Ep 43. An ode to squirrels
Crypto Shopping List. African NFTs. CBDC Fact or Fiction.
What’s your favorite animal? For a long time I really didn’t have one. When asked, I’d sometimes pick a random African animal or something philosophical to try and impress whoever I was with. Ugh. Thankfully I’ve passed that stage. Lately, I’ve been watching squirrels. I see them everywhere from our backyard to the parks when I’m out cycling. Beyond their cute fluffy tails, squirrels just always seem happy, energetic and playful. They seemingly bound from tree to tree without losing enthusiasm. Have you ever seen a sad or moody squirrel 🐿 ?
Crypto prices crashed this week. How did you fare? I hope you channeled your inner squirrel. I’ve been zen. My approach is to devise a strategy then automate execution over the long-term. If prices continue to slide then there might be some very attractive opportunities. Are you ready? What projects are on your shopping list? Remember, Uncle Warren Buffett said “be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful”.
Crypto shopping list🛒
One of my goals this year is to significantly expand my crypto portfolio beyond my bitcoin and ethereum base. I missed out on a TON of upside last year by playing it very safe and not executing on recommendations from my friends. If the crypto price slide extends there might be opportunities to pick up some coins at decent entry points.
I recently finished reading “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel. It argues that we all make rationale financial decisions based on our background. The challenge is that we all have very different backgrounds, personalities and aspirations. For me, the most important thing is peace. A super aggressive strategy might give me amazing returns but it might cost me my sleep at night. That’s not a cost I'm willing to pay.
Additionally, we often only think about returns that we could have made but we discount the losses we could have incurred. Social media is a highlight reel. Most people share their triumphs but are mute on losses. So I say this to say, don’t cry over spilled milk. Figure out what works for you then get it done. As we say in Nigeria, “paddle your own canoe”.
I don’t offer any financial advice. I’m just a guy with a laptop trying to figure this thing out. Please do your own research.
My crypto shopping list is a work in progress. It’s subject to change at any time. I’m very much still learning. I’m also not sharing my full list of projects that I’m curious about - that might deserve it’s own edition or two lol.
Please share your ideas with me too!
Crypto shopping list
I already have some of these but I want MORE
Solana (SOL) - low transaction cost, seen as an ethereum challenger
Chainlink (LINK) - bringing real-world data on-chain
Avalanche (AVAX) - fast smart contracts
Ecomi (OMI) - NFT play; it’s the token for Veve which has major partnerships
Decentraland (MANA) - leading metaverse project
Last week, I shared my excitement about the new Ancient Empires NFT collection. The collection celebrates the history of ancient African and Latin American civilizations by creating art NFTs which could appeal to a broader population. Well I did it! I made an impulse buy. (Not sure we should celebrate that but this is where we are…hahaha).
I chose this piece because of the cultural significance of the mask the man is wearing in the picture. Masks are a key part of the cultural heritage of the Yoruba and Benin people. (Context - I’m Yoruba; the Yoruba and Benin empires are in modern-day Nigeria but they have ancient linkages and a tremendous art heritage. Unfortunately, many culturally significant pieces were destroyed when our palaces were raided during wars with the Portuguese and British armies. Many of the surviving pieces were looted and put on display in museums across global art capitals from London to New York and elsewhere.
I named my NFT “Oranmiyan” after a prince of the Yoruba and Benin empires. Over 800 years after his death, his descendants still sit on the throne in Benin. My dude looks like a fierce warrior. Maybe I should hit the gym more so my arms match his…
1.Federal Reserve finally published it’s paper on CBDCs 💸
The US Federal Reserve FINALLY published it’s long waited paper on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). The paper lays out pros and cons of CBDCs. It does NOT make a recommendation. Rather, the Fed is seeking input from the public and will only act if Congress tells it to do so.
I read the paper. I am not convinced 2 of the pros listed by the Fed are real.
Improve cross-border payments: The average outgoing international payment from the US has a 5% fee. Introducing a CBDC isn’t magically going to solve this. There will need to be conversions among various CBDCs. I am not convinced this system would outperform the existing crypto technology today ex lightning network.
Improve financial inclusion: 5% of the US is not banked and another 20% are significantly underbanked ex they routinely depend on high cost, inefficient services like pay day loans, etc. People say crypto and CBDCs will improve financial inclusion but they routinely fail to demonstrate how. This frustrates me. Illiteracy, lack of trust, and low income are leading drivers for exclusion. These are not addressed by a CBDC. Furthermore, during the pandemic CBDC advocates pointed out how the government payment of stimulus funds would have been more efficient if we had CBDCs and each US person held an account with the Federal Reserve. Well, the Federal Reserve Act specifically says the central bank can’t bank retail customers. Maybe I’m missing something.
That said, I definitely agree that it is in the US strategic national interest for the dollar to continue being the world’s reserve currency. Other countries want the influence it provides. The dollar could become vulnerable if other countries (cough China) provides a superior technology. The map below shows 9 countries (including Nigeria) have launched CBDCs with 14 countries (including China) running pilot tests and 16 countries (including Russia) have them in development. The US needs to move here.
2. Twitter verifying NFTs 🪞
Crypto Twittersphere has been awash with NFTs as profile pictures. Some say it’s the ultimate status symbol to indicate you are part of the community. But what’s stopping posers who don’t actually own NFTs from uploading a picture of someone else’s NFT and using that as their profile picture. Well nothing.
Until now! Twitter is linking your digital asset wallets to your profile. Thus, you’d only be able to upload NFTs you own as your profile picture. I guess if you do this there’ll be some kind of check mark to indicate it’s been verified.
This is an important move for 2 reasons. First, Twitter is one of the first social media platforms to integrate NFTs. Others will follow. Secondly, it marks a departure from Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin-only philosophy as NFTs are primarily on Ethereum, Solana etc. I’m expecting to hear more from Twitter.
3. a16z makes first investment in Africa 🕹
a16z, the famed crypto, FinTech and consumer tech VC firm has made it’s first investment in an African startup, Carry1st. a16z was an early investor in Facebook, Coinbase and many other household names.
This investment stands out because it’s a gaming company headquartered in South Africa. Of course, there will be a crypto/web3.0 angle to this. I’ve been vocal about how bullish I am on gaming in Africa. I guess I’m in good company lol.
Carry1st already accepts various cryptocurrencies as payments. They are looking to expand that. Let’s stay tuned.
That’s all folks! Remember, be a squirrel 🐿