Top Crypto YouTube Channel Founder Shares Life Lessons: Interview with DataDash's Nicholas Merten
DataDash – one of the most popular YouTube channels to watch in the cryptocurrency space – offers a mix of information, data livestreams, and interviews. Nicholas Merten, the channel’s founder, is a former securities market analyst who realized the upside potential of crypto early on, established his presence on YouTube, and became a prominent influencer in the community. We sat down with Nicholas to talk about his background and lifestyle, his new startup, and his views on the currency markets and Facebook’s plans to launch Libra.
Nicholas, please tell us about your background. How did you become passionate about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency?
My passion for cryptocurrencies is really just an extension of my passion for finance. Working in finance I began to really understand the issues and inefficiencies associated with traditional money and became deeply concerned about the state of the current banking system. Then Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like it came along with new opportunities, potential solutions, and ways out of the current financial system. Cryptocurrencies offer a hedge for citizens living in countries with hyperinflation, a means of transferring wealth globally, and a tool to store wealth derived from one’s personal work like never before. I am excited to see the world realize this potential over the coming decade!
What prompted you to create the DataDash channel? What keeps you motivated and working on the channel?
Funny enough, I did not intend to create a channel for cryptocurrencies. Having created various channels since 2007 with little to no success, I did not think anyone would want to watch my videos, let alone hear me talk about financial markets! But I created a channel to discuss my career focus at the time, which was data analytics; hence the name, “DataDash“.
It just so happened that I came up with the idea of showcasing my skills in data analytics, and what better way to do that than showcase how I analyze cryptocurrency markets. At the time, I only expected potential employers to watch it. But after seeing my second video get a couple dozen views, I knew I was on to something. So for nearly a year, each day I uploaded around two videos, and as time passed, grew the largest YouTube channel for cryptocurrencies. My lesson for others to take away is to do things even if you do not think people will care to watch it. The moment I did that vs. doing something I had hoped millions would watch, I ended up building my most successful channel on the platform.
Where are you physically located and how much do you travel? Where?
I live in the United States on the East Coast. Since 2018, between conferences and local meetups for the channel, I have traveled more than I’d like to admit. It has been a true blessing, and some of my greatest friends have come from my experiences traveling the globe. My favorite countries are Switzerland, Australia, and the Netherlands. But I have also truly enjoyed my time in Southeast Asia, because I see the absolute need for cryptocurrency technologies in this region. I feel the same for South America, but I have yet to make it to that region of the world.
Since one of BMag’s areas of focus is blockchain and crypto enthusiasts’ lifestyle, what are you days like? What do you do in your free time?
I keep quite active. Outside of my work for the channel, which occupies about half of my time, I spend the rest working on my crypto startup which I am launching shortly, in November 2019. It is something I have had in the works for some time, and I cannot wait to share it with the world. Outside of that, I love to learn about various subject matters like macro-economics and emerging technologies. I also lift weights in my free time.
What kind of perks do you get as one of the top crypto influencers out there?
This is probably the last answer you’d expect me to give, but it’s the sheer fact that people look past my age and give me a chance to share my thoughts. One thing that crypto has blessed me with is the ability to share my thoughts with tens of thousands of people on a daily basis. I am far from perfect, but I have spent years passionately studying the various topics I discuss. And to have people recognize that warms my heart beyond belief.
Any future projects you can share with us?
As I alluded to earlier, I’m currently working on a crypto startup. I can’t say much right now, but its sole objective is to bring crypto to the 99% who have not seen the benefits of becoming their own bank. If you’d like to keep up to date, go to https://www.bankingforthe21stcentury.com/ and submit your email. Once we launch in November, I’d love for you to see what we have built.
What do you think the future holds for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
I think cryptocurrencies will go through three major cycles as an asset class: Speculative asset —> Store of value —> Money for the world.
One of the most arrogant views someone could have for bitcoin or other cryptos is saying that they are terrible forms of money. You’ll commonly hear bitcoin is “too volatile” or that it’s a “bubble”. It’s important to know that bitcoin is an emerging financial asset. Being around for only ten years, it’s come a very far way in proving itself. They’ve been the best performing financial assets in the last decade by a landslide, reached millions of users, and unlike gold, stocks, and bonds, they are improving year by year.
“I honestly wish the best for Libra. Even though I don’t believe it is a “crypto” currency, it is a much better solution to the existing framework of banking.”– Nicholas Merten
Once we reach 3-5% adoption, crypto begins to shift from a speculative asset class towards a store of value. And when we continue to expand further towards 10-25% global adoption, bitcoin will begin to be realized as a global form of money. Not everyone will use it right away, and that’s okay. It is meant much more for some people than others, depending on the financial system that you live under. But for the billions of humans who need it, it will forever change their financial future; and I believe the impacts will be positive beyond what we can even comprehend.
How do you think Facebook’s Libra coin will change the cryptocurrency space?
I honestly wish the best for Libra. Even though I don’t believe it is a “crypto” currency, it is a much better solution to the existing framework of banking. But the issue I see for Libra is that it is and will be centrally controlled for some time. That alone puts it at risk from corrupt governments and overbearing regulators. We have already seen some of the major companies backing it leaving, and this was a concern I’ve held for over a year now. It speaks to the importance of crypto’s message: “We are here to build a system that allows us to become our own bank, and we don’t intend to ask for permission”.
Interviewed by BMag Staff