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Insights Of A Highly Successful Venture Coinist

The Matt Brown Show, in association with CNBC Africa and social trading platform, Etoro, flew the wildly successful cryptocurrency trader, Luke Martin, AKA Venture Coinist, from the United States to take part in the show’s sixth live (and sold-out) cryptocurrency podcast.

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The Matt Brown Show has built a listenership and captive audience in over 100 countries around the world. #CryptoJHB was the first podcast event to trend in the #1 hashtag position on Twitter in the history of South African media.

CNBC Africa broadcasted a section of The Matt Brown Show, through their programme #CryptoTrader, Hosted by Ran Neu-Ner. The Matt Brown Show tapped into Martins’ deep insight into the cryptocurrency landscape and interrogated issues such as the move from Bitcoin to alternative cryptocurrency (altcoins), the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) frenzy, how he makes his investment decisions and anonymity coins.

Matt Brown says Martin is known for his uncanny ability to read the cryptocurrency market. “Luke has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter. I strongly advise anyone who is serious about cryptocurrency trading to follow him if they are not doing so already.”

Discussing the move from Bitcoin to altcoin, Martin said investor psychology is an important consideration, especially the psychology of people getting into crypto trading late. “Various coins that have been hailed as ‘the next Bitcoin’ attract investors looking for a cheaper coin that will allow them to earn a higher multiple.”

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Podcasting But Were Afraid To Ask

Martin says while the ICO frenzy – where some tokens launch at 50 or 100 times their money – might be a bubble, it might not necessarily be a bad thing. “Good things can emerge from it. The massive fundraising is going to back projects that will disrupt other industries. Of course, we will continue to see corrections of 30%, 40%, 50% or even greater. After all, we’re dealing with a hyper-volatile asset here.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Martin believes the total market cap is going to continue to go up. “Looking at where gold is – at $6-trillion – we are only at about $800 billion. So, relatively speaking, we are still pretty small.”

Talking about how he makes investment decisions, Martin says he thinks of everything in macro terms. “Where a lot of guys dive into projects and wonder if they should invest this or that coin, I go onto the website and do my homework. I like to think of things in terms of the entire market. I also think of them in terms of sectors. Notably, three sectors I am most interested in investing in are: smart contract platforms or protocols (the infrastructure for the cryptocurrency space); privacy coins; and decentralised exchanges.

“Once I have a sector picked out – let’s say decentralised exchanges – I look at it closely. I like to establish who the biggest players are and who have the most potential, healthiest projects and strongest teams (incidentally, I think it’s ZeroX – they have the most activity going on in their ecosystem). And then, maybe I look smaller. If I’m looking to take a larger risk, I may look at a coin that has a smaller market cap, such as Kyber.

Asked to elucidate on the difference between decentralised exchanges and bitfinex or bifinance, Martin says the greatest difference is the level of security. “Right now, exchanges are a centralised point of failure for the entire system. The appeal of cryptocurrency is you are your own bank.

“When you keep your Bitcoin on one of these exchanges and the exchange goes under or gets hacked, all your cryptocurrency is gone. A centralised exchange allows you to connect via a centralised system and exchange tokens in that way. Your money is never tied up in an exchange – it’s always in your own wallet or a smart contract.”

Related: [PODCAST] An Inside Man On How To Disrupt The Banking Industry

Martin is bullish about ZeroX, which was recently listed on Bitfinex, getting a high valuation. “There are so many different projects being built on top of ZeroX. It has a really healthy ecosystem of teams already adopting that protocol.

“Most decentralised models have more than one development team working on it. My advice is to evaluate the strength of the development team that is building around something like ZeroX, check their activity on Twitter and their community. It’s important to see there is ongoing communication.

On anonymity coins, Martin says some believe the block chain in its current format is anonymous. “This is not really the case – it’s halfway anonymous in the sense that your name attached to your bank account. However, all the tokens are traceable. Understandably, most corporations don’t want their bank account credit online. Also, some organisations have amazing trading terms and they don’t want their competitors to see when they pay the money or how much they get paid.”

Martin’s top three anonymity coins are Monero (which has the largest network; is a truly decentralised project; and doesn’t rely on a single developer, ZCash (which is a bit more risky); and ZClassic. Investors need to be aware there are a lot of Z’s when it comes to privacy coins, but they are not the same,” he says.

When asked how staking coins works, Martin says if investors hold their coins in a wallet, they are pretty much earning interest in the form of more coins. “So, if you’re holding 1 000 ZCoins and you are running a ZNode, you are paid every time a block is found.

In Neu-Ner’s words: “They are making the assumption that if you own the coins, you belong to the network and are therefore a contributor to it. You are rewarded with an ‘interest’ payment, or a dividend related to what the network is making.”

The conversation turns to interoperability challenges. “Interoperability is a kind of decentralised exchange combining a few different things. We’ve already seen network congestion happen with Bitcoin and Etherium, amongst others. These chains aren’t able to interact with each other yet. It would be huge if they could, but right now there is not conversion metric that can take you from the lite network into the Bitcoin network or from the Bitcoin network into the Etherium network.

Related: 5 Answers From Digital Kungfu On Why Podcasts Are Your Best Self Development Tool

For people looking to invest in ICOs, Martin recommends an objective, systematic approach that follows some set of rules. “A friend of mine pioneered a technique of putting the ICOs onto a spreadsheet and breaking them up into categories such as team and qualitative, token metrics, market cap and total supply, amongst others. The next step is to score them before making a decision.”

One recommendation Martin gives to everyone is to split their positions between trades and investments. “Whether they choose to hold two separate portfolios is up to them, but knowing the time horizon that they want to be a particular position is important. With something like ZClassic, the time horizon is really just to hold until the fork. ZRX, on the other hand, is a decentralised exchange where they may want to be positioned and could therefore be regarded an investment.”

A final word of advice from Matt Brown is: “If you understand this space and know how to make great trading decisions, it can really change your life. Attending conferences such as these and following leaders in the cryptocurrency arena can help inform your trading and investment decisions.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Takes On 30 New Businesses

22 Women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February.

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With new hope burgeoning throughout the South African business environment as fundamental political change sweeps through the country, the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme has inducted 42 new beneficiaries from 30 different SMMEs for a year of intense training, coaching, mentorship and support – to assist them to professionalise and grow their businesses. This brings to 242 the total number of entrepreneurs supported by the programme.

The inductees – 22 women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel  in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February. This represented the commencement of the programme’s 2018 development year, which incorporates the provision of customised analysis and strategic plans tailored to the specific needs of each enrolled business, business management courses provided by the University of Cape Town and facilitated by GetSmarter; Financial literacy courses through the Colour Accounting system, Microsoft Office courses, and Sales & Marketing training.  The beneficiaries are each assigned a business analyst, a financial mentor and a leadership coach who work with them to implement their business strategies throughout the year.

Related: Before Time In Soweto – The Décor Hire And Catering Entrepreneurs That Are Growing Their Business Annually

This year’s class of 2018 entrepreneurs is made up of 30 small businesses operating in provinces across six provinces in South Africa in a diverse range of market sectors that include: tourism, ICT, cleaning, professional services, manufacturing, retail, health and beauty, agriculture and secretarial and administrative services. Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, says “Part of the value of such a diverse group is that it creates opportunities for the businesses to trade with each other.”

She adds, “Job creation is increasingly crucial in South Africa, as unemployment has reached unprecedented levels, particularly among the youth. Through the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme, we identify and assist people running their own businesses to professionalise their operations in an effort to make them viable employers who are sustainable businesses and contributors to the growth of the country’s economy.  At the same time, we encourage them to be “conscious” consumers who procure local products and services and support each other by keeping it local and proudly South African.  We are interested in changing their approaches from “managerial” mindsets to “leadership” mindsets, and so we motivate them to be fearless in their approach to growth with purpose. The programme provides them with the skills to enhance their strategic planning and performance and the wisdom to “pay it forward” by training them to become leaders in their communities.  The role that the programme’s mentors and coaches play in instilling these values is of great significance to the achievement of our objectives.”

Belinda Francis, MD of Tych Solutions, a generalist recruitment agency based in Durban with offices in Johannesburg and Eastern Cape, was enthusiastic about joining the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme. “Tsogo Sun is an amazing brand to be associated with, but more so, having met the team at a Supplier Showcase and heard others’ success stories, I was hungry to learn more and be a part of this journey. I don’t have an active partner and so I believe this programme will help to grow and empower me and my entire team even further. I am big on empowering and developing people and small businesses – and this will certainly create the platform for me to do so.”

Related: Gemkids – From Montessori Method To Micro Enterprise

Entrepreneur Carol Mlangeni, director of Enhle Creatives Photography & Design, also based in Durban, says she was browsing the internet looking for guidance on how to resolve issues within her company when she saw a Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs advertisement – and immediately responded. “I have issues within my business and I have been looking for answers on how to resolve them and grow my business and my brand awareness – I hope to achieve this through this programme.” Mlangeni adds that her future plans include providing job opportunities for “other aspiring enthusiasts like me”.

Thato Senosi is Founder of Magauta Designs and Projects, which supplies custom-made curtains, upholstery, and furniture repairs, and is based in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni. He was introduced to Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs by his mother, Carol Senosi, who joined the programme in 2016 and was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He says he joined the programme because

“I believe that entrepreneurship is a science, and one needs to put together all the necessary tools and formulas to build a successful business – and this programme offers that. My expectations this year are to identify missing formulas and find solutions, to be monitored and supported, and helped to become a great version of myself so I can inspire others, because no man is an island.”

His plans for the future include starting his own textile manufacturing company and bringing industry into the township to help combat some of the social challenges in his local community.

Says Tothill, “It’s encouraging to see the growing reach of Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs throughout the country and in a diverse range of businesses, and we wish our new beneficiaries – the Class of 2018 – every success through the year as they discover new ways to develop themselves and their enterprises.”

Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 13 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles. For more details, visit https://www.tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.

Visit the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs on Facebook: Facebook/TsogoEntrepreneurs and follow #TsogoEntrepreneurs on Twitter and Instagram.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Class of 2018 with Hezron Louw

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2018 National Budget: What To expect?

The South African economy has experienced undue economic pressure and decreasing investor confidence. 

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Pressure was undoubtedly on the South African National Treasury to take active steps to address short-comings and enable growth within the local economy.

“The anticipation of 2018/2019 Annual Budget Speech is growing; with the hope that it will bring improvement in the economy, address key challenges and create tangible solutions for consumers and businesses alike,” says Hugo van Zyl: FNB Fiduciary Specialist.

With the upcoming Budget Speech on the 21st of February; we looked to the past year and highlight a few key financial key points that may still affect consumers this year:

Personal Income Tax

In 2017, minor adjustments were made to this tax bracket last year; with 45% for taxable income above R1.5 million being introduced. This increase in taxes payable for income earners above the R1.5 million income thresholds saw significant pressure on tax payers having to manage an existing budget with lower disposable income.

We foresee that the Personal income tax rate will remain the same for this financial year.  With this in mind we encourage tax payers to avoid incurring unnecessary debt and ensure that one’s debt to income ratio is minimized at all costs.

Higher Education

Last year, an additional R5 billion was added to the previously announced R32 billion. Approximately 30% of South African parents save for their child’s education on a yearly basis. With the cost of education rising by about 10% each year, parents are encouraged to continue making provision for their children’s future. In addition, the recent funding announcement for free university education to students from poor households in South Africa will be announced in the upcoming budget together with possible tax increases.

Related: #SONA2018: Upbeat Address Offers Inspiring Message For South African Entrepreneurs

Exercise duty rates for tobacco and alcoholic products

The Sin Tax has increased previously between 6.1% and 9.1%. We anticipate this to also increase as is the case every year. We advise that consumers should consider reducing their consumption to ease budget constraints on their wallets and more importantly, improve their health.

Tax-free Savings Accounts

The annual Tax Free Savings limit increased from R30 000 to R33 000 last year. This was great news for investors and we predict that this will remain the same this year.

The financial year ends on the 28th of February 2018. South Africans still have an opportunity to take advantage of tax free savings, encompassed in the benefit of exemption from taxes like dividends tax, capital gains tax etc. The benefits will give a huge boost to your investment over time. The key to investing is to invest early, stay invested and in time you will reap the rewards, regardless of how much you invest per month.

Dividend Withholding Tax

The rate increased from 15% to 20%, which was put into effect 22 February 2017, and any dividends incurred on or after this date attracted the increased rate. We do not foresee any further change during this Budget speech.

VAT Increase

We predict a possible increase in the VAT rate as it can raise large amounts of revenue. Between 2015 and 2017, the general fuel levy increased by 30c/l. We expect an increase in the fuel levy; but the extent of the increase will depend on whether the VAT rate is increased.

Capital Gains Tax

An increase in the annual inclusion for individuals and special trusts is expected.

Investment overview

Chantal Marx; Head of research FNB Securities says that, “The MTBPS painted a very negative picture of the South African fiscus in October last year, and from an investment perspective, we will be very focused on how government plans to make up what is expected to be a significant revenue shortfall. However, the expenditure component will be equally important.”

Possibilities to increase revenue:

  • Disposing of assets like government’s share in Telkom.
  • Increased taxes:
    • A possible increase in VAT. If this is the case, there could however be some relief for grant recipients through higher grant increases as well as the zero rating of certain items.
    • Fiscal drag (not adjusting tax brackets to compensate for inflation).
    • A possibility of a further increase in the marginal tax rate for the highest income earners.
  • Given the stronger rand, treasury could use the opportunity to raise the fuel levy.

On the expenditure side, the line is even finer and there is very little government can do to limit the states’ spending bill. The wage bill is expected to grow a little ahead of inflation and grant payments could increase to provide relief for possible VAT hikes. Capital expenditure growth is anticipated to remain negative in real terms.

Related: Bitcoin Family Of Coins – Who Will Win?

We anticipate an improvement in deficit targets relative to the MTBPS on the back of revenue raising measures. This will signal a return to fiscal consolidation which is likely to be bond friendly, particularly if enough is done to avert a Moody’s downgrade.

Of course, equities tend to be a bit of a balancing act. On the one side higher tax rates and continued pressure on fixed investment expenditure from government could have a near term dampening growth impact. On the other side however there are a number of underpins for equities. Valuations may be supported by lower risk-free rates (government bond yields) and if South Africa avoids a downgrade from Moody’s, the SARB may feel confident to cut interest rates.

“Given potentially higher business and consumer confidence flowing from fiscal discipline, the longer term growth outlook for the economy is likely to improve and this will ultimately filter through to a better corporate earnings outlook,” concludes Marx.

Agriculture

Comment by Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business says that “the current budget speech comes on the backdrop of renewed pressure on the agriculture industry to accelerate transformation as well as severe drought that is currently ravaging the Western Cape. Confidence in the sector nose-dived last year and further investment has been subdued.”

Makube expects further details on financing models that are envisaged in partnership with the Banking sector as well as the increased allocations for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) and the Department of Land and Rural Development (DLRD) for agriculture support and fast racking land reform. The ruling party has prioritised land reform through its resolution on expropriation and it is therefore expected that this will be a bigger focus for the budget.

The quantum is difficult to predict given the tight fiscal situation.

SME’s

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business says “Ideally we would want to see continued focus on supporting and growing SME’s in South Africa with funding and reducing compliance requirements, as we have seen in previous budgets.

“Ideally we will see a continued effective channelling of funds through to government programmes, and an increased emphasis on the various programmes and departments working together to deploy these funds. Another theme that we are hoping to see coming through is the focus on reducing regulatory and administrative burdens on small businesses which often presents obstacles that hamper their ability to operate and grow. These include both tax and government compliance requirements,” shares Weinberg.

Please visit the FNB Blog to view the 2018 Budget preview from the FNB Economics team: https://blog.fnb.co.za/2018/02/2018-budget-preview

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#SONA2018: Upbeat Address Offers Inspiring Message For South African Entrepreneurs

Small & Medium Businesses in South Africa are likely to take inspiration from the upbeat tone of President Cyril Ramaphosa first State of the Nation Address.

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Small & Medium Businesses in South Africa are likely to take inspiration from the upbeat tone of President Cyril Ramaphosa first State of the Nation Address and its positive outlook on how smaller businesses can play a major role in spurring economic growth and addressing the challenge of unemployment, says Pieter Bensch, Executive Vice President, Africa & Middle East at Sage.

“We are pleased to hear the new president of South Africa acknowledge that the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses,” says Bensch. “It is especially heartening to hear that he is committed to building a small business ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs.”

“Entrepreneurship doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it is the result of collaboration between big business, government, business builders, universities and other stakeholders to build the skills, infrastructure and support systems entrepreneurs need to succeed.”

Related: Budget 2018/9: 3 Key Tax Areas To Look Out For In The Speech

Bensch adds that the CEO Small Business Fund – which currently stands at R1.5 billion – is an outstanding example of how government and big business can work together to nurture entrepreneurship. “I was excited to hear that government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups and that it also has plans to reduce the regulatory barriers for small businesses,” he says.

“These sorts of interventions could help us to dramatically improve the success and survival rate of South Africa’s small and start-up businesses.”

President Ramaphosa tackled the burning crisis of youth unemployment when he mentioned the launch the Youth Employment Service initiative, which will place unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy.

“Skills in the ICT sector remain a challenge and big business must play a central role supporting government as far as possible through internships and learnerships. This, along with existing initiatives such as the Employment Tax Incentive, could play a major role in upskilling young South Africans – enabling youngsters to play a role in the digital economy, while supplying the skills every business needs to be globally competitive,” Bensch says.

Adds Bensch: “Our new President’s speech was pragmatic, but he also looked towards the future. Industry 4.0 is likely to change the skills employers will be looking for, how entire industries will operate, and the nature of work itself. It was great to hear President Ramaphosa talk about science, technology and innovation as opportunities for our country – we need to seize the chance to put South Africa right at the forefront of the digital industrial revolution if we are to unleash its full potential.”

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