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Why The Intrepid Are Bullish On A ‘Crypto Summer’ In Winter

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Why The Intrepid Are Bullish On A ‘Crypto Summer’ In Winter

Suppose you have a company in need of financing to take your innovative solutions to real-world problems to a broader audience and grow your business.

You could, in theory, go to the bank and find stodgy resistance to your request for a loan – and then, of course, face interest rates that would eat up all your profits.

You may have alternatively heard a lot about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – and then likely, most recently, about Sam Bankman-Fried. Then you look a little deeper and find Ethereum’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization, first reading about the $168 million in investments and then about the hack attack that led to a $50 million loss and the currency’s demise.

If only there were a cryptocurrency backed by legitimate assets – a cryptocurrency that had the same type of backing as a bank, but with a lot more flexibility.

Then you learn there is such a currency – and that it is structured democratically such that individual holders of this currency can choose to help you fund your project; that it is not just the board of directors who decides your fate.

Not long ago, such a currency was a dream, but today, that dream has come true, thanks, in part, to a group of investors who pooled some of their assets to roll out the Unicoin two years ago.

By 2025, over $525 million worth of Unicoins will have been sold, according to the company website. Now, others appear to be copying the template to create additional asset-backed cryptocurrencies.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Argentine-born entrepreneur Silvina Moschini, who created the enterprise, ‘Unicoin’. Her group was already in the business of finding quality enterprises that wanted to go public but needed a direct pathway to diversified investors from around the world.

Early on, her Executive Leadership Team saw how Web3 blockchain technologies and token-based economics are opening up wealth creation opportunities that cut across traditional pathways and provide access for first-time and experienced investors alike.

In 2021, Moschini and several other entrepreneurs unveiled a streaming televised series they called Unicorn Hunters, which Real Screen described as mixing “entertainment with the potential for consumers [as well as the show’s entrepreneurs] to back select pre-IPO investment opportunities.”

In February 2022, the panel went on to introduce the Unicoin, which fellow Unicorn Hunter and legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says is an asset-backed cryptocurrency tied to the financial results of the companies in which they and their viewers have invested. As these assets grow and pay dividends, the value of each Unicoin grows with them.

By contrast, the value of the dollar, the currency of traditional banks, shrinks with every inflationary move of the federal government.

As a corporation, Unicoin acquires a 5 percent equity stake in the companies it promotes to the investor community. Individuals can choose to diversify their own risk through Unicoin or via direct investment in those companies.

But Unicoin is far more than a tool for investing in promising businesses. Moschini says, “We think like financiers. We are building here under Unicoin a basket of high-growth potential assets already well known for retaining value and generating revenue.”

“We can,” says Moschini, “use unicoins to buy advertising, including billboards in airports using Unicoin as currency. We can use AI to develop initiatives to match investors with opportunities suited to their goals. Ultimately by decentralizing the coin, we can react to a fast-changing environment in real time.”

Again – traditional banks, by contrast, rely on a bureaucracy that moves much more slowly.

Unicoin also recently introduced a real estate investing platform that allows people to invest real estate into Unicoin, essentially swapping their real estate for coins. Already this platform has brought into the fold a five-star hotel in Thailand and a copper mine in Argentina among other globe-spanning initiatives wholly via coin swapping.

Unicoin does all this utilizing a highly decentralized team in the creative industry that includes developers from central and eastern Europe and other team members in nations such as Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the U.S., and Argentina.

Moschini, citing as an example how Facebook replaced MySpace, stated that Unicoin is driving this second generation of crypto – built on transparency and backed with tangible assets – in-part thanks to learning from the mistakes that caused first-generation cryptocurrencies to falter.

A primary goal now is working with lawmakers to craft a regulatory framework that does not stifle investment, but protects investors from fraudulent activity. Unicoin’s own assets are subject to auditing, which, along with transparency in transactions, must become the regulatory norm.

While Unicoin has grown rapidly, and the value of each unicoin has increased by 4,900%, Moschini envisions further expansion into such items as luxury-brand sneakers, sporting goods, and clothing – even Unicoin tee shirts – to build the brand.

Branding, she notes, along with effective communication, trust and engagement, are of paramount importance to building loyalty to the company.

Worldwide access via the Internet has changed the nature of the investing world, says Moschini. Addressing a Blockchain Expo in London earlier this week, “we were surprised to have so many investors stop by our booth.”

But then, investors in Unicoin already come from 160 of the world’s nations.

Unicoin is today applying for licenses in Dubai, indeed the United Kingdom (UK), and many other nations as part of its campaign to open up investment to the world’s masses. Their vision is to democratize access to wealth and to ensure that this vision remains central, as Unicoin diversifies and scales upward into assets far beyond real estate and IPOs – even possibly into carbon trading.

To the intrepid entrepreneurs entering the decentralized marketplace for the first time, or to the seasoned – I agree with Canadian businessman and ‘Shark Tank’ icon, self-made entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary’s recent proclamation on the future of digital finance – I too am bullish on crypto and in 2024, as the dust settles in what many considered the Wild West, with regulators clearing the field, it’s truly time for new, exciting, diverse and cross-industry endorsed “compliant platforms to unlock this sector’s true potential”.


Breaking Barriers: Women at the Intersection of Tech and Crypto

In the male-dominated world of technology and cryptocurrency, women have been steadily breaking down barriers and making their mark in recent years. While there is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality in these industries, the accomplishments and contributions of women at the intersection of tech and crypto are not to be underestimated. In this article, we will explore the challenges they have faced, the progress they have made, and the potential they hold for shaping the future of these fields.

The Gender Gap in Tech and Crypto

The tech and cryptocurrency sectors have long been criticized for their lack of gender diversity. Women have historically been underrepresented in both the workforce and leadership roles. This gender gap can be attributed to various factors, including biases in recruitment and hiring practices, limited access to educational opportunities, and a lack of female role models in these fields.

Pioneering Women in Crypto

Despite these challenges, pioneering women have made significant strides in the cryptocurrency space. Women like Elizabeth Stark, the co-founder of Lightning Labs, and Amber Baldet, the co-founder of Clovyr, have been instrumental in developing blockchain technology and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the crypto world.

Stark’s work on the Lightning Network, a second-layer solution for Bitcoin, has been crucial in addressing scalability issues and making microtransactions feasible. Baldet’s company, Clovyr, focuses on simplifying blockchain development and adoption, making it more accessible to businesses and individuals alike.

Women in Leadership Roles

In addition to making important technical contributions, women have also started to occupy leadership roles in prominent crypto companies. Notable examples include Caitlin Long, the CEO and founder of Avanti Bank, and Kristin Smith, the executive director of the Blockchain Association.

Caitlin Long’s Avanti Bank is pioneering the development of a regulatory-compliant bridge between the traditional financial system and cryptocurrency. Kristin Smith’s work at the Blockchain Association involves advocating for sensible crypto regulations in the United States. These women are not only leading their companies but also shaping the future of cryptocurrency policy.


Empowering Women in Tech and Crypto

To address the gender gap in tech and crypto, various initiatives and organizations have emerged to empower and support women in these fields. Programs like Women Who Code and Girls Who Code are providing opportunities for girls and women to learn coding and gain hands-on experience in technology. Additionally, conferences like the Women in Crypto Conference are creating spaces for women to connect, share knowledge, and inspire one another.

Challenges and Opportunities

While progress is being made, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges that women still face in the tech and crypto sectors. Gender bias, workplace harassment, and unequal pay persist as significant issues. Overcoming these obstacles will require concerted efforts from both individuals and organizations.

However, the opportunities for women in tech and crypto are vast and growing. As these industries continue to evolve, there is a growing need for diverse perspectives and talents. Women bring unique insights and skills to the table, and their presence can lead to more inclusive and innovative solutions.

The Future of Tech and Crypto

As women continue to break barriers and make their presence felt in tech and crypto, the future of these industries looks promising. Increased diversity in the workforce and leadership positions will lead to more comprehensive and equitable solutions in blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge fields.

Furthermore, women entrepreneurs and innovators are likely to play a significant role in shaping the next generation of cryptocurrency and blockchain applications. Their perspectives on financial inclusion, privacy, and security will drive the development of new projects and products that cater to a broader audience.

Voyager Crypto Withdrawal: A Key Consideration

When discussing the intersection of women in tech and crypto, it’s essential to highlight key aspects that affect both genders. One such aspect is the process of crypto withdrawal on platforms like Voyager. Here are some crucial points to consider:

  • Accessibility for All: Women in tech and crypto are advocates for making platforms like Voyager more user-friendly and accessible to everyone, regardless of gender.
  • Security and Confidence: Ensuring the security of cryptocurrency withdrawals is vital for everyone, but women often emphasize building confidence in the process to encourage broader adoption.
  • Educational Resources: Women are actively engaged in creating educational resources that demystify the process of crypto withdrawal on platforms like Voyager.
  • Supportive Communities: Women-led communities and initiatives are creating spaces where individuals, regardless of their gender, can seek guidance and share experiences related to crypto withdrawals and investments.
  • Advocacy for Equal Access: Women in tech and crypto are advocating for equal access to crypto withdrawal platforms and services, promoting inclusivity and diversity in the crypto space.

Considering these points, it becomes evident that women in the tech and crypto sectors are not only contributing to the development of these industries but also working towards making them more equitable and accessible for all, including issues related to Voyager crypto withdrawals.


The intersection of technology and cryptocurrency is witnessing a transformative shift, thanks to the contributions and determination of women in these fields. While the gender gap remains a significant challenge, progress is being made, and women are increasingly taking on leadership roles, innovating, and advocating for change.

As we look ahead, it’s crucial to continue supporting and empowering women in tech and crypto. By doing so, we can ensure that these industries become more inclusive, diverse, and capable of addressing the complex challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The future of tech and crypto is undoubtedly brighter with women breaking barriers and leading the way.



DeFi World has a new star called DAO

As financial markets wrap up the year 2021 and launch into 2022 at warp speed, the “DeFi” world has a new star called the “DAO”.

Decentralized finance, short-handed as “DeFi”, refers to peer-to-peer finance enabled by Ethereum, Avalanche, Solana, Cardano and other Layer-1 blockchain protocols, as distinguished from centralized finance (“CeFi”) or traditional finance (“TradFi”), in which buyers and sellers, payment transmitters and receivers, rely upon trusted intermediaries such as banks, brokers, custodians and clearing firms. DeFi app users “self-custody” their assets in their wallets, where they are protected by their private keys. By eliminating the need for trusted intermediaries, DeFi apps dramatically increase the speed and lower the cost of financial transactions. Because open-source blockchain blocks are visible to all, DeFi also enhances the transparency of transactions and resulting asset and liability positions.

Although the proliferation of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, may have gathered more headlines in 2021, crypto assets have become a legitimate, mainstream and extraordinarily profitable asset class since they were invented a mere 11 years ago.  The Ethereum blockchain and its digitally native token, Ether, was the wellspring for DeFi because Ether could be used as “gas” to run Layer-2 apps built to run on top of Ethereum. Since then, Avalanche, Solana and Cardano, among other proof-of-stake protocols, have launched on mainnet, providing the gas and the foundation for breathtaking app development which is limited only by the creativity and industry of development teams.

Avalanche and its digitally native token AVAX exemplify this phenomenon. Launched on mainnet a little more than a year ago, Avalanche already hosts more than 50 fully-launched Layer-2 apps. The AVAX token is secured by more than 1,000 validators. Recently, the Avalanche Foundation raised $230 million in a private sale of AVAX tokens for the purpose of supporting DeFi projects and other enhancements of the fully functional Avalanche ecosystem. Coinbase, which is a CeFi institution offering custodial services to its customers, facilitates purchases and sales of the Avalanche, Solana, Cardano and other Layer-1 blockchain tokens, as well as the native tokens of DeFi exchanges such as Uniswap, Sushiswap, Maker and Curve. So formidable is DeFi in its potential to dominate the industry that Coinbase, when it went public in 2021, cited competition from DeFi as one of the company’s primary risk factors.

If DeFi were “a company,” like Coinbase, the market capitalization of AVAX would be shareholder wealth. But DeFi is code, not a company. Uniswap is a DeFi exchange that processed $52 billion in trading volume in September 2021 without the help of a single employee. Small wonder that CeFi and TradFi exchanges are concerned.

DeFi apps require “DAOs,” or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, to operate. DAOs manage DeFi apps through the individual decisions made by decentralized validator nodes who own or possess tokens sufficient in amount to approve blocks. Unlike joint stock companies, corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies, however, DAOs have no code (although, ironically, they are creatures of code). In other words, there is no “Model DAO Act” the way there is a “Model Business Corporation Act.” DAOs are “teal organizations” within the business organization scheme theorized by Frederic Lalou in his 2014 book, “Reinventing Organizations.” They are fundamentally unprecedented in law.

Just as NFTs have been a game changer for creators, artists and athletes, our legal system will need to evolve to account for the creation of the DAOs that govern NFTs and other crypto assets. (NFTs are a species of crypto asset.) Adapting our legal system to account for DAOs represents the next wave of possibility for more numerous and extensive community efforts.

A DAO is fundamentally communitarian in orientation. The group of individuals is typically bound by a charter or bylaws encoded on the blockchain, subject to amendments if, as and when approved by a majority (or some other portion) of the validator nodes. Some DAOs are governed less formally than that.

The vast majority of Blockchain networks and smart contract-based apps are organized as DAOs. Blockchain networks can use a variety of validation mechanisms.  Smart contract apps have governance protocols built into the code.  These governance protocols are hard-wired into the smart contracts like the rails for payments to occur, fully automated, and at scale.

In a DAO, there is no centralized authority — no CEO, no CFO, no Board of Directors, nor are there stockholders to obey or serve. Instead, community members submit proposals to the group, and each node can vote on each proposal. Those proposals supported by the majority (or other prescribed portion) of the nodes are adopted and enforced by the rules coded into the smart contract.  Smart contracts are therefore the foundation of a DAO, laying out the rules and executing the agreed-upon decisions.

There are numerous benefits to a DAO, including the fact that they are autonomous, do not require leadership, provide objective clarity and predictability, as everything is governed by the smart contract. And again, any changes to this must be voted on by the group, which rarely occurs in practice.  DAOs also are very transparent, with everything documented and allowing auditing of voting, proposals and even the code. DAO participants have an incentive to participate in the community so as to exert some influence over decisions that will govern the success of the project. In doing so, however, no node participating as part of a decentralized community would be relying upon the managerial or entrepreneurial efforts of others in the SEC v. Howey sense of that expression. Neither would other nodes be relying upon the subject node. Rather, all would be relying upon each other, with no one and no organized group determining the outcome, assuming (as noted) that the network is decentralized. Voting participants in DAOs do need to own or possess voting nodes, if not tokens.

As with NFTs, there are limitless possibilities for DAOs.  We are seeing a rise in DAOs designed to make significant purchases and to collect NFTs and other assets. For example, PleasrDAO, organized over Twitter, recently purchased the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” for $4 million. This same group has also amassed a portfolio of rare collectibles and assets such as the original “Doge” meme NFT.

In addition to DAOs that are created as collective investment groups, there are DAOs designed to support social and community groups, as well as those that are established to manage open-source blockchain projects.

As is true with any emerging technology, there is currently not much regulation or oversight surrounding DAOs. This lack of regulation does make a DAO much simpler to start than a more traditional business model. But as they continue to gain in popularity, there will need to be more law written about them.

The State of Wyoming, which was first to codify the rules for limited liability companies, recently codified rules for DAOs domiciled in that state. So a DAO can be organized as such under the laws of the State of Wyoming. No other state enables this yet.

Compare the explosion in digital assets to the creation of securities markets a century ago.  After the first world war concluded in 1917, the modern securities markets began to blossom.  Investors pooled their money into sophisticated entities called partnerships, trusts and corporations, and Wall Street underwrote offerings of instruments called securities, some representing equity ownership, others representing a principal amount of debt plus interest.  Through the “roaring ‘20s,” securities markets exploded in popularity. Exuberance became irrational. When Joe Kennedy’s shoeshine boy told him that he had bought stocks on margin, Kennedy took that as a “sell” signal and sold his vast portfolio of stocks, reinvesting in real estate: he bought the Chicago Merchandise Mart and was later appointed by FDR to chair the SEC.  When the stock market crashed, fingers were pointed.  Eventually, a comprehensive legislative and regulatory scheme was built, woven between federal and state legislation and regulatory bodies.  Almost a hundred years later, securities markets have become the backbone of our financial system, and investors and market participants have built upon the certainty of well-designed architecture to create financial stability and enable growth.

But the legislative paradigm designed in the 1930s was not created with digital assets in mind. The world was all-analog then. The currently disconnected and opaque regulatory environment surrounding digital assets presents a challenge to sustained growth in DeFi markets.  Without “crypto legislation,” government agencies have filled the void, making their own determinations, and they are not well suited to do so. Just before Thanksgiving, the federal banking agencies released a report to the effect that they had been “sprinting” to catch up on blockchain developments, that they are concerned by what they see, and that next year they will start writing rules. Plainly, technological development has outpaced Washington again.

Whether crypto assets should be characterized as securities, commodities, money or simply as property is not clear in present day America.  Will entrepreneurs continue to create digital assets and will investors buy them if their legal status is in doubt?  The SEC mantra is “come talk to us,” but the crypto asset projects actually approved by the SEC are precious few in number, and SEC approvals are not timely. We have clients that have run out of runway while waiting for SEC approvals. In decentralization as in desegregation, justice delayed is justice denied. The recent experience of Coinbase in attempting to clear its “Lend” service through the SEC, only to be threatened with an SEC enforcement action (but no explanation), has caused other industry participants to question the utility of approaching officials whose doors might be open for polite conversation but whose minds seem to be closed.

Similarly, DAOs are a path-breaking form of business “organization” that are not well understood. They are not corporations. Should they nevertheless file and pay taxes, open bank accounts or sign legal agreements? If so, then who would have the power or duty to do that for a decentralized autonomous organization whose very existence decries the need for officers, directors and shareholders? The globally significant Financial Action Task Force, in its recent guidance on “virtual assets and virtual asset service providers,” called on governments to demand accountability from “creators, owners and operators,” as it put it, “who maintain control or sufficient influence” in DeFi arrangements, “even if those arrangements seem decentralized.” Some observers have characterized the FATFs guidance as an attempted “kill shot” targeting the heart of DeFi.

This, too, we know: SEC Chair Gensler has his eye on DeFi. We know that because he has said so, repeatedly. Trading and lending platforms, stablecoins and DeFi are the priorities that he mentions. SEC FinHUB released a “Framework” for crypto analysis that includes more than 30 factors, none of which is controlling. That framework is unworkable because it is too complex and uncertain of application. Chair Gensler, however, apparently applies what he calls the “duck” test: If it looks like a security, it is one. With respect to Mr. Gensler, that simple approach is no more useful than the late Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Less subjectivity and greater predictability in application are essential so development teams and exchange operators can plan to conduct business within legal boundaries. What we need are a few workable principles or standards (emphasis on “few” and “workable”) that define the decentralization that is at the core of legitimate DeFi and the consumer use of tokens that are not investment contracts. We also need the SEC to adhere to Howey analysis, which it has told us to follow slavishly, and not try to move the goalposts by misapplying the Reves “note” case when it senses that Howey won’t get it the result it craves.

Although futuristic DAOs are a decentralized break from the centralized past and present of business organization, the SEC has seen them before. Indeed it was the “DAO Report” issued in 2017 that began SEC intervention in the crypto asset industry. The DAO criticized in the DAO Report was unlike the DAOs seen today for a variety of reasons, including these: that DAO was a for-profit business that promised a return on investment, similar to a dividend stream, to token holders; and the token holders didn’t control the DAO. “Curators” controlled it, by vetting and whitelisting projects to be developed for profit. DAO participants necessarily relied on the original development team and the “Curators” to build functionality into the network. That sort of reliance on the managerial or entrepreneurial efforts of others is absent in a latter-day DAO whose participants can avail themselves of a fully functional network without reliance on the developers and without delay. It is earnestly to be hoped that the SEC will recognize these critical differences.

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Louis Lehot is an emerging growth company, venture capital, and M&A lawyer at Foley & Lardner in Silicon Valley.  Louis spends his time providing entrepreneurs, innovative companies, and investors with practical and commercial legal strategies and solutions at all stages of growth, from the garage to global.

Patrick Daugherty is Louis’ partner in Chicago. A corporate securities lawyer by training, he spent 35 years practicing the law of money (IPOs, ETFs, M&A, SEC reporting and governance). While he still does that, 5 years ago he went down the rabbit hole of crypto assets and he now devotes himself to the law of the future of money.


The cryptocurrency (‘crypto’) market is on the rise. Bitcoin, the main altcoin with a market share of over 60%, has seen its price increase from around $4,000 in April 2019 to over $10,000 in July 2019, despite the recent Congressional hearings on Facebook’s Libra.

In tandem with increasing prices, institutional investors are getting more involved in the market. Last year, we saw institutional investors surpass high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) for the first time in terms of purchasing cryptocurrencies. It’s fast becoming part of a diversified investment strategy. Whilst there is still a strong UK/US footprint, we’re seeing deals in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Canada.

The speed of professionalization in the cryptocurrency market has ramped up, with much of the recent growth driven by more efficient financial infrastructure. This is helping financial institutions to take a more considered look at crypto, and use it to revamp their portfolios. As of July 2019, the total market capitalization for these digital assets in circulation is just under $300bn. It’s likely that this will rise above $300bn in the near future, though longer-term prospects depend on how the industry adapts to upcoming regulatory framework, with the likes of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) looking to apply rules that will provide a stable platform to trade digital assets while reducing risk.

Trading volumes have been boosted by a sharp rise in over-the-counter (OTC) trading as crypto projects look for liquidity. In the so-called ‘Crypto Winter’ of 2018, crypto-centric OTC desks, including Genesis Trading and Circle (backed by Goldman Sachs) started reporting tremendous growth and this trend is continuing. According to research by Diar, over 25% of Bitcoin in circulation now sits in addresses that have a balance of between 1,000 and 10,000 BTC – volumes that point to financial institutions.

These institutional investors opt for OTC trading as opposed to spot exchanges for a number of reasons. Exchanges often have low liquidity in their order books which rules out large orders, OTC allows large orders without an unfavorable impact on the price, and exchanges limit the total number of Bitcoins that can be traded in one go – Coinbase, for example, has a daily trading limit of $25,000.

That said, there are a few complications that both buyer and seller could run into when they want to set up an OTC trade. There is often no guarantee that the asset (altcoin) will be delivered or cash paid. Most OTC brokers don’t provide an appropriate custody solution, which increases this settlement risk. It’s also worth noting that current OTC trading doesn’t include suitable Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures as it lacks the monitoring and surveillance tools of traditional trading systems.

A Safer Trade

However, there is a different avenue that institutional investors can explore. OTC trading via escrow can effectively tackle these risks and issues. This more robust approach benefits both sides of the trade as the escrow agent will follow everything to the letter. The seller benefits from dealing with a party that has funds to make the purchase, whilst the buyer can be confident a trusted independent party won’t release funds until the altcoins have been received. Crucially, by trading via escrow there is no need for participants to seek out an additional custody solution – it’s already in hand – and the escrow agent will perform KYC as part of the service provided.

If you go down this route, it’s important to select a global partner to avoid any multi-jurisdictional issues cropping up. The right partner will always start with a rigorous KYC process. Once both parties have been positively identified and no red flags are raised, they will move to exchange the cryptocurrency and the cash.  In most cases, it is best to first run a simulated deal with a small exchange of cryptocurrency, backed by cash in escrow, between the address of the seller and that of the buyer to establish a working link to build on.

Crypto represents a good opportunity for investors and it has a big future. There will undoubtedly be market consolidation, with a small number of the 1,500+ altcoins in circulation emerging as a favored core. As institutional investor appetite increases, bigger names will enter the arena. You can stay ahead of the game by using an escrow agent to implement custodial arrangements and manage the risks associated with this emerging asset class.