EXCLUSIVE: Inside a professional investor’s personal portfolio

Thursday, March 2, 2023

This article was first published in German in Handelzeitung. You can read here.  

Our co-founder and chairman, Olga Feldmeier, is one of the best-known women in the Swiss crypto scene. After doing her time at the very top of international banking, Olga turned her attention to crypto and never looked back.  

Thanks to her, Switzerland gave out the first Bitcoin licence to a global crypto company and then in 2017, OIga founded SMART VALOR to further her mission of bringing digital assets to as many people as possible.  

Olga has been actively investing in digital assets since 2013, so it’s fair to say she’s built up some serious expertise over the years. With such a long history of investing in cryptocurrencies, everyone always has the same question for Olga: Can you show us your portfolio?  

Olga’s answer was always no. Until now. Here, in an interview that was originally published in German in Switzerland’s top financial newspaper, Handelszeitung, Olga opens up her portfolio for the first time:  

Q: It was a good start for crypto in 2022, do you think it will continue?  

I hope so! 

The hope is that even if the macro environment and the equity markets continue to perform negatively, there will be some decoupling. 

Q: Do you think there’s a chance your hopes will be fulfilled?  

Yes, my hopes are based around the Bitcoin halving in spring 2024.  

Q: Where, every four years, the creation of new Bitcoin is halved? 

Yes, then only three new Bitcoins will be created every ten minutes instead of six. 

Q: And the logic is that, because the supply is very low, the prices should rise?  

This has been the case in each of the past two and a half years: The price starts to rise a year before halving. The Bitcoin price should pick up again this spring.  

Q: Will it happen again?  

The hope is that even if the macro environment and the equity markets continue to perform negatively, there will be some decoupling 

Q: But prices could also fall. 

I find that less likely. But it may be that the macro environment is so miserable that even the up cycle is broken, which has driven crypto prices upwards every four years so far. Also, because the correlation with the equity markets has become much stronger. 

Q: So, is now actually a good time to invest?   

It is a good time to build a diversified portfolio with which one can profit from new technologies. The special thing about crypto investments is that you can access them even as a small private investor. In most other comparable technology sectors, this is completely out of the question. You can't invest in ChatGPT or other good projects in the field of artificial intelligence. This is a playing field reserved for large, specialized investors. 

Q: It is becoming more accessible for private investors, but of course you can't invest there as directly as with cryptos. 

Crypto is an exception, as companies finance themselves with a token issuance. This type of financing is likely to catch on with companies in other industries as well. This would democratize access to tech investments. Better regulation will help. 

Q: Okay, so will you buy any cryptocurrencies themselves?  

I’ve been investing in cryptocurrencies since 2013! 

Q: Yes, but are you actively buying now?  

The whole debacle around FTX is not over yet, but we’ll probably see a few more dominoes fall. We have probably not yet found the market bottom in terms of prices, but I’m sure we're pretty close.  

Q: And how is your portfolio structured now? 

I have a very structured approach. I want to be invested in all five segments of crypto projects. 

Q: What are these five segments? 

The segments are layer 1 and 2 infrastructure projects, fintech applications, Web 3.0 infrastructure, and Bitcoin. 

Q: Let's go through them all and start with Bitcoin. 

 Bitcoin as a store of value, often referred to as digital gold, has the highest weighting in my portfolio. 

Q: Okay, what about the infrastructure projects? 

The second category is infrastructure, i.e. layer 1 blockchain protocols. Ethereum, with its smart contract platform, is one of them. Ethereum is by far both the oldest and largest transaction platform, which reached a 500 billion market cap.  

Q: What else is there, and how do you select other infrastructure projects? 

I look at how many developers are programming or contributing to a specific blockchain. I also look at how many other projects are based on a blockchain, how many users the blockchain has, and how high the transaction volume is. I am also interested in who the founders are and who is driving the project. 

Q: Which cryptocurrencies did you buy based on the analysis? 

I bought more Cosmos, Near and Algorand. Avalanche is also a relatively recent addition.  

Q: And what about the layer 2 blockchains? 

In this category, companies are trying to build scaling solutions for layer 1 blockchains, so that transactions can be processed faster and more affordably. I have invested in Polygon, Optimism and Arbitrum in this category. 

Q: And the fourth category of your portfolio? 

This one is Fintech. Or that’s what I call it anyway, which is probably a bit old fashioned! Others call it Decentralized Finance, or Defi for short.  

Q: These are essentially financial applications. Here, again, there are several sub-segments: payments, exchanges, lending platforms, investment platforms, and infrastructure. 

 In the case of exchanges, of course, I have the largest allocation in my company, Smart Valor. After that comes Uniswap, because it’s number one in decentralized exchanges andworked flawlessly this past spring, even at record levels of volatility. This was not possible even at Coinbase: the largest regulated exchange had to suspend trading at that time. 

Q: Are there any more fintech apps that you invests in? 

Yes, my "crypto-fintech" portfolio is quite large. I'm an ex-banker, so I understand financial applications better.  

I have my favorites in each sub-segment, such as MakerDAO for lending platforms and Chainlink in infrastructure area. For Chainlink, I like the founder and the team. In the payment space, Ripple and Stellar are leading the way. However, there are regulatory risks to consider with Ripple. 

Q: Did you buy any more fintech investments?  

In this crypto winter I have shifted a bit. After bitcoin and blockchain protocols, this has now become the largest category for me. Among other things, this is because we are still far away from all-time highs now. Many of the defi tokens are still 90 percent below the all-time high, while bitcoin and big protocols have "only" lost 6o to 7o percent. 

Q: Did you also avoid any investments? 

Yes, of course. The biggest example of this would be any of the yield platforms and tokens. There is still a lack of substance there. But fintech on the blockchain is on the rise and will become big especially in countries that do not have a developed banking system. 

Q: Okay, which is the fifth segment in your portfolio? 

Simply put, this category is about the decentralized internet, often called Web 3.0.  

Q: What is Web 3.0 in the context of blockchain? 

Web 3.0 is about decentralization and a token-based economy. It's all about who owns the users' data. 

Q: So far, those are owned by a few big tech companies. 

Yes, if Youtube decides to delete my fan page, it's gone. In Web 3.0, my data should really belong to me. New platforms are being built that will enable decentralized social media, identity, streaming and data storage. 

Q: What are the investment opportunities? 

These include infrastructure projects such as Filecoin for decentralized storage. On the other hand, there are whole worlds of other opportunities, such as the metaverse, NFTs, DAOs, and so on. 

Q: And did you invest in these sectors?  

Yes, but that's still the smallest area for me compared to other categories, because it's still in its infancy. 

SMART VALOR is the easiest way to get started. 

Risk Disclosure: Cryptocurrencies can fluctuate widely in prices and incur permanent loss of capital and are therefore not appropriate for all investors. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Trading history presented is less than 5 years and may not suffice as basis for investment decision. This is not an investment advice. More information is available in Risk Disclosure under SMART VALOR | Risk Disclosure.