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The LeBron of Solana - Ansem

By Unlayered

Published on 2023-12-20

Crypto trader Ansem shares insights on Solana's explosive growth, the future of Ethereum, and predictions for the 2024 bull market in this in-depth interview.

Ansem: The Tireless Voice of Crypto Twitter

In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrency, few figures are as omnipresent and influential as Ansem. Known for his relentless online presence and insightful market analysis, Ansem has become a cornerstone of Crypto Twitter, earning him the moniker "The LeBron of Solana." His ability to stay constantly engaged with the market is nothing short of legendary, leading many to wonder about his sleep schedule.

Ansem reveals that during bull markets, he inadvertently adopts a polyphasic sleep cycle, akin to the Uberman sleep pattern. This unconventional approach allows him to remain active and alert for extended periods, typically sleeping for short bursts of about three hours at night, supplemented by brief naps during the day. This intense schedule is driven by the rapid pace of the crypto market, where new opportunities emerge hourly, and increased screen time directly correlates with potential profits.

The Evolution of Alpha Sources in Crypto

As Ansem's prominence in the crypto space has grown, so too have his sources of information and market insights. In previous market cycles, particularly 2020-2021, his strategy involved meticulous technical analysis of a vast array of altcoin charts across exchanges like FTX and Binance. He maintained an extensive list of cryptocurrency tickers, setting up alerts and conducting regular chart analysis to identify optimal entry and exit points for trades.

For fundamental analysis, Ansem relied heavily on Twitter, creating curated lists to follow project teams and key industry figures. However, his current approach has evolved significantly. Today, Ansem finds himself at the center of a vast network of information sources:

"I have so much more access to information now that I didn't have before. Every day my Telegram is just filled with messages from all different types of people. I'm having trouble keeping up with replying to people and then also trading because I could literally just have conversations with people all day."

This flood of information presents both opportunities and challenges. While it provides Ansem with unparalleled access to market insights, it also requires careful time management to balance communication with actual trading activities.

The Meme Coin Explosion on Solana

The current meme coin craze on Solana has caught many by surprise, including Ansem. The ecosystem is experiencing an unprecedented boom, with some coins achieving astronomical gains of up to 10,000x in a single day. When asked if this phenomenon is simply a repetition of what occurred on Ethereum or something fundamentally different, Ansem offers a nuanced perspective.

He views the current situation as a combination of both repetition and innovation. Earlier in the year, Ansem had anticipated a resurgence in Solana's DeFi sector:

"Last cycle, all the Solana alts did terribly. They had super high TVLs, weren't in touch with the community, barely launched any actual protocols that people were using, and just wrecked retail. Solana was the only thing that really did well in that ecosystem."

Ansem observed that many DeFi teams had been diligently working over the past couple of years, developing protocols without launching tokens. He predicted that these teams would eventually start launching tokens, attracting users looking to farm airdrops. The superior user experience of Solana compared to other chains could then create a reflexive effect, rapidly accelerating adoption.

Solana's Unique Advantages

What sets Solana apart in this meme coin frenzy is its ability to facilitate transactions that are simply not feasible on Ethereum due to cost and speed constraints. Ansem explains:

"When you're aping shitcoins on Ethereum, you've got to calculate how much you're going to be spending on gas if stuff is spiked. Whereas on Solana, I've literally seen people dollar cost average ten dollars into memes and DeFi plays because you can do it for under a penny per transaction."

This low-cost, high-speed environment has opened up new possibilities for traders and investors. It allows for strategies like frequent small investments that would be prohibitively expensive on Ethereum. As a result, Solana is attracting both seasoned crypto enthusiasts from other chains and newcomers to the space who are drawn to its efficient ecosystem.

The Unexpected Surge in Solana's Ecosystem

The rapid growth of Solana's ecosystem, particularly in the realm of meme coins and DeFi projects, has taken many by surprise, including Ansem. He admits to not anticipating the current level of activity:

"Man, I didn't expect it at all. I thought Q4 was going to be slow. I thought we were going to probably chop around with all the FTX estate selling that we had."

Ansem had expected significant developments to occur in Q1 of the following year. However, a series of unexpected events catalyzed the current boom. The announcement of FTX estate sales, followed by the staking of a large portion of SOL by Galaxy, caught many traders off guard. Many had been positioned short, anticipating a price decline. The subsequent price surge, coupled with the launch of new DeFi tokens, created a perfect storm of bullish momentum.

The magnitude of this surge is exemplified by the success of projects like Bonk, which reached a market capitalization of around $1.5-2 billion. This explosive growth is reminiscent of the DeFi summer of 2020 on Ethereum, with new launches occurring daily and generating immense excitement in the community.

The Role of Airdrops in Solana's Ecosystem Growth

A significant factor in Solana's recent surge has been the impact of airdrops, particularly the Jito (JTO) airdrop. Ansem highlights the importance of this event:

"The JTO airdrop was huge because not only was it a lot of money, it was also to less than 10,000 wallets. It just showed the whole industry that this is massively under-allocated and there's a huge amount of money coming in."

The JTO airdrop was particularly notable for its focus on smaller wallets, prioritizing long-term, dedicated Solana users over large-scale farmers. This approach has injected significant capital into the hands of committed community members, who are likely to reinvest in the Solana ecosystem.

Looking ahead, Ansem sees the upcoming Jupiter airdrop as another potential catalyst for growth:

"Jupiter's going to be a huge one. A lot of people have been yelling Jupiter's praises from the rooftops, comparing it to Uniswap and 1inch. It's just a really good product as an aggregator, and they're also working on perps and a launchpad to launch tokens."

He predicts that Jupiter could become a multi-billion dollar protocol, with 40% of its token supply distributed to the community across four rounds. The first round alone could represent a significant stimulus to the Solana ecosystem, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Future of Ethereum in the Evolving Crypto Landscape

While Solana's rise has been meteoric, questions remain about Ethereum's role in the upcoming market cycle. Ansem offers a nuanced perspective on Ethereum's future, acknowledging the challenges it faces in the evolving crypto ecosystem.

He points out that Ethereum's transition from a monolithic to a modular architecture has complicated its value proposition:

"Previously, everything was happening on the main execution layer. There was no use of any other chains. Now you have like 10 different L2s, all of them have their own tokens. They also all have different VCs backing them, so they're incentivized for these tokens to do well."

This fragmentation of the Ethereum ecosystem raises questions about where value will accrue. Will users and traders prefer L2 tokens over ETH itself? As execution moves off the mainnet, how will this affect Ethereum's fee structure and the "ultrasound money" thesis?

Ansem expresses uncertainty about Ethereum's value proposition if it becomes purely a settlement layer, not used for data availability or execution:

"That's why it's just unclear to me how the value gets distributed across the ecosystem. I've been saying that for a while. It's like you have Solana where their focus is purely on doing everything on the main chain, as fast as possible. And then you have ETH, which is kind of focused on just being a settlement layer."

Despite these challenges, Ansem doesn't believe Ethereum is "going to die out." He sees Bitcoin and Ethereum remaining as the primary entry points for institutions and large capital allocators due to their established security and longevity. However, he questions whether Ethereum can maintain its dominant position in the face of increasing competition from more efficient chains like Solana.

The Potential of Application-Specific Chains

As the crypto ecosystem evolves, Ansem sees potential in the development of application-specific chains or rollups. He believes that certain applications, particularly games, could benefit from having their own dedicated blockchain infrastructure:

"I do think the biggest applications that really want their own chain or want their own rollup, I do think that's going to be another thing moving forward. They don't want to be on an L1 with a ton of other different protocols."

This trend towards specialization could lead to a bifurcated landscape, with a few dominant general-purpose L1s coexisting alongside a multitude of application-specific chains or rollups. This evolution could reshape how we think about blockchain scalability and application design in the coming years.

The Rise of Inscriptions and Ordinals

One of the most surprising developments in the crypto space has been the explosion of ordinals and inscriptions, particularly on Bitcoin. Ansem admits that he initially dismissed this trend:

"My first reaction was like, this makes no sense. Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to make altcoins on Bitcoin when we have Ethereum and Solana?"

However, upon further reflection, Ansem has come to see the potential in this new form of digital artifact. He believes that inscriptions make the most sense on chains without native smart contract functionality, like Bitcoin. The immutability and prestige of the Bitcoin blockchain could lend long-term value to early inscription collections, similar to how CryptoPunks gained value on Ethereum.

Interestingly, Ansem also sees potential for inscriptions on data availability layers like Celestia:

"Actually, data inscriptions make perfect sense for Celestia because that's all you can do on Celestia is post data. So that's an interesting one too because Celestia is never going to have smart contracts."

This unexpected application of inscription technology demonstrates the crypto community's ability to innovate and find new use cases for blockchain infrastructure.

Macro Outlook for 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, Ansem offers a cautiously optimistic outlook for the crypto market and the broader economy. He anticipates a period of sideways or slightly downward movement in the first quarter, followed by a more robust uptrend for the rest of the year:

"I think we're going to get a rally, like a higher high. I don't think we touch like 50K Bitcoin or 100 plus on Solana before we do the pullback. And I think probably mid-January is what I'm thinking we local top out and then probably chop around in Q1 and then like the rest of the year."

Ansem bases this outlook on several factors, including the Federal Reserve's recent shift towards a more dovish stance and the projected rate cuts for the coming year. He also notes the resilience of the economy in the face of interest rate hikes, with unemployment remaining low and consumer spending robust.

However, Ansem cautions against overconfidence, noting the unpredictability of markets and the potential for unexpected events to disrupt even the most well-reasoned forecasts.

The Challenges of Public Trading and Social Media Influence

As Ansem's influence in the crypto space has grown, so too have the challenges associated with his public persona. He discusses the double-edged sword of social leverage:

"It's like leverage on leverage. It's like double leverage. It's like the social leverage on top of the actual money that you made from the trade."

This amplification of both successes and failures can be intense. Ansem recounts instances of being recognized in public by followers who have made money based on his insights. However, he's equally aware of the potential backlash when trades don't go as expected:

"The downside of it is like when you're wrong, everybody's like 'fuck you, I lost this much money because I thought you said this.'"

To mitigate these risks, Ansem strongly advises against copy trading, encouraging his followers instead to learn the process of analysis and decision-making. He advocates for a balanced approach to portfolio management, separating long-term holdings from more speculative "degenerate" trades.

Looking Ahead: The Next Crypto Cycle

As the crypto market enters what many believe will be the next bull cycle, Ansem offers some thought-provoking predictions. He believes that the upcoming cycle could be transformative for the industry:

"I think this next cycle is going to be the last one for retail to be super early to crypto. And the reason is, thinking through that, this cycle might be longer than the other ones because as we get bigger and it gets more accepted, I think at some point in the future, we're going to trade more similarly to how stocks trade."

Ansem anticipates that the increasing mainstream acceptance of crypto, potentially catalyzed by events like the approval of a Bitcoin ETF, could lead to a more prolonged uptrend. He compares the potential trajectory to the 2016-2017 cycle but notes that the current ecosystem is far more developed, with a multitude of use cases for smart contract platforms.

This maturation of the crypto market could result in higher price floors and decreased volatility over time, marking the end of the extreme boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized the industry thus far.

Conclusion: Navigating the Evolving Crypto Landscape

As our conversation with Ansem draws to a close, it's clear that the cryptocurrency space is entering a new phase of growth and maturation. From the explosive rise of Solana's DeFi and meme coin ecosystem to the evolving role of Ethereum and the emergence of new blockchain paradigms, the industry continues to surprise and challenge even its most seasoned participants.

Ansem's insights offer a valuable perspective on navigating this complex and rapidly changing landscape. His emphasis on continuous learning, balanced portfolio management, and critical analysis serves as a guide for both newcomers and experienced traders alike.

As we look towards the future, it's evident that the crypto industry is poised for significant developments. Whether it's the potential approval of a Bitcoin ETF, the further evolution of Layer 2 solutions, or the emergence of application-specific blockchains, the coming years promise to be transformative for the space.

Ultimately, Ansem's journey from a dedicated chart analyst to a prominent voice in the crypto community underscores the opportunities and challenges present in this dynamic field. His story serves as both an inspiration and a cautionary tale, highlighting the potential for success while reminding us of the importance of maintaining perspective and humility in the face of market volatility.

As the crypto market continues to evolve, voices like Ansem's will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the narrative and guiding the community through the exciting times ahead. Whether you're a seasoned trader or a curious newcomer, the insights shared in this interview provide valuable food for thought as we all navigate the ever-changing world of cryptocurrency.

Facts + Figures

  • Ansem adopts a polyphasic sleep cycle during bull markets, sleeping for about 3 hours at night with naps during the day.
  • Some meme coins on Solana have achieved gains of up to 10,000x in a single day.
  • Solana transaction fees are under a penny, allowing for small, frequent investments that would be cost-prohibitive on Ethereum.
  • The Jito (JTO) airdrop distributed tokens to less than 10,000 wallets, showing the under-allocation in the Solana ecosystem.
  • Jupiter, a Solana-based aggregator, is planning to distribute 40% of its token supply to the community across four rounds.
  • Bonk, a Solana-based meme coin, reached a market capitalization of around $1.5-2 billion.
  • Ansem gained approximately 30,000 followers on social media in just one month.
  • The Federal Reserve has projected three rate cuts for the next year.
  • Ansem predicts that Ethereum mainnet DEX volume will be under third place by the end of 2024.
  • Solana's daily transaction volume recently flipped Ethereum's for the first time.
  • Compressed NFTs on Solana allow for the creation of millions of NFTs for hundreds of dollars, compared to much higher costs on Ethereum.
  • Ansem anticipates Bitcoin potentially reaching $50,000 and Solana reaching $100 before a market pullback in mid-January.
  • The upcoming Jupiter airdrop could represent a stimulus of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Solana ecosystem.
  • Inflation in the US has been reduced to around 3.2-3.4%, close to the Federal Reserve's 2% target.

Questions Answered

What caused the recent surge in Solana's ecosystem?

The recent surge in Solana's ecosystem was triggered by a combination of factors. Primarily, the announcement of FTX estate sales, followed by Galaxy staking a large portion of SOL, caught many traders off guard who were positioned short. This, coupled with the launch of new DeFi tokens and successful airdrops like Jito (JTO), created a perfect storm of bullish momentum. The low transaction costs and high speed of Solana also attracted both experienced crypto enthusiasts and newcomers, further fueling the ecosystem's growth.

How does Ansem view the future of Ethereum in the evolving crypto landscape?

Ansem expresses uncertainty about Ethereum's future role. He points out that Ethereum's transition to a modular architecture has complicated its value proposition. With multiple L2 solutions and competing data availability layers, it's unclear how value will be distributed across the ecosystem. While Ansem doesn't believe Ethereum will "die out" and sees it remaining a primary entry point for institutions, he questions whether it can maintain its dominant position in the face of competition from more efficient chains like Solana.

What is Ansem's prediction for the crypto market in 2024?

For 2024, Ansem anticipates a period of sideways or slightly downward movement in the first quarter, followed by a more robust uptrend for the rest of the year. He expects Bitcoin to potentially reach $50,000 and Solana to hit $100 before a market pullback in mid-January. Ansem bases this outlook on factors including the Federal Reserve's dovish stance and projected rate cuts. However, he cautions against overconfidence, noting the unpredictability of markets and potential for unexpected events.

How does Ansem manage the challenges of being a public figure in the crypto space?

Ansem acknowledges the double-edged sword of social leverage in the crypto space. While he enjoys recognition and appreciation from followers who have benefited from his insights, he's also aware of potential backlash when trades don't go as expected. To mitigate these risks, Ansem strongly advises against copy trading, instead encouraging followers to learn the process of analysis and decision-making. He advocates for a balanced approach to portfolio management, separating long-term holdings from more speculative trades.

What role do airdrops play in Solana's ecosystem growth?

Airdrops have played a significant role in Solana's ecosystem growth. Ansem highlights the Jito (JTO) airdrop as particularly impactful, distributing tokens to less than 10,000 wallets and demonstrating the under-allocation in the Solana ecosystem. These airdrops inject capital into the hands of committed community members, who are likely to reinvest in the ecosystem. Looking ahead, Ansem sees the upcoming Jupiter airdrop as another potential catalyst for growth, potentially representing a stimulus of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Solana ecosystem.

How does Ansem view the potential of application-specific chains?

Ansem sees significant potential in the development of application-specific chains or rollups. He believes that certain applications, particularly games, could benefit from having their own dedicated blockchain infrastructure. This trend towards specialization could lead to a landscape with a few dominant general-purpose L1s coexisting alongside numerous application-specific chains or rollups. Ansem thinks this evolution could reshape how we think about blockchain scalability and application design in the coming years.

What are Ansem's thoughts on the rise of inscriptions and ordinals?

Initially skeptical, Ansem has come to see potential in inscriptions and ordinals, particularly on chains without native smart contract functionality like Bitcoin. He believes the immutability and prestige of the Bitcoin blockchain could lend long-term value to early inscription collections. Interestingly, Ansem also sees potential for inscriptions on data availability layers like Celestia, demonstrating the crypto community's ability to innovate and find new use cases for blockchain infrastructure.

How does Ansem expect the next crypto cycle to differ from previous ones?

Ansem believes the upcoming cycle could be transformative for the industry. He anticipates that increasing mainstream acceptance of crypto, potentially catalyzed by events like the approval of a Bitcoin ETF, could lead to a more prolonged uptrend. Ansem expects this maturation of the crypto market to result in higher price floors and decreased volatility over time, potentially marking the end of the extreme boom-and-bust cycles that have characterized the industry thus far.

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