Gabriele Musella & Oleg Giberstein on Using Coinrule to Help Amateur Traders Compete with Pros & Hedge Funds (Episode 130)
Today Gabriele & Oleg with Coinrule joins us to discuss how they are empowering traders to compete with professional algorithmic traders and hedge funds.
Gabriele is the Founder and CEO of Coinrule — a smart assistant designed exclusively for cryptocurrency traders. With over 15 years of experience in domains such as FINTECH, Telco, Science, Banking, he has been able to seamlessly navigate through a range of innovation management roles around 5 countries (Finland, UK, USA, Hungary, Italy) working for UBS Bank, Nokia, NHS, Vodafone, IBM, WPP, Lloyds Bank, etc. Gabriele holds a BSc/MSc from the Polytechnic of Milan and has undertaken several executive business programs at the L.S.E and Harvard University. He is a Lead Mentor at Google Launchpad, and a Mentor at Startupbootcamp, and Virgin Startups.
Oleg Giberstein studied Politics and International Relations (BA and MPhil) in London and Oxford and subsequently worked in Banking and Risk roles at Citigroup London for a number of years. In his last role at Citi, Oleg was Chief of Staff to Citi’s Global Public Sector Portfolio Head. After launching his first startup Guidelighter, a career mentoring platform, Oleg helped build a Tech and Startup Ecosystem in Palestine for the Portland Trust before joining Gabriele to start Coinrule in 2018. He is a Board Trustee at the Startup Leadership Program (SLP). SLP Startups have collectively raised over $700 million. Together with Gabriele launched Coinrule in 2018.
Crowdfunding Campaign: http://seedrs.com/coinrule
*Disclaimer. None of this information is financial advice.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:01:26 – 00:00:15:24
Richard Carthon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here, Richard Carthon and today I got a very special guest. Right now one is in London, one is in Italy, but today I got Gabrielle and Oleg with Coinrule, how are y’all doing today?
00:00:17:15 – 00:00:18:08
Oleg Giberstein & Gabriele Musella: Great, thanks. Hello, everyone.
00:00:19:08 – 00:00:41:08
Richard Carthon: Of course, well excited to have y’all. As I was saying before the show started, y’all are my first joint guests that I’ve had on my show, so really excited to see how this goes. And of course, for everyone listening, we’re also recording this via video, so if you want to go check us out on YouTube, please do so, but before we get started, give us a little bit of background on both of each other. So go ahead Oleg, go ahead and kick us off with that.
00:00:42:09 – 00:01:09:13
Oleg Giberstein: Sure. So my background is I grew up in Germany, studied in the U.K., went to Oxford, did a degree here, worked in banking for a few years, got a bit tired of the whole, you know, traditional finance industry, and started my first startup. We joined an accelerator program, that’s where I met Gabriele and I was already really getting into the whole Crypto and Blockchain space around that time. That’s about three and a half years ago now and then a while later, we started going together.
00:01:12:02 – 00:01:12:17
Richard Carthon: Awesome.
00:01:12:19 – 00:01:52:10
Gabriele Musella: Yeah, and for me, I started my working career in Finland, I was working at Nokia, then I went over to Boston, I came to work in a research lab, and then after that, I’ve been for more than 10 years in London, working always for several innovation labs, so banks, so HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, UBS. And then meanwhile in the last five, six years, I’ve been trying to start my own venture and this is the third one and it’s going very well. I got into the Crypto space in 2012 when I bought my first Bitcoin and I sold it after a few months and I made a four percent return. So I was very happy about that, but the policy was not the right choice.
00:01:52:27 – 00:02:08:14
Richard Carthon: Yeah. So let’s stay on that real quick, the first introduction to Crypto. So you personally said it was 2012. How did you first hear about it in the first place? And then after you learned about it, at which point were you like, Okay, there’s something to this, I want to stay in this industry?
00:02:10:00 – 00:03:10:27
Gabriele Musella: It was casual I would say. At that time, I was hanging out with a lot of researchers from MIT or Boston University or computer scientists. Someone mentioned Bitcoin, so I did some research on Coinbase, and that’s the only coin I knew at the time and I bought $400 just to play around. Then 2016, I went just back to check my account, I mean, I was already working in FinTech, which was called, you know, Fintech, finance and technology and innovation labs, but then on Coinbase I saw this new coin, Ethereum. And I was like, Oh, what’s that? Then I bought a little bit and then eventually was growing a lot and then more, more, more. And then I started meeting a few friends that also were interested in that, and had already joined the industry, already in news every day. Every two or three hours, I’ll go through and then I understand that centralized finance, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, NFT’s are the future, the new frontier of Fintech. So I would say for me, Fintech is already old finance.
00:03:11:08 – 00:03:13:15
Richard Carthon: Yeah, definitely. What about for you Oleg?
00:03:14:27 – 00:03:54:11
Oleg Giberstein: So for me, it started with me just being really interested in kind of monetary policy, economic regimes around the world, political economy. So I was working in banking, I was working with governments, I was seeing a lot of interesting things. I kind of, I must have become aware of Bitcoin around 2012, 13, but I was like, so busy in finance, I just didn’t really have the time to engage with it. And when I left my banking job, I actually started really to go much more actively to Fintech and just tech events. Started to talk to people and at some point, it just clicked, blew my mind and I couldn’t really stop engaging with it anymore.
00:03:55:03 – 00:04:11:20
Richard Carthon: Right. No, that’s amazing. And so you’re starting to learn about this and you can’t really ignore anymore and so y’all come together and you create Coinrule. So tell us about what year was this, how did you like, put all this together? And tell us a little bit about this smart assistant that’s designed exclusively for Cryptocurrency traders.
00:04:13:08 – 00:04:54:16
Gabriele Musella: So the way we met was very interesting. We were part of this accelerator called the Mass Challenge, that’s usually held in Boston, but this time with also the addition in London. So there was me, Oleg, another like 20 entrepreneurs and also Zdenek, our CTO and we all had different companies. And I’d like a day job and doing I used to go back to my working space with my employees and I was super stressed. On the other side of the big table, there was this guy that was always like asking me, “Oh, lets catch up, let’s have a chat, let’s have a coffee.” And then eventually at some point, I was like, “Okay, let’s have a chat.” And then when we talked, we just like, had such a good brainstorming about, like Crypto.
00:04:54:18 – 00:05:25:18
Gabriele Musella: I was already playing around in my mind with some kind of portfolio type of op that would have more on goals, on some objectives, so you can save and trade a Cryptocurrency because you wanted to buy a house. So we already had some sketches and then we also, you know, defined this problem by automation and then you know, we basically stopped our current ventures and we started Coinrule. And then after Zdenek, our CTO joined after a few months. So basically from three companies, just you know, we just focused on Coinrule.
00:05:26:03 – 00:05:36:29
Richard Carthon: Wow, so a giant mesh. Everything came together at the right time to focus on that. And Oleg, can you kind of just elaborate on, you know, why did you kind of either blend the three or stop the three to focus primarily on this?
00:05:37:18 – 00:06:29:02
Oleg Giberstein: I mean, first of all, because it’s a huge opportunity. I mean, it’s just something that makes sense. Like there is this millennial generation, people are starting to invest, people are massively into Crypto, it’s like the new big thing. It’s more transparent than traditional finance, it’s more kind of accessible to normal people. They start trading and suddenly they really say even this new market is really controlled by you know, professionals and whales and bots and all this. So these people, they discover that they need something that would help them to compete in that market and Coinrule is that tool that helps them to compete and it’s just something that so obviously makes sense. I mean, if you look at some of the traditional trading platforms, if you look at the Bloomberg terminal, it looks compared to some of the tech and user experience stuff we have today, it looks like something from the 80s.
00:06:29:09 – 00:06:29:24
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:06:29:27 – 00:06:39:11
Oleg Giberstein: So we have this new generation of software platforms that just helps a new generation of people to actually engage with the market.
00:06:40:07 – 00:06:54:25
Richard Carthon: So speak to that a little bit. So if I’m a brand new investor, so for one of my newbies that are listening to the podcast or for one of my OG’s that’s been in it for a while, like who is Coinrule for and how would you come up and use this particular platform?
00:06:56:22 – 00:07:56:20
Gabriele Musella: Coinrule is for hobbyist investors, it’s for someone that would like some coins on finance, on Coinbase, and then they start understanding that manual trading takes so much time and obviously people have their proper day jobs, so day trading is not their own activity. So at that point, those users start looking for an automation tool, especially because more than 90 percent, 95 percent of the market, the traders are not really coders. So they can’t program, even if they’re programmers, they don’t want to really bother to run it on script, run it on a secure server and take care of all the life cycle of the development. So they just want an off the shelf solution. So for these people, they can just use Coinrule. So where you can say if Bitcoin goes down two percent, according to these conditions for new market cap price and Merici, etc, etc., buy these other coins like Ripple. So you can create a very simple automation or a very complex as much as you want and you can test your correlation.
00:07:56:26 – 00:08:30:25
Gabriele Musella: So I always, when I go to meetups and events, I always meet people that have some sort of assumptions about correlation between coins or the best time to buy a specific asset, so with Coinrule, you can actually set up an account for free and you can test those assumptions. And now we are also launching the back testing functionality, so that you can actually test those rules on historical market data, so you can have an informed guess how the tool will be performed in the past. So all this kind of off the shelf kind of package product for automation is something that’s not been done before, so it’s a very novel proposition.
00:08:31:28 – 00:09:01:22
Richard Carthon: Yeah, that is unique. And I’ve been part of a Crypto fund, and one of the things that we did early was trying to automate a lot of those things and trying to test assumptions and just like you said, back tested against historical data, so I definitely see why that’s powerful. Is Coinrule more focused on a more affluent investor or more educated investor who can use some of these more complex figures? Or let’s say if you’re brand new and you just want to learn how to try to do some of these things, is there an opportunity for them as well?
00:09:02:22 – 00:09:47:15
Gabriele Musella: So there’s definitely an opportunity for beginners. I mean, in a way, that’s kind of really what what we focus on almost. We provide a lot of educational material. Coinrule is actually fun to use. People are helpful, we have a super helpful community on Telegram, our head of trading is always hands on involved to guide people and help them to understand what’s going on in the market. Now, let’s say you’re a complete beginner. Probably you will not be trading you know, with technical indicators, but you might still use Coinrule to build simple rules that will protect your portfolio or that will catch an opportunity if the market is going up fast. So, yeah, definitely for someone who has just bought his first Crypto on Coinbase or Binance, they can already get started on Coinrule.
00:09:48:11 – 00:09:58:12
Richard Carthon: That’s great. And on that, I mean, I know that you’re having some pretty good success, if I’m not mistaken, y’all just did a successful fundraiser. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
00:09:59:18 – 00:10:29:03
Gabriele Musella: Yes, yes, so crowd funding campaign going on. The first two days already to 100 percent so and then we went public and we are overfunding up to a half million pounds, so this is the phase for the next four to five weeks to invest. Has been very good, actually like, receive very good investors from like, you know, the former head of, what was it Oleg? Oh, head of revenue.
00:10:30:12 – 00:10:33:20
Oleg Giberstein: Yeah, head of revenue.
00:10:33:22 – 00:11:11:06
Gabriele Musella: Joining the round, the crowd funding round. We had some good names we didn’t expect in finance. So actually we will leverage some of them to become advisors probably. It’s going very well, this is our second fundraiser. We did the first one last year, the lead investor was a bank, a Hungarian bank, MKB. They actually were the first one believing in the project, they welcomed us in their accelerator program in Budapest and we won the prize, like the best startup they invested. We got two more angels and that was the previous round. And now this is kind of the seed round that we are finalizing, basically at the end of November.
00:11:12:07 – 00:11:37:00
Richard Carthon: Good deal. Well, I know that’s exciting for y’all and also just goes to show what a good product you must have. So everyone listening, definitely you know, take some time, go check them out, see how you can utilize a Coinrule, because it seems extremely impressive, but to kind of shift gears a bit, you know, I know that y’all both been in the space for a really long time and there’s a lot going on in the industry, in the space right now. What are some things in the space that currently have your attention?
00:11:38:20 – 00:11:58:26
Gabriele Musella: Mhmm. I mean, for me, specifically, like decentralised finance, over the last two months. The whole story behind it, it’s amazing. I mean, it’s something we’ve been following for you know, let’s say, a year and a half. Fantastic projects and tactics, lots of cool stuff, but it just kind of felt that there wasn’t yet this people were building.
00:11:59:02 – 00:11:59:17
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:11:59:19 – 00:12:47:13
Oleg Giberstein: And this summer, with the whole liquidity, mining, etc, the hype started. And you know how powerful Crypto can get when there is really this hype behind it. And just, it was almost like a computer game, the craziness that was going on, but in that we forget how big this is, this has the potential to do to banks, to financial intermediaries, what the Internet did to the post office and the telecoms firms. Literally just wipe them out, replace them with something much better. So as much as I enjoy like playing this computer game of DeFi and Crypto, what’s actually behind it? It’s mind blowingly exciting. And also this has now calmed down obviously on the long term, like the fundamentals are extremely strong, so I’m super excited about that.
00:12:48:03 – 00:13:21:12
Richard Carthon: Yeah, on that. Just like you said, it’s extremely exciting and it’s a true disruptor. I mean, when you look at the financial institutions that have been put in place, we’ve kind of been doing the same thing for almost thousands of years. Just the institution of currency of what you’re using to to do it has changed, but when you think about why this is disrupting in such a way, we’re moving to digital. The world is digitalized and decentralized in a lot of ways as well. I think DeFi is a really great way and the first step into starting to make that happen a lot quicker.
00:13:22:28 – 00:13:23:23
Oleg Giberstein: Yeah, for sure sure.
00:13:23:25 – 00:13:26:15
Richard Carthon: How about yourself Gabriel?
00:13:27:23 – 00:14:21:03
Gabriele Musella: Yeah. So I think we always had this idea that the Nasdaq, when it was created as a kind of the market for digital companies, was kind of inheriting all the mechanics from the old Wall Street world and then it didn’t seem right. In fact you know, now tokenization is a big topic in this space. I mean, we, I mean, I think that at some point they just like Nasdaq would be using it I mean, already, start doing some proof of concept that would be using Blockchain, that would be using like several tokens, ADC 20 to actually create what’s called Estulin. So basically the offering of proper shares of the company, not token for them. So it’s something that has to happen because, you know, doing paper and paper like, very like, a lot of paperwork for signing, like to buy some shares is something from another century, right? And then that’s not going to change.
00:14:21:05 – 00:15:02:25
Gabriele Musella: So I think It’s a natural process that decentralized finance will become the new rate and the new infrastructure for the traditional finance, it’s just the questions like how long it will take. With all the technology we have seen in the last years, all the buzzword, like big data, UX or you name it, like they usually have the first hype and it’s like kind of the early adopters, but then you end up not hearing about them anymore because they get absorbed into the methodology and the techniques of several disciplines. If you’re a developer or if you’re a designer who just absorbs those techniques, they become the standard, state of art for the industry. So I think that’s what will happen also with centralized finance, tokenization.
00:15:02:27 – 00:15:59:04
Richard Carthon: Thank you for that. And it is going to be interesting to see how regulation starts to be put around this. And as we start to get more context around what are the rules of engagement, I think you start to see a lot more people beginning to enter the space and be more active in it as well, but another question I want to pose to you both is, I think we are heading to another potential global recession. A lot of the writings are on the wall and when you look at Bitcoin in the first place, back in you know, 08, when the last recession happened, Bitcoin was made in response. So, of course, as this one is headed, the use case of Cryptocurrency/Bitcoin, everything that’s going on is truly being tested. So as we go, of course, we’re starting off this next decade with this going on. So in the next decade, what are some things that are on your mind that you think could materialize and that you’re interested in watching as this industry continues to grow?
00:16:00:03 – 00:16:32:17
Gabriele Musella: Yeah, that’s the million dollar question or billion dollar, really. I would say there is a lot of stuff going on. I mean, you kind of, you touched upon the point. Let’s say there is a global recession, what will Crypt assets do? I mean, we all hope that Bitcoin, let’s say, will hold up as a hedge against the like macro crisis, but then at the same time, we know actually in March, the market, the Crypto markets also went down because still a lot of the capital in Crypto sees Crypto as a risk asset, which then drops if everything drops.
00:16:32:19 – 00:16:33:04
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:16:33:17 – 00:17:13:19
Gabriele Musella: I would expect that if markets drop, initially Crypto in Bitcoin will still drop, but probably less than many other assets and then will recover quickly. I think that it will be a huge thing to watch, just to see that Bitcoin really establishes itself as a hedge against micro. The other big trends, I mean, obviously, there are a million, but two just to highlight right now, one is kind of publicly listed companies entering the Crypto space, like the PayPal announcement the other day, Square holding Bitcoin in its treasury, a couple of the other funds, Galaxy Holdings, etc.
00:17:14:13 – 00:17:14:28
Richard Carthon: Huge news.
00:17:15:00 – 00:18:13:15
Gabriele Musella: That’s huge. Will we see more and more publicly listed companies holding part of their funds in Bitcoin? I absolutely think so, but that’s a critical thing to watch out. And the final thing, central bank digital currencies, that’s coming. It’s going to have a massive impact, but it’s hard to predict how the immediate impact is that if the central bank can literally put a coin directly into your bank account, that changes the way how monetary policy is done, but it also has a huge impact on, Hey, suddenly we need to have this Blockchain to be running across the banks and the people’s bank accounts, so people suddenly get exposure to basically crypto assets straight out coming from the central bank. So I think the threshold for people to enter non-central bank Crypto assets will drop massively and will just really open the market for everyone.
00:18:13:17 – 00:18:14:02
Richard Carthon: Yeah, all great points.
00:18:15:05 – 00:18:17:22
Oleg Giberstein: It will be the dream, but I think it will take a few years, right?
00:18:18:29 – 00:18:37:15
Gabriele Musella: Yeah, yeah, I think some of it will happen. I mean, the central bank, digital currencies like that, and what the central banks are trying to do to prevent potentially even the next crisis. So I think that could happen sooner than we think because they need this to. What else will happen? It’s hard to say, right?
00:18:37:17 – 00:18:38:02
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:18:38:04 – 00:19:17:05
Oleg Giberstein: I mean, the one thing that can facilitate that process is also if Cryptocurrency Project Open opens up a little bit towards open APIs and the banking API, I don’t see like Polka Dot or like all the good chains or Solana working towards that, but I think they should like step down a little bit from the Cryptocurrency revolutionary mode and approach and kind of become a bit more mainstream and to start working with more like mainstream technology, so that they can facilitate the process of kind of consolidation of Bitcoin and all the Blockchain.
00:19:18:09 – 00:19:54:16
Richard Carthon: Yeah. I mean, if you look at mass adoption, what does that look like? It has to get to a point where anyone could pick up and intuitively use it. Crypto is not there yet, I think we are actively moving towards it and actively trying to build it. You know, we got some time before we’re there, however, the companies that are sticking around and actually trying to build to last, unfortunately, with over 7,000 currencies available, Cryptocurrencies rather, not all of them were meant and had the best intentions of mine to try to build something that would last and work, a lot of it was just how do we make as much money in the shortest amount of time.
00:19:54:26 – 00:20:26:02
Richard Carthon: So of course, a lot of that’s going to start weeding out and the companies that remain and are able to have true use cases and people use them, I think that’s where it gets a little bit more powerful. And a lot of this, the value that’s being driven from Crypto becomes even more valuable. So I appreciate both of your answers, I think they were very thorough and also appreciate your time in explaining Coinrule and all the insights that you’ve given us, but before we go, I always like to ask our guests, what is the final thought that you want to leave with our listeners? So I will now pose that to both of you.
00:20:27:29 – 00:21:11:20
Gabriele Musella: I think the one thing I want to say is like we really believe in less inequality on the market, in finance, and that’s why we started Coinrule, to allow normal people to have powerful tools in their hands as much as investment bankers and hedge funds have at the moment. So basically we have people fight back these big institutions. It’s a new topic as well, because that requires a lot of teaching time and bringing people on a learning process, but we feel that the big opportunities is between when you have to user that’s pretty intermediate and they know something about trading, but they don’t know much, so that’s where the biggest opportunity and we can really make a difference by educating also all the rest of the world other than Japan.
00:21:11:22 – 00:21:39:17
Gabriele Musella: If you’re in Japan, you’re going to have a very good wealth management culture, you know personal funds is something that your family is supposed to do, it’s kind of, it’s culturally accepted. I don’t see that happening in Europe or in South America, South Africa, or the U.S. So I think the rest of the world would benefit from kind of learning more how to manage their personal finances and then that’s why we have Corinrule, to give them the tools to do that.
00:21:40:05 – 00:21:40:20
Richard Carthon: That’s great.
00:21:40:22 – 00:22:17:25
Oleg Giberstein: Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s a great point, which definitely I completely agree with. Maybe one element that I’m thinking about is how international this whole market is. I’m loving to see how many users we have from places like Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, places where people just didn’t have that same amount of access to investment opportunities. I mean, it’s easy for us in, you know, London or in the U.S. to buy, let’s say, Tesla stock or whatever financial assets we want. We underestimate how difficult it is for 80 percent of the world’s population.
00:22:18:02 – 00:22:18:17
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:22:18:19 – 00:22:38:24
Oleg Giberstein: And suddenly you have crypto, suddenly you can really access so many of these financial opportunities so easily, but to really do that in the right way, not to get scammed, not to face market risks without help, you need tools. And that’s really why we are so passionate in building Coinrule, because we generally think it can make a difference for so many people.
00:22:39:13 – 00:23:31:13
Richard Carthon: And that’s amazing. And something I want to reemphasize here is that you’re creating access. And just like you said, great point is that most of the world doesn’t have access to financial tools that can help them create wealth and generate wealth or even start conversations to understand what that even looks like. I call Crypto the great equalizer of the world, because now as long as you have a way to get it, trade it and learn more about it, you can actively jump into it without having a whole lot of money to start in the first place and that money that you’re generating might be more stable than your local currency. So it’s just, it’s an amazing time. I really enjoy and appreciate what y’all are doing with Coinrule and the access that you’re trying to provide. Thank you again for your time, what are ways that people can connect with you and learn more about what you have going on?
00:23:31:15 – 00:23:55:28
Oleg Giberstein: In the first place would be Coinrule, you can go there and talk about access to finance. You can invest as little as 10 pounds, so it’s very, very accessible. And you can get our pitch deck and you can learn more about our story or you can send us an email at Coinrule.io or connect us on LinkedIn. We are very, very open to all these.
00:23:59:01 – 00:24:03:05
Richard Carthon: Amazing. Well, again, thank you both for being on the show and for everyone listening, Stay Crypto Current.
Crypto Current will be guiding all of you who are new to the cryptocurrency world to becoming a cryptocurrency and blockchain expert. Crypto Current was founded to give access to information to everyone on current events occurring in cryptocurrency and blockchain in a digestible way. Since its creation, we have created content that impacted thousands of people through its podcast, blog, and social media.