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The Rational Reminder Podcast Profile

The Rational Reminder Podcast

English, Finance, 2 seasons, 315 episodes, 5 days 21 hours 47 minutes
A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making, from two Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore, Portfolio Managers at PWL Capital.
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Episode 286: Errol Morris: Tuning out the Noise

In today’s episode, Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning film director and author, joins us to talk about his recently released documentary called Tune Out the Noise. The documentary focuses on the revolution that's happened in the financial system, how the markets work, and why the advancements made are so vital. Errol is an acclaimed figure in film and literature, boasting an impressive array of accolades, notably securing an Oscar for his renowned documentary The Fog of War. His work spans various arenas, encompassing short films for prestigious events and many charitable and political organizations. In our conversation, we delve into the significance of storytelling in communicating complex subjects, the power of serendipity, the evolution of finance, and the enigmatic nature of truth. We discuss the necessity of storytelling, the unexpected occurrences that influenced finance, the importance of empirical data in understanding truth, the central story of Tune Out the No
04/01/20241 hour 48 seconds
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Episode 285: A Year in Review

It’s hard to believe, but today’s episode marks our fifth annual year-in-review episode — where we look back at some of our favourite conversations and takeaways from the past year! If there’s one overarching theme that stood out amongst our guests in 2023 it would be the power of purposeful decision-making to impact our future selves. Tuning in, you’ll hear our guests' remarkable views on the topic, from the power of regret when it comes to long-term decisions to the ‘hidden partner’ that accompanies us in all our decision-making. Another key theme that emerged is how the role of financial advisors is evolving. Key insights include why your financial advisor should collaborate with other advisors, why trust is essential, and how to prepare your children for wealth. We wrap things up with reflective tips on how to identify what your true goals are with a profound lesson on why setting your own scoreboard is essential. Tune in as we share some of our favourite moments from
28/12/20232 hours 4 minutes 59 seconds
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Episode 284: Prof. Scott Cederburg: Challenging the Status Quo on Lifecycle Asset Allocation

In this episode, we welcome back the esteemed Professor Scott Cederburg, Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Arizona. In this highly anticipated episode, Professor Cederburg revisits the show to delve into his groundbreaking paper on life cycle asset allocation. Professor Cederburg's latest research presents findings that disrupt traditional thinking in the field, prompting a deep dive into the implications of these new insights. In our conversation, we unpack the findings from the paper and how they challenge established norms in retirement planning and asset allocation. We discuss what the new paper adds to the discourse, his approach and methodology, the different assessment criteria used, and the main findings from the paper. We also delve into the different asset allocation strategies assessed, which strategy performed best, aspects that would influence the various strategies, and how to invest for the long term safely. We explore the nuances of stock
21/12/20231 hour 9 minutes 28 seconds
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Episode 283: When Volatility is Risk, and Introducing The Money Scope Podcast

Today’s episode features a series of in-depth segments, and includes a visit from our two favourite Marks; Mark Soth (aka The Loonie Doctor) and Mark McGrath! To kick things off we break down volatility and investor behaviour by looking back at our conversation with Scott Cederburg and what his research demonstrates about the topic. We then hear from Mark Soth about the project that he and Ben have been working on; the soon-to-be-released Money Scope podcast. Find out what you can expect from their financial curriculum, like the topics they’ll be covering and how the structure of their episodes is specifically designed to educate. Next up we have our Mark to Market Segment, with Mark McGrath providing a detailed overview of everything you need to know about physicians incorporating. We then cover a recap of our conversation with Gerard O'Reilly, before sharing our thoughts on why this episode is worth multiple listens. Following that you’ll hear Cameron share his review of
14/12/202352 minutes 31 seconds
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Episode 264: Pim van Vliet: The Volatility Effect, Revisited

Pim van Vliet is on a mission to put the low volatility factor on the map. In his role as Head of Conservative Equities and Chief Quantitative Strategist at Robeco, he focuses on leveraging the effect of low-risk investing. Pim has also published a book, High Returns From Low Risk: A Remarkable Stock Market Paradox, where he unpacks some of the key aspects that guide his work and underpin his success. During this conversation, Pim shares his insights on volatility, the changing market, and combining low-risk with other traditional factors. He equips listeners with key considerations for evaluating strategies or products when allocating low-risk and offers his perspective on out-of-sample-testing, distinguishing between global-factor and cross-sectional premiums, and more. Listeners will get Pim’s perspective on the pros and cons of the Sharpe ratio, and we examine risk-adjusted returns on long and short legs before hearing his Fama-French
03/08/202358 minutes 46 seconds
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Episode 261: Structured Products with Felix Fattinger and Petra Vokata & Jill Schlesinger

Our focus for today's episode is the topic of structured products and we welcome two expert guests to weigh in with their research and insight on the subject. Felix Fattinger is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Vienna Graduate School of Finance whose research focuses on complexity from a number of perspectives. Petra Vokata is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Ohio State University, currently working in areas of household finance, financial innovation, and consumer financial protection. Both Felix and Petra offer some amazing takeaways for retail investors, deftly balancing the data with their ability to read it and implement the lessons we should learn about structured products. We then welcome Jill Schlesinger back to the show to talk about her new book, The Great Money Reset. We hear from her about the process of writing the book, her aims for its publications, and the main questions it can help individuals answer. </
13/07/20231 hour 57 minutes 5 seconds
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Episode 260: Prof. James Choi: Practical Finance

Today we welcome James Choi, Professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management, to the show to share some of his insight into what he has dubbed practical finance. James has focused his research on behavioural finance, behavioural economics, household finance, capital markets, health economics, and sociology, and is turning this expertise into pragmatic knowledge marketed towards ordinary people. This reframing and reconfiguration of the theory for all people and the decisions they make, could not be more in line with what we are trying to do here at Rational Reminder, and this conversation with James was packed with so many surprising and informative responses to relatable questions. We ask James about index funds, the benefits of advisors, optimal equity, diversification, and much more. We also spend a little bit of time exploring the individual reasons that people have for their decisions, with James expanding on the disconnect between people's philosophy and their actions. F
06/07/20231 hour 11 minutes 24 seconds
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Episode 258: Prof. Meir Statman: Financial Decisions for Normal People

Behavioural finance provides a realistic and comprehensive framework for understanding financial markets and decision-making. Incorporating insights from psychology, it enhances our understanding of investor behaviour, market dynamics, and risk management, leading to more effective investment strategies and improved financial outcomes. In this episode, Professor Meir Statman, a renowned expert in finance and behavioural finance, takes us on a captivating journey through the intriguing world of maximizing well-being through finance. Professor Statman is a distinguished financial expert and a leading authority in the field of behavioural finance. His groundbreaking research has shaped the understanding of investor behaviour and its impact on financial decision-making. Through his academic contributions and practical insights, Professor Statman has become a trusted guide in navigating the complex intersection of finance and human behaviour. In our conversation, he unravels the secrets
22/06/20231 hour 11 minutes 58 seconds
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Episode 257: Giorgio Ugazio (Mr. RIP): Life Design, In Progress

What are your guiding philosophies on work and life? And how do they influence your daily decisions and the trajectory of your career? If these questions feel somewhat daunting, and you aren’t sure how to answer them, then this episode is a great place to start! Joining us today is Giorgio Ugazio, a self-described content creator, startup founder, and father. Giorgio is a software engineer by training, with a Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence and robotics, and spent over seven years working at Google. He is the founder of Retire In Progress, a blog where he shares his thoughts on life, work, achieving financial independence, and retiring early. The platform has amassed a dedicated following thanks to Giorgio’s many unique insights on life, design, and living intentionally. In today’s conversation, we talk with Giorgio about the underpinnings of his philosophies, the excellent book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, and how his interpretati
15/06/202357 minutes 25 seconds
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Episode 256: Prof. Hal Hershfield: Your Future Self

How does the connection we have with our future self impact the decisions we make today? And what active steps can we take to improve our connection with our future selves? Today on the show we welcome back Hal Hershfield, whose new book Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today delves into the science of our relationship with our future selves and what we can do to change it for the better. In our conversation with Hal, we discuss the concept of the self, how we change over time, and why so many of us feel disconnected from our future selves. He describes the research surrounding these subjects and their findings, including how the brain scans they performed demonstrate that we mostly see our future selves as strangers, and why this is caused, at least in part, by the fact that our future selves don’t technically exist yet. We also discuss the interventions that have been
08/06/202353 minutes 50 seconds
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David Blanchett: Regret Optimized Portfolios, and Optimal Retirement Income (EP.254)

There are many different objective functions you can use when building optimal portfolios. The majority of these approaches define risk from the perspective of variability or bad outcomes, but positive returns could be viewed as “risky” for those that don’t experience them, which is another way of saying that people experience regret (or FOMO, for our trendier listeners). Today, we are joined by David Blanchett, a return guest and the Managing Director and Head of Retirement Research for PGIM DC Solutions, the global investment management arm of Prudential Financial. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Wealth Management at The American College of Financial Services and a Research Fellow for the Alliance for Lifetime Income. David returns to the podcast for an articulate discussion about regret in portfolio construction, what drives it, and how financial advisors can cater to it. We t
25/05/20231 hour 7 minutes 38 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 17: Ari Juels: The Technical Case for Blockchain

Critics of blockchain often say that it is nothing more than a database, but today’s guest, Ari Juels, has a different opinion. His technical expertise (he is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech), combined with his ability to understand both sides of a divisive topic like this one, make for a very insightful conversation about Bitcoin, NFTs, and smart contracts. We talk about the reasons for the valid skepticism that surrounds blockchain technology, the various reasons that Ari believes that it is a powerful, useful tool, despite its downfalls, pyramid schemes, decentralized exchanges and more!   Key Points From This Episode:   The significance of the Bitcoin innovation to Ari’s field of study. (0:03:40) What piqued Ari’s initial interest in digital currency. (0:04:46) Ari explains the difference between permission and permissionless blockchains. (0:06:27)</stro
23/09/20221 hour 22 minutes 50 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 16: Chris DeRose: Uncensored Crypto Perspectives

In this episode, we speak to Chris DeRose, software developer and former co-host of the Bitcoin Uncensored podcast, about both the downsides and upsides of cryptocurrencies and the associated technologies. We took the time to dive deep into the subject with Chris and learned about some of the common misconceptions about blockchain technology, the value of cryptocurrencies to society, ways in which the crypto space has evolved, using economic theories to understand financial systems, the definition of money, what he thinks about the associated technologies, the role blockchain technology can have in society and why cryptocurrencies will not replace the dollar.   Key Points From This Episode:   The motivation behind Chris’s decision to get involved with Bitcoin in 2010. (0:00:48) How the Bitcoin community has evolved since Chris got involved in 2010. (0:03:00) Some of the common misc
16/09/20221 hour 36 minutes 58 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 15: Prof. Vili Lehdonvirta: Cryptocracy: The Obfuscation of Power

Today, we speak to Vili Lehdonvirta, Professor of Economics, Sociology, and Digital Social Research at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. Professor Lehdonvirta is a social scientist whose research focuses on ways digital technologies are reshaping the organization of economies, including their associated social effects. He is also the author of two books, Cloud Empires and Virtual Economies, which provide readers with an in-depth look into the power that crypto platforms hold and a well-rounded characterization of digital markets. In this episode, we talk about the ideological underpinnings of crypto and the role of governance in making cryptocurrencies possible. We discuss the role of states in scaling markets, how states and platform companies differ, the impacts of smart contracts on governance issues, and how control and power are centralized within crypto markets, as well as the social implications of blockchain technology. Listeners wi
09/09/20221 hour 6 minutes 47 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 14: Prof. John Cochrane: Money, (Fiscal) Inflation, and Political Freedom

Welcome to our limited edition crypto series. In this episode, we welcome back Professor John Cochrane, who was a guest on the Rational Reminder series, to talk everything money. Professor Cochrane has immense experience on the topic and is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, as well as Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and was a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is also the author of several books and writes a popular blog called The Grumpy Economist. In this episode, we take a deep dive into the concept of money. We learn what numeraire is, how a numeraire is defined, and explore some of the intricacies of money. We also discuss and unpack the differences between fiscal theory and monetary theory, along with other ideas regarding the value of money. We then delve into how all t
02/09/20221 hour 44 minutes 4 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 13: Prof. William Magnuson: Blockchain and Democracy

Welcome to another episode from our limited edition crypto series. The previous guests we have spoken to about crypto generally have experience in economics, finance, or technology. In this episode, we have a look at crypto through a legal lens with Professor William Magnuson, an Associate Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law. He is also the author of Blockchain Democracy, which provides readers with a guide into the world of blockchain and Bitcoin, and highlights the reasons for their growing popularity. In our conversation, we delve into everything law and order within the crypto world as Professor Magnuson explains the causes of crime, the jurisdiction of crypto, the impact of decentralized cryptocurrency on the legal system, and how to overcome the legal challenges surrounding crypto. We also talk about the underlying ideology of crypto, the origins of cypherpunks, the people who are being negatively affected by, mechanisms to enforce regulations, and much more. T
26/08/202253 minutes 41 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 12: David Gerard: Crypto Realities

What is the real value of cryptocurrencies? Can crypto technology be applied to traditional financial markets? In this episode, we welcome David Gerard, a technologist and author of the books Libra Shrugged and Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.  He uses his skills as a journalist to investigate the uses and hype around cryptocurrencies and is an outspoken skeptic of the technology. Although not originally from the technology sector, he has become an authority on the topic and has briefed the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on the technology. He also runs a blog covering important aspects of the cryptocurrency space. In today’s conversation, we learn some harsh realities about the benefits of cryptocurrencies and why they will not last in the long term. We learn what the real value of crypto-markets is, why he considers it to be a Ponzi scheme, what needs to change about cryptocurrencies, whether there are any benefits to the technology and the
19/08/20221 hour
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Understanding Crypto 11: Quinn DuPont: Understanding Crypto: An Interdisciplinary Approach

In this episode, we speak to Quinn DuPont, a self-described technology historian and researcher of everything crypto. He is fascinated by what humans do and how technology affects what humans do. Quinn focuses his research on the history, meaning, use, and socio-technical development of cryptography. He has published many academic papers on the subject, including the book Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains, and is currently an adjunct professor at the UBC School of Information. He approaches investigating the world of crypto as a scientist making him neither a skeptic nor a proponent of the technology, offering listeners an objective perspective. In this episode, we unpack the basics of crypto and take a deep dive into the theoretical and technological concepts. We learn about the ideological foundations of crypto, how crypto technology will impact governance, what the definition of money is, the potential of the technology to society, and the social components associated wit
12/08/20221 hour 33 minutes 16 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 10: Prof. Hilary Allen: DeFi: Shadow Banking 2.0?

There is a lot of hype surrounding cryptocurrencies and DeFi technology, with excitement around the potential innovations they offer financial systems. Often lacking in the discussion is an objective and critically informed viewpoint, leading to confusion and misunderstanding. In today’s conversation, we get the balanced perspective that we need with Professor Hilary Allen, who has a wealth of experience in banking, law, financial regulation, corporate finance, and business administration. She is a law professor at the American University of Washington College of Law and her research focuses on the impact of new financial technologies on the stability of the current finance system. She has written many academic papers on the subject, including the book Driverless Finance, which provides readers with a balanced perspective on the opportunities and threats of fintech innovations. In our candid and fascinating conversation with Professor Allen, we learn about the threats and o
05/08/202248 minutes 19 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 9: Campbell R. Harvey: DeFi and the Future of Finance (Rebroadcast)

For this week’s episode, we are revisiting a portion of our conversation with the legendary Professor Campbell R. Harvey and and his more optimistic viewpoint on the crypto space.  Campbell is the Professor of International Business at Duke University and is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2016 he served as the President of the American Finance Association, and from 2006 to 2012 he occupied the incredibly demanding role of Editor for the Journal of Finance. We hear about Campbell’s latest book DeFi and the Future of Finance along with his most recent research. Discover how Campbell first became interested in the topic several years ago and decided to put together a course for his students. We also delve into the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) and how we can expect it to shape global finance, trading, and the future of the internet. 
29/07/202247 minutes 7 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 8: Tim O'Reilly: How does Web3 Compare to Web 2.0?

Welcome back to another comprehensive and informative episode in this limited series of the Rational Reminder Podcast, a weekly reality check about the world of cryptocurrencies. We are lucky to have another respected figure in the crypto world on our show, technology veteran Tim O’Reilly. Tim is a well-known educator and publisher in the crypto community and the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of O'Reilly Media. He has been involved in the technology industry since the inception and rise of Silicon Valley and, with over 35 years of industry experience, he is known for popularizing the terms ‘open-source software’ and ‘Web 2.0’ and is a respected commentator on the space. In today’s show, we do a lot of looking backwards with Tim and draw insight from his vast experience in the industry to discuss what the future of cryptocurrencies holds. We also talk about what separates companies that survive from those that do not, problems in society that blockchain technology can be used for, and c
22/07/202252 minutes 25 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 7: Nicholas Weaver: A Computer Scientist's Perspective on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Dr. Nicholas Weaver’s well-known lectures on cryptocurrencies explain why he believes it needs to be “burned with fire.” Today, we speak to Dr. Weaver, an expert in computer science and a long-time observer of the cryptocurrency space. He holds a BA in Astrophysics and Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, where he was also a lecturer until recently. His primary research focus has been network security, among other topics. His interest and search for comedy “godl” have also resulted in published papers on cryptocurrency. In our conversation, Dr. Weaver untangles the complexities of the perceptions of cryptocurrencies with the actual technology. We talk about decentralization, if cryptocurrencies are achieving it, and the underlying concept of blockchain technology, as well as whether or not blockchains are secure and what the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies are to developing countries. We then go into detail about w
15/07/20221 hour 9 minutes
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Understanding Crypto 6: Bruce Schneier: Security, Trust, and Blockchain

Welcome back to another episode of our limited addition Crypto Series on the Rational Reminder Podcast, a weekly reality check about sensible investing and financial decision-making. Are cryptocurrencies and the associated technologies beneficial? Could they change the world for the better? There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use and application of cryptocurrencies and the associated technologies. Some say the innovation is ultimately useless while others think it is the answer to society’s problems. To help us unpack this complicated and hot-button topic is Bruce Schneier, an internationally-renowned security technologist, author, and educator. The focus of his work is the intersection of security, technology and people. Bruce also has an immense passion for educating people about cryptocurrencies. Examples of his well-known books include Liars and Outliers and Data and Goliath, which provide much-needed insight to readers about DeFi technologies and big
08/07/202254 minutes 52 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 5: Stephen Diehl: The Case Against Crypto

Welcome back to another limited series of Rational Reminder Podcast, focused on learning about cryptocurrencies. Our journey about cryptocurrencies has led us to speak to various experts on the subject, all of whom see some benefits to cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology. However, what does a skeptic think about cryptocurrencies and the benefits to the current financial system? In today’s episode, we speak to Stephen Diehl, a software engineer who works with financial technology within the finance sector and is an outspoken cryptocurrency skeptic. His engineering background, coupled with his experience working with financial technology, provides a unique perspective on the future of cryptocurrencies. We move through the episode learning about public blockchain technology, different consensus mechanisms, what potential problems blockchain technology can solve, whether crypto can improve the current financial system, if Bitcoin really is decentralized, what drive
01/07/202253 minutes 39 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 4: Prof. Tobin Hanspal: The Characteristics of Crypto Investors

Welcome to another special episode of Rational Reminder Podcast, a show to help us learn about cryptocurrencies and their role in our current and future financial systems. In today's show, we speak to Tobin Hanspal, an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Vienna University of Economics and Business who has written several papers focused on household finances. Tobin's research area offers insights into the behaviours of retail investors in the crypto space and how this may affect household finances. In this episode, we take a deep dive into some of the papers that Tobin has authored and how his findings relate to the behaviours and biases of crypto adopters. We discuss the investment behaviours of early crypto adopters, the role of EFTs in reducing risk, the different types of investor groups, how past experience negatively affects investor confidence, how behaviours change after an initial crypto investment, the disposition effect, how cryptocurrencies are an extension of existing
24/06/202246 minutes 59 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 3: Eswar Prasad: Bitcoin, Banking, and the Future of Money

Welcome back to another episode of our series focusing on cryptocurrencies. In this episode, we dive into conceptual complexities surrounding cryptocurrencies and how this might affect the financial system in future. To help us unravel this nuanced subject is Professor Eswar Prasad, a senior professor of trade policy and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, and a senior fellow at Brookings Institution. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and was a former head of the IMF China Division. Besides his wealth of experience regarding traditional economies, he is also an authority on cryptocurrencies, which he explains in detail in his book The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance. In today’s conversation, we discuss broad conceptual ideas surrounding money and finance, such as the basic functions of money, the difference between outside and inside money, the limitations on creating weal
17/06/202248 minutes 9 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 2: Igor Makarov: Economics of the Crypto Ecosystem

Understanding the complexity surrounding cryptocurrencies is essential in making the correct decisions regarding investing in DeFi technology. To help us understand the basics, we talked to Dr. Igor Makarov who is an expert on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, particularly Bitcoin and the associated mining processes. He is based at the London School of Economics, where he serves as an Associate Professor of Finance. Dr. Makarov is also the author of several papers focusing on DeFi and crypto markets in general and has provided new insights surrounding governance and mining processes. In today’s show, we learn about the basics of cryptocurrencies, mining and the future of DeFi. In particular, we talk about the role of intermediaries, what drives the prices of Bitcoin, how concentrated mining processes are, the role DeFi in increasing governance, the upsides and downsides of cryptocurrencies, and much more. Tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on advice from a respected figure in the ind
10/06/20221 hour 26 minutes 42 seconds
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Understanding Crypto 1: Daniel Mescheder: What Problem Do Blockchains Actually Solve?

Fundamentals of the Blockchain with Daniel Mescheder   Episode 1: Show Notes   Welcome to the first episode of our limited series focusing on cryptocurrencies and everything you need to know about them. Our first guest is Daniel Mescheder, who joins us to appropriately break down some of the basic concepts and engineering of the blockchain, using his expertise as a software engineer as the lens for this discussion. We felt this chat was the best way to launch the series and prepare listeners for the following episodes on the subject, and you can expect to hear Daniel share very helpful insight and explanations of fundamental terms and concepts such as distributed systems, consensus, hashing, digital signatures, and more. We also have time for our guest to weigh in on the subjects of smart contracts and NFTs, both of which are regular points of intrigue for the uninitiated. Importantly, we do hear from Daniel about the lim
03/06/20221 hour 12 minutes 5 seconds
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BONUS: Stocks, Bonds, and War

In this special episode, we review the relationship between war and financial markets. War is a tragedy. We are not minimizing the humanitarian tragedy of what is happening in Ukraine by focusing on the potential impact on financial markets. But we are offering a Rational Reminder for investors in a stressful time. Wars and financial markets have coexisted, and often been intertwined, for hundreds of years. Countries that have lost major wars have had their financial markets decimated, while global markets have been relatively resilient, even to major conflicts. In addition to the historical perspective, we offer some timeless lessons for investors to remember in times of stress.  
28/02/202231 minutes 42 seconds