rest of the world with Blockchain technology. He has a motto, "coding is mining". 

3) Yukio Noguchi, Waseda University professor, explained how "Blockchain will change the world". He did this while making a speech, no slide show. All this while the audience read a printed paper handout only available in Japanese. This 20th century approach made the gap clear on why 21st century Japan was behind in execution.
* Despite the format, his ideas were sound. It focused on how work of any repetitive nature will in time be replaced with AI software on the Blockchain. He explained that low value jobs will go, but newer higher value ones will replace them. The gap in employment needs will be made up for in higher incomes. No sure on this logic, but it answers how Japan could survive comfortably with a shrinking population.

4) Pierre Noizat, CEO of Paymium, a European Bitcoin exchange had very curious and eye opening comments on crypto volume trends. Every country says the same thing, "our regulators are the worst out there!" by definition, that cannot be true, but was nice to hear. 
* Paymium started in 2013, and uses cold storage for 98% of all customer funds. They have not been hacked and have 170,000 accounts. In addition to fiat to crypto they also do "Atomic Swaps in BTC, LTC, ZEC, BCH & ETH" I have never heard this term before, and was glad to discover this new term and customer service offering.
* In a snapshot of global fiat Bitcoin trading volume on June 28, 2018, Japan's Yen influence globally is very clear. 
Some 59.5% of BTC is in Yen, 
just 33.5% is in USD, 
another 2.3% in Euro, 
and only 1.7% in Korean Won. This opened my eyes. No wonder so many crypto traders want to come to Japan!

5) Katsunori Kondo, co-founder of Asobi coin had a positive twist to share long term. All is not smooth today with the FSA. Japan's top regulator likes paper and old procedures from the 20th century still. The Blockchain though may help to end this old standard. Once paper applications, scanned paper ID documents and other paper documents now needing formal company stamps (locally known as hankos) are replaced, a future could change. This current slow process may turn out to leapfrog by moving to the Blockchain where processing time could be minimized and productivity maximized. That is of course, the theory.

6) Daisuke Tsuda, a journalist with shaggy blond hair, had clear facts to share. Japan has been slow to embrace social media, but once offered in Japan, it can take off. Although Facebook had 9.5 million Japanese users on March 11, 2011, the day of the Fukushima tsunami. Twitter had just 6.7 million Japanese users. While traditional land & mobile lines went down, social media communication exploded. Today, Facebook now has 81 million Japanese users, so 1 user out of 1.5 citizens. Twitter now has 45 million Japanese users, or 1 user in every 3 citizens.

7) Masashi Nakajima, was one of the most interesting authors to present. He has written a best selling book in Japanese called "After Bitcoin". It has since been translated into Korean, other languages may soon follow. He is unique in that he worked for the BIS (Bank of International Settlements) in Switzerland. He clearly explains the whole money flow process between banks and how Blockchain will help global trade and the world economy over 3 clear stages.
* Blockchain 1.0 is for Cryptocurrency 
* Blockchain 2.0 is for Financial Services
* Blockchain 3.0 is for Non-Financial Services
DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) can be P2P (Pier to Pier), but there are 2 types, public & private, also called open & closed. There are trade offs, but the trend will move towards more private or closed Blockchain networks. They insure more speed and have more trust built in. SWIFT may move to such a network. Today, Corda run by R3, has 70 global financial institutions,(including 3 Japanese mega banks) using it. There is a rival by Ripple which has 160 institutions using another network.
* In a Blockchain test by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, and Bank of Mexico, the 4 days typically needed for usual bank transfers was reduced to just 4 seconds! In addition, the processing cost was also reduced by 83.4%! Other stock exchanges are now testing similar systems like NASDAQ, ASX, and JPX.
* Trade finance may be the first area to benefit the most from any Blockchain use of DLT. It is a very heavy paper process today needing various stamps, duties and letters of credit. Much of this can be streamlined with DLT.
* Diamonds have been the first goal of EverLedger in London. They began in 2015, and have loaded 1.6 million diamonds onto their DLT. This reduces stolen or blood diamonds from being in any system, and includes partners like DeBeers.
* Real Estate has started to find similar benefits. Sweden and Ukraine have put property on a DLT and others will follow.
* Foodstuffs like organic produce & pork are now on a DLT in tests done by Wallmart. Customers want to confirm sources.
* Audi and Samsung are doing tests for supply chain source technology that will use DLT to lower overall costs.
* AXA insurance have done tests with automated refunds from insurance on cancelled airline flights via DLT already.
* Smart contracts on any DLT are not perfect though. There was a major mistake with a Hacking incident with The Dao.

8) Malcolm Casselle, CIO from WAX (Worldwide Asset Exchange) that the Blockchain use by gamers is already higher than many other groups. In fact, the total amount of gamers globally is over 400 million active game users. That is 17 times BIGGER than the amount of global cryptocurrency traders!
* He mentioned that the market for skins and other customized items is a huge market. They sold a special "skin" that decorated a special rifle. It had a beautiful dragon motif that sold for over USD61,000 recently! There is real money for virtual assets now possible online due to Blockchain.

9) Shuto Yamamoto, founder of DragonVein had a very curious announcement. On his birthday July 4th, he was happy to announce his new DVC crypto mining machine. The DV box runs his 2d & 3D software. however, it is also a low energy mining machine as well. This addresses a big concern many today have with various cryptocurrencies. They will have an ICO to support his project, DVC on July 9.

10) Yonathan Parienti, a former banker, and founder of Horyou, is a new kind of Token platform. Using the HoryouToken, they try and do social good with social media on the Blockchain. They have 250,000+ members and work with 1800+ NPO organizations across 190 nations. They support the 17 sustainability goals of the United Nations. They see themselves as a "Force for Good to Humanity".

11) Harrison Hines, founder of Token Foundry, had solid big picture views on how to best understand ICO or Token value. He used the example of the New York City Tax Medallion. If you buy a Taxi Medallion (think of it as a Token), it allows you to access a network around New York City (a Blockchain Network). 
* You can drive a taxi or hire drivers to do so to generate cash and add value to the network. This is how you maximize your use of the medallion. 
* What you do NOT do, is hold on to the Medallion only, and do nothing. There is no point waiting for a price increase by pure speculation. Fully using any Token or ICO, is the main point, not waiting for the price to go up. 
* You use the Token in order to build value into the network itself. That is how you create true long term value. It is not by waiting for a price rise. You make the price rise by using it.

12) Wilson Wei, founder of LINO, is trying to topple YouTube. He is creating a decentralized rival that will allow more independence from content creators in the future. This will allow more financial independence as well due to the monopoly nature of YouTube today. 
* He explained how YouTube now often takes 45% of revenue share from any creator. The 55% left often needs to share 17% with an MCM partner, leaving just 38% for the content creator. I did not know about this P/L split before. 
* He stressed that with a new LINO Ecosystem, it will often give better revenue for content creators. Ads, Tipping, micro payments and subscriptions can all help content creators with better future revenue models. His startup based in Silicon Valley is 1 year old, and has top tier investment partners like ZhenFund. Arguably the best private equity investor in China today. It smells like a winner.





Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 65,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター65,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo





      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Feature Review: Japan Blockchain Conference 2018 TOP 13 Speaker NOTES 金曜日のフィーチャーレビュー:ジャパンブロックチェインカンファレンス 2018 トップ13スピーカーノート

The recent Japan Blockchain Conference in Tokyo, (June 26/27, 2018) attracted over 10,000+ attendees. Many were from overseas, in fact 30% were foreign non-Japanese. These are my personal notes from 2 full days of speaker observations and follow up conversations during the event. I learned a lot, and much of it was unexpected insights. First of all, I had to pick and choose as there were 3 live stages with speakers. I really learned a lot, so it was worth my time. There were over 100+ booths with mostly global firms promoting themselves in Japan. 

To set the scene, there was a real buzz in the air. Including a number of curious Bitcoin zillionaires in attendance. They were easy to spot by their fashion appearance. Poor people are crazy, but rich people are just eccentric. One 60 something guy had a black cowboy hat with a pink scarf tied around it leaving a kind of a long tail. Another beefy 50 something guy had a renaissance over decorated outfit for summer. It was a white and navy 17th century French pattern that belongs on my grandmothers cushions. It was actually a t-shirt with matching shorts AND sandals. Anyways, enjoy my notes below.


1) SBI President & CEO Yoshitaka Kitao, gave the opening speech. He had a lot of graphics to show how far reaching the SBI Group plan on investing and maximizing Blockchain & crypto technologies in future. They are using a huge war chest of funds to build the future of Blockchain Technology. They clearly want to be the global leader in the 21st century. That is a quote.

2) Roger Ver CEO of bitcoin.com stressed ESG around democracy and economic freedom. In his view, wider cryptocurrency adoption helps economies especially in the developing world. This can directly be tracked by fewer child deaths by higher incomes in more open economies. The unbanked today, over 2 billion people, could be the biggest beneficiaries of Blockchain and any global crypto revolution. This was a similar theme repeated by others.

3) Galaxy Digital co-founder David J.Namdar, gave an interesting overview of what to expect. He is ex UBS & Millennium, in both Hong Kong & New York, and ran SolidX previously. He was trying to launch a Crypto themed ETF last March 2017, just like the Winklevoss Twins. US regulators shut that possible future down.
* As far as future trends, he stated that decentralized crypto exchanges seem to be the way forward. Japan's centralized exchanges may be 70-90% of Japanese yen trading today, but it could reduce to just 30% within 5 years. 
* That seems to mean that Binance and others like it have higher growth potential going forward. His new merchant bank is expanding now, and seems to have a bright future not just trading, but across various kinds of transactions. It is a great new business model to put on your radar.

4) Ikigai Asset Management founder Travis Kling, offered hedge fund views that reflect his trader background of 10 years of trading experience. Coming from 2 top global hedge funds previously, Magnetar and Point72 (formerly SAC) he really knows how to professionally trade crypto. 
* He has "fallen down the rabbit hole of crypto" and explained a number of new concepts. Everyone who saw his session got a very unique education on how to trade in crypto. 
* He explained a few new laws to consider like Metcafe's law about cell phone size networks and how they grow. He also introduced the NVT ratio to many in the audience. What is it? MV=PQ it is the equation of exchange and helps understand any velocity price problem. He was the only speaker to state it is good to learn from others but always remember DYOR (Do Your Own Research).
* He thinks that there was a bubble full of poor quality ICOs in 2017, and now the holders face the "Prisoner's Dilemma" between buyers & sellers. If these crypto speculators made a lot of money from Ethereum last year, many investors bought any ICO to diversity their new found gains. However, the prices are now down in 2018, but they need cash now. If they sell now, the price will go down, but they want to keep the price rising higher, so what to do?

5) Sirin Labs co-CEO Moshe Hogeg, announced live at the event his new mobile smart phone. The 2 key outstanding features were its built in "cold wallet" for any crypto holdings. He said that if Gold holdings worldwide are worth USD7 Trillion today, while all digital currencies are only worth USD250 Billion, they may the perfect phone for future growth.
*  The mobile will also have cross convertibility of crypto with transactions. If you had Ethereum, but could only pay in Bitcoin, the phone would do that instantly. 
* He said it has specs equal to the Galaxy 9 or the iPhone 10. It will go on sale globally in around 15 countries this November 2018. It will have a multi layer cyber protection suite. 
* They will also have a decentralized app store, and use Lionel Messi (Global Soccer Superstar) is the brand ambassador for this new mobile. 
* It is very similar to iPhone 10 and Samsung Galaxy 9. For sale in November 2018 and will be for sale in many cities including Tokyo. "Dive into Crypto" is on his T-shirt. His t-shirt said "Dive into Crypto" I loved that!

6) BITPOINT CEO Genki Oda, spoke publicly despite just getting FSA order for business improvement 3 days before. It was a gutsy move explaining this recent event live on stage. He did a great job. I am sure many on his team would have wanted him to cancel. Being ESG friendly, he went for a strong Corporate Governance option and spoke well.
Bitpoint was 1 of 6 Japanese crypto exchanges given business improvement orders, he still showed up and spoke well publicly. A rare positive move for corporate Japan.
* He felt it was best as many attendees in the Japan Blockchain Conference, would be curious anyway to hear if he could comment on the orders, and give any view. 
*  The Kanto Finance Bureau gave 6 suggestions to Bitpoint. He was transparent and went over all 6. This included requests improvements around the Bitpoint management team, risk systems and the risk management structure in place today. 
* Originally, when he had the idea for a crypto exchange, he wanted to offer a safe offering within the bitcoin space for Japan. That was the original goal. 
* At the time, anything involving bitcoin was considered unsafe due to the MT Gox fiasco hack back in 2014. 
* To my surprise, he explained that they have a "warm wallet" at Bitpoint. It is not hot, and not cold, but warm, a combination of the two. He did not explain the trade off in features, but I have never heard of this before. 
* He wants to expand the range of digital currencies on the platform in future. He feels the range today is too limited. More choice would be better despite the technical difficulties.
* Merchants have Bit point pay while customers use Bit point wallet, both inhouse systems. 
In future, other markets in Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong are part of their expansion plans starting later this year. 
* They are going to advertise on TV to educate the mass market in Japan. They will have our call center in Okinawa, in order to service any growing retail customer base. 
* So far only 4% of Japanese own crypto today. If they can bring a better safer crypto exchange to Japan, they hope the entire market will grow and they will certainly benefit directly.

7) Charles Hoskinson Input Output Hong Kong CEO, Research is something that is needed in these evolving times, and Charles has been at it a long time. He grew up in a small town in Maui, and explained how when he was young, he had to put in major effort to bike to a local library. He would borrow books, take them home, read them, and then return them over time. A lot of human effort. Today people just go online, and instantly find anything on the internet. This is progress and wide access to information.
* Charles is a real thinker and one of the most interesting observations he said was profound. Most of Silicon Valley is fast moving, they prefer to "Move fast and break stuff". This is fine, when the goal is to get any MVP (Minimum Viable Product) out into the market. The mentality is you can fix mistakes with a patch later, or a second patch, maybe an update. The most important thing is to get the software or hardware out there. Customer feedback on bugs can be fixed later on, just get it out now.
* Blockchain in many ways is actually Anti-Silicon Valley culturally. The whole point of a Blockchain is to be ready on day one. The goal is to be perfectly smooth running for customers, as it is their personal wealth & corporate finances at risk.
* In many ways Silicon Valley is about an aggressive tech culture, but Blockchain is more about a conservative financial market culture. These two groups are very much not the same. It may not be realistic to think California will win any Blockchain race to perfection. It is not in there DNA.
* Working with developers & regulators, testing to perfection, seeking out approvals and coordination with them takes time. This is not the Silicon Valley way at all. Just ask Facebook.
* Privacy is going to change due to a move away from centralized networks to pier to pier networks due to Blockchain. There is often a lot of "leakage" of data by centralized networks. Equifax for example, but many others will follow.
* In future banks will no longer be able to force people who want a loan to submit a lot of data that had little to do with any loan. This is often abused. Facebook and many others want to know and then sell everything they can about their customers. In future, it will be up to the individual to sell his personal data to a third party or not. This is something that the Blockchain will be able to make take place.
* Take a simple example like going to a bar in the USA. At the door, you will be asked if you are 21? In order to prove you can answer this one single question, you need to show a passport or driver's license. These documents show much more than the single answer, so leakage of extra data take place. 
* Does the bar need to know your exact age? eye color? place of birth? where your passport was issued? No, it does not. Blockchain will be able to encrypt data that is needed and not release data that is not. This is the business model that Facebook has in place, and soon will be forced to change by regulators.

8) Hiwon Yoon BITARGO CEO, unlike many of the other foreign speakers, Hiwon spoke in fluent Japanese. It turns out he is Korean, and studied aquadynamics at a masters level. He joined Salomon Brothers and was a derivatives sales for 10 years. He then finished his PhD and then became a startup founder more recently.
* BITARGO was one of the first 11 Japanese crypto exchanges to get a license from the FSA on Dec 1st, 2017. They have been actively trying to make sure safety of funds for customers is a priority. He did not focus on his exchange in much detail, more his own career.
* He also explained the history of money and the costs around it. The most interesting section was the cost of making bills and coins in Japan. The government certainly makes a lot of revenue from this. As a result, they do not have a large incentive to allow new online competitors to reduce cash use in Japan via crypto currencies. 
* One clearly explained example was Japan's 10,000 yen note. It only costs 20 yen to produce! For those not familiar with yen value, if you could sell $100 dollars and only pay 20 cents for production, that is a business you would keep running for as long as possible!

 9) Taiwanese Politician Jason Hsu, gave a really encouraging view of a possible Blockchain future. As an elected politician in the legislature of Taiwan, he explained how Taiwan is taking clear steps to be very Blockchain friendly to new crypto entrepreneurs in the future. 
* They will start the first ever ICO Sovereign Fund. This fund will be created to support the crypto industry. 
* The ICO Sovereign Fund will be registered under the Ministry of Technology. Overseas startups are welcome.
* The investment mandate states they can only invest in ICOs that are properly registered in Taiwan.
* The ICO Sovereign Fund will be managed by a Board of Industry Professionals, not civil servants.
* They will have a special sandbox for ICO funded startups that allows legal protection for the first 3 years. 

10) Mikhail Mironov at ICORating.com, gave a unique view to the audience. He is the head of Partnership, and his firm does ICO ratings the same way that Moody's and Standard & Poor's do Credit ratings. They follow a very similar business model. 
* He mentioned that the market closed USD6,184,529,160 worth of ICO deals in all of 2017 as far as ICOs. This is mostly May-December. However, some USD3,331,005,381 worth of ICO deals has closed in Q1 from around 412 projects. This is the first quarter only, so a very fast pace of growth. Will the bubble continue? end or change in form or style?
* Many ICO projects are not well developed. Some 46% percent only had an idea, 26% percent had MVP (Minimal Viable Product), 15% had alpha stage 11% were beta stage, only 0.5% had a working code at ICO time.
* Those figures seem to give a better view on any ICO progress by comparison. He said the experience of any previous entrepreneur often counts for a lot.
* Private ICOs are now common. 30-60 days is the duration. Telegram and Huobi were very big deals (over USD1Billion) that were oversubscribed and not included in the figures.
* To my surprise, half of all ICOs were for only USD100,000 or less in value. I only heard about 10 figure deals myself.
* The core team, developers, white paper, and MVP are the four main points to focus on with any solid ICO offering for investors.
* Advisors especially can help any ICO with partnership ideas and introductions for them to be executed.
*  Gibraltar, Bermuda, Malta and Monaco are becoming 4 new crypto centers for licensing of entities. This is because US regulations are getting a bit too heavy and going offshore.

11) Uriel Peled, co-Founder of Orbs, gave a great speech and is a experienced entrepreneur. He already started another Israeli startup, moved it to Shanghai, then sold it to Alibaba, and is now doing his second startup called Orbs. 
* He is trying to help the low speed problem now faced by many wanting to transact on the ethereum Blockchain. Quick is 20 seconds and slow can take 7 minutes for a transaction to close. It is all about the nodes.
* He mentioned how in 2017, cryptokitties was a popular ICO that got bogged down by slowness on the Blockchain. Finding a way to minimize the 15,000+ nodes today needs to be improved to speed up transaction times. The trade is a lack of security. A small node of 21 could more easily be hacked, and fast, scamming many of their funds. 
* He presented a compromise of 1000 nodes with special features to speed up the traction times, all this while keeping a very high level of security for all users. 
* He proposes a new way with no fees per transaction, 100K transactions per second for monthly subscription. He likes the Amazon Web Services model, and thinks this is a good one to follow.
* The key way he can technically increase speed is called "Intelligent Sharding" or virtual chains. It is a way of not randomly having transactions close, but subdividing them into mini-internal Blockchains. His clear visual slides made the concept very easy to understand to the public audience.

12) Yuri Rabinovich Venture Network CEO, is the ICO dead in 2018? Maybe in its previous form, it may be reborn as a private Token sale instead. The ICO boom from May 2017 until today may soon end in its current form. Very soon, in fact as early as this summer, a second generation of ICO offerings will start, but in new ways.
* Venture Capital investment into Blockchain, started to reduce in 2016, by 2017, the VC gap got filled by a new funding method, the ICO. The first one was done in 2013.
* Venture Networks is offering a new way to get exclusive access to the best ICO offerings in the future. This is mainly targeted at HNWIs, Family Offices and founder entrepreneurs.
* He feels that there are 3 hurdles going forward. Lack of liquidity for equity holders like founders. Diversification of risk which is often concentrated in a single startup. Access to high quality deals that many investors cannot find or be invited to consider. All 3 of these issues are being addressed by Venture Networks.
* The most interesting concept was the failed founder, with experienced skills, but no equity, getting a second chance to use his former equity value in the system despite an initial failure. It was a curious twist on how to win despite losing.
* Over the last 2 years, 800-1000 tokens have already failed, and of the remaining tokens, less than 5% ever get traded on any exchange. It is a very high risk high return investment.
* ICO trends are moving from public to private sales. Telegram is a good example. They use SynergyChain to do this. Better quality real or established business are emerging to be the norm, not "just an idea & a whitepaper anymore" The size of the ICO is now reducing as well. Very few will raise over USD50M in future unless clearly justified. Pure luck or bubble timing with an ICO, has run out.

13) COTI Group CEO Shahaf Bar Geffen, in addition to being CEO of COTI(Currency Of The Internet), Shahaf is in the Israeli Air Force and flies F-15 fighters. I like to think of him as a Top Gun and imagine his call sign to be "BG Skyking" or something similar. He is an impressive guy, a gifted public speaker. He is a family man and father, who has had "3 children by the same woman". Which I admit, is becoming rare these days. 
* COTI has a number of features that many are going to benefit from. The concept of trust is a big issue with Blockchain. Unlike a credit card company, there is no recourse when a transaction is not honored. You cannot get your money back if you order products, pay for them in Bitcoin or another crypto, but do not get them delivered. This is an issue that COTI is trying to solve.
* They create a jury system of users who vote on disputes. If you win the dispute and back the winning side, you get some crypto incentives. It is a financial reward system for justice. It is limited so that it cannot be over abused, but seems to work well and the interest from users is clearly there.
* Another thing that COTI is offering is stability. The high price volatility within many crypto currencies make any store of value and any means of exchange to be near impossible. By providing a lower price volatility offering, real commerce will spread more widely on with cloud with crypto helping all tokens overall over time.


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