Crypto Millionaire & Evangelist Ian Balina in Manila: A Summary

Last August, Ian Balina, a crypto investor and evangelist, stopped by Manila during his crypto world tour. Ian is a well known figure in the crypto space, specifically in the ICO space. He was the one who popularized token metrics by taking a data driven approach to ICO investing. He uses different criterias to rate a project such: Is it an all star team? Do they have a working product? You can see all the details in his spreadsheet about his approach.

What makes Ian very different from most crypto investors / influencers is his approach to crypto. His main goal is to bring crypto mainstream, by making it approachable to retail investor and also getting more people to know about it. He started by publishing tools, techniques and resources that the average retail investor could use. Next, he started doing podcasts and Youtube videos to reach a bigger audience. He positions himself to be a content creator as well. And now, he’s doing a world tour (he’s been to Latin America, India, Amsterdam, Russia) with the goal of finding hidden ICO gems and also educating more and more people along the way. While he’s at it, he even produced and starred in a rap video with Drew titled “Moon Lambo”.

Whether you love or hate him, you can’t argue that he’s bringing crypto to the mainstream. Below is the summary of the discussion and panel held during his talk in Manila hosted by Blockhub One.

Context: The event was held in August 2018, the 7th month of the bear market that started in February. Ian is joined on stage by Mac, Eric from Blockhub One, Ugo and Diego who both work with 100x Advisors with Ian.

Are ICOs Dead?

Mac: This current down market that we’re experiencing has already happened before. ICOs aren’t dead, you just have to find the ones that are more alive. The cream will always rise to the top.

Ian Balina: Prices get beat up and might be down 80–90% from their all time high but it doesn’t change the project fundamentals. The good projects are still working hard despite the price. More and more, it’s become important to take profits and you should be taking profits on the way up. Rule of thumb: take out initial on 3x, 10–20% every 5–10x. We 10x the amount of research especially during bearish times. We are bullish in the space in the long term and we are ready to invest the resources accordingly. We’ll be ready for the next bull run.

Diego: We are in a cleaning phase. ICOs realize that they need to create and support the communities behind them. They are not means just to raise money from but rather, they are evangelists that they to survive especially in bear markets.

ICO Token Metrics

Eric: I’ve added a couple of criteria to my investment formula which are:
a. Code velocity — this refers to how often the team updates their code.

b. Transparency — how transparent the team is regarding the different investor schedules they have.

c. Community — How big is the community and how does the project treat its community? It was the community behind bitcoin that made it survive the down turn.

How can we get involved in the space?

Ian Balina : The first step is always to show up. Be it in a conference or a meetup. Most of the guys I work with right now, I met during my events. The second is to Network. Always be open because you never know who you will meet.

What opinion do you hold on this space that is different from most people’s?

Ian Balina: There are two ways of getting crypto mainstream. One is through the general public and the other is through institutional. My focus has been working with the people and community and that’s why we create content. Caring for the retail investors is very important. Those that raise only from funds are gonna get rekt because they don’t have a community.

Ugo: The china and US ban, might be the reason behind this shift, among ICOs, from retail investors to more institutional players. Companies start to think that if they reach out to the retail investors, the SEC might go after them. So they decide to do institutional ones instead. Regulation will catch up with them if they don’t play safe. So it’s beneficial actually in the long run.

Eric: Crypto will destroy the concept of nations. We’ll see less borders. The power that crypto gives and the current structure of nations are conflicting. With crypto, we are turning money into freedom of money just like freedom of speech. We are moving the power over people’s money from banks and governments back to the people. It’s like the red pill in the matrix.

Do we really need Bitcoin ETF?

Ian Balina: Yes. It opens up the institutional money like the 401k funds the crypto market. Right now, hundreds of billions of dollars can’t touch crypto. It (mass adoption) doesn’t really need it per se, but having it will boost it very generously. It will be a big step or milestone.

Ugo: There seems to be a manipulation happening now. Back in december, we didn’t need it to have the massive bull run we had. But somehow, every single ETF that gets rejected, the price tanks and people are selling. But I agree that an ETF or some big government regulation will help the market rise and go mainstream.

How do we make complex blockchain projects more comprehensible to the masses?

Ian Balina: Imagine that you’re talking to someone who knows nothing. Start with the basic layman’s terms, build it up from there. Sometimes the companies try to make it sound smart and technical with all the jargon.

Mac: Explain the security aspect of it as well. People want to know exactly how safe it is and how it works especially since it’s money.

Eric: Quantify your audience. Know if you are talking to devs, early adopters, or the mass market? Your campaigns should be specific to each segment.

How should the government and the community move in the crypto space?

Ian Balina: Governments should regulate but not hinder innovation. Entrepreneurs are very nimble, they will move if they have to. If the regulation came too early or are too strict, there won’t be any success stories. And these success stories are what stimulate innovation.

Mac: Frame it in a way so that the government will see how it will benefit.

Diego: Invest on a governmental team that tracks down the bad actors. If the government supports the good ones, these company will not only innovate for the market but even for the country.

Notable Quotes:

Eric Su: The beauty of bitcoin is its anti-fragileness. The more you attack it, the more it becomes stronger. It’s focus is on decentralization and is willing to sacrifice features for decentralization.

Ian Balina: It doesn’t matter how much money you raise, if you don’t have a community, you don’t have a community and money cant buy you community. It has to be organic.

So there you have it. Ian Balina’s tour has really been about the masses. He’s definitely a crypto believer and evangelist as you can see from his videos. I’m sure the 80+ attendees not only had a good time but also learned a lot. Here’s a link to the full video. What questions would you like to ask Ian? Comment below and we might be able to get him to do an AMA.

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