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CNBC Host Speaks To Crypto Influencers; Scolds Ripple’s XRP on National TV

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On Thursday afternoon (EDT), CNBC’s Crypto Trader uploaded a 36-minute episode which featured host Ran Neu-Ner (@cryptomanran) interviewing multiple key figures in the space, as part of his visit to New York for the city’s annual Crypto Week. What follows is a summary of each of the six interviews.

Joseph Lubin (Co-Founder, Ethereum Foundation; Founder, ConsenSys)

Following an appearance at the Fluidity Summit, Lubin spoke on Crypto Trader; first detailing how he came to help start the Ethereum project after meeting its inventor, Vitalik Buterin, back in late 2013.

Lubin proceeded to outline the challenges currently being faced by the Ethereum network; citing “the onslaught of interest” from developers and the need to scale as the two most immediate. He then describes “off-chain” technologies like state channels and Plasma, before justifying the imminent switch of Ethereum’s consensus algorithm

Other notable topics discussed by Lubin are Ethereum’s legality, projects he’s most excited for, and the cryptographic protocols colloquially dubbed the ‘Ethereum killers’.

Jehan Chu (Founder, Kenetic Capital)

Fresh from a Fluidity Summit presentation re: the “importance of crypto-Asia,” Chu educated Neu-Ner on how, and why, Asia has become a dominant player of the cryptosphere.

Chu cited the Asian culture and pro-ICO regulatory settings – particularly in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore – as the catalyst for the region’s insatiable appetite for cryptoassets. Additionally, he forecasted that the respective judiciaries of South Korea and China will “open up…in a big way.”

The top five exchanges by volume in the world are all in Asia.”

As founder, Chu then explained what his blockchain startup, Kenetic Capital, had been doing recently. Notably, Kenetic’s joint venture (with TORA) – known as Caspian – has been developing well. Having recently partnered with Gemini, Chu revealed that Caspian has “a couple of other exciting [soon-to-be-released] announcements with some of the world’s biggest exchanges and biggest OTC desks.”

Projects that Chu is excited for are: Wibson (decentralized data monetization), Refereum (referral ecosystem), SharesPost (tokenized securities trading), Zilliqa (sharding-centric protocol), AirSwap (decentralized exchange), and Alluma (emerging markets exchange).

Amir Bandeali (Co-Founder & CTO, 0x Protocol)

The Crypto Trader host first got Bandeali to distinguish the 0x protocol from a decentralized exchange, before asking him to elaborate on the software architecture underpinning 0x.

The 0x co-founder went on to explain what the 0x protocol’s native token – ZRX – is used for (i.e., what drives its value).

Notably, Bandeali cautioned that any mainstream uptake of decentralized exchanges is “probably a few years” away; citing cumbersome user interfaces as a hindrance to any imminent spike in adoption.

Ryan Selkis (Founder & CEO, Messari)

Having just spoken at the Ethereal Summit, Selkis appeared on the program to breakdown the state of the cryptoasset market, something he believes is immensely overvalued.

I still think that most assets in the industry are overvalued by 90-99 percent.”

He walks Neu-Ner through the three categories he uses to classify each cryptoasset: cryptocurrencies, crypto-securities, and utility tokens.    

Selkis then explains his Messari project which just released the alpha of its open-source data library; built to promote transparency and industry self-regulation.

Vlad Zamfir (Researcher, Ethereum Foundation)

Zamfir explains how meeting Vitalik Buterin in early 2014 led to him taking on a volunteer position at (what would later become) the Ethereum Foundation. The highly knowledgeable guest told Neu-Ner that “governance of blockchains” was currently Ethereum’s most pressing challenge.

Just as Bandeali said of decentralized exchanges, Zamfir forecasted a longer-than-perhaps-expected timeframe re: scalability solutions; appearing rather confident that it won’t be this year that Ethereum becomes “real-world scalable.”

The Ethereum researcher also addressed rival protocols who’ve (un)intentionally been framed the next “Ethereum killer,” namely, EOSIO and Hedera Hashgraph. Zamfir also described the Ethereum Foundation’s governance model; disputing an oft-heard criticism that their decision-making process is overly centralized.

Kingsley Advani (Founding Partner, Chainfund Capital)

Countering Zamfir, Advani shares his belief that the upcoming wave of blockchains “have the potential to dethrone Ethereum;” citing the Oasis, Thunder™, and Zilliqa blockchains as the most likely superseders.

Interviewer Turned Interviewee

In a rare change of roles, Thursday saw Neu-Ner appear as guest on CNBC’s Fast Money. The five-minute segment (the first of two) featured Neu-Ner providing host Melissa Lee and other panel members with his opinions on the current valuation of the crypto market’s four largest cryptoassets (by market cap): Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Following this, Neu-Ner was asked by Lee which cryptoasset he was currently “most excited about,” to which he responded, “I’m excited for a new generation of protocols.”

The cutting-edge blockchain technologies that are worth following, according to Neu-Ner, are “EOS, Cardano, Oasis, Thunder, [and] Zilliqa,” because these blockchains “are promising scalability, security, and decentralization.”

Exploring possible drawbacks of his next-generation picks, Neu-Ner warned that despite the vast scalability improvements they each look set to achieve, these blockchain projects may incur difficulties with respect to real-world application, given “they don’t have the developer community that Ethereum has.”

In the second of Thursday’s two segments from CNBC’s Fast Money, Neu-Ner commented on regulatory uncertainty surrounding the legality of cryptocurrencies and ICOs; an ongoing issue threatening to stifle the entire industry, particularly in the United States.

Whilst understanding of the “responsible approach” taken by the SEC with regards to “balancing investor protection with the need to grow an industry,” Neu-Ner expressed his concern that the U.S. economy may suffer from a ‘brain drain’ if this legal ambiguity continues indefinitely. Speaking anecdotally, he highlighted the fact he’s witnessed this unideal trend developing:

If you go to Singapore and you go to Japan, you’re speaking to Americans. And they’re there because they want to launch their ICOs.”

Image From Shutterstock

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