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Jason Fishman – Digital Niche Agency Transcript

Jason Fishman - CoFounder of Digital Niche Agency (DNA)

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

Rob McNealy
Today I am excited because I am talking to Jason Fishman. He is with a digital niche agency, a digital marketing agency based out of California specializing in the blockchain space. We met a few weeks ago at World crypto con, and I had a really good time hanging out with them. So welcome to the show. Jason, how are you?

Jason Fishman
Good. Thanks for having me. Rob. Excited to be on and chatting in front of your audience.

Rob McNealy
Well, I appreciate it. So what’s been going on? What are you been working on lately?

Jason Fishman
Sure. Sure. is in the conference schedule. Going to Australia in a couple weeks right before I saw in Vegas, was at Paris blockchain summit on a marketing channel and CC forum London on an investor panel. So always busy with Thought Leadership type activations, have a article come out in Forbes tomorrow, excited to be on the podcast today. That’s where a lot of the focuses are during this time of year. In the same breath, I could go into my history. also working on some private rounds campaigns as well as blockchain user acquisition campaigns. So you know, I always say, if I’m not busy, something feels off. I like balance. We’re running an agency. We’re working on 15 to 30 projects at a time. So gives you a lot of different things to be creative about, and anything less than that. Yeah, feels like under you there.

Rob McNealy
So what’s your background? How did you get into the marketing world?

Jason Fishman
Sure, sure. So, to go all the way back. About 12 years ago, I started in marketing as an action sports consultant. I grew up snowboarding skiing, Surfing here in California, have a lot of friends in those industries and started as an agency working on some of the biggest brands for their accounts, and getting into the world of top, specifically around video sharing platforms. One of my projects was then acquired based on the success in marketing launches, and I quickly started building my portfolio with accounts and other verticals including music, fashion, telecom travel, eventually moved over to a different agency and led the new business team and being part of the whole pitch process and coming up with these creative ideas before going in house and played a role at a social gaming company here in Santa Monica, raised 3 million in seed capital. And as part of that initiative from the timeline is an idea on a whiteboard all the way through funding into branded licensed entertainment games. That’s where I really learned user acquisition models. average revenue per user, essentially arbitrage traffic and buying traffic lower than the cost that you’re selling it really ins and outs of the whole digital marketing landscape before getting into the world of ad tech. And that was through a partnership that we had at the social gaming company was able to work with a lot of top 100 advertisers in that period of time, and oversaw Product Marketing, as well as sales. So I got to sit with publishers figure out the best ways to engage and monetize their audience, to then take those ad units over to advertisers and find rollouts for these different pieces of inventory that we’re going to hit their goals hit their deliverables. My overall focus has always been business growth, being able to leverage marketing, to do so and algorithmically at that was very exciting to me with that, at this point in depth, record and success without the partner in this company, digital media agency DNA marketing DNA since January of 2014, since we’ve worked with over 300 clients, startups to product launches of larger brands as well too, but generally building a community and pushing them through a funnel to hit initial milestones, and then scaling from it. In doing so, working with startups, we found fundraising to be a common theme, a common initiative, whether it was working on pitch materials for enrolling investor meetings, working on the marketing sections and business plan or even more so the revenue sections of a business plan to show which channels we’re going to drive each different metric in their projections, eventually into equity crowdfunding and still in 2014. Here, I was bringing third party data of accredited investors, user investors with over a million dollars net worth outside of their primary home or significant income over the past three years. And bringing them to offering cages using third party data we were hitting surpassing some of the biggest agencies in the industry. And therefore we’re getting a lot of calls from portals from platforms. And we’re running these type of campaigns from websites. Think of it as an exchange, but just around the sale and purchasing of that private equity, not in the trade of it quite yet. But when the industry is limited at that point, and the laws opened up more in 2016, as acknowledged by the SEC for us to use different filings, and raised from both accredited and unaccredited investors. That’s when this really became the biggest part of our client list. We saw those type of inquiries change to initial coin offerings in 2017. And particularly with the momentum in that year that became our sole focus. So you know whether they were international or equity crowdfunding campaigns with a token offerings with a token component to it. Some cases being voted to tokens. We were working on investor acquisition. And we invested into the development of our own first party data. So data that we then tested out for our clients and soft performance, and at this point have records of investors who participate in private sale investors which participate in public sales on the equity crowdfunding side to throw a bunch of acronyms but reg, CF reg, a reg D, all the different filings we have investors specific to those restrictions, have it broken down by geo targets to markets, essentially records of millions of investors and we then find audiences to a B and D test against each other for these campaigns, and can measure depending on how we’re tracking and depending on the actual campaign setup, the cost per acquisition of each and every 30 return on adspend and essentially provide opportunities for our clients to scale. Beyond fundraising, as mentioned, as well, as we’ve seen, things evolved from my field as to some ideas this year. We’re also doing a lot of blockchain user acquisition campaigns, whether that’s wallets or different types of apps or software, even some projects on the business to business side of things, finding ways to provide company’s value and, you know, continue to build up their user base.

Rob McNealy
So of all the different projects that you’ve helped, you know, do raises What was your biggest success story look like?

Jason Fishman
Sure. So we have published case studies, and I could speak to a few of those. We also have white label relationships were more in the background and more restricted contracts, where we’re bar in the background so longer than I can’t share, but I What I plan, there is a $50 million raise project for a hybrid exchange that we worked out a few years back. Some of the team members were very public figures. They’ve since been acquired and shaded. But hybrid block was a campaign where we had worked on user acquisition for their telegram, community audience most focused on their their public sale. So yeah, it’s in very large metrics there. Beyond that have worked on over 100 fundraising projects, majority of which blockchain and in a full spectrum from, you know, green energy to mining to exchanges, to various markets, specific currencies. Again, really a full spectrum of different projects. And you can buy them even more than the ones that we activate directly to.

Rob McNealy
So what do you see yourself The challenges of fundraising for you know, these different types of crowdsource, you know, kind of projects. What do you see is not only what are some of the challenges, but do you see the biggest mistakes people are making when they’re trying to raise money?

Jason Fishman
Sure, sure. So raise money can be very broad. You know, we’ve seen companies raise money by having a few conversations with people in their network and be able to close everything out from there. We’ve then been part of very visible public sale campaigns with high volumes of investors. So and everything in between, of course, so there can be a lot of different variables for any of those. timeline is something that I often see projected off by projects where they think they’re going to be able to raise funds very quickly. channels in which they’re going to do so whether it’s their personal network, whether that’s through specific capital groups will keep it product capital groups, but through specific Venture Partners, broker dealers, in regards to marketing, we’ve seen groups think that they’re going to place a token sale page, do a couple paid article placements, and you have a telegram channel have some type of community channel, given the point in time that they’re out, and they’re just going to be able to, you know, close out the round very quickly. I’ve certainly seen that happen. We’ve certainly been part of that happening, and oftentimes reflecting market conditions. But for me, it’s all about creating a well oiled machine of a marketing funnel. And to take it back even further than that, to have a resorting an algorithmic strategy, where it’s showing me exactly which channels are going to use what you’re anticipating the channels can produce in terms of its digital impressions, clicks and conversions, and some offline metrics for direct outreach, such as responses meetings, and you know, different types of written verification that you want to track all the way through to complete it investment, the only way to measure anything is with numbers. So without having that type of strategy, without having that type of plan, there’s no way in which that you’re gonna be able to tell what’s really working, what’s not working, or to be able to effectively optimize if if the channels not working for you. Again, if that’s a broker dealer relationship, or if that’s paid advertising, you won’t be able to tell where in that algorithm, you’re not getting the right traction, and therefore to be able to focus on improving things there. And you can say statements like, oh, broker dealers didn’t work for us. Advertising didn’t work for us, you can completely missed the mark on these tools that are stepped into other groups.

Rob McNealy
So speaking of tools, you know, kind of being in the crypto space it you know, a lot of the normal channels that, you know, a company or a project might use to market would be things like Facebook and Google and Twitter. And a lot of these platforms have, you know, outright ban crypto related kind of content and advertising. What kind of challenge does that pose to you and how do you deal with it?

Jason Fishman
Sure, sure. So, we get blanket statements all the time, such as, Hey, I heard we can’t advertise on Facebook. I heard we can’t do anything on Google. And when I look at how I grade A good marketer, I’m looking at their problem solving abilities. Anyone can set up a marketing campaign, as followed by a template or an approach. Anyone can use creative that’s been supplied by the clients or Very basic creative that is reflecting competitors. But simply seeing success out of the gate doesn’t make a marketer effective. What I like to see is their problem solving abilities, what do they do when things are not working. And now that’s where you can gauge true tower. Because campaigns are going to fluctuate, it could be the biggest brand in the world or a new startup, you will not see the same level of success day in day out year after year. It just doesn’t occur like that you have to be able to effectively optimize. So when I look at any of these channels and the restrictions, the same thing for me, it’s how do we problem solve here? How do we get something approved? When speaking was reps at these platforms? and ask them how do we do this compliantly they tell us what gets campaigns blocked certain rewards can ticker currency can’t say Ico. However, you can say distributed ledger technology, you can talk about the function of the technology, you can give out info that serves an educational purpose without using those words. And therefore taking audience down a funnel, where eventually they have an opportunity to directly participate in a security token offering as an example. So it’s all about how you use these channels. You can create a Facebook page, advertisements, a landing page, or mentioned URL and that landing page as well to that all do not use bands, trigger words. But meanwhile, speak to your target audience and convey the value of your offering. And after that next landing page, be able to take them down a funnel that would be tougher to get approved. This is true was very categories. A few other examples, go all the way to financial advising supplements, but include CBD, firearms, various types of verticals, where if you bring an audience in to more of a homepage, or something that can get approved and doesn’t talk about anything that’s a little more gray. You know, use the sporting goods store example and a firearms are sold at that sporting goods store and someone clicks through to it, it’s not going to be banned. If it’s not mentioned in the advertisement in the land engage yet audiences could store and purchase purchasing an item or participating let’s say an investment deal that if it was blatantly listed in the advertisement or landing page could be looked at as restricted. So by building funnels, we’ve been able to leverage this challenge and we’ve had to do so because those channels perform Over 40 million cryptocurrency and fuzziness that I can access with Facebook’s third party data. It’s a combination of their first party and third party data support pages that they like and data partners that they have that have identified audiences with an affinity for digital assets. And bye bye by looking at their ad placement by looking at the click through rates, which are about 10 times higher than a standard banner ad click through rate by looking at the sheer conversion nature with by catching someone in their social advertising in their social media experience. It’s something that can’t be ignored, even if it’s nothing else than the targeting. And they have Facebook, Instagram, the audience network, the audience network hasover it has a high volume of top tier sites, we can continue to retarget you can continue to reach a user again and again and again. So I wouldn’t look at these platforms and say look them Or blanket statements such as my audience isn’t on Google, they’re not on facebook, facebook has over a billion users a day. And again, through their their reach new can touch people essentially everywhere they go online, I would look at how I can use them. And then my whole philosophy towards marketing as a whole, which again, is a utility for business growth beyond just created my whole summary. My tagline, if you will, for marketing is summarized in three words, test, optimize scale. So I’m not saying use all of these channels, new them forever. More importantly, find some channels to test figure out as I mentioned, in regards to the plan, what audiences you want to go after their what creative that you want to use their the projections for full algorithm of performance metrics all the way through, and then optimize to improve performance and then scale the channels that are working best. That that’s been my approach to it. It’s been different in terms of the top dragging channel campaign to campaign. But there’s definitely ways to leverage these platforms for what you’re trying to do.

Rob McNealy
So a lot of the crypto world says, you know, rightfully drawn arrows from pay to play problem, you know, a lot of influencer marketing, advertising that comes off as journalism, but it’s actually advertising. It’s all paid for. I know, that was really important back, you know, a year and a half, two years ago. Is that still important now? Is it is there a really an ROI on doing those types of, you know, paid campaigns, um, you know, when we were initially, you know, launching our token two years ago, I had people that had like, 1000 people or 1000 subscribers on their YouTube channel, and they wanted $10,000 you know, in some cases to come and just get an interview. So, yeah, and, and I always looked at it like, I just don’t see how the There’s a return on that investment, you know, from the marketing side of it. What’s your take on that?

Jason Fishman
Question? You know, the overarching statement would still be test, optimize scale, look at the ones you want to test out. But I’ll tell you why it matters why it’s still good to consider these opportunities. Not just roll them out. People don’t trust what they see online. Social Proof third party validation is a big part of a successful marketing campaign. And if you’re able to leverage the right media publishers, the right influencers, the right communities, the right you know, organizations of various types to validate what you’re doing, refer them to your your pages to your assets. It can really go a long way. They can make the entire difference. It’s hit or miss. We’ve seen anything answers with very large audiences perform marginally at best we’ve seen them perform in zero metrics that we could measure. We’ve then seen influencers with you know, under 10,000 or 1000. In some cases, that the moment they talked about a campaign everything you know, Spike. So you know, it is a matter of testing it out. We still do straight influencer marketing campaigns now we call them outreach because of the way the influencer world has changed and the ways to interact with influencers. But essentially, when you’re running an influencer campaign, you’d want to test 310 30 different influencers depending on their size, and all in slightly different disciplines, slightly different audiences is a good way to look at it. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket, going back to some of the shortcomings, I’ve seen groups hit in the past. And I thought, Hey, we’re going to have this one guy posts about us. And we’re going to close that around in a few hours. And since he didn’t occur like that, I going to have seen ones that that has happened. But best practices would be more to diversify. So let’s try a few different publishers. Let’s try a few different influencers, if it’s paid advertising, which could speak at length about as well here too. Let’s try a few different ad placements, few different data sets, and different creatives, you want to have something to compare something to again, a and b test. But yes, it still plays a role. The pay to play sponsored content prices are going down. There was a point there in 2017, first half 2018 where everything was expensive and everyone wanted to be opportunistic, regardless of the effectiveness of their their media and More speaking to their own revenue model and what they thought that it should it should be valued at. So, you know, there’s a lot of ways you can work with an agency or third party, even over a phone call not even a formal engagement, where they can give you a few tips on how to structure these conversations. with publishers, with influencers with any type of paid opportunity, there tends to always be some level of wiggle room. If you’re speaking, managed service. If you’re talking to another human. I can give you a few ideas on how to do it if it doesn’t seem like that avenues available. But I would definitely evaluate them. They definitely still serve a purpose. And we’ve seen it be very effective for clients.

Rob McNealy
How do you see marketing in the crypto space changing over the next year to three years?

Jason Fishman
Yeah, yeah. So I want to want to be able to have a strong prediction here. So marketing is obviously changed as the industry has over the past two years. past two months, you know, campaigns in September of 2019 look different from December. We’re planning and activating this week in in 2019. And when it comes to investment opportunities, we’re seeing a lot more attention around private rounds, which means longer sales cycles, smaller investment amounts, and, in many cases, offline touch points in person meetings with investors, which groups projects looked at as not as necessary, two years ago, marketing plays a large role in that. When we’re looking at digital marketing, seven touch points are more on average are required for conversion. And if we’re Reaching that audience with the same creative, same messaging, same channel every time, it’s going to have that fatigue, where if we’re building a content marketing funnel, and showcasing momentum, giving investors the feel that, hey, this is moving shifts going in this direction. And I want to be part of that. It’s much different than if it’s a stagnant conversation with a lot of repetition. So, you know, being able to have more good fundamental marketing, best practices implemented into these types of campaigns, which again, groups did with very little digital marketing couple years back. Now I’m going to go out and say that’s going to be more of a best practice of having more of that. I don’t want to say corporate, the more professional look and feel of a larger organization, I think is going to be true for brands and if nothing else, to convey trust. And seeing the groups who have surpassed the crypto winter and overall thinning of groups in the industry, the groups that are surviving that are structured well. And they have, you know, good operating procedures and all air in many areas of the business, including marketing. So going more to what does a brand look like? How should a company be operating? How should the decentralized organization be operating and what should look and feel be both on the platform and marketing off to attract more mass adoption? I think mass adoption is really the game moving forward here. And some of the biggest thought leaders speakers in the space I’ve seen moved from pointing at smaller projects to change the world to even saying things like, hey, it’s gonna be the enterprise level businesses that are going to change the world. Going to be them that are going to drive mass adoption of cryptocurrency mass adoption of blockchain. Massive name any group specifically because I’m still filling things out in the direction of where those organizations, sure initiatives. At the same time, when you look at groups of over a billion users and how they can bring that type of adoption to this technology, very exciting. And what’s the follow through Maryland, you know, look at the chess game. And you know, strategies were five moves deep, where the audience is going to be a lot of possibilities open up. So even if it’s not enterprise appearing enterprise is going to be a big part of marketing strategies moving forward, I believe.

Rob McNealy
So last question, what does your ideal client look like?

Jason Fishman
So our values as an agency is being able to work with Which means not limited to just one client, communicate early and answer with algorithms. It’s how we approach this. I say it because it’s important and marketing conversations, regardless of the dynamic, and, you know, to that extent and so for we are we look for situations we could provide value. In some cases, it’s a quick advertising engagement or at the last part of their campaigns, bringing traffic from our audiences and showing the very strong return. You know, more of our standard models, starting with the marketing strategy, getting into the content marketing stages, driving traffic into that funnel, paid ads, while doing direct outreach to those four areas. But for me, it’s looking to align with projects that can have a you know, I don’t say disruption or anything like that, but a very measurable impact in their vertical To be able to align ourselves with projects that could leave that type of positive change, to be able to have case studies that showcased numerical results for those launches and how we play the role and we’re part of it was working while it wasn’t being able to scale from there is our ultimate goal. So anything that’s new or different, I like talking with them. I work with a welcome to warm marketing conversation anytime. And, you know, I’ve seen so many amazing ideas over the years and dating back to, you know, the first agencies and telecom projects have gotten, you know, just amazing technology that never saw the light of day, or that, you know, had a very, very low awareness level. Marketing for me is the answer. That’s why I focus on this I can get millions of people, all types of top groups, or in some cases, it’s very specific individuals to look at our clients, what they’re doing the ultimate goal that they have around it. And the effect is going to have on all of their users and how that translates out not to sound too idealistic, the killer world. That that’s really what’s exciting about we do about what we do. So anywhere where we can really serve in that type of role to amplify and scale the right problems.

Rob McNealy
You know, that’s actually good answer. Jason, where can people find out more?

Jason Fishman
Sure. So I’m accessible through LinkedIn. Jason Fishman. Our website Digital Niche Agency. So DNA stands for DigitalNicheAgency.com. And like I mentioned, I was happy to provide insights, packages recommendations for ya, whether we have the opportunity to collaborate or not. So yeah, feel free to reach out Listen company, feel free to reach out to me individually. always like to connect.

Rob McNealy
Jason, thanks so much for being on the show.

Jason Fishman
All right. Thanks for having me, Rob.

Episode Links

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Jason Fishman – Digital Niche Agency

Jason Fishman, Co-Founder of Digital Niche Agency (DNA), discusses startup fundraising and the challenges of crypto and blockchain project marketing.

Landon Ainge – Gabb Wireless Transcript

Landon Ainge. Senior Vice President Gabb Wireless

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

Rob McNealy
Today I’m talking to Landon. And he is the Senior Vice President of gab wireless, which is a new type of phone company. And they’re doing some really interesting stuff. So I’d like to welcome the show. And Landon, how are you today?

Landon Ainge
Doing great. Thank you so much for having me.

Rob McNealy
So where are we talking to you from today?

Landon Ainge
I am actually surprisingly, in my house today, just at home. Yeah, normally I’m in the WeWork working in the office there but caught me in between investor meetings. And now I’m at home and going all the way WeWork.

Rob McNealy
And you guys are based in Utah. Right?

Landon Ainge
We are based in Utah, yeah.

Rob McNealy
So tell me a little bit about..

Landon Ainge
The founders are based in Palo Alto.

Rob McNealy
Well, we won’t hold that against the company. You know, it’s interesting. There seems to be a lot of divide coming out of At least on the political side when it comes to like, you know, more like, you know, West Coast tech people and even you know, I think even in Utah because it’s interesting because Utah tends not to be so left leaning, but still tech centric. Yeah. I don’t know. I used to I always tell people I used to like it when I didn’t know the political ideologies of companies that we’re doing business with or buying their products from, but now it seems like everything out of Silicon Valley is all about talking about politics, which I don’t think is always that great. To be honest. When I was a kid, when I was getting my MBA, they always said, you know, you know, the best thing is don’t bring up politics might alienate your customers. And now it’s like everybody’s trying to alienate their customers. And I guess I they went to a different business school, but I did. What do you think about all that?

Landon Ainge
I think with marketing, it’s changed a little bit to where in reality, it’s important in marketing, you actually want to address who your customers are not. But a lot of that is a choice. So the company of who their customers should be. And so by doing those aspects, I think it’s interesting that they’re basically saying, we are choosing that we want customers that are like this.

Rob McNealy
Oh, I get it. And you know, and the thing is, it’s interesting to me, at least with a publicly held company with a private company. I don’t have any issue with that, right? I mean, I mean, basic marketing, you start off with micro, you know, market segmentation, and you figure out who exactly your customer looks like, but generally, you want to get as many of those as you possibly can. And but now, it’s like, was certain, you know, companies, it’s like, they’re choosing deliberately to alienate potential customers. Yeah. Because they don’t agree with them. And that to me, I mean, I’m 47. So I’m a little older than you. And, and that’s new. That’s, that’s very new. That’s five years last five years. It’s totally something I’m just shocked by. But it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and you know, ultimately comes down to, you know, making money and, and being successful and providing the products and service my mic. And my only thing about that is when you’re a public company, you know, do you have the luxury as a public company technically being a fiduciary to make those decisions? And I’m not and I’m not sure about that, you know, if that’s right or wrong. But to me, it’s like I, you know, to me, I want customers and and I don’t want to alienate them unless it’s something specific, like, you know, what I’m doing with our project. It’s very much a polarizing topic, so I can actually understand why I have to be political on some issues, but other issues I’m not so I don’t know. It’s interesting to see but it’s not about me today. It’s about you, and it’s about gab wireless. So tell me about you and your background. How did you you know, how did you get here and at such a young age because you definitely look younger than me. How did you get into such an executive position already?

Landon Ainge
Well, first off titles in startups mean nothing. So let’s just throw that out there. I think that’s important. Everyone needs to understand that. But second, I think, for me, my journey kind of went through switching back and forth from the investment side of things to operations back to investment backed operations. I think. For me, I went worked at Goldman for a little while then I went and did mergers and acquisitions that I wouldn’t operated in e commerce overstock.com. And to venture capital world. I think it’s a great experience. I think not being tied to one industry is really helpful. And that’s what’s helped me be able to recognize patterns across different industries. That’s truly I think, been the biggest education I’ve ever gotten. And kind of helped me get to where I’m at, to where I’m now at God wireless and I’m a well openly I’m a I’m a dad of two little beautiful girls, and And that kind of what sparked a little bit of me joining gab. gab wireless is a cell phone network company for dedicated and priority providing age appropriate devices. So we’re trying to protect kids by putting giving them devices that are the right way to introduce a phone. We’re trying to delay the introduction of smartphone because of the impact it has on kids when we introduce it to them.

Rob McNealy
Well, I have four children, and two of them are teenagers, and two of them will be teenagers soon enough. And, you know, we homeschool our kids. I don’t know, you know, if I’ve ever talked to you very much about my personal life, but actually we homeschool our kids and my oldest will be 17 and a few weeks and she’s just finishing up her sophomore year college and she’s a full time college student. She started when she was 14 part time, and she didn’t get her first cell phone until she was already a full time college student. Now, definitely she’s younger. And because we were very concerned about, you know, social media and things of that nature. And in fact, with our other children, we have a checkout phone, that we allow what they have to check it back into us. So we’re pretty strict. We don’t allow social media and none of our kids only our oldest right now has even has an email address. So and we definitely, you know, you know, kind of lockdown screentime and limit that. Some people say we’re horrible parents in mean and restrictive and controlling. But I also remember how I was growing up, and I had no parental controls on my life. And I definitely say that I grew up way too early. So what is gab doing to address? I guess, these kind of concerns that I might have, and must back up, what are the concerns that people have? What are the threats that parents are facing with kids having access to a smartphone?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, I think we’ve talked about 20,000 parents. So talk to a ton of parents are going through getting their feedback on what what their concerns are with technology, why? I don’t want to go too deep into specifically what their fears are. But I want to more focus on what the impacts of that technology are. Because the list of impacts I think, are way worse than what people’s fears are. People have lots of fears about like, kids going down dark corners and doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. But really, the concerns are in five categories. You’ve got just sleep deprivation being the biggest, when you have a device with a lot of stimulation that hits a point in kids brains, that keeps them everlean gauge that they don’t sleep, because they want to constantly have more of that. And if there’s one thing I can point to it’s sleep deprivation that’s changing kids and it’s hurting kids and It changes the word academic performance, their ability to communicate, it changes their emotional roller coaster that they’re already going on. But then you can point to kind of the social anxiety involved with social media. Social media is not bad. It’s just at an early age, it can destroy kids, they’re not ready to even communicate in person, let alone understand the complexity in the context of conversations and, and the lack of empathy that it develops with kids at an early age. And then kind of you can point to cyber bullying, pornographic content, addicted to gaming, there’s a lot of anything that does anything to isolate kids for very long periods of time. Pretty much that we can just all agree. I don’t get into politics, but this is parenting, it’s, but we just need them to be a little more careful. We’ve got this thing called technology and we say it’s great. And then we give it to everyone and I think we’re learning that Maybe not great for everyone, and maybe it needs to be a little bit more staged is all and openly, you’re really you’re really like protected, right? That’s who you are as a parent. But we’re trying to listen to all parents to say, We don’t care who you are, we’re going to provide a solution that you to figure out what age you think the solution is best for, you know, your child best, you know, their abilities, you know, their habits, what, what will do it and our way of doing that is pretty unique. And we can talk about that, because I’m so excited about it.

Rob McNealy
And we should do that. I think it’s important. So you touched on a little bit about, you know, the things that you’re providing a solution and all those different, you know, five categories of problems that people are dealing with. What do you say when maybe PE parents might come back and say, well, it’s just a parenting issue. You know, why can’t just let parents you know, be parents kind of thing or, you know, Maybe Do you get any pushback like that?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, I mean, parents are saying, hey, look, we don’t need any restrictions. And I would say, Okay, then you’re not our customer, like I talked to we talked about at the beginning, right? Like, then, if you don’t feel like any controls are necessary, and that’s great. I think what we’re learning now is that we’re taking an adult device and giving it to kids and telling them to regulate themselves, and we’re learning that their ability to do so is not and that we’re just providing options. There aren’t enough options out there. You have a flip phone, and you have a smartphone, and very little in between.

Rob McNealy
You know, I’m not convinced that a lot of parents and adults pivot in and figured out how to like control themselves either. So

Landon Ainge
I have my own issues with that, right? Like I need to, you know, the amount of time that I spend doing work on my phone when you know, maybe I should be more concentrated on with my girls like that’s, I struggle with that dailies right so In a startup world, that’s your life, you kind of, unfortunately, tends to consume. So I think we’re all struggling with that.

Rob McNealy
Well, you know, I think that it’s important to recognize that I think the first you know, thing that you need to do if you’re going to try to change or improve is to recognize there’s a problem. I think a lot. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even see there’s a problem. So tell me a little bit about what you guys are doing. What is your solution?

Landon Ainge
Yeah. So what we’ve done is we’re providing a network provides this age appropriate devices. And we’ve launched our first device on our first device. It’s a looks like smartphone, it feels and acts just like a smartphone and hold it up right here. There’s a device so it looks and feels got a touch screen. And so you, your kids get to play on it and they get to do what they want. But that being said, it’s a tool. It’s a functional tool, as a phone as an alarm clock has a calendar as texting even as a camera, but what it what it limits is External outreach or external entertainment. So there’s no App Store. So you’re not going to download any social media or games or any of that aspect. There’s no browser. And then our first phone doesn’t allow you to send group or picture messages. Now why, why that’s important is it truly is just a functional device then. And it’s meant to communicate and help connect people, and adds the benefits of having a touchscreen phone with applications that add function. But our role is to help them maintain a life outside the screen. So parents reason for getting kids fun is to communicate with them. And so their kids can communicate with their, with their parents and with their friends.

Rob McNealy
So why so if you’re just limiting the lot of the Smart App kind of things, why not just use like kind of a flip phone?

Landon Ainge
Well, that’s a good question. Ask your kids openly it’s more it’s a really important thing for kids to understand. For them, it’s their social acceptance foot on some connotation That is really negative. It’s a cause for being made fun of. and appearance is really important to kids young age. And there’s a reason they’re wearing their fake Ray Bans and looking really good and why they look at certain types of clothing, its appearance is really important. And we’ve learned that from past companies that have tried to make kid devices that they made them to Kitty, and that’s the reason why it didn’t work. They don’t want to stick out from a parent’s perspective, even if they don’t necessarily want it. We’ve had teenagers come to us and say, I don’t want social media. I don’t want any of that stuff. And but because I have it on my phone, that’s a path of least resistance to where I just go there. But you know, but that appearance really is important.

Rob McNealy
So is your device capable of adding those functionalities say as a kid grows on Older? So for instance, you can, isn’t it there are options to add in functionality at some point or is it just permanently locked down.

Landon Ainge
So our goal is to provide a stepwise function to kind of help kids graduate. Our first device here, does what it does. And it’s $100 device. So it’s like really easy, really palatable for parents, it’s a month to month contract, introduce it when you want. And then when they’re ready, they’ll graduate to either that next device that we introduce or to the family plan on a smartphone, when they’re ready for that type of behavior will start to introduce those we won’t be doing, you know, we won’t be introducing kind of a, that they’ll have YouTube on this, or they’ll have other entertainment apps on there. It’s really a we will add more functionality and more functional apps but, but none of the entertainment aspects until they’re ready. And once they’re ready for that entertainment. We recommend parental controls on on a smartphone.

Rob McNealy
So what kind of time Technology is this what kind of hardware software? is this? Is it a Linux based unit? What kind of oS? Is it running?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, so it’s a custom binary operating system. It’s actually exclusive to Gabb. But it’s based off of the Google Android system. Because of the unique nature of what we’ve done. It is exclusively to ours. And we work closely with one of the top phone manufacturers in the world zt to co develop that exclusively for our network.

Rob McNealy
I was just thinking, because, you know, it’s amazing and how smart kids are when they’re trying to get access to something. Technologically, I’ve been surprised with my own kids at how young they will, they’ll work really hard to get into things that they’re not supposed to. And I was just worried. I was wondering, you know, How hard would it be to like, you know, you know, crack it or, you know, jailbreak it or something like that.

Landon Ainge
A really good question. It’s pretty hard because it’s done at the manufacturing level. That’s the reason we did it. because it provides greater security and stabilization there, that even to kind of factory resets and other things that they try to do. It maintains it. But that being said, you know, not every nothing is in penetrable in my mind, at least from what I’ve experienced in technology. So I think that someone, I, someone someday, I think will definitely do that. But for most of the children and most kids that we’re doing, dealing with, concerned about.

Rob McNealy
So for the smart kids in there that, you know, they’ll try to do you know, they can still get in trouble with texting, right, because it still allows, you know, you know, Ms. You know, SMS messages, that kind of thing.

Landon Ainge
Yeah, so for the smart kids, but he, I guess my you’re saying people can get into trouble. Yeah, I mean, right. What we’re trying to do is we’re not trying to remove parental involvement for those parents and say, Look, it’s printing problem or parental question. That’s kind of true. This we are here to provide a technology solution that makes it a little bit easier. But a parents still should be involved in introducing a phone that here’s this new responsibility. This is what’s appropriate to text and call and this is what we shouldn’t shouldn’t do. But that’s an easy conversation compared to here’s a supercomputer. Right? Like, yeah, so the question I would have, is there a lockout? Can the kid lock the parents out from seeing what they’re texting? Or is there a way for the parent to have like a super password to kind of monitor that piece? Yeah, so we don’t have monitoring right now and really talking to kids. What they like about phone is look that has a camera and their ability to talk to friends, and then it doesn’t have spyware. Really, we’ve tried to say, okay, what’s appropriate, let’s, let’s drive that conversation. And when your kid is ready to have that responsibility, that’s when they should get a phone now We should get them a phone and then we should try to monitor everything they’re doing on it. Let’s change that conversation and say, is my child ready for a phone? And if so, how do I have those conversations to make sure they are, and that we indicate to go through those aspects. So there’s no monitoring, there’s ability to lock it. We always give out kind of a, we try to recommend a family contract when you give a kid a phone of these are what the expectations are to have a phone. This is what we do. You always share the password mostly because kids forget and lose their password. That’s First of all, but also because it’s important for parents to do it. We recommend centralized charging stations so kids shouldn’t have their phones when they go to their rooms. Just if you don’t want to get your kid into trouble just let’s just say everyone in the family charges their phones in one place that will help adults and kids in our habits that maybe need to improve.

Rob McNealy
I think that’s pretty wise actually. So Gabb Wireless you know starting a phone company it sounds like a lot of work and a lot of money. How are you guys funded?

Landon Ainge
Um, we we ran an Indiegogo actually to get started. So that was really cool. It’s kind of cool as they were telecom real nationwide telecom company right now and we started on Indiegogo. Once we got customers and we got pre orders, we were able to close kind of a Angel round and right now we’re closing our seed round to prepare and we’re about to scale pretty large for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Rob McNealy
So you guys are already out then so I could buy one of these for my kids right now.

Landon Ainge
Get in three days. Free shipping.

Rob McNealy
Are you where are you saw you sold in retail stores or online? Only Amazon? Where can people where do people get it?

Landon Ainge
GabbWireless com. That’s pretty easy. There’s one phone and one plan Choose to take it and we ship it directly to you. You have a account you create month a month. And like I said, flexibility we’re not like, or not like most telecom providers, we’re here to say we’re here to provide a solution and make it easy. And whatever we can do to make your life easier, apparently easier just in a little bit makes a big difference.

Rob McNealy
So you said that the phone itself is about 100 bucks. What are the payment options? What are the payment plans look like?

Landon Ainge
Yes, it’s $19.99. Talks, unlimited talking text with cover policy there. So it’s pretty simple. Just one bucks a month. Here you go. month a month you decided when you introduce.

Rob McNealy
So we’re so we’re coming into that holiday week and I don’t even like to call the day. The day that will be named what the one that’s right after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, so you guys got anything coming up for Black Friday?

Landon Ainge
Yeah, some pretty amazing stuff coming Black Friday. So much. So that like Can’t even up. It’s good. So anyone that is interested in guy was just either follow us on Instagram or Facebook. And we will tell you when it goes live and pretty much if you’re thinking about buying iPhone, you’ll want to buy a whole nother

Rob McNealy
Landon, where can people find out more?

Landon Ainge
GabbWireless.com

Rob McNealy
Landon, thank you so much for coming on the show today and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Landon Ainge
Thank you. You too. Have a great weekend.

Episode Links

Audio Interview
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Interview Transcript

Truth Raider Bitcoin Interview Transcript

Truth Raider, Bitcoin Community Influencer

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

Rob McNealy
Today I have the excitement because I’m talking to truth Raider. He is a pretty big Bitcoin advocate and influencer in the crypto space. So I’d like to welcome to the show. How are you today? Truth Raider?

Truth Raider
Hey, doing pretty good, Rob.

Rob McNealy
Well, good. Well, I really do appreciate your time and coming out with us. I know you’re really busy. I was having some illness this week. So it kind of was a little hard to get everything scheduled out. But so. So for some of our audience, which is not 100% crypto focused. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you kind of came into the crypto space.

Truth Raider
So I’ve been in I’ve only been in Bitcoin and crypto for about three years. I’ve kind of followed the evolution of it although with the dark web and deep web and I’ve followed peer to peer networks. Everything from back in the day with Napster and limewire for us wire I mean, peer to peer is something that’s not new. And I think a lot of people that have been kind of messing around with this technology Bitcoin was kind of a natural evolution. And so that’s kind of how I I knew about Bitcoin since its inception but really never got into it till about 2017 and now I’m here for the ride.

Rob McNealy
Well, it’s kind of funny you must be close to my age when you start using words like Napster I think a lot of these young guys at a millennial type so talking but I do so just you don’t have to doctor yourself or whatever but what what can what’s your your main type of occupation?

Truth Raider
So right now working on a basically, I’m working with a company here at a mining store. It may not have it’s a Bitcoin mining company, based out of Houston, Texas, and then we’re basically partnered with them, and our company based out of Pittsburgh. And right now our big focus area is we’re working on bringing foreign miners into the states, essentially, that’s kind of mine and my partner’s big play right now is trying to get a lot of the foreign mining into the United States, because right now our we only have about 5% of that entire market in the world. So it’s, it’s kind of that’s kind of the focus for me and the company I work for, essentially.

Rob McNealy
So, how is a minor? Say, I’m a minor and I’m in a foreign country, why would I want to come to the United States to mine? You know, from what I understand, it seems like, you know, other places like China, it’s a lot cheaper to get the electricity. What would be the appeal of being a minor in the United States?

Truth Raider
So there’s a lot of reasons why. It kind of covers the gamut. So you’ve got regulations are becoming more friendly. Because of the so you, you kind of got like this, this merging of. So the reason why Texas makes so much sense is because of the oil and natural gas industry. So you’ve already got this infrastructure in place, and certain places like Texas or Pennsylvania, where we’re at more New York, Washington state, where you’ve got everything from hydro electricity to natural gas to existing factories that can scale and do industrial scale Bitcoin mining. Solar is becoming a new play, a wind is becoming a play. And so you have you already have the companies that basically can go from doing what they do naturally, and just saying, hey, we’ll also do Bitcoin mining, or will do or will provide energy for your Bitcoin miners, so it’s kind Like it’s almost like a natural transition for a lot of these energy companies and US based companies to just say, Hey, we’re open to providing you lower costs, and using our infrastructure to just mine. So that’s why you’re seeing like, right now, you’re not seeing a lot of it in the news. But for example, yesterday, it was in the news of a one gigawatt facilities opening in Texas. You know, it’s going to be the largest one in North America. It’s opening, you know, they just started literally 24 hours ago. And then you’ve got company. Yeah, one gigawatt, which is massive, you know.

Rob McNealy
Like a nuclear power plant?

Truth Raider
Yeah, it’s essentially this scale. That’s why basically they took over an old plant that was already being used for within the oil and natural gas industry and just are converting it essentially to new Bitcoin mining, you know, and that’s, that’s one way that it’s going to scale in the US. But additionally, you’ve got companies moving into Texas and Arizona and different places in California even, they’re going to do solar and wind. And then hydro is also going to start growing. So people think that energy is really expensive in the United States, but it really isn’t. When you think about the fact that we already have the infrastructure, it’s just a matter of the old school miner, or the old school energy guys saying, Yeah, we’ll do Bitcoin too. And that’s slowly starting to happen. It’s kind of an education thing.

Rob McNealy
You know, have you looked at anything up in like, Gillette, Wyoming, and, you know, wyotech mines that are up there, by chance as a possible location. I think Peabody Energy is one of the big energy companies up there.

Truth Raider
Not Wyoming. We’ve got a couple places in Iowa, North Dakota. Like I mentioned, Pennsylvania, Maine, New York. There’s A few places that we’re looking to set up shop. But right now, those are usually a little bit smaller in scale, whereas in Texas you have the access, potentially to an unbelievable amount of energy to produce, you know, for these for these foreign miners and so most people just they’re not paying most people right now, like if you look at the Bitcoin or crypto space, what is everybody looking at today? On November, whatever Today is November 21. What do people give a shit about right now today? know the price of bitcoin? That’s it. That’s it, right? Like I’d say 99% of the people in the space. All they do is follow charts and pay attention to what the price is doing. You know, meanwhile, the 1% which is the people like the article I mentioned today, which was, you know, companies dropping 150 million dollar investment into Texas to build a warranty. gigawatt a Bitcoin mining farm, you know, so on on a day where the or the bitcoin price dumped? I don’t even know what it dumped 5% 6% Today, I’m not sure but it wasn’t a good day. However, people that have basically vision are saying, you know, what, who cares about short term price points, let’s let’s look at this as an industry and, and I think most of the crypto space is missing the big moves, you know.

Rob McNealy
So the, you know, when it comes down to mining with a six the two bottlenecks that you know, keep a lot of people out or, you know, one access to, you know, affordable energy that make it, you know, profitable but the other part is the hardware of the miners. And it seems like right now, that so much of the that equipment is just, you know, kind of, you know, made by, you know, one or two companies. What do you think that effect is on the mining industry Do you think that’s going to like There’s gonna be more opportunities for manufacturers to, you know, create more competition to bring the price those basic type processors down.

Truth Raider
So I don’t. So what you’re going to have right now, what’s going on right now and the mining equipment sphere is so everybody in the United States essentially is using at minor s nines, you know, so that that’s kind of what the big, you know, the the most popular minor out there. But once the happening happens and kind of what’s happening right now, is everybody’s transitioning from the s nine to the 17th or Canaan’s got some new ones coming out or what’s minor, where you’re talking anywhere from 50 6070. Tara hash, you know, which is just dwarfs the S nine. So what you’re going to end up seeing is you’re going to see an unbelievable amount of s nines on the market that are basically not even useful to mind with. And so the basically the moral of this story is 2019 and early 2022, mid 2020 is going to wash out most of the the private personal miners. Most of these guys are going to get washed out because of energy prices as well as hash rate increases with the within these pools. And so profits are going to go down. So really what you’re going to see is like, like what I just told you, a one gigawatt mining farm opening with an ungodly amount of miners, you know, that are going to go into that facility. You’re going to see more of that in the States, you’re going to probably every couple weeks, or if not every month or so you’re going to see a story that says, hey, we just built a 500 megawatt facility. Here’s a gigawatt facility. You know, here’s some major companies that are coming in. So what you’re saying is all These small scale miners are going to get washed out. And it’s going to be an into institutional and a corporate play when it comes to Bitcoin mining. I think that’s what I see.

Rob McNealy
Do you think that’s a good thing for Bitcoin? I think, from a centralization kind of point of view,

Truth Raider
I think it. I mean, if you’re talking, I think it is potentially, if the you if us in North American companies, get on board, you know, if it’s just Chinese miners moving to the United States, then it’s really it’s a centralized play, you know, because what they’re doing is just gaining more access to cheap energy. But if you start seeing European and American companies and North American companies saying, Hey, this is a smart idea, why don’t we set up shop and do our own thing? Then I think it’s a good thing in a decentralizes the mining space, but there’s a The problem is that China makes 100% of hardware right now. Right? That’s, that’s the, that’s the issue that the overarching issue is, we really need like a Germany or somebody who’s really good at technical manufacturing, you know, at an industrial scale, we need like a Germany to come online and makes a version of a six miners or, you know, or or some other country to make hardware. That’s what we need.

Rob McNealy
You know, that’s one thing I haven’t figured out is, is, you know, I can see, you know, power plants would that have excess capacity and things, you know, you go talk to the guys with the tall hats and and you just give them a spreadsheet and the chart and they can they can make the they can make the connections right and see the opportunity. It doesn’t make sense to me. Yes. I don’t understand enough about chip manufacturing. It seems like there should be a lot of opportunity in the hardware space that other companies popped up to do that. And you know, is it just that the the chip manufacturers that there’s no is there nobody in the United States can even make a chip? Is that kind of the issue with that right now?

Truth Raider
I think it’s, um, it’s a matter of scale. So there’s a city in China called shins in. And I probably put I probably butchered the name

Rob McNealy
sounds good to me.

Truth Raider
So, basically, this city is a very good example of the way China does business is they’re just they’re out to just mass produce everything. In at scale, so for example, bit main is like everybody knows bit means like, big player, right? Well, I’m a competitor that’s up and coming is a company called Canaan, right? Who they just did an IPO for like 100 plus million dollars in the States. But they’re going to compete very, very heavily with bit main, but the thing is, Kanan has the Same business model is bit me. It’s just mass produce just mass produced in mass mind, Bitcoin. It’s a very simple model. It’s not a very innovative model, as far as the industry goes, but that’s why you don’t see American or European companies competing with them is, for example, like, like I said, with the ant miners, you know, like they had the S nine. Now they’re going to have the 17. They’re just looking for new ways to increase the hash rate for mining. And basically what it does is they’re able to mass produce those devices, those that hardware, and no American or European company can keep up with the pace. That’s that’s the overarching issue. And I don’t see it changing. To be perfectly honest, you know, on the hardware front, on the mining front, I think we can catch up. Or we can bridge the gap. We can’t catch up but we can we can We can close the gap.

Rob McNealy
For that you that location down in Texas, how many you know how many actual miners are going to be running in a facility like that with a gigawatt of power?

Truth Raider
I’m not sure like, I mean, you look at, for example, we’re working with a company that’s trying to they’re trying to fulfill its I think it’s 4000 t 17 miners, and that’s about 10 megawatts, you know, so for about 4000. So, I mean, we’ll do the math on, you know, on what it takes to get you to a gigawatt. It’s a shitload of miners, you know, like, it’s a lot so.

Rob McNealy
So, I was at World Crypto Con in Vegas a couple weeks ago and they had, you know, the whole mining area down there and there’s some innovating stuff, innovative stuff from the standpoint of cooling and and, you know, keeping the, you know, the packs of miners, the racks like really more tight together. So they figured out different ways of cooling and there’s Seems to be there are some interesting efficiencies that they could probably gain, you know, with the cooling side of things as well. So the question I have the havening that, you know, you’re hearing about this a lot, and, you know, everybody’s got a different opinion about it, what it’s going to do to the price. And my concern is Ben, you know, you know, you can’t necessarily say that Bitcoin is going to do what it did four years ago because the entire crypto universe is very, very different now. The markets very different now. regulations are very different now. There’s thousands of new projects that came and went and are still in operation now. So you know, past performance is not always indicative of future you know, results but the question is, a lot of people do think that bitcoins gonna pump and everybody’s going to get excited about the halvening I mean, what’s your take on that? Do you think people are gonna is it gonna pump or do you think it’s just gonna happen?

Truth Raider
I’ve my personal opinion is that I talked to a lot of people on Twitter just going back and forth on predictions and stuff. So, like, for me, I, I think Bitcoin at $10,000 is an amazing price. Like it’s a it’s a stable price, whether it goes from 10,000 to 100,000, or 50, or whatever the number is 10,000 is a psychological number. When people you know, that are out there in the space, say, you know, how much is Bitcoin, right? And you tell them it’s 10 K, they’re just like, what? It just it blows their mind they don’t understand that like it because what’s the price of a physical, you know, of gold, the gold spot price, you know, it’s it’s nothing. So I think it’s a it’s a psychological game. So when the when the block happening, happens and it goes down to 6.25. Essentially, I don’t think that’s going to create a bull run. I think we’re still going to be in a bear market until probably the end of 2020 2021 maybe somewhere in there. I mean, We may go up, you know, we made two or three x the price, but I don’t think the real I personally don’t think the real bull market starts until you have things like ETFs that are that are open, you know, like, you’ve got a multiple ETFs out there, you’ve got multiple institutions that are trading. They’re using Bitcoin openly. And I think that I think we’re still we’re still like two years away from even the beginning of that, from my opinion. So that’s why I think end of 2021 probably is more realistic for a lot of these companies to onboard into bitcoin right now, nobody knows about Bitcoin, you ask 10 people, if you go in the street or to university and you ask 10 people what is Bitcoin? What does it do? You’re going to get 10 probably nine out of 10 people are going to stare at you like you’re crazy.

Rob McNealy
You know, play that game, actually. And my results have been very different. Everybody I asked has heard the word Bitcoin They don’t get it. Like what it is they think that they understand internet money. And that’s about where the extent of it, but the name recognition I find is pretty, pretty prevalent among the people that I talked to. Now their opinion of it is they don’t understand it. Or there’s a negative connotation with the being scammy or rip off. That’s kind of what I’m seeing out there.

Truth Raider
I agree with you. I agree with you that they all have heard of it. But there’s a difference, I think between like I play poker with 12, my buddies, you know, I brought as an experiment, I asked him that question. Hey, guys, you guys know about Bitcoin? Like, yeah, we all heard about it, you know, we saw it on TV, you know, that’s a huge difference from I understand what it does, what the functionality of Bitcoin is, as well as how do you physically use it? Like, that is a huge educational gap for probably 95% of the people in the US. You know, I would say

Rob McNealy
Try explaining a decentralized organization to someone on the street that’s a little more complicated.

Truth Raider
Or even not even trying to explain the the core about Bitcoin, but just how do you physically use it? How do you physically transfer Bitcoin? Most people will look at you like you’re crazy. Just even if you just said what I just said, How do you transfer Bitcoin from one person to the next? Show me how to do it.

Rob McNealy
What I kind of tell people, you know, when it comes to crypto, I always kind of put myself in, you know, in the person’s mind, right? And with our project, I actually am out there talking and doing sales already with our project. And I’m in retail stores talking to retailers. In fact, we started talking to retailers before we coated anything because we built it for a purpose. And what I explain when it comes to crypto is like, it’s like it’s like cash app or Venmo. But it doesn’t use dollars as the underlying value. And they’re like, Oh, I get that. And then in them when I say, you know, there’s no Corporation. It’s the Z centralized project. What I have found is that if you say it’s kind of like a nonprofit that’s built to run this project, you know, project and people seem to could they can wrap their head around that. You know, now I don’t I know it’s not technically a nonprofit, because that’s a corporation too. But, but when if you say it like that, you know that there’s no Corporation, but it’s more like a nonprofit group that runs this. People can make they can make sense of that, I think. And that’s seems to work pretty well, when I talk to people.

Truth Raider
Well, if you try to break it down in its core, right, Bitcoin is software. Like if you just said, If you and how do you explain the fact that Bitcoin is software like that, literally, that’s what it is. I mean, it’s only money because we’ve monetized it. But essentially, is just a software that’s constantly running. And so nobody’s ever going to understand that, you know, like you because then you start getting deeper and deeper into how does it work, you know, and then you start talking about blocks. I mean, try explaining blocks to somebody on the street.

Rob McNealy
You know, I don’t know if I can explain to them myself half the time. But here’s the thing is that try to explain how settlement happens on swift with debit cards, nobody knows. They use the debit card, they know how it works, they know that it works, they trust that it works, they have faith that it will work. You know, I don’t think the average person you know, this is I think we’re you know, engineers kind of ruined everything you know, is that engineers the build it they will come mindset doesn’t work. And I’m not picking on engineer that worked around engineers my entire professional life. So I love engineers, but you don’t want the engineer in charge of marketing neither. But what you find is that people you know, engineer types really want to get their really excited and geek out about the technology or the features, you know, that kind of thing. Whereas people don’t care about features as much as they do about benefits. You know, if this solves a problem for me, show me how it solves my problem. And that’s all they care about, you know, when I started talking to retailers, and that’s my focus is talking to retailers and getting them on boarded into crypto, you know, they want to know, how do I deal with taxes? How does it integrate with my point of sale? And how easy is it to work? And is it safe? That’s what they want to know. They don’t care about servers and miners and block producers and whatever else, they don’t give a shit. And one day anymore? No, because it doesn’t matter to them. They want to know that they can cash out is there you know how valid they are. You know, a lot of the retailers I talked to they are concerned about volatility. Well, it goes up and down. Well, when you cash out quick, you just don’t sit on it if you don’t want. But I think that’s the thing. People get lost, they get lost in the technology and the average person, if you’re trying to say adoption won’t happen till the average person understands finance, economics, the Federal Reserve System, inflation and fiat money, and you have to educate the entire planet on those things. And that’s what adoption you’re never going to get Adoption will never happen. One, most people don’t give a shit. And people don’t give a shit until they have a problem, you know, a recognized problem. And I think that’s where that’s why I think like a lot of people, they’re struggling to get adoption because they still think like, oh, people need to come up in this level of knowledge. And I don’t think they do. I don’t think they need to come up with that for there to be adoption of crypto. I’m sorry.

Truth Raider
No, I agree completely. You’re 100% right. I mean, the problem that a lot of us get sucked into myself included is, you know, because the more I research it, Bitcoin, the more I study it the more I try to educate myself, you fall into a trap of over explaining the simplicity of it. It’s, it’s a natural thing, because you’re so interested in how it works. So you, you tend to oversee, you know, so here’s, I think, the way it works in a very simple manner is like to try to explain to somebody is I guess it’s like Western Union. PayPal without the third party involved. So you’re sending, you’re sending, you’re sending your currency to another person without the third party, but it’s very similar to PayPal, except for you don’t need a bank to settle the payment. It’s just a direct payment between you and another human being, you know, without that third party, and I think, because people know how PayPal works, you know, you got your email you sent to somebody else’s email. And somehow magically, the banking system settles, right. It’s the same as PayPal without the banking system, essentially.

Rob McNealy
And I think even going that deep is probably unnecessary. Interesting story. So my day job a long time ago, I used to be a contractor. And I don’t hide this, you know, I’m very public about my, my, you know, I have a real day job. I’m an entrepreneur and I have a day job and I have our crypto projects so i don’t i don’t hide it on my LinkedIn, whatever. I’m totally docs, but you know, I found when I was this is probably 15 years ago when I thought started getting into sales of I my business. I would try to educate my clients and everything they needed to know to make the best buying decision and my average sales time with these people are 45 minutes to an hour. And I call people back like a week later and they’re like all I want with somebody else but thank you I loved your presentation. What do you mean why didn’t you go with Well, they were cheaper than you. And what I found and and i over I was over explaining what I was doing. It was I was giving me I was doing my job and giving them everything they needed to know to make a really informed decision and be really smart about it because I wanted them to be smart. And what ended up happening is I wasn’t closing sales. So what I ended up doing I found out is I cut my sales pitch by pitch to half the time to a half hour and I doubled my sales in true story, true story and and it was hard for me to wrap my head around it because I was trying To educate people in a way that I wanted to be sold, right? Yeah, the problem is, most you know, and I find this, especially with guys like that are smart. And most the people that I know that are in crypto are smart. Okay. You know, they’re curious, they’re smart. They’re questioning, you know, I haven’t run into too many stupid people in crypto, at least that are working in crypto. And, and so, as smart people, we want to have respect for other people’s intelligence, I think where we’re like, Hey, I think you’re a good person. And I want to treat you with respect, and I want to value your intelligence. So You two must want to have this knowledge. But I don’t think the average person does. I think you lose them. I think it gets complicated. And I think if you know, you have to recognize that there are different people have different you know, they kind of perceive the world differently. They have the world and the average person has an average IQ. So right I mean, that’s not mean Yeah, it’s not mean. But that means but in the United States, right? The average IQ in the US is about 100. Okay, yeah, that means half the people you run into at Walmart or at the mall or at the bank, have below average IQ. That’s how averages work, you know? So you got to just You got it. I don’t mean to dumb it down, but you gotta, you gotta explain things in a way that makes sense to them. And you gotta always have it I always say, you know, you have to sell people in a way that they want to be sold. Don’t sell people on how you think you should be sold. And I found that that made a big difference in my success in business is that you just have to kind of evaluate who you’re dealing with and and make it make sense for them. And and that’s not insulting is just, you know, if you try anything with this way, right, you’re I can tell you’re a smart guy, and I read your Twitter so I know you’re a pretty smart guy. You know if you go in as a smart guy to Someone who maybe is just average. And you try to explain all this technical engineering kind of mumbo jumbo. How they might take that as you think you know it all right? I mean, that happens or if they’re a woman, maybe now you’re mansplaining. You know, there’s all these kind of an end as a smart guy, you’re like, No, I just I don’t think like that. I’m not mansplaining and I don’t think I’m the smartest guy in the room. I just know excited about this. And, and I think that’s where a lot of guys in crypto miss it, because they don’t have a hard time with that. And they do. I have a hard time with it too. But I think that, you know, as we’re trying to get adoption, we just need to be cognizant of the world is not who we are typically, you know, and we’re thought you know, with we’re pioneers right now, people like our thought leaders, they’re, they’re early adopters, early adopters are different than average people. Most people don’t early adopters are the early adopters won’t be a thing. Right?

Truth Raider
And I agree with everything you’re saying, Man, and like it’s hard for me. Like I said, I got it in 20 17 so it’s really hard for me to look at myself as an early adopter per se. I mean, because I’m, I came in years and years after all these guys. But then, like you said, like, I’m not an early adopter, but I got into it fairly early, you know, essentially, because when you talked to people about Bitcoin, they’re so lost, and just the basics of it. So yeah, I’m very new. I’ve only been at for three years, I’m fairly new. However, there’s a huge knowledge gap between somebody that’s never touched Bitcoin, and somebody that has been using it for a while. So when I was I was in Malta a couple of weeks ago, and I was doing I was on a panel for talking about Libra and lightning and da O’s and stuff. And I basically was defending lightning. And so I was looking back at some of the clips of when I was talking, and I was like, probably in that room in that conference room. There was probably like six dudes that understood what the hell I was talking about. The rest of them were all just like, yeah, lightning sounds like it’s a good thing. Because I was I was basically defending lightning because I’m a huge fan of lightning essentially. And, but at the end of the day, like you said, people just want to know that lightning either works, or it doesn’t work. That’s really the that’s the crux of it. And so, I think sometimes people like me and other people that really want to defend it. We get so caught up in the logistics of it all, you know, so.

Rob McNealy
Well, well, it’s interesting because, you know, I and I’m not here just push on what I’m doing. But you know, I’m not I’m working on a crypto project. That’s not Bitcoin. Yeah, and a lot of maximalists and I’m not a maxi though, just so for all transparency. Of the four main projects that I have personal investments in our Bitcoin, a theorem, Raven, and Tusk, which is my project, so I am an investor in all those projects. So understand I’m not here hating on anybody. But, you know, when we started our project two years ago, I mean, lightning was still you much earlier on. And you know, everybody’s like, because I get, I mean, as a project, I mean, you’re in the mining side, but you know, I’ve been in this project for a couple years, almost and you wouldn’t believe the hate that you get for being a project from the Maxis and the different communities it’s pretty awful at times. And one of the person said, Why don’t you just do what you’re doing on Bitcoin? And I said, well, bitcoins not designed for retail never was intended to block work.

Truth Raider
And I agree, I agree the current format your.

Rob McNealy
You know, Bitcoin Cash, and again, I am not political, I’m not in any of those communities at all. But Bitcoin cash is actually more would be better for a retail environment than Bitcoin to court, just what is just not there. And so, but I said this, and someone said, What about lightning? And I said, well, and this is about eight weeks ago on the lightning Twitter long timeline, and this is just like eight weeks ago from now, right? They posted on on the lightning network Twitter, do not or I’m sorry, timeline on Twitter, do not put any more money into the lightning network and still software could be buggy and don’t put any more money into the lightning network that you’re not willing to lose. And that was on their own Twitter account. It’s still there. And, and and I pointed out to this guy, I go, Okay, well, if I’m going in and talking to a retailer and I’m trying to solve a problem with crypto, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I certainly can’t go and tell them to do Lightning when that’s what’s on Lightning’s Twitter timeline just a few weeks ago, that tells me that it’s not ready for it’s not ready for prime time even yet.

Truth Raider
And that was my argument in Malta. And I’ve never I argue this that that what you just said it’s still in beta, you know, it’s like it’s like an ever I argue that it’s that it can it can be something amazing. I don’t argue that it that it is exactly success experiments experimental right now,

Rob McNealy
You know, once you know crypto is experimental, and this is what I tell people, you know, and and, and I’m kind of agnostic. I know I I it’s funny because with this with even with my, you know, podcast here I interview all sorts of projects in crypto. And then it’s not even though I’m I got my own project, you know, I’m here I want to talk to other people because I, I’m excited about the space and in my happy world, I don’t believe there will be nor should there be just one crypto for the planet. I think that’s actually dangerous inherently centralizing. And to me, it’s like, there will be multiple kryptos and in fact, I would rather there be 200 dozen my own, you know, ideal place. There’s 200 really, really well designed communities around 200 different block chains that all seamlessly coexist and atomic swap between one another. To me, I think that’s actually much safer than having like, you know, fewer and fewer crypto projects that are more and more centralized behind them. And to me, I think that long term that would actually be better for society, because of the beauty of what I see as crypto is that You know, we talked about the honesty and the transparency and the scarcity and, you know, and inflation rates that are known in the open source nature of crypto makes them superior to Fiat. Right. They’re not necessarily subject to governments, politicians whims. But what I see is that the other benefit of kryptos is that you can tailor them and program them for specific purposes, regions, industries, companies, and we don’t talk about that enough that there could be a know maybe there should be a crypto for the shipping industry. Maybe there should be a crypto and you’re starting to see more of that. But I don’t think we talked about that enough. And because there’s so I think, I mean, you’re out there probably more than I am, but it seems like a lot of these projects are really trying to like, oh, our project is the greatest and you know, we hate that community over there and they fight and it’s all stupid, and I’m like, Look, there’s no reason why Bitcoin can’t do one be one thing and This other crypto projects do this other one thing, and they could work together on that. And to me, the ultimate goal is to decentralize and free people from the state as much as possible. What do you think about you know, the idea of that, you know, there can be kryptos for specific purposes and industries.

Truth Raider
Oh, I mean, I’m very extremely libertarian. So I mean, I’m all about the, the decentralized approach, but I don’t disagree and and I’m not a Bitcoin maximalist. I’m a Bitcoin realist. Like I in the fact that I’m a firm supporter of Bitcoin, I will be now and I’ll probably be 20 years from now just because it has its place. However, I agree with you as a realist. Let’s say lightning becomes amazing. It’s the greatest thing ever. Okay, well, that probably only let’s say, let’s say it does just as a use case, that only that would only solve a problem of speed, right? Because what lightning promises millions if not billions of transactions and capability, okay? Let’s say that happens. Well, I guarantee if lightning can do that there will be 100 other kryptos that figure out how to do the exact same thing and to move really quick and move really secure. So I agree with you, there will probably a blockchain project that that does really well in the medical arena. You know, that’s really good with medical blockchain and a shipping blockchain and aviation blockchain. And a I mean, you name it, there’s probably going to be another blockchain That’s better. Even if lightning succeeds or fails, there will be something better that does a specific task retail manufacturing. In real estate, I mean, there’s probably going to be like you said, hundreds of them that are really good at doing something that’s very specified. And meanwhile, bitcoins going to be sitting on the shelf just saying, Hey, keep it out. Guys. Keep going, you know as a store of value and pop Possibly a transactional crypto with lightning. But I think even if lightning succeeds, we’re going to have everything you just mentioned, hundreds of blockchains with a purpose, you know?

Rob McNealy
And we really we already have an analogue for that. Right? If you think about it, I mean, pretty much every government has in the, in the world, every country, every government has its own fee, there’s 150, or whatever, how many countries there are. And they technically seamlessly swap between, you know, between one and are we already have an analogue for that. Yeah. And if you think about it, that makes sense, right? People are no, well, you know, so you can say, look, well, you know, the United States has a coin, right? Switzerland has their coin, or currency, and then they trade and you can go with any airport and swap between one now and you explain, oh, well, can that make sense? So I mean, there’s lots of ways that you know, when you’re talking to the average person, you can explain these concepts went away that they might be familiar with, you know, and say, Look, there’s you know, hundreds of currencies around the world. You know, and they all talk to each other, and really kryptos like that, but just more in the digital format. And you take out the middleman and like, oh, and, you know, and, and I think that that makes a lot of sense. And I like that future better. I think that, I think a lot of maximalists and, you know, especially the old school guys, and you know, I used to be very active, actual big l libertarian politics. And one of the things that I find with being an ancap or being a libertarian is that whenever you get around activists of any hilke they tend to be the roughest around the edges, you know, what I’m saying is the earliest activists, the ones that really are the ones that spend years getting the ball rolling and making stuff happen and promoting it. Those guys do necessary work, right? That’s that’s how they start. But is like as these movements change and get more mature, different people come in, and in some ways usually take over the ones that have better social skills. They They have the ability to see things through. And I think maximalists and a lot of cases tend to be those guys, the earliest activists. So, you know, there’s a, there’s a saying that I’ve heard that I like that says, you know, pioneers, take the arrows and settlers take the land you know? Yeah. And I think that’s, I think that’s pretty true with you know, all these, you know, you know, the cannabis industry is like that, too. It’s like I was, you know, I’m pretty, you know, involved in politics in Colorado, especially during, you know, 10 years ago when they were, you know, getting it law medical and then legal for recreational use. And it’s interesting because the earliest people that were pushing it were literally the stereotypical hippies dude all the free the weed those kind of guys. And now you go to Colorado and in that industry, and it’s funny, because the regulations and a lot of ways pushed all those guys out to anyways, you know, one of the interesting things in Colorado with that is that you couldn’t get a license to work in any marijuana or cannabis related business. If you’ve ever been busted for Drugs.

Truth Raider
Seriously?

Rob McNealy
Yeah. And so think about that, right. Everybody who was in that industry was busted for drugs. That’s why they’re in the industry.

Truth Raider
Yeah, that they got into it because they wanted to try to find a way to get legal after all the drama.

Rob McNealy
And so so it’s interesting but if you go to Colorado now it’s it’s it’s there’s it’s still kind of an edgy industry but it’s very it’s very much corporate that it’s gotten a lot more mature and you know, you’re dealing you know, you still edgy like coat you know, crypto still edgy even the guys that are corporate II, you know, that came out of you know, traditional finance, there’s still the edge lords of traditional finance that are kind of showing up at the conferences, right. You know, they’re the ones that are like, I’ll still wear suit, but I can not wear a tie that’s edgy for them. But, but I think that’s the good I think that’s going to happen in crypto too. And I think eventually, five years 10 years from now the no one’s gonna know who most of the maximalists are, they won’t remember them because they’re going to be so I this is just because I see this with other political other people. Political and in paradigm movements is that those early activist and generally get washed out in the noise once things take off. And so I try not to take those guys too seriously. But I think they still performed a really important thing. And I totally have kudos and shout outs and respects to those guys because they did something important. But they also can be their own worst enemy as well. You know, I always say, say your retail, and I always kind of looking at it from the retailer standpoint, and I own a retail store before so I know a lot about retail. And, you know, say, I want to accept Bitcoin into my, my business. Where do you start? crypto Twitter right? Now, if you’re, you know, the business owner, you’re not maybe super technical, but you want to try something new. you’re frustrated with, you know, VESA screw, and you’re over whatever. And you go land on crypto Twitter, or Bitcoin talk or somewhere else and you run into maximalists. And you have a question about all this. Ch looks interesting. It’s faster than Bitcoin Core or what do you think about that? What do you think the responses to that poor retailer trying to learn? And put all those questions and and they’re going to run away.

Truth Raider
They’re gonna get nuked by 100 trolls getting all this stuff that they’re talking about it, you know,

Rob McNealy
Yeah and and so, to me that is actually an in my opinion one of the impediments right now of crypto is that I think in some ways it’s its own worst enemy and, and I and the bums me out because I mean I sought to up and people like oh you’re gonna do this project I’m like, oh, you’re a scam? What? I didn’t sell anything I didn’t nicey Oh, how am I a scam? You know? I don’t hide who I am. But it’s pretty funny. So, you know you I follow your Twitter and that’s how I actually found out about you originally. And you got a pretty big following on Twitter. What do you How did you get such a big following?

Truth Raider
Would you do so I started doing Lot of like I said, I used to be big into libertarian type conversation. Back in the day and my account I started my account 2015 I used to do more libertarian political type, like I’m pro I’m a pro gun guy. I got a shitload of guns I used to I used to be an ffl dealer back in the day. Nice. So like I’ve, I, I kind of was on that, you know, on the, to a spectrum libertarian guy. That whole, you know, area in it kind of has his place in Twitter, and then it kind of 10 you know, that I kind of just moved into crypto because it was a natural progression. You know, I think there’s a lot of people like me in that in that way. You know, libertarian guys that were looking for something that it was part of that you know, it was I don’t know, it’s it’s, it fits into the mold, really well. The whole decentralized decentralization and libertarian kind of, if you believe in both of those, it kind of go together a little bit. I would say,

Rob McNealy
I it’s funny, they bring up the gun thing. So that’s our, I don’t know if you know what we’re doing with TUSC, but we are focused on the gun industry with our project and then so it’s funny because I, you know, I go I spend more time in gun related conferences than crypto conferences. And I’m the only guy there talking about crypto, because there’s no one from the Bitcoin company or the Bitcoin project at gun things. It’s kind of funny, but you would be surprised, you know, because the gun industry has a really big problem with payments. really recognize problem and I always say this is that for adoption to happen, you need to focus on industries that have recognized problems. If you try to tell Grandma that she needs to go use Bitcoin to buy something at JoAnn Fabrics. And then by the way, it’s going to take maybe an hour or two for that to confirm. Oh, by the way, it’s really complicated. Oh, it’s expensive to that makes zero sense that for Grandma to do that you’re creating a lot more work and trouble and you’re going to stress to your poor grandmother out. But on the other hand, if you go talk to a gun retailer who the fact is they’re completely barred because of politics from using PayPal Venmo cash app, coin payments, token pay bit payments, or any of the other type of digital payment processing things and you talk about crypto, you would be surprised at how open they are to that concept of not getting their business shut down and being able to conduct business online. You know, and to me, there’s seven industries that have a recognized problem in the United States right now with traditional payments, and they’re all distasteful to somebody. And I have to point that out. So but and those are things like cannabis and guns and pornography and prostitution and gambling and pawn shops and refugees and immigrants. And those are the industries right now that have a problem. And to me, if you’re focused is on payments, which is what our focus is. You need to focus on those industries, because those are the places that actually have an issue that and they have a problem that needs to be solved that crypto does solve. And so far, we’ve had amazing response going and educating retailers. In fact, we got 15 retailers now that have already given us a verbal soon as our first payment gateways, that they’re going to accept us for payments. So we’re already real excited about this industry and 2020 is gonna be a really big year for us. So we’re pretty, pretty stoked. But you know, even if you’re in another project, you know, the main thing is, if it doesn’t matter, I mean, you need to focus if you’re trying to sell something to somebody, you need to sell somebody sell something to somebody, whether it’s script or anything else that has a problem and solve their problem. And I think a lot of these guys are like trying, especially engineers tend to fall into this building, they will come mindset, and that’s a myth building, they will not and you know, it’s great if you have an idea that You know, technologically might be amazing. But if you don’t have a plan, and way to put that solution to someone’s problem in front of the people who have that problem, I don’t think you’re going to get very far. And I think that’s what a lot of crypto people run into. But then again, most of the crypto people, I’ve Think about it, most of the crypto projects are led by developers. And there’s a huge least what I’ve seen with developers in general, is is a huge bias against sales and marketing people in general, they just don’t like sales, marketing. And I think that’s part of the culture. Developers are often introverted, and, you know, it’s not a bad thing. Our teams like the same way. I’m like, I’m the guy with the big mouth. So yeah, but it’s, but I think if people started opening their mind a little bit about what they’re trying to accomplish as far as getting adoption, if adoption is, you know, on the horizon, you know, you got to focus on solving people’s problems, and then you got to figure out a way how to get that problem, you know, solve for those people and put that in front of them. And that’s how you win and If you’re not doing that, then I don’t know how why it makes sense to me that there’s not a lot of adoption yet, is because people aren’t really doing that. You go look at the big projects out there and go look at their team pages, ones that actually have teams. And you will see, like, you might see a bunch of developers, but you really don’t see a whole lot in the way of the sales and marketing piece. Especially when you’re talking global projects where you might need, you know, you might need a sales leader for every country, you know, if you’re really trying to get adoption, I mean, that’s what it might take. But you don’t really see that being built out that way. So, where do you think the future is going to be if, say, I’m new, I’m coming into crypto, I want to get excited. I want to be a part of it. How would you recommend the average person who’s new to crypto to kind of get started and get their feet wet with this kind of industry?

Truth Raider
I would say if you don’t know anything about it, just go to go to Robinhood or coin base or an ATM. Just buy some Bitcoin and just try it out. Just test I mean, that’s, I think that’s step one is most people don’t know about that. Most people think it’s really complicated to to access Bitcoin. So I would say step one is if you know somebody that knows about it, just go get some. And that kind of thing that creates like a spark. So like my first the first Bitcoin I ever got was in Jacksonville, Florida at a Charlie shrem ATM and a gas station. I was like that was that that was my first gateway. And it was, it was because I just finished doing a shitload of research. I watch a lot of documentaries. I love documentaries. And I was just going through tons of them. And it just it kept popping up as a theme. So I was like, you know, I’ll go try this out. Let me just see what this this thing’s all about. You know, like I knew what it was. I knew it was used in the dark web with Silk Road. I know. I knew. I’d seen it on the dark web and the deep web. I’d seen you know people buying stuff and I never used it specifically. But I was super curious. And so finally I was like, You know what, let me just go to an ATM and buy it and I did. And and then it kind of you kind of go down a rabbit hole like you You started a project, you start you started the company started a project based on just that initial like, Hey, I think we have something here, you know, with with crypto. And I think that’s kind of what all of us we kind of went down that rabbit hole, you know, and and now we’re here and it’s an interesting ride because it it makes sense. At least to me, it really does. You know,

Rob McNealy
It made sense to me too. And that’s why I tell people I’m more I’m more bullish on crypto now than I was even two years ago when you know during the height of that craziness because but I agree with you and you know, I I’m real excited that you came on here I mean, this was a good conversation and and I’m happy to have you on anytime if you got something interest You want to share with my audience? Where can people find out more about you?

Truth Raider
I think the easiest way is just to go to either Truthraider.com I got a website just kind of shows the stuff I’m working on. Or just go to Twitter. At @TruthRaiderHQ is where I’m the most active. Thank you so much. I enjoyed this conversation immensely.

Rob McNealy
I appreciate it. Rob.

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Interview Transcript

Ashton Addison – EventChain on Blockchain

Ashton Addison, CEO of EventChain, discusses with Rob McNealy their blockchain powered ticketing and event management system.

Ashton Addison EventChain Transcript

Ashton Addison, CEO of EventChain.io

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

Rob McNealy
Hey, today we are talking to Ashton Addison of EventChain. How are you today?

Ashton Addison
I’m doing well Rob yourself.

Rob McNealy
Good. So where are we talking to you from today?

Ashton Addison
We are in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

Rob McNealy
Beautiful, beautiful area up there. I live in the mountains too. So it’s like I totally I don’t think I can ever go back to flat ground after living out west. And and people in the Midwest. Guys, you got to come out. It’s just so amazing out here. And even in Western Canada, it’s just very different than you know, the mid sections in the mid you know, the eastern parts of the country. So as to tell me a little bit about Tell me about yourself. What are you up to? How’d you get here?

Ashton Addison
Yeah, well, in terms of event chain and also the crypto coin show which is the show that I’m running, both revolving deeply around cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. first got interested in the space through my father. Ironically enough, Most people’s fathers are not tech savvy, but might happen to be a tech founder as well. So we helped co found my media channel crypto coin show in 2014. When, you know before the Ethereum token craze and we wanted to help grow the industry, by making a magazine at first that switched more into a YouTube channel, and just highlighting news highlighting projects that are showcasing good use cases of blockchain technology and business. Ran that for a few years. My mainly focusing on interviews, you know, that sort of seems to be the sweet spot right now. So have about 500 videos on my channel. And then in 2017, we realized, hey, we should really make our own use case, because there’s a big problem in the ticketing industry, which is one of the industries that I’ve been working in, I’d run an event production company back in 2012. And I’ve been to show us and I’ve been ripped off by tickets. Not only just on this Secondary Market paying for tickets, but also buying tickets that were completely fake and getting ripped off and not being able to even go to the show. And we realized, hey, these tickets, if they’re on the blockchain could be, you know proven that their authenticity is real and that they’re scarce and that, you know, you’re not going to be ripped off when you go to a show. So we started event chain and in 2017 to create a self service event ticketing platform that puts the tickets on the blockchain cruiser authenticity. And that’s what we’ve been working on ever since. And it’s live in the market right now. People are able to create events that have enchained audio and our ticketing around the world. And it’s not only just paying with cryptocurrencies, we’re also paying with credit cards and PayPal, it’s we understand, be tough to find a room of even of crypto people that that all want to pay with cryptocurrency, nevermind a music festival. So we’ve designed it in a very user friendly way to try and bring awareness to crypto currencies and show people that you can use blockchain in a non financial industry to solve real problems.

Rob McNealy
Well, I think the important thing here is that you guys aren’t just accepting cryptocurrency you actually have a blockchain ticketing component built into your project.

Ashton Addison
You got it So, and we realized that with music festivals and sports arenas, you know, a music festival person, they’re an event person, they don’t necessarily need to know how the blockchain works and how transactions are verified and consensus mechanisms and technical stuff. They just want to know their tickets are real, their tickets are valid. They’re scarce, no one’s going to create counterfeit tickets, and there’s negative externalities of the event organizer are removed, and the blockchain is all on the back end, right. You don’t need to be a mechanic to be a good driver.

Rob McNealy
So is this like an ERC 20 project? Is this based on the theory and platform or did you develop your own platform or your own blockchain to support this?

Ashton Addison
Yeah, so We originally built on the Ethereum platform, just because it was very easy to do. And but as we continue to grow the platform, and we started ticketing larger music festivals, we realized that buying tickets to a festival or concert is sort of like an Ico. Everybody wants to buy tickets in the first second, and then it sells out. And then nobody buys tickets, they have this huge influx of transactions all in in a five minute span. And for a festival that has like 10,000 people, that is too many transactions to what is currently capable on the Ethereum network. So we didn’t build the full platform on top of the theorem protocol directly, although we did utilize that to store the tickets and transfer them to attendees. And because of that, once we realized that we were surpassing the scalability of aetherium, we actually pivoted through the gold chain blockchain, which actually is it’s a competitor to aetherium, but it’s actually so compatible that you can still Run a theory of node and just verify the transactions on the goshi network instead. And they could do you know, 13,000 transactions per second, with very, very similar infrastructure. So that’s what we’re currently doing.

Rob McNealy
So right now, with your system with Todd is a an event organizer, how do they verify when someone comes up to the front desk? Is it just is there a paper ticket involved at all with a hologram on it? Or is it just you show your iPhone or what have you with, you know, a QR code?

Ashton Addison
So, the ideology that we have for the system is that event organizers and artists know it’s their event so they can put as many restrictions or options as they want. Now, we don’t want to limit their capacity and what they want to do. So if they want to have paper tickets, and you know, there’s an older crowd or non technical crowd that just wants to print out their paper and come they have that ability. However, You can’t prove that that ticket hasn’t been printed out twice and resold. So in that case, you can use the system as a fully functional event ticketing system. But you’re not proving the authenticity of the tickets with paper tickets. If you do want to have those security measures, you can do digital only tickets on your phone. And we’re even coming up with extra security functions like smart qR dynamic QR codes that change and limits of when tickets become available. You know, for example, 24 hours before 48 hours before to limit scalpers. And then with those digital only tickets, because they’re scarce, because when you transfer them, it’s almost like digital money, right? It’s like like Bitcoin once you transfer it, you no longer have access to that ticket yourself. Whereas currently with PDF tickets, once you send it to somebody email, you still have a copy. How can you prove when you’re buying a ticket from somebody off of Craigslist or a secondary market that that person doesn’t still have the ticket after you buy it from them? Right. So

Rob McNealy
So that was I was talking about the chain of custody. So the question is, and I don’t know the economics of events and in especially sporting events and scalpers, but my understanding is some places that scalping is actually part of that business model ecosystem. So does this completely lock the scalper types out of the market? Or is that an optional kind of thing that the event organizer can allow? Like, for instance, Can people resell tickets once they have them early?

Ashton Addison
So again, goes back to the same ideology that the organizers if they want to have that they can allow that right. And currently, we’re just running a primary ticketing market. And if people have PDFs, they can do whatever they wish with them. But as we build out our unified secondary market, you have the ability for example, if you know Ed Sheeran wants to have no markup on his tickets, and they want to have face value only through the digital only tickets, you can put those pricing variables into the smart ticket. So as it goes to the secondary market, you cannot Mark it up. But if they want to have unlimited markup and scalpers or if the artist wants to have a kickback from that, and like say people can resell them for whatever they want, but at least the artists and the organizers are getting a portion of that, you can also program that into the tickets. So if they want to have scalping they can. And if they want to cut they can if they don’t want to have scalping the can, right. It’s all about providing the tools to allow them to do what they want with their own tickets.

Rob McNealy
So the secondary markets really interesting. So the question is, and just from a legal standpoint, does that start becoming a lot like a Securities Exchange at that point? I don’t know the legalities. There’s like Canada, but I’m wondering you know how that would work. I mean, the the SEC doesn’t look at BB Beanie Babies on eBay as a security. So the The question is, if these things aren’t sold as security, is there any kind of concern about that secondary market or auction or trading between ticket holders like that, legally speaking?

Ashton Addison
I don’t know for sure what I would say def, you know, I don’t believe so because how it works with StubHub right now is, you know, there’s they actually just they’re just selling to via gogo right now for $4 billion. And they trade millions of tickets every year. And they have, you can put whatever limits they want. And on Viagogo, you can do face value only if you want. And those are, you know, it’s just a paper ticket. It’s not a security, it doesn’t have any ownership of the event or that, you know, anything to do with that. It’s just an entitlement to go to that event. So I would say definitely, you know, we’d look into it, but I’m guessing not.

Rob McNealy
So how did you guys fund this?

Ashton Addison
Yeah, so we actually did a private equity round in Canada, we raised about $2 million Canadian and through through local investors that were very involved in the blockchain industry. And that allowed us to bootstrap the development of the application. And from there we started chargeable system sort of getting revenues and then just raising money. additional funds for growth, marketing and driving the sales team and trying to create a traditional business. You know, a lot of these blockchain companies, they are very blockchain focused. And we realized that with event organizers especially you need to be very business focused and cater towards their industry. And through for that, you know, have sales people that, you know, they don’t necessarily need to know about blockchain. It’s a selling feature. But there’s so many other functions needed to create a successful event that it’s a competitive advantage, but it’s definitely not the only thing that’s needed to create a successful event.

Rob McNealy
So are you looking to do an exit say in three to five years and for your investors? Hmm.

Ashton Addison
Definitely. In the works, you know, the ticketing industry right now is full of acquisitions. Event bright has made seven acquisitions in the last five years, including the Vancouver ticketing company. They haven’t done anything with blockchain yet. But Ticketmaster acquired a blockchain startup last year called upgraded and I feel like the other ticketing company They’re all they’re all sort of looking to acquire and grow their businesses through acquisitions. So that’s one route. And, of course, you know, the, when people invest in the company, we want to give them a return and give them an exit. So, definitely want to give back to our investors who, who believed in the project since the beginning.

Rob McNealy
So are there a specific niche you’re looking at? Are you going after sporting, you’re looking at music, you’re looking at conferences, where do you see yourselves fitting into the market?

Ashton Addison
Yeah, so right now we’ve been targeting the high growth industries. There’s, there’s multiple facets to that. First of all the industries which are prone to counterfeit ticketing, you know, music festivals, high price tickets, concerts in sports are often resold and and often people are counterfeit from that. So those industries we’ve been targeting as well as the sports industry and the tech industries where people want to use blockchain technology, they’re advocating for the use of it. If they can use it and showcase that it is an actual thing in a in a non financial industry, they’re willing to do that. So, yeah, we’ve been ticketing, music festivals eSports. But the system being a self serve system and allowing anybody to create events without even talking to us. We have every kind of event on there from, you know, art shows, fashion shows, business meetups, anything that can be posted on meetup. com can be posted on event chain. If you’re doing a free event, it’s completely free. Whereas on meetup, you actually have to pay as an organizer for for free events. And you don’t even get your attendees data. And on event chain, you can so we’ve opened it up to all those different types of events. And similar to event brights business model, there’s all of these different types of industries. But we’re focused our business development on the high growth industries, high price tickets, high capacity, prone to counterfeiting, and technical people. Wow.

Rob McNealy
So you kind of are competing with both meetup and event right then technically

Ashton Addison
Definitely, yeah, but meetups functionality sort of limited in terms of what you can gather, you know, and data is everything nowadays. And with event chain, we’ve built the system out. So you can ask custom questions and not just your traditional Now, what’s your company and title if you’re going to a conference, but you know, your dietary restrictions, your investing habits, whatever kind of questions you want to ask, you can ask that and then have we have the integrations to deliver those email addresses directly to your MailChimp, for example, or into your CRM, so you can target those attendees and help them come to your future events, or use them as a lead generation tool for whatever other business you’re running.

Rob McNealy
Wow. So do you have the ability to have multiple like one organization can do multiple recurring events in different locations under like one master account?

Ashton Addison
Totally. Yeah, you can create as many events as you want. You can also assign other people to be your checking people and they can have access to the attendee list and checking in but not have access to the sales reports and things like that. And we’re working on even more functionality to create, you know, promoter list and resellers that can help facilitate sales but have limited access to, to the back end of the master account for the events.

Rob McNealy
So when did you guys first launch into the market?

Ashton Addison
So we first launched the product, more of an MVP in about 12 months ago, so around Christmas time, and since then just piloting about 800 different events in about 28 countries. A lot of that was just, you know, organic growth of people that wanted to have been waiting for the system to launch and tech, you know, early tech adopters. You know, we’ve done everything from music festivals in Bermuda to events in Italy, in London to Hong Kong blockchain week and in Hong Kong, to events in Canada, you know, small, small networking events, so sort of a little bit of everything, and getting user feedback. And no, I was I was just reading A book they’re saying, with software as a service, you know, if you are if your system is like fully ready, and you and you’re completely competent with it when you launch, you’ve almost launched too late, right? You need to launch right away, get the feedback from your first customers. We’ve already had lots of repeat customers, you know, for example, anarcho Vegas conference, if you know Aaron, in Vegas, now they’re early advocates of the system. They thoroughly enjoyed using event chain for their 2019 conference that they put up the 2020 conference two days, two days after. So we’ve had great feedback so far. And we’re continuing to grow and target larger events.

Rob McNealy
So for instance, right now, you not only are based on blockchain for the security, anti fraud elements of this, but you also accept crypto currencies or some crypto currencies as payments. Say I wanted to set up an event through your system and accept crypto. Do you guys pay the people that are organizing and crypto Or do you just pay them a piece of the ticket? How does that the payment system work?

Ashton Addison
Yeah. So it goes back to our ideology that the organizers should be able to do what they wish in terms of accepting payments. So if they want to turn off credit cards, they do that if they use PayPal to do that. And if they want to accept just Bitcoin, they can do that if they want accept, you know, the top 50 coins, and they hope that it’s a cryptocurrency event, and people are going to have smaller coins or stable coins, they can accept that. Our system right now is set up on the flip side to just accept the top five currencies, Canadian American, Euro pound and Australian dollar. As we grow, we’re getting a lot of traction in Southeast Asia. So we’re looking at building in more payment processing and our own payment processing system so that people aren’t paying the merchants, you know, an extra 3% outside of the system, we can cut those costs for them, and possibly accepting more international currencies there. And then, generally, if you’re one of those five fiat currencies, We will Well, actually how it works right now is that because you are connecting to your PayPal or stripe directly, when somebody buys a ticket, you get the money right away. Right? So whereas with some systems, we have a payment gateway, if you do an event, you don’t get the money for the tickets until after the event or you know, each month and sometimes you need to pay artists or pay the venue and things like that before the event starts. So you know, where do you get that money from? So currently with invention, you get the money right away. And then we actually just bill for the ticketing fees afterwards in whichever those top five fiat currencies that they were using.

Rob McNealy
So someone bought a ticket with crypto though the event organizer right now would receive the crypto itself or would they.

Ashton Addison
They would receive the crypto directly into their wallet and the system because we’re not a money transmitter. We don’t have a system to like track. You know, settle that into cash for them. So if they pay with Bitcoin, they’re collecting Bitcoin, hopefully they hold on to it and the price goes up or maybe they want to manage their funds right away and and sell it. And in that case, you know, the fees are are just in American and it’s a very small percentage. So it’s just easier for us because we have to pay our expenses right away to keep it in fit.

Rob McNealy
So what, where do you see the biggest growth like geographically Canada, North America, Asia?

Ashton Addison
Yeah, um, well, with our system so far, you know, besides our marketing efforts have been targeting North America and Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia seems very progressive on the cryptocurrency, you know, legislation, adoption of it. There’s huge numbers of people there. So yeah, we’ve had events in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Tokyo, Taiwan, Hong Kong. It seems to be growing very rapidly. And so that’s been pretty But also just throughout America and Canada as well, since we’re based in Canada, you can’t forget about the homeland here. And we want to make sure that everyone there is doing great events on event chain as well. So those have been the top two spots so far.

Rob McNealy
What are your goals are how many events do you want to do in 2020?

Ashton Addison
I would say we need to nail down a bunch more large size festivals that have you know, 10,000 plus attendees. If we can get a handful of those, and then some eSports arenas, we’re already ticketing some sports arenas that do smaller events. But the scale of the sports is growing so quickly right now that some of these events have 10s of thousands of people. And as well, we’re working on a streaming integration platform, so that if you have people that are watching the esports event from from their home, they can know the organizers have the ability to pay well that and sell a ticket to exclusive content, which can open it up to hundreds of thousands of people. There’s no capacity proceeding. So that’s another thing that we’re working on for 2020.

Rob McNealy
Wow, that’s really kind of cool. I’m, I’m really interested in what you’re doing. Do you guys have your own token?

Ashton Addison
We do have an EventChain token as well that we’ve created. Right now it can be used to pay for tickets. And we’re working on building an incentivization and rewards platform for that, where if you create events, you’re incentivized with the token. And if you share content, go to events, engage with the event organizers, after or during the event. You’ll be incentivized. So that’s something that’s supposed to be coming in in 2020 as well.

Rob McNealy
Is your token currently traded anywhere?

Ashton Addison
Yes, traded on a couple third party exchanges, some smaller exchanges like murca talks to live coin and decentralized exchanges as well.

Rob McNealy
So what’s the symbol

Ashton Addison
EVC. It’s on coin market cap and you can check it out there.

Rob McNealy
Very cool. Passion. Where can people find out more?

Ashton Addison
The easiest way is to go to event chain.io or go to go dot event chain.io, which is where all of our corporate information is. And we do have information on each category of events, everything from festivals, to nonprofits to, to eSports, or join our telegram t.me slash event chain. And our whole team is there to help support and answer any questions that you guys have. And, you know, feel free to create an event. Even if you’re just a local Bitcoin meetup organizer in your country, you can create events on event change.io for free for free events and you don’t even have to talk to us. But of course, come into the chat and we will be there for support. And you can accept cryptocurrencies, if you want to accept Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ripple any kind of crypto, we’re one of the only systems that accept crypto and fiat all together in one package, and we would love to support people’s events moving forward.

Rob McNealy
Ashton, thank you so much. I’ve enjoyed this conversation a lot.

Ashton Addison
Thank you so much Rob.

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Jonathan Keim – CryptoCurrencyWire

Jonathan Keim, Communications Director for CryptoCurrencyWire discusses the challenges crypto and blockchain companies have with managing PR.

Jonathan Keim CryptoCurrencyWire Video