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How Messari is Transforming Transparency in the Cryptocurrency Space with Ben O’Neill – Transcript

This is a transcript of the Podcast – How Messari is Transforming Transparency in the Cryptocurrency Space with Ben O’Neill – You can listen the audio here

 

Nye : What is going on everybody? What is going on? It is your boy, Nye, and welcome to another episode of Evolvement, the financial podcast where we talk about bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and the future of our financial systems. First off, I wanna give a shout out to our sponsors, trade.io. The bear market has hit us all in different ways. Perhaps you’ve lost your investment, or you’re losing motivation. It’s not all doom and gloom. People are still building. A group of passionate crypto traders have developed a way to earn money simply by holding crypto currency. Token holders across the trade.io community have received nearly $200 thousand to date. Payments are daily and there’s no long term commitment. Visit trade.io\evolvement, that’s trade.io\evolvement to see how you can top up your crypto portfolio today.

Nye : Today, I’m sitting down with the man, Ben. Ben is from Messari, a company that’s really focused on transparency around cryptocurrency initiatives. Transparency around cryptocurrency companies, and people with tokens and things like that. It’s a major, major issue that I’ve been talking a lot about. I think it’s a major issue in the overall space of what’s going on in the cryptocurrency realm. I’m excited to sit down with him. Welcome, Ben, how are you doing?

Ben O’Neill : Doing well. Doing well. Thanks for having me on.

Nye : Yeah, no worries, man. No worries. We’ve got a lot to talk about today. We’ve got a lot to talk about the Ripple report, about your registry, about what Messari is. But can you just start off by giving a little bit of an introduction of yourself? Who are you? How’d you get started into crypto, and what role do you play?

Ben O’Neill : Yeah. Absolutely. My background’s in finance. I started my career in banking, which is something I don’t really recommend anyone doing. That was a very brutal period in my life without a lot of sleep, but that was also where I really kind of went down the rabbit hole of bitcoin. I heard about it back when I was in college with Silk Road and things like that. It was when I was in banking that I was first actually making money, but with the restrictions I had, I couldn’t spend any of it.

Ben O’Neill : Me and some coworkers started looking around where we could actually invest money. And started kind of reading a bit more on bitcoin, on Ethereum and kind of going down the rabbit hole back in 2015 and at one point, it just all clicked. It was about April of 2015 that just the whole rationale behind un confiscable and mutable money just clicked. And how it all made sense. And it just, from there it was something I started doing in my free time. I left banking and joined Uber for a couple years doing a lot of really cool things around fundraising and internal incubation of businesses, but always had cryptocurrency on my mind. So when Uber became a big company, but also kind of went through their internal strifes in early 2017 it was time for me to kind of move on to my next job.

Ben O’Neill : And I interviewed at BC firms and startups and I was like, I don’t care. I don’t care about a lot of what these companies are doing. But I do care about this whole cryptocurrency movement. And this whole what Bitcoin can do for the future of money and I want to get involved there. And so, I left Uber, joined a consulting firm helping teams kind of think about money, raising money, investors, business plans within the space. And did that until I joined Messari last Fall.

Nye : That’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. And what is Messari? What are you guys doing over there? I know that we’ve sat down and talked about it a few times, I know this is something that’s near and dear to my passions in the space, but what are you guys doing and why is it important?

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, for sure. We get that a lot because a lot of people know the Messari brand. They know on chain effects, they know the news feed and what is Messari actually going to do? And the way that I tell the story is that we want to bring accuracy, transparency and context to the world of crypto data. Because when you want to go understand investigate and analyze different projects, they could be protocols, they could be token products, they could be DAPs, it’s really hard right now. There’s no central repository of information that you can actually go and go do a deep dive on. Who’s involved in the project? What the initial offering and initial launch looked like, what they’re trying to do. What activity on the platform really looks like. And kind of bringing that all together with different context from content resources right?

Ben O’Neill : It may be Twitter feeds, blog posts, websites. So you do want to do that, you’re gonna have 100 tabs open going down different rabbit holes like Twitter, on Reddit, on Telegram and all these different places and we’re … the goal is to bring that all together. But also to do it in a way that you can trust the underlying data. That any data point that you actually want to scrutinize you can go and see how we source and see how we think about creating that metric, that data point, where it comes from and how it comes to be.

Ben O’Neill : So that we can add layers of transparency to the understandings of the space. And although I love what coin market cap has done for us historically, a lot of their data is kind of shady. I talk to a lot of projects that will tell me, hey their token supply for us is wrong because I don’t know why and they won’t change it. Or you’ll look at their pricing mechanics and it’s really obfuscated and you don’t really understand how they’re getting to the price or the volume that they’re getting to. We want to basically open the Komodo on a lot of that and get people to trust the data they’re seeing.

Nye : I love it. I love it. So before we get into all that and I want to ask how that whole process works with Messari and how you’re working with companies and things like that but before we even begin there, what does it mean to be transparent? I think that’s a basic question that everybody needs to understand. What does transparency mean specifically in the realm of cryptocurrency companies and startups and things like that?

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, I think it’s a great question because in the context of the market today, it’s really weird because there are a lot of projects that are just hiding and trying to stay completely out of sight out of mind and maybe they’re building but maybe they’re not, you don’t know. I don’t want to shit on Ripple this whole podcast but there are also projects that are doing what I call fake transparency. They’ll provide you with reports that make you believe they’re transparent but when you dig into it, none of it makes sense. Because Ripple, I do applaud them for actually kind of starting to disclose some things about what’s going on. They give you numbers in a way that you can’t understand it. They’ll tell you how much in a dollar figure they sold every quarter but you don’t know at what discounts, at what lockups. Any of the details around how many tokens were actually sold and who they were sold up to and for what reasons.

Ben O’Neill : And so they’re just obfuscating away the underlying data and if you ever try to dig into the Ripple blockchain, or sorry the XRP blockchain, different than labs, my apologies. XRPArmy, #XRPthestandard. But it’s getting people or in projects, teams to disclose the information that can be varies. That to me is how we think of transparency is not only, I don’t want people to take our word for it but we will give you the cookie crumbs to go verify it yourself. And that’s how we think all transparency should be, whether it’s on chain or off chain can you give people the resources to understand the true health of an ecosystem or the health of a project on their own merits.

Nye : Is this something that you’re directly working with companies on? Is this something that you dive in and find the information yourself? How does all this work? I mean I guess for example the Ripple report would be more of they’ve put out this report, you go and verify that information but does, first off is that correct and second off does that work the same way with other companies that you work with? Or is it do other companies come to you and say hey, I want to be a part of this? And I want to put myself out there.

Ben O’Neill : Both. We look at it as the carrot and the stick that we want projects to voluntarily do this, with the registry the disclosure registry that’s what we’re working on for projects to voluntarily disclose information and allow it to be verified and published in that context and allowing people to get context around these projects with supply curves, investing schedules, details around he team, the projects and stuff but also we believe it’s important that the industry has this information and so we will also go do our own importance. Then we’ll share them with the projects first, that’s what we did with Ripple and get their thoughts on it.

Ben O’Neill : But if we think it’s important enough, then we’ll publish it out. We’re doing these same types of analysis for every major blockchain with the goal of getting the at least top 50 detailed supply curves done in the next couple of weeks but it’s we want to work with projects to determine what the standard of disclosure can be so that this can become not a Messari product but a standard for the entire industry to use if you’re evaluating a project as an investor, a token holder, a user, developer, maybe you’re a diligence team at an exchange, you can all be looking at the same set of facts and there could be one central repository for projects that update that set of facts for the whole industry versus what is right now.

Ben O’Neill : Which is one offs that projects have to go to. All of these ICO ranking sites, all of these exchanges, all of these kind of information sites like blockchain effects or coin market cap or coin gecko or things like that, and they have to do it all on a one off basis and it’s a huge burden. And I talked to a team yesterday that was hey this would be a great … and we talked to reporters because it was like I feel dirty sending them to some of these data sites because the information is like half right and we can only do so much. And so it’s basically I know everyone doesn’t like to be compared to securities but can we reinvent Edgar for the crypto space in a Crypto native way for these different types of assets and make that basically a common good for the whole industry to use.

Nye : I mean I think it’s super important man, I really like that. I mean one of the main things that I talk about on my channel specifically right now and for anybody listening we’re recording this at the end of January, beginning of February so we’re still in the middle of a bear market and one of the main things that I talk about right now on my channel specifically revolving around altcoins and things like that is the fact that we have no idea what’s going on with these companies.

Nye : The fact of the matter is in the middle of a bull market if we’re strictly talking from only an investment perspective people would look at two specific things. They would look at fundamentals or they would look at the technical analysis and people are still trying to take that same approach and that same angle to it. You know people are saying well oh the chart looks really really good and the fundamentals behind this project are still really good, they’re still adding things to their GitHub or doing X, Y, and Z.

Ben O’Neill : The bar there is incredibly low.

Nye : Incredibly low, incredibly low and I’m trying to create more conversation around it, I’m trying to push the narrative and the thought process that the fact of the matter is we don’t know what’s happening like, fundamentals and TA may have been okay in the middle of a bull market, arguably but specifically right now in the middle of this bear market if we don’t know the financials behind the company, if we don’t know how their development’s actually doing like where’s the product at? If we don’t know if they’ve even built a revenue model for that product when it does go live. If we don’t know how the team is collaborating and if there is cohesion with the team behind the scenes, like we don’t know all of these factors and all of these factors and more are extremely extremely important to running any sort of a normal business.

Ben O’Neill : Yeah. And that’s where it gets really weird and where we are today is that and I have a slide that I show to projects and investors that say this, it’s that you have companies that are sophisticated like early stage startups with the liquidity of public enterprises. And so you have to find a balance of what is the right amount of disclosures to manage that. When I was at Uber, I couldn’t imagine an early 2017 with all the things that we wanted to do. If we were a public company, the stock would have been whipsawing up and down five or 10 percent every day. Just with whatever news was it because that’s the way that startups work.

Ben O’Neill : But now we have that same amount of liquidity for these companies that may not want to disclose financials because they don’t really have a PNL yet, they just have losses every month. So it’s what amount of information, what is the bare minimum amount of information that you can give to token holders developer’s partners to get them comfortable with the direction of your project, right? Is it continuing to shit code? Is it on GitHub? Is it continual updates on the road map? Is it maybe just a weekly or monthly disclosure of hey here is the current state of everything. Maybe it’s tracking [inaudible 00:13:35] atlases.

Ben O’Neill : That’s something that we’re working with projects on and investors in exchanges to try to figure out what is the right balance of public comment disclosures and private company needs to balance out what we think is the minimum amount that you can give.

Nye : I was going to say I imagine that changes. I imagine that that’s something that isn’t congruent for every company, am I right on something like that?

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, no 100%. And that’s why we’re trying to start very basic, right? Who is involved in the team, what are the details around the sale? What are the details around token distribution? Can you give us details around the technology, the GitHub, the smart contracts and any other major business details that the public should know? You know, partners, roadmap communication channels. Overviews, things like that that are generalized across the whole industry and from there as we get to a critical mass, can we use that to build up specific sectors right? For stable quotes. What does your redemption schedule look like? What is it backing your asset? Is it algorithmic? Is it dollars, is gold? Is it Ethereum? How does it work and how can that be audited? And how can you compare across different platforms, like where is your liquidity coming from? How do we create that exchange from reality?

Ben O’Neill : What does the diversity of wallet owners? Or is it hyper centralized? Or is it hey, five wallets own 60% some stable coin so it’s probably actually not that big and that well used? The same goes for storage, compute, base level protocols, DAXes, you name it, it can all have their certain set of detailed disclosures that are hyper specific to them that allow people to understand and compare apples to apples, what each of these projects are doing versus similar accounts. And that’s the end goal, but you’ve gotta take baby steps to get there.

Nye : 100%, 100%. What kind of companies are you working with right now and how have they been responding to this kind of initiative? Is this something that they’re 100% on board with and immediately excited about? Is this something that they’re kind of resistant to?

Ben O’Neill : Philosophically I think we’ve had a 96% hit rate. Explaining what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to build and why it’s needed. Other than a single hand I can count them on projects, having totally on board with that. The question is how do you build this into a platform that the industry can use as a standard as a common good. Right? Because you don’t just want projects disclosing information and no one checking it because then projects are going to lie. By their very nature of things are going to go wrong, some projects are going to lie about it and then they’ll get caught and then the value of all the information is then corrupted. And so the question that’s been really hard is how do you build an incentive based system for projects to disclose information and then other third parties be it investors, developers, security auditors, real world auditors and exchanges to validate that information. Right? To continually check to make sure that that is still true.

Ben O’Neill : And I’m not going to name names on this one but if a project says they’re going to ship some project with some major financial partner and then the financial partners says no and the project keeps saying no it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming, how do we fact check that? How do we publish that to world and say this is a lie. This is entirely not true and they should shamed for that? And so it’s how do you build that incentive system that we’re working with projects on right now and trying to get more of them comfortable with pros and cons to that and getting more industry partners, exchanges, wallets, investors to kind of join us in that endeavor to make this something that hey, if you want to get your token listed on X, Y, and Z exchanges, you need to be part of this, right?

Ben O’Neill : We want to be your smart contracts audited by these people, you need to be part of this. You want to do business with these different types of business partners or get investment from these types of investors they’re going to mandate that this is something you need to do for not only the whole industry but also all of your investors, consumes, users, stockers.

Nye : I love that, I love that. That’s … I mean that puts a whole different category of things together you know. It’s not even just a hey you do good, we reward you but it’s also kind of like a hey we do bad you’re going to be penalized kind of structure.

Ben O’Neill : Yeah and I think that’s the stronger part of it, right is that it’s like can you basically have a self-regulatory environment for the whole industry where everyone’s keeping each other honest? Because that’s what we’ve had today is that there’s so many … there are proportionally there are so many scammers and fraudulent projects and people are raising money to do nothing that it dilutes the brand of everyone else who is actually trying to build this great future.

Ben O’Neill : And so if you force the industry to keep itself honest you’ll start to see the number of projects that are really able to really raise a lot of money and gain a lot of awareness at conferences, on exchanges and whatnot, begin to drop down significantly or that is how we perceive the industry.

Nye : Interesting. So you think the more that we set this initiative, we set this bar level experience that more of these companies are just going to come forth and be like look, we can’t meet that bar and therefore we’re just going to leave? Or what do you think is going to happen there?

Ben O’Neill : No I think it’s more that if you want to be listed on a top exchange, they’re going to demand that you disclose information to the public, right? You provide a basic amount of information for their end users, and if you don’t then you’re not going to have any liquidity on your token. Right and the same goes with developers that want to make sure they understand what you’re building and how you’re building it and kind of the ethos around what you’re building and the business partners that you want to tie into. And so it becomes more of a stick in the sense that if you want to build this great project no one is going to kind of get behind you and support you unless you’re hyper transparent about what you’re doing and how it’s going to work.

Nye : Are you just going to be focusing only on projects with tokens, are you going to be focusing on exchanges as well, you know because I think there’s obviously withholding listings for tokens on high level exchanges until they give a lot of information or at least some information. I think that’s a really good model, I think it’s something that will inspire the good projects to step up more and be more transparent and will kind of put a little bit of fear into the projects that aren’t quite as high caliber but I think we also see a lot of problems with some of these exchanges, you know what I mean? I mean we’ll just throw out an example right now is like Cryptopia a couple of weeks ago was “hacked” we really don’t know what’s going on. Thy haven’t put any public statements out about the hack or recently or they haven’t declared whether anything is going on. And, we see some shady dealings gong on with exchanges as well.

Nye : So is this something that you’re kind of looking at industry wide or you’re kind of taking it step by step?

Ben O’Neill : Step by step. I mean what is the lowest hanging fruit and the greatest common denominator that everyone believes needs to happen? And its’ kind of greater transparency with token projects. And I think it’s a, low hanging fruit and I think it’s a major need because a lot of people have invested with these projects and given them money and so they have a lot of stakeholders whereas exchanges you have a lot of other options and you can also self-custody. So there is a great need there but I think it is kind of it is future iterations from now but it’s also in reality what can you really expect an exchange to do from a draw transparency standpoint except for going completely on chain and self custody?

Ben O’Neill : And I think that’s the direction we go with exchanges where you’re actually always holding your own keys and then you can basically plug in and trade on the exchange without ever giving them your assets. And when we get there then you’re going to want to know more about the order of books and the order of mechanics and the trade machine but that’s all proprietary stuff and I’m not sure how much we can really go down that rabbit hole with the exchanges with the current environment. But it is a major issue I agree.

Nye : Yeah, yeah I think it is a major issue, I’m sure the more that the space matures and the more we have to look at these things in order to hit more mainstream adoption and regulations and laws and things like that I’m sure that will all come to the forefront but I like what you guys are doing right now. It’s important, it’s really really really fucking important and I don’t think enough people are talking about it, I don’t think enough people are focused on it so I applaud you on that.

Nye : And what are some of the areas right now with these companies that they can create more transparency? Do you see that they are talking more about their roadmaps and their development? Are any of these companies opening up about their financials? Because I think the financial aspect is one of the biggest problems, man. I think the fact that these companies raise 50 million dollars and somehow in 12, 13, 14 months have fucking lost all of it, it’s like it’s a huge huge issue. So are you working with some companies on financial transparency as well or are they kind of resistant to that thought process?

Ben O’Neill : So I think, if I’m power ranking the most important things right now and where I think projects will buy in, I think number one is just a full open Komodo on supply mechanics. Right? Out save supply, liquid supply, total available supply, and we’re coming up with more research on how we break down the different tiers of supply in the next couple of days but it’s like can you map out how tokens are coming to market? When they become live, how you sell big chunks of them, can you be transparent with what you are doing with the token ecosystem.

Ben O’Neill : I think it’s a low hanging fruit, there’s very little pushback on that and it gives people a sense of Ripple for example. There’s 100 billion tokens that have been printed. They burn a certain amount with every transaction via fees so there’s like 99.9 billion out there now. But then Ripple put 55 billion in escrow and there’s all these weird lockups with the founders and the foundation and all these different selling agreements with partners that there’s only actually something like 20-something billion that are liquid today, right? And so that means that you have another 80 plus billion that are eventually going to come to the market. And so when you’re looking at it, especially from an investment point of view, you’re saying wow, that’s a lot of selling pressure coming, where’s the buy pressure going to come from?

Ben O’Neill : That’s scary because the order book is not that deep and so for me the number one is supply. Number two is probably the roadmap and can you get, can we get to a place where teams have a live roadmap where they update it and you can watch how things change. Right? Because if you look at the development of Locker, they were exceptionally diligent and transparent with their roadmap and how things changed, why they changed. Roadblocks they ran into, the technical difficulties, building what they built was really hard.

Ben O’Neill : And so it took them longer than they anticipated. Totally fine, but can we get every team to do something like that? Basically publish a roadmap and every quarter update it. And provide color of how it changed, why it changed. So you’re going to honestly start to decide for which projects are building something really had and who are just not delivering.

Nye : That’s super interesting I mean I think the next thing I really want to touch on is this ripple report if you’re open to discussing that a little bit.

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, spent a lot of time on that happy to.

Nye : Yeah, so we spent a little bit of time on it before the podcast started and I just want to know for the audience and everything what is the Ripple report and what did you guys kind of find in there? Just a quick brief overview, I’m sure we’re going to dive deep into it.

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, so I mean I’ve highlighted a decent amount and kind of spread through this and calling it the Ripple Report makes it sound like it’s a big FBI investigation. I mean the moral of the story is that we define at Messari launching effects we define market cap today based on what is liquid and available in the market? And so if everything wanted to be traded what is the total value of that worth?

Ben O’Neill : Knowing, sorry, I’ve got a tickle in my throat from the winter out here. But knowing full well that there’s not enough volume in exchanges to really trade that but just saying hey, here’s how many tokens are liquid so here’s the implied market cap. And kind of what I explained a couple of minutes ago that most people call the liquid amount of XRP available in the mid-40 billion range but based on different lockups that Ripple Labs as a company has put on the founders, has put on a foundation, has put on their business partners that they’ve sold to there’s actually another 20 billion that are locked up.

Ben O’Neill : And so when people look at the supply of XRP it is half of what people think it is. Which when you think of different benchmarking services, different indices, like Galaxy, Bloomberg, and Bitwise, and guys like that, they’re overstating and they’re over weighing XRP right now. And it’s as we get this industry to mature you see these sides of analyses and these types of analyses and these types of conversations that we want to bring up so that people can start talking the same language.

Ben O’Neill : Because people talk about market cap and supply in a lot of different ways and we want to start standardizing what that looks like for the industry and I know there’s a joke that you know there are 14 competing standards, let’s make one to bring them all together, now there’s 15. But we think that we have enough communication and kind of brand awareness that we can kind of drive that conversation to get people to start talking the same language about supply but also understanding what supply means. In terms of liquid supply that can be traded and dumped on you today versus what supply is coming online.

Ben O’Neill : A year from now let’s just say that Ripple could dump five billion supply, that’s an increase in 20% of current supply. That’s scary if you’re holding XRP that the price might be able to drop 20% when they dump it which is something that they saw in 2014 when Jenda Caleb one of the co founders said that he was going to dump all nine billion of his tokens. The price dropped 40%, which it naturally should because that’s like a whole lot of supply about to come on the market.

Ben O’Neill : Ripple Labs eventually got him into a selling agreement, locked up a bunch of his tokens and they’re still locked up for a while. But it’s really basically a deep dive analysis into Ripple, Ripple labs, XRP and how really Ripple Labs is the invisible hand of XRP supplying the market.

Nye : Very interesting. Very interesting and why is this important for people maybe who are holding Ripple and does it … I mean it kind of seems like a little bit of fake transparency a lot of the times with Ripple. Would you … that’s what we were talking a little bit about before we jumped on the Podcast and started recording. Is that kind of the way you view it as well?

Ben O’Neill : I don’t want to disparage Ripple because they are putting a foot forward and I do appreciate that and they are generally, they’re more transparent than anyone else in that regard. Not anyone else but about 90% of projects in at least saying how much they’re selling, giving a quarterly update on their view of the markets and things like that but it’s also just like Ripple Labs controls the vast vast vast majority of XRP supply and it’s really trying to hammer that home. It’s trying to hammer that home to people to get them to understand that there’s one central entity that controls all of this supply and that you are kind of at the whim of that entity and whatever happens with their shareholders, their executive team and those parties, they don’t owe anything to you.

Ben O’Neill : Ripple Labs owes nothing to XRP holders and nor should they in the way it’s structured. And it’s starting to open people’s eyes to that and show how this can get diluted away. And so if you’re an XRP holder and it’s I don’t know what it is, say 30 cents and there’s another couple X’s of supply comes on, you’re in for a rude awakening you’re literally looking at where Grin is today with his crazy inflation group, you’re looking at the same thing that holding XRP financially might not be a good decision until a lot more of the supply comes online.

Nye : Interesting. No I like this a lot I think it’s important, I think it’s like … it’s also very interesting to see it’s not only the information that’s important but the way that you present the information is important, you know?

Ben O’Neill : 100%, 100.

Nye : I want to be like … like even on the Podcast here I want to be super delicate with what we’re talking about and things in terms of XRP because there’s a huge huge community of people that believe in this, there’s a huge community of people that are supporters of XRP and …

Ben O’Neill : Even bigger bot army too.

Nye : Oh exactly a huge bot army and things like that. And the matter of fact is the majority of these people that I have personally observed, I’m not going to make a blanket statement but the people that I have observed via Twitter and other mediums that discuss ripple or XRP as an investment, they are very resistant to any sort of negative information about their coin or about the Ripple company itself, behind Ripple.

Nye : So what’s … how do you deal with that? How do you deal with this kind of discrepancy or possible discrepancy when sharing sensitive information like this and how do you deliver the information in a way that can be receptive to these people? Because to me the information you just shared about Ripple or about XRP it’s important but the matter of fact is I don’t own any XRP. And while I think it’s important I think it’s relevant to the space as a whole it doesn’t affect me personally as an investor but it would affect people that are holding XRP.

Nye : So how do you get that message across to them?

Ben O’Neill : I mean so we try to be very transparent in the way that we’ve presented the information. We presented the facts and then we presented our interpretation and then how we came to the numbers we came to. And that is … that’s all we can really do right? Is kind of choose your own adventure of here are all the facts, interpret them as you may but this is how we are interpreting them and kind of building up to how we’re getting there. But the reality is if we ran that report to basically highlight one aspect of the information on Ripple, what we’re trying to do is standardize how everyone digs into all of this. Right? Standardize the way it’s shown so that people looking at any project can know the same information is in the same place and kind of shown to them the same way.

Ben O’Neill : Because a lot of people, money is religion and cryptocurrency is money and so you have a lot of religious fervor with relation to this space, especially anyone who got in shortly before or during the 2017 run, they made a lot of money on these random projects and now they have a religious devotion to those projects. Good bad or otherwise.

Ben O’Neill : And so it’s trying to educate people from an ideally unbiased way, I get why people think we’re biased against Ripple because it’s just kind of a shit coin and so whatever that’s their problem. But it’s trying to be unbiased and very flat with how we present this information to allow them to make their own conclusions. If they want to take the information and say this is all a lie, nothing new is presented, there are 100 billion XRP outstanding and so the market cap is whatever the price is times 100 billion, that’s their prerogative. We can only try to educate people so far that want to be educated and really hope that it doesn’t … there’s such a small community that’s in Crypto today. Our goal is to push this and standardize this with that small community so that as newcomers come, be it retail or institutional, governments, whomever it may be there’s a standard set of discourse that they can understand and it becomes less this kind of religious fervor and everyone can be speaking the same language.

Nye : Yeah and I think you’re also kind of trying to push people to think for themselves a little bit more. I think what you’re doing is saying hey it’s fantastic what Ripple is doing here. We applaud them for being more transparent and things like that but we also need the investors in XRP, the people who are supporting Ripple to look deeper into their transparency reports, to look deeper into the things that they’re sharing in their reports and to analyze it for themselves. I think you’re kind of encouraging a deeper thought process around this which is very similar to what I was talking about earlier where it’s like dude, don’t just look at the fucking fundamentals and the technical analysis, you have to realize every single one of these projects are companies. They need to be run by companies and they need to have some … they need to be held to some sort of accountability behind these things.

Nye : I mean for example I don’t know if you recently saw but there is a company called XHV, haven protocol, one of the projects that recently came out and said that one guy owned all the code and they hadn’t been able to communicate with them. And this was a project that had a very very large community. Great idea but the fact of the matter is great fundamentals, great technical analysis but he fact of the matter is what they didn’t have is they didn’t have … they didn’t allow the community to have clarity that the fact that the team just wasn’t working cohesively together.

Nye : So I think we all need to look at the fact that while price is great, while technical analysis is great, while fundamentals are great there are a lot of other fucking factors that are really really important to making an investment decision or any sort of decision around these companies.

Ben O’Neill : Totally. Yeah, I mean couldn’t have said it much better myself but it’s getting people to want to look under the hood of these companies and want more optionality and transparency in what’s going on. To give them the tools to do their own research as cliché as that may be. But it’s allowing the industry more insights into what’s going on in these projects so they can make more educated decisions and ideally stop just looking at the cheapest token on Binance but actually looking at these teams and comparing the different protocols for what they want to do with them.

Ben O’Neill : But it also goes in my mind the sep team for just the token holders and the investors but it’s if you’re looking, if you are in a country where storage and securing your files and not getting kicked off AWS or Dropbox or Box or any of that is important, how do you actually go choose between storage and sign and File coin and ITFS and all these other options? How do you make those decisions from an educated standpoint and really understand the usage of these different protocols when you’re trying to build on them and use them as a consumer?

Ben O’Neill : And I think that’s where a lot of this gets more tricky because then you can’t do fundamental price analysis. You actually need to understand what the difference between these protocols are from the technical but also a personnel layer and feel confident with what you’re going to choose to secure this layer?

Nye : I agree, I agree. And I like what you just said there, actually I think that you’re giving people the tools to do your own research and we hear DYOR, do your own research a lot in the crypto space but the matter of fact is I don’t think people understand how to do their own research so I like the way that you put that.

Ben O’Neill : Yeah, I mean I think that’s the underlying goal from Messari is kind of building these pillars of data and getting people to trust the underlying data so that we can then build the more sophisticated tools for analytics and decision making on top of all of that. And really it becomes something where people can use to do diligence to understand, to learn and to make decisions. But you need to, you can’t build a skyscraper on a pile of sand. You need to build the foundation and you need to hit the bedrock first and then you can build up. And so that’s kind of where we’re spending a lot of time right now is really building those pillars, building those pillars trust but building the pillars of raw data transparency and accuracy so then we can allow people to use that for deeper and deeper analytics.

Nye : I love it Ben, I love it. Well thanks so much for coming on man, I think this has been a really really interesting conversation around all of this stuff and can you just share with the audience a little bit about where they can find more about you?

Ben O’Neill : Yeah absolutely. I mean obviously learn more about Messari at Messari.io and you can find me at Twitter and yell at me with the rest of the XRP Army @BenHONeill, that’s Ben H O’Neill on Twitter so hit me up, yell at me, tell me where you think I’m wrong. Or come help me with transparency.

Nye : Yeah I don’t know what kind of shitstorm you’re trying to call in there but you might get one from that statement.

Ben O’Neill : You know I mean, it can’t be anything new over the last week so we’ll see. But it’s been fun. Thanks for having me.

Nye : Yeah Ben, thanks for coming on, I appreciate it. And always guys, it’s your boy Nye. This has been another episode of the Evolvement Podcast where we talk about bitcoin, cryptocurrency and the future of our financial systems. We will catch you next time. Peace.

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