David Siemer is the CEO of Wave Financial, an investment management company that offers institutional and private wealth digital asset solutions. Siemer started an early-stage venture capital firm in 1995 and first took notice of Bitcoin (BTC/USD) when it was trading for less than one dollar.
In an interview with Invezz, Siemer said he first started buying Bitcoin when it was $8 a coin. At that time, Bitcoin was held by roughly 300 people worldwide and had a market capitalization of $500,000.
Recognizing the long-term potential opportunities, Siemer dedicated the better part of the past 10 years to helping his firm’s client profit from the growing crypto universe. Today, Wave Financial oversees more than $1 billion in assets as it continues to innovate with new product launches, most recently the Wave NFT Fund.
Convincing billionaires to invest in cryptos
Siemer recalled how he spent two full days pitching a multi-billionaire investor and client in Southeast Asia to invest in cryptos back in 2017. This particular client held tens of millions of dollars in other areas of Wave’s business. But Siemer had to settle on the client signing a $250,000 check to be allocated towards digital currencies.
The surge in crypto prices over the years hasn’t necessarily translated to an easier path for Wave Financial. He said:
It’s still hard raising money from people that don’t understand crypto. There is a lot of talk. They want to talk about it.
Today, a typical client of Wave Financial boasts a net worth between $10 million and $20 million and might own 30 tokens they bought on their own. Most clients “don’t know why” they own specific coins.
Wave strives to reduce its clients’ exposure to 10 tokens through proper asset management. Then, the firm attempts to generate yield through various funds, including the Wave BTC Income & Growth Digital Fund that aims to distribute a dividend of 1.5% of net asset value (NAV) per month.
Siemer: ‘I’m in this for the long haul’
Since founding Wave Financial, Siemer said he has witnessed the crypto market crash more than 50% on five separate occasions. Siemer further estimates that he has seen over his investment career 30 instances where the digital market lost 30%.
Perhaps ironically, the largest and most discussed crypto, Bitcoin, also happens to be the “least interesting” coin to talk about, he said. Bitcoin is after all a store of value at its core.
The rest of the crypto universe offers the potential to “transform everything” from financial products, the global supply chain, and the internet. Fast forward 10 to 20 years and the world’s 20 largest companies will likely all be tech-focused. Among those, half will be blockchain companies. He added:
I’m in this for the long haul. This is a $2 trillion asset class today, I can’t see a scenario where this isn’t a $10 trillion asset class in another few years.
NFTs are in essence composed of computer JPEG images that can sell for $1 million, Siemer said. While this seems crazy, a traditional piece of art is a mere “fabric with some paint on it” that can sell for $500 million. He said:
I’m in the camp of we’re just getting started. This is all just the beginning. Yes, there’s CryptoPunks that sell for quarter of a million dollars and they’re ugly. I own one. It’s ugly. I don’t know why I bought it, but it was $30 and I bought it.
Today, the NFT market has evolved to include participation from corporate America. Beer giant Budweiser, as an example, bought a branded rocketship NFT in late August.
Meanwhile, NFTs can be featured at high-end auctioneer Christy’s because “traditional people want to look at these assets,” he said. Granted, some of the NFTs will “going to go to zero” but “there’s also going to be incredible wealth around this.”
At the end of the day, the global art market is estimated at $50 trillion which is an “enormous number,” Siemer said. So it is logical to assume that the NFT market can eventually command a small market share at a few trillion dollars.