Ali Banai is a Senior Business Lead at WeWork, where he works on data with the growth team in order to make sure that their real estate agents receive accurate listings for their clients. Previously, Mr. Banai has worked as a Financial Analyst at the University of North Los Angeles, an Equity Researcher at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, and a Financial Administrator at Tysons Institute. Mr. Banai earned Yale’s online certificate in Financial Markets.
The Politic: Tell me about your background and how you got interested in the space!
Ali Banai: I have a background in the financial industry, specifically capital markets and securities. I received my certificate in Financial Markets from Yale in 2014, a BBA in Finance from Pace University in 2017, and I’m back at my alma mater pursuing an MA in Investment Management right now. Throughout my five years of studying finance, I haven’t formally received exposure to the cryptocurrency space.
That being said, I got interested in Bitcoin back in 2013 as a senior in high school. My friend and I were familiar with Bitcoin but not the underlying blockchain technology. All we knew was that Bitcoin provided a source of payment for fake IDs, fake credit card numbers, and drugs on the Silk Road market.
Back then, it was $100 per Bitcoin. We decided to buy one just for the sake of owning it, because at that time Bitcoin was the talk of the town. During that time, Bitcoin was mined using USBs. You would need to buy multiple USBs and USB hubs to draw enough electricity to reach profitability during the mining process. We couldn’t mine any substantial amount of Bitcoin because we lacked access to the necessary capital for buying USB hubs and electricity. We weren’t able to build an efficient mining system without that capital.
By 2015 when I had enough capital, I returned to the world of cryptocurrency. The price of was rising and the currency was catching people’s attention. I gradually got up…