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Will DeFi upend traditional finance and democratize capitalism?

The 2008 financial crisis saw the U.S. government purchase billions of dollars worth of toxic assets from financial institutions in hopes of preventing an economic meltdown. The US$700 billion relief program was officially known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, also known colloquially as the “bank bailout of 2008.”

Earlier this year, the script flipped. After hedge fund Melvin Capital placed a big bet on the downfall of video game retailer GameStop by shorting its stocks, small retail investors who did not know each other suddenly joined together to do something beyond Melvin Capital’s wildest nightmares — a social media-inspired and conspired short squeeze.

Amber Ghaddar AllianceBlock

“They decided to come in and bail them out, which is exactly what the government has done in 2008, coming and bailing out financial institutions,” said Amber Ghaddar, co-founder of decentralized finance marketplace AllianceBlock, in an interview with Forkast.News. “So this is a very interesting concept where you see that finally, you had a power shift.”

The GameStop short squeeze — which resulted in massive profits for some small investors, huge losses for short-sellers like Melvin Capital and a hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee this week — is an example of the “flattening” of  the financial system that in the past was controlled only by institutions or investors with a lot of money. But  the rise of blockchain and cryptocurrency — which can totally cut out banks and other intermediaries in finance and investing — has begun upending those traditional power dynamics, Ghaddar said. 

See related article: Robinhood, GameStop frenzy players face Congressional questioning

The next step for blockchain and crypto is allowing decentralized access to traditional financial services — in the form of decentralized finance, or DeFi — to those who were previously too small or otherwise not allowed to enter the game. 

“I would say from now to the next 10 years, DeFi is going to absorb traditional finance, at least in the investment space, and there is also something that is quite beautiful when you think of it from a philosophical perspective,” Ghaddar said. “In DeFi space, it’s every protocol that becomes its own central bank and decides how much interest it’s going to pay.”

Despite the recent influx of large financial institutions and other investors such as BlackRock, MassMutual and Tesla embracing bitcoin, some still consider the alternative asset class to be too speculative and risky. But the GameStop saga showed that the rewards and perils of investing in cryptocurrency versus traditional stocks may not be that different after all. 

“Even if traditional finance people will tell you, ‘But I’m looking at metrics and I’m looking at valuation, et cetera,’ I’m sorry — all the metrics have blown out,” Ghaddar said. “We’re in a new normal and we are in an abnormal economic world where last year, the Fed has printed 40% of all dollars in existence.”

“We have been at a tipping point,” Ghaddar said, hinting that the development of central bank digital currencies will be the final cherry on top of the financial world’s cake that will change the developed world. 

See related article: US must embrace digital dollar and cryptocurrency: Blockchain institute report

“What’s holding the world together, or at least the developed world together, is the dominance of the USD as a reserve currency,” Ghaddar said. “As soon as you have an event that breaks down the trust in the USD, the world is going to change, and this is why it is necessary for you to have an investment in something that is uncorrelated to the USD, that is uncorrelated to governments.”

Watch or listen to Ghaddar’s full interview with Forkast.News to learn more about how the GameStop saga may be indicative of longer-term trends in finance, the evolution of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as an asset class, and why Ghaddar — a former banker — believes DeFi will “absorb”  traditional finance within the next decade. 

Highlights

  • How is bitcoin correlated with other asset classes? “[Cryptocurrencies] are not normally distributed and according to our calculation, they have zero correlation to other asset classes. Some people might disagree. But in my opinion, they are using the wrong formula. They’re using Pearson correlation to calculate correlation. And they find that bitcoin has a 20% correlation to other asset classes. According to our calculation, taking into account that it is not normally distributed, we have 0% correlations.”
  • What drives the demand for bitcoin? “Why is Tesla overvalued? It’s because retail investors believe in Tesla and just buy Tesla shares like they buy chocolate. I would say in some way, bitcoin is also driven. Most of the flows in Bitcoin, whatever people say, are actually your crypto enthusiasts that are buying and holding bitcoin and believing that bitcoin is going to reach — somebody’s talking about 200,000, some are talking about 1 million dollars in a few years. But indeed, when you look at bitcoin, you have a very limited supply. If the demand stays at the levels that it is right now, which I believe demand is going to keep increasing, it is only normal for you to see price increase.”
  • How retail investors bailed out GameStop: “Today, you see these retail investors, these day traders, knowing that these hedge funds — they didn’t hide it, it was public — that these hedge funds were extremely short, this particular stock and extremely short, meaning 140% of available shares short. And well, they decided to squeeze them out. I was looking at that and I was like, ‘Good for you. Finally, you, who have been left out of capitalism, you, who have been left out of the exponential growth that we’ve seen in asset and management and in capital growth, you have finally played the same game that the institutions are playing. In my view, if someone needs to be fined, it should be these hedge funds that had these sort of very large, risky positions, short positions on the stock.”
  • The risk in holding USD: “All of the metrics have blown out, we are in a new normal and we are in an abnormal economic world where, last year the Fed has printed 40% of all dollars in existence. 40% of all dollars in existence — this is a little bit mind-blowing. The United States is very, very, very lucky that it exports in dollars, it imports in dollars, it issues dollars and it pays its debt in dollars. Because trust me, if it wasn’t the case, you would have had a massive hyperinflation similar to what you’ve seen in the Zimbabwes and the Hungary of the world.” 

Full transcript

Angie Lau: Will bitcoin’s institutional adoption ever end? Who or what will legitimize crypto and how is blockchain democratizing access to capital?

Welcome to Word on the Block, the series that takes a deeper dive into blockchain and the emerging technologies that shape our world at the intersection of business, politics and economy. It is what we cover right here on Forkast.News. I’m Forkast.News Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau.

We experienced three major disruptions, you could say, in modern economy. First, we have the steam engine, which really elevated global trade and transportation. Then electricity — well you know what that did for us. And more recently, internet disrupting access to information and really bursting open the floodgates.

My next guest says that blockchain and A.I. are the fourth disruption by collapsing the money pyramid to democratize access to capital — and all you have to do is look at what’s happening in bitcoin and crypto adoption right now. 

Let’s welcome Amber Ghaddar. She’s co-founder of the decentralized finance ecosystem and capital market AllianceBlock. Amber, it’s great to have you on the show.

Amber Ghaddar: Thank you for having me.

Lau: All right. So you have been a participant in institutions; legacy financial firms JPMorgan [and] Goldman Sachs. And now, you’re on the other side of the coin, as we say. Why do you think we’re certainly seeing a surge of institutional investors coming into the cryptocurrency space?

Ghaddar: Technically, there are four reasons. Two reasons are practical and maybe the two other reasons are more philosophical. From the practical point of view, you have regulation and legacy infrastructures. When you look at financial institutions, they are behemoths that are managing billions of dollars of other people’s money. And so they are constrained by very tight regulation in terms of what assets they’re investing in, how they’re investing in it, why they’re investing in it and where they’re investing it. In the past two years, we have seen leaps forward in terms of regulatory clarity. So today we know that bitcoin is an asset, whether it’s a commodity or a currency or a utility coin in most developed countries. So we have this regulatory clarity.

And the second thing is that we have seen the development of a very strong infrastructure, very strong new infrastructure that sort of mimics the operational processes that these institutions are used to in the traditional securities market. So today, as an institution, you can directly invest in cryptocurrency by taking custody or you can indirectly invest in cryptocurrencies by either investing in derivatives or investing in funds. Now, the other two drivers, which I call more philosophicals, have to do with monetary policy and fiscal easing. What we’ve seen since 2008 is, in my view, an abnormal inflation in asset prices, and this has continued in 2020.

What does this mean? It means that as a portfolio manager, you would be interested in a new asset class that is uncorrelated or with zero correlation to other asset classes and in a way that is akin to digital gold. And this makes the theory or the investment thesis for bitcoin quite plausible.

Lau: What do you think the value proposition is in addition to that? I mean, AllianceBlock is disrupting the investment banking model. From what I understand, corporates get direct access to the market via a token. So you really kind of take that decentralized thinking and infrastructure blockchain into the investment banking model. How has adoption been? And do you think that more and more corporates on the enterprise level, from the more traditional, the more institutional mindset, are starting to wrap their heads around these new functionalities using blockchain?

Ghaddar: So, again, we need to look at two things. We need to look at crypto assets and bitcoin as an investment, and then we need to look at blockchain as a technology. One should always remember that, you have the technology and the application of the technology. So you had electricity and the electric boat. You have blockchain and then you have bitcoin. Since 2015, I’ve already seen a lot of banks getting involved in blockchain because they have seen the value proposition of enhancing yields, enhancing productivity, and cutting costs. For example, JPMorgan has been one of the first banks on the street in creating a blockchain team in early 2015. So they’ve created Quorum, they’ve created the JPMorgan coin, [which] should massively improve cross-border transactions by decreasing error, cutting costs, enhancing yield, et cetera.

Now, with regards to bitcoin and cryptocurrency, as an asset class, I’ve already discussed it. So bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are, in my opinion, a fantastic asset class, a fantastic alternative asset class. Well, okay — there is high volatility, but at the same time, they have high returns, they have what we call excess positive kurtosis, meaning that the probability of extreme values is much higher than, let’s say, the stock market. They are not normally distributed and according to our calculation, they have zero correlation to other asset classes. Some people might disagree. But in my opinion, they are using the wrong formula. They’re using Pearson correlation to calculate correlation. And they find that bitcoin has a 20% correlation to other asset classes. According to our calculation, taking into account that it is not normally distributed, we have 0% correlations.

Lau: Well, if it’s not correlated to anything that we can understand, how can one take a look at the markets and actually try to understand fundamentals, understand volume, understand liquidity, understand how the market is viewing bitcoin, is it truly in a vacuum if the participants like you and [I] are the same and we’re engaging in a parallel system?

Ghaddar: You just highlighted a very important point, which is the fragmentation of data and the noise in the data that we have in decentralized space. So the more decentralized you are, the less accurate you can end up with your data. This is something that we’re working on which what we’re calling the data tunnel where you take all of this noise in the various protocol in the system, all of this unstructured, fragmented data, and you turn it into structured data to be able to analyze, as you said, correctly analyze the various flows, analyze the volumes, analyze the validity of this data, because a lot of this data is inaccurate.

Lau: Give us a clue. How should we be thinking about it then? I mean, if we were to understand where prices are going, and that is the hot topic of conversation right now, this is what people are talking about, as you and I know, it’s probably the top 1% of what actually matters in the industry. But let’s talk about it. This is what is bringing people in. If people were to think about it. What are the things that they should be thinking about that are fragmented and dis-intermediated from markets that they do understand?

Ghaddar: So first, as I mentioned before, you have inflation in traditional asset classes. Some people will tell you that bitcoin valuation currently is very inflated. I would answer, “You know what? Look at Tesla valuation. We’re trading at 1,000 P/E. Where have you ever seen that before?” This is also an interesting point where we’re starting to see a disconnect between what traditional finance taught us how to look at valuation and what this new normal we’re in, is showing us.

And one interesting input, I may add, is the flows of retail investors. Why is Tesla overvalued? It’s because retail investors believe in Tesla and just buy Tesla shares like they buy chocolate. I would say in some way, bitcoin is also driven. Most of the flows in bitcoin, whatever people say, are actually your crypto enthusiasts that are buying and holding bitcoin and believing that bitcoin is going to reach — somebody’s talking about $200,000, some are talking about $1,000,000 in a few years. But indeed, when you look at bitcoin, you have a very limited supply. If the demand stays at the levels that it is right now, which I believe demand is going to keep increasing, it is only normal for you to see price increase.

Lau: I totally agree with you. It’s, supply and demand. We’ve got 21 million that will ever be mined — ever. I think the calculation is that they will probably reach that cap in 2140 because of the increasing difficulty of computational formulas that miners have to undergo. Eighteen million have been mined; 20% of that 18 million actually is lost because somebody either ate their passwords or got rid of it or threw away their hard drive. And then you have what, as you’ve very well noted, not only retail interest but institutional interest. Tesla is certainly not the first. They won’t be the last, followed by BlackRock, followed by possibly so many others who are seeing this as a real asset class.

When you take all of that into consideration, these are new dynamics that are really unfamiliar to a lot of people. You can just imagine all the risk and compliance people in corporate treasury offices right now really concerned about, how do they calculate all the fundamentals and the dynamics of the price. So you talk about this crypto crowd, this characteristic of the retail sentiment that’s really driving things. What have you seen from this space that have really shifted the game? For example, everybody knows what I’m talking about. It’s GameStop. This is what we saw in GameStop, this kind of crowd retail investor conglomerate kind of coming in and really shifting the game here. Is this a new dynamic? To not only crypto but to all markets? What are your thoughts?

Ghaddar: First, before answering this question, I just want to highlight another point that I missed. There is something that is very peculiar to crypto assets and to crypto trading. It is technical analysis. So these markets, in my view, the only markets that are so correctly driven by technical analysis, we use technical analysis in FX, but we also use more fundamental calculation in order to calculate overvalued FX pairs versus undervalued FX pairs. But in crypto, technical analysis becomes a sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So a good way to know where levels are going, where flows are going is to be good at technical analysis.

Now, moving back to GameStop. To be honest, I looked at that and I was smiling. And I was smiling, why? For two reasons. Reason number one — I’m going to give you a counterexamplecounter example to GameStop — you do remember in 2012, the JPMorgan [London] Whale. You do remember what happened to this guy. So you had a bunch of hedge funds that knew that Bruno Iksil, the JPMorgan [London] Whale, had a really large position in an off-the-run CDX Index. And they decided to squeeze him out. Not only did they squeeze him, they bled them dry of US$6.2 billion. The funny thing is, the SEC came in and actually fined JPMorgan US$1 billion extra, because according to them, they were badly managing risk.

Today, you see these retail investors, these day traders, knowing that these hedge funds — they didn’t hide it, it was public — that these hedge funds were extremely short, this particular stock. Extremely short, meaning 140% of available shares short. And well, they decided to squeeze them out. I was looking at that and I was like, “Good for you. Finally, you, who have been left out of capitalism, you, who have been left out of the exponential growth that we’ve seen in asset and management and in capital growth, you have finally played the same game that the institutions are playing. In my view, if someone needs to be fined, it should be these hedge funds that had these sort of very large, risky positions, short positions on the stock.

Now, there is also another aspect, which is a little bit more ethical, I would say. Having been on these charts, it is true that some have done it out of greed, and good for them. This is the current system that we have in the world. But many of them were actually ex-clients of GameStop and have decided that GameStop can have a digitizing strategy and that GameStop can start generating cash flow. They decided to come in and bail them out, which is exactly what the government has done in 2008 coming and bailing out financial institutions. So this is a very interesting concept where you see that finally, you had a power shift. You as a retail investor become an active investor, and you are the one who’s deciding — especially on these companies that have been shorted, that have been very shorted by the market — “Well, you know what, I like this company. I’m going to come and bail them out.” And it’s a beautiful concept. Now, I’m not going to admit any opinion on the viability of this strategy because I don’t know the fundamentals of GameStop. I don’t know the business plan of GameStop. But philosophically talking and ethically talking, it is very interesting.

Now, also, if you look in terms of volume, you have retail traders today representing 25% of the flows in equities particularly. And that has moved, I think, from 10% the year before. Where did that come from? Well, it came from the Covid-19 crisis. People staying at home, having a little bit of cash, and being able to start benefiting from capitalism by finally investing their capital to generate more capital.

Lau: Do you think that, in the blowout that was GameStop and all the things that we saw with Robinhood and the like, do you think that we are seeing more movement into wider crypto adoption and interest by retail investors?

Ghaddar: Well, definitely. But in my view, the GameStop disaster was mainly a PR and communication fiasco. If I was the board of Robinhood, I would fire the head of communication and I would fire the head of community because it was very insensitive, and in a way very insulting to their community to not come on the live stream as a CEO and explain to these day traders — who are not dumb — that they had, I think it was US$1 billion [in] capital requirement that has been called by the DTCC and the clearinghouses. I am sure the community would have understood. But the way they have done it was so insulting that they have lost their reputation. It takes ages to build a reputation and one second to lose it. So in my view, this is what went wrong.

But indeed, we are starting to see higher adoption in crypto [and] a lot of interest in crypto. Look at the Coinbase IPO.  The company should be valued at around US$8 billion. In pre-IPO markets, it’s currently valued at US$100 billion. That’s twice the valuation or twice the market cap of the London Stock Exchange and four times the market cap of the Nasdaq. What is driving this? Well, it’s retail investors that want to have access to crypto by proxy because they still don’t know how to invest in crypto. They’re telling themselves, “Let’s invest in Coinbase.” That’s a proxy investment. And if that happens, I would say in the 80s, 90s, when a lot of these portfolio managers, pure equity portfolio managers, couldn’t access gold because they didn’t have a commodity allocation or they didn’t have a derivative allocation to be able to buy gold futures. What did they do? They started by buying gold mines. So for me, there are a lot of similarities to what was happening during that time.

Lau: We’re seeing DeFi pick up a lot of this interest — decentralized finance. We’re also seeing robust activity in NFTs, non-fungible tokens space. People are seeing these new blockchain-based financial vehicles as a way to participate in a parallel universe that is accessible, instead of having their trades shut down arbitrarily because of the debacle, as you said, of GameStop, people are definitely increasingly moving in the space. We’re also seeing that support, the kind of moves we’ve seen in cryptocurrency prices. 

I want to talk about the broader picture. How does that democratize capitalism, in your view, getting rid of, as you’ve said, the pyramid structure of what has been very much a part of the modern economy up till now? 

Ghaddar: You are flattening the investment structure. By flattening the investment structure, you’re allowing players that couldn’t enter the game, to actually enter the game and you’re allowing actors that couldn’t get to the game to enter the game. Crypto started as an alternative — I don’t want to say underground — but an alternative financial system in reaction, in my view, to what happened in 2008, where a lot of people got massively pissed off, and justly so, that banks were so unregulated and regulation were so lax on banks that it allowed banks to have such a huge risk that almost destroyed our financial system. These people who started the blockchain/crypto revolution wanted to democratize access to finance, democratize access to capital to those who normally couldn’t access it. But it’s not just blockchain. It’s also the platform economy. It’s also the digitization that has allowed people or companies like Robinhood, Charles Schwab, et cetera, to offer retail investors very cheap or no fees trading. But what in a way, when they don’t make you pay for the product, it means you are the product.

Lau: …you’re the product. If it’s free, you are not paying.

Ghaddar: But yeah, indeed. It is such a dynamic industry. DeFi is so dynamic. We have so many new products coming in, almost on a daily basis. And we only started building DeFi applications maybe two years ago and it has boomed.

Lau: And a lot of interesting observations from traditional finance. How are DeFi innovations, you think going to be possibly adopted in traditional finance?

Ghaddar: You basically need to bridge the two worlds. As I was saying before, unfortunately, the big money, institutional money is locked up by regulation and is locked up by infrastructure. So you need to be able to offer an infrastructure that looks, feels and smells similar to what you have in traditional finance. That’s number one.

Number two, you have security as well because there are a lot of unsafe products. There’s a lot of cyber attacks. You still have a lack of security, a lack of auditing, and you have the risk that many institutions will not be willing to take at the current stage. But things are moving so quickly and there has been so many advancements with regards to more contract auditing with regard to more firewalling, et cetera. I would say from now to the next 10 years, DeFi is going to absorb traditional finance, at least in the investment space, and there is also something that is quite beautiful when you think of it from a philosophical perspective. Central banks are the ones that decide rates. The central bank, the Fed decided that. So where is the Fed’s rate today — 25 basis points or something like that — and this base rate decides, the rest of the economy decides how much you will get paid on your deposit and how much you need to pay on loans.

But now in the DeFi space, it’s every protocol that becomes its own central bank and decides how much interest it’s going to pay. So when you have yields, U.S. Treasury yields are negative in real terms. When you enter a product USD stablecoin, for example, that is paying you between 5% to 10% per annum, in a way, it becomes a no-brainer for you as an investment manager to start looking with interest at this type of product.

So as soon as we have the infrastructure and we have the operational process, that can guarantee recourse, that can guarantee the safety of the investment, I am sure that we’re going to start seeing institutional investors coming into the DeFi products.

Lau: Is that product ready yet? 

Ghaddar: Well, we’re working on it.

Lau: Because I think the space is still so young and it’s still very much feels like the wild, Wild West. Even the regulatory bodies around the world are increasingly looking at the space and trying to figure out how to either police it or enforce it or something. This space is still really, really young and for a lot of institutional investors, it’s still way too dangerous. But for the brave and no risk, no reward, there is just some really incredible gains, but also incredible losses.

Do you think that right now, we talk about the innovation in DeFi, what is just happening in this space? I mean, is it just a speculative platform at the moment? What use case can we actually see emerge from DeFi, in your view?

Ghaddar: Thousands of use cases in terms of borrowing and lending, in terms of insurance products, in terms of data. But you are absolutely correct in saying that the space is young and the space is still not mature enough to allow institutions to come in, which I fully agree with you. In my view, what we’re going to see is that DeFi is going to absorb traditional finance in the next 10 years. But before we get to the stage, what we’re going to see is a fork between pure, decentralized product that whatever governments are going to do, they won’t be able to regulate them, and at the same time, decentralized product that might lose some of the pennants of DeFi, which is anonymity, transparency, full decentralization that are going to allow these institutions to come in. And in my view, this is healthy because you want to absorb them. To absorb them, you need to adapt to them and then you can unleash the full potential of decentralization.

Lau: It’s a great point, and I’m mindful that on-ramps are easy, off-ramps are hard, unless you’re KYC-ed. Off-ramps right now is where most of the regulators and most of the enforcement activity is happening. You can accrue a lot of wealth, but if you’re not a good actor, you can’t actually change it into fiat without getting caught. That at the moment is what we’re seeing. But do you think that at some point we’re going to get to products that actually go beyond the speculative nature, which it feels very much like right now, and just allow what I think the promise of blockchain has always been, which is peer-to-peer? I’ve got something and the frictionless immutability of the transaction makes it ease of use and beneficial for both parties and truly democratize capitalism.

Ghaddar: I mean, we are heading this way. And again, as you said, it’s an industry in its infancy. We have congestion issues on the Ethereum blockchain. But there are new blockchains that are being built; Binance smart chain, Polkadot, Cardano and the rest are offering solutions to scalability that we still don’t have in Ethereum despite Ethereum 2.0 coming out, I would say, mid-2022? But yes, indeed, there is still a lot of work to be done, but we are definitely heading in the right direction. I do not like to use the word speculation because in the end, right now, you have speculation in all asset classes. Even if traditional finance people will tell you, “Oh yeah, you know what? But I’m looking at metrics and I’m looking at valuation, et cetera.” Well yeah, I’m sorry all of the metrics have blown out, we are in a new normal and we are in an abnormal economic world where, last year the Fed has printed 40%of all dollars in existence, 40% of all dollars in existence. This is a little bit mind-blowing. The United States is very, very, very lucky that it exports in dollars, its imports in dollars, it issues dollars and it pays its debt in dollars. Because trust me, if it wasn’t the case, you would have had a massive hyperinflation similar to what you’ve seen in the Zimbabwes and the Hungary of the world. 

In my view, if there’s going to be any idiosyncratic event or any systemic event that is going to break down the trust that we have in the U.S. government, the world is going to change. Investing in crypto assets, investing in bitcoin and the rest, is giving you a sort of protection to a systemic change in the system.

Lau: To your point, it taps a lot of illiquid wealth that currently billions of people who are unbanked. 1.2 billion, I think the number is of unbanked and not being able to participate in that system. So if we’re going to get there, what do you think the challenges are right now? What do you think are we getting to that danger point, a tipping point, if you will? Does one system win over the other?

Ghaddar: We have been at a tipping point, to be honest, since quantitative easing started. We have been at the tipping point. And what’s holding the world together, who at least the developed world together, is the dominance of the USD as a reserve currency. As soon as we lose this, maybe it will be in 10 years, maybe it will be in one year. But as soon as you have an event that breaks down the trust in the USD, the world is going to change, and this is why it is necessary for you to have an investment in something that is uncorrelated to the USD, that is uncorrelated to governments.

But going back on your point, with regards to emerging markets and the developing countries, most of what we discussed here is with regards to a high-income developed economies. It’s true in a lot of emerging countries, you using bitcoin or using these seamless payment protocols is something that is very important because it allows you to access wealth and it allows you to transfer wealth when you have no money that you then be able to. And remember, there are a lot of countries in this world that have very tight control on their financial system, whether it’s because you have an embargo or whether because internally they want to maintain control of their currency. And being able to use cryptocurrency allows you sort of to get out of this embargo and get out of this tightening on economies.

People do not realize, embargoes are very dangerous because it doesn’t kill governments, it kills the people. And by killing the people, you turn these people into fanatics. Most wars in the world and most of the revolutions in the world occur because you have poverty in the system and we are seeing more and more embargoes going through. It is not by embargoing a country that you’re going to change the regime, unfortunately. You’re just going to alienate the population. The population is not going to like the people who are embargoing them. They’re going to start liking their governments more. So giving them an escape route is, in my view, something beneficial for the whole world.

Lau: And that’s probably something that takes another hour to discuss. But Amber, I just want to thank you for the time that you’ve spent with us. I do agree with you that the fundamentals have completely been rewritten. And it’s going to be really a steep learning curve for a lot of institutional and traditional type investors and all of those asset managers and money managers to take a look at this new asset class and try to figure it out. But, you know, it does take that bridge.

And I think both of us are standing on that bridge right now. So thanks again, Amber, for joining us. This is Amber Ghaddar of AllianceBlock, and it was great talking with you. And thanks for joining us on Word on the Block.

Ghaddar: Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

Lau: And thank you, everyone, for watching this latest episode. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you learned lots. I’m Forkast.News, Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau. until the next time.