I've spent virtually the whole day talking exclusively about cryptocurrencies, and so on, trading.
Have you learned all about it? The truth is I findthe crypto world in general fascinating.
I've always been an observerand never an insider which is why for years I've always kept quiet, I've neversaid anything because I don't liketalking about things I don't have directexperience of.
Whereas, over the lastyear or so, I've begun to go inside and now withthe special we're making, increasingly I want to examine certainissues in detail because they're compelling,in the end it's a huge change.
So how did you getinvolved in the crypto world? Were you just passing by.
and you said.
No, in 2014 I waswriting my thesis.
I studied cinema, so I had absolutely nothing.
to do with it.
– What was your thesis about?- I was deciding, I was looking for a tutor who would accept athesis on.
something I had studied, You were doing the usualround of knocking on doors.
It took me ages to find a tutor to supervise my thesis,nobody wanted me.
I wanted to write aboutthe financial side, film management, budgets, that sort of thing.
Then, my boyfriend at the time worked in the field,and he said: "No, please don't,another useless thesis that nobody will remember,drop it".
And he started tellingme about bitcoin.
I found it interesting, especially the, well, the anarchic part of the movement.
– power to the people- power to the people.
The fact that bankswere out of the equation, all the cyberpunk part, the anarchic part of bitcoin, of blockchain technology.
So you wrote a thesis on bitcoin? I wrote a thesis onbitcoin, trying to find some sort.
– of link with cinema – right.
– New frontiers in cinema on bitcoin.
Yes, I'd found asort of parallel between the fact that, when a technology is adopted in mass, obviously at the cinema, everywhere, there aremore documentaries, more.
more films about it.
It was stretching a point to try and talk about bitcoin.
And the economics professor wasn't available,he'd said: "Wait until next yearto graduate, then we'll talk about bitcoin".
I said: "No, sorry, do you really think I shouldhave to wait a year to write a thesis with you?" So that was anotherreason why my thesis was with a professor ofcinema, who said to me: "You take the responsibility, I've no idea whatyou're talking about".
But this made me studythe question in greater depth.
And since I likedwriting, I'd begun looking for workas a journalist, in the crypto sector.
Ah, straight in like that? I didn't know that.
– I'd begun.
– With your nick – My nick?- Your nickname.
Sorry? – Didn't you have a nickname?- No, No, no, no, I'm one ofthe few who write with their own name.
– You signed like that.
– Yes, yes.
And I was recruitedby Cointelegraph.
– Ah okay.
– So I began writing like that.
– Straightaway? Yes, about a week after I finished the thesis.
One of the rare caseswhere someone graduates.
– Yes, you graduate.
– Did you send out your CV? No, an email.
– An email, yes.
Well, I've written a thesis about bitcoin, I've worked as a journalistfor a number of years in various fields.
– That wasn't true? – No, no, it was true.
– It was true? Yes, because previouslyI'd worked as a music journalist.
Ah okay, which hadnothing to do with it.
It seems to havenothing to do with it.
It had nothing to do with it, yousent the email, and they said: You're hired.
Fantastic! Okay,so that's how you began, but now, for example,there's Cryptonomist, which is growing and growing.
Yes, luckily, more or less.
In Italian or in English? It's in Italian and in English, it's amagazine about cryptocurrencies, Fintech, ICO, the worldof cryptocurrencies, blockchains.
And it's inItalian and in English, so from writing forother people to having your own magazine,it's not bad.
It's a good move, I sawMentana, in Italy, he was saying: "At last we'regoing to have an online paper, in 2018.
With 150 contributors", I don't know how manyCVs they've received, the traditional media alwaysmove at a different pace, the crypto world travelsat different speeds.
With all the rubbishthat's around even in the crypto world,how do you manage to filter real news fromnews that you'd say: "This lot are a band on the run, it's not true that.
" First of all, the wayyou do with any paper, obviously you haveto check the sources, you see which company is involved, for example: you mightbe talking about Coinbase, they usually publishnews on their blog so it's actually official and checked.
In the case of smaller ICOs,apart from the fact that they're not really our target, wedon't write much about small companies, anywayusually we contact the ICO team directly, we tryto check directly from the sources.
But sometimes the papercould be a huge document, what do you do, doyou read it all? We try, like I said,we don't write much about ICOs, orsmall companies, because we try to write news about the big players.
So we don't usuallyhave the problem of running a real check onthe ICO, on the latest project which has little credibility.
But what's your positionon, for example, you say "bitcoin",- Yes.
As soon as the word bitcoincomes up, the traditional media see bitcoin as:"Wow, let's report the latest scandal, the latestbitcoin craze", obviously.
I imagine your position is different to that, you say: "Let's transfer the truth that's coming outand provide a precise snapshot of this world".
Even then, how do you move through the enormousfluctuations we've seen over the past year, and say: "Okay, I'm going to writean article and perhaps I'll say McAfee is right about bitcoin.
By the way, I sawa photo of you with McAfee.
– When I interviewed him.
– You interviewed him? Is he completely barking mad? No, when you meet him, no.
– Was he calm and relaxed?- No, yes.
He talked to everyone, hewas always very serious, at least he seemed to be.
– Did he have his bodyguards? He had his bodyguards,but he talked to everyone, he was very very obliging,he did a load of interviews.
Everyone, every start-upwho talked to him received a business card,a number, absolute cooperation.
I saw an interview once with McAfee, where theywere talking like this, the interviewer here, andimagine you're McAfee.
And the door was behindthem, just like here.
I know the one, whereyou can see the gun of the bodyguard.
– The bodyguard comes out and he makes him open itand he pulls out the gun.
I said: "Wow!".
I didn't see any weapons,but yes, he had a sort of.
Anyway, good ol' McAfee says: "Bitcoin will be worth 1 million".
In that case, how do youreport it, are you biased because in any case you'realways a bit pro crypto, or do you try and analyse,so you say: "Okay, that's what McAfeesays, but based on our analyses,yes, no, perhaps".
Well, when we report news, we try to be asobjective as possible, we also try to refrainfrom making a comment.
So, 'McAfee says it willbe worth 1 million', period.
We refrain from saying:"Yes, no, perhaps, true, untrue".
Also because he is who he is, so there wouldn't be muchpoint in commenting on his tweets, which aresometimes, let's say, very.
– colourful, there wouldn't be anypoint.
Then perhaps in other types of articles,about trading, which Federico Izzi writes,you've interviewed him, we might analyse the market.
– But in the news items, it's just news,I report it.
– And you decide.
What's the world of allthese online crypto magazines like, who are the main players, is there someoneyou find inspiring or interesting or are you simply the best? No.
Well, in Italy, I think Cryptonomist isone of the main ones.
There isn't much competition, and the majority of readers, 80% are Italian or from the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland.
– And as an English-language magazine, you've got Cointelegraph, CoinDesk.
CCN, which is Crypto Coin News, is attracting a lot of views,or anyway is very well known, and obviously, becausethey've been going much longer than us,they manage to get the news before us, obviously theyhave a whole PR system with a higher profile.
And this is why atCryptonomist we try to focus less on newsand provide more guidance for people who are coming to the bitcoin worldfor the first time.
Or to do a lot ofinterviews, we try to focus on a readership that may also readthe competition but reads us too,to get a different angle.
– And this is also possible because, since Cryptonomistis part of the Poseidon holding, we have a lot ofexpertise, a lot of people, so you can makeall your valuations.
And that's also the way we manage to select the news,because inside the holding wehave so many people who know the sector verywell, we also have a lot of influencers, peoplelike Zucco, for example, so we manage to havegreater understanding of what's really happening, during events too,they help us a lot as consultants, let's say, for our articles, to checkthey're well written, etcetera.
And what's the businessmodel for a magazine, a crypto magazine,is it the same as traditional magazines,with advertising investors? Yes, basically in advertising probably one of the nextnew developments at Cryptonomist will be the issue of a token,which will probably be a security, andthis will give readers the opportunity on onehand to benefit from Cryptonomist'srevenues, because the security is likean equity instrument.
– You have a share of the company's earnings.
– of the company, so it's like, if the New YorkTimes issued a token, you say: "Okay,I'll get 10% of the New YorkTimes' revenues.
And how have youseen this world develop, since you started?We say that but it only began the other day.
– It's not even 10 years.
Goodness, it's gone so fast and you were thereright at the start so you saw it begin and evolve.
What developments can yousee and do you think will happen overthe next three months? What I've noticedis that, for example, in the early years,when I got a taxi, taxi drivers talk a lot, they always ask youwhere you're going, what you do, especiallywhen they see a girl.
I noticed that when I said.
They never talk to me, taxidrivers don't talk to me, I keep quiet.
They always talk to me,even if I don't talk.
So perhaps they askyou where you're going, so I always mention bitcoin, just as a test, to see ifthey know about it or not.
And at first no one knewabout it, and then I had to sit there and explainwhat it was, more or less.
But recently they all answer, at least they knowwhat I'm talking about.
Then perhaps they haven'tinvested, they're wary, but at least theword is becoming, it's becoming familiar.
I saw that the 3570Italian taxi chain was accepting bitcoinor had a project to accept payments in bitcoin.
Yes, they're doing itwith an Italian start-up.
So in fact.
– Yes, there's collaboration with BEN, the BlockchainEducation Network, I worked with them toofor about a year.
They've made thisagreement so that with a payment processorthey can accept bitcoin, even if inpractice no one uses it.
– Ah okay.
– But let's say that at least at the level of adoption, of knowledge or evenjust of marketing.
Because there's thisgreat disparity today between, if yousay bitcoin people tend to know bitcoin, and thenumber of people using it in practice.
– No, it's unconnected.
– They're two worlds.
– Yes, but at least when you start to see thatpeople know something, they are already aware of it.
But of all the situationsyou see and that perhaps they tell you about, theysend you a press release, or you come into contact,you know a lot of people, are there some in particularyou find super interesting.
apart from the Eidoogalaxy, of course, we'll take that forgranted.
Interesting applications, examples ofcompanies that are doing something that you say:"Wow, this could be really cool.
" Yes, recently I heard about Civil, it's a blockchain projecton journalism.
So basically a way of fighting fake news with a system of fees, of donations in tokens, for the peoplewho write the best pieces, as well as negative feedback for people whopublicise fake news.
The thing that surprised me,it's a start-up that is quite well known, butwhat surprised me is that in London, whenthey had the Eos event, in October, sorryat the end of September.
Did I see a photo ofyou with Pierce Brock or did I dream it? – Brock Pierce?- Brock Pierce.
The founder of Eos,the CTO of Eos, Daniel Larimer, said: "The thing we absolutely need is to have projectsrelating to journalism to combat fake news, andhe referred specifically to this Civil, and in factI'm researching it.
Incidentally, Eos raised.
It's the ICO that raisedthe most last year.
In 2017, even ifthe ICO actually ended at the beginning of 2018.
And do you seea decline in this ICO world, What's happening? Last year, there wasall this hype about ICOs, they were all raisingloads of money, even the ones thatwere self-confessed scams.
But there was all the hype.
I'm a scam.
– I'm a scam.
But we'll invest anyway.
But what I've noticed this year, is that the ICOs aregoing ahead regardless.
The valid ones areraising a lot of money, but there's greater awareness among investors, whomanage to select better, so there'sa lot of money around, but around a small number ofICOs.
The ones who seem most reliable, most,not scams, in other words.
And have you also, let'ssay, gone into trading cryptocurrencies andso on or have you always confined yourself todescribing and reporting? Personally I've invested.
Rather than trading, I'm "holdando", holding on to anything.
"Holdando", that's great.
So after "forwardare", I think"holdare" is the new frontier.
– "Holdando" "Holdando" is thenew black.
By the way,in the trade, people say "hodlando", invertingthe two letters.
Because a while back on Reddit, a guy kept getting it wrong, deliberately or not,I don't know, anyway, he wrotean entire article inverting the two letters,it became a motto.
– Hodl, so you retain, youinvest and you keep it there, No, I've never been atrader, either in the short term or in the long term.
Everything I bought I've still got.
Except the market is declining,I carry on hoping.
If there is a long-term vision, everyone I'm talking to, Italians, foreigners,in the end they all more or less agreethat these are waves and when there's ashake-out, a market shake-out.
I'm, we'realmost the same age but I'm a little bit older, I'm slightly older than you, and so these thingshave already happened.
The whole bubble,all the confusion, then there's a market shake-out, and the serious players remain, that seems to me to bethe way things are going.
Charlie Lee said sotoo, in a recent conference.
– Who's Charlie Lee? – The founder of Litecoin.
He said that the fact that there's less ICO hype is a reflection ofgreater awareness.
So in fact it's a positive thing.
Because if it had justcontinued to grow, it would mean therewas something wrong.
And it's better that way, because at least people in the industry isn't faced with a constant nightmare: "Heavens, bitcoin's up, bitcoin's down".
In fact, I check the appmuch less often to see what the price is doing.
When was the last timeyou checked it? Ten minutes ago?- No, no, yesterday perhaps no, I haven't checked today.
One of my children said to me: "I don't use my mobile much now", only 16 hours a dayinstead of 18, something like that.
We wrote a piece the other day about how the volatilityof bitcoin is decreasing.
Which could make it more of a trading currency,a method of payment more widely used becauseit's not as volatile as it recently has been.
What are the main problems you see today, when you're talkingabout these issues, or when you're talking to someone who doesn't understand a thing about the cryptoworld? What problems do you think need tobe sorted out before bitcoin or anothercryptocurrency goes mass market and is used by everyone or a lot of people? In my view, alsoas someone in the media, the aim should be todemystify cryptocurrencies in general, in both a negativeand a positive sense, meaning that, usually theyare talked about as a bubble, the latest scam, theillegality of the cryptos, when actually, andrecent studies show this, only 5% in the lastyear has been used for unlawful purposes,whereas 95% for completely legal purposes.
But on the other hand,people exaggerate sometimes.
I don't know,it will destroy the banks, there are always hugeheadlines in any case.
So I think we need to achieve a balance,to avoid fake news from any.
– Positive or negative.
– Yes, right.
Future plans? Future plans, I told youabout the Cryptonomist token we're working on.
Andat the level of business models, we'retrying to find new advertising solutions.
Because increasingly,Facebook, Mailchimp.
Google, are banning advertising, not only by ICOs, but for wallets, exchanges, too.
But there's been a recent re-opening.
Yes, it's true.
Perhaps they needto boost their earnings.
In fact to place advertising, you have tosend off a whole set of documents, whichwill never be approved, because it takes forever.
So if you want to launch a project and your deadline is in a month, there's no responsein terms of support.
Also because theydon't even tell you whether it will be rejectedor not, they simply don't respond.
And you just see thatyou can't get the advertising, for example on Facebook.
So as a business model for Cryptonomist, we'retrying to make advertising easier through our channels, for the ICOs orany crypto project that people mightwant to publicise.
So, new modelsand tokenisation, these are the two things.
Good luck then, thank you.