Meltem Demirors: for Fun, for Profit, & for Learning

In this episode of UpOnly, Cobie and Ledger talk to Meltem Demirors, crypto investor and Chief Strategy Officer of CoinShares.

Audio Version


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Show Notes

  • Meltem is drinking from a zcash mug, has gathered piles of crypto swag over the years of being in the industry e.g. Rootstock pin and Chia mug
  • Crypto becomes very real when actual hardware supply chains are disrupted by people wanting to provide compute to crypto networks – that’s pretty significant.
  • Friend was mining DOGE over the years, Meltem has worked in the industry over 7 years, blood sweat and tears and has been outperformed by said friend. Ledger: Is DOGE to $1 inevitable? Meltem: The trend is your friend (isn’t ruling it out, mentions bell-curve meme). For a lot of people, investing has become a form of entertainment. Meltem doesn’t have conviction to buy and hold DOGE, hopes the people that have, make it count!
  • Bullshit and snake-oil is a part of any new industry, believes crypto industry is too critical about it existing
  • Book – Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital by Carlota Perez
  • Offended by being called a “Rippler” – “I have taste” (Ledger wants to move on swiftly lol)
  • Cobie – Gold isn’t anything, it’s just a rock, bunch of people just decided “let’s tell everyone this is worth loads”. Maybe in 100 years when DOGE is being used as money and a status symbol then nobody will know it was just a joke
  • Meltem – Information is relatively cheap now, can be sourced online faster than news publications can push it. A global connected consciousness, hyperconnected at all times. Bankers will say “oh you can’t have a currency without an army”, Meltem’s response “Have you been on Crypto Twitter?”
  • Cobie – can’t tell non-crypto friends not to buy meme coins, lose/lose. It goes up and they think you don’t have a clue about the market or it goes to zero and it’s your fault for telling them to buy it.
  • Meltem – a lot of people come in and want told what to do; they don’t want to do the work but then also don’t want to take responsibility for anything. – and that’s how we ended up with banking. If that’s your approach to life (only wanting told what to do) you’re NGMI.
  • Meltem – loves volume, nothing like the feeling of smashing the button and putting it all on the line that makes you feel alive. You have to be a little degenerate to make it in this industry to have conviction on things that feel ridiculous.
  • The appeal of crypto for her is the choice of being able to exit the current system as a larger objective aside from the monetary side.
  • Meltem is net long BTC and ETH – also investing long term in angel investments etc. Not aiming to trade, aiming for long holds – looks also for arb opportunities.
  • Once you’ve been in crypto a while and see the yield %, you get desensitised to other markets.
  • If you’re not up 10x this cycle you’re doing it wrong.
  • Ledger asking about GBTC premium vs discount. Why does Meltem think the premium went to such a huge discount? Meltem – if you think about holding GBTC the annual fee is 2.5% per year, arguably should trade at a discount to cover the management fee so you have to see a larger multiple to account for the 2.5% at the end of the holding period. There are now so many ways to buy BTC and emerging ETF markets – retail has more options now. Inefficient product.
  • Meltem is long defi, short US capital markets. No longer live in a world with physical border defining it, we all come together from all over in the digital world, physical does not matter. Yet we are regulating based on physical perimeter which is fundamentally incompatible with a global, permission-less global financial system. Trend is that people will move to jurisdictions that allow them to participate, rather than be bound by it.
  • We used to think of Nation States as the only super powers in the world, no longer the case, now corporations are superpowers. New superpowers are emerging and it’s online communities – Bitcoin is, for all intents and purposes, a global superpower.
  • Meltem – what is Elon’s plan, does he just love the attention? Cobie – at first thought he was just drawing attention to crypto generally using DOGE, then at some point he lost Cobie, has no idea now – maybe he just simply likes the coin. Ledger – SNL he talked about how he didn’t see any difference between DOGE and the dollar, thinks it’s a show of how little he cares about the dollar.
  • Ledger asking about Meltem’s approach and thoughts on defi. Meltem sees defi as the next articulation of cryptocurrency vision, the next step in the evolution from the historical capital market. Historically financial institutions are vertically integrated but there are a lot of things that don’t have an efficient market.
  • Everyone is building AMMs and DEXs. AMMs are incredibly valuable but we probably don’t need thousands of them, a handful of them will end up with 90% of the volume.
  • Success is about timing, there are projects in defi that are futuristic and likely to be successful 10 years down the line but don’t fit into the current market microstructure as it is today
  • Meltem – You only get one reputation and life, doesn’t want to spend it scamming people for money, it’s just not worth it playing that game. Book rec – Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse. Meltem want’s to play the inifinite game, get to keep playing. (Cobie – that’s like League of Legends, an addiction (lmao))
  • On congress – easier to start with explaining Bitcoin and then expand over time. People can’t even spell Ethereum.
  • On working in Crypto. Ledger – stick to what you’re good at, if you’re a good manager in your job then you could be a good manager at a crypto startup, don’t necessarily need to be learning something new. Meltem – I can teach anything, most people will figure it out, as long as someone comes with passion, enthusiasm and the right attitude. Meltem has her DMs open – also mentions job boards: Pomp, Coindesk, The Graph – or ask on Twitter. Cobie – number one problem is not enough good people, everyone is trying to hire and talent who has been in the space for a while are impossible to hire now – have a project or are very picky as money isn’t a motivation.
  • Cobie asks if Meltem is a believer in the super cycle? Meltem wouldn’t articulate it that way, secular trends rather than a supercycle.
  • Meltem (wrt crypto acceptance by Government) says the UK is NGMI (😞)
  • Final Alpha from Meltem: 3 rules in life. 1) Am I going to have fun. 2) Am I going to make money. 3) Am I going to learn something. If one of the boxes is checked maybe, if two are checked great, if three are checked – all in.

Music by GiovanniPickle