Month: September 2018

030. Women Supporting Women in Blockchain w/ Anu Bhardwaj

“It’s not something that’s localized. This is something that’s so global now. The Russian government is having crypto classes in all their universities in their curriculum. We have all the best schools in the United States. If you think about it, this technology is scaling, and you see the first crypto exchange open in Uganda just two, three months ago. It’s the next revolution, and my interest has been how do we get more women engaged from the beginning so we’re not left out.”

Anu Bhardwaj is the founder of Women Investing In Women Digital, and the State of Women Radio + TV network whose experience, before starting her own company, was in private equity and venture capital including collaborating with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the International Trade Administration, and the U.S Embassies of many countries around the globe.

And given that her work in global women’s issues & investing for women takes her to countries far and wide, it’s no surprise that I caught up with her remotely while she was in New York, having just gotten off of a plane from events in Sydney and Melboune, Australia. Anu was a guest judge on a show called That StartUp Show.

Anu is excited about the potential for global adoption of cryptocurrencies because it would give people all over the world in different countries with varying degrees of financial security and government accountability, alternatives, which she says gives people more of a voice. Cryptocurrencies can help to democratizing financial access, open up investment opportunities and give people choice.

Anu also believes in blockchain technology for its transparency and trust and is an active Angel Investor in some exciting StartUps out of Canada.

“With regards to blockchain technologies. I definitely think that as there’s more adoption, we will see better and more seamless, more transparent technologies coming forward. I think right now, the knowledge is in the hands of a few, but as we start to see more people reaping the benefits, I think more people will start to engage.”

Anu was honoured with one of the “Top 10 Frontier Women” awards, an award given by 5th Element Group’s Decade of Women campaign in partnership with the United Nations.

When I asked her why she believes in investing in women, she explained that women reinvest in their families and in their communities more often than men do and they share what they learn because women are natural communicators, generally, so she believes that the return on investing in women is exponential.

Speaking of supporting women, Anu also has a site called Qrypto Queens. They’re hosting a beach party in November, all about blockchain technology called Blockchain on the Beach.

When I asked Anu about her advice to young women, she mention confidence and within that, the ability to take risks and then to keep an open mind and to learn, and it is apparent that Anu has all of those qualities and more.

029. Building a Tech Business and Investing in a Blockchain Future with Michael Hyatt

“The companies I will suggest in the next 2 to 3 years that are going to make it are ones that have a real blockchain product with real utility that people really need and they’re getting real quality advantage out of, like any other company. And 2017 was the year of FOMO which is ‘I’m going to miss out so I better buy it’ 2018 is like ‘woah what happened here, hold on here I think we have to go find something real’ and 2019 I think is going to be the year of prove it. ‘Prove you’ve got something. Oh, you’re going to raise a coin? I’ve heard that story. OK what is it really that you’re doing?”.

Michael Hyatt has built incredibly successful tech business and he’s been in business since before the days of the internet. He’s got first-hand knowledge of where the internet and computer technology came from and educated and experienced insight as to where blockchain tech is going.

So where is it going? Michael talked about a creative destruction phase or a nuclear winter, much like we’re seeing now. But he believes that the future is bright. He thinks “the Facebook of cryptocurrency hasn’t been born” but that we’ll see real businesses with important use cases coming to the forefront after the fallout from the hype around cryptos and all the betting on the promises of ICOs that have never delivered, and won’t.

He talks about the crypto space mirroring the real world. People talk about there being a new paradigm, but Michael doesn’t buy it, not were businesses and investments are concerned. He says it all comes down to the fundamentals. Is there a viable business? Are these the people who can deliver what they’re promising? And is there something backing the crypto or blockchain investment that has real value.

“If you’re starting a company, whether it’s a crypto company or any kind of company, I don’t think it matters. I think what matters is that you have to be in it for 10 or 15 years and build to win not build to sell or build to flip.”

He says when you’re buying part of an ICO, you’re buying a Kick Starter, that really, you’re buying a promise that it’s going to be useful, but that very few companies have delivered on their promises.

With Ethereum, he says that something big has to happen. When Ethereum can be used as part of some revolutionary tool, an app that changes the way things are done in the financial world or the medical world, if it can change the way were doing things now then the value will really go up. But, whether it’s Ethereum or some other blockchain technology that transforms the way we’re doing things now, there needs to be broad based adoption and a global understanding of the new technology’s value. Then and only then will there be the Crypto or Blockchain Facebook or Google or Apple.

Michael mentions the collapse of the condo market in Miami as a historic example that may be similar to what we’re seeing the crypto right now. Condos that were overpriced, plummeted in cost, but there was a point when buyers and investors saw that condos still held a certain value. So, while he doesn’t believe Bitcoin is digital gold. He does believe there is a value and that the public will figure out what it is.

I ask Michael about his affiliation with Rotman’s Creative Destruction lab, which he is completely impressed by, saying that he’s in a place where he’s surrounded by big thinkers and intelligent innovators.

Michael talks about being an advisor to Polymath. He’s excited about security tokens and believes in Trevor Koverko.

He also believes in the idea of tokenizing securities like art, paintings, wine, or buildings that have a that have an inherent value and supports the idea of these securities, that aren’t big enough to go public, can also draw in non-accredited investors who would like to put their money into something, but maybe don’t have the financial wealth to be able to pour in large amounts of money in order to be able to see a return on their investment.

One of the other topics we hit on is regulation. His point of view is that regulation makes the market real. It’s there to stop companies from lying and cheating people and that regulation entering the picture is a healthy thing. Essentially the regulators will sort and sift through what’s being offered and cut out the crap.

Michael is also a regular contributor to The Pitch Podcast.

028. The Blockchain Island of Malta with Eman Pulis

“Companies can relocate their business to Malta and they can operate in an environment where the government tells them what you’re doing is perfectly legal, so they’re not operating in a grey area where the government has no clue whether this is legal or illegal. So the companies tomorrow they’re not waking up and being faced with a government that has just decided that what’s happening is illegal but they are operating in a legal framework.”

Eman Pulis, with a background in online gaming events, is organizing the Malta Blockchain Summit in November. He’s from Malta and believes that along with the government of Malta’s legislative support, that the country will become one of the key hubs for blockchain innovation. They’re calling it ‘blockchain island’.

Not all countries are pro crypto or pro blockchain. China banned all ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges, India banned the exchanging of cryptos for fiat and declared that cryptos are not “legal tender”. Other countries have an outright ban on digital currencies including Morocco, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador.

Blockchain technology is one of the keys to implementing Web 3.0, which will allow a more intuitive, evolved, value-transfer enabled internet. And Malta is one of the countries that is recognizing that blockchain is leading this paradigm shift. The country is opening its borders to all things crypto — traders, investors, blockchain businesses, exchanges, and ICOs. And they’re doing it not with just talk, but by backing up their support in creating legislation that fully supports blockchain businesses.

“Keep in mind this is a very new technology. Hardly any government understands what’s going on with the fast rate at which this technology is evolving.”

Eman is organizing the Malta Blockchain Summit which will be held on November 1-2, 2018. And he’s given our listeners a discount code for free tickets. Listen in to the podcast for the code.

More of Malta’s advantages are that it’s a member of the European Union and situated in Europe with neighbouring continents nearby, Africa bordering the country to the south and Asia to just to the East. All that and the weather is great too.

And it seems to be working. Big exchanges like Binance and Okex are already relocating to Malta.

Eman also talks about his stance on cryptos and his support for digital currencies, like the advantages of P2P transactions, by-passing a central authority, and doing away with exchange rates when paying or trading bitcoin to bitcoin across political borders. But he also references bitcoin still having scalability issues.

In terms of what he sees in the next few years, he believes there will be public, government blockchains interacting with private blockchains and he supports decentralization so that the government doesn’t have as much leverage as it has had until now. He believes that blockchain represents the way the internet should have been, back when it was first a reality.

Listen to the podcast for a code for free tickets to the Malta Blockchain Summit.

027. Blockchain Security with Hartej Sawhney

“You have people trying to take advantage of the fundraising mechanism that is an ICO without having a real business. They’re more excited about raising the money and then figuring it out. That’s a lot of the people. A lot of the people that have ICOed will not stay standing. It will be just like the dot com explosion.”

Hartej had read Satoshi’s White Paper back in 2011 but he spent a lot of time in the space without creating his own place in it. Now he and his Hosho co-founder Yo Sub Kwan have founded a company that fulfills a huge need, and one that (especially for how much money is at stake) really isn’t being taken seriously – and that’s blockchain security.

What’s the point in creating smart contracts if they can be easily compromised? Who cares if blockchains are immutable, trustless, unhackable if the contracts running on top of them can be breached?

And, how is world-wide adoption ever going to happen if news headlines keep scaring people away with stories of another exchange that just got hacked out of millions of dollars?

I talk to Hartej about Hosho and blockchain security and we also get into tokenization and how there are a whole bunch of people who seem to want to tokenize anything and everything, when maybe tokens should really have nothing to do with it.

His advice is to build a real business and there are places where tokens make sense, like in the world of gaming. Or in a place where you can have peer to peer markets, like in underdeveloped markets that would allow an artist to have access to the internet and sell music there.

Hartej goes into what Hosho can do with smart contract auditing and checking security vulnerabilities including with penetration checks for exchanges. Because when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges being secure, it really only takes one toke that isn’t secure for there to be a critical vulnerability. Because if one coin can be hacked, and exchanged for Bitcoin, or fiat currency, then the whole exchange is at risk.

He talks about the history of Paul Graham in Silicon Valley and the key to a Startup being a Startup is growth. Hartej mentions the Y Combinator program and that there are essays there that all entrepreneurs should read.

When it comes to startups vs big Fortune 500 companies, Hartej talks about the fact that the Fortune 500 companies are in the space but they’re working on research and development. They’re behind where the early investors were years ago but they’re working on it.

And before we get into our Five Fun Questions, I asked him what use case he’s excited about seeing in the blockchain space in the next 5 years. His answer? Healthcare. How much data do we have on our body right now, about what’s going on with our body? And what if we could cater how we live, eat, sleep, exercise according to what our doctor recommends based on our body weight, resting heart rate, average heart rate, blood pressure, activity habits, blood sugar levels and on and on. It is amazing to think about where the technology we have now with our health data in our wearables will be in the next 5 years and what that could mean for our health.

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