In this week’s edition, we take a look at the current state of the crypto market space, review the Warren Buffett effect (or non-effect) on his crowd of listeners, and perform an in-depth examination of the only coin in the top 40 by market cap to actually post positive gains over the last 24 hours, in an attempt to find out what makes it tick (upwards).

Markets Wobble, End Flat for the Week

After taking something of a corrective turn downward on Sunday, with all but one of the top 40 coins by market cap down significantly in the last 24-hour period, the crypto markets ended flat for the week. Regardless, the total coin market cap remains up an astounding 80% over the last 30 days, which is good news for those who happened to buy into any of a large variety of coins in the month of April. In spite of the recent correction, the crypto market as a whole continues to look healthy, with investments in altcoins expanding and the fruits of blockchain technology finally ripening on the vine for some related businesses.

The Buffett Situation

Interestingly, the markets seemed largely unaffected by the most recent round of negative comments to come from investment guru and staunch crypto-pessimist, Warren Buffett. Buffett is known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his master stock picking abilities that netted him several billion dollars over the last 5 decades, making him one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Primary shares of his investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), which currently trade for a staggering $292,000 per share, are up over 40-fold since 1990, despite the company reporting a rare $1.1 billion loss in the first quarter of 2018.

In a Berkshire Hathaway investor meeting in Omaha last week, Buffett doubled-down on his anti-crypto stance, suggesting that investments in the industry would “come to a bad ending,” even going so far as to liken bitcoin to “rat poison squared.” Part of Buffett’s unrivaled success in picking “winners” is based on the idea that it is the long-term fundamentals of a company that drive its success. Buffett made his first investment at age 11, purchasing 3 shares of a bank stock that quickly plummeted by 30% in value. In what would become a provably profitable lifetime strategy, Buffett HODL’d his shares until they regained and surpassed their original value, ultimately settling for a near-8% profit.

When it comes to the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies, however, Buffett believes there are none, and that bitcoin’s entire worth is based on investor demand, completely devoid of any intrinsic value. Use-case scenarios where bitcoin is successfully employed for what was intended by its original creator, Satoshi Nakamoto (cut down on debilitating banking costs imposed by a domineering class of financial middlemen), indeed remain few and far between, though they are far from completely absent. Only time will tell if Buffett’s words will ring true in the future, and if his ability to act as an “oracle” can be transposed from the world of stocks to the world of cryptocurrency.

Coins Bucking the Trend: Golem (GNT)

Out of the 40 coins that were in the red as of Sunday evening, one coin managed to surge upward, finishing the week up over 37% against the dollar: Golem (GNT). The Ethereum-based token surpassed novel crypto platform Waves (WAVES) to take the #40 spot over the weekend, gaining over $160 million in market cap value in the month of May thus far. Golem first hit the markets in November 2016, trading at one and a half cents a token. It reached an all-time high of $1.16 per token in January 2018, and currently trades at approximately $0.78. On May 4, 2018, it experienced its highest trading volume ever, jumping 25% in less than a single day.

So, what is propelling Golem upward, gaining 10% against bitcoin in the last 24 hours alone? First of all, let’s take a look at what Golem is itself all about. The idea is novel: Golem platform operators can share their computing power in exchange for Golem tokens; users pay Golem tokens to access computing power. In essence, Golem (network now live) acts as the first distributed, decentralized supercomputer, based on blockchain technology. It is considered a mainstay of the Ethereum economy and is one of the older tokens whose idea actually came to fruition and is now employable.

Last week, at an “Ethereum Developer Community” convention in Toronto (EDCON), leaders from the Golem project made quite a splash with their presentation (the entire conference can be viewed on YouTube here). Some seriously deep-pocketed investors must have been in the crowd, because the price of GNT shot up immediately afterward. Golem is led by an active development and public relations team, keeping users and investors up-to-date with system developments, posting on Twitter at least once per day, and are keen to answer user questions or provide general information on demand. Other reasons for GNT’s recent breakout price surge include:

  • the launch of the Golem mainnet in April, after having been in design for over 2 years;
  • the announcement of local meetups for project enthusiasts around the globe; and
  • Golem’s recent listing on major altcoin exchanges Bithumb and Binance.

Also in the News

  • Charlie Munger, employee of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, also had some stinging words for bitcoin over the weekend, calling the mother of all cryptocurrencies “stupid and immoral” in an interview with Yahoo! Finance.
  • An Australia-based bitcoin exchange startup successfully raised over $16 million in funds to launch a new breed of exchange, which they hope will “make buying bitcoin as easy as ordering a pizza.” Given the fact that Coinbase is slowly withdrawing its market share under ever-mounting regulatory hurdles regarding cryptocurrency, the idea is certainly welcome news to those without access to Coinbase, or perhaps require something even simpler than Coinbase in order to make their first bitcoin purchase.
  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a U.N. program headquartered in New York City which provides aid to children and mothers in developing countries, is asking volunteers to donate their computer power to mine cryptocurrencies while browsing websites, to be collected by the charitable organization. It’s a refreshing change of pace to see browser-based mining software being used for a charitable cause, and with the consent of the user, which proves that not everything cryptocurrency-related has to be devious or questionable in nature.