DeFi & Crypto

Bitcoin AUM Declines 20%

Bitcoin is being outpaced by some of the smaller and faster-growing cryptocurrencies. The dynamic has lessened Bitcoin’s dominance, with total assets under management for Bitcoin-related investment products falling 20% to $39 billion in December, according to a report from CryptoCompare.

The decline reduced Bitcoin products’ portion of total digital-asset investment vehicles to 67.8% from 70.6%, the lowest share of the year, according to the data provider.

Polkadot and Cardano have each gained more than 20% over the past seven sessions, according to

Axie Infinity’s coin has added 18% in that period, while FTX’s coin rallied 7%.

December was a stretch marked by choppiness for Bitcoin, the original and once-supreme cryptocurrency. The coin is down 10% so far this month, on pace for its second consecutive monthly decline.

Source: Bloomberg and Cryptocompare

Bitcoin Turns 11 Today

Happy Birthday, Bitcoin!

This evening 11 years ago, on January 3rd, 2009, someone pressed a button on his (or her) keyboard and created a new currency. There was no paper, gold, or silver backing it, just bits and 31,000 lines of software code with a simple announcement on the Internet. Along with a 9-page Whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Bitcoin as we know it came into existence with someone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto mining the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which had a reward of 50 bitcoins worth approx $350,000 today’s market value.

During the next decade, Bitcoin would skyrocket from $0.003 to almost $20,000 per one bitcoin. It was a remarkable experiment in which fortunes were made and some lost during the speculative frenzy typical of all asset bubbles. Yes, it is an asset trading hands (or digital wallets) to the tune of $27 billion on its birthday.

Bitcoin price since inception 2009 to 2019

It was the beginning of the cryptocurrency market which now stands at almost $200 bln in total market capitalization. Insignificant in the grand scheme of the approx $90 trillion in the total market capitalization of global public capital markets. But not bad from literally point zero a decade ago.

Most importantly Bitcoin introduced the world to the Blockchain and the tremendous potential of the technology to transform industries and significantly reduce transaction costs. Without getting into the details, of how blockchain works, let me give you an example of how serious IBM is which has over 1,000 employees working on blockchain projects and has set aside hundreds of millions of R&D funding to support the development of blockchain applications.

According to research by Outlier Ventures last year, total investment in blockchain companies since 2013 hit $23.7 billion and 75% of all deal-flow focused only on early-stage rounds.

Total funding raised by blockchain startups since 2013

I’m excited to be introducing soon a blockchain development company that is using a unique portfolio development approach to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our world today such as climate change, clean drinking water, and financial inclusion.

I’ll share the details in a few weeks in the comments to this article so make sure to press ‘like’ to be one of the first to learn about this exciting blockchain start-up and the outstanding investment opportunity it will present to qualifying investors.

Alternatively, DM or email me [email protected] and I’d be happy to add you to our launch notification list.


Facebook Disappoints with Libra Coin

In December (2018), I did my last Dinsider podcast about the digital market, blockchain and digital currency, and in cryptocurrencies. I have decided to continue the podcast, after the massive hype over Facebook coin and Libra coin and I had to respond I had to show my insights. Clear what this is and is there any real value or not, because interestingly in my last podcast back in December I had actually uploaded podcasts of approx 12 to 13 minutes long.

Listen to the podcast or continue to read the transcription below.

In this podcast I have talked about Facebook and the point I was actually talking about Facebook stock which relatively was about $125 per share and I specifically said, go back to my last podcast that I feel that Facebook is under valued and there is a significant potential for upside of Facebook shares, and rightly so Facebook is trading at $125 end of last year and now has hit a high of $194 today and that’s well over 50%. I want to talk about the share price I don’t just want to talk about the digital aspect for I don’t just want to get into the technical details. I look at the practical implications of what’s happening in today’s market. How could you potentially benefit?

Facebook’s stock price was a typical action today, buy on rumor sell on news. I was the owner of Facebook yesterday so today I got sold on this little rally. Frankly my dear this libra white paper and libra coin is ridiculous I find. I find it’s not even a proper blockchain. It’s frustrating and I’m extremely disappointed what Facebook has done. It’s also not even a proper cryptocurrency because it allows you and it can be overwritten and the transaction is not imutable.

Its more so a digital currency than a cryptocurrency. There’s a difference, digital currency you can have funds that are transferred digitally than cryptocurrency relies on cryptography and a key aspect of cryptography is that it has to be validated the data cannot be overwritten, it can’t be changed, its immutable. You can add new data but you cannot go back and erase previous data. It is not a proper distributed ledger.

I am going to breakdown this podcast, quite a bit to cover and you will find it very interesting. I am going to be breaking it into three parts. One I am going to give you a quick overview 2 to 3 minutes about what libra is?

Secondly, I will talk about the technical aspects which are worth noting. Finally, I will conclude with the flaws and what the problem is. Which I have hinted already that it’s not a cryptocurrency and the trust mechanism is essentially under the control of this oligarch rule formation and the libra association which is going to be created to manage this digital currency.

So, what is libra? I think libra is Facebook’s cute way to capitalize the cryptocurrency buzz and be able to ingrain and enridge its position with its users, and the reason for that is that. In the whitepaper Facebook says libra’s mission is to enable the simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people so that’s fine.

They go on to say that an average cost 7% to send money abroad. There’s about 50 billion dollars in fees that are eaten up in currency remittance. Agree that is a challenge, so libra is attempting to provide micro transactions which would cost just a few cents, and which is significantly less than the current marketplace. So how does libra work? Libra is essentially cash in a local currency. So, you would convert your cash into libra coin, then you would spend them like dollars through the Facebook network, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram without transaction fees and without your real name being attached. So you are still anonymous.

However the challenge is that they will still need to do some kind of governance kyc, so that’s not very clear in terms of who should be worried. It essentially is trying to take away business and Facebook and also trying to provide in a way foreign currency mechanism and competing against the banks.

So in terms of the technical perspective it’s not very clear and I looked at a quote from the libra protocol in the white paper. It’s stated it’s still in prototype stage, quote we do not have concrete performance metrics yet to report and we anticipate the official launch of libra protocol will support 1000 payment transactions per second with a 10 second finality time. 1000 payment transactions per second is not bad. Visa as an example has over 1700 transactions per second. Right!. So that’s not bad. The challenge is it hasn’t really been tested. So I think the market and the reason is that the stock price fell back is that the expectation was for something revolutionary. A real proper bloc chain and that really hasn’t transpired.

One of the key aspects that is interesting and had been commented on by many technicians and technologists, experts of blockchain is the generic words such as resources which make it unclear and then there is particular quote in the white paper which says transaction based predefined and in future versions user defined smart contracts. In a new program and language which is called “move”. We use move to define the core mechanisms of the bloc chain such as the currency and validator membership.

Ok, now that’s different and very interesting because that means there is a custom built smart contracting language and that will create a lot potential, issues and questions.  How future rich the language will be and secure, robust it will be. Because the more you try to make it developer friendly. The more the risk you have within that development community. So, the libra association that is going to be managing this will have eventually a hundred partners which is good, and each partner including Facebook has 1% vote. But it’s still not clear how it will function?

It seems to be that they are trying to create a kind of proof of state a mechanism over the next five years. The problem is on the technical component is its very much opaque not much clarity. A lot of ideas, concepts, we haven’t really done this. The Market is disappointed really done the technical work to backup a lot of this and that’s really disappointing considering the resources Facebook has at it’ disposal and it needs several unanswered questions and concerns about the libra coin because it is not a proper blockchain.

As I mentioned in the beginning, how does governance actually work? We have the libra association and it eventually will have a hundred members and the supermajority, and two thirds of the members will need to improve any significant change. But they are the only ones that can mint or destroy libra coins and presumably is that they can make any changes if they agree to it.

Its still top down controlled by this organization. Secondly, the other thing is that it does not clear on KYC “know your client” and anti-money laundering requirement because the Libra and the calibra wallet will require users to verify themselves through government issued ids. Now going back to their claim of trying to help the people who do not know about cryptocurrencies or not being able to access cryptocurrencies or bank accounts is because they don’t have id.

So if you want and require them to verify through government user ids then it defies the purpose of providing access of funds to people that want to receive or send money will require government issued ids. So that’s again not very clear in terms of fees, again it says a few cents or low fees. I get no clarity on fees that what it actually is going to be how transparent that’s going to be. So, these are some of the challenges. The bigger challenge I see is that the libra and its coin and this payment mechanism will it actually get approved. I would be very surprised, particularly the EU does not push back on this.

Because through libra Facebook can technically act as the mass surveillance resource for US agencies. Because now they will have the user’s email, government ids and payment details and that’s a lot of data. If you are now worried about how they will keep your data. They have stated they will keep that data separate from Facebook but at the end of the day it all goes to the mothership Facebook.

So, I expect the EU to push back and perhaps not allow the libra coin to be used without some regulations or some requirements that require scrutiny on Facebook with using that data.  

Because what Facebook is actually doing is it’s trying to take on the global banking system. Because you don’t need to use your banks, you transfer your money to Facebook and use libra coin to transfer money around. Then what that is also going to is further scrutiny on Facebook which is already having challenges and there has been calls for Zucker Berg’s powers to be reduced or the company to be broken up WhatsApp, Facebook, messenger, Instagram. Together collectively they all have access to billions of people and that is too much control for one organization. If Facebook does not do or manage this program libra initiative properly. I think they are going to open themselves up to the banks coming after them and taking them down.

So, Mark Zucker Berg is exposing himself to a lot more risk now. Especially the way that it’s structured. This association he’s not trying to make it fair, it’s not transparent it’s inot owned by the public it is controlled by this oligarch organization based in Switzerland.

It will be interesting to see if he can appease enough people to stay with him to get banks on board that will be key. If the banks don’t come on board then watch out Mark. Because there is a central bank initiative called Finality, which is trying to solve that cash on ledger problem the central banks are working on creating digital or cryptocurrency equivalent of fee add currency and we would talk about in this next episode of the Dinsider.

So, I am from the stock perspective and I have sold my Facebook position today. I sold it out at 191. I think this is going to be more of a liability, particularly it’s not very strong. It’s not wowed people, it’s not a proper blockchain and it is going to put a target on Facebook. So, I am not a buyer of Facebook currently and I am not a buyer of libra coin. I think it’s going to be good for bitcoin and it will give more exposure. In the coming episodes I will talk about bitcoin and the price actions. Bitcoin has seen since bottoming out in the early part of the year. Where I see it going and how I am participating in the cryptocurrency space

So, alright thank you so much and I promise to keep my podcast under 20 minutes, this one is a bit longer thank you very much for staying with me until the end. Do follow the podcast and if you have any questions and you want me to talk to me about anything in the podcast please send me an email at [email protected] or through our company website [email protected] thank you and God bless. Have a good day!


Report: Central Bank Digital Currency

Digitalization is reshaping economic activity, shrinking the role of cash, and spurring new digital forms of money. Central banks have been pondering whether and how to adapt. One possibility is central bank digital currency (CBDC)—a widely accessible digital form of fiat money that could be legal tender. While several central banks have studied the adoption of CBDC and have undertaken pilots, many have not actively explored it and remain skeptical.

This discussion note proposes a conceptual framework to assess the case for CBDC adoption from the perspective of users and central banks. It abstracts from cross-border considerations by assuming that CBDC is for domestic use only. This note discusses possible CBDC designs, and explores potential benefits and costs, with a focus on the impact on monetary policy, financial stability, and integrity. This note also surveys research and pilot studies on CBDC by central banks around the world. The main takeaways are as follows:

• The impact of CBDC introduction will hinge on its design and country-specific characteristics. Critical features will be anonymity (the traceability of transactions), security, transaction limits, and interest earned. The role of cash and commercial bank deposits in payments will also matter.

• CBDC could strengthen the benefits and reduce some of the costs and risks to the payment system and could help encourage financial inclusion. However, demand will not necessarily be very high and will depend on the attractiveness of alternative forms of money. Moreover, there are other payment solutions to help central banks more fully achieve their goals relative to money. CBDC will have to contend with operational risks arising from disruptions and cyberattacks.

• Token-based CBDC—with payments that involve the transfer of an object (namely, a digital token)—could extend some of the attributes of cash to the digital world. CBDC could provide varying degrees of anonymity and immediate settlement. It could thus curtail the development of private forms of anonymous payment but could increase risks to financial integrity. Design features such as size limits on payments in, and holdings of, CBDC would reduce but not eliminate these concerns.

• Account-based CBDC—with payments through the transfer of claims recorded on an account—could increase risks to financial intermediation. It would raise funding costs for deposit-taking institutions and facilitate bank runs during periods of distress. Again, careful design and accompanying policies should reduce, but not eliminate, these risks.

• CBDC is unlikely to affect monetary policy transmission significantly, although operations may need adaptation. Transmission could strengthen if CBDC spurs greater financial inclusion. Interest-bearing CBDC would eliminate the effective lower bound on interest rate policy, but only with constraints on the use of cash.

Source: IMF Staff Discussion Note, Casting LIght on Central Bank Digital Currency 

Download Discussion Note (PDF)

E16: Is the crypto carnage over?




Bitcoin lost 40% of its value in the past three weeks and Ethereum fell to $100 an ether, losing its claim as the second largest cryptocurrency. Is the carnage in cryptocurrencies over? Maybe, but here’s why I’m still not buying cryptos and instead looking at “backing up the truck” in another sector that has seen just as much of a bloody month as cryptos. Listen to find out more and watch the accompanying video on SiAlpha YouTube channel:

Bitcoin lost 40% of its value in the past three weeks and Ethereum fell to $100 an ether, losing its claim as the second largest cryptocurrency. Is the carnage in cryptocurrencies over? Maybe, but here’s why I’m still not buying cryptos and instead looking at “backing up the truck” in another sector that has seen just as much of a bloody month as cryptos. Listen to find out more and watch the accompanying video on SiAlpha YouTube channel:


ICO vs IPO – How do they compare?

I’ve participated in IPOs and recently ICO’s and felt investors needed to better understand the key differences between the two especially as cryptocurrency mania sweeps the world.

So let’s begin with an ICO which stands for an initial coin offering. A coin often referred to as a cryptocurrency gives the owner of that coin some future utility on a platform which is being built upon Blockchain technology. In future presentations, I’ll go deeper into the mechanics of how a coin is put together and the process by which it comes to market and is listed on a digital exchange where you can trade it just like shares.

IPO or an initial public offering is the traditional form of raising capital from the public by the issuance of shares in a company. Despite ICO funding skyrocketing to almost $5 billion in 2017, it is still a small fraction of the total IPO financings which were a strong $196 billion last year, up 44% from the previous year.

The video presentation below introduces the ICO concept and compares 10 key features of an ICO with a traditional IPO to help investors understand both the opportunity and risks associated with participating in either one.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to purchase securities in any country or jurisdiction. It is not financial or investment advice.

There is no ‘cryptocurrency’

Ok, I know what you’re going to say:

“But Suhail, everyone is talking about cryptocurrencies! How can you say they don’t exist?”

You’re right, all the media and many Tom’s, Dicks, and Helen’s are talking about cryptocurrencies. When they are in fact talking about crypto coins.

Let me clarify. The word “currency” is derived from Latin word “currens” meaning “in circulation” and in economics currency is defined as a system of money (monetary units) in common use and recognised as legal stores of value and form of payment (i.e. they cannot be refused as payment for debt) by a country.

Thus we have foreign exchange markets and can easily trade goods and services among nations. The global currency markets have an average daily trading volume of over $5 Trillion compared to the largest crypto coin, Bitcoin trading volume hitting a daily trading volume of $4 billion just last week as it broke through the $11,000 mark.

Now that we’re clear, let’s talk about crypto coins.

Crypto coins are similar to loyalty points and can indeed be a store of value. They can be exchanged for goods and services (in a limited capacity) and as the crypto-coin market matures and is recognised by governments, they could one day become a legitimate “currency.” Particular Bitcoin, which is the first and largest coin by market capitalisation. It is the gold standard of crypto coins.

Should we care about crypto coins? Is it too late to invest in crypto coins?

Yes, and No.

Crypto coins are here to stay and will become a legitimate asset class as regulators finally figure out how to protect consumers and standardise sale and trading of crypto coins.

As an investor, you have to be very selective and extremely careful investing in crypto coins. It is indeed risk capital and thinking like a long-term investor, not a speculator, is how I’m playing it.

I’ve been tracking the crypto-coin market more closely over past six months and have bought crypto coins and actually participated in my first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) last month.

Unfortunately, most people are treating crypto coins as poker chips and the crypto-coin market as a casino. Which it has become to a large degree. It is a bubble which could get a lot bigger before it either pops (devastation) or deflates in relatively non-destructive manner. We would be lucky if the latter occurred and if you were fortunate (or unfortunate) to have lived through the dot-com bubble from 1996 – 2000, will indeed see the similarities.

Look forward to sharing my journey and insights to help bridge the knowledge gap and help you cut through the noise with a series of articles and presentations over the coming weeks for the SiAlpha YouTube Channel. SiAlpha helps investors understand, evaluate, and invest in private and public technology companies worldwide.

I’ll be helping their subscribers understand crypto coins and blockchain in particular. As well as other emerging technologies such as AI and robotics which will reshape the world of business and finance over the next decade.

In the meantime, to learn about the types of crypto coins in the marketplace and their insane price movements, my team at the Financial Network have launched an impartial information and price quoting system at

So next time you hear anyone call Bitcoin a currency or talk about “cryptocurrencies.” Please stop and correct them, it’s crypto coins mate!

Comments, questions, and feedback most welcome.

Suhail Ahmad has over 20 years of experience in financial services and technology working in Canada, U.K. and the Middle East. In addition to his start-up adventures, Suhail is the Founder of the Financial Network, Partner at Exolta Capital, and Head of Technology Practice at Gateway professional services. Email [email protected]

How NOT to buy Bitcoin

I wrote last week about crypto coins or so-called cryptocurrencies. Read here if you missed it and stated:

“Unfortunately, most people are treating crypto coins as poker chips and the crypto-coin market as a casino. Which it has become to a large degree. It is a bubble which could get a lot bigger before it either pops (devastation) or deflates in relatively non-destructive manner. We would be lucky if the latter occurred and if you were fortunate (or unfortunate) to have lived through the dot-com bubble from 1996 – 2000, will indeed see the similarities.”

Now the chatter and media noise around the mother of all crypto coins, bitcoin has become deafening. Wallstreet has joined the fray with the first bitcoin futures contracts trading this morning in Chicago.

What are futures?

Futures are a way to profit from short-term price movements, both up and down, in an asset without actually owning the underlying asset. A futures contract is a derivative product that gives you the right to buy a certain commodity or financial instrument (like bitcoin) at a later date, for the agreed price now on the condition, you agree to keep that promise and take delivery of the asset in the ‘future.’

A fun way to learn about futures and how you could make a ‘killing’ or ‘lose your shirt,’ consider watching the movie Trading Places. One of my favourite movies, Trading starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd puts the futures market at the centre of the plot. It tells the story of an upper-class futures commodities broker and a homeless street hustler who unknowingly are made part of an elaborate bet by the owners of a futures trading firm. Essentially they swap their places to see if anyone can be taught to trade. The storyline is a modern take on Mark Twain’s classic 19th-century novel The Prince and the Pauper.

Not to digress. In the case of bitcoin futures, one contract size is equivalent to 5 bitcoins with a notional value of around $80,000 based on today’s bitcoin price. So you would buy a futures contract expiring either on the last day of the month in January, February, or March. The futures have already jumped higher and triggered circuit breakers in overnight trading.

Futures are not the way to purchase bitcoin for individual investors and unless you’re a professional speculator, trader or using it as a hedging mechanism against your millions of dollars in bitcoin, avoid futures like the plague!

If you want to own bitcoin, have a conviction or thesis on why you believe it’s fair value is not being reflected in its current market price. Be an investor. An owner. Purchase the asset with cash (risk capital) and sell when you believe the asset has reached fair value. There are many relatively safe exchanges to buy bitcoin and other currencies as well as Coinbase, perhaps the best retail platform to buy small amounts of crypto coins.

With the market capitalisation of all crypto coins above $400 billion. I’m not expecting the excitement and speculation to abate anytime soon. I’m not buying any bitcoin at these prices. I believe there is relatively better value in other crypto coins that are worthy of consideration as an investment.

This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute investment or financial advice. The views and opinions are my own and not necessarily those of my partners, associates, or affiliates.

Suhail Ahmad has over 20 years of experience in financial services and technology working in Canada, U.K. and the Middle East. He is a trusted adviser on business growth, innovation, and value creation in a digital economy. For more information, email [email protected]