Additional Background Information on Van Wagenen
After graduating cum laude in Finance from Westminster College, Ryan Van Wagenenhas worked with Global Private Equity for ten years. Prior to joining GPE, he was in an operations manager within Citi Trends where he was given an opportunity to work and report directly to one of the firm’s executive directors. This role would morph into Van Wagenen being responsible to the firm’s data entry, payables, payroll management, grant reports, and creating budgets. Citi Trends is a large American retail clothing chain based out of Georgia in the United States that is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker “CTRN.”
Global Private Equity is why Ryan Van Wagenen is Focused in Crypto
Global Private Equity has provided Ryan Van Wagenen with some experience that is rare to have so early in a career on the buyside. Traditional private equity and buyside work is usually tied to a sector and tends to be rigid in terms of transaction process and deal type. Given coverage in cutting edge technology, Van Wagenen has been able to branch out to some high growth subsectors that most in his position would not be able to do. Given Global Private Equity placing some sizeable bets on products tied to the blockchain, he has been put in position to be the firm’s expert in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. This has led to an interesting opportunity to be part of an alternative investment with such a high growth potential.
Cryptocurrency: Tale of Extreme Perma-bulls and Bears
Cryptocurrency is a story of extremes. To have an investment that can yield greater than 100x returns, this has to be the case. There are the perma-bulls, which are the ones that would go leverage and put everything they have in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. These also do tend to look for the latest and greatest initial coin offering (ICO) where they are looking to invest in the next Bitcoin. On the other hand, is quite extreme as many prominent figures call for the end of cryptocurrency. Most notably are Jamie Diamond and Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is confident that crypto will come to a “bad ending” and that investors need to educate themselves on the risks associated. There are also economists, such as Kenneth Rogoff from Harvard, who feel it to be more likely for Bitcoin to hit $100 than $100,000.
Government Intervention Will Have a Huge Impact
Van Wagenen expects the government to play a huge role in the future of cryptocurrency. When you hear countries like South Korea joining in with China recently to discuss an outright ban, this is worrysome. They have some of the largest groups in their 20s and 30s investing in crypto. Future regulation is uncertain at the current time, but something will have to come in the years to come. The best part of the uncertainty is the price volatility that comes from it. This is evident in ~20x annual returns two years ago, followed by ~60% decline the following year. If there’s one thing we know for sure, the uncertainty will be around for a while with crypto and it will be a volatile ride in whichever direction the digital currency decides to go.