Messari's Unqualified Opinions

Issue #1: curated nuggets of crypto wisdom.

Messari’s Unqualified Opinions Issue #1


  • We’re relaunching our “daily” newsletter (starting 3x per week, with the intention to scale that to daily in 2019). Free to start, but we’ll be splitting content between our free and paid subscriptions in Q4. Unqualified Opinions will have your favorite content from April’s dry run, but things will be prettier and more consistent this time around. With a kick-ass team of twelve, we have more resources to invest to make your crypto journey a bit more manageable. Tell us what we can be doing better, and we’ll make it happen.

Seriously, another newsletter?

To paraphrase Private Pyle, this is my newsletter. There are many others like it. But this one is mine.

I started writing about bitcoin five years ago (!!!), but it’s been a while since I had the luxury of writing every day. Other crypto media have proliferated and professionalized. In 2013, I had one of the only daily email rags for bitcoin. Everyone has a crypto newsletter, podcast, and event now.

CoinDesk has one. Quartz has one. The Information has one. Token Daily. The Block. DAR. Pomp. Marty’s Bent. They’ve all got ‘em.

Shit, man, I’ve been out of the newsletter game for so long, another “Daily Bit” even sprang up.

That’s not to mention the great weekly newsletters available like Token Economy. The Week in Ethereum. Block by Block. Everything Tony Sheng writes.

The competition for eyeballs and attention grows more intense by the day as people read about CoinDesk’s not so "quietly profitable" media juggernaut. Or as they position themselves to run funds, sector-specific startups, or run up the crypto career ladder, which is now, remarkably, a thing.

Why restart a newsletter when there’s a glut of content available these days?

Simple. I still think we can and should be doing better, and we’ve got some ideas for how to freshen things up. Too much content is still surface-level. Lots of aggregation, not enough synthesis. Lots of reactive content, too few deep dives.

It’s not enough to give readers a chart, a quote, and a reworded press release.

No emoji is going to help people grok what a hard fork means for security and ongoing governance in a proof-of-stake system, and what that means for their money.

No amount of time on crypto twitter will help people understand how new products work.

There is no substitute for putting in the work to learn about this market. But who’s even putting together materials that make it easier to come up to speed?

Messari’s mission is to bring transparency and smarter decision-making to crypto. The one thing I can promise about Unqualified Opinions is that we’ll work hard to contextualize messy, high-value crypto data, and pull back the curtain on information asymmetries that shouldn’t exist in a safe and fair global market. At the same time, we want to help people peer around the corner and think about what could be vs. what is.

That doesn’t mean veering into acid trip, burning man thought pieces of “everything will be decentralized, and it will be great.” Instead, we'll try to paint a fair picture for how things could go from 0 to 1, and where and how crypto could see adoption for use cases outside of rampant speculation.

I'm writing once per week, and will shift my attention to editing this new newsletter. It’s time to train an army of analysts within the company and our community to deliver punchy insights and develop their own brands.

More scaleable. And long overdue, as I'm basically a fossil in this industry, anyway.

Did you know we have an in-house lawyer, and public policy guru? A former S&P lead fintech analyst, a Hall-of-Fame Wall Street equity analyst, and 200+ community rising star community analysts? An eloquent and inestimable design doctor? Multiple native Chinese speakers on the team? Guys who've been talking about crypto fundamentals since before it was cool, and leading the way on creating metrics to better track the Wild Wild West?

We've got the pieces to share some interesting new perspectives on crypto that I haven't seen from other publications. Perspectives that extend beyond my own.

There are many other newsletters, but this one is ours. I hope it lives up to my (very) high hopes. Enjoy.


News & Analyses

Messari Compression Algorithm

Content and thoughts from around the web as summarized by the Messari team.

🤓 [Weekend Reads] Here's what the Messari team read this past weekend – Sep.15, 2018

🏗️ [Analysis] Why Crypto Community Building Matters - Spencer Noon

Strong communities are essential for the long-term health of decentralized networks, according to Spencer Noon. While the definition of 'community' can be a moving target the overall stakeholders can be broken down into three parts:

  • Users — those who use a network

  • Builders —those who develop, maintain, or contribute to a network

  • Speculators — those who purchase cryptoassets in order to make a profit

Over the long term, users and builders are most important for the health of a network. Without builders, a network will fail to maintain or upgrade its infrastructure, and without users, a network doesn't have a reason to exist in the first place. A good community strategy should, therefore, be to convert speculators into either users or builders. If a community is managed well it can lead to fewer contentious forks, better governance, and a faster pace of innovation.

(Messari | Source)

🔮 [Analysis] A primer on mining 2.0 - Erik Torenberg

Historically, VCs have viewed crypto investing through the lens of equity investment, but time has shown that value accrues to token holders, not the parent company. This led to VCs investing in SAFTs or amending partnership agreements to allow them to purchase tokens directly.

But as layer two solutions emerge, where tokens may not be used, investors must find a new answer to the question of, how do you capture value in distributed networks? In this new world, you might have to earn your way by participating in the network.

Enter mining 2.0, or "generalized mining" as it is called by CoinFund. In this model, VCs won't just allocate capital but also serve as miners, stakers, validators, bonders, curators, dispute resolvers, nodes, hubs, watchers, and routers for these new networks. In this new world, VC firms must have multidisciplinary, highly technical teams that can go beyond simply analyzing investments. If teams are able to develop this talent in-house or partner with firms that already have it, it could represent a fundamental shift where investors have direct influence on the protocols in which they are invested.

(Messari | Source)

Quick Bits (Don't read that, I read it for you)

Choke Points (Exchange News)

  • 🏢 Coinbase opened a new office in New York City aimed at catering to institutional clients. The company plans to grow the new office from 20 employees up to 150 by next year. (Messari | Source)

  • 🔁 Bitfinex announces release of EOS based decentralized exchange. (Messari | Source)

  • 📍 Gemini announces Litecoin trading. The exchange plans to start offering LTC trading on October 13th, coinciding with the seven-year anniversary of Litecoin's launch. Gemini had received previous regulatory approval from the NY Depart of Financial Services (NYDFS) to list Bitcoin Cash ($BCH) and Litecoin, in addition to Zcash ($ZEC) which it added earlier this year. (Messari | Source)

  • 💰 Boston based investment firm Bain Capital has led a $15 million round of funding for institutional cryptoasset exchange Seed CX. The funds will be used to help grow Seed CX's regulated spot market and derivatives exchange by improving infrastructure and expanding the company's network of institutional trading groups. The investment is a notable follow-up to Bain's participation in the $133 million funding round for stablecoin Basis earlier this year. (Messari | Source)

Startup Signals (ICOs, Cryptos, and Startups)

  • 🚀 Tezos mainnet launch scheduled for today. (Messari | Source)

The Powers That Be (Legal/Reg/Policy)

  • 👩🏾‍⚖️ A new report by Lex Machina shows a sharp rise in U.S. based lawsuits mentioning bitcoin, cryptocurrency or blockchain. During all of 2017 only 15 such lawsuits were found compared to 45 in the first six months of 2018. According to the National Law Review, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was responsible for around a third of the cases brought forth so far in 2018. (Messari | Source)

"Celebrities" (Crypto Influencers)

  • ⛓️ Vlad Zamfir releases proof-of-concept for Ethereum sharding. (Messari | Source)

Did I miss something?

Send me the link, your twitter handle and your best imitation compression algorithm write up. If I really whiffed, I’ll include your bit tomorrow (with attribution).

Community Updates


🎧 ICYMI, we also host & produce our own podcasts on Spotify and iTunes. In last week’s episode, Ryan Selkis (CEO of Messari) and Qiao Wang (Head of Product, Messari) share their experiences from the previous week at EthBerlin. Listen on Apple Podcasts here, Spotify here, or Soundcloud here.

Shameless Plugs

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Upcoming Travel:

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    • Crypto Springs, Palm Springs, October 3 & 4

    • EthSF, San Francisco, October 5-8th

    • DevCon, Prague, Czech Republic October 30–November 2, 2018

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