How Florida Can Be the Blockchain Capital of the Western | Samuel Armes, Analyst of Hyperion Decimus (FTC ep 22)
FinTech Chat (FTC) is a series of educational & informative interviews with world professionals in the FinTech / Crypto / Blockchain communities. We aim to provide content that is digestible in multiple mediums such as video, audio (podcast), and written (blog) form!
FTC Episode 22
In this episode, Blockchain Wayne interviews Samuel Armes, Analyst of Hyperion Decimus. As the President of the Florida Blockchain Business Association and an analyst of a crypto-quant hedge fund, he has shared the story about Florida legislation towards the blockchain crypto industry and how he has helped promote not only legal but also investment activities in this market.
Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos and grammatical errors may be present.
Intro: Interviews on crypto, blockchain with your host, Blockchain Wayne on FTC.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Hey everyone, welcome and thanks for watching. Today we’re joined by Samuel Armes. Now Samuel is the Founder and President of the Blockchain Business Association and Analyst for Crypto-quant… quant hedge fund, Hyperion Decimus. Did I say that right, samuel? (SAMUEL ARMES: yes) All right, all right, well thanks for joining us today, man. Glad to get a chance to catch up with you.
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah I appreciate it, thank you for having me on.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome, so Samuel, I know we got a lot to talk about here with what you do with the FBBA and… and with your hedge fund, but start a little bit by telling us a little bit about yourself, kind of your background and what got you into the space.
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah, so I’ve been in the space now for quite some time. Originally my background’s kind of in the government area, so… you know, I did research for USSOCOM which is based out of Mcdowell in Tampa on bitcoin and kind of counter threat finance and terrorism. I also had a quick gig at the state department where I was doing kind of policy research for them in the bitcoin blockchain space, worked in Tallahassee for a bit, worked for a lobbying firm for a bit, and then founded the Florida Blockchain Business Association, been running that for about three years and passed two bills, almost past our third this year. And I also now work for Hyperion Decimus, which is a crypto quant hedge fund.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice nice, so you’ve got an event coming up, so I definitely want to start talking about that… but Florida Blockchain Business Association, tell us the… the reason behind that, the creation of that and what they aim to do?
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah so that was created later 2017, early 2018 because there was really no one representing crypto and blockchain companies in Florida, so me and some others got together and we created a chamber of commerce to specifically represent Florida companies. There are some on the federal level, who do that, but we really wanted to kind of stay focused on the Florida level and now it’s paying off now. Florida’s kind of becoming the crypto blockchain capital of the western hemisphere at least. And so we’re just trying to make sure that policy stays friendly that the… in this industry stays friendly and… you know, we’ve been through a lot of different kind of periods and times where we’ve seen some pretty bad legislation proposed that we’ve stopped and of course we’re always moving forward and trying to make it better and better to live here and operate here if you’re in the industry.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah I mean Florida has really been cutting edge leading the way when it comes to crypto adoption. So people don’t know what happens behind the scenes. It’s not like that just happened overnight right? You guys put in (SAMUEL ARMES: yeah) a lot of work and that’s what you want to see. I mean I don’t know I’m sure you feel the same way, but positive legislation… legislation that encourages innovation is important versus legislation that’s gonna stifle innovation.
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah correct and someone’s gonna do it right. And a lot of these government officials… you know, no one at least in the beginning was talking to them and not a lot of them really know what was going on, so that was always just a priority of ours was education, education, education. So yeah now, we’re hosting this Florida Blockchain Summit which is going to have right after bitcoin 2021 which is in Miami this year as well. And it’s going to be here in Orlando and that’s going to be geared toward… we’re going to have a lot of government officials there coming from Tallahassee as well as just… you know, people from all over the state. Because we’re going to be centrally located bitcoin 2021 of course is a bitcoin maximalist conference, which is a lot of big names, but we talked to them and so we’re a satellite event of theirs and our event is specifically focused on the community here in Florida, right. And it’s not just bitcoin, it’s kind of the… the industry as a whole, so we’re expecting some really good turnout and it’s going to be a really good event.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome I’m excited to see it. You and I have talked about… you know, kind of what… what that event is going to entail, what they can expect the dates. I think you may have mentioned that but the dates and when they can… when they can expect, what they can expect to see from that yeah.
SAMUEL ARMES: So it’ll be June 6th through the 8th. And so we’re going to start June 6th with just kind of a giant like bit basel NFT party, which is going to kind of… be the big kickoff. And then Monday, it’s gonna start kind of in the afternoon, evening to give people a break from coming up from Miami and our giant bit basel party the night before, which is just gonna be more closer educational round tables and seminars. And then Tuesday is where we have all the main stage speakers that are going to be coming in from out of town to kind of present and most of them are from Florida, are interested in Florida and so… kind of giving their take and expertise on everything going on here.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: That’s great, that’s great. So… and this is… this is not… I mean it’s catered towards Florida people, but really anyone’s… anyone’s invited to attend right?
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah so it’s catered toward technically everyone right. Everyone who’s interested in learning from us or who has something to share so we do have people… we have a lot of people come from the Bahamas from the Caribbean. We even have people coming from Alabama and Georgia. We even have people flying in from Ohio and New york right to kind of give their policy expertise as well, so it’s definitely just like an effort in the space since everyone’s realizing Florida is kind of the place to be right. We’re just trying to see okay what have other states tried whether what have other people tried and how can we replicate that and make it better.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah that’s going to be exciting to see. And people don’t realize the importance of… of this education. And it’s kind of same… same feeling I have, so we’re on the same page when it comes to education, but a lot of whether it’s legislations or just people’s views are based off of lack of education or ignorance on the space, so it’s great to have these events where people can get out and learn and also network with other people in the space.
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah absolutely, absolutely, so it should be… it should be a lot of fun. We’re really looking forward to it. We have a lot of people who are just excited to come down to Florida so I mean it’s in Orlando, right, so anyone’s going to be able to come down. They stay in Miami for that conference and then they’re coming and spending time in Orlando, so you get your Florida phil in just a couple of days.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah, I’ve got a… got my… I just had my flight changed so I was flying into Miami and flying out of Orlando just… just to go and… and check it out and see you guys at the event, so tell us a little bit… I know we’ve talked a lot about the event and the FBBA and we’ll circle back to the event at the end to give some people some information, but tell us about Hyperion Decimus. Is there something people should know about that that may pique their interest or learn more about?
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah so, Hyperion Decimus is a crypto quant hedge fund, right, that was on… started actually really in 2018, right. And so… you know, now that the crypto market has become so advanced, right. There’s a lot of people who have said hey I want to finally put my money in crypto but I don’t trust myself with it… which is pretty smart, right. I have a lot of people in the industry who have… of course, everyone wants to invest in the high and they bought Doge at 60 cents, right. And now they’re complaining that it goes down to 40 cents. And they lose all this money. So there’s definitely a market for people to manage those assets for you. So it’s been a really great experience, really incredible opportunity… you know, we’re getting a lot of investment from a lot of people who some are already in crypto but others who are more a traditional financial background. And it’s really telling I think because I think you see a lot of people moving I’d say away from the stock market and write kind of this fiat world. And a lot of people are incredibly worried about… you know, where can I get not only… where can I get the best bang for my buck, but where can I actually keep my money safe, right. And if… so if that’s your job, if you’re at some kind of family office, or if you’re an allocator of sorts, crypto is kind of the place to be. But a lot of people don’t know… they don’t know or have the expertise on the crypto market, how it works, the fundamentals behind it. And a lot of people, a lot of other funds don’t have the experience. They’ve only been around for maybe 6 months to a year, right, whereas we’ve been around since 2018, right. So it’s been incredible. I mean the like… like with my other organizations, the influx of people coming in now not just because of the crypto space, but kind of the overall macro environment of where the US is headed. And I think people just being kind of nervous about the direction we’re going toward, especially with the dollar attention has been ever increasing to say the least.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah I… that’s one of the things when I teach people about crypto, man. That’s it’s before you understand why crypto… they need to understand what’s going on with the dollar, what’s going on with the current financial systems. And when you do that, you really see that it’s more than just an investment. It’s a hedge against and that’s you know the… the hedge fund. I know there’s a debate in crypto that crypto gives you custody so why would you turn that over to somebody. But you made a great point. Some people either don’t trust themselves, and… and they… they feel better having someone else custody or have… you know, basically protect them from themselves. I guess you could say.
SAMUEL ARMES: Well and against that argument would be… I mean they can withdraw any time. They like, right, like traditionally, I believe it’s like 180 days after you put money in for our fund, right, so it’s not like we ever own it. We’re just managing it for you and managing it to get you more crypto, right, which is exactly what you want, as opposed to like… we also… we advise people that… you know, if you invest in us well, you should also buy some of your own bitcoin, right, and you should own some of your own bitcoin. Everyone in the fund owns their own bitcoin as well… as well as putting some of ours in the fund, right, so you want to hedge in multiple ways. But it is… I mean, I know a lot of people who they just don’t manage well. They don’t have the emotional control, or they just don’t have like… we have multiple different trading bots now designed by a lot of our founders, because it’s a 24/7 market, right. And so, if you… if you work 9 to 5 and you go to bed well, you’re missing half… half the market, right? So you know, it is what it is. We all have different time constraints. And so there’s definitely an argument to be made where it is a smart idea to invest your money in a fund.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah and so many people also get lazy when it comes to security. They use the same user interacts word for every account they ever created and… and our poor poor seed phrase, so it… yeah it is. There… there’s a lot of reasons people would want to look at that you bring a great point. Because I know so many people that are starting to get heavy into the space now. And I’m having people reach out and say when do you sleep, how do you sleep when cryptos 24/7. And you’ve got to learn how to trade and… and work with… you know, limit orders and stop loss (SAMUEL ARMES: yeah) or turn it over to someone that’s going to… you know, that’s going to manage it so…
SAMUEL ARMES: Well now, now we have this new wave of wealth from these people who did get rich off of all… these all coins. And they’re like what do I do, I’m like a millionaire now, and I don’t know where to put my money, right, like… and of course they sell out, so they don’t want to keep it in cash. So then the answer is okay, well then, you need to find somewhere to invest in it. You need to find another vehicle, right? And this bull market won’t last forever, right? Everything’s got a bull, everything’s gonna bear short-term, long-term… you know, everyone’s always debating which… which side they’re on and what not. But you know, if I were to just come upon all this newly found money, right, because I made an investment in like some small crypto that then… you know, 30x or 120x, you know, you cash out and now, it’s like okay where do I put my money, right? And normally a fund is a very good safe investment.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah and a crypto fund is even… is even better, because I tell people all the time like having your money in cash right now or any kind of cash equivalent is… you know, it’s not… it’s not hedged against inflation. So it’s… you can experience a lot of that as well.
SAMUEL ARMES: Yeah and we invest… we invest in multiple different cryptos, right. We try to be blockchain agnostic, but of course everything we invest in, we believe has value, so we do extensive research on everything and make sure that, okay if it is something we want to be in, it’s always for the long haul. So we don’t invest in anything that is I don’t know, new and short-term gains so to speak, right? Because they’re incredibly risky and some of them have no inherent value. I’m sure someone would debate me on that. But you know, it is what it is, right, and can they’re welcome to have their different opinions. and you know, other funds too, different aspects and different things, but we just try to be very strict and concise about where we put our money.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah I mean there’s a lot of new projects that I feel… there are not a lot, there’s a few that I feel very passionate about, but at the same time, you’re right, there’s a lot of inherent risk with those and sounds like you guys help with that risk management for people. Because there’s nothing wrong with…. with you know, investing in newer technologies. But some people don’t realize that there’s a lot higher risk than that, with that… and with that… you know, with their risk, you gotta… you have to understand that and manage that. So you know…
SAMUEL ARMES: And to be honest, sometimes some people don’t even care about the tech. They just see our returns and they go okay sold, right? They see our returns, they measure it up against something like bitcoin, and then they go okay when bitcoins down, this you’re actually up, you know, so you know, some people don’t even care about the tech. They’re just looking for places to put money that can give them a… a good return, and so, and those are really easy, be like okay, we’ll take it and we’ll get you the return you want.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah, and that research is important, right? Because I tell people one of the beauty… beauties of crypto is anybody can create a cryptocurrency. Anybody can create cryptocurrency, right? Correct… correct, yeah so a lot of these are risky. And you know, you see it, you see these cycles, so you guys have been around, been in business as far as this since 2018, so I’m sure you’ve been looking at crypto longer. But we saw the same cycles in 2017 with the ICO boom and all these cryptos that people thought were just gonna… you know, change the world and… and a lot of those have faded away and new ones have popped up. But there is… there’s a select few that… that are continuing to innovate, develop. And I’m sure those are the ones that you guys are looking at.
SAMUEL ARMES: Well, even on the institutional level, it’s been interesting because say you even wanted to start in 2016, I mean even 2018, getting a bank account really hard. A lot of these trading and financial instruments like Wall Street is just now getting involved, right? So that’s going to open up for more opportunities for any kind of fun. But before that, I mean what were your options. You didn’t have a lot of options. You didn’t have a lot of people who were willing to take custody or be your custodian and be your partner, all these exchanges were still getting kind of more developed to where funds could trade on them easier, right? So it’s been incredible to watch just how advanced the market has become even now with DeFi and DeFi platforms coming online, right, which is just kind of like another layer of what I would call the “wallstreetification” of… of cryptocurrency. So as there are more instruments and more ways to hedge and more ways to make money off the market, I think you’ll get more… you’ll see more players get involved, but they’re going to be late. They won’t have the best track record, right? So it’s always give and take. They get involved now so things are easier, right? But now they don’t have the track record as opposed to starting early when you’re literally bootstrapping, right, and just trying to egg people on to say hey this would be a product that we can use and hope it gets developed in time, so that you can use it so. And we even see that I’ve seen that on the association side. I mean getting bills passed has been incredibly hard, right? But every year that goes by more and more people know… more and more people see the value… you know, and getting some of our members in our association bank accounts is still hard. And that kind of entirely depends upon sometimes the owners of the bank, right, if a bank gets a new owner, a new management, they’ll re-look and say, okay we don’t want anything to do with crypto anymore. And then it’s on to the next, I mean we’ve had… we’ve had members apply to over 300, maybe even 500 different banks, right, and it’s just ridiculous it should not be that way but it is what it is. So yeah, I mean the… the things that I’ve seen over the past three years adoption and acceptance is definitely coming. And it’s kind of already here not that adoption acceptance are necessarily good things. A lot of people always assume they are, but everything is give and take, right? And we should be concerned about some of the things that we are seeing on the Wall Street side, I think in the crypto space but overall things are looking up and up.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah absolutely absolutely cool. All right, so next let’s go… let’s head back to the event in Orlando because I want to make sure people know where to connect and find more information about the event. So where can people learn more about this event that you’re having June week through 8th and 6th or 8th right?
SAMUEL ARMES: Yep yeah, so you can go to floridablockchainsummit.com. That’s one of the easiest links. And that’ll… you’ll see your booking information. You’ll see the list of speakers. You’ll see the days in the itinerary. And then of course, if you want to learn anything more about the association, you can go to fbba.io. And that’s where you kind of see our political involvement. And then of course, you can always go to Hyperion Decimus if you want to learn any more on the crypto hedge fund side.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome awesome and I would encourage so if you’re watching this doesn’t matter if you’re in Florida or not, Florida is kind of leading the way and this type of legislation that they’re the… the events they’re doing to lead to more favorable legislation is important in really every state. So if you live in a state where maybe you have connections to lawmakers or maybe you’re… you’re involved in… in the legislation itself, it’s important that you get down there to check out this event. So I know… you have a discount code out there for people. I know I’ve seen it around. You got a discount code to share with people that maybe want to grab a ticket and head on down.
SAMUEL ARMES: Well I believe there. We just released one for your organization, right, which will be EXPCRYPTO and that’ll get you 20% off.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yep awesome awesome, so get down there, I mean this event is already reasonably priced, right? We… you mentioned nothing bad about bitcoin 2021. I’ll be there as well but those tickets are… (SAMUEL ARMES: They’re pretty pricey) pretty pricey. (SAMUEL ARMES: yeah) The FBBA event is going to be a great event. It’s in Orlando. My family loves Orlando as well. We just got back from there so you know, head on down to south Florida if you’re not already down there, and check out what’s going on. But these events are also great just to network and meet people in the space. And I mean we wouldn’t have connected if we wouldn’t have put on the Miami crypto experience. You know, we wouldn’t really have connections to this so you meet people in the space, you learn more about what’s going on and you can help move everything forward both in your little circle and in larger surface. (SM: Yep absolutely absolutely) Cool Samuel, so as we wrap up man, anything else you’d like to add before we before we wrap up to share with… share with the anyone watching or listening?
SAMUEL ARMES: No, I appreciate you having me on and obviously, I hope to see everyone at our conference.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome, I’m looking forward to it, Samuel. So everyone thanks for watching. Samuel thanks again for joining us and we will see you all in the next episode. Take care everybody.
— — — — —
About Samuel Armes
Samuel Armes has an extensive background in the blockchain and government spaces. Samuel did research for United States Special Operations Command and for the Department of State on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Samuel has also worked in the Florida State legislature and is the President of the Florida Blockchain Business Association (FBBA). Samuel has passed two bills in the Florida State legislature through the FBBA and has been involved in various blockchain and crypto initiatives around the State. Samuel now dedicates his time working for Hyperion Decimus, a crypto-quant hedge fund, as well as running the FBBA.
About Blockchain Wayne (Host)
Wayne has been managing, teaching, and coaching high performing teams for over 20 years. He has a passion for helping and teaching people and a passion for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects. He has created various coaching programs and partnerships with select education platforms and cryptocurrency program tools.
You can learn more on his website: https://www.blockchainwayne.com/