cryptocurrency

Brandon Cooper – Aphid Transcript

Brandon Cooper - CEO of Aphid.io

Brandon Cooper – CEO of Aphid.io

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey folks, welcome to show I am Rob McNealy and today I am real excited. I am talking to Brandon Cooper. He is the co founder and CEO of a fit a la based startup working in artificial and blockchain. So, let’s welcome to the show. Brandon. How are you today, sir?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Doing well, how about yourself?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
You know, I can’t complain so much. It’s a beautiful day out west got out, got some sun today working out in the yard. So that’s good, considering we’re in the pandemic Apocalypse, I actually feel fine. So that’s good. Saying here. So before we jump into this, tell me a little bit of background. How’d you get started in being an entrepreneur?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, I from from a young age, I’ve always been the outcast or just kind of looking around the classrooms and I always felt different even in college. The big auditorium 600 students, I really just didn’t feel like it was for me, it was always something more than just going through the system. Basically, and my background from Detroit, Michigan, inner city, Westside and got into entrepreneurship, actually through network marketing was my first intro where a friend of mine in college he sent me an email on Facebook at the time. He said, Hey, come to my dorm, or as like apartment or something, he showed me, the Cash Flow Quadrant from Robert Kiyosaki. Other people want to roll and they were laughing and they were leaving, like, Ah, this is a joke. And when I saw that video, I mean, I stared at the TV for about 10 minutes. It was just the rubberband effect when it stretched me I just couldn’t go back. Ever since then I started making inventions and things like that.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So how did you get out to LA?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Long story short, I lived in it. So I left Detroit after college, and I went to Atlanta. I was in Atlanta for 10 years. And the energy just pulled me out here. It’s a little difficult to do a race. out in Atlanta, in my opinion, I should be to be stricken. I love Atlanta. It was great to me. But the West Coast has really just pulled me. And I tried to stay in Atlanta, but I could just really pull on me. And I love the weather. And I came here to visit a year before I moved, and I said I wanted to move here and the law of attraction pulled me out here.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So hey, it’s all good. Where’d you go to college? If I’m just curious.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Michigan State University, Spartan dogs.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I did my undergrad at Central Michigan, just up the road. Nice. So I set out that’s cool. So would you study at MSU? What did you study there?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Oh, did I study merchandising, management marketing?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Very cool. Yep. Yeah, I like state my. My cousin’s all went to state so I don’t I have I have very much a big affinity for MSU. So go Spartans. So you became an entrepreneur moved out to la tele, what is this project you’re working on what is a fit?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Aphid is an ecosystem where we’re disrupting a nine to five. What we’re doing is allowing people to digitize themselves into a bot. And this bot will do a variation of things to make money. The reason we created a company is we got we saw people working 40 hours a week. And we said, well, there has to be some way that we can make money and not have to trade time for money. And that’s how the company developed. The aphid is actually an insect that can clone itself. So that’s where the name comes from.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So is this something that you’re bootstrapping or did you get do a raise then or you funded and how did you kind of how’d you get started with the cash flow on this?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, bootstrap completely 100% we had a little little cash from a few friends free believe early believers. Really appreciate them. The rest is completely bootstrap.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So you said you’re coming out pretty soon with your beta, then?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yep, within the next few weeks, the mobile application will be out, it’ll be able to create your bot. And we have, that’s the b2c portion, the b2b portion will come out a few months later, for enterprises.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So walk me through this, you said you’re focused on the non 95 you know, workspace, you know, you want to decouple time and money from one another. In other words, you want people to make money when they sleep. So I’m very interested in these technologies. So give me some give me some examples. So the listeners who might not understand what that means, tell me sure how me is a non developer how I could leverage one of your digitized bots and make money when I sleep.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, you would come onto the platform, and you would get a subscription depending on how many bots you want. But if you just get the basic one, you just pay a subscription every month. And then it’s already pre trained. We train the bots to basically go out there and sell through e commerce partners that we have. So every time it sells something on the entire internet of where we place your bot, you make money. And then we’re going to open it up for the developer community to create other ways for your bot to make money too. So you can just install them like the App Store. imagine it being artificial intelligence, foreign exchange trading, or cryptocurrency trading, you can just add that like a widget. And then your bot will make money from these different widgets, these different add ons, we call them drivers.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So what you’re saying is, so essentially, you’re taking and creating a bot that can do online retail sales. So say I’m an Amazon reseller, is that the kind of thing that I could use this for?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, for example, let’s say we get business A, and they have an e commerce platform because they’re one of our platforms that got a chatbot system for us. We’ll take the ROB bot and put it on that website. If it’s so something you get a commission for it.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Interesting. So if I want to leverage your bot, do I actually have to buy inventory to then kind of thing?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
If you if you want to, could you rephrase it,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
or so there’s something like if I want to make money with the bot, I have to buy inventory from one place and then sell it in another place kind of thing.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
You don’t have to do anything we do all the work for you, all you have to do is just say already programmed into our infrastructure, all you have to do is ask description. And the thing is that you want your bot to do you can just add those skills or job tasks to it.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So this works for selling retail items. But then you said there’s the ability then to use his trading bot as well.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
For example, one of one of our drivers is going to be CoinGenius, their artificial intelligence cryptocurrency trading platform, you would basically add that driver and then the money that you make from trading there through artificial intelligence will help your money pool. So imagine you’re making money from this driver, that driver this driver, that driver You’re making money from all of these different things while you sleep for your body’s doing the work.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
How’d you come up with the idea

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I was working for I was working for Apple for a while. And the call volume was really insane, was really, really insane. And I said, I wish I could call myself and I could make money off what I’m doing and make money while I’m at the beach. And I left the company got a couple other crazies to believe in me and they joined the team too.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So are you the lead developer?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I do no front end. But I am not the lead developer. our CTO Sean Ross is the lead developer.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So where do you think this is going and how would it segue into the future of the gig economy?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I see this as being the new way for everyone to make money people are used to doordash or Uber. But you those even those companies, it’s a little dangerous because they’re coming out with The automation rideshares. So if you don’t actually own a Tesla, like a Tesla Robo taxi, then you’re kind of out of business is taking away some of your volume. People are afraid of robots taking our jobs, but in my opinion, if robots don’t take our, our jobs, they will always be at work per se trading time for money. So we’re preventing singularity, in essence.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So it’s interesting like that that Luddite fear of automation, you know, in the history of this country, at least since the Industrial Revolution, there’s usually been a net increase in jobs when you’ve actually had automation come in. And a lot of people it’s funny because you You seem there’s a lot of tech pros from California that seem to think that in mass all of a sudden all these people are going to be unemployed and it’s gonna be starvation in the streets and pitchforks for them. Right. But I actually the history doesn’t show that and and there’s a couple of reasons why I think is that one, a lot of times people through attrition, a lot of a lot of these things don’t happen overnight these like revolutions, right? And what ends up happening is you have you have a lot of people that through attrition, will, you know, just go away retire anyway, and that that job won’t be refilled. So that’s a big part of it. But on top of that, you’ll find that a lot of innovations come out of it. So for instance, the the buggy whip people and the, you know, the, you know, horse and buggy kind of folks went out of business. But then there was a whole lot of other jobs that came up to build the auto industry, for instance, now you’re from Detroit, I’m from the Detroit area, as well. And if you look at all the stuff that went into that it was actually much bigger markets that were created from that and much more growth and many more jobs that were created, even though the loss of one industry led way to that. It’s like that whole creative destruction thing. So I don’t fear the robots. I want the robots and I want little thing in my brain to make me smarter. So I’m excited about it. So disrupting so how would you say that your, your bot system is disruptive to what’s happening right now.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
The current system is going to work a morning, get home and buy traffic for our cook dinner, do homework with the kids or do homework with the kids cook dinner and repeat five times a week. And that should is 1992 right? 1987 whatever you want to call it. The old way of thinking and most people don’t have enough time to give to not to mention if you have a wife or your husband’s at home or whatever, these people you’re not spending time with your family. And if you were to calculate all of the hours that you’re allocating towards your job over a lifetime, it’s astronomical elite over 100 probably over 172,000 hours. If your life is dedicated to that, and I’m not saying that with a finger, stop, you’ll stop working. But maybe it reduces it to 20 hours a week, right? Maybe you only have two, maybe you can work on your side hustle. Now that becomes full time because you’re making money from a fit and you’re a freelancer, and that covers your income. So that’s ultimately our goal is to get that volume and liquidity high enough to help what we call our controllers, your controller of the bot to help you guys make money.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I like what I’m hearing. So you mentioned that you’re doing artificial intelligence and I get that with the bot. But you’ve also mentioned blockchain, how are you incorporating blockchain technology with a Fed

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
if if a user wants to sign up decentralized, meaning Google Facebook or email isn’t used to sign up? That means the data is is off the Richter that means Google doesn’t have it. Facebook doesn’t have it. They don’t have your information, you can sign up with their phone number and it’s just tied to you That’s one way we’re using it for data. The analytics, the money that you make all the information is decentralized. So that’s not stored by a fit. You’ll see it in your control panel. But we have that on the decentralized portion. As far as the payments are concerned, we have what’s called same day pay. If the user decides to transact with cryptocurrency, then you as the comptroller would get paid in the same currency that was used. So if they use cryptocurrency, you get paid the same day. And we’re starting off on aetherium or private until we eventually will move to our own main net, sometime in a future. But aetherium you’ll usually get your transaction within it could be three minutes 15 minutes really just depends on how busy it is.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So what cryptocurrencies Can people pay on your system with well, at least out of the gate?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Out of the gate will be our own native token named ABION.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
ABION, are you gonna just keep it on your own? Are you gonna open it up to other kryptos in some point

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Possibly, yeah, we’re, we’re working on it. We haven’t made any announcements yet. But you’ll be first and we should talk.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I can make a deal for you. Good. Yeah, actually, it could be. So tell me, overall, what’s your go to market plan? You know, I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time. And it seems that a lot of tech guys, there’s not always there always seemed like they’re missing a marketing thing. Do you have like a marketing guy? Do you have a good marketing strategy? Do you have a plan to get this implemented into the market?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
For certain we have, we have a strong team. There are just about 20 people in the company. But Alexandra stone, she’s our chief growth officer. And she’s working along with Marcus banks, a part of the sales team to execute our plan. What we plan to do we have there are some talent we can’t announce it just yet, but we have a few talent. There’s an appearance just coming up on big networks to talk about it. So that’s part of it. That’ll have a reach to upwards of a billion reach over time and a webisode series. And then we have a few celebrity people. I know it’s a little gray area when it comes to celebrities and cryptocurrency, things like that. But we do have feel my celebrity friends that will be creating their their bot, we call them a clones, but there’ll be creating their a clones on our platform. And then as far as social media is concerned, we have our campaign is called free society, basically where we just want the society to do as we choose just to be a free thinker every time. And that’s going to be really, really exciting. We have a documentary coming out based upon creatives and thinkers in Los Angeles call free society, and it’ll outline our people are using a fit and that ecosystem.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Wow. So I can tell just by the expressions on your face, you got you got to drive you got to creativity And I like to see that you’re an entrepreneur and and that that’s that clearly shows that you kind of have this passion. What kind of drives you what makes you tick?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
To be honest with you, I’ve been my whole life was like a nomadic I was always just sleep on my floors and French couches and you know what family is trying to get things together and just being that uncomfortable made me never want to be comfortable. And I have a son, I have a four year old son and see I he looks at me and tells other kids Hey, that’s my when I was on Steve Harvey. He says my dad, that’s my dad. And that was that was pretty awesome for me. So just looking at him as a pretty big part and knowing that the majority of people in my family really don’t leave the city of Detroit or can pay for expenses to go on vacation next night. During this particular pandemic, but generally speaking to just go up and have a vacation and be able to take off for a week, they’re confined to the shackles of their, of this treadmill that they run back to. And I think a person is doing what they want to do is success. It doesn’t there’s nothing wrong with a job if that’s what you wake up and love to do. But if you’re just doing it for the money, you probably died a long time ago. That’s what drives me. You know, I think,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I think I can relate to that in a lot of ways. And, and I think what it comes down to is, is, do you feel like you have meaningful work and meaningful purpose. And unfortunately, I think we have an epidemic in this country of people that don’t have either and I think that’s what you touch on and, and I’m not going to give you my sob story, but you know, I have the typical tragic childhood kind of experiences, but those do affect you and they do mold you and they do give you perspective and there’s a joke out there for entrepreneurs, they say with childhood trauma drive you to success kind of thing, right? But But it is true though, in a lot of ways, you know, it’s like, you know, even at my age I, you know, I’ve only built a couple companies but I’ve only sold one I’ve only had one small exit as a serial entrepreneur, I don’t consider myself like, you know, Elon Musk or anything, but I’m still hungry, and I’m still working. And I’m still working toward that I’m and it’s funny, because I get around a lot of people and I’m just as excited about projects that I’m working on now in my late 40s that I was when I was in my my 30s. You know, and because I still have that kind of drive to and and you can tell when other people have it and I definitely see that new Brandon. So Brandon, where can people find out more about you and Aphid?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, you can find out on a Ahpid.io that’s A-P-H-I-D.io and we’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, You can just search Aphid it will come up should be the first result hopefully. And then me personally is just Brandon Cooper, and my last name the the O’s are zeros for Cooper. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, as well.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And folks will have all those linked up on the post at Rob McNealy calm. Brandon, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate your time.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Appreciate you having me. Thanks a lot.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
All right, come back next time when you got some updates. You have a great day.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
You know it, you too.

Episode Links

Audio Interview
Video Interview
Interview Transcript

Brandon Cooper – Aphid

Brandon Cooper, the CEO of Aphio, talks with Rob McNealy about Aphid, their financial technology startup which specializes in artificial intelligence bots.

Michael Hiles – CEO of 10XTS

Micheal Hiles, CEO of 10XTS, talks with Rob McNealy about blockchain, cryptocurrency, gun rights, political organizing, and entrepreneurship.

Michael Hiles – CEO of 10XTS Transcript

Michael Hiles - 10xts

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Okay, I am excited today. So today I’m talking to Michael Hiles. He is the CEO of 10XTS, which is a company out of Ohio that is in the regulatory FinTech space. And he’s also a second amendment guy. So I’ve been real excited to want to get on the show here so we can talk about some things. So, Michael, how are you today? Hey, how are you?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Thanks for having me.

Rob McNealy
Oh, well, I appreciate it. You know, it’s funny when we were kind of connecting on this, I thought it was interesting that you and I have been connected on social media going back to 2011 at this point. So you and I are both old school social media guys way before crypto even existed. And I think that’s kind of cool.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yes, sir. I actually predate the internet. I ran like bulletin boards on dial up modems, some old old dude here. So

Rob McNealy
I wasn’t I didn’t I wasn’t fortunate enough because I didn’t have family that was very technologically savvy. So I didn’t really get into computers much in any way till I was probably in college. Back in the 90s. So yeah, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have exposure to computers at a young age. So I really wish I did at this point, because, you know, I ended up in this space and using it my whole life, but it’s kind of interesting. You know, I’m here now. So that’s all.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I was blessed. I got so lucky. My dad worked in sales for a software company in the 70s. So in 79, I started programming on mainframes. I was literally that kid. I was like eight years old.

Rob McNealy
You and Bill Gates,

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Mmm, yeah, but I don’t have Bill Gates his balance sheet. I made some bad decisions somewhere.

Rob McNealy
I think I think that’s the you didn’t pick the right parents, I think.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I hear you. So, so.

Rob McNealy
Well, good. Well, good. Tell me about 10XTS. Yes. What do you What are you doing?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
So, 10XTS is a startup early stage tech company is kind of the product of my background. round my career progression, having been a tech guy my whole life and then seeing the emergence of the technology and from the nascent you know, hobbyist phase like all tech does into, like the enterprise usefulness, that hey, there’s something here I knew, you know, Bitcoin payments, those are all early stage use cases, you know, kind of the pioneer, but being an information architect and a data guy, I recognize the usefulness of being able to use the underlying technology for things like, you know, record keeping notary, you know, other functions that right now require intermediaries and third parties to, you know, give you an assertion that somebody is presenting a claim or a proof and you’ve got some way to validate that from a record standpoint. So my team back before 10 x Ts in the early 2000s we won a Smithsonian laureate award when they were still giving those out for being the first to connect a judicial management system, a case search system, like you go to your county clerk of courts. And we got an award for being the first to connect an old school legacy court clerk system to the web. So being able to go to a browser and do a search. And so I’ve worked with public record for a big chunk of my career and understand the nuances of the workflow of data getting onto the blockchain, which is probably as or more important than the data on the blockchain. So tenex ts really, you know, fast forward. Yeah, we recognize the opportunity to not necessarily be the blockchain, but to be the record keepers that connect real world documents and data to the blockchain for single source of truth efficacy of the data model. So little bit different approach them I’m a crypto guy in the sense that I love cryptocurrency and the emergence and evolution of technology, but we see ways to then, you know, build on top of that core underlying promise. How do we go in? And how do we bring capital efficiency in particular, because our underlying vision is economic inclusion, you know, rising tide lifts all boats. And I think if we can solve a few problems related to that across our population, we can start to break down some of these social barriers and some of these political barriers that has everybody literally ready to, you know, start throwing fast rocks at people from the tree tops, and that’s not going to be the solution.

Rob McNealy
Well, I agree with you. And I think it’s interesting out there, at least in the social media world, when you’re talking about crypto and blockchain kind of things, that people on the left, and I’m not a writer either, but the people on the left seem to be really adamantly opposed to anything that decentralizes yet they still complain that the political process is really corrupt. And so to me, it’s really confusing to me Ultimately why certain that certain kind of politically it’s it’s weird because it comes down to I think that ultimately certain individuals do want the control of government over certain things they absolutely want to control you. And when you say we want to cut government out of this to get get rid of political corruption and corporate corruption, they can’t understand the connection between the two. And they don’t understand the fact that technology can enslave or liberate depending on who’s running it and who, how its applied. And, you know, it’s interesting, I thought of all things that the people on the left would be the ones that would embrace this type of technology that is decentralization, enabling and what..

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I don’t understand it, I you know, I, so I’m in Ohio 8 district so I’m fortunate to have congressman Warren Davidson is my congressman. And so Warren has led some of the charge in DC with the finance Services Committee. And in fact, I’ve been to DC I’ve, you know, testified and participated in congressional roundtable from a policy standpoint on all of this. And, you know, David and I, we’ve talked back and forth about, you know, just the function of automating government, you know, the blockchain out of it, but just, you know, how do you automate things that are human powered processes today? In the past, I’ve had left elected officials, Democrats Tell me, because I actually talked to them, you know, like, I’m not like so polarizing. It’s like, gosh, I probably got as many democrat friends as a Republican friends, it’s like, but in terms of the discussion around the function of government, I’ve had elected officials tell me in the past that government as a social function employs a segment of the population that would deem to be otherwise functionally unemployable. I don’t know if that’s true. I mean, I get it, it’s like, well, if you’re going to give them things, at least make them productive in some capacity from a community standpoint. Now, I don’t know if other of my many government employee friends would agree with that. But I’m sure you know, they would be fairly incensed by it. Because I know on the other side of the equation, PhDs and really brilliant people that are also part of the government and work for the government or have government contracts. And so I don’t know what that dividing line is. Rob, I really don’t. It’s certainly interesting when it comes really down to transparency. I think that’s the big threshold of well, we can get away with things the way it works. Now. We won’t necessarily be able to do that if we’re subject to some other reporting and transparency regime.

Rob McNealy
I think people are very libertarian, when it comes to themselves, and very statist when it comes to other people.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Do as I say, not as I do.

Rob McNealy
Yeah, I kind of think that’s how people are. I think they’re wired that way. I think that they want the maximum amount of freedom for themselves, but they certainly want to create rules for other people. Maybe as a form of self defense. Maybe that’s why that is that way.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Emotional intelligence? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what it is safety in numbers? Fight or flight?

Rob McNealy
I don’t know cuz I, I don’t want to control other people. So honestly, I know, I don’t want the response of I don’t want the responsibility to control other people. But there’s a lot of people that do think not only that they should do that, but they’re entitled to tell other people what to do. My mother is a great example of that. She cared. Yeah, my mom would totally be a Karen totally. You know, it’s all about the rules and you know.

My parents. It’s funny because my parents, I grew up in the Detroit area, and we were, my dad was a conservative, like they were conservative. So they were huge rule followers. That was their mindset. But they also didn’t understand that a lot of the rules were designed, they didn’t see how rules screwed them. And I remember this one time, and it was one of the first times I kind of had an understanding of that maybe things aren’t always what I thought they were like when I was 10. And I remember maybe nine, and my neighbor’s dad, across the street, ran a construction company and my dad needed a load of dirt. He had a dump truck kind of thing in the neighborhood. And my dad, and I was really good friends with the sun. And my dad says, one day, you know, your buddy’s dad’s a tax cheat. And I’m like, What are you talking about? He’s like, well, he made me pay him in cash. He didn’t want me to give him a check. So he doesn’t want to pay taxes on that. I’m like, that sounds like a good deal. I was like, and I’m like, why would you want to be deck? And it was?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
It’s call “none ya.” None ya business.

Rob McNealy
But I left it. I mean, I’m 48 this year, you know, and I’d like that left an impact on me because I saw like, Well, why should he have to pay taxes on that? Like I was just a kid, right? But my dad who was like this, basically it was a teacher. He was a he was a rule follower. He was locked in there was an employee miserable in his job. And the neighbor was self employed, had his own business. And it was just interesting to me how I remember what I remember about this. My dad was incensed by it. Like he felt it was unfair, that this other guy didn’t want to pay whatever the taxes were, or whatever, you know, and it’s interesting because I remember that to this day, and I left an impact. But I also see you know, my dad, if you ever read the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, my dad was the poor daughter had that mindset. It was very, this this mentality that if someone else gets ahead, they’re getting screwed in some way. And but I look back now and even then, when I was growing up, I saw that my My parents made their own decisions that made their own lives miserable. And it’s funny because even as a kid, I remember going into therapy now, but I remember as a kid, you know?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
We’re Gen X guys, man. I mean, we’re getting to that point, right? We got to confront these things.

Rob McNealy
Dude, no, no crap. But I remember when I was a kid, like I was telling my parents when I was like, in my teens, because I was working, and I was a busboy of all things at one point, making like really good money in a high, you know, high class hotel and stuff. And I was making more money than my mom. Like literally. And I said, Mom, why are you doing this job that makes you miserable? I have security. I’m like, No, you don’t? Yes, I do know you know, you don’t have any security like a fire you tomorrow. You have no control over and I recognize that as a kid. And my and it was interesting how like it made us clash and and so when it comes back around and like, Why do certain people want to control the people and why they reject these kind of decentralized technologies. I always think back to my parents because they’re that quintessential Karen kind of person that wants to do that. And that’s like, Wow, you guys are brainwashed. That’s all I can think of. They’re just brainwashed.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough thing when you live your whole life with filters and predispositions and social norms. And, you know, it blows my mind though, because and I, you know, I don’t want to get off on the tangent from a boomer versus younger people thing. But you’ve got folks that are like, counterculture in like, the hippie generation, like, we want to change this, we want to construct a new, you know, way of doing things, which Alright, cool. You know, there were certainly problems that were carried over from before. Then now, like, what happened, guys, I mean, it’s so funny, because when I was a teenager, I saw Peter Paul and Marian concert and their very last tour. And so it was like 87 and I’m thinking, hey, it’s hippie stuff. Let’s dress up like hippies. Well, so I got tickets to this concert, not realizing it looks at Memorial Hall, which is very nice upscale, you know, venue in Cincinnati and You know, I go in there and it’s like literally all these yuppies who were, you know, in their 30s at the time, but they’ve got like their sweaters wrapped around their polo shirts. And if you remember when they drink sweaters down their backs kind of a thing and, and here we are me, my girlfriend dress like hippies and it’s like, a something happened. Come on guys. Anyway, sorry. I didn’t mean to digress off into it people.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, what happened to the hippies is that they were born at a time where the United States was the only manufacturing power left on the planet. And anybody can throw rock and make a ton of money. So and and you know what, at that point, you know, people like well, I really liked the Mad Men house and I really liked the nice cars and having two cars and, and I think that’s what happened ultimately, is that, you know, life was life was pretty good. Let’s just put in perspective, life was pretty good. And they grew up in a time where you didn’t have to even go to college to make good money, and you didn’t even have to Have a college loan and you could still, you know, because there wasn’t student loans like there are now that you could afford to pay for college and not come out as come out of college with no debt and work your way through. They can’t do that anymore. And, and so I think that, you know, they were launched just from the facet of when they were born, they were able to grow up in their young as young adults in a time when the United States very prosperous and, and I definitely think that skewed their vision and I think that’s also the opposite of what’s I think it’s the same opposite effect happening now millennials and Gen Xers. I mean, I was caught in student loan prep, too, because I was given bad advice from boomers. You know, just invest in any major regardless, you’ll it’ll pay off and, you know, you’ll make 10 times the amount of money that you invest in, like, that’s worship. But you know, you learn, live and learn, but I think that definitely is, you know, made some impacts in society on how we’re viewing these kind of things.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah. Then I did the inevitable. This is what I look at as an entrepreneur. I’m looking down the road You know, from CEO and my crystal ball lens of having several decades of technology experience and multiple, you know, product life cycles and technology cycles and saying, okay, that regardless of what happens, my entire career was built on how do I make things more efficient? How do I create tools? And how do I, you know, deconstruct the silos that drove power bases inside of corporate organizations, for example, you know, when you look at the baby boomer way of management and operation, you bring up Mad Men, all human powered political process. I call that fixed overhead. And so if you want to be relevant in the current market place, as technology people, and I’ve always viewed technology shifts as the opportunity to do a couple of different things first, you can certainly go in and be the Absolute disrupter be Jeff Bezos right? I mean, be the guy. Of course it fully the magnitude of the disruption didn’t fully materialize for a couple decades for Amazon. But you know, His goal was to just go and slaughter it. Hence the saying your margin is my opportunity. The other side of the coin as well, there’s already entrenched channel partners and people that are in these industries. Will they pay you to catch the wave and become more efficient, more competitive, without you having to become that business? I don’t have to be Whole Foods and be in the grocery business to go and help say Kroger be more efficient. They’re already in the grocery business. I don’t start a new grocery. And so back to the crypto space is one of the things that we’ve looked at. From a blockchain standpoint. Well, you know, we’re good. We’re experts in the technology, software and data. How do we then identify the opportunities to go to existing markets, whereas a lot of people are saying, Oh, no, we want to be Come on broker dealer, we want to become an exchange. I’m like, heck with that, you know, that comes with a lot of regulatory overhead responsibility, compliance things that, you know, that’s not what we do. Right? We could, but I would rather be the guy that says, I’m the expert at the tool. I know your problem, probably better than you know, your problem at the technology level. So you go out there and you’d be the bank, you go out there, you be the broker dealer, but recognize that your model is going to have to shift in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. Because if you don’t buy my stuff, your competitors going to, and it’s just a function of knocking on doors, and it’s a numbers game for me and for my company, to go out and find the use cases that are going to onboard and say, Yep, I get it. I get what you’re trying to do. This is a cost cutting measure opens up new markets.

Rob McNealy
Well, I definitely think that blockchain technology has a lot of interesting uses in business. And I definitely think that you can gain some really interesting efficiencies with blockchain technology that maybe smaller to mid tier companies could use them to take some of that market share away from the big entrenched holders. I’m sorry, you know, companies that are in that space, because the bigger the company, the less risk adverse they are, you know, you know, you know, GM, and you see how it is right now, right, GM and all these companies now are deciding they’re going to go into electric vehicles, like a decade after Elon Musk decided to start, you know, do the innovation and now they’re like, okay, there’s a market. We’re going to go in there and try to crush it now. But I think that this, these technologies, whether it’s just for payments with blockchain stuff, I think there’s amazing opportunity now that business people are starting to look at it. I think what was happening before is that most of these crypto projects were led not even by entrepreneurs, but just straight developers that maybe never even ran like their own business before. But they had an interesting idea of how technology could evolve. They created it but they didn’t really understand how to actually get people to use it. Get it out there absolutely adoption standpoint?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yep, absolutely. I mean, you look at the fact that the iPhone was released a year before the white which is basically around the same time as Bitcoin white paper came out and look at the contrast and adoption between, you know, the first smartphone versus this really nascent weird hobbyist technology that involves all these layers tantamount to you know, having to fire up your modem and change your dialing string and get your command line interpreter to telnet and you know, some other computer network. And then you look at the that transition that inflection point of well, when AOL started putting out CD ROM installers with an awesome user interface in every shrink wrap, plastic bag, partnership deal. You know, they could Steve Case could possibly go and sign up at the time right now, and pushing out millions and millions and millions of this really awesome user experience. So that’s where I think that a lot of the disconnect is at for really any technology but in you know, particularly adoption of blockchain cryptocurrency technologies, nobody wants to see how the sausage is made, just bring me a plate of bratwurst right, I’m ready to eat it. And I think that’s where the technologists get so enamored with their own, you know, source code and their GitHub repos that, you know, they forget that the average person can’t even change the windows settings of their, you know, basic visual device on their laptop, right? We’re not that far along, guys, after all these years.

Rob McNealy
Well, well, I can tell a lot because you know, and I love developers, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti developer. They just have a very different set of skills and a different view.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Oh, of course. Yeah. I lead a bad merry band of developers, you know, I mean, I am a developer. So it’s really interesting. You know, I like in work in development, working with developers as really like managing a rock band. Right. So it really is. It’s the parallels are so you know, you got it somewhere between being your psychologist and, you know, the communicator, the spouse, dad when it’s necessary. It’s this weird dynamic to get true r&d developers, people that know how to create something out of nothing, because it’s all function of motivation. Right is how do I get Stephen King to go into his dungeon and come out with the next best seller? Right? And that’s, that’s really how do you guide that as a CEO of a tech company as it gets interesting.

Rob McNealy
But to use your analogy, right, there is no, no person in their right mind would let the band determine the marketing and promotion strategy for their album either.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
No, no, no, they have no idea. They’re out there on the street corner, just, you know, doing the, you know, minstrel for free with the hat, you know?

Rob McNealy
Busking in busking in the subway. Right?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Exactly.

Rob McNealy
And so that and that’s part of the problem with a lot of developers and engineers. This is just an engineering mindset. I’ve worked in a lot of engineering companies, big companies, and this is pretty consistent is that the build that they will come mindset? Is what it comes down to. And unfortunately build it, they will come doesn’t usually work. That’s right. It’s a myth. And, and it doesn’t matter if you have the best technology. Doesn’t it med the best marketing technologies are the ones that win. And what that means is, even if you have the best technology, if you don’t have a way in a strategy to put that solution in the hands of the people that it solves their problem, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to get adopted. And and it’s funny because I’ll have this discussion with engineers and a lot of them. They think they’re smarter than everybody else. And that’s okay, because they need to be smart. But if I said, an engineer has to have a certain skill set and intelligence level, and it’s a trained career path, that they’re professional, they would all agree with that. But then I said, you know salespeople and marketers are also a skill set that go through training and experience. Absolutely. And it’s like no, no, that doesn’t matter. Anybody can market I’m like, that’s horseshit. That’s absolutely nonsense.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
The disconnect that I’ve identified is this magical little thing called empathy. Right? It’s like engineers a very rational construct logic, a plus b equals C. And as we know, human beings are also very emotional. And we all share 11 of the same emotions. And you’ve got the, you know, want to be Spock engineers over here. Well, that just doesn’t make sense. So like, Well, of course, it doesn’t make sense because people don’t make decisions particularly make decisions to buy things based on making sense. No, they’re going to absolutely make an emotional decision. And then when the logic comes into play, it is rationalizing their emotional decision and supporting their confirmation bias that we all have to a massive degree. The older I get, the more I realized that, you know, Hey, you know what I thought about the world. I don’t I’m not the smartest guy in the room. In fact, as a CEO, that’s my mantra is I want to be the dumbest guy. And I want to surround myself by awesome people that are hell smarter than I am. Right? And then how do you be the manager of the band and get them to work together and get over their petty bullshit, because when teams on stage and they’re jamming it out, and you got 70,000 people in the stadium audience cheering, and here’s my money, take my money. That’s when you know that things are actually working out. That’s, that’s my metric.

Rob McNealy
Yeah, I agree. And I can always tell when a developer is in over their head when it comes to understanding how to promote their solution or their project is one. I’ll use the Linux analogy, and they’ll say, look, Linux is great. It’s an amazing software. It’s open source. It’s kind of decentralized in a lot of ways, but Linux never made Any market share never got market share on desktop. And Linux servers, which are amazing, are still are very niche because the only people that care about them are developers. So, so so Linux is never like I’ve had developers literally Michael, tell me that Linux is mass adopted. And I’m like out of your minds, you’re absolutely out of your mind.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I mean, you can argue that because it’s embedded in the bowels of the apple lap, you know, the Apple device that, you know, the core OS is a Linux variant. So they’re technically not wrong, but they’re not wrong for all the wrong reasons.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, I think the I think the block chains that win are going to be the same way no one the average person on the street and by the way, I spend my time as an entrepreneur talking to potential customers, before I ever decide to build a business or code a project now, and and to me, you should have a customer first and then build the solution for that individual customer. That’s how you build a business at least my 20 years of being out entrepreneur, that’s what I’ve come up with at least. And the customers in the world right now do not care about the centralization. And so if your big thing in development is decentralization, most people don’t give a shit about it. People want their problem solved. And if decentralization solves that problem, they still don’t care how the problem is solved. They just want it solved. And and I think that’s where a lot of people miss out. And they don’t understand that. I think a lot of developing lead crypto product teams are out there. And they’re trying to basically want to educate you on why you should be mad and only like decentralization. And I’m like, that doesn’t make any sense because I don’t care. It’s like, you’re not going to get anywhere with that kind of methodology of marketing come up with a solution that makes sense for them and just make it work in the background.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, I mean, the problem I found that the furthest throughout it, particularly as an entrepreneur, and this is where you cross over into the VC world where you know, who’s crystal ball and what’s the what’s the time horizon of the crystal ball that you’re looking at in terms of market emergence and development, right? You have to sort of be at that point, which means and what’s the old saying that if Henry Ford would have been completely customer lead, that they would ask him for a faster horse or something to that particular effect. And I think that there’s, there’s an interesting balance in technology cycles. As I’ve studied in my whole career right now, I’ve been front and center watching the emergence of, you know, every technology literally since the mainframe, and seeing how it goes from the hobbyist. And, you know, really the guy that wrote the book on its Geoffrey Moore, I don’t know if you ever read Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore, but I don’t know. I know. I haven’t read it. It’s an amazing read. And if you’re into technology into technology markets and understanding technology businesses, it really is the Zay of the bell curve of the adoption cycle for the stuff. And where do you hit that inflection point, timing the money timing the product, being able to To hit the ground running, that’s our big gamble as entrepreneurs is like, I know all my ideas are good, right? I know that there’s market. It’s a function of living and surviving until you hit that inflection point, right? The cash burn is the cash burn. So, can you stay ahead of the cash burn? Don’t run out of money, right? And then if you’re right there, when the lightning is ready to strike, bam, you know, there comes the bolt. And you know, that’s where the it really is a lightning strike function for a unicorn billion dollar tech company.

Rob McNealy
Well, I think that’s where the entrepreneurs come in. And I and I really think that entrepreneurs are able to see all the pieces like that and but still be able to jump down into the details and the nitty gritty stuff. And I think timing is a hugely important and that’s one factor. We don’t control necessarily when something is ready. But to understand that timing and being able to mitigate the risk and say, Look, I you know, You’re Henry Ford example about trying to listen to, you know, customers and say they’ve come up with a better horse. Well, I think the reality is he’s not right or not wrong there. And I think this is why is that a good entrepreneur can see, okay, I see this new technology, but how to apply that technology to solving a problem. And then figuring out, again, goes back to market segmentation, and then strategy for you know, putting that solution in front of those people. You know, Steve Jobs was amazing at this, like he understood that there was this friction with music distribution, and technology could solve that. Right now, a lot of people went out sit there and complain, oh, a lot, I think in a modern example of music as people would like, I would like, you know, ice cream trucks to have music records going around streets. That would be maybe what people would say would be easier than thinking in terms of digitizing music and distributing music a different way. And I think you’re right. A good entrepreneur, though, will solve that and figure out that thing and tell people look, yeah, your idea might work. But I got a better solution for that problem. And that’s this way, this is the solution. And that’s why i think that i think crypto so far in a lot of ways has been held back by the fact that you haven’t you don’t really have enough entrepreneurs involved with these projects yet. And it’s changing. It’s changed a lot just in the last two years. But so much of it right now has been led by developers who are build it and they will come and I think that that’s changing and..

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well the definitely don’t know securities laws because unfortunately fun funding and financing a project on a purely decentralized basis and how it was funded, it certainly run afoul of the regulatory regime and you know, that’s why we just filed a Delaware C Corp and sold equity. Like everybody else’s like guys see how it goes. We’ll get there.

Rob McNealy
Well, it wasn’t that complicated to sort out like when we launched right after the height of the bull run in 2018. Everybody told just do an Ico you can raise money. Money. And that’s why we looked at doing a token project is that we were interested ourselves personally, of doing a startup and we wanted to learn what the Ico process was about. That’s why we were looking at that. And then when we said, hey, let’s launch a project, and we were originally gonna do an Ico because I had an idea for another business. And I thought, wow, as an entrepreneur, the idea that you could raise a whole lot of money. You don’t have to go through VCs and you don’t give away equity as an entrepreneur like hell. Yeah, that’s amazing, right? But through our diligence process realized we realized pretty quick that that’s that’s got to be illegal. What I said, Where did I go? There’s no way we can do this. And we still had lawyers, I was coming and this is ridiculous. I’m not a lawyer, but I worked for a lot of lawyers and my day job. And I was talking to lawyers and like I tell utility took I go, where does the where does the SEC recognize the term utility token they don’t, that’s not even a term that’s just made up. And that’s why we launched Originally the way we did so we’re not a security but it’s interesting like pretty much every IC on the United States was in security. And you and I were talking a little bit about that online about, you know, the securities and the Icos and and where that is right now, what do you think’s going to happen with the Ico world? I mean, going forward, it’s amazing idea that you can raise money this way. But I also think there’s a lot of problems with that, which.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
There really is, and I’ve been fairly prolific about my opinions. And, you know, it’s created a bit of a barrier between me and the traditional anarcho capitalist crypto guys, because they’re all about, you know, all the way up to and including, you know, disrupting government. You know, they see government as an quote unquote, intermediary, I don’t know that I agree with them. And I don’t want to go there necessarily in this conversation, but, you know, in terms of needing new laws that define things that don’t need be find is problematic. We don’t need To change securities laws, the United States of America already recognizes literally a jelly doughnut as an investment contract based on the way I sell it to you, if I promise you a rate of return, that if you buy this jelly doughnut from me today for 100 bucks and a week from now you can sell it for 1000 get in on it now. FOMO, right, that that, in that instance, created a de facto security that’s a problem for people out there on YouTube with you know, their unregistered broker dealer status of pimping a particular quote unquote, opportunity. Right. And that’s where the SEC very adamant and I agree with it, because when you remove particularly in finance, a certain amount of regulation, the bad actors immediately move in. Yes, he doesn’t care, right. The only thing they care about is protecting the actual individual from fraud and inflammation disparity is what creates fraud. And you know, that that’s the reason we have this robust set of rules that is transformed America’s financial market into probably the most stable equity market in the world, consistently over time. So a certain amount of that regulatory framework is certainly necessary based on case precedent and enforcement, which is driven largely by complaint, not because, you know, sec commissioners are sitting around like, hey, how do we screw with the little guys today? Right? I mean, it’s literally, it’s almost exclusively complaint driven. So I don’t know that we need to change it. And then when you look at the other side of the equation when it comes to regulatory crowdfunding, for example, that’s not been adopted since the title three jobs act of 2012. Right. I don’t even think that regulatory crowdfunding was raised a billion dollars combined since it was enacted. So.

Rob McNealy
I think My take is and having not been originally a securities guy, but when we launched two years ago, I took a deep dive and learned as much as I could about securities offerings and at the state level federal level. I took like a deep dive for six weeks and I felt very comfortable at that point of my own opinion that every Ico was illegal under US law at the time. And what I did, but I do think the the area of regulation that no one’s really talking about so much that I think actually is an impediment to adoption is the IRS treatment of cryptocurrencies as property. I think those regulations do not fit. Currently, I do believe that even if the IRS just decided to elect to treat cryptocurrency for instance, as a foreign currency I think would do a lot to speed up adoption. And I think because I think the the accounting, basically requirements that businesses and even individuals have to do What from the crypto side of things to actually use it as a buying, you know, something that’s being used for buying and selling goods and services? I believe the IRS is going to be the biggest part of it not the SEC rules.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, I mean, right now we pay taxes if we make a profit because we bought, you know, a Beanie Baby at a garage sale and sold it on, you know, eBay for you know, profit margin. Right. Right. We’re supposed to report that as income. It gets really complicated when you get into high volume transactional stuff. And that’s that’s really what the technology enables that the current intermediary status of the market is not prepared to handle right when we change hands for equity ownership. I have a token, for example, that represents shares of stock. There’s no such thing as a bear stock certificate, right? I mean, we, we register our names and our contact information, the DTC handles, the transferor etc. It’s got to be done through a transfer agent. There’s, you know, a very well defined process and be in that’s just simply the validation part of the market right where that trust and those trust layers have had to be abstracted out and human powered process. Once again, this guy says that the sky is a true and valid owner of the stock and he’s truly in validly, you know, transferring it selling it to this other person will write it down and keep the third party record and how the blockchain can do that, right. I mean, but the law is not there yet to support that layer of automation, and it requires somebody to hold a license for whatever reason. It’s like I laugh about custody, you know, everybody argues about custody and custody of digital assets of like, you know, wonderful lights went out. There would be no custody, right? The blockchain has the custody so you banks can go away now, do you need a license to have this particular type of an account to hold something on behalf of somebody else? Because it’s the blend of the existing, you know, laws. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. I get invited to lawyer conferences, but you know, it’s like this..

Rob McNealy
This, but I think that’s an interesting thing about the custody piece, right? Everybody’s like, Oh, you should just not your keys, not your crypto and the unforgiving nature, I think of crypto is also problem. And as I said, in our conference last, this last March, we hit we do an annual off chain conference, which is kind of a mix of crypto and prepping and preparedness and self defense and things like that. We’re doing the next one in February. And we talked, we talked a lot about this, because what you know, and I think it’s because the typical anarchist is broke, they don’t understand that, you know, if you take away banks, and third party, or third, you know, trusted parties that are holding your 401k funds and things like that. Now, what you’re, what you’re suggesting is people now have the equivalent of their life savings on a little device in their house. And now before you might have had a bank, supporting that with like armed guards and vaults and, you know, backup generators and all that and and now you’re saying the average person is in charge of all that stuff now to at their house. And man, that’s that’s just that’s a reach for me. I think that you know if crypto is going to be adopted, there absolutely needs to be, you know, third party custodians available, because I don’t think the average person can handle it and maybe I’m maybe I’m a jerk. But I just can’t imagine like, for instance, my Karen type mother, being able to handle like her social security, you know, on a blockchain and crypto and and I just don’t think that’s I don’t think it’s realistic to have that expectation that the average person can manage that at this point without like a big cultural and educational shift.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Now, I mean, it gets back to self sovereign identity, which you get a lot of people are working on that particular problem, that particular aspect of connecting to blockchain, right. How do I, how do I assert that the person who’s touching this device that’s conducting this transaction that’s going to be recorded on the blockchain? Because that’s really what I care about is how data gets To the blockchain, not what’s on the blockchain, right? So how do we assert and validate that this particular individual is actually who they say that they are? And so there’s a lot of that self sovereign trust, and how do we create those applications and identity verification? The problem that I see though, is that at scale, it gets pretty draconian pretty quick, because the real ultimate solution is, you know, binding your genome to hash value on a network something that scares the shit out of me.

Rob McNealy
Right? What could possibly could go wrong with that?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I saw the movie Gatica. I mean, I am I am clearly about bioethics. And, you know, this is where I, I think that we have to assert that’s true self sovereign part of the status. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what that means in the future. I’m as equally excited for my kids as I am frightened for my kids. And that’s why I’m out for that’s why I’m trying to do what I do. At least with what I know how to With and, and, you know, hopefully we can push back against, you know, the the Karen’s of the world who want to enslave and entrap and, you know, and subjugate and and I don’t I’m not here to fight and argue over policy ever it’s just a function of, you know, can we create technology solutions to stupid human problems because we’re really only like a couple of levels above chimpanzees don’t crap at each other, you know, the trees.

Rob McNealy
I go like this, you know, I don’t you see this a lot in the crypto world and I think there’s a lot of I think there’s a lot of immaturity out there is that when people are like they cheerlead like China getting involved in embracing blockchain, I’m like, dude, you really don’t understand that a government like that embracing blockchain is going to be absolutely leverage to enslave those people. No, it’s not going to be it’s not going to be used to liberate the I mean, all right, that we got the government of Saudi Arabia, right. They’re still chopping people’s heads off publicly, right. I mean, I mean, Still, like Bronze Age kind of shit, and or like Dark Ages kind of stuff. And now you’re going to give them these tools that can, you know, I think could enslave.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Yeah, and the dichotomy with this is that I firmly believe the next global reserve currency will be a programmable digital currency format. Right? You’re basically saying a government accepts the risk of however long of transporting value from point A to point B, using this particular, you know, normalizing thing, you know, whether that’s conch shells, whether that’s the United States dollar or whether that’s, you know, the digital renminbi and, and it’s going to it’s going to happen and it needs to happen because, you know, the, the idea that I can actually carry money in my QuickBooks account, for example, as my actual Treasury or my wallet, that I can just simply pay vendors by transmitting not dollars, but US dollar currency. It’s through a government settlement system. Right. And we know that the US, you know, the Federal Trade. So the Fed is actually working on this, but they claim that their platform is not going to be ready until 2025. So, and I forget the name of the system. I wrote about it in my newsletter a few weeks ago, but they’ve been working on it. But now we got China piloting the digital Yuan, in a couple of provinces. They’re ahead of us, right, from a nation state standpoint. We’re so far behind in the United States. It’s frightening based on where our reserve status of currency is going to go back to France, right. There’s they’re studying it now.

Rob McNealy
Well, I do believe that at some point, the US dollar will no longer be the reserve currency and what that how that plays out for the average American I don’t think it’s going to be positive, to be honest. But, I mean, that brings us into the next phase. Right? We I think you and I both agree that technology is useful, but it can be used for good or bad. I think it’s just it’s just like any tool, right? But just like guns, right guns can be used for events, or they can be used to commit crimes. That doesn’t mean that the tool is bad. It just means that it’s better to have more guns in the hands of good people than in the bad. And I think that’s where we kind of also says, you know, you and I are kind of overlap there politically. So recently, you’ve been leading a little campaign in Ohio, tell me about that.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well, it’s really an accident. So I’ve got political campaign management experience. I’m a marketing guy, you know, how to, you know, organize things. And so it’s carried me in it a lot of interesting places throughout my career. And so I saw what was going on in particular Virginia, but then Kentucky and Pennsylvania and some other states. Around the, you know, this idea of red flag laws and, you know the the ability for the government to suspend your rights without due process and come in and confiscate anything that you own out of your home, particularly one that has been enumerated in the Constitution, United States of America and defended multiple times through multiple Supreme Court cases. And here, we’ve got people, you know, saying, nope, we’re going to come in and we’re going to take away your gun. And I guess that was really a wake up point for me to see how they’re scrambling in Virginia, for example, to solve the problem, and recognizing that when the argument or the claim that the conservatives don’t know how to organize, right, it’s true to a certain degree, right. And if you believe that all Government is local. And you look at the approach that Virginia is taking, you’ve got the states that are these counties in the state of Virginia that said, okay, based on our government structure, we have a way to push back at a local level, we can have our county pass a resolution that essentially D funds enforcement activities of infringing enforcement is what it’s called. That’s directed by the state. Now, I’m not a constitutional scholar by any stretch of the imagination. So I can’t get into the, you know, is this largely just a symbolic thing? You know, there are other things to take into consideration, consideration, I don’t know, but I know that when I go down to my polling precinct to vote on everything, it starts with local, right. I mean, I have local bond issues. I have local candidates that are being elected to county offices and we don’t have the kinds of networks and communication frameworks, particularly in the state of Ohio, to rapidly organize and coordinate across the state teams that are essentially decentralized, right? You’re talking about a decentralization. But how do you get teams of committed volunteers citizens to work in their county? We have 88 counties in Ohio. And how do we get them to coordinate and work together to also pass model resolutions around this particular second amendment issue of red flag laws? Not just for these things, but then also in the future when somebody comes along and says, oh, we’re going to take this other right. How do we organize and structure and construct our our response in particular, and it goes back if you do a little homework in the war for independence, how the colonial You know, the colonials, the in the individual colonies in the cities and the towns and the villages operated for nearly a decade leading up to the actual war, was they created a de facto shadow government coalition of people and they call it a, they call it a community, or I’m sorry, a committee of safety. So there was a committee, there were several iterations of committees, and it was just regular people, regular prominent citizens in the community, that operated in a fashion to be communicators, to network with each other, and then ultimately to take action at the local level when necessary. But then how do I coordinate around with the other folks? Right? And so it’s the same communication distribution model, right? It’s how do you decentralize a organizational structure and target a particular issue in the Case passing red flag model ordinance line or a model resolution language at the county level, and then leaving the framework and in place, and particularly the state of Ohio, we are a state that enjoys the opportunity to put a signature campaign initiative onto a statewide ballot to even modify our constitution as a state, but that requires all the draconian regulations that they put in front of us, you know, we have to gather so many signatures within a certain amount of time and, and have so many counties represented, etc, etc. So, so I started this little group on Sunday, literally five days ago, just a sort of, you know, trial balloon and I created a Facebook group, it’s private, it’s hidden. You have to know somebody so there’s a velvet rope. We don’t take all comers. You have to literally be invited, invited in, and it’s still this phenomenal chaos but we went from zero to like to Well, thousand members of this group in five days, just people blowing this thing up because it really is a hot issue. It’s a big thing.

Rob McNealy
And I think that’s something you definitely need to work on because that’s that’s amazing that people are that concerned. And here in Utah, we are seeing something very similar happening to getting a lot of the gun rights groups are getting out ahead of some of the RPO stuff that’s coming out of our own state legislature. And you would think a state like Utah, which is, you know, definitely conservative in nature. That gun control bills wouldn’t be something that you would come up but I think they’re later I was told that there’s going to be multiple gun control related bills coming on and state legislature at least coming out of committee that, you know, we’re going to have to face here. And I think that’s what’s going to happen. I mean, in this country, we definitely have multiple cultures in this country from the coast. in the Midwest and the mountain states, where literally, people are very anti gun have never seen a gun before, you know, they’ve never actually shot a gun or been around a gun. But they definitely want to tell the other states what they can and can’t do. And I think Unfortunately, that’s going to change because, you know, we are culturally very different. And I think in the future, and I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think in the future, if there’s a time of crisis where say, you know, maybe it’s an economic collapse, or the US dollar, you know, kind of tanks or whatever, I believe the United States will break up, because I think we’re too culturally different. Now. In many parts of the country, what do you think?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
I mean, I don’t want to see my nation balkanized. Because what that means is, is that the power centers and the resource centers are all going to be concentrated in urban areas. And and I don’t want it to turn into Judge Dredd, right with the mega trop Ulises. And then wasteland in between. If that’s what happens then obviously if we’re in the wasteland in between we are far more suited to take care of ourselves and restore a certain amount of functional self governance and you know community alignment at the localized level. My town has literally my county seat is my town. Now I’m wedged between a couple of bigger bigger metros, but I live north of Cincinnati and my town has 8000 people in a county of like 45,000 right on the border of Ohio and Indiana. And I think that we can probably figure out how to put some seeds in the ground and work together to you know, restore a certain amount of community. But we are at risk we’ve lost a lot of mercantile ability. At the local level, we’ve lost a lot of trade skills that are going to be necessary in order to maintain standard of living and we’ve lost a lot of access to, you know, other knowledge resources. And I don’t want it to be a choice where if you don’t want to live in a mega trop list that you relegated to some sort of feudal, agrarian sort of surf Lord the keep kind of a scenario and I don’t know I just let’s work together Let’s all work together right now to keep these kinds of things from happening. You know, I,

Rob McNealy
I, you know, I agree with you and it’s kind of weird I live it because I even though I have an MBA, last June, I graduated from welding school full year and a half program or two full time school at night for a year and a half just to be a hobby welder, because I wanted to learn an actual skill. And I think that going forward, you know, we’re going to have to go back and be willing to learn things that maybe we forgot, and to be more self sufficient. And I think that’s kind of the ethos of the whole decentralization mantra, but Michael, we’re running out of time here. Yeah, man can people where can people find out more about you?

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Well, um, so the company side is 10 x Ts one zero x ts.com. We’re pretty narrow. So it’s not very exciting. If you go there, we talked about, you know, like FinTech and reg tech, you know, enterprise stuff. And then of course, I’m on social at Michael Hiles on Twitter. Hit me up on LinkedIn on a professional basis. I’m around a pretty easy to find. I’ve enjoyed it. Great conversation, man. I love Love, love the discussion.

Rob McNealy
Absolutely. And you know what, I’m going to hold you to that because we’re going to have more of these in the future. But Michael, thank you so much con today.

Michael Hiles – 10XTS
Thanks, Rob. I appreciate it. See y’all

Rob McNealy
have a great day.

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Interview Transcript

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Transcript

Mark Wittenberg - Verge Currency Core Team

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy
Today we’re talking to mark Wittenberg. He’s with the core team of verge currency project out of Canada A. So I just want to welcome him to the show and let’s see what they’re doing up north in snow Mexico. Mark, how you doing today?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Um, it’s very snowy, and it’s about minus 18 Celsius. I think right now, I’m literally looking out my window and can’t see a car because all I see is white.

Rob McNealy
You know, that’s how it is in June, typically in Canada. That’s how I first see it, or I can imagine it happening. I actually grew up in the Detroit area up in Michigan. And so I spent a lot of time in Canada when I was growing up. A lot of people don’t know that Canada has a lower drinking age than the United States. It’s 19. And so a lot of people in the United States at least it used to be this way. It’s a little harder now. I think. Now you need a an actual passport. Go to Canada. But when I was growing up and just in my late teens, you just needed a driver’s license to go across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, and go drink at 19 versus 21. So it’s like in Michigan like I when I was growing up, you went from 19 to 21. You spent every weekend in Canada party and then drinking away and stuff. So I don’t know if it’s quite that way now, but that’s how it was.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
It’s like, it’s still 18 in Alberta here. So I mean, I remember like, you could actually smoke a cigarette. I think it’s 16 way back in a day. But yeah, it’s 18 to drink in Alberta. So a lot of people even from BC and East they come here to drink. So that’s that’s kind of funny,

Rob McNealy
It’s like, you know? Yeah. You guys are just different up there. But I guess it’s colder, so you need to warm up more. I don’t understand.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
That’s right.

Rob McNealy
So Mark, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into the crypto space? What was kind of your idea was like to know, I want to know what people’s you know what brought them to the crypto world?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
It’s I think my family was in crypto. I think they got into bitcoin at like 2010 or something at eight cents or something I don’t know. But that’s when I first learn to vote and then fast forward I think I opened up my first exchange account in like January of 2016. I think I think I can’t really remember anything like when I was like $3 and something I don’t know. But I’ve been following kind of ever since and it out just following online and was following it kind of moving forward and then I really jumped in and boat the middle of 2017 is when I really jumped in. And then when we had that false Bull Run, I was all the way in and I picked up on the verge currency as a project and thought it really fit Kind of who I am as a person as far as the privacy aspect goes. So, I mean for me my everyday life is pretty private. My everyday business is based on you know, privacy and stuff like that. So I think for me it really verge currency really, really fit who I am as a person. And of course the non Ico non pre mine, all volunteer aspect, definitely fit with who I am. You know, I always figured if, if, as a project, if your non Ico non pre mind volunteer, you know, in your privacy focused, then everybody’s going to work hard. There’s no there’s no personal gain right from from being you know, what people call a staff member, which we’re not that there’s no personal gain from it. We’re going to get out what we put in so and I noticed the community at that time was really large too. So I thought you know what, like this projects great and I started talking into some of the core members online and that’s kind of where it went. So I think I became part of core and beginning of maybe April or March or April 2018 is when I officially became core member to help try to drive verge currency forward. So, yeah, so

Rob McNealy
So, verge is a fork of Bitcoin, right?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Yeah. Dogecoin Dark. Yeah, it’s it’s bit core, but Dogecoin dark. It’s a phone. Yeah, it’s a it’s a fork of Dogecoin dark.

Rob McNealy
You guys have been around for four or five years that I think so you guys are almost like oh gee, in this space as far as crypto projects go. But you know, I always joke around as a I bet in the space as a project, not even two years and like I bet I’m like an old dog. Now. You know, in crypto because crypto such a young industry, right. It’s like everybody is new. And you know, there’s not like experts in this Space is as far as I see it. And I think people that put them out put themselves out there as experts are just kind of nonsense, you know. But, you know, it’s like, it’s funny, like you go on like some of these people’s LinkedIn. And like they have they’re like 40 years old, and they got like three years of experience. And it only goes it’s only goes back three years and it’s only crypto related. And you’re like, Okay, you scrubbed your LinkedIn, you didn’t do anything for the last 30 years. You know, and I always joke around like my LinkedIn looks like pretty schizo frightening because I didn’t delete anything out, you know, it’s got you can see where I’ve been my whole life. I’m old, you know, I would expect someone who’s 45 or 50 to have a pretty extensive LinkedIn, you know, but you guys started a while ago and so tell me what’s different about verge currency say than, you know, dose or you know, Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
I mean, as far as Bitcoin goes, we’re more scalable. I think, you know, Bitcoin per Suddenly I see Bitcoin is a store of value, possibly. It’s not scalable. It’s not quick. It’s not cheap. No, it’s not cheap. And, you know, verjus based on transaction speed, I don’t know what the exact speed is. But we’re quick. We’re quick. And you know, we’ve got the privacy option where we’re kind of branding towards the whole digital payment arena now. So yeah, we are crypto, but I kind of like to refer to us as a digital payment option. Because I think generationally, I think people will get that a whole lot more than crypto. So when I when I look at us, I kind of I speak to our potential partners that you know, like we’re a digital payment option for sure. But yeah, definitely quick, definitely quick and cheap. So that’s a big benefit to us.

Rob McNealy
I think that’s a good point is that, you know, crypto right now has like, you know, a really bad stigma out there. Thanks to the news media and thanks to all the scammers. In the space, you know, they they really have a lot of ways a lot of crypto people have brought it on themselves, you know, especially some of these toxic maximalists that are out there that are really, really negative and hostile to anybody that they feel is competition to their, whatever their favorite project is. But I think that’s smart to like, you know, explain it like, we’re just a payment system. We’re not, you know, you don’t risk pipe the crypto piece, whereas I think a lot of maximalists really want to push the crypto piece not realizing how the general population seems to see it at this point.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
I totally agree. And I mean, I, I don’t, I’m not that guy to get along with maximalists. I don’t go to a lot of local meetups here just for that reason. I know there’s a couple of G maximalists in Canada here that I don’t, I don’t typically talk to you know, when you look at the whole market, you know, when you take the whole population of the world and say 3% is aware or 3% is has heard of cryptocurrency or Bitcoin? And then you get the maximum was what percent are they know? So who are they marketing to? You know, it’s i, i don’t i don’t agree with a max list, maximalist way of thinking I really don’t i don’t i don’t understand it. And I don’t know why they just can’t embrace these people that think that Bitcoin is going to be the only one.

Rob McNealy
It’s kind of like religion, you know, I mean, and I’ve seen this with like any political activism out there, I’ve been a political activist, good chunk of my life as well. And I think the problem is, is that so many people that are really tie up their identity with something you know, they they you know, it’s like the Bitcoin activists that have been around who have been pushing for 567 years Bitcoin this Bitcoin that and for a long time, Bitcoin didn’t have any competitors. There wasn’t really substitutes for a long time. And then what happens is, as When these guys put, you know, they put their ego out there. And they’re the ones that say, Bitcoin will take over the world. They make these crazy, you know, proclamations, and then they have to dig themselves in. And then when things change, they they just dig in further, instead of recognizing maybe they were a little wrong, or maybe they weren’t 100%. Right, or, you know, what have you. And I think part of that’s just ego, I mean, more than anything, they’ve tied their, their identity to this one prediction, or this one way of things that they want it to be this one way. And then I think when they get challenged on that, they get really defensive. I mean, to me, that’s what it is. And it’s like, the problem is that they’re going to lose out if they continue down that track. You know, I’m an entrepreneur, you know, I am not a developer, our projects a little you know, we’re a developer or non developer, but we’re an entrepreneur led team. So we have multiple entrepreneurs on the team, and we view it as a product, even though we’re decentralized project we also we feel crypto is a project. It’s a product that needs to be marketed. And it’s a it’s a product that needs to be, you know, you got to view the competitors to your product, you know, the people that are currently the substitute systems that are in place. So to me, Well, I give a great job last night, I was actually filling out an application to get list asked on an exchange. Right? And one of the questions is it says, Who are your competitors? And they wanted us to put like, what other crypto is our competitors and I said, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, are our competitors because that is who our competitors are, and how we view it and it’s just our perspective on things and I think the maximalist out there you know, they’ll overlook things that are just ridiculous. You know, you know, I take it like the people that still think that you know, I still believed in the original Bitcoin white paper where it is supposed to be digital cash, but the biggest core team, you know, they veered from that they they went down one track, they their community said, you know, they dropped the pretense of being digital cash, because they, they, I think they recognize that the scalability issues are insurmountable at this point for their project. I think it’s more politics than anything. But I think what’s happened now their store value, but to me, the killer app for crypto is payments, that is the killer app. That’s the thing, you have the biggest market for people who use digital payments. And to me, you know, trying to focus on d phi or whatever some of the other products are out there. I think, you know, as an entrepreneur, you know, you have to look at the the market size. You know, I think this is one of the things that a lot of it just outside of crypto, too, is that one of the big reasons businesses fail is that there’s not a big enough market for the idea. Right, you know, and that’s a lot of that and entrepreneurs think like this developers don’t, right, yeah, and just because it’s a cool idea or the technology is neat doesn’t mean that it’s a sustainably sized market. And the unicorns you know businesses and startups like the Amazon comes they look at the biggest how big the market is for that product or service and then they start looking and doing analysis and can they reach them and how much of a you know share can they take out of that market? And so we always looked at if you’re going to do a crypto project payments is the number one biggest market right and and so to me to veer away from that and go to store value because Think of it this way, like store value, right? What’s a current what’s the currently the store value in the world?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
What is the store gold?

Rob McNealy
Yeah, right. It is. That’s the biggest, most widely accepted store of value in the planet right now. And how many everyday people care about gold. Now, I like golden silver. I still I’m not as a as a crypto guy. I still think I like all asset class. I like real estate. I like art. I like startups. I like precious metals. So I’m not anti precious metals either. But the question is how many people out there care about precious metals right now? Um, you know, everyday person on the street? Not very few. Very right. So to me, goes back to the size of the market, what’s a bigger market a store of value market? Right? Or the the market that is for payments, and me goes back to market size there, the store value markets, a very small community, and if you’re basically trying to argue with, you know, student, you know, gold bugs, and there’s not, I mean, obviously, there’s still millions of those around the planet. But yeah, gold bugs are also very tangible, oriented, they like they’re very tactile, they want to feel something and I know a lot of gold bugs. And the gold bugs that I know don’t like anything digital. They don’t like cashless society. So I don’t understand it. So to me strategically, I don’t know where bitcoins going to end up. But I think the store of valued direction is not a good direction for the project. I mean, I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not making predictions on that. But I just say, from a market size and and I just don’t like it. I just don’t think it’s a great market size to go after. And I think it was an admitted an admission of failure from their original, you know, kind of killer app, the original, you know, mission of Bitcoin was to be peer to peer digital cash and store value is not that. So you guys have been around for a while you guys are a community based project. So what is verge done up today? What is what is what would you say verjus niche market or where are they trying to position themselves in the whole space these days?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
I think for me, personally, and I can’t speak to the other core team members because we’re all we’re all independent. There, there is no market for myself, as far as I’m concerned with virtual currency. So we should be accepted as a currency whether it’s mine geek, one of our partners accepting us for their online platform and and, you know in their live streams and stuff like that or whether it’s the Manny Pacquiao foundation accepting verge you know for donation Avenue were currency so the way I look at verge is if I if I have fi out if I have a $20 bill in my pocket and I can spend that anywhere, then I should be able to spend virge anywhere as well. And that benefit does is you know, everything is our market. So you know I’ll touch every industry because we want to be in every industry. You look at the way cashless payments are going now with I think even the the next Olympics are trying to reduce their cash. I think they’re trying to reduce their cash like 40% or something so they’re going cashless everything. is going cashless you go, especially in Canada here, everything’s tap, tap, go tap, tap, go tap this tap that tap everything it’s like, this is this is absolutely the perfect direction for a project like ours and to be quite frank, it’s it’s perfect for many projects, but you know, 26 or 2700 or 2800 projects out there, it’s going to consolidate for sure. You know, there’s going to be a lot of these projects that had Icos there. Maybe they’re not going to be around anymore. Maybe they went dry. Maybe they spent all their money, maybe they bought whatever they bought it because they thought they’re going somewhere different, I don’t know. But being a community based project, I think we’re, you know, maybe I’m a bit wrong, but I think we’re about 800,000. Now supporters worldwide, and our reach is huge. And you look at other projects, and again, there’s other projects that have great communities too, and they’ll be there. First to say, Did you bite has another great community? You know, and they’re, they’re in the same space we are. But back to your question, what have we done up to now? I mean, we’ve partnered with mine geek we’ve partnered with the Manny Pacquiao foundation so we can offer donations he can accept donations and virge and of course Bitcoin and Litecoin and aetherium you know, for Manny Pacquiao to go out and build some homes for the less fortunate out in the Philippines and hopefully worldwide you know, where else are we accepted Excel trip pay sent like there’s, there’s not an industry that we shouldn’t touch. It doesn’t matter what that industry is. Again, when you take your $20 bill or your credit card or whatever you’re going to do and you some guy wants to go buy a gun with his money, he’s going to go buy a gun with his money if he wants to go buy adult content. He’s gonna go buy adult content with his feet so fat so if virge wants to be a replacement or run alongside or like a rail to fat, then we should be accepted in every industry.

Rob McNealy
Totally agree. So as you guys get you guys are also a decentralized project. How do you guys I mean, just on the I’m always curious how the projects kind of work day to day, you know, how do you guys deal with partnerships to do have a foundation? That’s kind of doing the outreach for that, or how do you guys structured as far as managing your projects?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Oh, boy, that’s a great question. Um, we have a very large core team. And we also have community outreach team. So we have different layers, I guess you could say, of, of outreach. So you know, typical day to day I mean, I’m known in our in our core team to talk a lot so guys like to put me on mute because I I’m usually in every channel all the time but so that’s just Say we have 2025 core members. We’ve got a dev team and an outreach team. We’ve got a graphics team, we’ve got a video team. As far as outreach goes, we’re all because we’re decentralized. We’re all kind of working on our own thing on our own time. Some some guys going to have one hour a week, some guys going to have 20 hours a week, some guys going to have 60 hours a week. It’s all going to be different. So when we get into these layers, we have our group chat and discord. And then we have, you know, like an admin mod group and Facebook chat. So, you know, that’s another layer as well, where we, we can talk to our admins and mods of like Facebook, Twitter stuff, like you know, of our different online platforms and relay stuff that way. So, you know, right now, we have I think 11 different Facebook’s that I’m managing worldwide. So when we push to our main one, I’ll push to I think, maybe about nine 910 or 11 different Facebook’s that I’ll push you then we have Instagram then we have Twitter. Main Twitter accounts and then we block folio, stuff like that. So and then we have another aspect to verge as well which is fueled by verge. So that’s when we’re bringing on say somebody with some talent that wants to support us like Gil. He’s a NASCAR driver. he’s a he’s a really big first currency supporter. So we have that fueled by virge aspect. Especially Danny. He’s our little 10 year old MX moto MX racer, so he’ll go to the US or to Canada and do a bunch of races there and he’ll spread the word about verge currency as well but through a different you know, as a through 10 year old and be through moto Moto X. So we have that aspect and we do eSports as well and Adam night shadow, he he typically does this esport stuff. So a typical day to day with us. I mean, it’s it’s craziness. It’s full on craziness, it’s everybody’s working on different stuff. We got different opinions in our core team, and we’re not all going Get along at all times. And it’s it’s, it’s, you know, I guess you want to say in a we’re in a bear market right now whatever you somebody wants to call it you know if you’re if you’re focused on price alone I guess you can say we’re in a bear market, but we’re working harder right now. Then I think we were when when the coin was or when the currency was pumping I think we are certainly working harder now. We’re more focused now then then we are so than we were when it was pumping.

Rob McNealy
So where are you guys right now in your roadmap? What would be the next thing you guys are trying to accomplish with your project?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Um, I think more collaborations, more partnerships. Awareness is key for me. So we were fortunate enough to join a telegram group. I’m in a telegram group with change Angel. So I don’t know if you’re familiar with change Angel, but lots of people are so they’ve brought in a whole bunch of different communities projects. into one telegram chat. And man that that is like that’s one of the best ideas that space could ever come up with is somebody to take the reins, and bring 10 or 11 different projects into one telegram chat where we’re all pushing each other for awareness. So for me, it’s going to be about awareness of digital payments. That’s, that’s what’s next for myself. Anyway, I know the dev team, Justin, Mark and swen and manual, they’re working on their respective wallets right now. So you know, I just let them be I’m not a deaf guy. So I try not to get involved too much in the deaf talk or outside. It won’t let me focus on what I’m doing. But moving forward, I’m just trying to bring awareness to this space in general and I think it’s important that for me, I bring awareness to to to Bitcoin as well, because this is what people are going to know. In fact, they may know a theorem they may know like coin as well for me. It’s been bringing awareness to the space in general. And then also bringing awareness diverge currency while I’m bringing awareness to the space.

Rob McNealy
So when you’re talking to say retailers, what’s your pitch? What do you guys say? You guys should accept Verge why?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Oh, my pitch, I just jam a pamphlet down on their table and say, let’s go. No, I mean, they’re, they’re accepting digital anyway. So these retailers are already accepting digital. They’re accepting tap, they’re accepting NFC Apple Pay, we pay whatever pay, they’re doing Google pay credit, they’re already accepting digital. So all it is is is trying to find the right avenue to accept something like verge into their system. Now retailers is a whole different game because of course there’s so much with settlement and they’ve got to have the right the retailers have to have the right partnership. Well, it’s not just, hey, walk in the door, and these guys are going to be like, hey, there’s verge. Yeah, let’s just accept it, I’ll hook up tomorrow. There’s partnerships that they have, they have to have dealer agreements with the settlement company, they’ve got to have retailer agreements with whatever POS terminal they’re using. And then that POS terminal, wherever they’re getting it from, they have to have an agreement with the app that they’re downloading. So it’s not just as simple as saying except for its currency because we a, we need an off ramp, we need to sell it, we need to have a settlement company on our end to that’s going to be able to handle the liquidity and settle with us real time. So and that’s still a challenge in this space as well. So as far as a pitch to the retailer, I think for now, it’s about awareness that when I sit and talk to people, it’s right now it’s about awareness until the space grows.

Rob McNealy
My I definitely think that’s a huge part of it. And you know, it’s interesting because I actually spend more time talking to retailers then I have spent trying to talk to end users because To me that that is the the main place to start and you know down here in the states you know the the biggest concerns that you know I’m seeing from retailers besides once you get past like the stigma and the potential legal ramifications because some people think crypto is a legal it’s it’s interesting when I’m but one of the things that here and I don’t know how it’s handled. You guys are Canadian based though right your project is most of your core team is in Canada, am I correct?

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
No, incorrect so we have two core members in Canada, myself and Harry. Harry is in. He’s in BC, so he concentrates on some other stuff that he concentrates on for verge currency, which, you know, really get into that but he’s he’s, he’s deep into what he’s concentrating on. But we have core members worldwide. I mean, we’ve got core members in Australia, US, Asia. European countries. I mean, we’re everywhere. Now, the founder, Justin, he was he’s originally from Florida. But based out of his, I mean, we’re not based out of anywhere because we’re feel like we’re sorry, we’re we’re a digital payment option. So we’re not based out of anywhere. I just happen to be in Canada.

Rob McNealy
Gotcha. I always ask, you know, but down here talking to retailers and and I think this is going to be more of a problem as adoption starts to occur. Is that the way the least the United States that’s those are the retailers are mostly focused on right now or American retailers. And most of the problem is that I see going forward the biggest impediment regulatory wise to crypto adoption by retailers is how the IRS the Internal Revenue Service in the United States treats crypto transactions and and they treat it as property and so the accounting piece for a retailer is a huge challenge. And I’ve told this to People that most people in crypto that I talked to even activists, they don’t even seem to understand this now I actually have my, as an entrepreneur, I’ve actually owned a retail store. And so I know a lot about point of sale and I know a lot about the accounting and and running a retail business. And I can tell you unless someone gave me a super compelling sales pitch and solve some problem, I think I wouldn’t probably accept crypto as a retailer if I didn’t have a recognized problem with other systems. And and so and I think that going forward, that’s going to have to change for retail adoption to really happen, at least in the States. And why I think that you’re not hearing about that right now, is because people really aren’t using crypto down here in the states for buying and selling goods and services yet, you know that it’s a small amount of transactions out there and they’re usually experimental or one offs, but there’s no serious industry that’s adopted crypto yet, and I think that That’s going to be a problem and you’re going to hear about probably over the next couple years is people got to start adopting crypto, because that will be the biggest pain point for retailers accepting it, but no one talks about that. And I’m like, Dude, this is the problem that we need to be focusing on, not the SEC. We need to be focusing on the IRS. I don’t know does Canada have similar? I don’t know how Canada treats you know, crypto as far as you know, taxes and stuff. But is it similar to the US or do they just deal with it differently?

I think we’re yeah, I think you nailed it. We’re pretty close to the same I mean, Canada, the government here. I think they implemented something like a questionnaire or something where they’re asking people if they own digital currency, digital currency, or cryptocurrency or whatever, but they’re not. I think it’s still a volunteer thing now but I believe regulations are coming in in June or July or something. I think there’s some bigger regulations coming into play but in June or July up here in Canada, but you absolutely nailed it with The retailer in two things as well with POS and stuff like that we we see videos on Twitter of you know like this store accepts XYZ cryptocurrency now and this furniture store accepts this and this restaurant accepts XYZ cryptocurrency now it’s like they may accept it but it’s like how many transactions a year are going to happen on cryptocurrency right now very little worldwide very very less unless you get into some of these other countries Venezuela Argentina I believe Philippines is probably pretty big on cryptocurrency now. But But you nailed it the we can go out there and send videos out on Twitter all we want about signing up some 25 seat restaurant that now accepts crypto but the only transaction they’re going to get in a whole year is going to be that guy that signed them up I’m thinking.

Well and you know another Lot of axes we really pissy about us pointing that out. But I agree. And I think the the bottom line is, is that a lot of crypto projects do a really poor job of stimulating demand for people, you know, to create the reason for retailer to do it now. I mean, we have our own strategy with how we’re, you know, positioning us to do exactly that. Because I do believe that’s an issue and and they’ll change over time. It’s just I think, you know, I’m always trying to think three four steps ahead. I you know, I’m not just looking at I’ll sign up this one Uber driver for this one video for this one tip I’m giving him and now he is a Bitcoin lover and it’s like, okay, that’s that’s not really, you know, in my mind, that’s not how you seriously get substitution and create a paradigm shift you you have to solve a problem for a lot of people and and you need to be able to have a plan to get your solution to somebody’s problem in front of a group of people. And to me that that’s that’s basically business and marketing and market segmentation and things like that. But hey, this is uh, this has been a really good chat. I mean, I don’t know enough about verge and so I’m glad you took the time to come on the show today and tell me a little about and you know it and and educate me about the project because I like to hear more about these community projects that are doing things behind, you know, behind the scenes and actually growing right now and it’s not all about the hype and clear pricing things. Where can people find out more about Verge.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
VirgeCurrency.com that’s going to have everything probably you know, that you need on that website, of course, follow our main handle on Twitter, we’re releasing medium articles. I think we do a dev update on medium every couple of weeks and then an outreach or a marketing update every couple of weeks. But you know, I again, for us, it’s all about it’s about awareness. And I want to point out really quickly that you know, it’s not all about when moon when moon when moon when moon you know for us to get serious in this space and for To get serious with digital payments and you know I’ll say for myself too we need to mature up you know this whole space the whole people following it we need we need to add a little bit more maturity to this space. Get the bear market is hurting a lot of people, it’s hurting myself too. But we’ve got to push past that work as work as digital payments together. Let’s not work on Hey, I’m number one. I’m number one. I’m number one and I’m the best because I know more people than you. But let’s let’s work on the best out of each project push together as one space. Let’s get it to that point where were the awareness and the adoption is there and then and then focus and fine tune our projects, you know has verge had its problems? Absolutely. It has. But I don’t know when business out there and you’re you’re an entrepreneur, I don’t know one business out there that hasn’t had problems. It’s bring, have a problem. Bring a solution. That’s what it’s about recognizing a problem. How do we push past this problem? How do we move forward? So that problem doesn’t happen again. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about the problem that happened. It’s about how do we not have that problem happen again? Take every cryptocurrency project out there. I think every single one of us had problems. So let’s not focus on the negative. Let’s focus on the positive because the true people in the cryptocurrency space are going to focus on the positive.

Rob McNealy
I couldn’t agree more mark, for coming on the show today.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
Yeah, awesome, Rob. I really appreciate the opportunity. I really want to learn more about your project as well and I hope we can chat again soon.

Rob McNealy
Anytime.

Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Core Team
All right.

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