Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum, award-winning entrepreneur, and CEO of Decentral talks about freedom, liberty and impact on this week’s podcast.
Elizabeth Renieris, a crypto and blockchain lawyer educated at Harvard and London School of Economics speaks about identity and data privacy in the crypto and blockchain space.
“There’s just no running away from economics. Even if you don’t care about economics, you make economic decisions each day and those decisions are going to have consequences.”
Why is caring about economics important? Because whether we like it or not, we’re making economic choices every day. We may be choosing what to buy or how much to save. Consciously or unconsciously we choose what to spend our money on and how much of it to spend, whether we save some or go into debt, whether we invest in stocks or put all of our money in cash under a mattress. All of these choices are choices – and Andrei’s primary goal for us as consumers is that if we’re going to be making these choices, we might be better off, making educated ones.
When it comes to investing in cryptos, Andrei has some really sage advice around how and where he invests and why he thinks Bitcoin is a smart asset. We also talk about ICOs and pump and dump schemes and what he has to watch out for when it comes to his YouTube videos around these kinds of cryptos.
And although the focus of our interview was on financial planning, investing and economic preparedness, Andrei talks about his quick success as an entrepreneur until he hit his rock bottom. He shares what it was that helped him get back on his feet and what he thinks it takes to find success ultimately.
Andrei hails from Romania, so from his perspective, where there weren’t a lot of opportunities for him in the offline world.
He shared a great story about imagining we were from a country like Syria and that with our hard-earned family wealth, we owned a house and a car, but needed to flee the country. We wouldn’t be able to take our house, and probably wouldn’t be able to get the car out either, but we would be able to cross borders with zero issues with Bitcoin. All we would need to do is remember a few simple words in order to carry it with us.
Andrei’s excels in financial education. We discuss his book “The Age of Anomaly: Spotting Financial Storms in a Sea of Uncertainty”
and his incredibly clever short animated videos on his YouTube Channel “One Minute Economics” and he shares the reason why he wrote his book with a great analogy. Imagine you’re in a car speeding down a road headed toward a brick wall. Why is there a brick wall at the end of this road you ask? I have no idea. But back to the car, if we put the brakes on too soon, we’ll be OK. We may be far from the wall, but our spleen will still be in place. If we hit the brakes too late… well, we get spleen soup all over the sidewalk. Andrei wants to save a lot of spleens. He just wants us to think about the decisions we’re making and educate ourselves and he’s figured out a way to make important concepts digestible and easy to understand.
Andrei’s book is on sale for only 99 cents USD on Amazon.com this week! Plus he’s giving away a whole Bitcoin and some other amazing prizes. Check out this page for more info: http://oneminuteeconomics.com/
“When bitcoin came along, the thing about it that was so interesting and compelling to me is that, here’s a money that not only is better but that literally can’t be stopped because there is nobody who you can stop. There is no CEO of bitcoin to go after. And that’s why, Satoshi Nakamoto, the story of Bitcoin is so important to Bitcoin not because we’re lacking something, but because by lacking that something it makes it incredibly hard to attack. There’s no one to demonize. There’s no one to go after.“
Adam B. Levine was so inspired by Bitcoin, that he started the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast. It was the right show, the right topics, the right everything… and it hit at exactly the right time. Then after producing the show for about a year, and he got to the point where there were enough people listening that it was worth doing, he started the LTB Network. Who starts their own Network? Oprah. Oprah starts her own network. So Adam B. Levine is like the Oprah of the Bitcoin and Blockchain world.
But these days he’s got bigger fish to fry. He’s gone on to pursue even bigger ideas, ways to take his learnings from all of his interviews and all of his work in this blockchain ecosystem, to form a company, called Tokenly. https://tokenly.com
Tokenly’s ground zero for two great projects that have been built around the ideas of a new kind of ownership over the internet and one of these projects… mark my words… is a billion dollar idea. It’s like iTunes 2.0. It’s everything the internet should have had when it started, but we just didn’t have the technology for it yet. Now, with Bitcoin breaking all kinds of ground, the world is ready.
So why do I think Adam has a billion dollar idea?
He explained than tokens are a representation of who owns what and how that can apply to everything. Everything. That was an a-ha moment for him and he uses the example of buying audio books the way we do now and the fact that we’re not actually buying it, but we’re buying a single use. When I buy an audio book on iTunes, I can’t give it to a friend or sell it to a used bookstore.
“The things that we do online do not have ownership associated with them, because until we had something like blockchain, we have never had a good way to track ownership of things online. But now that we do have that, all of these things that were completely impossible like the idea of a used book store selling digital books or audiobooks. That doesn’t exist in the online world. But if you have ownership of those things represented as ownership of a token, then all of that stuff is suddenly possible and all of the liquidity and all of the ease of use and interchangeability that we right now experience through bitcoin or through other cryptocurrencies suddenly can be applied to everything that we want to own on the internet.”
So what if he can build an online store that keeps track of ownership through tokens and users can buy, sell, trade music, digital books, movies, audio books.
Won’t it be bigger than iTunes? It’s like iTunes 2.0. And what’s iTunes worth? Isn’t the revenue in the billions, per year? So iTunes 2.0, it’s got to be a billion dollar idea!
That idea is a project called Token FM.
Another big idea from Adam and Tokenly is a project called TokenMarkets. It’s like a tokenized Shopify. Ownership is done through tokens. There are digital downloads and a rewards program and the ability to buy tokens with a credit card and ship products using UPS.
Some of the other ideas we talked about we’re comparing the economy in his grandfather’s time to now which has to do with another reason why he believes in bitcoin.
We talked about a Fed Coin that would compete with other cryptos allowing for more competition to enter the space and ensure that those who are still in it would need to up their game. He talked about crypto wallets like Exodus https://www.exodus.io/ and Jaxx https://jaxx.io/ having many different coins and that our bank accounts may end up being crypto accounts.
Books he recommends:
Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain
By Andreas Antonopoulos
The Master Switch
By Tim Wu
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
By Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom https://twitter.com/oribrafman
“It’s very much like the dot com era when the internet allowed a lot of people to dream, and the internet era is when the entrepreneurship culture started. Very similar with this blockchain technology, the number of people who have started imagining has grown.”
Subhajit Mandal and I go on a journey of imagination, discussing use cases for blockchain technology and where he sees the future of innovation in worlds like decentralized social media, the health industry and the travel industry.
Why is imagination so important in the blockchain space?
Because technology is about the future, and since the future isn’t here yet, it only exists as a concept, in our mind… or in the case of blockchain tech, in the mind of Satoshi, Vitalik and those who are ready to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before!
And why is Bitcoin and blockchain technology, the future? Nothing like it has ever come before. And the things that make it so amazing are worth thinking about and really exploring and imagining what else can come out of decentralization, an immutable ledger, a trustless ecosystem, or the transfer of value without the use of an intermediary.
Subhajit talks about IPFS, the InterPlanetary File System, which allows users to be able to rent out unused hard drive space from their home computers.
He mentions BAT, Basic Attention Token, whose concept is that if someone is watching an ad, he or she should get paid for that view.
He talks about a decentralized social media platform, Indorse, like a decentralized LinkedIn where the people endorsing your skills gets paid and you, for posting valid qualifications, get paid for your valid posts about your qualifications.
Using an example of someone who gets into a car accident, Subhajit walks me through a scenario where our own personal health data couple be run on a blockchain and simple information can be noted with a simple metaphoric tick of a box and shared to insurers where needed, almost seamlessly.
We talk briefly about ICOs and the controversy realy being around how the money is used and we discuss utility vs security tokens and SEC regulations.
Subhajist is an Advisor for Go Eureka, and uses their example of creating a travel industry token that would be considered a utility token since it is used within its own ecosystem for the use of booking hotels for instance.
Lastly, we discuss data ownership and how blockchain technology is allowing companies to re-examine how data is being stored and shared. Subhajit says, “I think the discussions will be more around ownership and control and a little less around the monetary value.”
Dante Disparte is a regular Forbes contributor, author, CEO and founder of Risk Cooperative, and former Chair of the Harvard Business School Club of DC and Member of HBS Alumni Board in Boston. He is also a founding advisor of the Global Blockchain Business Council.
In our chat today, we talk about one of his recent Forbes magazine articles titled, “Our Economic Model is Out of WACC”.
His article, referencing Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC), explains how large companies think about investment models, and his stance is that it’s time for a new investment yardstick. He explains how blockchain and cryptocurrencies enable new business models that can help reprice and right-size finance and incentives.
Dante also references an article written by one of his colleagues at Forbes, Michael del Castillo
Article: The 10 Largest Companies In the World Are Now Exploring Blockchain
Dante gives us an incredible statistic about how popular “blockchain” was at the World Economic Forum that he attended in Davos in January of this year.
World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018
Dante also mentions the Global Blockchain Business Council, of which he is a member and advisor.
I don’t know about you, but I had no idea how big the business of insurance really is, but Dante shared that it’s a $5.5 trillion market! So, no wonder it’s an industry that is inherently risk averse. He explains the hierarchical nature of the corporate structure and that blockchain, inherent in the technology, can flatten corporate structure. As he likes to say, “corporate hierarchy is flat, the next layer down”. When he explains that forty percent of the American public could not withstand a $400 emergency right now, he shares that blockchain can enable insurance companies to reach more clients and enable a faster process when disasters strike.
Dante co-authored a book with Daniel Wagner called “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making: Organizational Resilience in the Era of Man-Made Risk”.
He talks about the notion of values mattering most when it’s least convenient and the fact that sixty percent of global risks are man-made.
We also get into politics and why in our culture plagued with doubt and distrust for politicians, big business, and institutions, that blockchain has huge opportunity right now. He cites that the rise in populism, whether in the Brexit example in the UK or the election of Donald Trump in the US, are symptoms of the real issue underneath being that people are fed up with status quo.
Why are we in Western cultures fed up with the status quo? Dante says it’s in large part due to severe income inequality, that we’re not doing enough to address it, and that it’s one of the Big Four Global Threats — the other three being Climate Change, Pandemics and Erosion of Trust.
Dante quotes one of his Forbes articles: “Blockchains record trust like the atomic clock records time”.
He goes on to say that “in an environment like that where a company or a firm could say I am irrevocably recording this particular transaction, it’s a proxy for trust.”
He talks about Bitcoin as an experiment. At the beginning of 2017, Bitcoin was worth $1,000 and it became a $20,000 asset by the end of last year. Although there were large sums of Bitcoin owned by whales, does Bitcoin help to democratize wealth? There is no centralized authority or governing body and a flat, decentralized organizational structure, so should we look to Bitcoin as an emerging business model? Dante called it “an encouraging societal experiment”.
Dante cited exciting examples of blockchain businesses:
He is an advisor to Power Ledger, innovative tech in the energy sector.
He also mentions Bitfury paving the way for new models in the area of land registries.
And, Etherisc, a platform re: flight delays.
He quotes Michael Casey “a cryptocurrency can be coded, but a dollar cannot”. *See SOC podcast 010. Hilary Carter recommends two of Michael Casey’s books. https://speakingofcrypto.com/2018/06/15/010-blockchainrevolutionhcarter/
Lastly, we discuss his being a leader among a community of leaders at Harvard Business School Club of DC and also serving on the Alumni Board in Boston as well and giving scholarships to local non-profit leaders in DC.
Robert brings a passion for financial inclusion to his new role as co-founder of the Start Up nodl. With a military engineering background, two decades building platforms for international banks,and technical FinTech expertise, having built the ground-breaking Vulcan blockchain platform when he was at PwC, nodl is where he’s bringing it all together for the greater good.
Today on the podcast Robert shares what big changes he wants to put into practice that he believes could revolutionize the way millions of people live.
We also talk about the new book that he wrote with co-author, Sofie Blakstad. Sofie is a long-time fintech collaborator of Robert’s and CEO of hiveonline whose blockchain strategy Robert is responsible for. The book “FinTech Revolution: Universal Inclusion in the New Financial Ecosystem” comes out this week on Kindle and I strongly urge everyone to grab a copy.
Robert explains that 1/3 of the world’s population, over 2 billion people, are unbanked and how there needs to be big change.
He talks about the convergence of technologies — blockchain, AI, the Internet of Things and mobile cloud coverage across the planet and says that it’s where the convergences of the various technologies happens where innovations occurs. Robert’s talking about breaking down old business models to make way for the new, a global, collaborative, decentralized way of doing things that will help democratize wealth.
Jeremy Rifkin’s book “Third Industrial Revolution”, exploring the paradigm shift
He talks about these:
UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals
Near and dear to his heart is also the oceans and Robert talks about one of the projects he’s working on being an innovative way to turn plastic waste into clean energy.
He explains that the unbanked in developing countries have natural forms of wealth, water rights, land titles, renewable energy and that that could be tokenized to allow for a greater distribution of wealth, because billions of people, some 70 million people even in the United States, don’t have access to a bank account, so Robert explains that you can’t make or receive payments, or create a business, or even recieve remittances without paying a fortune in fees. “So those who are least able to pay for that service are hit the hardest. It’s really expensive being poor”.
“To have the sorts of technology we’re talking about, the distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies, and everything else that is adjacent to that, filling the gap to transparently and incorruptibly provide a service (which is currently very opaque and very exploitative) is a game changer.”
And goes on to say that it doesn’t take much, that it’s a small margin to help raise the poor of the world up out of poverty and he explains how that can create waves of change.
M-Pesa in Kenya
The Bill + Melinda Gates Foundation
Provides interoperability. Open-source software to help create payment platforms for the unbanked people around the world to be able to access digital financial services.
Cash is subject to fraud, theft, it’s localized, and you can’t build a business very well when you have to spend many hours to store your savings and it becomes time consuming.
Robert and co-founder Justin Amos (formerly of Blythe Masters’ Digital Asset) set up Nodl.io. He goes into his work at PwC and building a FinTech there which became Vulcan. Vulcan is a platform that was developed to provide financial services through crypto technology and blockchain tech. And while PwC is not able to operate a financial services platform like this due to compliance and regulation, that is nodl‘s objective.
Nodl.io is the result of the learnings from the Digital Asset Services FinTech business at PwC. The new business is focused on financial inclusion, a next generation financial services platform providing a new style of bank accounts on mobile phones around the globe to the unbanked and working with partners in reputation platforms, solar projects and waste to energy.
They need friendly NGOs in various developing countries and they’re looking for funding as well.
Robert was a military engineer in the British Army. He worked on battlefield computer systems, including military-grade, transactional, decentralized databases, resistant to attack (where even when network nodes were taken out network could still function). This wasn’t blockchain tech, but it did use many of the elements that Satoshi Nakamoto incorporated into the blockchain protocol in creating Bitcoin.
The FinTech movement was fueled by open source, but instead to build parts of the infrastructure to be shared by others, so Robert explains that the new state of things, of technology, of future tech is collaboration.
He sites his previous collaborations with:
And with his co-author Sophie Blakstad of Hiveonline
Robert says he is excited about Hashgraph and what’s coming on the heels of this new project.
Full cycle energy waste to energy
Plus Robert answers these fun five questions and I won’t give away all of the answers, but he ends with a beautiful piece of advice to anyone who wants to lead others.
- What’s a book on bitcoin, blockchain tech, or cryptocurrency that you would recommend?
Robert’s Answer: Dave Birch’s “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin” history of money and the route to bitcoin and beyond.
- What’s one thing you would tell the younger you if you could go back in time?
- If you were the King of the World, what’s one law you’d put into place?
- What technology would you like to see in the world ten years from now?
- What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to do something great, but he or she doesn’t know where to start.
Blockchain Expert, Jason Lee is the Expansion Director for the NEM foundation for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific and was named one of Forbes Top 30 Under 30 Asia.
Jason compares blockchain tech to electricity. Electricity powers what we use all around us but it’s working behind the scenes. Blockchain protocols are similar. As we go forward with this technology it will become seamless. It will be the technology powering what we use all around us, working behind the scenes, like electricity.
We also talk about the Facebook data privacy scandal and Jason introduces the concept that “If you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.” Food for thought. But in a decentralized world, we could be paid for the data or personal information that we choose to provide.
Decentralization puts the power back into the consumer rather than the service provider. It begs the question, shouldn’t businesses pay consumers for the information they receive if it helps them with marketing, or allows them to sell advertising space to others business or if it helps improve business strategies?
Blockchain is changing the way we look at the world and changing the way the future world is going to look.
If you’re looking to get into blockchain tech, Jason recommends following your curiosity. Find out how it relates to your life, your work, your business or what you’re passionate about and use your area of expertise to dive into or develop the projects that peak your interest most.
Jason refers to NEM as a smart asset blockchain.
Big Unicorns, like Facebook, Uber, Air B+ B, are holding more and more information and whatever is centralized can be hacked. However, businesses can streamline processes through blockchain protocol, providing accuracy of information that is tamper proof — immutable.
Business have record keeping books, ledgers, only with blockchain tech this record book is placed around the world and maintained through cryptography and the power of the internet. And the record book can be updated, but no one can cook the books or go back and falsify records in the past.
NEM Foundation is a non-profit with a council that governs the protection, promotion, and development of the NEM blockchain. They are in 50 countries that talk to business owners and a distribute the NEM community fund.
Some NEM partner projects include:
Travel By Bit in Brisbane, Brisbane airport….
Choice in New Zealand uses QR code scanning and a portion can be placed into charity.
Loyal Coin that aggregate all of the loyalty cards in your wallet and potentially tokenize your loyalty points.
We also talked about Smart Cities, like Dubai, who plan to have all city and government functions on a blockchain by 2020.
Centralized vs. Decentralized blockchains.
GDPR in Europe
Right to Be Forgotten
ID 2020 is an alliance of organizations looking into this
Blockchain Association of Australia
Australian Stock Exchange
Used to clear and settle up to 2 trillion dollars worth of cash in Australian equity markets. They have a plan to implement blockchain technology by 2020.
Jason Lee came to Australia because his wife, a medical doctor, got into a specialist program. He’s always had a love of learning and curiosity and was interested in what the future would look like and what we’re leaving for our children and our children’s children.
He can be reached at:
Sunny Ray really started thinking about money, what it is and where it comes from, back before bitcoin cost a little more than a couple of lattes.
Since then, he’s seen bitcoin sky rocket to over 2000 times that price and explains why he thinks it has long term value, as digital gold. What’s fascinating about the rationale behind his explanation is that that it’s based on two theories of economics and how our society values, prints and uses money.
Sunny gives us a beginner’s look into the philosophy of bitcoin compared to that of fiat money by explaining that with our current system is based on Keynesian Economics where more money is printed every year. And this is very different from bitcoin, which is based on Austrian Economics, where one of the foundational elements of the value of bitcoin as a currency, is its scarcity or the fact that it has a limited supply. And if anyone wants to go deeper, I’ve got more info in the show notes page on the Speaking of Crypto website.
And that’s just one aspect of why bitcoin is considered valuable and we talk about a few others in the show.
If you’re interested more in the philosophy behind bitcoin, I’d recommend:
Andreas M. Antonopoulos – The Internet of Money
Here’s a link to the audio book on iTunes
Sunny also spent a few years living in Bangalore, starting Bitcoin MeetUps and founding Unocoin (a Cryptocurrency Brokerage and Exchange). So we also delve into demonetization in India, the financial uncertainty there and the popularity of actual gold. He tells us a fun fact, that Indian women own more gold than the United States Federal Reserve!
As far as Sunny’s bitcoin background in Toronto, he shares his admiration for Anthony Diiorio, for his vision, the way he thinks big, the fact that he “aims for the stars”. He respects how much he’s done in supporting up and comers in the space and what he’s accomplished with his businesses Ethereum, Decentral and Jaxx and for the blockchain community.
What a great conversation! Here’s more of what we talk about:
Unocoin – Cryptocurrency Brokerage and Exchange
Bitcoin MeetUp, Bangalore
Dr. Ron Paul questioning what money is and where it comes from
End the Fed
Sunny talks about meeting Dr. Ron Paul
Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter
Occupy Wall Street
Bitcoin as Digital Gold
Bitcoin MeetUp Bombay
Consensus NYC by @CoinDesk
Sunny talked about the fact that “more and more money is printed each year”.
Sunny mentions “sound money, limited money.”
Toronto Crypto and Blockchain Space
Anthony Diiorio @diiorioanthony
Trevor Koverko @trevorkoverko
Joseph Weinberg @josephweinberg