Welcome to our brand new series of interviews – WhaleTales. We’ve decided to talk to some of the biggest public supporters off different altcoins from all over the industry. Our first guest is Cain XEC(@CainBCHA), an eCash supporter with +16k followers on Twitter, and one of the most influential people in the XEC community. Let’s dive in! #DYOR #NotFinancialAdvice
1. How did you first discover and get involved in the world of cryptocurrencies, specifically eCash?
This is going to be a long story, so bear with me. I first heard about Bitcoin when I read a 2014 Newsweek article about its mysterious inventor, but I didn’t really get what the big deal was. Over the next few years I kept hearing about it here and there, but I didn’t give it much thought until one day in March of 2017 when a friend of mine started talking to me about it at a kid’s birthday party. He kept telling me to just buy 1 Bitcoin. It could go to a million dollars, he said. I got as far as setting up my Coinbase account, but I couldn’t pull the trigger since I didn’t understand what it was I’d be buying. This wasn’t like buying shares of Amazon or Apple. At least I understood what those companies did and why they had value. I couldn’t say the same for Bitcoin.
So instead of getting one BTC for under $1000, over the next few months I sat on the sidelines and watched as the price kept running away from me. By June the price had more than tripled. It was depressing to say the least, and I started to wish I’d never heard of Bitcoin.
I tried to put it out of my mind and stopped checking the price altogether. But then in mid-July, I went on a work trip and found myself at the airport waiting for my flight home with a few of my colleagues. I noticed one of them staring at his phone and recognized the familiar blue Coinbase app. We talked a little bit about crypto. Both of us barely knew anything. But the next day, I woke up and saw the price of Bitcoin had dropped from its recent high of $3000 all the way down to $1800. So I bought one. I still didn’t understand what it was, but I’d made the leap, and down the rabbit hole I went.
As luck would have it, I’d bought my first Bitcoin just before the network was to undergo its first ever chain split on August 1, 2017. Suddenly I was forced to learn how to make a paper wallet and hold my own private keys to ensure I would be able to access my coins on the newly created Bitcoin Cash fork. After the dust settled, I downloaded the Electrum wallet and figured out how to split my Bitcoin from my Bitcoin Cash. Then I performed my first ever Bitcoin transaction by sending my BTC back to my Coinbase account. The whole ordeal was a great learning experience, but the truth was my first Bitcoin transaction was utterly disappointing.
I was expecting magic internet money, but that first experience was anything but magical. I remember waiting nervously for hours on end before seeing my Bitcoin show up in my Coinbase account again. I was also surprised by how high the transaction fees were, and I started to think I’d made a mistake buying Bitcoin at all.
Since Coinbase had yet to list Bitcoin Cash, I was still holding onto my BCH. I’d originally planned on just dumping it to buy more Bitcoin when the price was right, but then I started hearing these wild rumors going around that a secret plan was in the works to make BCH flip BTC. I eventually came across this blogging platform called Yours.org where a trader I was following on Twitter would post his thoughts on the future of BCH. Some of his articles were behind the site’s paywall, requiring me to send a little Bitcoin Cash to unlock the content.
I sent a small amount of BCH and watched as the article unlocked instantly on my screen. It really felt like magic internet money, and for the first time I understood why Bitcoin was such a big deal.
Over the next three years I fell deep down the Bitcoin Cash rabbit hole. At first I was confident that Bitcoin Cash would ultimately outcompete Bitcoin. But things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would. After a promising start, I watched as the long bear market took its toll on the Bitcoin Cash community. Instead of building, there was way more arguing and infighting. It all culminated in Bitcoin ABC, the development team that created Bitcoin Cash, announcing that with the November 2020 upgrade, the Bitcoin ABC client would include a self-funding mechanism whereby 8% of the block reward would go towards funding development. Miners who chose to mine using the Bitcoin ABC software would have to send 8% of the block reward to a designated address or their blocks would be considered invalid.
While the majority of the Bitcoin Cash community balked and refused to support the new rule, Bitcoin ABC went ahead with their plans anyway. This led to yet another network split on November 15, 2020, with most of the BCH community and ecosystem sticking with the old version of the client, and only a small group of ABC supporters following their new chain. This new chain would ultimately come to be known as eCash, or XEC.
I admit at first I wasn’t sure what to do. While I was supportive of ABC’s actions and overall vision, I was worried about its chances of survival since most of the miners and the infrastructure providers had abandoned them. But ABC’s new chain proved resilient. Despite being attacked from multiple angles, it managed to survive. The team worked hard to build new wallets, new block explorers, and worked with exchanges to get more listings. They proved to be who I thought they were: dedicated professionals who were on a mission with no plans on quitting. As the price of eCash continued to fall in relation to Bitcoin Cash, I started dumping my BCH to accumulate more XEC.
In my eyes, BCH had little to offer without the developers of ABC. The only thing it had going for it was network effect by being listed on just about every major exchange and crypto service provider. I’d seen what the rest of that community was capable of in my three years of supporting that project, and having been there and done that, I wasn’t interested in sticking around.
I have been an eCash evangelist ever since. So far I’ve been happy with my choice and the progress the eCash team has made over the last three years. I see the logic of their decision making and am optimistic that their hard work is about to pay off in the months and years to come.
In many ways, you could say the characteristics and features that attracted me to eCash were the same as those that originally attracted many people to Bitcoin. Namely the principles of having a sound money system that can’t be inflated or manipulated by central authorities. Money that can’t be censored based on political beliefs. Money that is borderless, instant, and with cheap transaction fees to give rise to new market opportunities. This is what Bitcoin originally stood for, but since the Bitcoin project pivoted to being more akin to digital gold rather than digital cash, I choose to support the eCash project instead.
The central belief of the eCash project is that it can be both a superior store of value and medium of exchange, whereas Bitcoin seems to have abandoned the latter and is primarily focused on just being the former.
3. What’s your overall investment expertise?
I am not a professional investor, so I don’t consider myself an investment expert. After achieving some success investing in stocks, I switched my focus to the crypto market once I understood its potential and saw it as one of the most asymmetric bets in the history of markets.
4. Can you share any personal success stories or memorable experiences you’ve had while using or transacting with eCash?
The past six years have been full of memorable experiences, but I think the best is yet to come for eCash, and only after it really succeeds will the details be worth telling. Hopefully, I will be able to share some of my memorable experiences when that time comes.
For me, the main thing that sets it apart from other digital currencies is how the project has evolved over the years. Unlike the thousands of other coins and tokens you encounter in the cryptocurrency market that were simply minted out of thin air, the eCash project is what I would call emergent. In the startup world, you often hear about how teams go through years of struggle before learning from their many mistakes until they eventually find product market fit. I see eCash the same way.
This development team has been through hell and back ever since they created the first ever Bitcoin fork in Bitcoin Cash. They were able to learn what worked and what didn’t work, and I see eCash as the culmination of all their efforts over the years. It has led to a project and community that is largely aligned in its goals and beliefs.I also see eCash as surprisingly one of only a handful of projects that are still pursuing the original vision laid out in Satoshi’s whitepaper of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. It’s also one of the few coins that has an actual roadmap you can point to as well as experienced engineers who are constantly writing code that is available for anyone to see: https://reviews.bitcoinabc.org/feed/
In the near future, I am excited about eCash staking rewards. It is scheduled to launch on November 15, 2023 in conjunction with eCash’s regular semi-annual upgrade, which always happens on the fifteenth of May and November of each year. It will be the first time a Bitcoin fork that shares the original genesis block allocates a portion of its block reward to staking nodes in addition to mining nodes. I look forward to seeing how this leads to increased decentralization of the network as people run their own eCash validating nodes to distribute the work more evenly between miners and stakers. I also look forward to seeing how eCash staking nodes will introduce new governance mechanisms as stakers will eventually be able to vote on policy proposals, giving the network a much better way to determine what is a signal versus what’s just noise.
In addition to staking rewards, the coming upgrade will also coincide with an increase in the developer fund from 8% to 32% of the block reward. This was done as a way to offset the upcoming halving, which will cut the total block reward in half. The additional funding combined with a potential increase in price could lead to a significant increase in resources to hire more developers and fund new projects that can attract more users to the eCash ecosystem.
I evaluate the long term value or price potential of eCash based on its fundamentals. To me investing is all about expected value, or EV, which is the sum of all possible outcomes multiplied by the probability of those outcomes. Since the goal of the eCash project is to become the money of the future, its overall market potential is astronomical. But it also faces plenty of challenges and competition, so by no means is it guaranteed to succeed. The question is, what is the probability eCash achieves its goals versus the probability of it going to zero? Having closely followed the project and the team behind it for several years now, I have enough confidence in its chances for success to make it my single largest investment by far. My decision to do so is based on the fact that I believe the world is ready for a censorship-resistant form of electronic cash, and that the eCash project has the best chance of delivering it.
As a Bitcoin fork, it has all the best features of the Bitcoin protocol such as Satoshi’s battle-tested proof of work algorithm, the same emission schedule and limited supply, and the elegant UTXO model that makes it much easier to scale than other chains that rely on an account based model. But on top of all that, eCash also has made or is in the process of making significant improvements to the Bitcoin protocol by adding things such as Avalanche consensus to increase security and provide a vastly better user experience. There’s also the aforementioned staking rewards to allow the average holder to contribute to the network in exchange for a share of the block reward, not to mention the ultimate goal of building a layer one network that can handle upwards of 5M transactions per second with guaranteed instant finality and low fees forever. I believe this can be achieved because I have personally interacted with the people working on the project and have faith in not only their ability, but also their honesty and integrity. They’ve also proven their work already with everything they’ve accomplished thus far.
8. How do you navigate the challenges or risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, and what advice would you give to new investors looking to enter the crypto market?
I don’t think of it as navigating the challenges or risks associated with investing in crypto, I would say it’s more about accepting the challenges or risks by understanding what those challenges and risks are. My only advice would be to try your best to really understand what you’re investing in. Learn as much as you can about the technology itself, the team behind the project, their vision and roadmap, as well as the associated risks, including the risks associated with the various ways to custody your coins. Because that’s the only way you will have a high degree of conviction in the cryptocurrency space, and without conviction you might end up succumbing to fear, uncertainty, and doubt and panic selling at the absolute wrong time. This is also why they say to not invest more than you can afford to lose since being over invested can lead one to panic during a prolonged bear market like the one we’ve been in for the last two years.
9. Are there any particular developments or partnerships in the pipeline for eCash that you believe could have a significant positive impact on its value or adoption?
While there are plenty of developments in the pipeline for the eCash project, I wouldn’t count on any one thing pumping the price overnight. The same applies to partnerships. The eCash team recently announced several new partnerships including CoinRabbit, Wirex, Sideshift.ai, and others, but I wouldn’t say that has suddenly led to a dramatic rise in price or adoption. What I do consider important is for the eCash project to continue making incremental improvements to the protocol, as well as adding more partners and services, so that it can be in the best position possible to succeed. I believe the upcoming launch of staking rewards, eCash aliases, and Avalanche pre-consensus will all help in this regard by improving network security and overall user experience.
One unique aspect of eCash is that because it’s a fork of Bitcoin Cash, there are potentially millions of people out there who might own XEC without realizing it since the likes of Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken and Grayscale have yet to give their customers who held BCH on their platforms as of November 15, 2020, the XEC they’d be entitled if those companies did the right thing. Should those companies ever come around, it could lead to a significant increase in eCash users in a short period of time.
10. On a more personal note, how does being a big Twitter influencer affect your perspective on cryptocurrency investments, and do you feel it gives you any unique advantages or insights?
I don’t see myself as a Twitter influencer, and certainly not a big one, but I would say my perspective on cryptocurrency investments is that of an investor, not a trader. When I used to mainly invest in stocks, I invested in companies I believed in, whose products I enjoyed using. I have a similar strategy when it comes to crypto. I will only invest in cryptocurrencies that I understand, that I’ve actually used and see the potential in with a solid roadmap and team.
And while I don’t consider myself an influencer, having been a long time member of the eCash community does have its advantages. It affords you some credibility within the community, so more people are willing to engage with you and answer any questions you may have, which is especially useful for someone who doesn’t have a technical background like myself.
11. What do you do outside of being a crypto influencer?
Again, I don’t see myself as a crypto influencer, but outside of crypto I am a dad and husband. I have also worked in corporate America for most of my career, which has given me some insight into how large organizations operate and both the good and bad that comes with them. When I’m not working, or hanging out with my family and friends, I like to write articles for my blog: www.ProofofWriting.com
12. What other alt coins are you looking into?
I’ll occasionally look into other projects to see if I’m missing anything, but so far I have found no other projects that have captured my imagination the way eCash does.
13. Can you say how much XEC do you have right now?
Approximately, I have a lot 😉
14. What’s your experience with crypto lending?
As someone who mostly buys and holds, I don’t have much experience with crypto lending, but since CoinRabbit added XEC I wanted to give it a try and I’ve been impressed with the service so far. I can also see how having access to a service like CoinRabbit gives users like myself more ways to put our money to work, which I see as a good thing.
15. Finally, what would you like to say to CoinRabbit users?
We could be on the verge of another massive bull run in crypto, so whatever you do, don’t get liquidated =)