From panel to panel at the Yahoo Finance’s cryptocurrency conference Wednesday, speakers kept beating the drum of personal responsibility.
Do you research before investing any cryptocurrency, the audience was repeatedly warned. Especially if you don’t understand it.
Goodwin Procter LLP partner Grant Fondo perhaps put it best, remarking that “at some point, you may lose.”
“Things go up and down,” he continued. “Some people put everything into one project, and I think that’s a bad idea no matter how good an idea it seems.”
His fellow panelist, Chamber of Digital Commerce president Perianne Boring, framed that point from the perspective of greater control on the part of the investor.
Such control, she warned, brings with it the need for research and critical thinking about where one’s money is actually going.
“For the retail investor who wants to get involved in the blockchain ecosystem, whether through an [initial coin offering] or through other means, you really need to educate yourself. For the first time in, possibly, history, you can have control – but with that increased amount of control comes an increased amount of responsibility.”
The panel on which Boring and Fondo appeared was one of a number that touched on a range of subjects, including regulation and investor demographics in the crypto space, as well as what trends may shape the coming months and years in terms of the tech’s trajectory.
As for what kinds of things would-be investors should be wary of, Blockstack’s Ryan Shea named one in particular: Companies falsely claiming the mantle of decentralization through the use of blockchain.
“Watch out for faux decentralization, and faux blockchain, because we’re going to see some hybrids. But some companies are going to say ‘Oh yes, we’re decentralized and blockchain,’ but they’re not,” Shea said. “Watch out for these.”
Speaking more broadly, CoinDesk’s director of research, Nolan Bauerle, suggested that those thinking of approaching the space – regardless of an intent to invest – need to do so in a “serious” manner.
“I would say we are dealing with an extremely powerful technology, dealing with cryptography…don’t come out with an unserious mind, come out with a serious mind,” he commented.
Image by Bailey Reutzel for CoinDesk
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Blockstack.