mark wittenberg

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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Latter Interview

Mark Wittenberg – Cryptocurrency Use Cases

Mark Wittenberg talks with Rob McNealy about Paycent.com and XcelTrip.com, two concurrency projects with real world use cases.

Mark Wittenberg Cryptocurrency Use Cases Transcript

Mark Wittenberg

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

Rob McNealy
Hey, today I have to welcome back to the show. Mark Wittenberg How are you today, sir? Awesome. How are you? Good. How is snow Mexico today? Oh my god, I literally washed my car and it’s minus 12 Celsius this morning. It was minus 25 Celsius yesterday? I think so. So you like throwing ice cubes at it? How does that work up there? It’s great. You go through one of these car washes and it has an automatic dryer. So by the time you get out and wherever you gotta go, your car’s dry. It’s great. You know, we just got a couple days of snow here over our Thanksgiving holiday and I one of my little hobbies is that I actually like to rebuild old things and I rebuilt an old tractor and like a garden tractor, but it’s pretty beefy. And I got a giant like four foot wide snow blower PTO driven snow blower, Cashman Ford, and I got to try it out for the first time this season. So I was all excited and my wife’s just like shaking her head cuz she’s like it’s a little overkill for the suburbs had I’m like yeah but I just know blowed like six driveways of our neighbors all in like an hour so it was awesome so

Mark Wittenberg
I’m curious I’m curious to know how how are the neighbors feeling that got the frickin snow blowing yeah there were happy there you know I like to take care of my neighbors i think you know when it gets into like all these like libertarian kind of people they’re like, oh I want to you know I want to just not have government and I’m like yeah but the thing is if you’re going to have that you got to be able to work and support your neighbors and to me it’s not about talk you got to go out there and do work and to me I live that like to me, I my neighbors have helped me is really interesting. Like last year last fall, we put in some sod in our front yard. And like all my neighbors just walked down the street and started helping me put sod and it sounds a hard thing to do. And so to me, if any any way that I can go help my neighbors out the same way, you know, it works out and so I like that’s why I like my neighborhood my neighbors are pretty cool. And so we all kind of help each other out. But you know, it’s interesting like in Salt Lake some winters is like in the valley here where we were like in a valley and you know some winters we don’t get any snow at all. It’s kind of like Denver weather Denver is like this to you might get to maybe two years in a row where like March 65 degrees, but then every, you know, three years you get like four feet of snow. You know, so it’s like you gotta be prepared for either no snow or like a massive blizzard. So anyways, but I actually we have a big lot and I got a lot of sidewalks so I was getting sick of like, my kids were also whining a lot of getting sick of actually having to shovel it. So I got I found this attachment for my tractor and I’m like, yeah, I’m glad I got the attachment because it makes that whole job pretty like you know, a lot if not faster. Yeah. So anyways, what’s going on with Verge, some of the other projects you’ve been working on what’s new?

You know, it’s just same old you know, phone call after phone call after phone call. It’s a lot of work man, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s a lot of work to, to you know, I’ve got a full time business to take care of as well and and with these other projects I’m involved in it’s it’s a lot of work for sure. But you know, we’re doing it for the right reasons right so I gotta fill the holes Well, you know, this is one of those things that people don’t seem to understand that even decentralized quote unquote community projects, they have a lot of work that needs to be done. And and to me, I still liken them to businesses. You know, even though there’s not the same command and control structures and and you know, legal entities and things like that. You still have to think of them and at least I do is like a business you have to grow it You still have to do the the phone calls you have to do the relationship building the business development and the sales. This is the one part a lot of projects don’t do as the sales part. But you know those things, all those jobs still have to be done. You know, if you’re going to be trying to get people to use your service, your project, if it’s a service, or your crypto as a payment method, you still need to get out there. You still need to do all that work. And it is work and, and and it’s harder as a decentralized project. It’s harder as a community project because you don’t have the ability to just go tell someone to go do something.

Yeah. No, I totally agree. And we talked in the core team about that quite often, you know, I, you know, how I look at it is where we’re still an $80 million project. So whether people say we’re decentralized, we’re not a business. We’re not a business. Listen, we have the same attributes as a business would have for eight an $80 million evaluation or whatever you want to call it market cap at million dollar market cap or 90 million or whatever it is, we still have to operate in the same way an $80 million business would have to operate. We still have those same, you know, the same attributes, people are still going to call on us the same way. The only difference is we don’t throw money at stuff, we can’t just go out there and pay thousands of dollars to market in a magazine. You know, and and of course, we’re colorful, our core team is colorful so we’re all again, like you said, with decentralized we have everybody’s opinions involved, right? So everyone’s gonna have a different opinion. So you know, it’s been decentralized and volunteer we just kind of do our own thing.

Rob McNealy
You know, and and management by committee can be difficult as well. And I think we’ve we’ve struggled with that with just getting our product to where it is today. Yeah, but we’re going to be going to main net very, very soon, hopefully next week. From the time of this recording, we’re really darn close, but holidays, you know, slowed us down a bit. But I definitely, you know, see that, you know, management by, you know, kind of management where you have to get everybody’s buy in, or at least you have to get the majority of the communities buy in for the big decision making. That’s harder, because it’s a lot more persuasion. It’s a lot more politics and, and I think that changes the dynamic, especially for someone who has a background as being an entrepreneur, where you’re just like, this is my baby, we will do it this way. And so that’s, we’re going we’re about to make that leap now. Because once we bring the block producers in and go to mean net, now, the way decisions are made is going to be a lot different. And it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the team copes with that. Because the process is going to in a lot of ways get less efficient, which is good is because you don’t always want everything to be inefficient, or to be super too efficient either. But it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Mark Wittenberg
So how many how many on your team total?

Rob McNealy
You know, I guess that depends on how you defined “on the team”. If you look at all the contributors that have been here till now you’ve probably about 18 to 20. Regular core contributors half dozen. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s quite a bit to manage for sure. Yeah. And, and so, and I think that’s the problem is that, because we’re all volunteers, we all have day jobs, we all have family commitments, things of that nature. You, you know, you don’t always get the performance that you would want, you know, so, you know, sometimes people can dive in and they can jump in for, you know, a week or two solid and just because they had a vacation or something like that. And then you know, hear from two months because they got busy with other things in life. And, and, and I don’t begrudge anybody that right I mean, that’s just part of part and parcel. But I find because of that, you know, we always have to kind of be in like, we’re recruiting mode, because people come in people fall out people get bored people, you know, lose interest, people lose, you know, have other commitments come up. And I think that’s with kind of with the decentralized project, it’s a little different than if you’re a company. Because if you’re a company, you’re like, Oh, well, these people can work 40 hours a week, and if they don’t work out, we fire them in a month or two, but you still get that, you know, you get a lot more production out of employees than you do out of volunteers. Yeah. And and so to me, it’s just we have to kind of always keep our eye open for someone else to come to the project, just because we know people will fall out and this is one thing I’ve noticed as well is that people are not patient. Right? And and I think what ends up happening a lot of people say they get excited about the idea of working on a new project or you know, bringing a new, you know, crypto or a new thing into the universe. And then they don’t realize that oh, this is actually going to take a year two or three years to really get attraction we want. And and I think people get bored, to be honest, because there’s just a lot of there’s a lot of boring work involved with this. And I think, you know, as far as I can see in the my own self is that there are times when you’re like, why am I doing this? You know, is it ever going to work with it? And then you know, you do that self doubt thing sometimes, like, Oh, is this really worth it? Are we going to get mass adoption? Or are we gonna actually get a launch? You know, things like that. And, you know, we’ll be we’re almost two years old will be two years old in a month. And I tell the guys it’s going to be too and this is what I’ve been telling them for six months is expect that it’s going to take two years after main net to really get traction. I think that’s a realistic expectation. If we don’t manage to get somewhere two years after launch, we’re not going to and when you and I tried to be as realistic and set really good solid expectations. But I think some of the guys that’s that’s hard, you know, they’re like, Well, can we just moon overnight and you know, You know, that’s not gonna work.

Mark Wittenberg
No. Yeah, I do you’ve nailed it man. It’s like I I’m, I’m self admitted one of the I don’t have any patience that’s when I try to get stuff done I I try to move through it fairly quick but you’ve nailed it stuff takes time. Like you know, I look back and with our project when we partnered with mine geek I think it was April of 2018 or something that we partner with mine geek and man, people just ride us on that it’s like these are these partnerships take time to bloom, like you can’t communicate with these guys every single day of their lives. You know, they’re busy, they’re doing their company stuff. They’re they’re trying to scale out or bring on more people, whatever they’re trying to do this. This takes a lot of time. This is and i think i it just shows how immature crypto is right now. When I say mature I don’t mean that as a personality I mean immature as in small, like we’re an immature space. And you know, you don’t see these larger corporations going out there and making these partnerships announcements and saying, hey, by the way, in five months, we’re going to be partnered with this company in five months, we’re doing this. They talk about it behind the scenes, and when it happens, that happens, and that’s when they announce it. So, man, I’m with you. It’s like for your project at two years after main net, it’s like, maybe it might be a little bit longer than that. Who knows how fast crypto grows, but it takes a lot of patience, man, I don’t have patience, but I’m certainly learning it.

Rob McNealy
I’m really impatient too. And that’s really interesting. Cuz my wife Kristie, who is one of our co founders, and she does a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. And she’s like, I can’t believe we’re still involved with this. I go with me. She’s like, you never stick around. And one thing that long effort, and I said I’m actually really excited about this still and to me that that actually has been surprising to me. But I think it’s because I keep you know, I, I’ve really tried to set my own mind to be patient on this. And I keep finding, you know, I think of it like this, we’re building something really, really massive, we’re building the Titanic in my mind. And if you’re going to build a titanic, you can’t expect the Titanic to launch overnight if it takes only 15 I mean, think of it this way, if it only took 15 minutes to build a crypto and put all the pieces together and and do all that stuff, then everybody would do it. Right. And you know, it’s not that easy to do. And there’s there’s a lot of barriers to entry. I think this is why you look at that there’s, you know, thousands and thousands of tokens and coins out there, right but you really don’t see much traction in a lot of them. And and I think part of it is absolutely that people either you know don’t know how to run it or people just get bored in and they fall away from it and they stop trying to grow it and I do believe like what you’re saying about, you know, these partnerships take time, I have a lot of really, really major potential partnerships that we have in the works for us, but I don’t talk about them, because they’re early yet. They’re really, really early, but I’ve already planted those seeds. And I know those some of those seeds will sprout. But what’s going to take is we now as a project have to prove ourselves worthy of those partnerships. Yeah. And I think, especially in this lot of people on our stand with, you know, with partnerships, right, they’re taking a risk on you. And so they want to see that you’re going to do what you say we’re going to do. So, you know, what I’ve done along the way, is, you know, I’ve been talking and building relationships for a year, year and a half with some of these players that I know would be a really good fit. We it’d be a really good mutual partnership. But we need to prove ourselves and and how we do that is we do and actually do what we say we’re going to do and I think, what I’ve seen out there in business and even with crypto is that most people are full of shit. Yeah. And successful people know that most people are full of shit. Lots of people talk. Lots of people spend spin their wheels, most people don’t end up producing. And I’m not trying to bag on people. It’s just a fact most people talk shit, they like the idea of something. But executing is really rare. And making things happen is rare. And so I’ve planted the seeds, and I keep those seeds kind of growing and germinating and keeping those potential partnerships up to date. But we need to prove ourselves and I think part of that will be getting through and main net and then you know, seeing how our marketing starts working and seeing how we start growing. And I think once we start growing, and we can prove to those other partnership people that we’ve been talking to that we are viable, and we are a legit, you know, potential partner for them. I think we’re going to massively accelerate just with any of them. If any other them land. It’ll be huge for us. But we have to prove ourselves. And I think that’ll take another six to nine months after me net just to get really to start showing people what we can do as far as the marketing, the business networking and things that we’re doing. It’s going to take time, but it’s going to happen, but I don’t hype, and I don’t make announcements of announcements, and I don’t sit there and try to, you know, hype. Oh, I talked to so and so, you know, it might be a great partnership, but it’s gonna it’s a two year out partnership. It’s not going to land for two years, because we need to be at a certain size before that will happen. But we’re, we’re laying all that foundation out. And I think that’s the critical piece.

Mark Wittenberg
Yeah, you nailed it, man. It’s partnerships are like, it’s like a marriage, man. Every marriage goes through a honeymoon stage too. But for me, you know, you know, I can be talking to 10 or 15 different people right now on potentially collaborating with us or partnering with us. That just means that i’ve reached out to them. And I’m, I’ve opened up a dialogue with them have opened up a conversation, you got to move through certain phases. And once you become a partner, I’m a big fan of managing those relationships. So if I create a partnership myself for the team, it’s important to me to manage those relationships, you know, every week or every two weeks or every three days, just say hi to them stuff like that and see how they’re doing and see what the next goals are. For them, see how we can assist them in their next phase. It’s not just take a partnership, and oh, yeah, we’re a partner now. And now we’re done and we move on to the next partner. It takes a lot of time and effort to not just put the partnership together but to manage that partnership once it is a partnership like I can’t it you know, people like man, I can’t stand announcements of announcements that it that’s one thing, it’s just like, I had, I ran this I ran into so and so at Starbucks and we shook a hand and now we’re going to partner Sunday. That’s like, yeah, it’s like you run into a million people in your life diamonds and people, man people are like Twitter’s crazy, you know, everybody’s like when this when that and, like, I’m not gonna talk about the, I’m not going to talk about the companies I’m talking to now because it’s, it’s, it’s irrelevant to any kind of conversation until we can shake a hand do a deal and, and make sure it’s going to fit for them and for us, and to be quite honest with you fit for them maybe not fit for us because right now in crypto, you know, I look at it like a side besides so right now in crypto, we’re, we’re the B side, you know, when we’re doing a partnership or looking at a collaboration, somebody, we’re going to be the B side, there’s options out there. We just have to make sure it’s the right fit for that partner and see how see if it’s gonna fit for that partner. So, man, it takes a lot of time to partner build and again, like I said, I can be talking to 10 or 15 different companies right now. And I probably am talking to 10 or 15 different companies right now. But it takes time to work stuff through. You can’t just these guys can’t just integrate something in two days, it doesn’t. Two days, two days, it takes time. And like you said, it takes a lot of time.

Rob McNealy
Well, it was interesting. I know, last April, I talked to very large point of sale company in this in the gun world. And it was kind of interesting, because they seemed interested in first and then they kind of goes to me, and that makes sense, because, you know, that’s, you know, going eight months back and we were a lot further behind where we are now, of course, in our development cycle, but I wanted to open the dialogue with them, because I know that they would be a great partner in the future. But I also know for them to take a risk on us. Remember corporations are really risk adverse Way, way more risk averse than say a startup company would be. That’s why startups are much more nimble, typically, and a lot more groundbreaking and disruptive because they can be, they have nothing to lose. But bigger companies have a lot more to lose. And so they want to be very careful they partner with and, you know, some of the teen, I didn’t even make this public, right. This is just, you know, this was an early guys these strategically thinking, one of the things that I know is I want to partner with, in a general sense strategically with our project, partnering with point of sale, people that already have customers in the space that we’re going into, and there’s about a half dozen of them in the in the US gun world. So, you know, I said I want to start opening the dialogue to introduce myself and put us on their horizon. But I don’t think we’re at but back then. And probably even now for another six months to a year out. We’re not going to be ready for them. We’re not going to be ready. And some of the teams like well, so if you’ve been following up with that guy, I’m like, well, it kind of goes to me a little bit. And they’re like, Are you worried about that? I go now, I think Because I go if I were him right now and it was a C level executive at this company, I would be trying to figure out how I launched my own cryptocurrency Yeah. And and because they the in the gun space is really there’s just there it’s not, they’re not that cutting edge in a lot of respect it’s actually a very low tech industry right now. And I said what will happen is they’re going to go start figuring it out and since they’re big company, their learning curve is going to be slow. It’ll take them six months to figure out that legally speaking, it doesn’t make sense for them to try to do it. And you know, and because I already know what it takes legally to, you know, be drop a current cryptocurrency and I’ll tell and I’ll say this another way for cryptocurrency to be successful, it’s kind of got to be neutral. You know, if you think about it, I think if you want to be adopted by an industry, right, you know, it’s not going to be as easy to adopt by an industry if one of the dogs in that show is running, for instance, if your competitor is running the crypto, you probably aren’t going to be as likely to want to use that crypto because it’s helping your competitor. But what could make sense as a like an independent project, like what we’re doing, like a community project makes a lot more sense, because we’re not, we’re not a competitor, we can work with all those guys. But I said, Look, if I was that, that CEO of that company, I would be trying to figure out how to launch my own cryptocurrency right now. And I’m going to go down that track before I start, you know, engaging with outside projects. And I know that’s what they’re doing. And they’re also going to find that it doesn’t make sense for them to try to launch their own cryptocurrency because the legalities of it and the fact this is not going to work as well. You’re not going to get the adoption that you would want. You might have an internal project but it’s going to be hard to get other products or other people in the industry outside of that. And it’s funny because one of these one of these companies, you know, I’ve been looking at, they’re really not like very well by a lot of people in the industry either so that works against them. So working with a project like us makes a lot more sense. But that’s going to take another six months or nine months or a year after we launched to not only do in show people that we will say we’re going to do X, and then we’re going to execute on x. And it takes that time. And and I think these are those things that a lot of people, especially developer types, or people that are not entrepreneurs even right there’s a lot of a lot of people that hold crypto are not entrepreneurs, so they don’t understand all these, you know, the ideas that you have to do things in a progression, you have to go through baby steps you have to grow. And it’s just like getting on exchanges to write. You know, you have to start on crappy or smaller exchanges. That’s just the nature of the beast, you have to work your way up. It makes no sense to pay, you know, 50,000 bucks or 100,000 bucks to try to get you know, a listing for you to get on a bigger exchange when your project isn’t big enough to really drive any kind of new volume on that bigger exchange, they’ll just the list you. And you know, there’s been you just wasted a lot of money and time and effort. You know, you’ve got to work your way up and grow. And and that takes patience. And a lot of people don’t have that patience, I think. Yeah, I agree.

Mark Wittenberg
Yeah. It’s, like you said, good point with the exchanges, because we often get that from our community to you know, like, we’re, I mean, obviously, I’m part of a couple of projects, but from the verge aspect, I mean, we’re listed on 5060 exchanges already. So, but I get the, you know, when the USD t pairing or when the USD pairing or when’s Coinbase going to add this and when’s binance gonna add more pairings? Listen, at the end of the day, we don’t control that. That’s not we can harass these exchanges like Coinbase or binance. Or Cz, we can harass him on Twitter, all we want is that gonna is that going to get us the end result? Definitely not, the more who you are as a person, the more they’re going to get pushed away. It’s consistency. So the way I look at it is we just do what we’re doing, do it consistently. And try to do the right thing. If they want to add more pairings for us, that’s going to be their business decision. Because let’s face it, they’re a business. So that’s going to be their business decision. If they if they love our community and love our large community and want our large community to help them in some stuff to put some stuff out in the future and stand by them. Then they’re going to do that if they if they don’t see the value in giving us more parents. Hey, that’s up to them. We’re not we can’t control other people’s decisions. We can want what we can want what we want, but they’re going to do what they want to do. And you know, and and I just tell you know, my advice to people is just be as kind as possible and you know, if you want to be a partner with another exchange or have another exchange add you just support them and be consistent in how you’re how you’re addressing them online and how you’re talking to them and have respect for them. You know, people like Cz that guy, I think I tweeted about it tweeted about it the other day about, you know, where guys like cc came from Vancouver worked and I think he worked in fast food or whatever, in Vancouver, BC and then went off to university I think in Ontario or something. He’s got roots too. He’s got a past and he’s going to remember his roots as well. You know, we can hammer people can hammer him all they want to hammer him but at the end of the day, you still need to give respect to somebody like him for building what he’s built. Hammer him all you want, but 99% of us probably would not be here without binance or without Coinbase is probably pretty close to the fact

Rob McNealy
Well, I would say this when it comes to exchanges, and, you know, as far as you know, our long term goal, of course, yeah, you who doesn’t want to be on binance, who doesn’t want to be on the big exchanges, right? But it also needs to make sense, you know, for them. And to me, if you have to, like bother people and bug people and harass people to get your project listed, to me, maybe there’s something lacking in your project, or it’s not big enough. And, you know, at some point, I do believe that the whole exchange world and the way projects are evaluated by the general public and exchanges will change. Right now. It really is about who can pay the listing fees for a lot of these exchanges. They don’t care about your project. They just because their business models are they want listing fees. And, and to me, I think eventually, I think that a lot of the BS in crypto and all the fake volumes and all the crappy projects and the failed Ico is, I think

The markets going to change. And I think the way projects are evaluated will change. And I think how they’re likely going to change is that projects that have real adoption and people and real customers, and have real communities and are really growing, those are the projects that are quality, and all the exchanges are eventually going to want them. And so I tell everybody, even in our community, when they come up with these when moon kind of concepts and you know, you know, and all these comments that we get all the time is like, Look, we don’t need to worry about price. We don’t need to worry about exchanges. We need to focus on building quality, we need to focus on getting users and retailers. And if we do those things and do it correctly, we will not have a problem getting on any exchange that we want to in time. Yeah, yeah, totally agree.

Mark Wittenberg
I totally agree. I you know, I I don’t I’m not out there telling people to go buy verge and invest in Verge. That’s not that’s not what I do. I’m not focused on I’m not focused on telling people to invest in Verge as a as a as a currency, we’re just we should just concentrate on building what we want our use case in our mission to be just constantly do that. And I look kind of look at it like a McDonald’s kind of a thing. McDonald’s started out as a milkshake company now look where they grew to. They didn’t grow to a McDonald’s. Hamburger joint overnight. When they started with milkshakes, it takes a lot of time, but they focused on what they wanted to do. That’s, that’s what they focused on as a currency, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in 2020. But if as as us like, even with my other projects, Excel trip patient, if we just focus and concentrate on on what we need to do. People are going to it’s going to open up people’s eyes and they’re going to eventually see it and we’re going to eventually grow. When I say grow, we’re going to grow to two more use case and maybe evaluation will grow too. I’m not I’m not too concerned about these people that want to see 10 cents or 20 cents or five bucks or 10 bucks tomorrow, it’s like, just just concentrate it to hammer exchanges on Twitter and say, when are we going to get this or it’s about time this project gets virge gets USD parent, it takes just as much energy to help up the decentralized project as a volunteer than it would to go on Twitter and ask that question. What’s the point of engaging in a in an antagonistic conversation when you can just turn it to the good and focus on the project instead, but that’s kind of the way I look at it when I’m on Twitter I try to be I try to be on point with my tweets and I try to I try to give respect respect as Do you know, and for us and cryptocurrency we owe everybody else respect at this point.

Rob McNealy
I agree. So, in 2020 what do you see happening in crypto in the new year? Ah, what do I see happening? Or what would I like to happen? That’s a good question. Um, why not both?

Mark Wittenberg
Oh, boy, what would I like to happen? I would like a whole lot of consolidation to happen. Personally, I would like I am the farthest thing away from a money grabber. And I would absolutely love to see that these money grab projects just go away. Just be vaporware go away. And, you know, I feel for the people that again, maybe invested in them, but again, that’s not my problem. But I would like to see it consolidate in a harsh way. And I’d like to see it get really real, what do I think is going to happen? I think we’re still five years old from anywhere from being anywhere serious, but I think at the end of 2020, we’re going to see a major shift I think I think it’s going to consolidate heavily in 2020. And I think it’s where we’ve turned a big corner where it’s going to be use case focused. And I think 2020 we’re going to see, we’re going to see some real use case projects get pushed up for sure.

Rob McNealy
One thing though, where the rubber meets the road is use cases and I always hate customers. Now a lot of people you like to use the word user. I like to think of people as customers, because I think that changes the focus a little bit. To me, you know, a user means that you can be an investor. Well, an investor is not someone who necessarily is going to grow your project and a lot of times it’s the opposite because if you’re into me since we’re also a pure payments, crypto, we want people to spend to us we want people to accept us as money. Right? That’s our focus. And to me, I still think payments is the killer app. And and regardless of the people in Bitcoin, or what have you that are pushed, have moved to this store of value nonsense narrative. And, and to me, I think the Bitcoin community and I’m not bagging on them, but you know, and I own Bitcoin, right? I’m a supporter. But I think that a lot of people in the Bitcoin community moved from peer to peer digital cash to store value because Bitcoin failed at being a peer to peer cash project. And now, people I’ll be, I’ll probably be getting hate emails for this, and that’s fine. But the reality is they they moved the marketing message, they changed the narrative away from the Satoshi white paper. And I’m not going to get into the conflicts with all the different Bitcoin communities now and the splintering and the other projects that came out of the forks and all that, but I agree with you, I think the killer app, it’s about users, it’s about people using your, you know, project. So if people are holding, you know, task or verge or you know, digibytes, or any of these other kind of payment projects. To me that’s counter growing the project, because you want people to spend it, right? And if you incentivize or encourage people to view it as an investment rather than currency, to me, I actually think you’re hindering the growth of your project at that point. You know, just like staking wards. I think if you’re a payments project, and you do staking rewards, you’re you’re like nailing your own self to the cross. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Because these people, if you’re getting interest, you know, on your project, why would you spend it, you’re totally incentivizing the wrong behavior when you do that. And people have asked us, are you going to have staking rewards? And I go, absolutely not. Why would I want that? You know, it sounds great. If you don’t believe in the project, you know, if you don’t believe in the mission in the application in the use case. Yes, thank you more. It sounds great. You know, and I hold a lot of task, you know, but you know, so I would benefit from staking rewards, but it’s going to hinder the growth of our project and to I do believe

That in 2020, we too will see a change moving toward actually use cases of customers, not just users. I don’t believe in I don’t think of investors as users or customers. And a lot of people conflate that they’re like, look how many people are using Bitcoin ago. They’re not using, they invested in it, they’re hotaling Bitcoin, they’re not spending it. And to me, that’s not what you want. You want people to use it, and use it commercially. And, and just think of it as another payment method. That’s what the ideal should be, at least according to the Satoshi white paper, but they’ve moved from that they’re not even trying. The thing is they’re not even trying anymore. So I believe that there’s a vacuum there. And I think projects like you know, verge and task and digibytes that are community driven, that are focused on the mission and the application are the ones that will be successful and I do believe there will be a consolidation now the question is when Will the Emperor not have recognized he’s not wearing any clothes? With so many of these projects? Right? I can, I can tell you I know of at least a couple dozen projects that are in the top two or 300. And I know there’s a lot more, but I know for a fact like, you know, 3040 of these projects are either completely dead or complete scams, but they’re still traded and listed in the top hundred, you know, our top 200 or top 300. And yeah, I’d love to see those go away. Why are you tracking a project that, you know, literally traded at, you know, $21 at its peak, is now trading for eight cents. The people that ran the project are in being indicted for fraud, but yet you’re still trading and it still has a $6 million market cap. Why are you even tracking that? Why are exchanges still involved with that? Yeah, I’d like to see that garbage flush out of the system personally because you know, it’s it does take away attention. From projects that are viable and are legitimate and are growing, yeah, totally agree. I mean, and I’m not bias either way, whether it’s, again, whether it’s verge or Excel trip or pay center, you know, whether whether these projects are involved in that consolidation and they go away then so be it, but I can’t, all we can do is try to work as hard as possible focus as much as possible to try to gain acceptance for sure.

Mark Wittenberg
But I’m with you out of the top 100 or top 200 there’s got to be 30 or 40 that are just going to be gone. And I and I agree with that. 100% I agree with that. But again, these volunteer decentralized projects that are non Ico or whatever, they’re they literally can’t go away. There’s, there’s gonna be a turnstile, right like it’s it’s there’s going to be volunteers on Always coming in and volunteers always going out volunteers coming in and volunteers. We literally, we literally can’t go away. Can we flatline? Absolutely Can you flatline for two, three years, four years, five years, six years, whatever. Absolutely. But you literally won’t go away. Right? Yeah, I think it just comes down to how much inertia you have. And I think what will end up happening is a lot of these non Ico parents are a lot of them what’s happening with these Ico projects, is that you know, a lot of these projects will run Victor would never even run a business before and then they got literally stupid raises through their Ico which a lot of market which which in the United States and pretty much every Ico was illegal. Yeah.

Rob McNealy
And so what ended up happening is, I saw on some projects where they literally hired 100 150 people with their Ico money with no revenue insight, and you’re like, what are they doing with 100 and 150 developers

I mean, that’s insane to me that the so they created all this amazing like overhead, you know, let’s look at in the business, right? They just like went nuts. Yeah and then when the market tanked they didn’t cash out the Ico money and their theory and Bitcoin that they received, you know, drop down 90% from this Ico high. And so they basically just went and burn through all the money. And so a lot of these projects, they’re just they burn through, they fizzled out there, they ran out of money. And I think, you know, projects like task where we have no overhead, we have no debt, we have no full time employees, what many employees and so we don’t, we’re not chasing a burn rate. And I think virgin a lot of these other like digibytes stuff there. We’re not chasing burn rates. We’re not running from going out of business and running out of cash. It’s not even part of the thing. We’re self funded through the network or networks of you know, pays for itself. So it’s sustainable. And I think that That’s part of the problem is that and you can go look at a lot of those socially, the Ico tokens, which are some of the worst. Go look at their socials go to the top two or 300. And I do this every couple of weeks, I’ll go through and just pick a couple projects. And I’ll go look at their websites. I’ll go look at when they last updated. I’ll look at their socials and I haven’t updated in eight months. If you haven’t updated your socials in eight months, you’re probably dead. Right? Yeah. And to me, you know, there’s, I think coin market cap or maybe the exchanges or something, there needs to be something done about that, in my mind, that there’s no development on the project, they probably maybe they didn’t have they didn’t produce what they said they would produce and their tokens were just a method of raising money. And so if there’s not going to be, you know, a project built off that, you know, token Why are they still trading the tokens? And I understand that people lost money. You know, there was a lot of bad male investments in people fell for it. And that’s why the SEC was created in the first place in 1933. And 1934. You know, but you know, I think, yeah, I think there’s going to be some consolidation. There’s gotta be, you know, these products are crap, I think the problem is, is that the exchanges don’t want to let it go. Because these exchanges, you know, most of their fake volume is on these crap projects that, you know, they’re just churning and burning token tokens to pump up their volumes themselves. And if they had to de list all the dead projects, they wouldn’t really have much left.

Yeah, good point. Absolutely. Fair point. For sure. Yeah. And that’s one of the things that it’s frustrating as a project is that I would rather I would rather as a project be listed on more Western exchanges that have third party validated, you know, honest books and honest volume, because I don’t want to be associated with these, you know, Asian exchanges that have fake volume and that are doing dodgy stuff and they’re ethically challenged. But we’re also stuck as a project is that to get on, you know, like the American exchanges are like some of the top but they’re also the pickiest, right. They don’t they too don’t want to take a risk on and brand new projects. So we’re kind of stuck in this catch 22 that you have to kind of deal with some of the crappier exchanges to get some volume to prove yourself worthy enough to be on the more legitimate exchanges. And I don’t like that at all. I wish we don’t have to go through that process. But that’s kind of the way the process is in crypto and, and, you know, people that are not working in a project, they don’t understand all the nonsense we have to kind of deal with. And, you know, it’s a there’s a high risk for as a project of getting ripped off by the exchanges that, you know, have crazy listing fees, but then want, you know, 2% of your supply. Yeah, you know, and then they don’t bring anything to the table themselves. yet. They’re a highly ranked exchange and you have to Be on a highly ranked exchange to get to the next level exchange or and in, you know, that growth process. I know it’s nuts to me, it’s just I wish that we could just be I would rather just be on two or three, you know, really legitimate and well respected exchanges and not worry about it. But that’s just not so easy to do.

Mark Wittenberg
Yeah, I mean, even the western exchanges for older projects are not as easy either. It’s, you know, we’re for verge we’re, what are we five years old, we’re five year old project, and there’s some exchanges in the western Western exchanges that we’re still not on or we don’t have USD parings and, again, so be it. I can’t I don’t control their model, their model is their model, and that’s in there that’s in their brain what they want to do.

Rob McNealy
So it’s, it’ll have to change. Eventually, they’re gonna have to do list, you know, legal securities, if they want to deal with Americans, because the US government’s going to force that. So I think that’s going to I think that’s going to be a big driver. Yeah. In 2020 of that. consolidation is that if you’re, you know, if you want access to American markets in American customers, you’re going to have to D list privacy coins, and you’re going to have to D list any of these illegal securities and and I think that’ll be a good thing to be honest. And that now opens the door for more legitimate projects like ours, where we’re not in the legal security. We’re not an Ico project, we don’t have that stain and stigma around us. So and I think Same thing with verge I think there will be openings for us and legitimately well run projects in 2020. So I’m excited about that. One of the things that gets me excited and motivated doing the little happy gopher dance.

Mark Wittenberg
Yeah, me too. And we get into the privacy coins getting delisted and people you know, it’s a question that’s come up with us to you know, because we’re, you know, we’re looked at as a privacy coin, but we’re privacy by choice. So we’re not, we’re not full on privacy. So that’s kind of, we’re sitting in a nice kind of an area you know, because we’rePrivacy by choice and we are definitely not a security so you know it’s it’s always nice talking to you rob because it’s like maybe some of these projects are going to listen to us or look at us and and see through and go you know what these guys are serious. This Rob guy, this Mark guy these projects that these guys are involved in. They’re serious people we’re not just some fly by night guys that are going to pop up and go away tomorrow kind of a thing. And we need more of this. You know, we need some of these bigger projects, these bigger exchanges to kind of look through and go does that guy sound genuine? Is he genuine? Does he does he well spoken does he come off? Well, is he in business? Yeah, I kind of want to do business with that guy. You know, do business with the people that that are genuine and do business with the people that are that are going to help you don’t do business with just pure money. Some of these exchanges they have they have a lot of money already. Data I don’t think I don’t know.

Yeah, with the securities thing I think you’re right in 2020 we’re going with the securities coming down we’re going to see a lot of these projects just go away. It’s unfortunate but it has to happen. Agreed. So besides you know virgin we talked a lot about verge last time you’re on tell me a little bit about patient and excel trip and some of these other projects you’re working on. So Excel trip. I mean, I just said as an advisor, so I’m not I’m involved. I’m very, I’m a big fan of communication. So I like to communicate to my to the CEOs and the CEOs and the CEOs and the CM whatever OHS and as much as I can, but so Excel trip is it’s a decentralized travel platform, right? So I think you can book over a million hotels 400 Airlines with it now so you can pay in crypto. So, for me, it’s that’s going to be an important project moving forward. It’s going to have it certainly has it’s certainly a spot in crypto for sure. When companies like sell trip, tie into some of these other bigger companies and pull their information, and you can use their platform to pay in crypto, maybe you’re going to Expedia or Priceline or whatever. But if they’re taking those that information on those hotels and flights, putting it into their platform, and you can pay in crypto and get a reward or cash back or whatever you’re going to do to travel. I honestly don’t know why more crypto conventions and more crypto traveling. People don’t use don’t use Excel trip. It’s busy. It’s a busy website. They’re they’re really busy business at hob, the CEO and founder back guy travels like non stop I can’t even like every time I talked to the guys in a different spot. Like I should just put out a map and just pin where he’s going. It’s crazy how much that guy travels but I mean It’s a busy website, but it websites like that are going to get busier and busier and busier. And I really think that these conventions and these conferences and these meetups and stuff like that they really need to take advantage of websites like Excel trip where you can book and get cash back. I mean, man, there you book and pay with crypto and you’re getting some cash back and crypto. So and they’re not gouging, they’re not like some of these other travel platforms that raise the price 20% to say you’re saving 20% It’s not like that. It’s the real deal. It’s very competitive pricing, pay sent. On the other hand, of course, their pay Center is a bridge between Fiat and kryptos. So they’ve got debit cards, and as far as I know, right now, they’re the only worldwide debit card solution, bridging between Fiat and crypto. So you put your crypto on your on your app and then you move it over to your debit card into what they call sipps si p s which is equivalent to one USD and then you just go spend your debit card. They’re the only worldwide solution right now, as far as I know, in the space they they only allow us to. Absolutely, yeah 100% they have over 100,000 cards delivered. That’s huge 100,000 cards. That’s that’s a pretty big market share. It’s a well ran car. It’s a well run company. It is absolutely. A well run company. I whatever people are going to say about this debit card, that debit card, maybe I’m biased because I’m an advisor for them. Maybe. But I’m really not like that as a person. I’m not stepping in as an advisor role to a company that I think is vaporware. That’s not who I am as a person. If I’m going to back something 100% with my name, my name means a lot to me. So I’m going to make sure the company’s legit and I communicate with these guys every day. So I’m following them and

Man, these guys are legit companies Paycent and Xceltrip are straight up legit companies. I mean, straight like no Hab for Xceltrip. He was an early adopter. So you go to his go to his facebook i think that guy’s got like 300,000 followers or something like that the guy was involved in early and a lot of projects. So these guy and patient, Sumida, they know how to build and scale companies and they know exactly what to focus on and know exactly what they need to do so totally legit. Well, to me, those were use cases and that’s, you know, getting now getting crypto and getting on ramps and off ramps in and people using crypto for spending that to me again, you know, it goes back to what’s the killer app. And those are the types of things that you know, we need to see out there and you know, maybe you can connect me with them. I’d love to talk and learn more about those individual projects as well.

Rob McNealy
But we’re getting to the point where we’re almost out of time. So Mark, where can people find out about all the things you’re working on?

Mark Wittenberg
A Vergecurrency.com, Xceltrip.com, and Paycent.com. But pay sense got an app Xceltrip. Yeah Xceltrip calm and you can find me on Twitter at Verge Canada. And yeah, let’s, let’s have some fun out there.

Rob McNealy
Absolutely. Once again, I really enjoyed our conversation and if you haven’t already, folks, make sure you you know, hit that subscribe button on iTunes or follow us on, you know, Twitter Rob McNealy or go to you know, YouTube, we’re everywhere. Thank you so much, and we’ll catch you later.

Mark Wittenberg
Thanks, Rob.

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Mark Wittenberg – Verge Currency Marketing Team

Mark Wittenberg of the Verge Currency Core Marketing Team talks about Verge cryptocurrency with Rob McNealy.