When it comes to architecture, team and potential, very few cryptocurrencies compare to Stellar Lumens. The open platform for
financial products has quickly emerged as one of the most dominant cryptocurrencies on the market. It is currently ranked
eighth in total market cap with a price-per-coin of around 42 cents. Stellar’s XLM token is on my short-list of top
cryptocurrencies. Those of you who are new to the digital asset market should pay extra attention to XLM for reasons that go
far beyond its current price point or market cap. With the exception of Ripple and Ethereum, very few crypto projects have
announced high-stakes partnerships that match Stellar’s in terms of excitement or potential. Last year, Stellar announced it
was partnering with Dow blue-chip IBM, which will provide the network with eight new validators. The Stellar company has also
confirmed that 30 financial institutions have signed up for the blockchain banking project. By partnering with IBM, Stellar
intends to bring digital currency adoption mainstream by making it easier for consumers and businesses to transact in the new
technology. The initiative will also allow financial institutions to move money across borders.
Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro has recently announced that within one week, the county is going to launch a new
cryptocurrency, the Petro Gold. The cryptocurrency, according to local news source Telesur, will be backed by precious
metals. Notably, Maduro’s announcement was made Wednesday (Feb. 21), one day after Venezuela launched its oil-backed
cryptocurrency, the Petro. As covered by CCN, the Petro (PTR) was announced back in December, as a way for the country to
bypass sanctions and fight an “economic war” with the United States. The Petro’s pre-sale is currently ongoing, and according
to Maduro it’s already netted $735 million, although he didn’t back this claim with any evidence. Shortly after the Petro was
announced, Venezuela’s opposition-run congress criticized the cryptocurrency’s sale, as an “illegal and unconstitutional”
instrument to mortgage the country’s oil reserves. The US warned that citizens who bought the cryptocurrency could be
violating the sanctions, while investors voiced concerns over Venezuela’s solvency and transparency.
Matt Hougan has made a career shift from ETFs to cryptocurrencies. He jumped from the traditional fund market to a
cryptocurrency index-fund manager, a market he described to Bloomberg as a “generationally significant opportunity with
interesting challenges.” He joins San Francisco-based Bitwise Asset Management as vice president of R&D. He made a splash
with his call that cryptocurrencies are on their way to being a multi-trillion dollar market, though he admits to Bloomberg
cryptos remain an “early-stage technology” that could be a bumpy road at times. For instance, Hougan suggests the
cryptocurrency markets could suffer a 50% drop before attaining a $1 trillion combined market cap. And as the leading digital
coins have proven so far in 2018, volatility is the name of the game.
Blockchain veteran Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum network behind No. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap ETH, is a realist. While last year may have put cryptocurrencies on the map, Buterin brings up the risk/reward profile. He doesn’t want investors to have false illusions about pie-in-the-sky returns without identifying any of the risks. Meanwhile, the ETH price has advanced nearly 40% since Feb. 5. Buterin took to Twitter, which is often his soapbox platform of choice, to seemingly tout the merits of traditional investments at the expense of cryptocurrencies but only in the event when an investor’s life savings are at stake. He doesn’t offer specific investment advice though stocks and bonds are about as traditional as securities get. His comments echo the sentiment of regulators around the world that don’t want to see investors risk it all on an emerging asset class. Meanwhile, even traditional asset managers tout the merits of diversification.
Jarrod Dicker is the new CEO of blockchain media company P.oet. Dicker is making the move to Po.et while departing from his position as Vice President of Innovation and Commercial Strategy at The Washington Post. Dicker believes Po.et won’t just help content creators express their artistry independently, but that it will also work to serve media companies, brands and marketers. He wants those industry stakeholders to be able to generate revenue using their own platforms, publishers and business models. Dicker views the platform as an opportunity to provide transparency in media attribution and valuation. His move from The Washington Post strengthens the platform’s broader appeal as digital media continues to evolve. With first-generation content-driven brands like The Huffington Post recently announcing they will no longer compete alongside the Medium’s of the world, it looks as though power is shifting back into the hands of the creator. This evolving trend along with the addition of Dicker and Po.et’s growing number of use cases is truly positioning the platform for growth.