Crypto is complex. We make it simple.
Houston, Texas. “Would you ever invest in something you don’t understand?” Spencer Randall asked me. It is a compelling question, one of the challenges preventing mass cryptocurrency adoption. “People don’t understand Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That’s why we’re here to share our insights, analysis, and make more people aware of this asset class.”
Almost a year ago, a friend introduced me to the CryptoEQ.io founding team — Spencer Randall, Michael Thoma and Brooks Vaughn. CryptoEQ is a startup in Houston, Texas becoming the “trusted source for cryptocurrency analysis” for novice investors, launched July 2019. “Crypto is complex. We make it simple,” Spencer says. “We offer technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis, along with proprietary trading algorithms and systems.”
Spencer highlighted the difference between traditional investors, like Warren Buffet calling crypto “rat poison,” and crypto advocates, like Jack Dorsey integrating crypto into the payment platform service he founded, Square. “What is complex and disruptive is often controversial and misunderstood. We saw that with the internet bubble, file sharing, decentralization of media. My convictions for this company and this industry draw from these patterns.”
Spencer was an early adopter. “I went to crypto meetups all through Texas. I was in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, all around Houston. The meetups felt more like mixers. We would discuss crypto with three or four people at a time, but there wasn’t any structure. So, I founded a meetup here in Houston facilitating curated discussions on crypto. We compared notes on assets, investing, and trading in crypto. Everyone had their own system. After six months, we identified the problem we wanted to solve: we wanted to create a single system to help everyone trade and invest in cryptoassets.”
Spencer met his co-founders, Michael Thoma and Brooks Vaughn, at these meetups. “We got to know each other for months before we realized we were going to be business partners,” Spencer laughed. “Brooks, Mike, and I were together by the summer of 2018. When I built out the team, I sought people good at what I was not. It turns out, Mike, Brooks, and I balanced out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. There’s a lot of harmony in building a team that way. I’ve done the same thing with our marketing team, our development team. It’s a really healthy way to start a team.” Spencer takes the role of “The Engineer,” Brooks as “The Innovator” and Michael as “The Scientist.” Spencer continued, “It’s not like day one we had this mapped out, no, but when you have a culture built around trust, it shakes out. It all starts with trust, and the right roles and responsibilities fall in place.” The team has a collective 12 years of crypto experience.
Spencer envisions CryptoEQ as a lighthouse shepherding in newcomers to crypto. “Think, Morningstar and TradingView utility meets Apple product simplicity. There’s nothing in crypto that has emerged as a household name prioritizing usability like Apple.”
Spencer shared with me the guiding principles for CryptoEQ’s products: Signal over Noise, Direction over Data, Quality over Quantity and Usability over Complexity. “The quality piece is most important. There are more than 5,000 cryptoassets. We want to help people vet, trade and invest in the assets that matter.”
There are a multitude of crypto analysis and content engines. But one critical ingredient is lacking: “Trust. Our analysis is independent and objective. We don’t accept outside consultation to influence what we list, what we rate or how we rate our assets.”
CryptoEQ is a progressive, web-based app accessible through any browser. I was curious why the startup has not published an app on the App Store. “An app store, like Apple’s or Google’s, is a gatekeeper. Sticking with a simple, intuitive interface accessible from any device is the future of app development and aligns with crypto fundamentals,” Spencer explained.
Spencer noted competitors focused each on a single element of analysis: technical, fundamental and sentiment. “Our magic is a 360 degree market analysis combined with trading signals and sentiment analysis. We haven’t seen a product tackle all three and wrap them into one interface.”
Spencer defined each analysis type for me. “Technical analysis is tracking market price action and issuing signals — tops, bottoms, entry and exit points. Fundamental analysis is applying a conceptual and objective framework to asset research and analysis. Our research is by humans for humans. Sentiment analysis is interpreting emotions — fear, greed, happiness, etc. — from text scraped from any internet source and digested using natural language processing. I’m really excited to launch this. Folks are really interested, it’s really sticky. For now, we offer trend analysis: observing search engine volume to identify irregularities leading to trade opportunities.”
The website home page delivers the promised concise and simple interface: technical trading panel, overview fundamental analysis and trend analysis.
The technical trading panel recommends entry/exit points. Spencer noted about the trading performance, “Four out of five trades were winning trades in the last six months. We are really excited about that, it’s incredible in a volatile market like this.” But the team wants to improve the results. “How can we get to 90%? We revisit our algorithms regularly and we want to bring in folks specializing on machine learning.”
The team’s fundamental analysis considers ten objective criteria to award one of five ratings — Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral and Deficient — evaluated on 10 criteria — Use Case, Technology, Economics, Governance, Vulnerabilities, Network Effects, Team, User Experience, Regulation and Roadmap . “An immense amount of work goes into rating any one asset and evergreening the report to incorporate latest developments. Mike and Brooks have created a great system and standard to evaluate any asset,” Spencer reports, “and we’re excited about the results. In 2019, an equally weighted portfolio of our favorably rated assets outperformed a comparable portfolio of unfavorably rated assets by 61%.”
Spencer explained how they protect their brand. “All of our algorithms are trade secret, anyone we’ve worked with that has helped us with development has signed a non-disclosure. The fundamental ratings and due-diligence framework Mike and Brooks pioneered is also protected by non-disclosures.”
Spencer shared with me exciting upcoming developments. “Next month, we’ll be launching the v3 website and an additional 10 assets. Some of the top sites in the space receive millions of visits per year, and our improvements will be a big boost on our journey to that volume. We’re targeting mid-year for v4, including display advertising and sentiment analysis. v5 early next year will launch enterprise products.” The team is also actively growing. “Our core team is doubling to 10. We have business and software developers, marketing strategists and the cofounders. There is also a network of contractors around the globe.” The growth continues, even amidst an unprecedented global medical epidemic, Covid19. “Our team structure and business adapts well to full remote work, and we are proud to offer our new hires opportunities in these challenging times.”
We conclude the interview with a discussion on CryptoEQ’s culture. “Mike, Brooks and I talked about brand identifiers and the way we’d like to work together as team. Over time, I realized that they’re the same thing. Our mission as cofounders is to embody these principles. Our top three are Drive, Maverick and Trust. In entrepreneurship, to get anything off the ground, you have to own what you do. You must have an open mind and really consider people’s ideas when embracing something that’s completely disruptive and against the grain. And it all starts with trust. The cofounders trust each other, our team members trust each other; all our other values stem from this.”
I noticed one of their other values, Integrity. Since I first met up with CryptoEQ, the team has done exactly what they said they would do, when they said they would do it. The Wild West of crypto needs objective, trustworthy analysis to cut through the clutter and scams. The team that will make good on this will also live it themselves.
The author, Evan Crain, is excited to share the link to the IOTA core report he wrote for CryptoEQ and announce an upcoming crypto dictionary he is editing with CryptoEQ, intended for novice investors.
The author occasionally completes paid editing and writing assignments and provides unpaid advice for CryptoEQ. This article was unpaid and initiated by the author from personal interest to learn more about CryptoEQ. The author hopes you learned as much about CryptoEQ as he did in writing the article!
The content of this article is journalistic only, and is not intended to provide tax, legal, accounting, financial, investment, trading, or professional advice. Please also see CryptoEQ’s full disclaimer at CryptoEQ.io.
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