Ian Balina, the CEO of crypto investment research platform Token Metrics, last week showcased the grounded optimism that helped him turn a tiny portfolio into $5 million worth of assets during his keynote interview at the virtualized Futurist Conference.
Untraceable’s annual Futurist Conference is Canada’s largest blockchain and emerging technologies event. It was held virtually over the course of two days this year in response to health safety concerns amid the ongoing pandemic. Next year’s event is planned in Toronto (www.futuristconference.com).
Balina’s interview with IBN Communications Director Jonathan Keim ranged from Token Metrics’ ability to generate data-driven recommendations that investors have used for building their own success stories to Balina’s own blockchain investment vehicle 100X Advisors, which is designed to help mature blockchain projects blossom utilizing unique business relationships in what is becoming a truly global marketplace.
Balina said that after he was introduced to cryptocurrency and began trading in it, he used his background at IBM in practical uses of artificial intelligence to create an open-source spreadsheet for logging all his investments. This is how people watched him transparently build his millions using a data-driven approach.
Token Metrics, now celebrating its first anniversary, is built on the same principle of using artificial intelligence data to determine investment choices through indices, rankings and price predictions. At the end of 2018’s bull run, there were over 1 million unique visitors per month to Balina’s spreadsheet and that led to Token Metrics’ launch.
“That showed to me that there was a need in crypto to effectively invest using a data-driven approach. … I knew that AI was the future so I wanted to take that spreadsheet and turn that into something more powerful by creating an application that would also leverage AI to invest in crypto,” he said.
The company now has more than 1,600 paying customers worldwide. But Balina also acknowledged that the market can be volatile. He said that 80 percent of traders will become discouraged when they lose money initially, and they will quit within two years. Either way, Balina holds fast to his belief that cryptocurrency is where the future of money is developing now.
“I feel like crypto is true economic empowerment. That’s actually one of our company’s visions,” Balina said. “People don’t have to be tied down to currencies in their local jurisdiction. They can now become part of the global economy and become their own bank. And that’s the beauty of crypto.”
As an example, Balina noted a conversation he had with a merchant in Lagos, Nigeria, while traveling the world with 100X Advisors to make investments in countries with promising enterprises. The merchant said he had wanted to hire developers from overseas but it was “very cumbersome” to pay anyone from overseas with the local currency, the naira, because of the issues Nigeria has had with online payments.
“It makes it very challenging for honest people to make a living online. Because sending the local currency is almost impossible. So, they have to get dollars, and getting dollars is very challenging in Nigeria,” he said. “But now because of bitcoin, they can pay contractors in bitcoin. They can become a part of the global economy through bitcoin, or even stable coins in crypto.”
Keim then expanded the thought of “access to the whole world.”
“Once we have a global stock market established well, trust and the right regulations and clarity in different jurisdictions like the United States, just imagine how fast Africa, for instance, can develop [with investments pouring in worldwide] if they can skip the telephone stage and go directly to towers and skip installing coaxial cables for basic Internet and go straight to fiber,” Keim said.
Balina noted the World Economic Forum anticipates that by 2027, 10 percent of the world’s gross domestic product will be tokenized, marking market cap growth by a factor of 40. But, because so many beginners lose money and become discouraged, there needs to be a vehicle for people to efficiently invest in crypto and not lose their money in order to get to that point.
“And we think using AI helps with that,” he said.
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