My bank account got blocked. This is how I flew down to Paris, booked a hostel, and had fun anyway.
(of course I used crypto. wtf you think)
Hello dear subscribers, yes it’s been a long time! I was down in Paris for EthCC 4, Europe’s biggest Ethereum congress, second only to DEVCON in size (I think). For some perspective, in 2020 I went to EthCC 3 and got COVID.
Since I am a terrible social media newb I have no selfies of myself there, nor could I even get into the event itself (what?) I just went for the side events where you didn’t need to get the highly coveted ticket to EthCC itself.
Why My Bank Account Got Blocked
Because of a little disagreement with the Finanzamt, my bank account was blocked for over 2 months. They eventually accepted that I had been making a big fat 0 in 2020 and 2021, but it took ages for them to unlock my account. This is apparently how it works:
- Updated numbers need to percolate through their system (~3 days)
- They have to print a letter
- Said letter needs to be sent by post to the bank (~3 days) no it is not even fax like they first claimed
- Letter needs to actually be read by the bank (~2 days)
Meanwhile EthCC is starting on July 20 and it was already July 17! Was I really going to miss a great networking opportunity because of some fat Karen in a government building who sees me as just a number, a case file?
This is NOT a Sponsorship – my Monolith VISA debit
16 July, a Friday: I decide to go to Paris. I activate my Monolith VISA card.
18 July, a Sunday: I convert 0.6 ETH into 1000USDT, send it to Monolith, top up the VISA debit card and book my flight and hostel.
Imagine doing that with a bank on a Sunday.
When I came back, I found a big fat letter from Deutsche Bank. In case you don’t know, DB is terribly uncool in that it blocks transactions to and from all crypto institutions, insists that you keep your transaction history in paper because it doesn’t want to keep it for you, and has a terrible iOS app.
Apparently they’re increasing their prices, and I’m supposed to read their two thick booklets and spot the price differences. And send back my agreement via mail, because I have all the time in the world to care this much about a bank account that can be confiscated at any time.
(note: my bank account that was blocked was not with Deutsche Bank)
Monolith is based in the UK and is controlled via an app, just like N26/Revolut. It is purely an interface between crypto/the real world. I heard good things about Revolut though, so I’ll try that out soon.
What I learned in Paris hobnobbing with the Ethereum community
Whenever I tell normal people I’m here for an Ethereum conference, they have no idea what it is. I have to invoke the magic word, “Bitcoin”. And then they go “aha”. Even though Ethereum and Bitcoin are totally different things.
Blockchain projects don’t just want to build on Ethereum anymore. They want to be on Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon (MATIC), Fantom (FTM), Solana (SOL), and they’re hiring for that. I heard these chains being mentioned over and over again, so look out for their coins.
If you’re a frontend dev and can write Solidity, you can basically write your own destiny. Everybody’s hiring for Solidity/frontend devs, but those devs are busy building their own projects already (see mlnl.finance).
How to get into crypto
If you want to get involved in this industry, become a volunteer for an event. You’ll get to see more, attend the event for free, and you don’t really have to do that much work (schlep a few cables around, man the doors, organize the speakers). Contact the organizers a few weeks before the event starts. Tickets for EthCC were around 200USD, so being a volunteer and getting in for free is a huge advantage.
There are Market Makers for Hire
Let’s say you’re a crypto project and your token is listed on an exchange, like Bitstamp, Binance, FTX. At first, nobody will buy your token because they don’t know about it. Then this type of situation will happen all too often:
A wants to sell your coin for 40000
B wants to buy your coin for 10000
C looks at the situation and goes “this market is a joke, let me find another coin”
And this is what a market maker does – with some capital, they will step in between, sell to B (and hope to buy back for 1% less later), and buy from A (and hopes to sell for 1% more later). Of course, if the price moves too much, the market maker is going to lose money.
Normally these market makers show up organically if the general public thinks your coin is worth trading. Which is why unestablished crypto projects can actually hire a market maker to make their market. Expect most of the liquidity on a normal exchange to come from market makers, not other people wanting to trade like you (retail).
So just like you hire companies for your marketing image, it is possible to hire market makers to make you look good on the exchange. See this video for very good explanation of a market maker.
Regulations are Coming – which is why everyone is decentralizing
Apparently new rules and regulations (in the US, I think) are incoming. The signs are showing:
- Binance reduced its daily withdrawal limit for non-KYC customers from 2 BTC to 0.06 BTC.
- As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, Shapeshift decentralized itself recently. More details in this interview with Laura Shin.
- MakerDAO dissolved its Foundation. The blogpost doesn’t mention this purpose, but it certainly reduces the surface area for any legal attack.
The regulators are really circling around Binance. The 0.06 BTC limit is already reason enough to start looking for other exchanges.