Crypto Week: Alex Saunders – Understanding The Basics Of Crypto

HOSTS Alec Renehan & Bryce Leske|30 March, 2021

Meet your hosts

  • Alec Renehan

    Alec developed an interest in investing after realising he was spending all that he was earning. Investing became his form of 'forced saving'. While his first investment, Slater and Gordon (SGH), was a resounding failure, he learnt a lot from that experience. He hopes to share those lessons amongst others through the podcast and help people realise that if he can make money investing, anyone can.
  • Bryce Leske

    Bryce has had an interest in the stock market since his parents encouraged him to save 50c a fortnight from the age of 5. Once he had saved $500 he bought his first stock - BKI - a Listed Investment Company (LIC), and since then hasn't stopped. He hopes that Equity Mates can help make investing understandable and accessible. He loves the Essendon Football Club, and lives in Sydney.

Alex Saunders has been immersed in cryptocurrency since discovering Bitcoin in 2012. He’s a unique investment style that combines fundamental analysis, technical analysis and market sentiment as key drivers in decision making. Alex’s passion led him to leave his successful career as a head pharmacist in 2017, to found Nugget’s News.

Alex is a trusted voice in the Australian crypto community, conducts many speaking engagements to spread the word of crypto and helps to accelerate blockchain start-ups through applying his years of experience and wisdom.

If you want to let Alec or Bryce know what you think of an episode, contact them here

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Bryce Leske: [00:00:56] Welcome to another episode of Equity Mates, a podcast that follows our journey of investing, whether you're an absolute beginner or approaching Warren Buffett status. Our aim is to help break down your barriers from beginning to dividend. My name is Price and as always, I'm joined by my equity buddy Ren. How are you going? [00:01:12][15.2]

Alec Renehan: [00:01:12] I'm good. Was very excited for this episode where we're getting to the end of crypto week. Yes, a week where we've learned a lot. Yes, I [00:01:20][8.2]

Bryce Leske: [00:01:21] I learned a lot about how we don't know a lot about. [00:01:23][1.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:01:23] Our lack of knowledge has really been found out. And I'm highly confident when I say we'll never feel like we know less than at the end of this interview speaking to a true crypto expert. Yes, I'm excited because we're going to learn a lot in the next hour. [00:01:39][15.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:01:39] We are. And it is our pleasure to welcome Alex Saunders from Nugget's news to equity mates. Alex, welcome. [00:01:45][6.1]

Alex Saunders: [00:01:47] Thanks for having me, guys, and look, I'm even more excited now that I've heard a dad joke. What was it beginning to dividend? Yes, well, I am one for a dad. [00:01:58][11.6]

Bryce Leske: [00:01:59] Jokes like where? Marketing geniuses over here at accreting kidding. For those of you who haven't heard of Alex before, as Ren has said, he is well known within the crypto circle has as a trusted sort of voice. He's been immersed in cryptocurrency since discovering Bitcoin back in 2012 and has a unique investment style that combines fundamental analysis, technical analysis, and market sentiment as key drivers in decision making. And we're going to unpack a lot of that. Alex's passion led him to leave his successful career as a head pharmacist in 2017 to found Nuggets news. And as I said, he's a trusted voice in the Australian crypto community and conducts many sort of speaking engagements, and is also quite large on YouTube. So we are going to be going back to basics when it comes to crypto today, because as much as Ren and I like to try and explain what on earth is going on, I think Alex is going to be able [00:02:58][59.7]

Bryce Leske: [00:03:01] So, Alex, we always like to start with a game. And given that this is a crypto week, we will slightly change it up here. But Ren, do you want to take it off? [00:03:10][8.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:03:10] Yeah, sure. So the game we like to play is called overrated or underrated. And we just throw out a few different investing themes or concepts just to get your thoughts on whether they're overrated or underrated at the moment. Most of these will be crypto related. So I'm sure they'll be right in your wheelhouse. And we'll start with the the man that grabs all the headlines I feel these days are overrated or underrated. Elon Musk tweeting about crypto or not. [00:03:39][28.9]

Alex Saunders: [00:03:40] I don't think you can override that. That's literally the biggest news on Earth. its underrated. [00:03:47][6.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:03:47] Is overrated or underrated Bitcoin as a medium of exchange. [00:03:52][5.1]

Alex Saunders: [00:03:53] Uh, currently it's probably being underrated. [00:03:56][2.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:03:57] Interesting. why is that? [00:03:58][0.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:04:01] because people have written it off almost as a payment system for micro payments in that. But I'll tell you why that's a whole nother reason to be bullish. [00:04:10][8.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:04:10] Okay. All right. All right. Well, we'll put a pin in that one. I guess the flip side of that question is then overrated or underrated Bitcoin as a store of value [00:04:17][6.9]

Alex Saunders: [00:04:18] globally, like because we've got such low adoption and yet it's still being underrated, yet [00:04:23][5.1]

Bryce Leske: [00:04:25] overrated or underrated alt coins, otherwise known as shitcoins. In some communities, [00:04:28][4.0]

Alex Saunders: [00:04:32] they go through cycles. And at the moment [00:04:34][1.4]

Alec Renehan: [00:04:35] I feel like the biggest crypto story over the last couple of weeks has been NFTE, non fungible tokens, overrated or underrated nowadays [00:04:44][9.0]

Alex Saunders: [00:04:47] when Lindsay Lohan is tweeting about it, overrated. But in terms of the actual technology, massively underrated. [00:04:54][7.0]

Alec Renehan: [00:04:55] I didn't actually know Lindsay Lohan was tweeting about long enough to get up to speed on her Twitter feed. [00:04:59][4.5]

Bryce Leske: [00:05:00] Again, overrated or underrated, the stock market. [00:05:04][4.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:05:06] the stock market has almost become a necessary part of everyone's lives to stay in front of the IPO, which is a sad proposition. So it's probably underrated for the average person that doesn't know that they are going to need to invest to not fall behind. I think in life, [00:05:22][15.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:05:23] I think you're really playing to your audience here. We obviously think it's underrated. So good answer. And then final question, the asset class that every Australian, I guess, thinks about all the time overrated or underrated Australian residential property, [00:05:40][17.6]

Alex Saunders: [00:05:41] although I get to say goldmine. Property. Oh, it's just it's so overrated in Australia. It's not funny. And that's going to come back to haunt us big time. [00:05:53][11.7]

Bryce Leske: [00:05:54] Interesting. So, Alex, before we get into the nuts and bolts of block chain and crypto, we do want to get a bit of information on your background. And that generally starts with the story of our guests very first investment. So are you able to share with us the story of your first, I guess, foray into crypto, how it happened? And, yeah, I mean, any sort of lessons that you've taken from that moment? [00:06:18][23.3]

Alex Saunders: [00:06:19] My first investment before that was like probably gold and silver or shares. You want to go into that or just want my first crypto. [00:06:25][6.2]

Alec Renehan: [00:06:26] So let's go first crypto. That's that's what we're here to talk about today. [00:06:29][3.1]

Alex Saunders: [00:06:30] Oh, well, that was Bitcoin. So back in 2012, Bitcoin was ten dollars when I found it and read about it as an article in Zero Hedge. And I couldn't find how to buy it in Australia at that time. And so I didn't get around to buying it until twenty. And those lights of the party, because I think it had spiked to like two hundred and then crashed back down to fifty or thirty dollars or something like that. So that was when you could buy it in Australia. And at that stage, there was a coin jar that is still around today. And there was a lot of little exchanges. And I use one of those ones that were seemed easier at the time and turned out to be a bad decision because a little bit like Mt. Gox, a lot of those early exchanges got hacked or went under or whatever. So, yeah, I guess they were sort of all little learning lessons where I lost a lot of bitcoins like a lot of people in the early days with those dodgy exchanges. But that taught me how to store yourself and learn how to do it all yourself. [00:07:29][59.1]

Alec Renehan: [00:07:30] Yeah, the stories of Bitcoin and what they're worth today are heartbreaking story. So we often ask the expert investors we get on the show if they have an investing philosophy. And, you know, when you're talking about stock market investing, I guess there are a number of different philosophies that you can talk about. So with crypto, we're not really sure if that question applies. So first question, can you have a crypto investing philosophy? And then if you can, what what would you say yours is? [00:08:03][33.6]

Alex Saunders: [00:08:05] Yeah, you have to in crypto because everyone sort of says, oh, you can't value these things. And even two years ago, three years ago, we were doing our videos four years ago called Fundamental Analysis. And people were laughing, saying, you can't do fundamental analysis on the crypto. And so you've got to fall into one of three or four buckets. So there's obviously technical analysis just to try to look at the charts. And then you've just got the long term holders who are just buying and holding for the long term store value sort of thing. And then you've kind of got in between. So you got fundamental analysis, people that are really looking at which of these are taking off. And these days there are coins with like cash flows and sales to volume. And you can look at some of these metrics and then you've got narrative investors, which is almost like the stock market these days. You know, look at things like GameStop or Tesla. Some of these things are literally just trading on narrative and social media hype and momentum and sentiment. So that's why that's been a big problem of what what we do. And without even kind of knowing that that was our formula, using three three different things, very much it's become a mainstream sort of idea now that in crypto you kind of have to be like a narrative investor. [00:09:19][74.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:09:20] Yeah, it's fascinating, something that I couldn't tell you how to start trying to value crypto and fundamentals or whatever. So looking forward to sort of unpacking that in a bit. But I think there's a good chance to turn to Nugget's news and just sort of unpack a little bit about when did you start that and what are you trying to achieve at Nugget's news? You know, I think it's a great resource, but I'll hand over to you to kind of give it the plug. [00:09:44][24.5]

Alex Saunders: [00:09:47] So well, before Nugget's news, it was World News and it was a little group of like kind of schoolmates, friends and family. And we just had like a little Facebook group chat and we dropping articles about what was going on around the news, like really being sort of controversial stuff or market moving events, conspiracy theories. And there's a few of us that reads like gold and silver and a bit of investing, a couple of mates there in the property market. So we just kind of had that like that mix of chat and conversation going on. And that's when I started annoying all of them with Bitcoin from twenty thirteen onwards. And they all laughed it off. And then I missed the boat. But then Ethereum came along in twenty, fifteen, twenty sixteen and that's when they'll like, OK, coins don't miss these next big thing that Alex is talking about. And most of them jumped on the cerium back when I was about five, six dollars and then in twenty seventeen, that's when the first wave of public mainstream sort of attention came on crypto and it led to that bubble. And at that time, there's all these Facebook groups popping up like Bitcoin, these crypto that. And a lot of my friends were sort of adding me to these groups and I was, I guess, answering questions and putting out posts and sort of helping people. And everyone was a beginner. So I kind of put together a resource of, hey, this is like step one, you sign up how to buy, go to these sites, avoid these sites and pin that post in a lot of groups. And the moderators and that were like, hey, you know, that's helpful. And people like you should do a video on how to buy and as you write, repeat questions every day, almost audio video and create this kind of resources for people. And so day one was like how to buy Bitcoin in Australia. It was just a terrible, low quality video of my old Samsung S4. I think it was leaning up against the couch. And my mate messaged me afterwards saying the camera was like looking at me, you know, half the time. And I was like, Yeah, OK, let's try a little bit. Better job for video No. Two. Which was how do you store Bitcoin? What do you do after you've bought it? And every day just four more questions or questions in the comments of the YouTube from the day before, I was just doing what people were calling asking for. And this was while I was working full time at the pharmacy and I was kind of unhappy at my job at that stage. It was getting to a bit of a dead end where like health care and all that is a whole nother kettle of fish that I think is such a poor system. And people don't really care about health these days. And whatever I was looking for, maybe career change or something anyway, right when this was all blowing up. And so. A few months into twenty, seventeen, probably September, when she was starting to grow pretty well, one guy reached out to me who was actually a young banker when he said, oh, look, I'm happy to pay you for your time to help me get set up because this is still so confusing. And so I said, oh, look, I'm happy to just help you jump in the video chat. And he insisted on paying me. And I was like, OK. And he said, lawyers and all these specialists charge so much for their time and your specialist or expert in his field, you should start up like a paid service or pay group. And I'd never thought about it too much before. And I thought I'd signed up to a few of those services where the guys give you the charts or the updates that different markets and thought, OK, well, I'll try that. And we just started a Facebook group and before you know it, we had a few hundred people join. And I thought, wow, this is probably getting to a point where I could turn into a business and live off it. And so one of my mates had just been made redundant in Australia posts and he came on as like admin to keep up with all the people wanting to join and whatever. And I was still at work full time while this other guy was pretty much working full time for me. And then we got into like October, November. And if you remember, that's when Bitcoin was going like ten thousand fifty thousand parabolic back in December. It hit that peak. And so I had another young guy at the cricket club where I applied at who was like a high school dropout, sort of like building websites, or he had two businesses and he was 16 and he came around and he's like, oh, what's this crypto thing? This is really cool. What have you got going on? And he saw it all and he fell in love with it and he started to do less and less if his own stuff. And I want to work for me and Nugget's news. So he just pop around every day. So I'd come home from working full time and the young fella would be at my kitchen table with his laptop and other mate would be there. And they'd be like, when you quit your job, like I was like, what you write. So I've got to start cutting back. And my wife is a bit nervous because we had our wedding coming up. We wanted to start a family and I was telling her that I'm going to quit my job as a pharmacist to make videos so I'm not allowed to do that. So I quit without telling. And that went down like a lead balloon. I think it was one night we're out. And she found out that I'd quit. She didn't know I had been going to work. And that sort of boiled over anyway. You've got to take these risks, I guess, in life. And I was just so passionate and confident that this space was going to take off that I knew that I wasn't doing anything stupid. And so, yeah, I finally got to the point where I was working full time on Krypto. And at this stage we probably had a thousand people join this group and we're just charging twenty five dollars a month. And so it was enough to pay the wages for the three of us and start to build a business. And then the bubble kind of burst. And that was almost a good thing to have that krypto wheater of two years to build a business and go through really hard times. And we did a lot of research during that period. And funnily enough, we probably had 90 percent of people stay with us, whereas every other crypto group and YouTube channel had 90 per cent of people they will stop watching. And once we start to see the green shoots out, the other side of that group down are in twenty, nineteen, twenty twenty. In this year, all that research that we did which will get into has paid off and we've probably had nearly a dozen investments that have gone up one hundred from doing that fundamental research, which people said wasn't possible. And so that's where we've built a really strong, loyal following because we never did any paid promotion and we did that fundamental research. And a lot of people have done very well now. And word of mouth spreads and you build that trust in a sector where there are just so many scammers. And yeah, I guess that's kind of the story of Noguchi's. [00:16:13][385.6]

Bryce Leske: [00:16:14] Yeah, nice. [00:16:14][0.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:16:15] It's a fascinating story. I've got to ask you, quit your job without telling your wife you got through that, then bitcoin crashed and I think it was what, ninety percent down from its all-time highs. What was what was the conversations like at that time. [00:16:29][14.1]

Alex Saunders: [00:16:31] Oh yeah. Now they were tough conversations. We were probably lucky that, like everything else was kind of going well in that stage. So, you know, the wedding went well, Jim. I happened to get pregnant pretty much straight away. And so then we had the baby and we had yeah. It was just sort of a good time, a good stage in our lives. And we live down in Tassie. So for paying off a million dollar mortgage in Sydney, it might have been a little bit more stressful, but we were both doing OK. So we didn't have too many financial stresses that way. But it was very, very testing period towards the end of Krypto Winter where even one of the guys that work for me, I don't think they were as true believers as me. So they seriously didn't know if Bitcoin was a bubble that had popped and assign themselves. How long can we keep going on like this with everything going down? You saying that it'll get better soon and one of them asked to leave, and so I was down to just two of us and we were losing money at that stage as a business. And we had some pretty tough conversations then with the wife and with the other partner. And it's just it's always darkest before the dawn, isn't it? And just like the dotcom bubble, that period waited out a lot of scams, a lot of bad businesses, a lot of the pretenders. And yeah, here we are. And it's just 18 months later, we've now got 20 plus staff. And I just can't believe how quickly that set period happened. [00:17:56][85.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:17:57] So, Alex, let's start from the top. This is crypto week, and we want to give our audience as much sort of basic information as they can because it's a very, very confusing world out there. What is block chain? Let's start with block chain. What is block chain and why is it important and considered revolutionary? [00:18:14][17.4]

Alex Saunders: [00:18:17] I think with this whole space, it's somewhat confusing to people because people don't understand some of the other concepts that it's relating to, a lot of people don't really understand money or people don't really understand computers, for example. So when you say what is a block chain or block chain is just a database or a sort of a storage mechanism, and a lot of people don't really understand what databases are. So let's just say the Commonwealth Bank, for example, or Facebook as a company, these businesses have got heaps of computers somewhere, heaps of servers with all the information and data on it. And so that's a warehouse somewhere by that company. And so that's the computer system, the backbone of everything that they do. And so if we say, OK, well, what is a block chain comparison or a block chain is a database where all of us, ten, ten thousand people around the world currently all have the database or the information of Bitcoin or of a CRM. And so they all have a copy on their hard drive or their computer is the way to think about it. And the way that information gets added to that hard drive is one block at a time. So in Bitcoin's case, every 10 minutes, the network agrees to add another megabyte or so of information. And so we just call that a block and it's added to the chain, all the computers around the world. It's kind of like a hobby. Every 10 minutes. They agree that's the next update to this database or ledger of information that everyone has. So does that make sense or do you have any other questions about that? [00:19:49][92.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:19:51] Yeah, it definitely makes sense, I guess, for people who are then wondering, OK, so it's changing the way we store information, but why does that matter? So why is block chain important? [00:20:05][14.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:20:06] Good follow up. So the way that's important. Let's go back to the previous example. So at the moment, Commonwealth Bank or Facebook, they're in charge and they get to make all the decisions. They've got all the power, they've got all the data over those those hard drives or that system. Whereas in this system, in Bitcoin's system, it's those ten thousand users that all have they all have that information and that data. So they they kind of all have an equal weight or scale power over the system. So no one person or one company can ever change the data or make a decision and change the network. And so if I say, hey, I want to say to you, one hundred bitcoins and that heartbeat of the network says, hold on, you've only got ten. You can't cheat the system because everyone's got a copy of that. Or if I say I don't like that person, Commonwealth Bank has shut down our accounts and every crypto company had their account shut down by a bank over the years. And that's just one person in a room getting to push a button and free someone's account because they have complete control over that system. And so in this parallel universe of blockchains, the users have control over the systems and the protocols and the apps, and the government or a regulator or a corporation or board can't change the rules or senses. Someone's account tied down a YouTube video, delete their Facebook page. None of that can happen in this world where it's controlled by the users. And so what we're doing, the follow on from that is removing all these middlemen and a lot in this modern world, there's a lot of rent-seeking and crony capitalism. And so by removing the middlemen in the banks example, I can pay you directly p2p a payment with Bitcoin and other crypto or with Ethereum. I can upload artwork or song and sell it to the users and a record label doesn't take 90 per cent of the fee. And so we're cutting out the middleman in all these different industries and that's making reducing costs, just making it far better. Frictionless system, but a fairer system and just opening up not only finance but commerce and everything. So anything digital, anyone with a device can connect to this new system and start to interact with other people in the system. [00:22:31][145.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:22:32] So then I guess the next question is, if you understand block chain, where does then cryptocurrency fit in to fit into that? And how would you define cryptocurrency? [00:22:43][10.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:22:44] So most, most cryptocurrency use block chain is the underlying technology. And that's that's because they want that system that's decentralized. And so they all have a kind of similar heartbeat, whether it's ten minutes for Bitcoin or Litecoin says, hey, will do it a bit faster. We'll have two minute blocks and some coins say, well, we'll be more private versus we'll be open to all these different cryptos have got slight different nuances, but most of them use the. Block chain technology for that feature of being decentralized, where it's a network, where there's no one warehouse, it's up to the users to set the rules and to run the network. And that's basically because they tried to, I guess, mirror Bitcoin in the early days. A lot of these, like cryptos were trying to be muñiz of currencies. But these days, just the array of digital assets of businesses, it's most of them are trying to be currencies at all. So we call them crypto cards, but most are not trying to be currency. So that's I guess, pretty confusing for people. [00:23:52][67.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:23:53] Can you. Yeah. To to make that less confusing, are you able to give an example of a cryptocurrency that's not trying to be a currency and what its actual function is for sure. [00:24:02][9.1]

Alex Saunders: [00:24:02] So even Ethereum is really trying to build like a new Internet. As I said before, they want to build a layer instead of YouTube and Facebook and Apple and all these big corporates kind of having control and a say over who gets to do what. Ethereum is trying to build this new system where anyone can build an app or do a video or share information and reward each other. And the currency, I guess you can call it card or the token, Athea, or Ethereum, but it's not really trying to be like a currency per say or another example might be. I'm just trying to think of a really good one P&L edge of the Australian company. They're trying to do P2P like energy trading. So you can if you have excess solar power, you can sell it to your neighbors or they can buy it off you. And so the token is kind of used in that little system as a as a way to maybe pay closer has currency aspects, but it also has lots of other utilities. So there's many tokens that are trying to do lots of different things that aren't trying to be money. So. Another good example would be let me bring up the list here and trying to think of some common ones that you might have heard. Is there any of that you guys have heard of that you had questions about? [00:25:22][79.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:25:22] I've got some that might be good examples to illustrate. I thought that would conceptually quite straightforward. Tell me if these coins are out of business or anything, Golomb, which is basically like if you have excess computing power, you can offer it to other people and get paid the tokens and then they can use your excess computing power. [00:25:43][21.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:25:44] Yeah, yeah, I do want to go to date down the rabbit hole straight away, but I think that's that's probably one of the great example of a project I really like. So access computing power. So you think about Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud, these are all things that are being replaced in the crypto world. So, yeah, if you have access file storage or access computing power, that toked becomes a way to pay people or incentivize people to join your system and to bring out this very hard drive space or this computer power. So in the gaming world, a lot of these tokens are used to buy in-game items or to buy digital land to go into competitions. We've got the whole world of pegged coins. So something might be pegged to go to silver paid to a US dollar stable coin. So there's a whole spectrum of different coins that some of them have currency aspects, others have almost no monetary aspects. [00:26:48][63.4]

Alec Renehan: [00:26:48] So I'm going to pull us out of the weeds, which is unconventional for me. It's normally Brice pulling us out. But I think, you know, there's a whole world of different cryptocurrency, these different tokens out there. How should people think about Bitcoin in relation to, I guess, the universe of other currencies out there? Is Bitcoin kind of like the US dollar equivalent, like reserve currency, and then there's all these other ones around it or. Yeah, what's the relationship between Bitcoin, which seems to grab all the headlines and then every all these other coins? [00:27:20][31.5]

Alex Saunders: [00:27:21] So Bitcoin is 11 years old now. It was the first one. So it's got that first mover advantage and sort of brand name. But it's definitely the most important. Bitcoin is really trying to it started off more as a payments network. And as it grew, I guess it was a money, a currency of sorts. And because of what happened in the macro backdrop with all this money printing and whatnot, I, I kind of think it became more important as a store value versus a medium of exchange over time. So Bitcoin is definitely the key. I tell people that you've got to start the head around Bitcoin and block change before you even think about these other coins. So the biggest opportunity that we have is probably building a new financial system and a new type of money because of the way that the world's going. But then the second biggest opportunity and the second Blue-Chip cryptocurrency is Ethereum. Those two are far and away bigger and more important than than all the rest of them. And Ethereum is trying to rebuild the Internet the way that we share digital information online. So money, financial system, digital information, Internet, probably the two biggest opportunities in the world. And that's what those two are doing. [00:28:32][71.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:28:33] And so what do you think the role of Bitcoin will be in like 10 years time? Will it still be considered the currency or is it going to be more of a gold function combination of the two? Where are you going to see the major [00:28:44][11.7]

Alex Saunders: [00:28:45] bitcoin is very static or it's almost like a like a digital monitary measuring stick. Bitcoin doesn't really change much. So Bitcoin is people say Bitcoin is super volatile. That's because it's undergoing this like rapid adoption curve to billions of people and into a world that's got trillions of dollars. But ultimately that all stabilize once it grows to a certain point and reaches adoption. But if you think about all Bitcoin is doing is absorbing this US government increase in money supply about twenty five per cent last year. And so it's all these fiat currencies around the world in Zimbabwe, Argentina, Venezuela. Hyperinflation is it is a bitcoin it's going up or is it just all these other currencies and the value of everything being debased and going down? The central banks are going crazy around the world and that's the way I think about it. So Bitcoin is very, very static and almost boring. And it's just it's always showing you what is happening outside of it. It's becoming the denominator. So I see it becoming definitely a ti one asset. You see central banks, we're already seeing hedge funds and that. Hold it. You see. Well, Iran's central bank already held Bitcoin. So you're going to say it does have this massive uptake like like gold share in China, stockpiling gold. Central banks and governments will start to hold Bitcoin as a ti one asset, and it'll be considered as good as the US government bond within two years. [00:30:14][89.1]

Alec Renehan: [00:30:15] Well, that although that's a huge call. Yeah, it'll be considered as safe as a US Treasury bond in the next two years. [00:30:24][8.4]

Alex Saunders: [00:30:25] Stable coins have gone from less than a billion dollars in value to over 50 billion dollars in value in a year. So we need another one or two years. Stable coins will have a market cap of a trillion dollars and their daily turnover is like one to 10 of the market cap. And so within one or two years, stable coins will be doing one to 10 trillion dollars a day in turnover and that will be up there competing with forex markets. And so, yeah, stable coins are going to be replacing forex markets and Bitcoin is going to be a t one asset as large as gold within a couple of years. [00:31:03][37.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:31:04] A big call where let's let's take a quick break to hear from our sponsors and then we're going to get stuck into the conversation about actually investing in crypto. So before then, yeah, we'll take a quick break. [00:31:17][13.7]

Bryce Leske: [00:31:19] Ren, you are all about getting fit, you've bought the gum and you bought the golf membership, you bought the gym membership and you're on the my MasterChef and even in lock down last year, you bought those resistance bands of Instagram that from memory didn't even come. [00:31:33][14.0]

Alec Renehan: [00:31:34] No, look, they didn't come. But all of that effort really was canceled out by the numerous menu log orders that were a real staple of my lockdown experience. [00:31:44][9.5]

Bryce Leske: [00:31:45] Well, we've just headed into a new financial year, so I think it's time you get money fit with Virgin Money, our latest sponsor. [00:31:52][7.0]

Alec Renehan: [00:31:53] That's right, Bryce. With a high interest savings account bundled with a seriously rewarding everyday transaction account, you can manage your money easily on the go smash your savings goals and be rewarded for it. [00:32:05][11.9]

Bryce Leske: [00:32:05] And with the Virgin Money Go transaction account, you can earn rewards on your everyday spending with zero monthly fees. Sounds like just what you need. Ren. [00:32:14][9.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:32:15] Yeah, the FBI twenty one get Ren didn't quite work but employed twenty to get Ren money fit. Might be to go [00:32:23][8.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:32:24] back to your own Bayt Virgin money terms and conditions and monthly criteria apply. Now let's get back to the show. [00:32:30][5.8]

Alec Renehan: [00:32:32] So, Alex, you've you've just come out with a big call that Bitcoin is going to be a tier one asset and stable coins are going to be replacing forex markets are very soon. So obviously we're not no one here is giving investment advice and Bryce is still trying to learn about this whole world. But if people are interested in investing in Bitcoin, I guess, how do you approach, I guess, the research process of finding out what to invest, invest in and then, you know, like implementing an actual strategy? [00:33:06][33.4]

Alex Saunders: [00:33:06] Yeah. So it's really important to note that Bitcoin and crypto moves in these cycles. You've probably seen the Wall Street cheat sheet, you know, the emotional burst and you say, you know what I'm talking about where the charts go parabolic and people get [00:33:23][16.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:33:23] do you may you may like the cycle of, like, euphoria and then it tops and then like it goes down. [00:33:29][5.9]

Alex Saunders: [00:33:29] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So if you look at the Bitcoin four year chart, it looks exactly like that. And it has this same pattern every four years because of the Bitcoin Harbi cycle where the new amount of bitcoins gets more scarce. We get into that later. But basically it shows you that Bitcoin is an emotionally driven asset as it goes through this adoption curve. And now he's not a good time to be pouring all your money into Bitcoin. So I'd say that first and foremost, in the middle of crypto winter, I was seeing from rooftops that now's a good time to be buying when there's blood in the streets and no one's interested. And now it's 60 k, everyone wants to buy it so people do the wrong thing at the wrong time. But you guys probably say that all the time in the stock world as well. So in crypto, if you're getting started, the best way to do it is just buy a little bit and get your hands dirty and send some bitcoin just to yourself on another wallet, on your phone. You just have a play around with it all. But most people end up dollar cost averaging where they use a service or an apple when the Aussie exchanges and I just buy fifty one hundred dollars a week of Bitcoin out of their paycheck as well as if they're trying to be a trader, invest a lump sum, like at least buy a little bit every few weeks apart, just just don't go all-in at once. And particularly at the moment when we're in a hype cycle and the charts are going parabolic, like that's the mistake that we get is my time and time again is buying the top where bitcoin bitcoins in the news, which is late cycle. So, yeah, if you're getting started, use websites like ours or trusted exchanges and get the basics down pat because people go wrong when they don't understand passwords or keywords or private keys. And in this in this world where your your own bank, you know, anything you do wrong, you crypto is gone. There's no one to call. [00:35:18][108.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:35:19] Yeah. You can't call the credit card fraud hotline. Now, we agree that the dollar cost averaging strategy is a great one, and especially if you can do a micro investing dollar cost averaging strategy and just put a little bit in at a time. If people do want to do that, they should go to get Bambu. We've partnered with the guys from BAMBO. If you enter the code equity mates when you sign up, you'll get ten dollars in the asset allocation of your choice. Bitcoin, Ethereum gold, or silver. [00:35:54][35.8]

Bryce Leske: [00:35:55] Alex, I have a question about the bitcoin or the crypto winter that you talk about. If you're expecting that the market cap of stable coins is to be a trillion in two years, but now's not the time to buy because it's at 60. When is the next buying opportunity going to come? If we're going to be looking at a ten times multiple over the next two years, how do you think about that? [00:36:21][25.7]

Alex Saunders: [00:36:22] So stable coins are investable, so stable coin growth will continue regardless of the crypto market cycle. And that's simply because it's how much better they are. So literally, Visa have come out and said, hey, we're adopting Ethereum. PayPal have come out and said we're adopting stable coins. All these big banks are starting to use these protocols literally because I can send you one US dollar stable coin anywhere on the planet if you've got a smartphone or a digital device, basically instant, instant for free. You know, imagine trying to do that like in a bank sent from Russia to Zimbabwe, send a dollar. I can't even imagine how long it would take and how expensive it would be. And so this system, the banks these days, they're going to get to the point or they already are where you deposit a dollar and then the bank is using Ethereum. And so we can bypass this whole system. And if people learn this, which they are unstable, stable coins have had huge uptake in these countries that don't have good financial systems. Anyone can hold US dollars or an Aussie dollar stable. And they get out of there are in hyper inflating currency or they don't have a bank loan and have that infrastructure, now they have a digital wallet and they can put their life savings in a stable coin rather than watch that currency, the censored or taken away from them or biotin or whatever it is. So that's why stable coins have really taken off. [00:37:51][89.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:37:52] Hey, Alex, can I can I try and unpack that in a really simple way? And you tell me if I've understood stable coins or not, [00:38:00][8.4]

Alex Saunders: [00:38:01] and then I'll answer your question. I didn't even answer your question. [00:38:03][1.7]

Alec Renehan: [00:38:04] That's like I think I think because I. I got a little bit lost there. I'm sure people listening may have if they're not familiar with stable coins. But is the basic concept that if I want to send Australian dollars to Brize, I have to go to a bank and then the bank has to send it to Brice's bank and shops in Brussels account. And there's a whole bunch of administration and recordkeeping that goes on between those institutions. And because of that, there's fees and there's costs involved and there's time involved. Whereas if I want to send one Australian dollar stable coin to price because it's recorded on a like a block chain ledger, it's more efficient and lower cost. Is that is that the value? Is that the idea? [00:38:45][41.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:38:46] Yeah, pretty much so. Let's say that like you're in Russia and Brazil and Zimbabwe, you know, and let's get back to our banking example at the start. There's Commonwealth Bank and they computers and all their overheads and then it's got to go to the swift system. And so just probably got to go to a US dollar and the US bank somewhere. And then it's got to go along all these different hops to finally get to Zimbabwe from Russia. The current banking system is just horrible and that's why it's so slow at age. Hop is like forex fees and all these different overheads. And so let's just replace all that system and say anyone that has a digital device can be connected to Bitcoin or Ethereum and they stay bitcoins and they just yeah, it just gets set out. And in the heartbeat of the block chain, that transaction is just it's processed and it just goes from A to B and that's it. [00:39:38][51.9]

Bryce Leske: [00:39:39] Hmm. So let's move on to investing in cryptos in bitcoins. Alex, you do a fair bit of research as part of Nugget's news. And, you know, you've got a combination, as you said, of fundamental and technical analysis and that sort of stuff. What is your research process? I guess there's, what, six thousand seven hundred coins out there or something ridiculous. How do you start to think about the universe and I guess breaking down your, I guess, watch list into actual investments and then. Yeah, going [00:40:12][33.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:40:13] also to start off with definitely like the big picture of where are we in the cycle, as you just said. And currently I think we're probably due for a little bit of a correction if we want to have a nice big second run. So I think this current bull market can last for another year or maybe two, and then it'll have each one or two year sort of correction as well. So that's where I think we are in the really big picture of all that. And you have to be aware of where we are in the cycle, because if we're in the middle of crypto and there's blood in the streets, that obviously it's a great time to get out your shopping and you're probably going to do better no matter what you pick. Whereas at the moment, if you go out there and buy all these things that are up one hundred X, you're probably not setting yourself up for the best returns in terms of risk to reward. So, yeah, first of all, you ought to be aware of where we are in the big cycle. So then you want to look at the market caps of these coins. So something is very early on or relatively unknown in the crypto world. Are you talking ten million dollar sort of market cap now? That's where projects tend to start. And then as they really mature, like a good project can get up towards a billion dollars and then a top tier, multi top ten coins out there currently multi, multi billion. And Bitcoin is the one that's reached a trillion dollars in market cap. So it's just that's the kind of general size and very, very roughly like of how the market looks at valuations of things. And to extrapolate from that a little bit further, it's a little bit like the tech world, I guess you can argue that, well, how are these things valued? Is it network effects? Is it future earnings potential? Metcalf's law people are looking at things like that. So how many users do they have? How many active wallet addresses are there? How many owners of the token? You can look at the on chain data. So all the block chain data is open and public for everyone to look at. So we can say that, look, all the owners of that token have held it for two years and I've never sold any. And so it shows you that that community is really confident in the coin versus a coin. You can say, oh, look at that, all the owners dumped it as soon as they got an exchange, we can see that sort of information. And so that that can tell you a lot about what's happening. So that's kind of. Unchanging, fundamental data that we look at, and so then in terms of fundamentals, we see how many people like you using this is F or this protocol or playing this game or selling NFTE through these this website, like how many people using this each day. And you can see, well, how much are they paying in fees. And you can start to say, well, it's almost the earning potential and some of these actually do pay out a percentage of revenue or they will like bird tokens, kind of like a share buyback. And so there's there's different mechanisms that protocols have to deliver value to the token holders or because the token holders are the owners of the network, they have like governance or voting rights and decision making power. And at the moment, because it's just all rapid adoption and expansion, a lot of these token holders will in future probably vote to change it, to pay themselves out more of the profits or is at the moment, it's all about giving out incentives, like giving out tokens to people that come and use your protocol or adopt it. And so, yeah, we're really just experimenting with different metrics of how to get new users. How do you get people involved in governance and voting who should own a network and have a say versus do you think about the old world? It's just like boards, CEOs making decisions and it's all about profit uses a second. So this is the new model that a lot of it is the experimentation and unknown. [00:44:05][231.2]

Bryce Leske: [00:44:06] When you say I need to understand where we're at in the cycle, are you referring to, like, the halving cycle of Bitcoin and how that sort of tends to do that every four years? A bit of a correction back down and then up again we go. And then that sort of just continues. Is that broadly what you're talking about? [00:44:23][16.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:44:24] Yes. So like all things remaining equal supply and demand, when bitcoin, the amount of new bitcoins that comes into circulation halves, you would think that that would end up with a doubling in price. And so that's kind of roughly how it works. But that gets front run. And then on top of that is the human emotion. So people that make a thousand percent gains tell their friends and their friends. Piolín and that's why we see the bubble. And then as it crashes and goes to the downside, we see all the light companies get burnt, they get scared, there's blood in the streets, and then it goes down further. It's just so volatile because it doesn't have the stabilizing mechanisms really of options, markets and derivatives and mature investors and hedge funds coming in to swoop up bargains. Well, we'll get there. But at the moment, that's why it goes further to the downside than is fair value and further to the upside than people expect because it's so wild and markets that spin and whatnot on top of that general adoption, which is up until the right and the halving cycle. So that's basically what I'm referring to there. [00:45:30][65.5]

Alec Renehan: [00:45:30] Yeah, right. So, Alex, one one thing that we've seen a lot recently in the news is and it's nonrefundable tokens. We've seen Elon Musk write a song about NFTE, sell that as an NFTE. And the bid, I think, is over a million dollars at this stage. Jack Dorsey made his very first tweet, NFTE, and I think that sold for a couple of million dollars. And for a lot of people not in the crypto world, that's the exposure that they're having to NFTE. And I think you mentioned like a Lindsay Lohan tweet earlier and like that. That's the level of, I guess, understanding that we get from sort of mainstream media about what NPT's are. Can you give us the, I guess, the NFTE 101 and what we should know about NFTE when we get beyond the sensationalized headlines of celebrities making millions of dollars from these sort of NFTE gimmicks? [00:46:29][59.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:46:30] Yeah, so it's a little bit like the Osseo bubble where initially there was all these great ideas, like the GOLOMB network that you mentioned, decentralizing computer power, that all that stuff was just so cool. And then I just got over Ren me scam's. It's just B.S. And the same is happening in the NFTE market at the moment. So non fungible tokens simply means that it's not like divisibility has unique properties, whereas a bitcoin can have one bitcoin and then I can send you to halves or a quarter or whatever so I can divide it. So it's divisible, it's fungible. So if I have a sword in a computer game can be an item so and NFTE can be like an in-game item or it can be an artwork like or it could be a som it's just again it's any bit of digital information that you want to add to the blockchain that has unique properties. And so at the moment in artwork is really taking off and people are doing things like. Hey, I've got a one of one, so you might just sell like a Mona Lisa or something like you going for that scarcity aspect of famous artists that are choosing to sell their work digitally rather than in real life or NBA top shots. They're doing the little it's like the new version of baseball cards. It's just a little short video grabs and someone wants to buy the Kobe Bryant one. Everyone wants to have the most popular ones. So people are sort of paying out for these digital collectibles. And so, yeah, that's kind of what investors are at the moment, where people are just making these big transition to the digital world for the collectibles instead of the old world of baseball cards and artwork. And the reason that this is a bit of a game changer is because in the art world, the the middleman takes 80 or 90 percent. And now artists are saying, oh, well, I can sell direct to my audience. But the other big one is that they can build in ongoing commissions. And so an artist can say program is not to give me 10 percent every time there's a sale. And so when it gets flipped the second time, the third time, basically, it's the same in the music industry, another one. Ninety five per cent of those, the rights and the marketing and all that goes to these big studios rather than the small independent artists. The same with game creation. So all these all these different things, it's rewarding the individual, the content creator, and allowing them to connect directly to their their users. The other one, Mark Cuban, otherwise talking about ticket sales so you can program it so people can't skip these or that, that one hundred per cent of the resale goes back to the seller of the ticket for the concert. So people can't say that's cool. So there's a lot of very cool things that it's easy to do. [00:49:22][171.6]

Alec Renehan: [00:49:22] So let me ask you the question that I know we've been asked a few times in our community around. Let's take the NBA top shots as an example. I mean, they create an MFT of, let's say, a Kobe Bryant highlight, and then I buy that NFTE and I own it. But it's a digital video that can be replicated hundreds of times and I might own but like anyone else can watch it and say we like digital artwork and stuff like the beauty of physical artwork is there's one artwork that you buy, but like digital artwork, you can replicate because it's digital. So how like what's the value proposition for owning something that can be infinitely replicated? [00:50:09][46.3]

Alex Saunders: [00:50:10] Yeah, that's a really good question. That's the first, I guess, the thing that pops into everyone's mind. And so the answer is like, I can print out the Mona Lisa and put it on my wall in the lounge. But it's not it's not the real thing. And so it's all about, well, the connection to the artists and in the block chain. Well, in the digital world, all this stuff is interoperable. You might have heard the term metaverse. And it basically means that all these things have been built to built to a set of rules or specifications so that you can take your NFTE from one game into another digital world or like onto another part of the block chain onto another app. And so what's going to happen is if you have the Kobe Bryant NBA top shot and everyone is going to be like the whole digital economy is going to be on a theory or one of these block chains. And so people will look at that like hover over it with your mouse on your website, or if you're actually immersed in the actual V.I. the digital world, people will look at that. And if it's a copy, they can say it's a copy or if it's the real thing, I can say it's the real thing. So it's almost like going into your collector's room at home and someone says, oh, these are all just like printouts of baseball cards. You haven't got any of the real ones or any of the rare ones or these are all fakes. You can have them if you want. But is the the value of collecting baseball cards come from printing out the picture or actually like getting the real thing and the history and the connection to the artist? And and on top of that, artists like giving extras. So if you buy the Kobe Bryant, for example, top shot or if you buy Taylor Swift's latest song and actually pay her directly or buy it a bit of art of an independent artist, rather than copying it, they might give you tickets to the next online concert and only the real holders will be able to actually get access to signing to that website or to go into that virtual world without having a virtual concert. And thank you to you guys that the real artist and the real supporters of me use my latest single early, and only those people can access it. So you can give all these other little perks and rights and it's going be very easy to see, like who's who's got Fikes and who's got rules. [00:52:26][135.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:52:26] Hmm. So, Alex, we are. Getting towards the end of the interview, but we can't obviously say goodbye without asking you if there are any coins that you are particularly bullish on at the moment and perhaps why that is the case. So, yeah, what's on your watch list at the moment? And why would that why? [00:52:46][20.2]

Alex Saunders: [00:52:48] Look, people are calling me a bear lately called a parable of being permeable for nine years. And it's funny to see some people call me a bear lately. So I've been telling people to take some profits. As I said, a lot of investments that we've made are now up over like one hundred eggs. And so I don't think now is a good time for people to be outlining a lot of capital in the crypto space. One sector that hasn't boomed yet that I think is going to be next is the music and sport side of NFTE. Again, within one or two years, I think you could see record labels and that they very much have a lot of their market share taken by this new digital world, like look how quickly art has just come and blown everyone away. I know for a fact that ifl ICC, Cricket Australia, they're all about to go down this NBA top shot style of collecting cards. Mark, mark my words. So the next big sector is what I call Web three or decentralized web. So more of the file storage, digital internet, decentralized VPN. We don't want to have to trust an Internet provider or trust a company. That's because at the end of the day, it's all about removing that need to trust the CEO of a company, a for profit board, and make every layer of the Internet and the software in the hardware peer to peer, so that along with the gaming world is blowing up at the moment. You're going to see people going to virtual food courts to pick out the Obetz virtual shopping malls to pick out their clothes, and they don't get to liberty in the real world. People are going to be spending so much time in this digital world with their digital sort of avatars and versions of themselves. Digital matings, covid is just this backdrop to accelerate all of these. So you're not going to fly to Beijing for this important business meeting. You're going to go into this virtual world and sit down at a table and chat to each other in full, high definition in 3D, in these digital block chain worlds. And the person will have the nifty is the document to sign and you'll be able to sign it with your theory keys. And this will all be verifiable. And just every aspect of what we do is moving into this digital online world of cryptography. [00:55:05][137.4]

Alec Renehan: [00:55:07] Pretty mind blowing. Yeah, I think Pinkel. But look, I'll I'll keep mulling all that over after this interview. We do want to end with one final question. If someone out there is listening and wants to start investing in crypto, what advice would you give to them and what resources, aside from nugget news, would you recommend to them? [00:55:33][25.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:55:34] Honestly, I think the best thing you can do, like I said, is by fifty or one hundred dollars a week of Bitcoin and Ethereum like the blue chips, and to start to have a play around with some wallets and sending coins, do you sell for whatever. So stick to the trusted Aussie exchanges or like you said before, get Bambu. I'm working with them as well because I think that's a super easy little little way to get started. But just don't don't go Googling or taking tips from friends or you might said to sign up because this app I've got this trading bot that'll make you one percent a day or whatever. That's just when people get scammed, just trying to find the new hottest thing or taking tips from their friends. So stick to the basics and learn all those basics inside out before you get too excited and you sort of joking apart from Nugget's news. But that's the hard thing. There's literally no way like I can't really say I'll go to this website or this website, and they've got all the basics blocked in Australia. I was a board member there for a couple of years. They've got some some good intro stuff, but that's just where we are in the space. There's not really good education out there and well trusted resources. So that's kind of why we built all those resources that we thought we did. [00:56:50][75.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:56:50] Fair enough. So do go to nuggets news. [00:56:52][1.8]

Alex Saunders: [00:56:54] It's all like all the beginning. Stuff's free, so. [00:56:56][1.9]

Bryce Leske: [00:56:56] Yeah, yeah. No, I would recommend checking nuggets news in preparation for this interview. Got pretty deep in the website. And you've also got the collective shift now, which is a I guess a more of a member-based community that you're providing both free and sort of paid resources as well. So head across and check that out, is that right? [00:57:16][20.0]

Alex Saunders: [00:57:17] Yeah, we wanted to Noguchi's we just want to make that more of the YouTube and the podcast name. So collective shift is kind of the new business that we've that we really want to professionalize. And we've partnered up with Canstar recently and. That's got a whole lot knowledge center that we've just added, I have predictive text to fill the stuff. So yeah, we're really trying to make that the one stop shop for everything you need and most that's free. [00:57:39][22.3]

Bryce Leske: [00:57:40] Yeah, nice. And just a reminder as well. Alex did mention Bambu. It is that micro-investing up. And I mean, if the experts are partnering with them and we are as well, you can go and check them out, get Bambu. Io is the website and you can use the code equity markets and they'll throw in ten dollars into your account when you get started. So it's a very easy way, as Alex has suggested, to put small amounts in over a period of time and just let magic do its thing. [00:58:09][28.9]

Alec Renehan: [00:58:09] Just dip your toe in the crypto waters. Yeah. For those crypto curious people out there like myself who, you know, on an expert like Alex saw on a massive bill like yourself price. But I'm curious. It's a good way to just do it. [00:58:21][12.4]

Bryce Leske: [00:58:22] Absolutely. Well, Alex, look, there is a thousand more things that we could unpack, and I'm sure we will certainly keep in touch and get you on the show more often as this world only becomes more important to many of the equity markets community. And, you know, it's just moving at such speed that we need people like yourself providing information that is easy to understand. So thank you very much for your time today. It's been an absolute pleasure. And we'll certainly look forward to having you back. [00:58:48][26.6]

Alex Saunders: [00:58:48] Yeah, yeah. No worries. Thanks a lot, guys. Yeah. Thanks for giving your audience exposure to some Krypton. [00:58:53][4.3]

Alec Renehan: [00:58:54] Thanks, Alex. By the time we get you next on, I might have got my head around that whole virtual meeting with a theory of chaos and all of that. I may finally have a follow up question, but until then, we really appreciate you taking the time. [00:59:05][11.7]

Alex Saunders: [00:59:07] Thanks guys. [00:59:07][0.0]

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Start your week the right way with five of our favourite articles from the past week. Read what the team at Equity Mates are reading and expand your knowledge of the world of finance and business.
The perfect compliment to our Get Started Investing podcast series. Every week we’ll break down one key component of the world of finance to help you get started on your investing journey. This email is perfect for beginner investors or for those that want a refresher on some key investing terms and concepts.
The world of cryptocurrencies is a fascinating part of the investing universe these days. Questions abound about the future of the currencies themselves – Bitcoin, Ethereum etc. – and the use cases of the underlying blockchain technology. For those investing in crypto or interested in learning more about this corner of the market, we’re featuring some of the most interesting content we’ve come across in this weekly email.