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There’s blood in the streets.
Wow, hold up, that’s a frightening idiom. It, of course, means that markets are dropping. However, people don’t often remember the rest of the saying. Attributed to Baron Rothschild, the rest of the original quote is believed to be to “buy when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.”
Starting a company is always difficult but building one in a volatile economic climate is doubly difficult.
Within the cryptocurrency industry, it has become a particularly scary time to start a company because we have been undergoing a year-long bear market in all cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, while an internal civil war rages within the community.
The war is bloody. Bitcoin is down more than 80% and other cryptocurrencies and altcoins are down even more. Talk about a scary bear market. Fortune Magazine reported that nearly half of 2017’s cryptocurrency ‘ICO’ projects have gone bankrupt, investors have already lost billions, and Bloomberg reported in June that over 1,000 coins or approximately half of all altcoins have gone to 0.
It’s easy to feel confused in this chaotic ecosystem. So how do you succeed in such a turbulent environment?
The Bitcoin Honey Badger
I work in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is under attack by 3,000+ competing projects and their founders, their promoters, their venture capitalists, and their attorneys.
Bitcoin is defended by a small, tight group of believers (analysts, programmers, core developers) who are convinced that the original Satoshi Nakamoto White Paper is a necessary and sufficient remedy to the problems created by the lack of a monetary standard in international finance following the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971. These believers have accepted the honey badger as their mascot; a ferocious animal who fights against the thousands of projects who are trying to diminish Bitcoin’s potential.
In this civil war, picking the right side and defending it has been, is, and will continue to be crucial until one side or the other is victorious.
Our firm has existed for a decade but it is only recently that we have begun assisting clients with their cryptocurrency holdings. We have differentiated ourselves from most cryptocurrency investment firms, including hedge funds, because we have picked the side of Bitcoin exclusively, and excluded all other cryptocurrencies.
This singular focus clearly differentiates our firm through the chaos of an ecosystem recognized by the public, the lawmakers, and the regulators as dangerous, confusing, and probably illegal.
Be Remarkable And Memorable
A brand is more than a name or a logo. A brand is the culmination of a user’s total experience with it. Each of us processes information differently and a brand must address a wide spectrum of our expectations.
To have a brand that has strong and positive equity, it is imperative to completely differentiate it from its competitors.
There are many ways to have a differentiated business to solve your customer’s problem. This can be through distributing to new markets, offering new products, targeting new customers, implementing better customer service, providing higher value, achieving lower manufacturing costs to maintain reduced prices and shaping a strong corporate culture and vision.
Another example of a successful company in this ecosystem is Coinkite, the maker of ColdCard, a secure Bitcoin hardware wallet, and Opendime the only Bitcoin physical bearer bond, a trustless USB disposable device for in-person bitcoin exchange, which offers great enhancements to the problem of security. Their company is differentiated from their competitors by a myriad of technological advances that provide superior security. The team of successful and respected developers has embraced Bitcoin as the future. Their work reflects this bias and is acknowledged by the Bitcoin community.
Warren Buffett said that “after all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”
In building a business, it is difficult when things are going well to make mistakes (we are all geniuses in a bull market), and far more difficult not to make a mistake when things are not going well (we are all idiots in a bear market).
The Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market turned down in December 2017, after an extraordinary ten-year bull market, one of the greatest in financial history. It all came to a screeching halt on December 19th with Bitcoin trading at $19,666.
This reversal tested and is still testing, every participant in the cryptomarket.
Talk about the need for flexibility! Particularly for those attempting to build companies. Many have failed. Many more will fail. That’s what happens in a civil war.
When building a new company, in a new industry, that has devolved into warring factions, knowledge, loyalty, persistence, and conviction will be victorious but it is extraordinarily difficult to keep perspective and context without a rock-solid foundation.
We recognized and began communicating that the tide had shifted and was beginning to recede. We committed ourselves to our convictions about the market and to Bitcoin. We remained and will continue to be consistent in this.
When we launched our cryptocurrency consulting arm, I had the opportunity to host Tone Vays’ Bitcoin Morning Brief with Jimmy Song and Giacomo Zucco. The trolls came after me hard, and they weren’t the cute cuddly dolls created by DreamWorks. They said I was terrible. The truth is, I absolutely was.
I cut Tone, Jimmy and Giacomo off prematurely, I left awkward dead space between the conversations, and since I was new to Bitcoin, I often had no idea what they were talking about. During those early days, I struggled with imposter syndrome; I was missing experience and context.
Luckily I didn’t get the boot, and I began to learn from each time I stubbed my toes.
The most important lesson I began to learn was the nuances of the industry. This has helped me navigate the confusion that enters the ecosystem with each new projects encroaching into space with inferior products. And thus, I was able to come to my own conclusion to support, side with, and fight for Bitcoin.
We have explicitly defined our position in this civil war; we are on the side of Bitcoin.
Defining and vocalizing our mission to support Bitcoin, our vision of its bright and transformative future and belief in its absolute value has shaped our company’s culture. Our clients are clear about the identity of our company. They choose us not just because of the service that we offer but also because they are passionate about the issue.
We lead with both heart and head in our business; there is a place for both. This has created authentic relationships with our clients that would not be possible without shared values.
This is not the path of least resistance.
But we will not deviate and our company continues to grow with clients and partners who share and advocate for the same belief in Bitcoin.
December 13, 2018 at 07:01PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs