Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto

Anthony Di Iorio, a co-founder of the Ethereum network, says he’s done with the cryptocurrency world, partially because of personal safety concerns.

Di Iorio, 48, has had a security team since 2017, with someone traveling with or meeting him wherever he goes. In coming weeks, he plans to sell Decentral Inc., and refocus on philanthropy and other ventures not related to crypto. The Canadian expects to sever ties in time with other startups he is involved with, and doesn’t plan on funding any more blockchain projects.

“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about,” said Di Iorio, who declined to disclose his cryptocurrency holdings or net worth. “I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.”

Back in 2013, Di Iorio co-founded Ethereum, which has become the home of many of the hottest crypto projects, particularly in decentralized finance — which lets people borrow, lend and trade with each other without intermediaries like banks. Ether, the native token of the network, has a market value of about $225 billion.

He made a splash in 2018 when buying the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money. Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($22 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district.

In recent years, Di Iorio jumped into venture-capital investing and startup advising. He was also for a time chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth was as high as $1 billion. Ether’s price has more than doubled since then.

Decentral is a Toronto-based innovation hub and software development company focused on decentralized technologies, and the maker of Jaxx, a digital asset wallet that garnered about 1 million customers this year.

Di Iorio said he has talked with a couple of potential investors, and believes the startup will be valued at “hundreds of millions.” He expects to sell the company for fiat, or equity in another company — not crypto.

“I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems,” Di Iorio said. He is involved in Project Arrow, run by a high-school friend that’s building a zero-emission vehicle. He is also consulting a senator from Paraguay.

“I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not,” he said. “It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.”

Source: Ethereum Co-Founder Anthony Di Iorio Says Safety Concern Has Him Quitting Crypto – Bloomberg

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Critics:

Anthony Di Iorio is a Canadian entrepreneur primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and an early investor in Bitcoin. Di Iorio is the founder and CEO of the blockchain company Decentral, and the associated Jaxx wallet. He also served as the first chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In February 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $750 million–$1 billion.

Di Iorio grew up with two older siblings in north Toronto, Ontario. He graduated with a degree in marketing from Ryerson University. Di Iorio began developing websites during the early 1990s, and eventually entered the rental housing market as an investor and landlord in Toronto, Ontario. In 2012 he sold his rental properties in order to invest in Bitcoin, and began to organize companies in the field of cryptocurrency.

He first learned about bitcoin from a podcast called Free Talk Live in 2012. According to The Globe and Mail, he “had an anti-authoritarian streak” and  questioned “the fundamentals of mainstream economics.” Di Iorio bought his first bitcoin the same day for $9.73. He created the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group which held its first meeting at a pub in the same year.

It was at this first meeting where he met Vitalik Buterin who went on to be the founder of Bitcoin Magazine and one of the original creators of Ethereum. As the Meetups grew from about eight attendees to hundreds, Di Iorio formed the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada.

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With Occupancy Down 32% Due To Covid-19, Here’s How Hotel Chains Are Trying To Convince Customers It’s Safe To Stay

Since March, global hospitality groups like Marriott, Wyndham and Hilton have fought an uphill battle to stay above water in the pandemic economy. Chains have seen their occupancy rates and revenues collapse with the onset of the virus, prompting hotel closures and mass layoffs. As of September, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, an industry trade group, estimated that American hotels had lost over 870,000 jobs, over a third of the total workforce, and Statista estimates that occupancy has declined nearly 32% this year.

Industry disruption is certain, but for the big players, weathering the storm is likely a temporary problem. In the long run, business travel will resume, families will vacation again and public events will reopen to fanfare. People will find reasons to return to hotels. And by relying on their massive franchisee networks and light capital expenses, hotel groups can likely break even despite a low occupancy rate.

The greater challenge is in the short term: How do you convince customers in the middle of a global pandemic that it’s safe to stay in a hotel?

“Over 70% of our guests were paying more attention to the cleanliness of their own spaces,” says Phil Cordell, Hilton’s global head of new brand development, who helped lead their sanitation efforts. “It’s part emotional, part logical. How are we going to tackle that?”

For hotels, sanitation during coronavirus has proven an organizational and PR hurdle, mandating new supply chains, a full overhaul of cleaning practices, strategic partnerships and a tightly controlled public narrative. And while some of the changes are likely to be temporary—breakfast buffets, though taboo now, will surely return—others will be long-lasting. 

For Wyndham Hotel Group, which owns hotel brands including Wyndham, Days Inn and Ramada Inn, decision-making power in the early stages of the pandemic were devolved to a small operations team that scrambled to make sure its franchisees had cleaning basic worked with its suppliers to drop-ship cleaning supplies directly to them. 

“Trust eroded right away and had to be rebuilt,” says Mike Mueller, Wyndham’s head of brand operations. “Before, it was taken for granted that things were clean. All of the sudden that became the number one amenity.” Bottles of hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes, proudly displayed, became visual shorthand for a safe, tightly run ship.

Hilton ran a similar program for its franchisees, shipping sanitation care packages, courtesy of Lysol, to all of its locations globally. (If prominently displaying a bottle of Purell in your lobby is a hint, Hilton’s pandemic-era partnership with the iconic disinfectant spray is something slightly less subtle.) “The Americas were easy, Western Europe was fairly easy, but the further east you went in Europe, the harder it became,” says Cordell. “Russia, the -stan countries—those were the difficult ones.”

Public-facing brand partnerships were also at the forefront of Hilton’s larger pandemic response. In April, the company announced its partnership with the Mayo Clinic to develop its new sanitation program. The InterContinental Hotel Group, whose properties include Regent Hotels and Holiday Inn, also partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to develop its new “Way of Clean” regimen, while Marriott brought experts from Purdue University and Cornell on to its Covid-19 sanitation advisory board. 

Despite the variety of voices, their recommendations have been similar: Make cleaning supplies and masks readily available, find food and beverage alternatives to traditional hotel dining and clean vigorously between customers’ stays, but scale back on housekeeping during visits to allay anxieties over having strangers in their rooms. (Housekeepers, one of the groups whose employment has suffered most during the coronavirus pandemic, have noted that the new processes have made their work more difficult.)

More creative problem-solving is likely to have mixed results. In April, Marriott announced that it would supply its locations with electrostatic sprayers, tools that spray a positively-charged disinfectant mist that adheres to surfaces. A study from the Cleveland VA Medical Center found that while the sprays are effective, costs may be prohibitive: In September, when Marriott announced a last call for subsidized devices, a small handheld sprayer went for $1,227, while a larger backpack-size version cost $2,543. Meanwhile at Hilton, plans are underway to test UV light-emitting robots to assist in cleaning. Simpler fixes, like mobile check-in apps that limit face-to-face exposure at the front desk, have been widely implemented and are more likely to last the test of time.

“I think expectations are going to change and evolve,” says Cordell. “We’ve got to be quicker on our feet than ever before.”Send me a secure tip

Christian Kreznar

Christian Kreznar

I previously worked in tax and economic development policy, now I write for Forbes Magazine and Forbes.com.

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CNA

1.1M subscribers// With events, wedding banquets and holiday reservations being cancelled on the back of the coronavirus situation, how the hotel industry been affected? General Manager of the Orchard Hotel, Jean-Philippe Jacopin, spoke to CNA about the impact and the hotel’s business contingency plans. Latest developments on the novel coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/wuhan-virus Get updates on our Telegram channel: https://cna.asia/telegram Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia

He Started as a Doorman at a Marriott. Now He Runs a $3 Billion Hotel Empire

When Alan Fuerstman, 62, picked up a part time job as a doorman at the Marriott in his hometown, he saw it as a way to make a few bucks before going on to college. Instead, it opened up an entirely new path: invigorating the sometimes staid and stuffy world of luxury resorts. Today, the management company he founded in 2002, Montage International, has a portfolio of hotels, resorts, and private residences worth almost $3 billion; last year company revenues exceeded $400 million. –As told to Sheila Marikar

 

My first job was as a part time doorman at a Marriott in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. I was a high school senior–I was hired to work Saturday and Sunday nifghts. A couple of weeks in, the weeknight guy resigned, and I was asked if I could pick up additional hours. I was playing competitive tennis then, but between that and school, I was still able to work four to five nights a week, plus weekends. I’d call a cab for guests and load luggage into cars, clean snow off windshields in the winter.

 

When I graduated, I was promoted to bellman. I took it really seriously, and I met a lot of fascinating people. Like a man by the name of Bob Small. He and his wife checked in one Saturday night, and he started peppering me with questions: “What’s it like in this area? What’s it like to work in this hotel?” A few weeks later, a co-worker says “Look alive. Here comes the new general manager.” It was Bob. He ended up becoming the CEO of Fairmont Hotels, and a mentor to me.

 

I went to Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and majored in political science. I spent a semester in Washington, D.C., interning for a young, dynamic senator named Joe Biden. I thought I would go to law school. But the summer after I graduated, I took some time off, went out to California–and Bob said, “come visit me in the desert.” He was opening the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage, California.

 

I had introduced Bob to my uncle, who’s a lawyer, and Bob said: “Come on. Do you really want to be a lawyer?” He offered me a full time job, and I took it.

I got a firsthand look at everything that goes into the opening of a hotel: what it takes to get your staff motivated, how to keep food and beverage running smoothly on a holiday weekend when the restaurants are packed. I went into Marriott’s management training program, was assigned to be the front desk manager of the Newport Beach Marriott, and then went on to manage that hotel’s housekeeping department. I was 22.

 

Later I was recruited to become the general manager of a resort and country club in Arizona, after which I got involved in resort development. In 1994, we acquired the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale for $240 million. I went there as the managing director, and by 1998 it was worth close to $500 million–it was running more smoothly, the level of service was higher, and the guests were happier.

 

That was maybe the first time I thought, “Hey, maybe I could do my own thing. Maybe I can create a company of extraordinary value.

 

I went to a beach resort in the South–I won’t say which–and they required men to wear sports coats in the lobby in the evening. It struck me as odd. Old-fashioned, and way too formal–I didn’t want to put on a sports coat. I thought the next generation of luxury consumers would be looking for a more gracious and humble approach to service. Fewer rules, but still incredibly focused on craftsmanship, quality, and attention to detail. And that luxury could be best served by a smaller company. Some of the leading luxury operators had 50, 60 hotels in their portfolio, and were getting a bit large.

 

I raised the capital and launched my own company in 2002. A developer showed me a place in Laguna Beach, on the Southern California coast, that seemed like the ideal location for our first hotel, but I didn’t have a brand yet. The name I had come up with was Platinum Hotel Group, which was a placeholder. I went to my advertising agency; they gave me hundreds of names but nothing felt just right. I went to a publicity company, and said, “Whoever comes up with the right name gets $10,000.” But, again, nothing hit me quite right.

 

Laguna Beach started as an artist colony, so I thought I’d look at artistic words. By this point, we were going through the financial transaction; I was getting desperate. I went to an online art reference guide, started with the A’s, B’s, C’s … I got to the M’s and saw montage, described as an “artful collection or compilation.”

 

I said, “Wow, that’s exactly what I’m looking to do.” It sounded good off the tongue–and it wasn’t being used in the industry. I called up the lawyers and trademarked the name.

I’ve always felt that great hotels are centerpieces of communities, so I wanted the community of Laguna Beach to embrace what we were doing. Before opening, we invited all the residents for a champagne toast. Community pride in your hotel then spreads further and further, and ultimately gets to a point where you have a national or international reputation.

 

Luxury in the older sense was scripted: “Here’s what you say, and how you say it.” For us, it really hasn’t changed in terms of trying to make sure that every guest has a truly special experience, but that starts with stripping away formalities. When well-trained staff members can display their own personalities, they create deeper relationships with guests. It’s those relationships that drive the repeat nature of our business–which is critical to the long-term success of a hotel.

 

We now have eight hotels and resorts, with nine more slated to open by 2021. In 2017, we started Pendry, which specializes in what we call “new luxury.” Pendry hotels have more hip food and beverage spaces. They’re more design-forward. They’re cooler.

That’s probably because my son Michael is in charge of that brand.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Bob Smalls surname and misstated the number of Montage International hotels and resorts; there are eight and nine more are expected by 2021. Additionally, the photo caption mistakenly used the wrong name for the company. 

 

By: Sheila Marikar

Source: He Started as a Doorman at a Marriott. Now He Runs a $3 Billion Hotel Empire