017. Making Markets Truly Global with eToro Founder and CEO Yoni Assia

“The blockchain technology, in its basis, the ability to transfer native digital assets from one place to another in an extremely easy way, enables the world, the capital markets, to truly become global.”

When Yoni Assia, Founder and CEO of eToro found out about Bitcoin, he realized that it was going to change how financial services work and effectively, change the world economy. His love of financial markets and technology have always been intertwined, and when he learned about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he found a way to bring those two passions together in one platform, called eToro where social media meets online trading.

Yoni realized that we all have to need to connect. Before the days of the internet the way people connected with each other came from our nationality or culture and where we were born, but the internet has no political boundaries, and communities are formed over the internet based on common interests.

Now with blockchain technology, like-minded individuals are able to connect in new ways, in a truly global economy.

Yoni thinks that the jury is still out as to whether or not Bitcoin will be used as a medium of exchange. And he said it remains to be seen if it will be like digital gold or silver or copper. But says it has the kind of brand awareness of Coca-cola, McDonald’s or Google!

And we discuss how people can now start to connect economically and create communities through a value system of shared ideas. Some are Bitcoin Maximalists. Some hodl Ethereum and support smart contracts and it’s Turing completeness.

Yoni talks about his passion project, The Good Dollar involving Universal Basic Income on top of crypto, helping the billions of unbanked join the global economy. His vision involves distributing wealth on a blockchain.

When we forecast into the future, Yoni believes that the blockchain revolution is as big as the internet and potentially as big as electricity as an innovation.

He says, “Most assets will be registered on global blockchains and people will be able to transfer ownership in both physical and digital assets electronically.” But, when will this happen and how is a much bigger question and the answer is — slower than innovative blockchain front-runners had been hoping for.

A great example he uses to help to put things into perspective is about VOIP. All communication is done through Voice Over Internet Protocol now. It seemed inevitable. But, he explains that Skype has not become the largest telephone company in the world. Why not? Because there were big, powerful companies with a lot of money and a lot at stake who were able to use the technology for their benefit. And Yoni believes the same will be true of the technology and innovations we’re seeing now.

He anticipates national blockchains connected to our digital IDs and that there will be some governance around how citizens are required to use their national blockchains.

As the information age is expanding and billions of people are becoming connected to an economy, that economy is becoming more global and less political, although how much less political remains to be seen.

012. The Bitcoin Experiment, Big Business, and Blockchain with Dante Disparte

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.

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.

011. Financial Inclusion Through Blockchain Tech with Robert Allen

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.

He references:

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 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. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. What’s one thing you would tell the younger you if you could go back in time?
  2. If you were the King of the World, what’s one law you’d put into place?
  3. What technology would you like to see in the world ten years from now?
  4. 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.

008. The Philosophy Behind Bitcoin as Digital Gold with Sunny Ray

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

Keynesian Economics

Sunny talked about the fact that “more and more money is printed each year”.

Austrian Economics

Sunny mentions “sound money, limited money.”

Toronto Crypto and Blockchain Space

Anthony Diiorio @diiorioanthony




Trevor Koverko @trevorkoverko


Joseph Weinberg @josephweinberg


Butter coin

007. Building Technology with Purpose with Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar

Bitcoin is disruptive. And because of that, it scares people. Some people. But from the perspective of someone living in Argentina, who’s been through economic turmoil, Bitcoin’s not the bad guy, it’s a valuable tool.  And that’s how Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar sees it. He’s is building possibilities on the foundation of Bitcoin with his RSK platform.

He’s putting his vision into practice and creating tools that benefit many. And he’s figuring out a way to help with, among many other things, financial inclusion, economic independence and a whole new way of distributing wealth.

Diego’s putting his vision into practice and creating the tools that benefit many. He talks about “reputation as collateral”. How does someone who has no credit, enter the financial system? There may be a way. Diego talks about the idea of risk assessment being based on new thinking, honouring the integrity of a customer through their reputation by what is reported from an educational institution or an NGO.

It’s all new thinking.

One of the most exciting things that RSK will do is to allow the unbanked to be part of wealthier markets, so that they can receive higher margins, benefit financially, and invest that profit back into their home environments. It will generate more wealth to more people all over the world from any environment, anywhere to be included, essentially levelling the economic playing field.

And the impact, may just be that millions of lives are drastically improved.

More of what we discussed:



Argentina 2001 Bail In is also addressed in the SOC podcast 004. with Federico Ast

Economic Uncertainty and Volatility in Argentina’s Economic History in The Economist

Government Corruption in Argentina

Shannon tells a story, from her days training in beach volleyball in in Rio de Janeiro. She trained with the same coach and on the same court as Ingrid Torlen and Nila Hakedal from Norway. Ingrid and Nila told a story of corruption in Brazil when they shared what happened to their friends who were also visiting from Norway.

Ingrid and Nila went on to compete at the Olympics. Here’s a video of them in Rio.

Crypto Economic Security Through Game Theory

Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake

Smart Contracts

Bitcoin Argentina NGO

Off chain payment systems

Capital Controls in Argentina

The Bitcoin Centre

Blockchain Academy

Maslow’s’ Hierarchy of Needs (Pyramid)

006. Community in the Blockchain Space with Tracy Leparulo

Tracy  Leparulo is a Blockchain Event Marketer based in Toronto who’s been in the crypto space from, just about the beginning. She planned and managed the First Bitcoin Expo … in the World And that Expo included over 50 speakers from the early days including Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, Charlie Lee, who founded litecoin and even Doge Coin was there.

Tracy also hosted the First Ever Ethereum Hackathon Event and many more. Check out her site Untraceable Inc for more info and past and upcoming events, including the Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto in August.

Tracy Leparulo, Blockchain Events

Tracy has so much knowledge and is so well connected in the space that she talked about the way things were back in the day, like when Decentral was based out of a house on Spadina Ave in Toronto. That’s a totally different vibe to what my upcoming podcast guest Sunny Ray describes as the decentral of today. You can hear more on that podcast out a week from today – Episode 008.

It was a pleasure to talk to Tracy about passion and community. Two things that she values and believes most others in this space do as well. Her perspective, having interacted with so many different types of people, businesses, visionaries, coders, conference attendees, is well founded and well grounded. I hope you enjoy my conversation with the unstoppable Tracy Leparulo.

For more info on what we talked about in the show:

Tracy Leparulo, Blockchain Events

Tracy talks about Decentral when it was based out of a house on Spadina Ave in Toronto

Bitcoin Association of Canada, now Blockchain Association of Canada

First Ethereum Event (a Hackathon) in the World

GIVE ETH Ethereum

Polymath security tokens

@CryptoChicks helping inclusion and diversity in the space

Hackathon All Female

Tracy Leparulo

Blockchain Futurist Conference at Rebel Entertainment Complex, Cabana

Aug 14-16

Michael Perklin and Crypto Consortium

Reward Tokens like at Dave and Busters or Chuck E Cheese

Dave + Busters

Chuck E Cheese

Ready PlayerOne

Fortnite + VBucks

CryptoKitties launched at Tracy’s Hackathon ETH Waterloo

SIM city

005. Blockchain Culture and Collaboration with Mawadda Basir

Mawadda Basir is the Executive Director at Collider X a blockchain research and development hub that brings together businesses, academics and experts as they tackle blockchain innovations and best use cases.

We talk about the blockchain culture, based on open source, building on existing shared platforms, being transparent, decentralized, borderless and fostering collaboration.

Collaboration is key and must have been a huge part of Mawadda’s success at Rubix by Deloitte and the foundational blockchain work she did with her team there. Imagine collaborating on new technology, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and continually bouncing ideas off of forward thinking, collaborative-minded people in the space. It sounds like that’s what it must have been like at Deloitte, especially when Mawadda mentions that the team included what we might now call “heavy hitters” in the blockchain space in Toronto, including Nuco/Aion founders Mathew Spoke, Kesem Frank, and Jinius Tu. Also, Henry Chan who’s now part of ConsenSys. And leading the team was Iliana Oris Valiente’s who’s now heading up Blockchain Global at Accenture Canada.

Mawadda also talks about an incredible idea she has for a new, all-inclusive workbag for the multi-faceted working woman, complete with in pocket phone charger and a waterproof sleeve for a laptop. Is there no limit to the forward thinking mind of Mawadda Basir?

You can find her at —

Twitter @MawaddaBasir

We also talked about

Collider X

Rubix by Deloitte




Iliana Oris Valiente at Accenture Canada

004. Speedy Justice for All with Federico Ast

Federico Ast is the Founder of Kleros, a revolutionary blockchain protocol that is going to change the way we do business in a hugely impactful way. What Kleros will be able to do, is give us easy access to judge, jury, and verdict, all delivered in about 24 hours.

Federico explains how this dispute resolution, or online justice, in the form of blockchain technology works and where we might use it. As an example, he talks about hiring someone in another country to build a website for you. Up front you can set the terms and decide that you’re going to go through Kleros for dispute resolution if one of you isn’t happy with the outcome. Then if one of you isn’t happy, Kleros decides. A group of decentralized jurors looks at the evidence and awards a verdict. Kleros decides who owes what to whom. And, basically, the money goes to the winner.

Aside from Founding Kleros, Federico also has a PhD in economics and philosophy, so he gives us a history lesson in Argentinian economics to help us put into perspective, why Bitcoin adoption and blockchain innovation has exploded there. If you’ve heard of government bail outs, wait till you here what the Argentinian government did to bail in!

And, have you seen Ready Player One, yet? Well Federico says the VR world is not all science fiction. The line between our offline and online world is starting to blur so he asks the question…  will we need a future justice system for our online world?

Some of the things Federico shares with us are:

  • Bitcoin White Paper

  • Federico Ast and Kleros

  • Economic History of Argentina

  • Ready Player One

  • Open Bazaar

  • Pinakion Token Sale

  • Lawrence Lessig Book

003. Blockchain 101 and Getting Into Crypto with Shannon Grinnell, interviewed by Lisa Pickering

I’m shaking things up and turning the microphone around! Instead of doing the interviewing, I brought on a fellow TV veteran, Lisa Pickering, to interview me.

I thought it would be good idea to talk about why I’m doing this podcast and what was it that motivated me to start learning about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the first place. And what it comes down to is trying to make the technology, that I find incredibly exciting and revolutionary, easy to understand.

Lisa Pickering, my interviewer, and I worked together years ago as Television Producers at MuchMusic in Toronto. We both come from a television background and we’re both fascinated by what’s happening in the blockchain space so we go through some of the basics, from a beginner’s perspective on what’s going on and what’s exciting for the future of this space.

NOTE: there is one moment of explicit language in case you are language sensitive.

Some of the things we talk about are:

  • The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

  • Bitcoin White Paper

  • Federico Ast and Kleros

  • Amazon adopting blockchain technology

  • Goldman Sachs adopting blockchain technology

002. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bob’s Dream for a Better World with Bob Summerwill

Bob Summerwill brings humour and a genuine adoration to this in-depth conversation about what’s going on in the crypto, blockchain and FinTech worlds. He explains, in accessible and understandable language, where this technology has come from and goes on to share his thoughts on where it may be headed.

Bob is Co-Founder and CTO for Varro Technologies, a Community Leader for Ethereum Project and Community Ambassador for the Sweetbridge Project and CryptoChicks. He had loads of knowledge and expertise in code and in looking at the big picture around decentralization. He talks about decentralization completely changing the way we do things, not just with currency, but with changing how databases are stored and maintained and by changing the way things work with the internet of today.

Bob gives us a beginner’s look at Bitcoin, as a concept, an open source platform, a decentralized leger, and as a currency. He talks about the revolutionary technology of Bitcoin and how it came to be. And he expands on his view of blockchain technology by explaining how Ethereum builds on Bitcoin’s open source platform and allows for even more uses.

We go into depth on Ethereum, and how the usability of the platform allows smart contracts, code with certain programmable conditions, to be layered on top of a foundational blockchain. Bob talks about the ability to add applications, dApps, decentralized applications that run on many different computers in a P2P peer to peer way rather than with an intermediary or a centralized party. He elaborates by speaking about many different uses for these dApps such as – polling, legal transactions, voting, record keeping, trade, land titles, or supply chains.

We also get into the reasons behind why Bitcoin and Ethereum are based on a trustless, immutable, borderless decentralization system. And Bob shares with us why he believes diversity and representation for all is of paramount importance as these new technologies are being developed and adopted globally.


For more information on Bob Summerwill, please find him on Twitter @BobSummerwill and you can read Bob’s Blog at

For more information on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Bob recommended the following:

  • Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

  • Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

  • That Book on Blockchain A One-Hour Introby Jonathan Morley

  • Bitcoin Security: Bubble Boy and the Sewer Rat – Andreas M. Antonopoulos on YouTube

  • The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos