Interview with Ruud Feltkamp, Owner of AI-driven Trading Bot Cryptohopper
“I follow this Cryptohopper, and it allows me to periodically buy the top 10 coins in the market. That is the most risk-averse strategy you can have.”
During the early days when forums were still flooded with Bitcoin doubters Satoshi Nakamoto quoted: “If you don’t believe it or don’t get it, I don’t have the time to try to convince you, sorry.” A lot has changed since 2008, the year in which Nakamoto published a white paper introducing the concepts behind bitcoin and blockchain. A whole industry has been created from that year onwards, also a company like Cryptohopper, an AI-driven trading bot which hosts more than nine million transactions a month. The company, founded in 2017 by two Dutch brothers, Ruud Feltkamp and his brother Pim, quickly evolved to be a leader in the automated crypto trading industry, by allowing its users to automate trading strategies.
Ruud, well known in the Netherlands for his acting career, from when he played in movies such as Lover or Loser (2009), Little Crumb (1999) and a soap called, Good Times, Bad Times (1990), took some valuable time out of his busy day to talk to Blockchain News about the future of his company, Web 3 and about crypto regulation.
BCN: “The Market capitalisation of the crypto industry grew threefold to $3 trillion in November of last year, but despite several factors driving growth, the market has also undergone turbulence, mainly from regulatory uncertainty.
Cryptocurrencies are often thought to operate out of the reach of national regulation, but in fact their valuations, transaction volumes and user bases react substantially to news about regulatory actions. Based on the recent significant capital inflow in the market, it appears cryptocurrencies might be growing immune to frequent regulatory crackdowns. Do you agree with this? What effect do you think regulation will have on the market capitalisation of crypto in the near and later future, of let’s say, 5 years’ time?”
Ruud: “I think a lot of people who don’t know much about crypto look at it with a negative connotation. I don’t think that is correct. I think regulations are inevitable, and good for the sector. I mean, all financial markets are regulated right? with a reason. I think that is a good thing, but at the same time, regulators should also understand what entrepreneurs are facing, what challenges they have, and that is not always the case. I think in the Netherlands, in Europe, they are listening quite well, but the only big thing is obviously that every country has their own regulations that are kind of the same but also kind of different. In Europe you need licences in every country, but I think in general, regulations are good. That is one.
But your question, are cryptocurrencies growing immune to frequent regulatory crackdowns? No, I don’t think that cryptocurrencies are growing immune, but I think the fact that there now is a regulatory framework allows big parties to enter crypto as well. Previously in 2015, when you began with Blockchain News, there were mainly consumers in crypto and primarily whales, people with a lot of money. And lately we have, say in the last two years, seen more institutional players stepping in. I think cryptocurrencies by itself are not immune to regulatory crackdowns, but I think thanks to regulation the sector is maturing and that’s why cryptocurrencies have been doing well.”
BCN: “Should banks be moving towards digital currencies, or not?
This quote can be found on the website of the IMF:” If CBDCs are designed prudently, they can potentially offer more resilience, more safety, greater availability, and lower costs than private forms of digital money. That is clearly the case when compared to unbacked crypto assets that are inherently volatile. And even the better managed and regulated Stablecoins may not be quite a match against a stable and well‑designed central bank digital currency.
We know that the move towards CBDCs is gaining momentum, driven by the ingenuity of Central Banks.’
What do you think of this statement? Can CBCD’s be even considered cryptocurrencies anymore, with a bank in between?”
Ruud: “It depends how you define crypto. If you define crypto to be absolutely decentralized, then no, but from a technical point of view, yes, it is crypto. It is not that bad. In crypto we have this thing that we look at banks like they are evil, but that’s not the case. They are run by people, they make mistakes, but I think in general the idea of a Euro is good and is something I am quite enthusiastic about. If you compare it with, say something like another Stablecoin. What would you rather have, Tether, or something backed by the central bank, which is essentially the same, Tether or a crypto Euro.’’
BCN: “Don’t you think that crypto itself, the whole blockchain idea, where you don’t need say insurance companies, banks etc. I mean, shouldn’t we be moving away from government run situations? Doesn’t the move towards CBDCs defeat that purpose?”
Ruud: “I love DeFi, decentralized insurance for example. But people have a problem with inflation and banks and governments printing money, and it should be explained why they do that. But still people dislike governments doing that, hence they are going to an asset like bitcoin. But that still doesn’t mean a Euro is a bad thing. You go to a snack bar, and you say, can you please give me some fries with mayonnaise, that is what we eat here in the Netherlands, then you want to know that will be one euro fifty, and you don’t want to hear, well today it’s this much, and you need to make a calculation every time. So, there is a certain convenience in printed money, keeping the price kind of stable, although it never completely stable. So, I think that is the good thing about euros, you exactly know what it means in terms of value.”
BCN: “This is also what we are seeing in El Salvador, the volatility, this is what regular people don’t like about it.”
Ruud: “But does that mean that people should keep their money in the bank in euros where it’s worth less, I don’t know, let’s say in between 5 to 12% every year? Well, everybody is now figuring out that keeping your money in the bank is a bad idea.”
BCN: “Invest it in crypto……”
Ruud: “Exactly. So, in that case CBDC are a good thing, Stablecoins should be worried, because now it is backed by somebody you can potentially trust more than anyone behind a Stablecoin, well, I say potentially, because there are lots of good parties in the space. But they should both have their place in crypto.”
BCN: “How do you see the future of web 3?”
Ruud: “In a nutshell what web 3 is all about is, where before you could play a game in 2D on the internet, now suddenly you can have various games in 3D on the internet, where you are the owner of the data, and potentially even use an in-game currency that has value outside of the game. You are the owner of your data, decentralized, so instead of having a social network like Facebook, you have a decentralized social network where you have ownership over the data you publish. For example, now, when you post a picture on Instagram, you are not the owner of that picture anymore, Instagram is. So, when you have the crypto Instagram you will have custodianship of the account, so if you forget your password, you will have a problem, because there is nobody who can help you. But also, if you post a picture, it’s yours and if you want to take it offline, you can do it, and nobody can block you basically. That is what web 3 is all about.”
BCN: ‘’That’s quite nice, isn’t it?”
Ruud:” I’m a big fan of what is coming, I get inspired a lot, there is so much stuff to talk about, but it’s not all great. It’s probably already there, you can easily make a decentralized messaging service, that is super easy, but that also means that criminals and terrorists can message each other without any intervenience of people, because it’s all heavily encrypted, and we cannot block them. They are the owners of their data so there is no control there. I am not saying web 3 is a bad thing, I love where we are going, but we also need to understand there are risks involved, and we need to understand as a community what kind of risk we expose ourselves to. That’s all. And how much we value our own privacy versus control and the risks.
BCN: “And then finally, I wanted to ask you about Cryptohopper and the future of it, what’s is in the pipeline, any changes to the platform, partnerships?”
Ruud: “There is a lot happening at the moment, but the problem is, the biggest part of it I cannot tell you yet, because it’s a little bit too premature, but there is big stuff coming up, and by the end of May I can hopefully tell you more about it.
What I can tell you now is that soon, well we haven’t even announced this product yet, so it’s a scoup, there is a product coming up, we call it the Copyhopper, and it is basically full hands-off copy trading, for the most novice traders to experience and use Cryptohopper. The hopper is obviously an automated trading platform, where all kinds of traders get automated trading, and this solution is for the real beginners amongst us. People who want to dip their toes into automated trading, that want something hands-off, something easy, something cheap. Currently it is in Beta, we don’t have an official launch date yet, but we will launch it soon.
People ask me a lot, “Hey Ruud, I don’t trade crypto, but I want to use Cryptohopper, what should I do?” My standard answer is, just start trading crypto first, and then see if automated trading is something for you. It’s kind of difficult and you need to know something about crypto. With the Copyhopper, you can fully copy somebody, but we also offer something called index-investing. So, you basically say, alright, I follow this crypto hopper, and it allows me to periodically buy the top 10 coins in the market. That is the most risk-averse strategy you can have. It’s the easiest way of investing, with the least risk involved. And that is also possible with the Copyhopper. It’s an entry product to Cryptohopper and ultimately, hopefully people can experience what else we have to offer, such as AI trading.”
BCN: “Thank you for the interview. We will keep on following Cryptohopper, good luck with the platform.’’
Ruud: “You’re welcome.”
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