David Lynam, the Chair of the Union League Club of Chicago Entrepreneur Group and the author of this blog, introduced the program. He spoke of the beginnings of cryptocurrency from an underground network of cyber counterculturists, to gaining a significant amount of popularity in the last decade. Cryptocurrencies operate on an anonymous, decentralized ledger which connects vendors and customers, known as blockchain, which was also discussed at an earlier ULCC meeting. Since its inception, popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have had several highs and lows, however, it is a powerful force that can shape how future business interactions develop. Bitcoin has experienced shortcomings, one mainly being the unpredictability of the project, which is probably one of the main factors that makes this concept so exciting to follow. This hasn’t stopped the trend from growing, as Fidelity Investments has announced it is opening a cryptocurrency trading service; large companies such as these typically were not participating in the crypto wave. Cryptocurrency has continuously proved its tenacity in the market, making it a movement to watch.
Investing in the crypto environment: Joshua Rodgers, a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arete Wealth – a full service Broker Dealer, Register Investment Advisor (RIA) and Insurance firm. In 2018, Rogers applied his financial expertise as a managing member of Windy City Crypto LLC, which administers investment options in the expanding and evolving cryptocurrency market. From an investment standpoint, 2017 was a highly volatile year for crypto, while 2018 has been relatively quiet. Looking at various time frames over the past 10 years of crypto, there have been periods of crypto performance that model very much like the recent run up and fade, suggesting future run ups are in store.
Crypto Macroeconomics, politics, and emerging technologies: Clint Cox is an active member of the ULCC and the founder of The Anchor House, Inc., an investment advisory firm. Since 2016, Cox has been researching crypto and blockchain technologies and has since then advised various firms and government agencies regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Cox is currently the Co-Chief Investment Officer of Crypto Futura Fund LLC. Cox holds a B.A. degree in English from Colgate University. He spoke about the potential for crypto to replace or augment developing countries’ currencies where economies have run into trouble.
Crypto and the big picture: Karl Muth holds a J.D. degree and a M.B.A. degree, the latter from the University of Chicago as well as a both a M.Phil. and a Ph.D. degree from the London School of Economics. Muth is a prolific writer across these areas of expertise, his opinions on economic, finance, and legal issues have been quoted in a wide variety of media and have been cited by the Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission and in the Yale Journal on Regulation. Muth has taught economics at Northwestern University since 2011, and holds a separate teaching appointment there as an Adjunct Professor at the law school. Karl is also the CEO of FRST a start up that equips commercial traders with enterprise grade trading desk tools for analyzing and trading digital assets. Karl Muth rounded off the Crypto saga by discussing the big picture for cryptocurrencies. Karl spoke of his company’s ability to use the blockchain transparency to peer into the blockchain history. He gave the example of a musician at a recent crypto conference collecting tips in his guitar case in crypto. Checking the QR code used by the musician, Karl was able to see into the digital “wallets” of many wealthy individuals who had “tossed” in tips.
Thanks to all who attended and took away a better understanding of this exciting but controversial subject.