- “The way crypto is getting integrated into mainstream society is extremely fun to watch,” Rogozinski said.
- The WallStreetBets Dapp is going to release its “Nancy ETP” which is “named after the best investor of our current times,” referring wryly to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski said he is passionate toward markets, finance and sociology. But, he also has a new passion: crypto.
“I’m floored and fascinated by what’s possible,” Rogozinski said to Blockworks in an interview. “I’m extremely bullish on DeFi,” he added.
When Bitcoin first started, he was interested in it and found it “really cool,” he said. But at the time, the concept of crypto was too far removed from the real world. There was no way to make it compatible with WallStreetBets, so he had to wait it out.
“I didn’t take the time to realize what was happening under my nose and I rediscovered everything I was missing out on.”
Rogozinski started WallStreetBets in 2012, a few years after the 2008 financial crisis. He had a bit of extra income and wanted to grow it aggressively, but everyone around him told him to invest in traditional safe stocks.
“I wanted to put money into higher risk, higher return approaches, and I was in search of a community,” he recalled. “I couldn’t find one, so I created WallStreetBets as a platform and a hub for people to find their own playful, non-overly serious approach.”
What started as an idea and new community has grown in the past nine years to over 11 million “degenerates” as they refer to themselves. The group has made headlines for its pumping of “meme stocks,” like Gamestop and AMC, and has exploded in popularity since.
Although Rogozinski founded the WallStreetBets community, he was removed from the group in April 2020 after he pushed a “Wall Street Bet Championship” event that upset members, reports said.
Now, he owns “tons of crypto, from a handful of ‘shitcoins,’ or altcoins, and a couple of bigger ones like bitcoin, ethereum, polygon and (Terra) LUNA,” he said.
“But, I’m not trading crypto, I figured out how to make money, so I stopped tinkering with the process. I buy and I hold and I study. I just randomly picked those cryptocurrencies based off my knowledge like I would do with stocks and realized shortly after that I spent too much time doing research because it doesn’t matter. Either the coins go up that day or the coins go down that day, I just buy, and I hold, and they’re all good to go,” he added.
In March of this year, Jordan Belfort asked Rogozinski where he saw bitcoin’s price headed. “I told him $100,000 by the end of this year,” he said. “I was looking pretty weak there for a little bit but now I’m looking strong again,” he added.
Rogozinski noted he still believes bitcoin will hit $100,000 by the end of this year. Bitcoin is currently trading near $59,000 at the time of publication after hitting all-time highs last week.
“The way crypto is getting integrated into mainstream society is extremely fun to watch,” Rogozinski said. “It’s clear that it’s a positive prospect and the outlooks look good for crypto.”
Merging DeFi with Wall Street
Although Rogozinski owns cryptocurrencies, he’s more interested in the technology and innovation within DeFi.
“I’m seldom interested in looking at charts or watching people get excited about Dogecoin,” he explained. “If you’re sitting on the ocean and watching the waves crash, you know they’re nice, but you know they’re gonna keep coming in. But if you get a tidal wave, that’ll get your attention,” he said.
What’s the tidal wave, in this case? DeFi.
Rogozinski believes that merging DeFi with Wall Street, or traditional finance (TradFi) and Centralized Finance (CeFi), is the ultimate goal.
“I don’t think, nor am I interested in DeFi replacing CeFi or TradFi but let them influence each other,” he said. “Let TradFi learn from the best practices in DeFi and the other way around,” he said.
WallStreetBets DApp to launch ETP based on Nancy Pelosi’s trades
Although Rogozinski said he’s fairly new to the crypto space, this week he launched new DeFi products on WallStreetBets’ decentralized application (WSBDApp). The new products will be on the Bitcoin blockchain via the Liquid Network, created by Blockstream, according to a statement.
The WSBDapp will provide users securities trading through Digital Markets (DIGTL), Liquid and MERJ Exchange (MERJ) to provide access to exchange-traded portfolios (ETPs), tokenized stocks of major companies and other assets voted upon by the WSBDApp community, the statement said.
By integrating DeFi practices with traditional finance, Rogozinski said he hopes to help others explore this space through the DApp.
Going forward, Rogozinski is excited to release its “Nancy ETP,” which is “named after the best investor of our current times,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said. “This ETP…will use oracles and smart contracts and other fun things to read Nancy Pelosi’s disclosures and instantly on the fly rebalance the composition of this thing and buy up the stocks (that Pelosi buys) and put it back into the basket,” he added.
For reference, Speaker Pelosi is the sixth-richest member of Congress, with an estimated net worth of $114 million, according to data from May 2019 disclosures compiled by Open Secrets. Some of Pelosi’s most-traded stocks included Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, which are technology giants for which she oversees legislation. That causes some market spectators to speculate about potential conflicts of interest influencing her policymaking.
“We want the world to be rich like Nancy Pelosi,” he said. In order to do that, WSBDapp is making an ETF that can trade on the Nasdaq itself but the sole underlying will be the Nancy ETP, he said. He did not say when this product would be officially launched to the public.
“So if you’re on Wall Street or Robinhood you literally type in ‘NANCY’ in the ticker symbol and buy a share of the ETF and this ETF goes to the blockchain, mints the ETP and the ETP turns back around to Wall Street and buys the stocks…that jump you take from buying the Nancy ETF to the blockchain and back helps us circumvent some regulatory hurdles around actually doing this solely on Wall Street,” he said.
If the ETF was done solely through Wall Street, every time Pelosi bought a new position you would have to file with the SEC to have it added and by that time people would be too late to the party, he said.
“DeFi can do things much more efficiently and faster. DeFi allows us to do all the nimble, fast maneuvers on the blockchain. That’s the stuff we’re doing,” he said.