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Hottest Crypto Themes: Velvet Alpha From on the Ground at Major Crypto Conferences
The world of crypto is a rapidly evolving space. It can feel almost impossible to stay on top of all the latest news, narratives, and trends! Lucky for you the team at Velvet Capital has your back; we attended all the top conferences of the last month & compiled all the must-know info for your reading pleasure.
The Conferences We Attended:
Permissionless (Austin, TX)
Messari Mainnet (New York)
First off, this conference had a strong focus on regulation in crypto. A big talking point was the recent SEC and CFTC lawsuits, a Bitcoin Spot ETF, and how crypto can continue to operate in the US.
In terms of the recent lawsuits, people’s attitude tended to be that there was no regulation coming soon in the US, and regulatory agencies would continue to lose when a case goes to court. Still, if you are small they will try to get you to settle for a quick and easy win.
One of the things I noticed at the conference was how many lawyers and accountants are entering the industry due to the US landscape. While speaking to people at events, in the halls, and on the conference floor, there seemed to be a high amount of lawyers looking to capitalize on the confusion that’s being caused in this industry.
Besides regulation, there was also a focus on RWAs (Real World Assets) in crypto. Stemming from increased yields on US Treasuries ~5%, many projects are looking to capture market share of the growing short-term treasury market. Another area of RWAs that was common for people to be building on was Real Estate, whether it was trading the price per square foot in a City, or investing in commercial real estate, there were a lot of projects looking to capitalize on the growing opportunity.
As Velvet Capital is looking to make portfolio management simpler on-chain, we are primed to capture the RWA movement as when assets move on-chain we will work to integrate them into our protocol so you can get exposure to assets in the real world on-chain.
If you’d like to have your input heard, you can mint a Founders Club NFT here where you will join the genesis of Velvet DAO and be able to create and vote on protocol proposals such as which RWA platforms to integrate with.
The biggest takeaway from Permissionless has to be, that the institutions are coming!
After listening to a few of the speakers, it was clear to me that the Institutions are well on their way to entering Crypto, DeFi, and Web3. For example, many large Traditional Finance companies had people from their firms at the conference and there was a lot of chatter surrounding PayPal’s Stablecoin, Spot BTC ETFs, Solana Pay, and much more.
As these institutions come into the market Velvet Capital will help them create and manage portfolios and financial products on-chain.
Erik Voorhees Keynote
Crypto: Why are we here?
This Keynote speech kicked off Permissionless and the premise was to speak about why we are in crypto. Think about it, why are you here in crypto?
Highly Recommend all our readers watch as it got the crowd ready for a great week!
Do We Still Need To Worry About Macro?
Jim Bianco (Bianco Research), Jurrien Timmer (Fidelity), and Mark Yusko (Morgan Creek Capital)
This was one of the most interesting talks on the institutional stage at Permissionless this year.
For the most part, these speakers believed that Macro matters when it comes to the price of Bitcoin, however how to what extent and the factors were debated on stage.
As a conference in the US, the conference had a big regulatory focus. Most of the speakers on the main stage at this conference were speaking about the US and our regulatory outlook, from Congress members to presidential candidates, to CEOs of major crypto companies. There was a high amount of focus on the regulatory landscape. And the consensus is not much will change in the next 15 months as we are gearing up for another re-election.
One major takeaway I had from this conference was that Crypto Legislation has to be bi-partisan. Ritchie Torres, Congressman in New York and Crypto Supporter, had to vote against a crypto bill because it was only being pushed by Republicans and he never had the chance to mark up and add his thoughts. When Democrat voices can be heard on a bill, however, he has notoriously voted in favor of crypto.
At this conference, there was no shortage of DeFi protocols being built either. There are many DEXs, Liquid Staking Protocols, Real World Assets, and other products being built. It looks inevitable that we will see another massive DeFi hype cycle with a lot of the promise now being built out.
Another takeaway from this conference is the growing Wall Street presence at Crypto events. At this event, there were many Hedge Fund Managers, Venture Capitalists, Bankers, Prop Traders, and others from the traditional world.
Fireside With US Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
Vivek Ramaswamy, a US businessman turned politician, has grown from unknown to third in the Republican presidential primary. In this Fireside Chat with Ryan Selkis (CEO of Messari), Vivek discussed the presidential race, his issues with regulatory agencies (or as he calls it the 4th unelected branch of government), his opinions on how crypto has been treated by the regulators and what he would change.
How he would reform financial regulators in the US:
75% Headcount Reduction: would apply to all agencies including FDA, SEC, FTC, DOE, FBI, and others.
Rescind a majority of federal regulations that fail the Supreme Court’s test in West Virginia vs. the EPA which says if Congress (the legislative branch of government) did not give the power to that agency, then that regulator does not have the power to issue regulation. This would prevent regulation by enforcement from both the SEC and CFTC in crypto, as Congress has not given them the right to regulate the industry yet.
Fireside with Brain Armstrong (Co-Founder and CEO of Coinbase)
Coinbase was one of the main sponsors at Mainnet and of all the conferences in the US I have been to, this one had the largest Coinbase presence.
This talk focused on policy in the US, and Brian said he got into Crypto for Tech and Building but has shifted focus to regulation as Gensler, Warren, and others have been trying to fight the crypto industry. To help regulation, Coinbase has started: https://www.standwithcrypto.org/ to showcase which government officials are favorable to crypto and which ones are not. This way people can know if their representatives are pro or anti crypto.
Turning gaze toward Asia as a thriving crypto ecosystem
The cities of Singapore and Hong Kong have firmly entrenched themselves as the epicenters of crypto activity in Asia. The DeFi community in these locales is experiencing exponential growth, drawing talent from the traditional financial sector. Asian institutional liquidity providers are at the forefront of this transformation, demonstrating a robust appetite for innovation.
DeFi’s resilience amid market turbulence
In the face of market volatility, DeFi’s appeal remains strong to many institutions. Visionary builders are actively addressing critical problems in traditional finance, such as decentralized exchanges (DEXs), real-world asset integration, term loans, and institutional risk infrastructure. What’s most impressive is the deep sense of community and collaboration that drives this sector forward.
As for the evolving narratives with DeFi shifting to institutions …
DeFi infrastructure is evolving with a keen eye on serving institutional needs. This evolution encompasses a spectrum of offerings, ranging from on-chain treasury management and asset diversification to term loans, prime brokerage services, and advanced risk management tools. Notably, established centralized players are recognizing the value of collaborating with teams that have pioneered non-custodial solutions, enabling users to maintain self-custody of their assets. Additionally, there is a noticeable emergence of multi-strategy funds and proprietary trading firms who are getting more and more interested in understanding DeFi and willing to invest in DeFi DAOs for extra liquidity for their strategies.
Bridging the Gap: Empowering Institutional Engagement
Enhancing institutional involvement hinges on enhancing DeFi infrastructure capabilities and digitizing workflows, as a critical bridge between traditional and digital assets.
DeFi represents a fundamentally digital-native infrastructure. To facilitate more widespread institutional participation, institutions will require a clear understanding of how to harness this infrastructure for purposes such as risk management and the tokenization of diverse asset classes, thereby reaping the rewards of efficiency and enhanced liquidity.
At Velvet Capital, we are dedicated to simplifying on-chain portfolio management and bringing the next generation of fund managers on-chain. We are well-positioned to embrace all the top emerging trends like the Real World Asset (RWA) movement. We are actively working to integrate on-chain assets into our protocol.
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