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.
“I think the Wild West of non-compliant token sales is over, thankfully. I think from a securities law perspective, it’s very exciting actually because it’ll make the capital markets more accessible. We talk a lot about financial inclusion in the blockchain industry, and I think this is actually it. With a caveat that it still has to be compliant with securities laws.”
Alexandra Levin Kramer has three degrees, which is probably a huge help since she’s working on three different enterprises in the blockchain space right now. She’s a practicing lawyer and partner at CKR law in NYC and the Founding Chair of its Blockchain Technology + Digital Currency practice group. She also co-founded Women On the Block, which hosts blockchain conferences around the world. And, she’s Co-founder of Womin.io that uses blockchain technology to enable freelancers and employers to interact peer to peer through its decentralized platform.
Women on the Block
Alexandra has been in the space for a few years now, but this past January when there was negative press about the crypto space that emphasized lambos and yachts with party girls, making it look like the blockchain world was a boys club, it bothered her. That wasn’t her experience and she thought if she, as a female had been just starting her career and had that impression, that she would have run for the hills. So she wanted to do something about it. So she co-founded Women On the Block, to welcome women into the space and promote diversity in blockchain.
Through learning about the power of blockchain – she even took a coding course – and realizing that it can have a huge impact, Alexandra decided to create her own blockchain startup. Womin.io uses decentralization and the ability to validate on a blockchain to put employee history verification into code that will allow easy access to an online market of employees.
One of the points she makes about smart contracts is that they are really just a starting point.
“In an actual legal agreement, you can’t cover every possible contingency and similarly in a smart contract, there are going to be things that happen that are not foreseeable under the code. That’s where other issues like governance and some degree of centralization will have to come in, but I think the potential is fantastic and I’m all for more efficiency, lower legal fees, lower legal costs. I think that’s better for everyone.”
Alexandra believes that some good use cases for smart contracts will be lease agreements, and employment and freelancer agreements.
She also talks to me about the differences between men and women. One of the things she mentions is that “women have a reticence to try new things or go out of their comfort zone.” And she also argues that there are studies that show diversity is an indicator of profitability.
What she recommends generally as that we make our own opportunities, learn something new every day. And she says she tries to live by a Jewish saying “Who is a wise person? One who learns from everyone.”
We also talk about:
• Security tokens and the SEC
• Intellectual property rights
• Smart contracts on public or private blockchain
• Lawyers and developers speaking the same language
• AI learning to automate dispute resolution
Women on the Block
Blockchain Conference in Singapore
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Made it to Top 25 of Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge competition.
“Blockland is a play on the name Cleveland and the idea is that by putting what we identified as the ten critical ingredients to make Cleveland one of the top five most relevant tech cities in the United States that we would do all these 10 things at the exact same time. So, we created ten nodes, everywhere from talent development retention to the entrepreneurial environment to the legal system, the political environment, philanthropy’s engaged, a node that we call place, which is to create the largest tech centre in the world, modelled after Station F in Paris right in downtown Cleveland. How do we build some business applications around what we’re doing already? How do we have thought leadership, so that’s where our conference comes from. And virtually every single day in Cleveland right now there’s a meeting somewhere in Cleveland around blockchain.”
From owning and operating 21 car dealerships to launching a city-wide epic-sized blockchain initiative, Bernie Moreno is putting Cleveland or ‘Blockland’ on the map.
He wants to make Cleveland a blockchain tech hub, complete with the largest tech centre in the world that would be an innovation incubator with a K-12 school on campus built right in downtown Cleveland.
And this isn’t just one person’s big idea. There’s a plan. Leaders in business and government and members of the community have gathered to discuss the ten nodes in place to help make this Ohio city one of the top five tech cities in the United States.
And while some people looking in from the outside may ask why blockchain and why Cleveland. Well when someone has the kind of drive and enthusiasm for something like this, that Bernie clearly does about blockchain tech and Blockland, it’s contagious.
It started when his son asked him to invest in Bitcoin, which he didn’t, but he did get looking into blockchain technology. And after investing in Votem, he wanted to start his own blockchain companies. But when he realized that Cleveland didn’t have the ideal ingredients to do what he wanted to do, instead of going to another city that had all the tech he could ever want, he decided to stay and help bring all the tech he could ever want to Cleveland.
We also talked about the future of cars. Bernie said, “the car changed the world in the turn of the century and the car is going to change the world again.” Not only will they be dramatically safer, but it will change things like people young and old being able to hop in a car with no need for a licence. Insurance companies will have to insure something besides accidents because cars won’t hit each other, and whole city blocks will change because we won’t need huge parking lots anymore.
Bernie also believes that in 15 years there will be more self-driving cars than human driving cars, and in 25 years human driving cars won’t be found on public highways. They’ll be on race tracks for sport or other weekend events.
He talked about where we’re at with blockchain tech right now like the early days of the dot com boom when everyone was starting to get a website, but all you’d see when you got online was a page that said, welcome. And one of the ways he’s getting into the space and helping to legitimize it while also being on the leading edge is to accept Bitcoin at his car dealerships.
Blockland Cleveland is also hosting a conference focussed on government and business applications in order to explore real world use cases for blockchain technology.
Some of the use cases Bernie sees coming soon are birth certificates, land records, real estate transactions, car titles, mobile voting, providence, supply chain, medical records, drug tracking, and as he explains, just like in the early days of the internet, no one could predict where it would lead us, we’re in that same place with blockchain tech now.
“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/
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: