We’re kicking off a series of articles titled “Innovators in Crypto” that feature interviews with leaders in this industry that offer unique perspectives, products, and services. We will feature posts on topics ranging from altcoins like Ripple to crypto security. For this first article in the series, we interview Simon Saval, Co-Founder of Upfolio, a website that provides visual guides and other assets for new (and seasoned) investors in cryptocurrency.
BitIRA: What is your professional background and what led you to start Upfolio?
Simon Saval: Originally from Germany, I studied business at the University of Southern California before becoming a serial entrepreneur and investor. My company owns a portfolio of web properties, including GeekWrapped.
Together with my business partner Tyler, I started Upfolio because we saw the need for a simple and approachable resource that helps beginners understand everything they need to know about blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Both Tyler and I have been involved privately in crypto for many years and are very passionate about it. Our goal with Upfolio is to simplify the many complex crypto topics out there and make them fun and approachable – and we hope that Upfolio can play a role in popularizing this incredible technology.
BitIRA: How did you get interested in cryptocurrencies and what potential do you see in them?
Simon: I heard about Bitcoin from a friend in 2012 and absolutely loved the idea of decentralized trust and disintermediating traditional businesses. Keep in mind, this was before Ethereum, before the ICO craze, etc. The industry is evolving rapidly, but I still learn fascinating new things on a daily basis – I love it. Blockchain, at its core, is about empowering the individual which makes the world a much better place, so I was hooked from day one and that hasn’t changed over the years.
There are few areas where so many smart, interesting, and diverse people work on an ever-evolving, shared topic. I think that’s what makes blockchain so incredible. There is a ton of potential and we are just getting started. This is a cyclical and very volatile industry, but if you take a step back, you realize that future versions of this tech could touch hundreds of things in our daily lives.
From payments to banking and from identity to ownership, blockchain is here to stay. I don’t buy that it will replace all centralized systems, but it will remove a whole lot of unnecessary middlemen and in the process make our lives easier. I am also super excited for how this technology can help people in developing countries.
BitIRA: What do you think are the most important security issues in the industry that consumers and businesses need to know?
Simon: We are in the very early stages of this industry – which means a lot of risk, but also a lot of opportunity. Consumers and businesses that are participating should understand that becoming your own bank (so to speak) also comes with a lot of responsibility.
The biggest security issues right now are scams, emotional investment decisions in a highly volatile market, and a lack of education about best practices. There aren’t many simple user experiences yet, so it’s important to understand how cryptocurrencies work and how to protect your assets.
I would recommend carefully doing your own due diligence, being open to new ideas but with a healthy dose of skepticism, always investing only what you can afford to lose, and understanding how to secure your assets.
Part of why we created Upfolio was to help beginners educate themselves about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It’s an incredibly exciting topic and an amazing opportunity for personal growth.
BitIRA: What do you think are the most effective measures to take to secure and protect one’s cryptocurrency assets (for both consumers and businesses)?
Simon: Security starts with understanding the basics of how this technology works. There is no substitute for this – not having a middleman means you’re in charge. So if you’re interested in cryptocurrency, it’s a good idea to learn about how the technology works and how to use and store your coins.
Learn about software and hardware wallets, why you should control your private keys, how to do backups, and how to do your own due diligence before investing. A digital currency coin has two sides – freedom and responsibility. Luckily, the crypto community is incredibly friendly and helpful.