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How Luxury Brands Are Embracing Web3 and Driving Crypto Forward

Posted October 31, 2023

Crypto is down.

NFTs are hurting.

The broader market is… shaky, at best.

So why are luxury brands pouring money in crypto? And whatever happened to broader adoption?

This is something we’re seeing firsthand here at Plexus, as more and more luxury brands, from cars to auction houses, are turning to crypto even in the middle of a crypto winter.

What’s going on? Let’s take a closer look.

Luxury X Crypto: Exploring 2 Use Cases

In general, luxury brands are turning to crypto for two primary use cases:

  • Payments
  • NFTs

Why those two?

Payments

First, payments. Luxury payments have always existed in a world where money and wealth take many forms; many luxury goods are (or where) currencies themselves. Think gold, jewelry, etc.

Accepting crypto payments for luxury goods fits with the broader trend.

NFTs

From the general to the specific; while crypto payments make perfect sense – after all, luxury brands aren’t the only ones moving towards crypto – NFTs might initially seem to be a less natural fit.

But NFTs hold a certain appeal to luxury brands that goes beyond any idea of utility. The core value of an NFT is that each one is unique. More broadly, any given collection of NFTs is, almost by definition, rare.

And rarity is a core element of every luxury brand. After all, if everyone had a Lamborghini, or if everyone owned a Rolex, or if Tiffany jewelry was commonplace, then those brands wouldn’t be luxury brands at all.

For that reason, luxury brands have turned to NFTs even when the broader market hasn’t. NFTs carry built-in utility for luxury brands, simply by existing.

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Luxury X Crypto: 3 Matches Made in Branding Heaven

Three examples illustrate how the luxury industry blends crypto payments and NFT rarity.

NFTiff

In 2022, Tiffany’s launched a collection of diamond-studded pendants based on the iconic CryptoPunks NFT collection.

250 pendants sold out in 20 minutes, and netted Tiffany’s over $12 million.

In early 2023, the company began dispatching the pendants. Tiffany’s embraced the rarity of Cryptopunks, combined it with the natural exclusivity of high-end jewellery, and found a winning luxury product even in a down market.

The NFTiff collection also demonstrated a way forward for phygital items – physical items with a clear digital footprint. In essence, the pendant is forever tied to the NFT, and the NFT to the pendants, blurring the line between the two.

Louis Vuitton VIA

Fashion house Louis Vuitton took things even further with their VIA collection in June 2023. The VIA collection consisted of a soulbound NFT to unlock a “box” – an evolving collection of collectables both physical and digital, rolled out over weeks and months.

Soulbound tokens are NFTs that can’t be resold, bound forever to a single wallet. VIA owners – and only the original VIA owners – would be able to access exclusive Louis Vuitton releases.

The idea of soulbound tokens has long been suggested as a way to draw more utility to the world of NFTs. Soulbound tokens could be used to integrate medical data, for instance. But in the world of consumer luxury goods, soulbound tokens can also be used to achieve the ultimate in exclusivity.

Ferrari Crypto Payments

Add Bitcoin, Ether, and USDC to the ways you’ll be able to pay for your next Ferrari.

The luxury carmaker is working with BitPay to process cryptocurrency payments in the three currencies mentioned above. New payment methods can also be new paths forward for potential customers, particularly when those customers are often crypto investors.

The intersection between crypto user and luxury goods consumer isn’t an accident. Most crypto investors aren’t millionaires – but despite the downturn, crypto still gave tens of thousands of people seven-figure wealth.

One report estimates that over 88,000 people, worldwide, turned millionaires due to crypto. That’s not a large number of people in total, but luxury brands are well accustomed to working with smaller-but-wealthier markets.

A Luxurious Web3 Ahead

There’s little sign of the luxury industry turning away from web3, crypto, and NFTs anytime soon. Blockchain technology and its built-in exclusivity are powerful draws for luxury markets, and even as broader adoption of cryptocurrency marches slowly on, the luxury sector is racing ahead.

That’s a good thing; adoption is adoption, no matter how limited the market, and even an NFT exclusive community is a community of crypto customers. And despite the well-covered struggles of the NFT market, the luxury industry continues to support that particular sector.

On the employment side, luxury companies working with web3 companies opens the door for new skillsets to enter the market. Salespeople with high-end customer experience, employees with a background in luxury retailers, and programmers and designers able to craft the fully immersive experiences the luxury goods industry craves.

It’s a luxurious web3 ahead.

Need help with hiring the best talent onto your team? Check out our services and how we can help you grow!

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The End Of The Fake CTO

Posted October 30, 2023

There has been a rise of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) joining early stage start-ups. However, over the years the responsibilities of what is expected of a CTO have become slightly muddled, with expectations of both client and candidate not always aligning.

So, is it time to end the CTO title and make way for the Founding Engineer?

CTO’s relationship with start-ups

With any tech based project, you obviously need someone to build out the product for you. But many start-ups may not be able to afford the expertise of a seasoned CTO who has many years of experience.

In order to mitigate this problem, start-ups tend to seek help from talented candidates that don’t have as many years’ experience but are equipped to be able to build a product from scratch. Usually they look for someone that has full stack experience, who will be able to deliver the back and front end code of a project.

As this role still requires candidates to have some experience, knowing what title to offer has always been somewhat ambiguous. And more often than not, brands have landed on the CTO title as this has felt the most appropriate at the time.

However, as start-ups begin to grown and receive significant rounds of funding, most of the time brands require someone with a little more experience to lead the strategy, development and growth of a product and team.

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Why the title, CTO, can be problematic for start-ups

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that candidates who have less experience are incapable of building a successful product. But the title CTO can be problematic and lead to a number of issues in the long run.

The expectation for the company vs. that of the candidate/employee is more than likely to be different based on the job title alone.

CTO’s are usually hired when the company needs someone to lead the strategy and vision of the product and aren’t normally required to build/code the product itself.

Whereas, in the early stages of a start-up, you’ll want someone who is a generalist engineer wanting to still be hands on in their approach.

So when it comes to the point in a company’s journey when they need someone more strategic to come onboard, there could be a conflict with the existing CTO.

So what’s the solution?

A new era – The Founding Engineer

Enter the era of the Founding Engineer.

The title Founding Engineer encompasses everything start-ups want from their first engineering hire, as they will be the person to shape the beginnings of the product and engineering team.

Ultimately, their role is to write code and deliver the product to market, whilst also implementing the processes and project managing the development.

It’s a title that suits both the company and the employee. For the company it provides flexibility and room to continue to grow the team/brand in an sustainable way.

For the candidate/employee, it provides the opportunity to take ownership of a product, elevate their skillset and drive initial product growth.

What skills does a Founding Engineer need?

There are certain skills that Founding Engineers require as they’ll be required to do a bit of both strategy and delivery.

Companies will need someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, that’s potentially worked in start-ups previously and understands the ins and outs of growing a product.

Founding Engineers will need to be able to work autonomously, quickly and efficiently, especially in the early stages of start-up when there are tight deadlines to get the product to market and satisfy the VCs.

Finally, they need to be able to wear multiple hats at all times – employees need to be skilled in front end, back end, devops to be able to fulfil this role.

Need help with hiring the best talent onto your team? Check out our services and how we can help you grow!

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Whatever Happened to NFTs?

Posted October 26, 2023

At Plexus, we don’t always like to talk about the downsides of the crypto world. WAGMI, after all – crypto is here to stay!

That said, we should probably all sit down for a hard conversation about NFTs.

Maybe you remember them? You know, collectable digital art? Jpegs, as enthusiastic investors often referred to them. Non-Fungible Tokens; totally unique digital tokens, fully tradable on the blockchain.

You’d be forgiven for having forgotten about them. While the downturn in the crypto market is well-known at this point, NFTs did a particularly impressive job of collapsing – and in the process, calling into question the whole future of the NFT sector.

So what happened to NFTs, and where did all those blue-chip collections go? We’ll dive into more detail in this article, plus we’ll discuss what it means for the sector more broadly.

The Life and Death of NFTs

At its lowest point (so far), the crypto sector collapsed to roughly $1 trillion total market cap, from a height of over $3 trillion. Two-thirds of total market value, gone in a matter of months.

That’s bad; but somehow, NFTs did even worse.

According to data from Defillama, NFT marketplaces peaked at over 250k ETH trading volume, back in April 2022. Volume declined from then on, slowly at first, then all at once. About a year later, in spring 2023, there was a brief resurgence of interest (and correspondingly, a boost in trading volume). 

But even that quickly died out. For most of 2023, trading volume has stayed well under 50k ETH daily.

Crypto, as a whole, declined by two-thirds; NFTs lost four-fifths of its total volume.

The picture gets even worse – somehow – when you look at it more closely.

Much of the trading volume that is still happening is awash in controversy. Yes, that’s a pun – wash trading has been around for years in the stock market, but is becoming a well-known problem in the sector. The idea is that large collectors purchase their own NFTs, essentially swapping the digital assets between wallets they own. 

On the surface, these look like legitimate purchases, and the NFT marketplaces record them as such. But in reality, nothing changes hands; wash trading simply gives the appearance of intense activity, but without any indication of genuine underlying value. The purpose of wash trading is, of course, to drive legitimate sales by inflating the value of an NFT collection. 

It’s difficult to tell exactly how much volume, on a given day, is wash trading. But what is evident is that nominal trading volumes are almost certainly inflated. 

The upshot? Total NFT sector volumes are likely even lower than they appear.

3 Collections in Trouble

Ok, so the sector as a whole is down. But isn’t this the same as crypto more broadly? Or web3? Or DeFi? Some projects are down, but certain blue-chip projects are leading the way forward.

Perhaps. But what stands out about NFTs is the extent of the collapse. Even notable blue-chip projects have been impacted. In turn, that has raised important questions about the future for the sector as a whole.

Time for some specific examples. We’ve stuck with collections that aren’t fully dead; there’s a huge list of NFT projects that are functionally extinct, with zero trading volume and few (if any) collectors. In fact, a damning recent report from the folks over at dappgambl says that up to 95% of all NFT collections are worthless.

But rather than kicking a dead horse (.jpeg), let’s look at collections with signs of life, but a much darker future than once imagined.

Bored Apes/Mutant Apes

Another crypto/NFT comparison. Since the dark days of early 2023, Bitcoin has rebounded to over $30k. It’s currently trading at a little over 50% of its 2021 peak ($66,000). That’s down drastically, obviously, but let’s compare it to two of the leading NFT collections: 

That’s a decline of 80% for BAYC and 76% for MAYC.

That’s… not great, especially for two collections well-regarded as NFT royalty. In fact, we’ve previously covered Yuga Labs, the studio behind both collections, here on the blog. Yuga Labs has big ambitions, from a related cryptocurrency to a metaverse project, all tied into the BAYC empire.

The collapse of the underlying BAYC price has, in turn, impacted Yuga’s plans. They recently announced a restructuring of the company – although the full details for that move are still a bit unclear.

What is clear is that sailing has gotten a bit rough for the Yacht Club.

DeGods

Frank DeGods is a bit of an NFT legend; the collection that bears his name is a definite blue-chip amongst NFT aficionados.

But the collection itself has fallen on some hard times. The price floor dropped from 10 ETH to a little over three from June ‘23 to October the same year. And unlike BAYC, DeGods didn’t launch until well after the market downturn. That drop in price came entirely after the market crashed.

DeGods (the man) is still active and a regular on various NFT-related X Spaces. DeGods (the project) illustrates the strength of the headwinds still facing NFT projects.

Azuki

The key to Azuki’s decline sits plainly in its description: a brand for the metaverse. As went the metaverse, so went Azuki, which declined from 21 ETH to just over 4 ETH. In real-world dollars, that’s a decline of roughly $56k.

Azuki was supposed to be an owner’s ticket to a world that blended the physical and the virtual worlds, with a dedicated space in the metaverse for Azuki holders. The metaverse isn’t dead yet, and neither is Azuki – but there’s much less interest in both.

What’s Next For NFTs?

Each of the collections above illustrates a different use case for NFTs. Yuga Labs positioned their collections as gateways to a crypto-based ecosystem. DeGods went big on the exclusivity and art-related aspects, while Azuki and numerous other collections built their use cases on the metaverse.

The fact that each collection declined so rapidly indicates underlying weaknesses with the use cases themselves. In short, NFTs still don’t know what, exactly, they want to do with themselves. 

Are NFTs simply another form of art? If so, adoption will always be limited to artists and art fans.

Are NFTS tied inextricably to the metaverse? If yes, then NFTs will only find success when the metaverse does – if it does.

Maybe NFTs work as the foundation for an integrated ecosystem? Perhaps, but if front-runner, blue-chip collections like BAYC struggle to build a firm foundation, smaller projects are going to find it nearly impossible.

Is there a way forward? Only time will tell. At Plexus, we see a growing use case for NFTs as tools to integrate real-world assets with digital platforms. The authors of the dappgambl report agree: going forward,

NFTs need to either be historically relevant (akin to first-edition Pokémon cards), true art, or provide genuine utility.

What happened to those NFTs? The same thing that happened to the rest of the crypto sector; they fell down.

Now let’s see if NFTs can get back up.

Interested in any NFT-related jobs? Reach out to our recruiters to see what’s available.

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Why Tech Founders Should Be Hiring Product Designers First

Posted October 24, 2023

For tech founders in the early stages of start-up mode, your initial hires to your team are crucial for the company’s development. Your founding hires will be the foundation of your product/company.

Some people tend to go straight into the build of a product, recruiting engineers as their first hire with the aim of launching quickly. Although engineers are important to any company, their focus tends to be on the technical function of a product, rather than understanding the customer.

That’s where product designers come into play.

So why should you be hiring product designers first? Well there are a number of reasons that will help your company but our top 3 reasons are:

  • Ensure there is a product market fit
  • Build a customer focused product
  • Stay ahead of your competition

Let’s dive in and unpack this some more.

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Ensure there is product market fit

Anyone can have an idea for a product but building one that is fit for market is a different ball game. With so many products already available to customers and more entering the market each day, it’s important to create something that solves your customer’s problems.

Product designers are able to take teams through the whole process of building a product, starting with understanding the market itself. They’ll initially ask key questions such as; “Is there a need for the product?”, “Who are the current competitors?”, “How does your product differentiate from others and answer the target audience needs?”

Essentially they are the gatekeepers to making sure you build a product fit for the market.

Build a customer focused product

Through the use of different tools, they create solutions for their target audience ensuring that the product is fit for purpose.

Product designers are problem solvers, with their role covering everything from:

  • User Experience (UX)
  • Customer Experience Architect
  • User Interface
  • Information Architect

As you can see from the areas they specialise in, everything they do is extremely customer focused to ensure they build a useable product.

With this in mind, when hiring a PD at the beginning of your journey, they can spearhead the development for the customer including market research to help identify pain points and build solutions for this.

They’ll not only build a product that drives customer acquisition but also helps with customer retention, as their job is to build every touchpoint of the customer journey that will keep the customer coming back year on year.

Stay ahead of the competition

If you really want to stay ahead of your competition, then you need to understand your customers and you need to know them well. With the market flooded with so many products, customers have a lot of choice when it comes to picking a product, so you want to make yours stand out from the crowd.

This is exactly what product designers do.

Final Thoughts

Product designers do much more than make your product look aesthetically pleasing, they make sure your product will be successful by ensuring that everything you do is focused around the customer.

By including a PD as your first hire, you’re sure to be setting yourself up for long-term success and not just a one hit wonder.

Need help with hiring the best talent onto your team? Check out our services and how we can help you grow!

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What Roles Are Growing In The Current Bear Market?

Posted October 18, 2023

Things may seem a little slow at the moment in the crypto space, but the hiring market continues to accelerate each month as brands are still wanting to develop and build new features for their products.

But what roles are growing the most and why are they important to the development of the space?

Let’s dive in.

A need for Developers & Engineers continues to grow

Although we’re still in the midst of a bear market, we’ve seen a steady increase in companies hiring, mainly for engineers and developers.

As the crypto space continues to evolve, developers/engineers are being brought on board to help develop existing projects to create new features and hopefully, aide mass adoption.

Of the jobs listed on Plexus website, 49% have been for either developers or engineer roles, with brands mainly looking for people who are either full stack or backend roles.

What’s the difference between full stack and backend developers?

Backend developers are the experts that help to build out the initial coding and structure of the product – everything you can’t see but is ticking away it the background, is done by backend developers.

Full stack developers can build and maintain both the front-end and backend of the product, including building responsive user interfaces and new features.

Both of these roles play an essential part in the development of technology and the crypto space.

Alongside backend and full stack roles, companies are also looking for front-end and security engineers.

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Will this growth continue into 2024?

We believe that developer and engineer roles will continue its upward trajectory, particularly with companies looking for talent with full stack skills.

However, for a product to be successful, you need people to actually use, interact and invest in your product. That is where Business Development and Sales roles come into play.

Why you need a BD and Sales team

Ultimately, the end goal is to make money from the product you’ve built and to achieve that you need to make sure you’re getting in front of the right people.

15% of roles listed on our website in the last 3 months have been for business development and sales roles.

In particular, there is a drive for BD professionals, who can develop and execute a targeted strategy to drive partnerships, user growth and client activity.

Some of these roles always cross over into marketing, with some brands looking for talented candidates who can also help foster their community through events and webinars, plus create their own sales materials.

Why product roles need more TLC

Although product roles haven’t been as sought-after these past 3 months, there is a slow increase in need for people with these skillsets.

Both product managers and product designers are key to building a customer centric product that always keeps the end user in mind when developing and building new features.

Product managers are pivotal to shaping the vision, strategy and execution of the product roadmap, whilst using customer feedback to make sure they product continues to answer the customer’s needs.

Product designers are key to creating a product that customers can use easily, ensuring the UX and UI are working seamlessly.

If companies want to continue to grow their user base, product teams are the way to ensure this happens.

Need help with hiring the best talent onto your team? Check out our services and how we can help you grow!
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Crypto ETFs: Temporary Fad, or Pillar of a New Crypto Economy?

Posted October 6, 2023

If you follow the broader crypto world at all, you know that the industry has a proven enemy in financial regulators, particularly the SEC.

It also has a well-known hero – Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency.

There’s a battle brewing between the hero and the villain, and it centres around an ordinary financial investment vehicle; the exchange-traded fund, or ETF.

Are Bitcoin ETFs a sign of the future? Or are they yet another short-lived crypto fad?

Let’s dive in.

What Is a Cryptocurrency ETF?

A cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment vehicle that tracks the price of a specific cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency ETFs provide investors with an opportunity to gain exposure to digital assets without having to purchase them directly or manage a wallet.

By keeping a pool of assets under management, ETFs are designed to offer investors a low-fee and convenient way of investing in cryptocurrencies. They can be bought and sold on major stock exchanges, just like stocks or mutual funds. This means investors can benefit from the liquidity of the ETF and don’t need to worry about finding a buyer for their asset in order to realize their profits.

Cryptocurrency ETFs can be bought and sold throughout the day, meaning that investors can take advantage of short-term price movements without having to own any underlying digital currencies directly.

Regulatory Status of Cryptocurrency ETFs

Cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are becoming increasingly popular as investors look to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market. But with growing popularity has come ever-more-intense scrutiny from regulators.

In particular, the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has adopted an aggressive stance towards ETFs. Over a half-dozen spot ETF applications are currently being considered; all have been delayed by SEC investigative proceedings. 

Why all the delays?

ETFs have the potential to broaden support for and participation in crypto investing. With an ETF, there’s no need for a wallet to hold crypto directly. Investors simply purchase shares of the ETF on the stock market, and are still able to take advantage of price moves by the underlying assets under management.

The SEC appears unwilling to have Bitcoin and Ethereum achieve the market success most analysts assume would come from an ETF, fearing it would spur further adoption of what the SEC considers largely lawless and unregulated currencies.

And despite a major setback in the courts, the SEC seems poised to continue its resistance to a Bitcoin ETF. In the meantime, support for an ETF investment vehicle continues to grow, with support from Congress as well as investors.

What Is a Bitcoin ETF?

A Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) allows investors to purchase shares in an underlying pool of crypto assets, gaining exposure to cryptocurrencies without taking on all the risk. The investment firm offering the ETF collects management fees. There are two primary types of ETFs.

Futures ETFs

Bitcoin or Ethereum futures contracts trade at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Futures ETFs track the price of those futures contracts, giving investors a way to participate in the crypto market remotely. The funds rarely hold the underlying crypto directly.

Spot ETFs

Pools of cryptocurrency (or multiple cryptos) are sold as shares on the open market, similar to common stock options. The value of the pool, and the shares, rises and falls with the given crypto.

Spot vs Futures ETFs and the SEC

All ETFs are highly regulated and must conform to well-established standards set by the SEC. The crypto market has been seeking permission for a spot Bitcoin ETF since 2013, but every request so far has been rejected by the SEC.

On the other hand, the SEC granted permission for a futures ETF in 2021. Why the difference?

Because they don’t hold the underlying asset directly, futures ETFs can operate at a bit of distance from the market. They carry their own unique set of risks and benefits (transparency being one such risk), but aren’t as subject to direct price swings as spot ETFs.

Since spot ETFs rely on pools of the underlying asset, markets need to have sufficient liquidity to support those pools. One of the SEC’s arguments so far has been that the Bitcoin market, in particular, wasn’t big enough to support a spot ETF.

Benefits of Cryptocurrency ETFs

ETFs are a classic investment vehicle. They’re a way for investors to get involved with crypto by purchasing shares of companies offering the ETFS, without fully participating in the cryptocurrency economy. That means no digital wallets, no private keys, and no dealing with centralised or decentralised crypto exchanges.

In short, crypto ETFs are:

  • Easier – no need to purchase crypto directly
  • Simpler – one share of an ETF can represent a single crypto currency or even a basket of currencies
  • More trustworthy – Bitcoin ETFs are planned from major investment funds with proven track records

Why ETFs, and why now?

What’s the rush for Bitcoin ETFs? 

In a word, adoption.

Many traditional investors either don’t fully understand crypto, or don’t want to deal with the hassle of a separate infrastructure, one that often includes complicated fiat-to-crypto on-ramps, multiple exchanges, and dedicated hot and cold wallets.

In contrast, those same investors do understand common stock. They often have a deep knowledge of how traditional finance operates. A Bitcoin ETF functions in a well-known, well-regulated way. While the performance of such a fund won’t be predictable (it is crypto, after all), it will be understandable.

An easily-accessible Bitcoin ETF could tap into a whole new market of crypto investors. Just how big is that market?

By some estimates, a Bitcoin ETF (or number of Bitcoin ETFs) could unlock a $600 billion market. That would double the current market cap for Bitcoin alone. 

The potential is nearly endless. A Bitcoin ETF could open the door for ETH ETFs, or for ETFs based on a pool of cryptocurrencies. That would follow the same path as futures ETFs; following on from the first futures Bitcoin ETF in 2021, an ETH futures ETF is expected as soon as early October 2023.

Fad – or Future?

ETFs, especially spot ETFs, are yet another sign of growing tradfi/crypto convergence. The more regulators push against crypto, the better-established the underlying technology seems to be. 

The blue-chip cryptocurrencies, notably Bitcoin and Ethereum, stand to benefit the most. They have the longest history, the largest market caps (outside of stablecoins), and the broadest adoption so far. ETFs could only help that by bringing BTC and ETH to investors who would otherwise never be involved in the crypto market.

At Plexus, we see a spot Bitcoin ETF as a major step forward for the industry. These aren’t shady NFT collections offered by pump-and-dump scam artists; they’re proven financial instruments coming from major financial institutions in the US and Europe.

They’re another sign that crypto is part of the future of finance, and they’re nearly certain to spur further adoption of cryptocurrencies.

“Crypto ETF’s offer better diversification and regulatory oversight within crypto. 

They allow investors to diversify their exposure across a range of coins and instead of picking individual digital assets, investors can buy a single ETF that tracks a basket of cryptocurrencies. This diversification spreads risk and reduces the impact of poor performance in a single crypto. For the regulation benefit, ETF’s are typically subject to regulatory oversight and security measures, which can provide a level of investor protection.”

– Jayden Lazarus, Consultant at Plexus

Want to know what opportunities might be ahead in crypto for you? Contact us for more information
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Will The FTX Empire Strike Back? The SBF Trial Begins

Posted October 3, 2023

The crypto market is NEVER quiet.

This week, it might be a bit more volatile than normal.

So what’s happening with the SBF trial, and what can we expect to see this week?

The Story So Far

If you’re reading this story on a website dedicated to crypto recruitment, the odds are good you already know the basics. Sam Bankman-Fried was a darling of the crypto world. His FTX exchange was the largest in the US for a time; in 2021, it surpassed $800 million in average daily trading volume.

But in 2022, the wheels came off the bus.

FTX collapsed. A hacker stole $600 million in the aftermath. SBF went to jail.

And as time went on, the malaise spread. The crypto market went from $3 trillion total market cap to $1 million, and some sectors of the market, like NFTs, simply haven’t recovered.

This week, SBF stands trial in Manhattan, and the limelight will once again be on him and his story.

What will it mean for the broader crypto market? Three things to look for:

Solana Volatility

As an exchange, FTX held a lot of crypto – straightforward, right? But in the aftermath of FTX’s collapse, a lot of those assets were frozen.

Now, with the trial nearly underway, law enforcement agents will need to determine the fate of those funds. That has sparked a surge of interest in Solana on the open market, leading to a pump in SOL’s price.

Will that continue throughout the whole trial? It’s hard to tell; SOL was already rebounding from a dismal start to the year. But it’s worth keeping an eye on APTOS, Tether, and XRP – other holdings of over $100 million that are scheduled to be liquidated from FTX’s holdings. 

Money On The Move

Remember the hack we mentioned earlier?

Immediately after FTX filed for bankruptcy, someone stole $600 million from the exchange’s holdings. Then the assets sat, in various accounts, for nine months.

Just this week, they started to move

Assets including BTC and ETH have been shuffled to various addresses, swapped, and sold. But vast amounts of the funds haven’t moved. Will the trial shed light on the hacker’s identity? It’s something to watch. 

Major Decisions For The Crypto Market

At the very least, the trial is going to shine a light on one of crypto’s more unpleasant episodes. SBF was an absolute rock-star in the industry, and his philanthropic efforts and investment into other crypto companies meant that when FTX fell, it burned a lot of goodwill

“The people of crypto have a tendency to put ‘idols’ on a pedestal, this has to stop. From Do Kwon to Mashinsky… Sifu to SBF. Often those that preach virtue the most are those that fail our expectations the worst. When it comes to people’s characters in crypto, I want the community to not trust, but verify. Most people in the space are good actors and mean well, we cannot let a few bad apples contaminate the industry anymore.”

– Shaun, Co-Founder of Plexus Resource Solutions

In the meantime, will the trial make things worse? Will it cement SBF’s reputation as a fraud? Will it end up supporting the SEC’s contention that much of crypto is still a wild, wild west, filled with unsavoury characters?

Is there any chance that SBF will come out clean?

We’ll have to wait and see. Keep an eye on your SOL, if you’ve got any, and remember – with any leading crypto figures, verify, verify, verify.