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Speaking of Crypto podcast

Author: Shannon Grinnell

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Speaking of Crypto podcast is about inspiring people in Bitcoin, crypto + blockchain. Shannon Grinnell chats with leaders in this leading-edge crypto podcast.

Ethereum address: 0x259f6cebbf7afc1928f254f9b04de27c3d87a990

Featured guests include Anthony Di Iorio, Co-founder of Ethereum, Alex Mashinsky, Pioneer of VoIP and CEO of Celsius Network, Sandra Ro, CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council, Dr. Jane Thomason, CEO of Abt Associates and winner of the United Nations Quantum Impact Award, Larry Sanger, Founder of Wikipedia and CIO at Everipedia.
65 Episodes
I attended Elev8 in Los Angeles and talked with a few presenters from the event. Some of these will be featured in our documentary project The New Internet that will be released in 2020. Today's conversation features Michael Terpin, CEO of Transform Group. Michael is an early crypto investor, advisor, and thought leader who has built companies, sold companies and advised both companies and investors. He understands crypto markets and we have a great conversation about getting hacked for $24 million, how tokenization can work best, and opportunity zones in Puerto Rico.   Dr. Mitesh Rao, Co-Founder and CEO at OMNY and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford, shares his perspective on healthcare as it is in America today and where blockchain can make waves now in the areas of supply chain, clinical trials and in some simpler cases where user data is concerned. He sees solving healthcare data issues that are HIPPA compliant as being much a bigger issue with longer timelines.
When Paul Puey, CEO at Edge, first learned about Bitcoin, what got him hooked was our ability to use a phone, without any personal information to “create, basically what amounts to a bank account” and send any amount of currency to anyone anywhere in the world. “You start digging further you realize that there's actually an economic policy behind Bitcoin and it actually has a certain issuance curve that is drastically different than what other currencies typically have or have had in the past” and that’s what triggered his ah-ha moment when he knew it would be revolutionary. He explained that he’d already been becoming disillusioned by “the establishment” and what we were being taught in society. And one of those area’s we dive into is big pharma vs personal wellness. In the healthcare, pharmaceutical industry, there’s “more money going into what will sell than what will cure.” Similarly, society seems to be trying to patch up a financial system that’s not working, rather than fixing it altogether. In regard to centralization, Paul believes we gravitate to more centralization for its efficiencies. Processes are set in place so when we want something done, like changing our address through the DMV or in Canada the Ministry of Transportation, the process is fairly automatic, even though it may take time for the process to be enacted. He compared centralization vs decentralization with the example of licencing in Europe vs in the United States. With fintech laws in the US, a company needs to go to every single state in order to obtain licensing in each state, whereas in Europe, there’s one centralized authority that oversees regulation across countries in Europe. But, despite the fact that decentralization is less efficient, Paul believes that the main advantage of decentralization is freedom. Currently the decentralization of the internet allows us to access to information all over the world or publish content from around the globe. And decentralization levels the pyramid of power. We talk about his decision to pay employees of Edge in crypto, even though logistically, it’s more difficult. Not only does he want to learn first-hand, what the challenges are, it also gives incentives for employees to have skin in the game. “Not unlike giving someone some stock in your company. We're giving people a little bit of stock and industry.” On stablecoins. “I do think stable points will take will play a major part in the visibility of cryptocurrency, and if that puts private keys and a wallet in the hands of people, I'm all for it. I imagine it's actually the Trojan horse for crypto. It's not driving adoption of crypto, it's like the Trojan horse getting wallets in hands of people, and that way when they are interested in real crypto, they're most of the way there already. All the tooling is there. It's like instead of sending Dai, I will send you Bitcoin. On a Facebook coin.  “I ask myself the test of how cryptocurrency something is, and will someone be able to send Facebook coin to a sanctioned country? … If they are able to do that, and Facebook can't stop them from doing that, that might pique my interest.”  “I know how Facebook acts and how they make money and what they'd be most interested in. Unless they completely 180-degree shock me, then I'm not going to be excited until then.” Paul Puey Edge
What motivates us to change?  Often, it’s failing or falling down or experiencing a loss or going through something unexpected. In Misha’s case, it was learning about Bitcoin, making a lot of money quickly and then losing it just as fast. He had no experience trading, but after the fact, joined a community of online investors where he learned from experienced investors about how they made decisions and what their motivations were. He listened and learned and experimented. Then he blogged about his learnings through his experiences, gathered a whole bunch of feedback and complied what he came up with into a comprehensive book called, Bullish on Bitcoin. When it comes to writing, Misha wants to make sure he sticks to two key points. 1 – Does he have experience in the thing he’s writing about? 2 – Does he want to say something new that hasn’t been said? He’s someone who is always learning and he just got back from a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Interesting timing. I’d just listened to one of my favourite podcasters, Rich Roll, interview Jack Dorsey about his 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat as well. Misha says, “So one thing I will say about it is, it's hard for me to recommend it to people. It is really, really tough.” He likens it to solitary confinement for 10 days. Misha explains the recommendation to not only not talk, but also to not have any eye contact with anyone else.  He explains the technique of sitting in meditation which brings up physical pain that is associated with emotional pain. As the pain arises, they are encouraged to remember any memories associated with the pain, and it’s suggested that they let it all go. We talk about Vipassana meditation, stagnation in Japan and how different the employment system is there compared to in North America. Misha talks about his experience working as a recruiter for a company in Japan and their company doing business with Roger Ver. They were working with and Roger Ver insisted that they be paid by the Japanese company in Bitcoin. This was four years ago, so the company needed to look into what Bitcoin was all about and that was Misha’s earliest intro into Bitcoin. Why is he bullish on Bitcoin? “Bitcoin does have a first mover advantage compared to a lot of other cryptocurrencies and a 10 year plus track record. So even if it's not the best cryptocurrency, there's a lot of different technologies that may actually function better than Bitcoin in terms of privacy and transparency and transaction speed, however, just because it's got so much momentum, and so many people have written about it, and the market cap has always been the highest out of the out of all the other cryptocurrencies, you just have momentum for it.” Why isn’t their mass adoption? “What needs to happen is, from a consumer perspective, is really solid, UI UX, really great user interfaces. It needs to be able to compete with Instagram and Facebook in terms of usability.” // Yuval Harari, author of Sapiens, talks about the technique that Misha Yurchenko practices   Misha recommends Dhamma Muta Vipassana center on Lantau Island   Reference to the book, The Monk of Lantau   The Monk of Lantau book is written by SOC podcast guest Mann Matharu who is featured in episode #42   Misha’s blog and newsletter    Reference to Julia Cameraon’s book, The Artist’s Way and Morning Pages   In reference to the question What Does it Take to Change the World, Misha recommends this article, How to Change the World (Moral Peril of Meritocracy)   In reference to an alarm for bedtime. Why We Sleep
Max Keiser has some opinions. He has some very valuable, educated, and probably controversial ideas on what’s wrong with the economy, but there’s no disputing the facts. Our financial system right now is completely messed up.  “The central banks were created to be a backstop to the banking system. When a bank when was in trouble, the central bank could protect deposits. So it was a lender of last resort. And so over the past 40 years now, due to political corruption, the central banks have become a huge hedge fund. And that hedge fund is where people go to make speculative investments.” On central banks colluding, he says “It's not a business model, they’re not engaged in a model that's sustainable, that makes economic sense. They're involved in corruption, and bailouts, and destabilizing the economy by practicing of counterfeiting. So it's not a sustainable model.” He basically said it’s all a game and that “what would destroy the game is if one of the central banks breaks ranks and raises interest rates or brings gold back into their currency. “ But interest rates are probably not going to go up. He explains that Kudlow, a financial advisor for President Donald Trump, said that he doesn’t believe interest rates will go up during his lifetime. Max points out that in a capitalist market, interest rates are tied to the market, and if no one can predict the market, how would Kudlow know that interest rates won’t change, unless he knows that they are controlled. Max also talks about the 2008 crash, government bail outs, governments buying back their own debt and the possibility of another credit freeze. What is very clear is the concerning state of our economy. Is Bitcoin an alternative? Max explains why bitcoin represents freedom.   “Bitcoin has the potential to put central banks out of business… Bitcoin represents hard money, and people want hard money, and they want to be free, and they want to be sovereign, and they want to escape the corruption. If you had a choice of being living in a corrupt system or not, you would choose to live in a in an uncorrupt system, and that’s what Bitcoin offers…it's hard money in that it maintains its purchasing power into the future… gold represents another form of hard money.” He references Nomi Prins book “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World”
Mark Jeffrey’s been in the space since 2013 and his perspective on what makes Bitcoin so revolutionary is very clear. “Peer to peer digital scarcity… doing digital scarcity with a centralized database, super easy… doing something like a Napster or a Bit Torrent like environment where there is no center, and yet objects are digitally scarce, and only one person can have ownership over one object at one time. That's totally new.” He shares what he was thinking, in 2013, when he first heard about Bitcoin and started realizing it was going to be bigger than the internet. “I must be insane, because I'm thinking super insane things right now.” He also realized that he was one of the few people in the world, in 2013 who understood Bitcoin, and had experience as a published author, so he wrote the book Bitcoin Explained Simply Recently, he also published an informational video called Crypto Explained Simply Another project that Mark’s been spending his time on came out of something that happened in his personal experience. And, if you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event, you know it’s something that can be life changing. Mark came home to find that his girlfriend had collapsed because of a stroke. And although she’s fine now, it inspired him to start his company Guardian Circle. Essentially, Guardian Circle is an app that uses $GUARD tokens and it allows anyone to immediately reach out to friends and family for help if they’re in a situation of crisis. We also talk about Bitcoin adoption and the broader picture around the global economy and why Bitcoin may be an answer. About mounting national debt and concerns for our economic welfare, Mark says “Worldwide debt is now three times world GDP. That means all of us owe all the rest of us three times what all of us make in one year. There's literally no way that can ever be repaid.” What does that mean for inflation, the value of fiat currencies, and for Bitcoin? Mark explains in the podcast what he thinks about the likelihood of a financial reset and when that might happen and what it could mean for Bitcoin. Mark Jeffrey Guardian Circle
Want to earn Bitcoin doing things we do now for free? Check out our Earn Crypto page. Watch a video and earn crypto, deposit crypto to earn interest in crypto, shop online and earn Bitcoin back. Anyone can get into crypto now. This is the second podcast for Speaking of Crypto that we’ve recorded with Susan Oh. Episode #32 was recorded in September 2018. Susan shares how the crypto community was started by anarchists and libertarians and she quotes the VC Andrew Romans by saying, “Every person you meet in crypto is the most interesting person you'll meet in your life.” She explains that “it attracts people who separate ethics from law.” We get into the idea of globalization. “Globalization failed largely because it failed to keep money in the hands of those communities that created it. In fact, it just siphoned all the value up to the few large global institutions. And if globalization two point O were to fail, where people have no hope, then that's when get things get dangerous for all of us. I've always said that there's nothing more dangerous than somebody who has everything to lose, and those who have nothing to lose.” But, with blockchain technology, there can be a greater democratization of opportunity. There are optimistic possibilities. Susan talks about blockchain’s transparency and its inherent egalitarian structure.  “The most wonderful thing about blockchains is that there's no single point of failure, and that nobody owns the system, at least with public blockchains.” We also talk about her work with the United Nations Blockchain For Impact. Susan is working on SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Number 8. She is part of the Global Sustainability Network whose aim is to end dire poverty. “What most people see is human trafficking, trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. I see credit card debt, and deregulation of banks with rapacious racketeering rates, as modern slavery. I see unforgivable student loans to be a part of modern slavery. They're yoking us to an arbitrary number and having us serve the rest of our lives working it off. United Nations SDGs Susan Oh
Matt Senter, Co-founder and CTO at Lolli is an experienced founder who’s learned a lot of lessons along the way that he’s bringing to his current role. Lolli’s is an e-commerce shopping platform where instead of shoppers getting cash back, they get Bitcoin back. So essentially you can get free Bitcoin for shopping online. Matt and his Co-founder Alex Adelman have joined the crypto community and are helping to grow Bitcoin adoption and bring it to people who are brand new to Bitcoin. “We're disrupting money or helping to disrupt money. We're not the pioneers of Bitcoin, but we are a channel for it, a growth channel.” Matt believes that the value of Bitcoin will ultimately go up. “Right now we have so few people in the world that actually own it. There's so many more people that could buy into it. So there's a huge market there that just hasn't been tapped yet for people who want to own it. And then there's a limited amount so there's going to be a point where you can't actually buy into it anymore or earn into it.” He talks to me about being underappreciated in a corporate setting. Combine that with the fact that he’s always had a bit of an issue with authority and a knack for looking at things and imagining how they could be done better, it’s no wonder he’s ended up creating his own company and also finding his way to Bitcoin. Given that Bitcoin is changing the world, I ask him his ideas on what it takes to change the world. He says it takes an idea and a healthy arrogance and that along with an idea you have to believe you’ll succeed and not care too much about whether or not you might fail. One of the best pieces of advice he’s received, while at university and running his own company and sleeping 3 hours a night, was – “Look, if you don't, if you don't take care of yourself, if you don't eat you die, and then there is no company.” I ask Matt if Bitcoin could be the one global currency one day. His answer is that it already happened. And how would he introduce someone to Bitcoin? “If I'm talking to somebody who has heard of Bitcoin but didn't know much about it, I can tell him that you know, it is the essentially the money of the future. It's going to be a new asset class long term and investing in it could be as sound as investing in real estate or gold.”  Loli
Alon Muroch, CEO at Blox, shares with me the fact that one great thing about crypto is that there is no barrier to entry. Anyone with a computer can start using it. This, he explains is opposite to the traditional financial world where the cost or barrier to entry keeps rising. We have a thought-provoking conversation around stablecoins, crypto assets and security tokens. In comparing Bitcoin to Ethereum, he notes advantages and disadvantages of each. Bitcoin is more decentralized and not dependent on a CEO or founder. Whereas, Ethereum is the leading smart contract platform and the public identifies the project with Vitalik Buterin who is seen as a “driving force behind the scenes” and we’re still used to identifying projects with their founder. Would we have seen Apple in the same with without learning about Steve Jobs? What about Amazon without Jeff Bezos or Tesla without Elon Musk? When we get into the idea of stablecoins, Alon has some very strong opinions.  “I think that stablecoins are probably the biggest threat to traditional banking, more than anything else we saw in the in the blockchain space. I don't think that Bitcoin is competing with the dollar.” He explains that, before stablecoins, the two main advantages that fiat currency have had over crypto have been: Fiat allows you to hedge against crypto Fiat allows companies to pay salaries Stablecoins can do both of these things. And, given that many banks are unwilling or unable to work with crypto at all or with crypto companies, now crypto companies can work exclusively in crypto with a stable crypto for hedging and for paying out salaries. Alon essentially describes this new economic possibility where fiat isn’t needed by large companies who want to deal exclusively in crypto. Alon carries this idea even further, by asking me to look at the younger generation as an example. Teens who are beginning to build their financial future now will have an alternative., he explains. Young people starting out, can choose to manage their entire financial lives outside of the traditional banking system. He talks about crypto assets as a resource -- as a currency, but also as a technology that now needs a new system of management. Traditional systems won’t cut it. Now, financial teams, development teams, management teams and compliance teams will all be interconnected and Blox helps with crypto companies new interconnectedness. I asked Alon about Security Tokens, and from his perspective as a technologist, his biggest question around the idea of security tokens is why they would need to exist on a blockchain.
Galia Benartzi is Co-Founder of Bancor. She’s a forward-thinking entrepreneur who grew up in Silicon Valley and is currently based Israel, which is one of the largest tech hubs in the world and even referred to as StartUp Nation. We talk about Bancor’s pilot programs – one in Israel and another in Kenya that fuel a community with exchangeable tokens and allow users to trade an interact with a community currency. Bitcoin had challenged the idea of what money is, how we use it and why we choose to use the currency we do. “A lot of people when you ask them ‘what is money?’ will say it's a store of value, it's a means of exchange. And, those things are true in the sense that they are what money does. But, they’re not what money is. What money is ,is an agreement. Nothing more and nothing less. It's an agreement between the people who use that money and between the people who accept that money. It is an agreement to be in collaboration according to the rules of that system.” So the fact that Bitcoin has given us an alternative form of currency, we now have to ask ourselves whether we agree with the agreements we’ve made inherently around money. Do we agree with the rules of that system, as Galia points out? If not, Bitcoin has created new rules and a new system. Bancor is now offering the creation of many more currencies with alternate rules and systems. Galia believes that there is a huge value to community currency creation for emerging economies especially, where the influx of a currency can help address the most basic needs that are currently, in many cases, not being met. “Money is the ultimate loyalty program. When you have the money of a nation for example, you are loyal to the economy of that nation because that's where you can spend that money.” What does that mean for Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, and tokens? If YouTube enables a new market of video producers, and WordPress allows for a new world of bloggers and online business, what can a protocol that creates new currencies enable? Galia shared what their Hearts Market pilot project in Israel, marketed to a community of mothers and ultimately families, was all about. “The GDP of the country essentially increased by $25 million worth in that year that the Hearts Market was active, meaning that there was some additional amount of economic collaboration and person to person collaboration, commerce in this case, and that was part of the economy. Of course we don't measure the parts of the economy that don't occur in national money yet, but from a conceptual standpoint there was more collaboration potential between the people than the existing money supply was really able to encapsulate and express.” “I think the truth of the matter is that there is much more economic potential under the surface between people than the existing money supply or money system is able to fully express. “ Bancor   Galia Benartzi
Sunny Ray’s company Unocoin, along with the Internet + Mobile Association of India, is in a legal battle with the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI is India’s national central bank. Almost a year ago, the RBI banned all banks in the country from working with crypto or with crypto companies. What does this lawsuit mean for India? What does it mean for the banks andthe crypto companies? And, what does it mean for crypto around the world? This case will set a precedent. Sunny shares a few details on how the law suit’s going and that their expecting a decision in the next few days. Sunny is a veteran in this space, having been in Bitcoin for  around 6 years, and I asked him what it’s like to run a company that based on Bitcoin in a volatile market where the value of Bticoin itself has changed so dramatically. His response was that not only do the highs and lows come in cycles, he also believes that they’re highly predictable. He explains the predictability and his thoughts around where the value of Bticoin is headed in our conversation. Bitcoin changed his life and he shares what hit him right from the beginning. “I chose Bitcoin. It wasn't chosen me, right, I consciously understood the white paper and said, Oh, my God, this is going to change the world. Changing the world, I never thought it was going to be easy. And I also knew that there was a very high chance of failure. Right? But I also knew that if I didn't try, I would regret it when I my grandmother's age.”  This is the second time I’ve chatted with Sunny for Speaking of Crypto, so for more background, here’s our first podcast together from June 2018, Episode #8. We also talk about remittances and the fact that India is the largest inbound remitter in the world. There’s around $100 billion that flows into the country through remittances, but we discuss the ridiculously high percentages in fees that traditional banks take on those remittances.  Does that have anything to do with why the RBI is banning banks from working with crypto or crypto companies? We also touch on double taxation and why Sunny decided to move Unocoin’s headquarters and where. And we briefly talk about Quadriga and what regulation in Canada might look like going forward as a result of the unfortunate circumstances around this exchange. Sunny mention’s Nishith Desai’s article on potential framework for crypto regulation in India. IAMAI Unocoin Sunny Ray
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