Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital.
All coin and product reviews by expert Ari Paul.
Big picture: I have nothing against Ripple or XRP. It's not a scam. It may have a killer use case. Just need to acknowledge that more than 50% of XRP is owned by one company, and most trusted nodes are run by that same company, and some assets on ledger can be frozen.Full review
Monero and BTC are the only two cryptocurrencies I've ever publicly recommended for investment. I'm a big fan of the XMR devs and the Monero ethos.Full review
Wasn't NEO just shot in the knee by the Chinese government? Why would you want to own an ETH clone facing regulatory destruction?Full review
IOTA's primary pitch is to be infinitely scalable and free. This requires that users run nodes that validate transactions, and that these "users" can be things like a toaster to be applicable for IOT. Tangles use tiny amounts of PoW to validate and prevent spam. But . . . if the PoW required is so low that your toaster can do it, then it's also low enough that a bad actor can mess up the graph with cheap spam.Full review
Dentacoin was likely either held by a very small number of participants who each knew there was no point in trying to sell, or it was held by "unsophisticated" investors with no conception of valuation or markets.Full review
Augur and other oracles (and anything that requires complex smart contracts) has a very long road to being really usable. The only use cases ready for prime time are very simple: payment rails, digital collectibles, and soon tokenized real world assets.Full review
But many other protocols have been born of true differentiation. Consider Decred — created by former Bitcoin developers who wanted to fix things they didn't like about BTC. They added governance, PoW/PoS hybrid — which may be more secure than PoW — and now, privacy.Full review
With Ethereum's monetary policy, there's literally nothing to have confidence in or not. . . . There isn't even a concrete long-term plan. With Bitcoin, there's a powerful status quo Schelling point; not certain, but powerful.Full review
The only advantage that Tether, XRP, or TrueUSD offer is regulatory arbitrage, which is temporary in nature. Eventually all the rules that make it annoying for banks to use USD for settling cross-border payments will apply to XRP and Tether (and TrueUSD) as well.Full review
[T]he TRX paper copied [Filecoin and Bitswap]. Also...TRON doesn't actually *exist* as a network...to be the next Bitcoin, you first need to produce...ya know, a network.Full review
Polymath, Harbor, Ravencoin, Twerk, Templum, [are] among at least a few dozen early attempts [at creating programmable securities]. Regulations slow this down, and there’s no value until network effects are bootstrapped.Full review
Bitcoin is bigger than the Bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin (BTC) the asset is tracked on the Bitcoin blockchain and transferred over the Bitcoin network (usually). If this was the end of the story, it would be a problem, since the Bitcoin blockchain is first generation technology with limited throughput and features.
But BTC can be used on other protocols and networks. The Lightning Network is a layer 2 protocol that allows for numerous fast and cheap BTC transfers that settle to and are secured by the Bitcoin network. People may also use sidechains, drivechains, and other L2 or L3 solutions.
[This] means that BTC is unlikely to be rendered obsolete by competing protocols that offer incremental improvements. BTC users can access those features or greater bandwidth by using BTC on other protocols like LN.Full review
Grin is mostly a feature. That feature can be added/accessed via other cryptocurrencies without a new token. I think it's unlikely base protocols with new features can survive long-term.
Grin's reason to be is mostly mimblewimble, which is a feature, which I'm skeptical is enough to support long-term value for a base protocol cryptoasset.Full review
I greatly admire the 0x team in all regards, really they’re awesome and doing amazing work, but I’ve yet to hear a coherent argument for value from governance that survives concrete examples.
If 0x network does what I want, I don’t need to own any, voting isn’t necessary for me (and costly because it requires tying up capital in a volatile asset.)
If it doesn’t do what I want, there’s 3 possibilities: I own a small amount of 0x, too little to swing the vote, pointless. I own enough to swing the vote, in which case I’m probably such a giant player in the ecosystem that I could likely fork and take other players w/me since what I want also probably extends to other big players in a similar position. Actually, that’s it. That covers the big cases, and in each one, owning 0x is an opportunity cost and risk without concrete governance reward.Full review
I think of LEO as kind of an option "strangle." As a holder, the steady state expectation is ongoing price rise from supply reduction. Owners are short a downside put of regulatory risk or bankruptcy and own an upside call of the ~$800m seized funds being returned.Full review
Consider the gnosis ICO, another experiment. [The] gnosis approach seemed reasonable a priori but failed miserably because of “stupid” investors who were entirely price insensitive. Maybe that should have been predicted, but wasn’t obvious to me ahead of time.Full review
A decent number [of cryptocurrencies] have earnings and are best thought of as SaaS companies. For example, Cosmos Network's ATOM token. Users of the networkFull review