Is There Really Going to be Another Crypto Ban in India?
I’m really intrigued when talking with people from other countries about Bitcoin and blockchain technology. I feel like their perspective on life and how they perceive the world is so much more realistic than mine. I say this because I’ve had what many in the world would consider the luxury of being an American, born and raised. With each conversation had in this space with people from other countries, it becomes apparent: the more marginalized a society and its people are, the faster they see how Bitcoin and blockchain tech can give them power and control over their finances, privacy, and security. These are things I feel we not only take for granted here in the US, but are also not as much in our control as we have been led to believe. Former Amazon developer Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder CRUXPay and CoinSwitch.co — two Indian crypto ventures, joined us to shed light on a potential cryptocurrency ban and regulations by the Indian Supreme Court, how people are dealing with Covid there, and his days as a professional (ethical) hacker! We also learn how cryptocurrencies are viewed by the general public in India, as opposed to the United States. As an American, you might not care too much what happens in other countries, but the world is more connected than ever before. Legal decisions made in other countries on new currencies and technologies that have no borders or boundaries, could influence what regulatory decisions are made here at home.
This transcript was made with AI, that's why we may appear to be artificially intelligent.
Elsa Ramon, Bill Deignan, Ashish Singhal
Elsa Ramon 00:04
All right, thank you guys for coming back Bill and I very much appreciate it that you're coming back to so what about crypto? And I think lately I don't know, Bill I, I've been feeling like here at home in the United States. There are two now very distinct schools of thought about what's going on with COVID. And everything. I know in in Georgia where you are different mindset possibility, possibly, then you know where I am in California. But I feel like people here in California are just, I don't know, I think there's this sense of, of a false sense of security a little bit about COVID. I think people are so desperate to get back to normal that they're just kind of overlooking the fact that we're still in not out of the woods just yet. So I don't know what it's, like
Bill Deignan 01:05
It's certainly the same here. Yeah, it's certainly the same here. And, you know, just even, we have varying degrees of that even, you know, within our family and with among our friends and with, you know, business, you know, cohorts just people have different ideas on where we are, you know, Georgia is the area where the governor open things up, probably more quickly than most states. And, you know, and I personally, am glad of that. Simply because, you know, you know, I tend to, I don't trust what our government says, quite honestly. That's sometimes, you know, nefarious on some people's parts, and sometimes it's just they don't have the data. And I just, I get this a lot from, you know, some friends will complain to me is like, Well, you know, one thing says one thing, you know, one, you know, one bit of like news and the other says the complete opposite and Unlike Yes, so how do we know what to believe? And yet in the same conversation, though, we'll have different judgments on what one person should or shouldn't be doing. And, you know, I tend to finally reach a conclusion of Well, how do you even know what decision to make? How can you judge me? When you just admitted that nobody knows what the truth is? So that's making it real hard for a lot of people and, you know, even just with relationships, you find those become strained and just how each other react to what one or one person may or may not have done and what they're, you know, whether they're going out or wearing a mask or Right, right, going to places that other people don't feel you should be doing yet. So, yeah, stuff like that. We're all going through that, you know, and I happen to even be speaking to my pastor this morning about that. And, you know, as a church, we're trying to figure out, you know, or, you know, as their church leadership is trying to navigate this idea that, you know, they call it just like a like a stop light here in the nited states has, you know, yellow, red and green. People are looking at the COVID sort of reopening in the same way some people are if they're, if they're a red person, so to speak, they're just someone who's probably pretty afraid to get out and about. And then there's other people that are yellows who are cautious, but still venturing out. And then there's greens, who probably fall more in that camp where I'm, you know, I'm out and about and living my life. But at the same time, you know, where my wife and kids and I were pretty healthy and we don't have underlying conditions. And I have other family members who are dealing with, you know, multi Gen, multi generational homes. And, you know, we're happy. Yeah, we're happy to hear that yesterday that our schools are going to open up for in person if we want to, but they can. You can also opt to have your child taught.
Elsa Ramon 03:59
Nice compromise. I think that's a nice compromise. I'm probably somewhere in the yellow light I'm venturing out, but I'm cautious. You know, I know that our gyms open here in California, but I'm giving that a couple eeks, because and then yo have even without
Bill Deignan 04:18
coke? Yeah, you got to make your own call right. And quite honestly we're you know I had we had friends that are immediately like how are you dare to dare going to send your kids back to school? Well, our response was, were pretty healthy and we don't have an elderly parent living in the home. Now maybe maybe you do. But so we're making that decision based on what we think is best for our family, I think but it's difficult for sure. And you kn0w, so
Elsa Ramon 04:43
I always wonder outside of our bubble in the United States because we are very much as Americans in a bubble, in my opinion. So I'm really curious to see how people in other parts of the world I know you are too are dealing with COVID and what the thoughts are There, among other things, obviously we want to find out the thoughts about crypto and Bitcoin and blockchain and all that. But we have with us today, Ashish Singhal, and he is with a company called coin switch in India. So Ashish, welcome, welcome to so what about crypto? And I don't know. Yeah. We intentionally left the question mark off of the title of our podcast because we want to leave that up to interpretation for our guests. And for listeners to say it the way it makes them feel, you know, their interpretation of what it is. So I want to thank you, Bill. Thank you because we had some timezone challnges. Yeah. And I'm on the west coast. So you and I have the extremes and Bill times he's right in the middle. he's doing he's doing okay. pretty early f
Bill Deignan 06:02
Greetings to all you in India. Yeah. And honestly, when COVID started, I think I've had a heart for people in India more than any other country. And without knowing much about your country.
Ashish Singhal 06:16
Yeah. So I think a lot of people had that reaction. Given that, you know, we are a developing country doesn't have have a large set of population, but doesn't have the health health infrastructure that we need. Right. Right. So a lot of people had the worst case scenario what what happens when COVID reaches India? And you know, that's what we have seen today.
Bill Deignan 06:39
Yeah. So I was just, I found it remarkable that your prime minister essentially shut the country down within like four hours. That must have been terrifying.
Ashish Singhal 06:51
So we've been used to these decisions of, you know, extreme decision. So you if you remember, you know, I think Three years back or two years back, the D monetization, where are the entire 500 and thousand rupee currency notes were banned all of a sudden. So but this is, you know, one of the health crisis and it's amazing that our government was able to take such a quick action and, you know, implement such a good lockdown. The results of it are still yet to be known. The cases are, you know, growing in India, day by day and states are opening up. Again, to be honest, I'm a little scared at this point, because our health system are at peak already. Right. And it hasn't even reached the levels that we have seen in us. Right. So, so it's a little scary situation out there, but hopefully, you know, some states are doing a very, very good job including Bangalore cannot come in Bangalore. Bangalore is where I am. So, Bangalore is doing an amazing job in contact tracing and, you know, stopping it early. at the stage where it's not spread to a lot of people out there, right and we're tracking those people down locking them on home quarantines or external quarantines and making sure that the other people around them are tested and are safe in this situation
Elsa Ramon 08:20
You sound like you're having some of the situations that we're having here in the United States bill where there's some states and their governors of our states are requiring people to wear masks like here in California, our governor has said it's mandatory for people to to wear masks when they're out in public, other states, their governors are choosing the complete opposite. So it must be a bit difficult to try to between states in India control that too. Because you can't stop people from you know, moving about the country and the second most populous country in the entire world.
Bill Deignan 09:01
But here's, here's what kind of blew my mind about it. And you know, for all my misgivings about the US government. I felt like they at least did one thing, right. And then that was I think they prepared us mentally for it. Like, every two or three days, your brain was starting to process a new idea about COVID. And what the possibilities, good and bad may be mainly bad. So I think as a culture here in the United States, we sort of needed to be eased into the idea that there might be a lockdown. And I think that was the right move, because I think if they had in the United States at least, just said, all of a sudden one day everything is shut down. There have been a wreck. Is it is it is it this is it is it a cultural mindset difference, perhaps that India was able to just sort of had to have this abrupt lockdown, or maybe we just didn't know that you guys were being sort of You know, led slowly down that road as well, but we didn't weren't aware
Ashish Singhal 10:04
So our descent into lockdown was a little extreme than what what happened in us. But we were we got a notice of about a week where we, you know, we did a lockdown of just one day, you know, and the government was trying to see how that lockdown was effect was it effective? Was there a need of a government lockdown or you know, a lockdown with if just notifying the the people out there and they do it themselves? Right? They realize that that's not possible in India, having such a large population and a lot of people are, you know, like the day laborers, right? They earn their salary on the work that they do on that particular day. Can't live without if there is a lockdown, right. So a lot of different factors need to be taken care and but ultimately the government went when with the right intentions. If you are asked me to lock everything down and try to solve each and every situation as and when they faced, right, because it's not easy to lock such a big country down and have already thought of every single use case, every single issue that may come up, right. So obviously, it was terrible for a lot of people. But as for me, it was the right steps, it would have been obviously better. But, you know, that was the need we have.
Elsa Ramon 11:30
Well, you know, India has almost a billion and a half people. I don't have to tell you, you know, almost 18% of the world's population, and that's gotta be on people's minds when you have such a populated country, with COVID going through the country like that. The fear, possibly fear of this spreading so fast. Would you say people were Much more receptive to the lockdown and, and the kind of open ended timeline that that we're all kind of looking at right now?
Ashish Singhal 12:11
So people were uncomfortable as well, but most of the people took it at face value because they believe in the government and you know, they are doing assuming that they are doing the right thing. And everybody understood the health crisis and everybody understands that in India. You know, the healthcare system is not meant to deal with a situation like covert right. Obviously, none of the country has had that. But some countries are far ahead. and India is not one of them. Right? So everybody understands that our healthcare system cannot take care of so many people at the same time, right. So we needed to flatten the curve at the right moment. And once it gets out, it's out there right. There is no precaution that there is nothing that you can do to actually stop it. from growing right, it will go through its own course. You know, blocking down everything in its path. Right. So So, yeah, so I it was extreme, but it we I think the government did the right thing and you know managing it well, although the cases are still growing and still a concern that you know that lockdown was not as effective at as it should, should have been.
Elsa Ramon 13:29
Well, it's interesting you say that that you feel the government made the right choice and and that there's general trust in the government. But when it comes to crypto, it's not necessarily the same opinion among Indian people.
Ashish Singhal 13:49
Yes. So, crypto is a difficult topic in India. And I understand the government point as well. Any new financial entity that comes into the market, which is this volatile, bound to attract, you know, the nefarious minds and scams. So the government just wants to keep people safe. Right. And there are two extremes to it. One is, you know, shut down everything. The other is to come up with the right set of regulations, and making sure these things doesn't happen, which a lot of countries, including us has taken. Right. So it's unfortunate that the government earlier had chosen to go the old banned way and rather than helping the crypto community grow and see the potential of it, and looking at the positive sides of it as well, and they focus too much on the negative side and, you know, try to take an entire ban. Hope, you know, luckily, Supreme Court understood the realities and held held in March, you know, reverting that ban and helping crypto traders and crypto companies To start innovating in India again, right, there are still some outlines of it still today, but hopefully it will be positive news that is coming out of India very, very soon. And you know, in the coming years India would become one of the, one of the hotspots of, you know, crypto community.
Bill Deignan 15:21
Yeah. Well being as a CEO of two crypto companies in India, do you find that you're getting involved on the government level as a lobbyist or, you know, maybe consulting with Parliament? To what degree are you having to get involved there to help them understand, you know, maybe the best move forward?
Ashish Singhal 15:44
Sure. So, we have a association called imi I am Ei R which basically talks to government or, you know, deliver government the message by drink by you know, Having every crypto company in India or most of the crypto companies in India and having hearing their thoughts, so I my fingers out, you know, these are the right set of regulations that should come out, which helps the user as well as the crypto community in India to help it grow. Right. And they communicate the same things to the government to the ministers and to the government bodies. Right. I To be honest, I don't have any personal say or a personal, you know, meeting the highest with the with with the government officials to help them explain my case. But how it is happening in India is that through imi all the crypto community communities are giving their views and they are the one compiling these views and sharing with the government in the hopes of that, you know, they understand the need of crypto in India, and they come up with the right set of regulations. regulations are very important that nobody denies that Right user protection should be at the top most of every company, every government, right? But instead of simply banning it properly, right set of regulations which will grow this, you know, the alternate financial ecosystem would be a better bet for the government as well as for the users.
Elsa Ramon 17:18
You just said that there is a need for crypto in India. And this is what I like to point out to our listeners who are brand new and just starting to learn about Bitcoin and blockchain technology in the United States, because I feel like here in the United States, the general consensus is why do we need this we have a banking system, we have a system that we have been using and we're okay with it. But on the other hand, you say the people in India need it. Why do you feel that the people in India need this type of technology and cryptocurrency
Ashish Singhal 18:00
So, India is one country that can benefit out of crypto the most. The reason being that Indian infrastructure if you look at banks, if you look at, you know, any banking situation in India, right? It's not meant to support 1.3 billion people, right? And crypto being can be the savior for these unbanked people, right? crypto has a low onboarding has an easy to understand, you know, how things work, people who doesn't even have a bank account can now talk to each other and participate in this financial ecosystem. Right, which currently, they are not getting the opportunity for, because banks don't have the incentive to provide them this infrastructure. This infrastructure doesn't exist for a lot of people in India, right, which crypto can lead that front. So that is why it's very, very important to India.
Elsa Ramon 18:57
And I think that's a message that people have Who? Bill unless you disagree. I feel like that's the message not just banking the unbanked because there are a lot of terms that people in this space that we're in throw around and that's one of them, banking the unbanked, but I don't I feel like you know, this is blockchain and crypto. And the the freedom it can give becomes more apparent, the more marginalized a community is, I feel like a lot of Americans don't feel, or many don't generally feel they're marginalized. They are in ways that maybe they don't understand. But in other countries like India and countries within Africa, there is a great understanding of what this type of technology and cryptocurrencies can do for people to give them the freedom to bank around the world. I don't think people understand that if think about it, if You didn't have a bank bill, if you didn't have a debit card or credit card, how could you travel about the country you can't book hotels and rent cars and, you know, transact on the internet and all these things without some kind of technology behind it to help you transfer that money around, even, you know, PayPal, and some of these other payment systems are giving people some of that freedom. But I don't think people here in the United States make that connection that Wow, I didn't think about that. There's a lot of people who don't can't even have a bank account.
Ashish Singhal 20:32
Yeah. I think it's just about relating to the situation and in India, you can because almost 20% of the people are unbanked. So you feel that you know, so even even in the covert situation, right, so, how you distribute funds to them, how you make sure you know, the everyone is receiving in the right manner, crypto or cryptocurrencies the blockchain can help a lot, right. A lot of people have tried it. And have succeeded in this domain. And I feel that, you know, this is the future going forward, which is equal for all right, you rightly pointed out that, you know, the financial system is not equal equal for everyone. And I think that's very true in India as well. It works differently for different set of people and crypto being equal for all and providing, you know, the, the base of financial system to everyone equally is an amazing thing.
Bill Deignan 21:29
So, you know, we all know that India has a wealth of smart, educated developers that probably get used more often than any one imagines in the development of the Internet, and protocols and applications for the whole world to use. To what degree is crypto does crypto represent in the eyes of developers an opportunity to serve India more than the rest of the world?
Ashish Singhal 22:01
I think it's an, it holds an immense position at this point. So a lot of financial ecosystems are closed, right? In India to build our new financial service. It's a little difficult, right? You have to get a lot of licenses, you have to work with banks who have their own set of rules and regulations, which are different for different people. Right. Now, building something a financial service or anything on that sort is much easier to do it on a decentralized network, right? To be able to build global looking at, you know, the global market rather than the local market. So I think these two points, because of these two points, it in India, most of the developers that I've met, you know, in aetherium forums, or, you know, in hackathons. So that is their approach that it gives them that freedom to innovate, right? And India doesn't have you know, Have a lot of great developers, they have a lot of potential. And we are seeing that in action by looking at you know, how Indians have built a lot of good blockchain applications and are building companies for the world. And you know, not just India. So, yeah. Hope that answers your question.
Bill Deignan 23:19
Well, you mentioned hackathon. I read in your profile. You're a hacker to the core.
Elsa Ramon 23:27
Tell us about that. You have a past.
Ashish Singhal 23:30
Yes. So let me give you a little brief on who I am. So I am a computer science engineer from NSI deli. I started my career in Microsoft and Amazon building a lot of their product in tech. I built Amazon's back end engine handling over 100,000 transactions a second have built amazon prime now which probably you guys have used, which is a one hour delivery service in us and many other countries. I was a lead for that. And Apart from all that I am a hacker at heart. So any hackathon that anyone can think of in India, including Sequoia had Google Code for India, Amazon Sujin. I would have wanted, right. So, so I like to build things fast and try to solve problems, right? So, in Google hackathon, we built a problem, which we face in India, regarding how do you how do you make sure in natural disaster crisis? How do you track people? And how do you make sure that you help the survivors, right, so we built a solution using drones and IR receivers, which word bank really liked, and, you know, took that decision and you know, to make actual product out of it, right. So I really like solving problems and and that's where my affinity to hackathons comes in, right to solve big problems.
Elsa Ramon 24:53
I know some of the things you said I like to clarify for people listening because We're geared more towards people who are just starting to learn. And I don't ever want them to feel intimidated by some of the things we say. That's why I wanted to define and kind of highlight what being unbanked means. You talked about a theory M, which is another type of digital currency, a cryptocurrency. In your answer you were just talking about. And you also talked about you have such a rich background in technology. So for you, I would assume that it was a very natural jump to go to what you were doing go from what you were doing before to the cryptocurrency world and blockchain. You found it very fascinating, but what about the general feel of people in India?
Ashish Singhal 25:49
So I think people if you look, if you look at, you know, normal retail users who who are not developers, right? They have a different idea about cryptocurrency already. together for them, it's a tool to make gains to invest their money in and, you know, because of the market, probably invest a bit in cryptocurrencies and have gains through it, right. So for some other people, it's a tool to make salaries easier for it. For others, it makes make sense to accept payments and cryptocurrencies, as a new way of, you know, people paying them and, you know, availing their services, so it means obviously different for different people. For a developer community. It's more about freedom of building financial services out that not just financial in any field, but mostly people are building towards, you know, the new financial ecosystem. For normal retail users. It's about investment. It's also about usage of Bitcoin, you know, maybe in transferring money all over the world or you know, having business accepting payments from anywhere. Around the world without actually, you know, figuring out how to how to set up payment systems how to deal with banks, hand handling remittance, right. So it means different things for different people at this point. Does that make sense? Or do you want to do? Absolutely. Like I said, I feel like people see the value of blockchain and crypto, depending on how marginalized they feel they are, do you feel like the the government may be a little bit concerned or worried about a transition of power?
Elsa Ramon 27:36
To the people of India, there's almost a billion and a half people in India you think about the kind of freedom this technology and currency can give people. It certainly takes it out of the hands of the government and banks and allows people to transact with one another without that middleman and fees and everything else that comes with it. You know, that's a that's a lot of power for one country to hold? Do you think that the Indian government is very much aware of that, and maybe not helping this along? as fat as it could be?
Ashish Singhal 28:14
I think that's a fair argument. But to be honest, crypto is still a very, very small thing in the eyes of the government, right? It hasn't reached to a potential where it can be a threat to rupees or US dollars, right. And what we believe as innovators is that it's it's an alternate finance. It's not both can exist together. So it's not either or, or right. So it's about that, you know, both serving a set of users to make sure that their life become easy. Some people banks are the right way to go because they're running businesses, you know, complying with a lot of rules and regulations. But think about a vendor who is probably trying to sell you know, any anything which has Say outside India, providing a teacher providing educational lessons to people in us, right. So for them to start setting these things up becomes a little difficult and crypto provides an alternate for them to do it. Right. So, to answer your question, it hasn't become that threat yet. But obviously government had that in mind. And that is one of the reason that you know, they have banned crypto. The other reason that they banned crypto was because of the, you know, the the high volatility in the market. So they were looking after the users who are investing in crypto and probably losing money, right. So they were worried about that. So ban was mostly about that. But obviously, a part of it could be related to, you know, that they feel that it can threaten INR or the US dollar at some point in time. But, in my opinion, that time hasn't come yet, or that that time will never come and both systems Mix us together and flourish together.
Bill Deignan 30:03
So I tend to and starting to get a sense that maybe India and the government of India is no different than what the United States is, or maybe even China, perhaps I think, in the crypto world, we tend to see a lot of sensationalism. And people want to get a headline that says, Oh, you know, India's banning crypto, and quite possibly in in, in India, you get the same sort of headlines and here that the United States is going to do you think that's the case where it's just maybe the government's aren't as concerned as the crypto journalists want you to think so.
Ashish Singhal 30:41
So that's true to a lot. To a great extent, right? There aren't a lot of news coming out of crypto because crypto is very small. If you think about it today, right? It doesn't impact at a government level today. It does to an extent, right. And that extended to a very small. So obviously, the different news have different spins on the news, which which comes out, make it more sensational, make it more click worthy or, you know, the read worthy those articles, but that mostly that's not the case what is actually happening on the ground, right on the ground people are obviously concerned about user protection and you know, hundred different things, but it's not that sensational, or, you know, to be highlighted at you know that your India is banning crypto or us against aetherium altogether and things like that, right. So every government body is taking its own time to understand the technology, as well as to take the right steps for user protection, which is very, very important, right? If they need to ban it, and they think that it's a risk to users. They have the right to ban it, but after ban, you know, they need to understand the need for it. Need for a set of users and open it up by launching revelations rather than keeping it locked up?
Elsa Ramon 32:08
So yeah. But I think, here at least my impression here in the United States beyond the sensationalism of some of the journalists and media, corporations, like you said that that need the views and the clicks and all of that. I think there is a general fear of leveling the playing field. Because we hear often hear people in this space say, it's going to be a paradigm shift. Well, what does that mean? And I think you clearly laid it out that it's going to give people freedom and a little bit more power, not necessarily eliminating the rupee or the dollar or the Euro, but maybe working in tandem, but I think there is a fear among banks. Central Banks, centralized banks, that that there's going to be a lot of money and a lot of power shifted to the people that they want to have the luxury of havng a monopoly on.
Ashish Singhal 33:13
That's absolutely right. So, so that fear will obviously not go away. And it's a true fear as well, right? This is where things are heading. Either they can be in a weight on this technology, or, you know, block this technology, right? It's gonna happen sooner or later. So, so it's their choice. Obviously, when there are two financial ecosystems, money flows, flows through both right, and a single dominant ecosystem doesn't remain anymore, which we have today. Right. So obviously, they have for years into, you know, losing out a market share, but that also gives them an opportunity to innovate in that field, right. If they want to be part of it, they can still be part of it by innovating the same way. The other part People are doing. It's a same level field, as you said. So so they have to, you know, compete with the companies, what what they are building and still may not have a stronghold as they have in the current financial ecosystem. But as this is a level field, so they have equal right to come and innovate and build products for for this ecosystem as well.
Elsa Ramon 34:23
So the product, you've built one of the many coins, which, yeah, tell us a litte bit about that.
Ashish Singhal 34:32
So, we started with an idea of making crypto easier in 2016. So being a hacker, the coin search platform comes as a hack itself. So you would know that the price of crypto varies from one exchange to another because it's simply based on demand and supply. So similar to say a flight aggregator which basically aggregate different flight routes and different Flight providers into a single platform and let user choose you know, what is the best price and best route for them. Similarly, we built a platform which aggregate prices from various exchanges like finance a BDC okay x change now change Li, and let us know what is the price going on on different exchanges. We do deep integration with these exchanges. So, people can, you know, convert these crypto directly on our website without leaving the website. So they get the best rate and they get the ease of use that they are looking for.
Elsa Ramon 35:32
Right. So this is me just just to give people something to relate to. A cryptocurrency exchange is like an exchange you would use if you were going to another country and wanted to exchange your native money for that country's native money. It's similar it's similar with cryptocurrencies you want to trade your native money for cryptocurrency or digital currency of your choice?
Ashish Singhal 35:57
Yes, and since Different exchange rate would exist whenever you are exchanging with someone, someone may agree that okay one US dollar equal 200 INR, someone may agree that okay one US dollar equal 210 Ayana, so, what we do is we aggregate all these rates from different exchanges and give user the benefit of getting the best rate out of it right. So, we suggest user that okay this is this use this exchange is giving you a rate of 100 this exchange is giving you a rate of 110 and you can come and choose the one that you want to write and user can choose the best trade and start converting their cryptocurrencies.
Bill Deignan 36:40
So, in like so, let's say I go to buy Nance and deposit some Bitcoin, which then allows me to exchange that for another for aetherium. And maybe I trade that back and forth and try to make some money. So, but I'm actually you know, I'm gonna Essentially allowing finance to hold my cryptocurrency so they really have my money and it can be, you know, possibly hacked and taken away. And as the way with many exchanges is if I'm looking at your situation it almost looks as like am I just putting money in an account on yours? Are you custody custody? So yeah, yeah, so we had a noncustodial exchange. So when you come to the platform, you say you want to convert Bitcoin to aetherium. We asked you your aetherium address, you transfer your Bitcoin to us and aetherium it gets converted to aetherium and transferred back to your wallet. Your wallet could be a hardware wallet, custody wallet or an exchange wallet or any Wallet for that matters, right. So coin switch never keeps your funds. We keep your funds for a very short period in time in which the conversion is happening. So user get that security because they never have to trust an exchange to keep their funds
Elsa Ramon 38:00
Okay, so new people listening by the way, one of the sayings in the crypto community, not your keys, not your coins, basically that that kind of broken down means if you don't offload your cryptocurrency onto a hard wallet you know called they call it cold storage offline you know you're susceptible to hacks but the difference is I just want to explain for people who are new to this because all these terms get thrown around. people worry one of the biggest questions Bill and I get asked a lot when we're out shooting on location is is the safe you know, I can Bitcoin and these others be hacked well, Bitcoin itself and the blockchain for Bitcoin hasn't been hacked, but your your funds are only as safe as the exchange is, if you're relying on the exchange to hold on to your funds like a bank. So you know, yes, people hear of these hacks. But a lot of times it's the exchanges that are holding your crypto that get hacked not the actual cryptocurrency like Bitcoin itself, that gets hacked. So I apologize. I'd like to clarify for people so they don't feel left out of the conference.
Bill Deignan 39:13
Sure. Yeah. But also, you know, Binance is the ability to like, like, I'm looking at your site Coinswitch, where I can see that I can easily say, I can put in, you know, hey, I've got point five Bitcoins. So you know, for those of you watching the livestream, you can see me doing this on screen. And it gives me the opportunity to exchange that into aetherium. And it tells me how many a theorem I would get, but it also tells me how many a theorem I would get from any of a number of different exchanges. So I'm the one that chooses that exchange, I want to buy it on or is the Coinswitch that chooses that? .
Ashish Singhal 39:50
Yeah. So we recommend you an exchange based on price and the reliability of that exchange. But ultimately, you are the one the user is the one who gets to choose which exchange they want. They may have some affinity to some exchange or, you know, the order execution might be faster for some exchange that they want to go with. Right? So it's up to user to decise what they want.
Bill Deignan 40:13
So in like in Binance, I can go look at trading pairs and charts and all of those types of things, you're not really offering that we are not.
Ashish Singhal 40:22
So we are very simple. We are meant for retail users, who don't want to go through the complexity of you know, trade, understanding fades, understanding order books and ascending charts, who simply want to acquire Bitcoin or acquire any any currencies, right. So, we simply let you let the users have a simplest way to get cryptocurrencies, without actually, you know, holding their funds and providing them the security and the speed that they need to acquire any cryptocurrency for that matter.
Bill Deignan 40:56
Does this allow for what they call arbitrage where people are trying to Quickly go back. And so between exchanges.
Ashish Singhal 41:03
So currently it does not. And we do have. So we already split orders across exchanges, making sure that the user always get the best rate. Right. So the heavy lifting is done by the platform, making sure that user is always getting the best rate. But obviously, it's meant for retail users who don't understand the complexity of arbitrage or even, you know, the complexity of trade and order books, like so.
Bill Deignan 41:32
So I guess, you know, that I had to wrap my mind around it a bit, because I'm used to sort of having to put crypto on an exchange to use it. In this case, you're just you're taking the funds momentarily, and then doing the transaction among many different exchanges. You're kind of a middleman in a way.
Ashish Singhal 41:49
Yes, exactly. So he got like a broker in front of all these exchanges that you would ideally go and use directly.
Bill Deignan 41:57
Elsa Ramon 41:59
Are there other That's very different than most exchanges out there Ashish, right, because most exchanges you trade your native currency for whatever cryptocurrency or digital currency you want, and that exchange can hold it for you in a wallet. You don't do that and that's a demographic difference.
Ashish Singhal 42:21
So we do that as well. So because coin switch is a global brand, so in except India, you can only trade one crypto to another but in India, we have a platform called coin switch Kobe. You can visit coin switch.co slash iron to to have a look at it. But so how it works is it's exactly like Coinbase where you can you know, buy any cryptocurrency with rupees, right. And we support hundred plus cryptocurrencies and you can easily buy anything that you want with single click right so you still on even on that platform, you don't have to worry about audiobooks, trade books. So you can simply go and download the app and deposit INR into it and buy any cryptocurrency that you want. So we just launched it a month back and yeah. So so we are progressing. So after the RBI ban was lifted, this was a product in India.
Elsa Ramon 43:18
And that was the government ban you were talking about earlier? Yes, yes for India, okay.
Bill Deignan 43:24
So, it looks like an easy way to buy a lot of different tokens because I
Elsa Ramon 43:30
So Bill's shopping.
Bill Deignan 43:31
Yeah. Not that I'm ready. I'm not recommending anything and, you know, everyone knows we're not financial advisors,
Elsa Ramon 43:40
Of course, but I, you know, just you mentioned Coinbase and Binance just for the new people listening those are other very, very popular exchanges where you can buy multiple different types of digital currency, cryptocurrencies, and, you know, store it there or online. offloaded onto your own little cold storage, which we explained earlier your own little, almost like a little hard drive of your money. So while bill shopping, I wanted to ask you as she so when you first heard about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, I mean, you were probably one of the first people in the world to hear about this emerging technology before the rest of us because you were already a developer, you are already in that world sort of. So I would imagine the transition was pretty easy for you, but when you first heard about it, what were some of your first thoughts?
Ashish Singhal 44:42
So, in 2013, when I read the Bitcoin white paper, I was totally blown away and that, you know, this can be done as well, because from the technical standpoint, that was a standout, right? It has never been done before and somebody has figured out a way to, you know, have a distributed ledger. and verify transactions on a distributed ledger. Right? So, so that was an amazing Mind blown moment. Obviously, I couldn't do anything with it at that time because a lot of technology was built, but there was no interface that was there or there were no easy way to acquire Bitcoin or you know, trade bitcoins in India at that point, right. So, it took a little while then Indian, you know, a lot of exchanges came up in India. And in you know, later we also decided to build an exchange with a single focus in mind the simplicity, right, see, even I started coin switch in 2017, my goal was very similar, that I want to make a platform where even my parents can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Right. So, last year, last week, so two weeks back when we launched our platform, where you can buy cryptocurrencies in China, my mother, who is 65 years of age, bought her first Bitcoin, so that was the realest, proud moment that you know I could ever have. And it basically proved it. All my years of hard work was proven right at that point that, you know, I built what I set out to do, right. And it's not easy to make it that simple. So, so the team worked really, really hard. I am not sure if I'm able to explain the gravity of, you know, fulfilling that wish that I had three years ago, but we are really excited to be in India now providing a service where people can buy and sell cryptocurrencies, with such an ease that even my mother can buy crypto.
Bill Deignan 46:41
So I read an interview that you did, but I can't remember where that you try to focus on only one sort of metric for a goal for your team. So apparently, your goal was, if my, if my 65 year old mother can buy that's the goal.
Ashish Singhal 46:57
You know, so when we set out to do it You know, bitcoins, which everyone says that they want to build a simple product, right? But my team asked me, How do you measure the simplicity of your product? What is your matrix, right? And investors asked me what is the matrix to building a simplistic product? I said, the matrix is the day my parents are able to buy it. That day, I would know that I have made a good product.
Elsa Ramon 47:22
But I cannot tell you I cannot emphasize enough I have. I've been you know, I consider myself still a newbie a little under two years in this space. I cannot get my parents who are also 65 and my dad who is in his 70s to do it. And I mean, it can I mean, I could hand it to them ready to just push a button and they won't do it, you know, but I guess we would say here in the united states that if you can get your Boomer parents to do it, then you know you have succeeded. Yeah, I'm not it. I'm not saying that. I'm Not a millennial or I'm Gen X, you know, but so even if I'll throw myself in there saying even if a Gen X er can do it, and a boomer can do it, you guys can do it.
Ashish Singhal 48:12
Yeah. So that was the idea behind Coinswitch. And I think with our launch in India of Coinswitch Kobe's, we are making the right strides. Obviously, we have a long, long way to go and the regulations in India need to support us. And a lot of users need to support us but I think we are on the right track, making crypto easy and being just that single goal and you know, making a focus on our product, making sure that we provide the best usable product in India to be able to get into cryptocurrencies, and as you all know, once you get into cryptocurrencies there, the opportunities are endless, right. So, yeah, so we want it to be the gateway of, you know, people getting into crypto in India, and hopefully we would be there very soon.
Bill Deignan 49:01
So let's talk about CruxPay then. Yeah, I like that. And I think there are other blockchains maybe trying to do the same thing but you make it more of instead of exchanging keys, these super long strings of letters and numbers that are difficult to identify, if you entering them correctly, yours is more like an email like a Venmo.
Ashish Singhal 49:26
Yes. So, what we have done is, so, we have all faced this issue that you know, whenever we are transferring funds to friends or exchanges, we need to verify addresses time and again, right?
Elsa Ramon 49:39
Because these are not money to somebody in a bank account, you need to know their bank account their bank account, exact same things. So with a wallet, you need to know their wallet number, but these numbers tend to be a huge long string of letters and numbers combined and you'll never memorize it.
Ashish Singhal 49:57
Yes, exactly. And and with crypto, the problem means that transactions are irreversible. It's not a problem. It's a feature. But it's a problem for people who miss out, you know, or miss type these addresses and lose the funds forever. Right? So what we do is we provide human readable IDs, which can be binded to all your addresses. So instead of exchanging addresses or Bitcoin, aetherium, and anything with your friends and exchanges, you can simply use an ID forever, right? And all the heavy lifting is done by this ID resolving addresses, making sure it's going to the right one. It's owned by you. It's not hackable. And so all the security and you know, the user intractability is taken care of by this ID. So in the crypto ecosystem, if you have this ID, that's all you need.
Bill Deignan 50:48
So who owns who sort of assigns the ID Are you guys the clearinghouse for this? It's kind of lts like a domain name?
Ashish Singhal 50:57
Exactly like a domain name. And what we do is we title With wallets and wallet, you can go to any of our partner wallets and create a cracks ID. And basically you can type a name figure out which is available which is not and choose the on that you'd like. Right?
Bill Deignan 51:14
so I can be it could be like Superman at C R U X.
Ashish Singhal 51:20
Yeah. So as so any any thing that you like, which is available, you can choose that and start using it.
Elsa Ramon 51:28
So imagine this everybody I mean, if you're listening, your email could be a way to get paid. You can send your email is this is this am I getting this right? You Send your email to someone saying you pay me at this address and they can send you the money back in your email and it's here you have it.
Ashish Singhal 51:49
Yeah. So instead of just sharing addresses which can change over time and you know, the kind of wallets you're using, or or any anything that for that matter, right So you might demand different currencies at different points from different users. So you have to change those addresses. And those are confusing as well. Right? Instead of that, now you can share a single ID with anyone that you want. And they can send and receive funds using this ID . Very simply.
Bill Deignan 52:16
So yeah, so alright, so I'm familiar with like dot crypto and dot zil. And these sort of domain names that also secured our own versions of these things, although we haven't really used them. So I, if I'm understanding if I'm understood, maybe not but that's what I'm trying to get to. is if I use dot zil and I give somebody my you know, I'm Bill dot zil. For instance, shove in, they send that money to that dot zil address, I have to deal only with that dot zil address, to get maybe only a certain type of currency exchanged. Yeah, that's kind of how I understand it, but With Crux pay is it that all I need is a bill at correct Crux. Yeah. Basically, I could say I want some, some, some aetherium sent to my Devi wallet or I want some Monaro sent to you know, from that wallet to a another wallet, I may have been using just that address, I could do and of those things.
Ashish Singhal 53:28
So, these addresses are are these names CRUX IDs are created on wallets so they are wallet specific. So say if you are creating a wallet, your tax ID on DB wallet, then all the addresses in your DB wallet are linked to that Rex ID. So whenever you say you're sharing with to transfer Bitcoin, it will always reach your dv wallet. If you're using my Mineiro to create tax id then all the addresses and my Manila wallet would be linked to your tax ID. So it's wallet dependent today. We would have future releases where you can, you know, even interlink wallets together. So that if you are using five different wallets, you can use a single ID to send and receive funds across, right?
Elsa Ramon 54:11
So it like having a bunch of bank accounts all together in one and you just use one ID to be able to choose which account in your wallet, you want that money to go or that crypto to go to.
Ashish Singhal 54:23
Yeah, so something like that. And for now, the the idea is it works like a bank account. So similarly, how you show, you know, show your bank account details and you receive the funds in that particular bank. Similar to that you share the cracks ID and you receive the funds in that particular wallet itself. Right. So you can create two wallets safe one for business and one for personal and try sharing different IDs to different people to receive money in different wallets. Right. And the good part about Rackspace is instead of just sharing ideas, you can send payment request to others. So I can request you a payment in your wallet, there would be a pop up, similar to how it's explained on the hair, you will basically receive a payment request where you simply have to, you know, say accept or deny. If you say accept the payment would be deducted from your wallet and will automatically go to the requester. Right? So you don't even have to deal with the complexity of adding anyone's cracks ID into your wallet. Or, you know, typing and anything like that. Yes, exactly. Exactly. So it works like Venmo or PayPal, where you simply request every request and you simply click pay or not pay and all is done in the background.
Bill Deignan 55:44
Is dot Crux like Like for instance, dot .zil dot .crypto? I think there's a dot .EOS are various numbers. They can act as actual web addresses that I could build a website on there. Could it actually be summed up the rest of the world wide web? Is .crux like that?
Ashish Singhal 56:05
No. So we are simply a naming and uphold payment service. We don't deal with domain name service right now.
Elsa Ramon 56:13
Okay. So this is important and I want to explain to the people who are learning why. Two years ago when I first started learning about Bitcoin and blockchain, there were a bunch of different exchanges. I didn't know where to start, which is the best one, which one is trustworthy, because early on in this game, there were people who put money in exchanges and bought crypto and kept their money there and then I disappeared people there were scams, just as there are scams in the stock market and other places where money is flowing and there's a lot of money to be made. Yes, there are scams too, but I started learning that there's a bunch of different exchange choices I could choose from to buy my crypto But then the problem was on certain exchanges, you could only buy certain kryptos. Other exchanges, you could only buy certain kryptos you not every exchange has every single crypto. So I found myself as a new person, a newbie, going to maybe buy Nance to buy this crypto that was available there. But going to coin base exchange and buying a crypto over here because it's not offered on by Nance and vice versa. So it's this is important for people to understand that if everything is all in one place, it makes it so much easier, less stressful and less fear that you're going to click a wrong button and your funds are going to go out somewhere, you know, into the universe. Because you're dealing with different exchanges and trying to remember well, I've got this money here on this exchange and this money here on this exchange. This kind of puts it all together under one roof. under one umbrella, so that you don't have to think as much and worry as much that you're doing the right thing Am I is that kind of the idea behind this?
Ashish Singhal 58:09
That is the kind of idea behind it that, you know, at later point, when you're transferring from funds from one exchange to another, you never have to worry about what those addresses look like, right? And you should be able to use a single human readable ID to be able to transfer funds from anywhere that you want. Right? And that becomes your identity in the crypto ecosystem, right? If your friends want to send new funds, if you want to send, you know, funds to some other, you can use simple human readable IDs so that you don't repeat. You don't make the mistakes, right of losing your funds. Sending to a wrong address or, or sending a wrong kind of fund to to a different wallet altogether.
Bill Deignan 58:50
Right. So so so you're a hacker. Hacker to the core. What do you bring to this, especially when building something that you want people to trust and know that they're not going to lose their money or get hacked and get their funds stolen? What do you what do you actually what goes through your mind? What tools do you employ? How do you approach? How do you build that unhackable system?
Ashish Singhal 59:21
That doesn't exist? The actual unhackable system, but you can make it suddenly harder to hack a system, right? So you take basic measures, you know, securing your servers, securing your DNS securing your access, making sure you have multiple firewalls and different you know, security access you you make sure so there are a lot of technical details that goes into securing a system and you make sure that you do regular pen testing you get, you know, regular pen testing done on your systems, making sure that you are aware of the vulnerabilities and you constantly are Fixing, right? It's almost impossible to build a system which cannot be hacked, if the hacker is, you know, good enough and persistent enough that any systems can be, right. But what we can do is we can just step stay a step ahead of hackers, and making sure that our security is at the top level. And we are aware of the issues and we are constantly fixing issues and, you know, testing our system again and again.
Bill Deignan 60:32
So by having a single or so if I have a Crux pay address in an aetherium wallet and a Crux pay address in a Devi wallet, are they the same address?
Ashish Singhal 60:44
They are different addresses as long as it's not?
Bill Deignan 60:47
Yeah. It's not as if someone knows your one. Like someone could find my email and get access to various things. It's not like they wipe you out completely if you have things distributed.
Ashish Singhal 60:59
So if you're wallets were created using different 12 words seed or 24 word seed, then obviously those two are separate wallets altogether would have separate tracks IDs all together, right? So nobody can know any of those. If they were used. If they were used to the 12 word seed was used, the same tool would use what used to create these wallets, then obviously both would be same. The crux IDs would still be different, but pointing to the same wallet.
Bill Deignan 61:26
And if you're using a wallet that can have multiple cryptocurrencies in it, then if you have everything in that wallet, then they could have access if they can hack your wallet
Elsa Ramon 61:39
Yes, yes. Yeah. And by the way, see, just to explain where I'm just trying to hold hands, you know, do some hand holding because I needed this when I was learning about it. At the seed word is when you create a wallet you're given ay ay, there's been a 12 word before 24 you know, you write these down or put them away where they cannot be found. Because if you lose your device or you forget your password for your digital wallet, if you have these seed words, you can recover it if you don't have the seed words Yeah, which is you know, another thing I think that scares people at this stage of the game that, you know, if they don't have the seed words, they could potentially lose what they have in that particular wallet that those seed words belong to. So maybe one day in the future we'll get past that to to make adoption a little bit easier.
Bill Deignan 62:41
Well as a as a white hat hacker, what what would be your best advice to people? You know, knowing what's what people are capable of doing? That's not good out there. What would you say are the three types Things a person should be doing to make sure that they've not vulnerable.
Ashish Singhal 63:04
So make sure that you know you're constantly changing your passwords for your emails, your any account that has sensitive information. always assume that your email is already hacked. So don't keep sensitive information there. Use, you know, LastPass or, you know, services like that to store and keep on rotating your passwords for any platform that you work on. If you have to invert seed or 24 word seed, please keep don't keep them online. Always keep them offline, printed on a paper, probably at your home. And, you know, there are other things that you know high advanced users can can use, which I'm not going to go into but always assume that you know your email, email is hacked and don't keep sensitive information there. I think that is the you know, the easiest way for for people to get into, and you know, get the information out, right? So keep it offline, keep it secure create a wallets, which provide that functionality and always keep your funds there. Right? If it's not online, it cannot be hacked. As simple as that.
Bill Deignan 64:16
So like if I'm like somebody might say, it's also my say, hey, Bill, I need the password that the username and password for this account we share or something, you know, I'm the type that I would always just, you know, send her the username by email and text her the password. Am I even Am I just wasting my time doing that?
Ashish Singhal 64:38
So let's not, yeah, so that's a pretty easy way to get hacked. Because we have to assume that you know, hacking these devices or hacking email ids is very easy, because a lot of people don't have second auth you know, two Fs enabled on emails and all that and we use obviously regular easy to guess passwords, which which other people can simply with some technology can guess and hack, right? So always use services like LastPass or any other password sharing tool to have that important information pass through and always enable to FA if you can, on your accounts, making sure that they are secure.
Bill Deignan 65:25
What what are you recommend for 2FA ?
Ashish Singhal 65:27
Yeah. So I, yeah, so 2FA are different for different platform. Ultimately, it's a it's a code that you need to scan and keep somewhere right, which regularly generates every 60 seconds generates a password for you, right? So you can go authenticator is an authenticator app that generates a passcode it went like you said, Every 2030 seconds, you would use to log in that your accou
Elsa Ramon 65:56
Like Google Authenticator is synced with. So it's unique to your device.
Ashish Singhal 66:01
Yes. So it's unique to your device and unique to your account. So it's linked to both. And that makes sure that, you know, hackers can never access because in this short amount of time, they can never guess that to FA password, right? So you need to make sure. So securing that also is very, very important. Make sure your to FA seed is not shared with anyone and is secure offline, rather than, you know, securing them on online. Right. So if you take these few measures, I think I think a lot of hacking that happens today can be avoided.
Elsa Ramon 66:38
Oh, absolutely. Speaking from experience, I was SIM swapped last year and so I learned the hard way about Yeah, they'll remember I had to learn the hard way. I was SIM swapped twice. And I thought I took all the precautions but I had to learn the hard way that you know, I needed the Google authenticator app and all these extra layers of security. So don't find out the hard way. You know, look into that. But this look, don't take it from me as she is the hacker. So this is an advice. This is advice from a hacker. So take his advice on this and a lot of other things that he's talked about during our podcast today. Asheesh, Bill and I can't thank you enough for being with us today on the podcast to help us walk newbies through some of the terms and that we use and and ways to learn about how to become a little more crypto savvy.
Ashish Singhal 67:38
It was a pleasure being here and it was really great, you know, interacting with Bill and you Elsa.
Elsa Ramon 67:44
Yeah. Hey, oh, by the way, CruxPay and CoinSwitch will have your information Ashish in our show notes by the way for people who are interested in doing more research
Bill Deignan 67:56
You want to Bill Well, you know, we're This is gonna be our fifth episode. This is our first international guest, you know?
Elsa Ramon 68:08
I'm so glad to signal held up the entire time. I mean, that's all we can ask for these days.
Ashish Singhal 68:13
. Right? Exactly.
Elsa Ramon 68:16
All right. Thank you so much. Enjoy your Friday night. It is Friday evening where you are and in India and I know you can't go out you mentioned because of COVID and it's a rainy night. So please enjoy a wonderful night at home. And again,
Ashish Singhal 68:31
Thank you so much. Thanks a lot, Bye.
Isaiah Jackson, Elsa Ramon, Bill Deignan
NOTE: This was transcribed using “Artificial Intelligence, aka AI”, which explains why when you read it, we appear to be “Artificially Intelligent”. It’s a lot of words for a computer to digest, so, just listen to the podcast.
It’s go time again. We had a little break there, Billy. Yeah, we did last recording. Yeah,
I know you needed to get some time off and in a way with the family a little bit. I’m always needing to get some time off. Not always with the family. But you know, we’ve had a lot of good quality time in the past few months for sure.
Yeah, that’s, I’m glad you call it quality time. That’s a good way to put it. It really has been though all joking aside, it and I joke about the time we’re spending not just with the kids, but also with my parents.
Oh, my goodness.
We’ve spent a lot of time together and actually, it’s it’s really, I think the situation with this quarantine and everything has just really made me appreciate some things that maybe I forgot to appreciate. You know, as as as much as maybe sometimes my mom and I bump heads. You know, I’m gonna lay this time.
We’ll be talking about Cindy, I love her.
I know you love my view and my mom get along great. But I it’s I what I was gonna say it was it made me realize there was going to be a time where I’m going to be glad that you know, we were all hunkered down together like this. So you know, those are some of the good things that come out of out of these situations. Right? Yeah.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So we’re back to episode number four of so what about crypto?
Yeah, I can’t believe we’re just going along. And so I’m I have just have to tell you, and people watching and listening, how excited I’ve been to talk to this next person because it not that I’m not excited to talk to every single person because everyone brings something different, which is what I love. I mean, we all bring something to the table and it’s all valuable for the most part, but yeah, I really really enjoy interviewing people that I’ve met in person and, and knew that they were going to be something special and then go back and check on them and see how they’re doing. You know, fast forward a year, two years, three years I’ve done that in the past when I was in TV news, I did stories where we would help people help people get justice, help people get something. And I would like to check back up on them like a year later and see how they’re doing. And it always just makes me so happy to see that for most of the time. They’re doing great and it’s nice to know that I was a small tiny part of that. So I’m really excited to talk to our next guest because this is where I feel we are now. I met him a year ago at the Bitcoin his conference and for people who are
Whose, whose conference was that,
That’s Russell O’Connor. You guys, you know, NFL football player was most recently with the Chargers believe now he’s with the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl champ pro bowler, who’s very, very into bitcoin and so I got to go to his conference and meet him and get to know him. But while I was there, I met some really awesome people that I’m planning to do stories with and Isaiah Jackson was one of the people I knew that I was going to connect with, again, at some point because I knew he had something special. When he gave me this book. Let me take my pen out of it, because I made a million notes, Bitcoin in black America, look at my notes, lots of notes. But I made the notes in this book that he gave me. Not just because I want to reference them maybe if something comes up a conversation during the podcast right now, but for myself to go back and check and I’ll explain why once we get started talking Talking with Isaiah because I want to bring him in and show him that. Isaiah, I still have the book you gave me when we met at Russell Kong’s conference last year in LA. And I’m even very proud of the fact that you also signed in fact, when you gave it to me,
Wow, Hey, could you maybe sign my Kindle version? We’ll be able to do that.
I’m sure we can work out a digital secret.
I feel very special that I have this.
I do want to say I was nervous when I was going to give it to you. Because I did. Nobody there really knew who I was. Nobody. I just kind of showed up and I had in mind about five or six people I really wanted to get booked to use Spencer, Dinwiddie, Russell, of course a few other people so I was nervous just because I you know, sometimes you get people stuff. They’re like, Oh, that’s cool, and then they never explore it but uh, I’m glad you did. I’m glad everybody’s taking a liking to the book. And this is a great time to discuss it. Glad to be here.
I, you know, I we’re very glad you’re here too. And I really feel honored that you’re here because I know right now in light of everything that’s happening around us in this world, I’m sure you’ve been so very busy talking with everyone, because we really brought a spotlight. You know, the unfortunate horrible situations that are happening have brought a spotlight to something that you’ve known. I’ve known to some degree, many people have known for many, many years, which is the problem of systemic racism and problems in our society with that, and I, I feel like I I hope that that wasn’t the only reason for people to talk to you about your book and why it’s important, you know, because it is, you know, maybe people see it as the topic of the moment but it’s not of the moment for People who have experienced it their whole lives, it’s not about a moment, this is a whole lifetime of stuff. So, um, you know, are you finding that you’re surprised by some of the people that are reaching out to you?
Yes, I am. I do believe there is a fair amount of people who may be doing a little bit of virtue signaling just sort of reaching out because it’s a good time period. For the most part, most of the people that have reached out have been sincere in their plight to try to include the black community and Bitcoin, as well as the economic improvements we need. I will say the biggest shout outs I’ve gotten or people that have helped came before these unfortunate events. However, it is good to see that people who did like the book and then they saw these protests happening sort of took it upon themselves to to hold times and protest, which that picked up really big on social media and, you know, those people read the book way before this happened. So, you know, there are a few people that are just taking advantage of the moment. But for the most part, people recognize the importance of this book when it came out last year in July. So now that we’re about a year for it, I believe this is a great time to discuss it. And and like you said, you know, some people are doing it just for the time period. But if that’s what gets them into the game gets them into actually helping in solving this problem. Racism is so big.
Well, that’s a very good attitude to have about it. You know, I mean, I guess you do, also on your end to have to take advantage of the fact that you’re being given a platform to and which is what you wanted to do with the book in the first place. So I really hope that people truly take what they’re going to find in this book to heart but before we get to that, I know your life is not what it was a year ago. Things have really, really been great for you your book is doing very well. And it was doing well before we have found ourselves in this situation in history. But before you wrote the book, could you ever imagine that you’d be where you are right now?
I could imagine it but it had no, I really didn’t think of
It like what you imagined, I guess would be I
Mean, you always have dreams. I mean, as you’re writing the book and think to yourself, you know, this will take off and, you know, people around the world are going to read it and be impacted and they’re going to help themselves. And you know, as it’s happening now, it really is taking off but just the amount of feedback and how much people liked it. I did not expect it. I’m one of my worst critics. I don’t think I’m that great of a writer. I think I have a lot of passion. So it comes out on the pages and information so people understand it, but you know, one of my face critics but everybody who loves it when everybody who has responded to it has made me feel more secure. So Yeah, at this point, I’m starting to believe it. And you know, a year ago, it was a totally different world for me, and you know, there’s sort of a whirlwind but I enjoy it. Love it. Okay, I can’t wait to keep it going for the foreseeable future.
I’m so happy for you. I just love nothing more than to see people succeed, especially people like you who are doing something very incredible and very selfless, to spend the time learning so that you can teach other people. But before you got to the book, you had a completely different life. You were just like most of us who thought we get it, you know, go to school, get a career, pay our dues work for nothing, you know, basically work our way up and it seemed like an insurmountable task. You were a teacher.
Yes. come from a family of teachers. So so you know, my mother Teacher, teachers, my grandmother is a teacher, you know, have cousins that are teachers now, I have a family full of educators. And that was my first job out of college. My first official job, I taught high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, shout out to East Lake High School, getting my first job there. But as much as I wanted to be an educator, I realized that the public education system was tainted. It was underfunded it would the teachers were overworked. As I described in the book, we’ve made basically just enough money to go back to work. You know, that’s teachers are notoriously underpaid. And one of the things I wanted to point out being an educator, and you know, moving forward is that teaching people about subjects can be done in any form. I just got out of public education decided to go with Bitcoin because, in my opinion, once you learn something that’s valuable, and you apply it to your life, and it works, you should teach other people how to do it, and that’s what I’ve been doing the last seven years now.
A teacher though.
Doesn’t go away. So yeah,
Yeah. Seven years, man, that’s like, that’s dedication, man cuz like, yeah, I mean, you just look at early bitcoiners you know, they talk about, you know, not knowing if this thing was gonna take off or not and just had a passion. You know, you you kind of went through that I’m sure but you also took it upon yourself to write a book and sort of, you know, try to start a movement to help people, which, you know, is probably to some degree, a thankless task for a pretty long time. But, uh, you know, did you ever reach a point you’re like, man, I just don’t know if it was worth it. You know?
You know, you know, the physical part of me was a few times I was just like, why do I care so much? You know, I mean, it’s like, especially you know, as Bitcoin gained in price from a money transfer, money point of view, I really didn’t need to do it, but from a spiritual standpoint I spent a lot of time talking to people about meditation and how I speak with my ancestors a lot of times and try and get things from family members. It was just my plight to show people in my community. Why Bitcoin was important simply because every time I would come up with solutions or come up with things, it’s one of those things where you kind of look around is like, why am I talking about this? Why is this not on, you know, every conversation that we have? And that was the reason for getting into consulting and then on to the book. So, yeah, it’s just something in me that I felt I had to do. And I think everybody who’s successful at anything has a has should have the plight to reach back and teach other people and it doesn’t feel like work. I mean, every day I wake up, it feels it feels good to help other people get into bitcoin because I can say I don’t need to do it. I definitely want to do it. And I think that’s why the response is so organic, and has been as good as it is.
Isn’t that incredible, though, because I say I feel the same way that you know, I was in television news 21 years working for the network’s and once I learned all about this and what it was about, it’s only been, I guess about a year and a half, almost two years. I felt compelled to do something with this knowledge about Bitcoin and blockchain I really became consumed and very compelled like you to show people why this is important when I first learned about it at this private event. As the people on the panel were explaining what it was, I was looking around the room going, are you guys getting this because nobody’s seemed moved. But I was really like, Oh my god, this is this is incredible. Like, I wanted to jump up and guard you people hearing this, you know, it’s like, you’re telling them they want a million dollars to their face, and they’re just sitting there like, yeah, I mean, I so I know that feeling that compulsion that makes you feel like you want to teach people about this because I left TV news to start over and and do this, the podcast but which was recent, but our content that Bill and I have spent over the last year and a half, two years shooting to teach people but that’s the thing about Bitcoin and blockchain and, and everything in between that once you learn about it, it’s like this light switch is flipped and you do feel the need to tell everybody about it because to me, it’s justice. It’s social justice. And that’s one of the reasons why I got into TV news, you know, you want to get people justice, you want to help people you want to tell their stories. And you know, as a teacher, same thing, you want to help people you want to teach them you want to give them advantages. This is a no brainer. This is like the ultimate justice right? The ultimate advantage.
Absolutely. And, you know, I sort of compare finding out about bitcoins and follow them Look, you got to be a little crazy to get into it. Go to world, right? So sort of how most people go about when they find out about Bitcoin. It’s sort of like, like you said, a light switch goes off, then you start to, in my opinion, you start to question a lot of the things you would talk about the financial industry, and then you dig a little bit deeper, you don’t have to go as deep as I did. I definitely went down the wormhole a few nights. But if you go just a little bit deeper, you can see the corruption that has happened, and why this is needed. Like you said, You sit there and say, Hey, are you guys here like this? by me jumping up and down. Most people don’t, then that they’re even if you have money, you shouldn’t you should have more. You see your perfect, be worth more. Your taxes should not be as much as they are. The oversight in the financial industry should not be as much as it is. So even if you’re doing okay, you can do better. So everybody should be on board to try and change the system.
In fact, it’s almost worse to me You’re doing quite well. Because I think the lesson disadvantaged a person is a less marginalized community is they’re not as quick to see why this is so important. When you peel back the layers of how banks are run, how corporations are run, how Wall Street is run, you start to see just below the surface, holy crap. There’s a lot of bad stuff here. That’s happening. And we’re all just a bunch of worker bees. And, boy, this is things could be a lot different in so many ways, but it’s just below the surface. I used to call it the golden handcuffs, because I made really good money as an on air television anchor reporter but those are like golden handcuffs because I believed I was I had a good and I really had no idea even at As a reporter and somebody who’s in news, I really had no clue what was really going on? financially.
Exactly. And that’s why we have to work harder to get this financial education out. And also, you know, going forward to the future. Most of the people that I’ve discussed Bitcoin with our industry that are big winners, they’ve all kind of echo the sentiment that you talk someone that country, like Zimbabwe, a country like South Africa, or Venezuela or India or somewhere where you can basically say, hey, this money is a hedge against your government. They get it and they don’t even don’t even question it. Like any anything is better than what we have to deal with, with Americans. Because for a lot bitcoiners I talked to her like, yeah, Americans will question you for years, not just, you know, people that still to this day, like, well, I still don’t understand what I’m like, see, as an American, you think our money is safe, it never happened to us, even though the Fed is trying to fool the dollar as we speak. They’re literally doing it right. In front of you, that is one of the things I think long term international countries get it faster so they’ll actually act on it and innovate faster than us will at this point Where’s with political preparations? And no, I just think that is the sense makes a lot of bitcoins in industry.
And, you know, we we see things from afar too. We look at ourselves as Americans and see stuff on the news and go, Wow, at least we’re not Venezuela. I mean, boy, those poor people really don’t know what you truly have it like here and what you could have it like here in the United States, we are very much in belief that we truly are financially free and the banks work for us and you know, things are running fine. This is how I pay for things cash, debit card, credit card, this, it’s good, it’s good. I know where my money is. It’s I led to believe it’s safe here. And you know, I don’t know about you, Isaiah, but the biggest questions I get from people who asked He started asking questions about Bitcoin. biggest questions, Is it safe? Um, you know, because nobody wants to find out that their money disappears into thin air one day, you know, like, oh, if they were hacked or or whatever, you know, is it safe? What can it do for me? Why should I leave what I already know, it seems to be working fine. My bank is fine. You know, using the credit cards are fine. My job is fine. So the biggest hurdle I have with people absolutely.
Like, like you said, until it isn’t, and that seems to me to be kind of the theme, maybe of your book, among others. And I’d love for you to elaborate a bit on the sort of, you know, strategy that you would want to employ to empower black people to take on you know, their own sort of sovereignty. But you know, one thing that stood out in your book And as I was reading it is a line that you said that said, you know, people used to look at Bitcoin through the lens of desperation and not emancipation.
And but how do you get other people to look at it that way?
Well, man, you know, how do you see that like literally playing out?
Oh, yeah, great question. So as far as emancipation, and as how I described it, the reason it does for you is because it gives you self sovereignty, it gives you the ability to control your own money. And the conversation right now around a lot of black Americans is sort of a perfect storm, because a lot of black Americans are saying, All right, we’re in a system that doesn’t care about us. So what are the solutions for the future? And we want real true economic freedom. Bitcoin can be there to do that. And I think when people see the price, it brings them in, but when they figure out why they need it, why the system or how the system has, you know, systematically held them back. I think that Teaching people that most of the times once I get through the first three or four slides that describe banks and redlining and some of the discriminant discriminatory loan practices, most black people are like, you run it, they really don’t care about it. So they go from that. And then I offer a solution of Bitcoin and that’s sort of how we get them to realize that and as far as security, when people ask about security, Bitcoin has not been hacked people have and you do need to have good security. It’s sort of like if somebody robbed a bank and you decided not to use cash anymore. It doesn’t make any sense. People get robbed not Bitcoin security. Bitcoin has had pretty much 100% uptime, Bitcoin itself has never been hacked. And the security that you need can be taught by people like myself, but if you don’t want to hold on to it, we have a lot of third party custodial services that will hold it big go others that can hold it in cold storage, which were not available when I first started. They are available today though, so it’s a lot easier to onboard people. Want to make them feel comfortable about moving their Bitcoin but you do want to make sure you control those private keys not your keys, not your coins. So make sure you have wallet, keys.
Right, which is a pretty common thing in in this community not your keys not your coin a Mac, just for the new people who are just learning, by the way, a lot of the things that that Isaiah said some of the words that bill is at and I have said you could either find defined in the book or you know, Google them just to get familiar with some of the terminology because I know it’s a little overwhelming to hear all these words flying at you and people might have the tendency to go I don’t understand this. I’m just gonna shut down you know, and obviously we don’t want them to do that. But I along the lines of not looking at Bitcoin as a get rich quick type of thing. I know people hear those stories. It’s like, Oh, I bought Bitcoin at you know, $1 and now it went up to 20 grand, you know, it’s it’s not just a About that, yes, of course, people are interested in making money and bettering their lives. But it’s a lot more than that, which is very well detailed in the book. But another thing along the lines that bill brought up, desperation versus emancipation is another theme that you’ve threaded through the entire book is the thought of self fulfilling prophecy. What do you mean by that, when you talk about that as, as a thought, or mean at least thought a community should have? And keep in mind when they think about Bitcoin?
Yes, so we’ve discussed a lot in my community and with my family, amongst other people about group economics, and about being able to support black owned businesses in order to keep the dollars in our community and basically uplift ourselves and Bitcoin can be a self fulfilling prophecy because if we decide to practice group economics, and we also want to increase the wealth of our community, if you use Bitcoin and use it for payments and it is part of the circular economy. It doesn’t have to be completely Bitcoin but for the most part, people have it as an option. And they’re holding it at for savings businesses and individuals. A self fulfilling prophecy comes about when you say we need to have a circular economy, which happens and our bodies decrease, which if you look at Bitcoin over time, has increased from six cent 10 years ago to almost 10,000 today, which I think it will continue on because of the value proposition. So if you start that circular economy, you get basically a self fulfilling prophecy of using better money to, you know, basically create group economics and also increase the value of that community all at the same time and basically kill two birds with one stone,
Which then leads to sovereignty.
I mean, then you can, then you can hire private police that will not kill you in the street. Well, guess what last what can be achieved you can get health care That doesn’t disproportionately kill black women, you know, you can get banks that actually give loans based on your merit and not based on your skin color or your zip code. These things can happen once you have sovereignty and you can’t really achieve it until you have something like Bitcoin.
Right, which people don’t understand when you start to see it through those lenses, you really start to understand that, wow, okay. Banks have a lot of power as you outlined in your book, and which is information all over the internet, the Federal Reserve, if I get this right, gives the banks the money, and then the money. The people at the banks get to decide who gets it and who doesn’t. And then when you add in things like prejudice, systemic racism, you know all those things. You see how it becomes less and less available to certain amounts of people and certain genres and people’s, you know, and so on and so forth. You see the layers. And once you can start seeing the layers of how we get to the point where we are today, that’s when the light switch goes up, I would hope for people to see why sovereignties just not this word that means, oh, so we’re free. Yeah, well, we’re already free. Well, we’re not really. And I think people need to go back and understand what sovereignty truly means, and go back and re examine whether or not we as Americans are truly sovereign.
Exactly. I think the term has, basically it had a stopping point. It was sovereign, you can be a sovereign as you want. You can grow your food, establish your own water system, maybe have electricity grid. You can build your house. You can do all these things and become sovereign, but it always stopped at money, because money was always control since 1913, since Federal Reserve was created, and I don’t think there is Too many people alive who were here when it was created. Plenty of us, but most people don’t have any idea of a money system outside of the control that the Federal Reserve has had. So when you create or come up with something new, it is sort of hard to get people to understand that you can be sovereign, you can not use a bank can have your own money, groups of people can get together and decide we don’t want to use that money anymore. We’ll use something else that is very possible today and your sovereignty starts with money, that is the root of it, then everything else that that you want to do is dependent on that. So yes, that is that is being a true sovereign individual is having that money and being able to use it. It’s unconscious skateable. And that’s in a censorship resistant nobody can stop you from using it. Great, which is great news for black in it.
Well, you know, I, I completely agree, but also and also in reading your book, felt like well, this is a call for everyone to learn about and learn about The potential of it. But I think you’ll agree with me when I say that there’s a long, long road ahead of not only getting everyone to sort of buy into the idea of sovereignty and using Bitcoin and all of these things that are in your book. But for people that don’t already have a lot of capital, you know, they’re living paycheck to paycheck and just maybe trying to get food on the table. It seems like part of your book, as you know, certainly promoting the idea of saving, investing, speculating, those are paths to some of Fluence that Bitcoin can offer in somewhat, you know, huge ways, we hope. But how do you you know, you had to personally I’m sure, take a make a decision to go I’m going to put some of my money aside into this Bitcoin thing because I can see the big picture. But we all know that there’s just a gigantic part of the world that doesn’t see it, yet. And won’t see it until it’s too late. You know, they’ll FOMO into it and then get wrecked. And so what do you do? Like, how can you go about literally sounding the alarm bells to people?
I think one of the best ways is using outlets from very popular people. To get the word out. I do want to shout out jack Dorsey, creative Twitter. He shouted out the book in February, which was huge. And as soon as that happened, that’s sort of like ringing the alarm that yes, Bitcoin in black America is a thing. You know, people in the black community are starting to wake up. So reaching out to people like that. I’ve had a few famous people have posted it on their Instagram with millions of followers. So sort of ringing the alarm that way and then also being able to once I get them back on the book tour, being able to talk to people talking to the right people, not necessarily all the people because there are certain people like Dr. Claude Anderson, who’s big economics of black community, pastors, where 80% of the black community attend some sort of religious activity, getting the words to them, so that they can get it to their parishioners or to their followers and users is is paramount right now. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past few months getting into them. So then when they talk to the people that believe what they’re saying, or that trust in their advice, hopefully I can convince them so that they can convince others. So that is, that’s the plan. And you mentioned Russell Kong earlier, getting him actually planning a Bitcoin in black church, a bookstore. So just so we can actually get the word out to some of these big churches, who take in time millions of dollars in times of year, but but they have no option for Bitcoin to hold it as an asset for later, much like the Catholic Church. So, you know, we’re working on that now. And that is one of the ways to bring the alarm, so to say,
Yeah, I mean, from a threat of fear.
though, Bill, yeah. fear among any community that want to let go of their money and do it. in a different way, it’s very,
That’s true of all of us. But, you know, I just, I think, if I understood correctly in the book, one of the strategies, you know, extolled was to really find a way for people to have to pay with Bitcoin. And you’re like I My mind goes directly to like hip hop artists or people who create a product that’s highly desirable but are willing to say I’m gonna go out on a limb and just only sell my product for Bitcoin. But it’s got to be somebody huge this just like hits the like, almost on a legendary scale of this is a new way of doing business in the music business, for instance. Are you seeing any of that to where a person’s willing to just put it all on the line, you know, that you know, name the large the biggest, you know, let’s say Jay Z. What if he just all of a sudden said I’ll never sell anything unless it’s with Bitcoin? Are there people thinking that way?
I will say, from what from the hip hop artists, the entertainers that I know most of them see Bitcoin as an investment, because that’s how it was presented to them, usually their financial advisors. I’m not saying I’m smarter than them, but most of them were so late, they can only really see it as an investment and they heard it just in passing. However, there are people like Russell Kuhn, like Spencer, Dinwiddie who are saying, pay me in Bitcoin, I only want to be, you know, I only want to be paid in Bitcoin, the people that we need to say that I believe there’s some politics at the top people like Jay Z, maybe Beyonce, some people or Bron, James, some of the politics that goes into the money that they get in endorsements may hinder that, but I don’t think they’re gonna have a choice. At a certain point, you’re gonna hop on the train like everybody else, you know, every everybody has, you know, their period of, you know, I don’t know if bitcoins gonna work and then a little bit happens, you know, over the years, and I’m like, Oh, this is real. Oh, so this is real as well. I think what’s gonna happen is it’s going to get into society. So They won’t have a choice but to accept Bitcoin. And it’ll be, in my opinion a better choice. And once we get one big person to say, You’re right, the ripple effect will be huge.
But I agree though, with you as a as it’s, it’s great to get big names like Russell and well Russell has a much deeper understanding and my opinion of what Bitcoin is beyond way beyond an investment. But even getting famous people like Beyonce and Jay Z and those types of people a con even but he also has a deeper understanding as well a con for people who are listening is a singer, rapper, entertainer, very obviously very popular, very famous, but he has an a deeper understanding. If you look him up, he’s got a much deeper understanding of what it’s about as well. But I think ultimately, it’s a Slidell people who are going to drive some of those big names to say well, my fans are demanding that They pay for concerts, or at least have the option to pay for concerts with Bitcoin or some other, you know, a theory, which is an alternative coin, which is all explained in the book, but also if you start searching for people who are listening, they just want options to pay in different types of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies, that is going to drive some of those very famous people into the fans.
Also, you know, and I agree completely with both of you. But just to be clear, what I was referring to is not so much the legendary name of a person, but someone who’s willing to put their product out that they have a highly desirable product. And that that forces people to use it to purchase that product, whether it’s music, or any other thing, tickets to football games, anything but something needs to happen that sort of forces people into that economy and gives them that huge desire to To get Bitcoin to spend it, and because they have no choice because they want that product. I don’t know what it is. But you know, we don’t see enough of that, you know, to benefit any community yet. And so, again, my fear is that, you know, we’re all too late to the game, if we don’t start waking up to it and what makes that happen. So that’s where I think I’m referring to maybe needing some help from the bigger name people to go out on a limb and say, we’re just gonna force you to do it. I don’t know who they are what they have, but something’s got to make people want to use it more. I hope before it becomes so desperate that you have to use you know that it’s going to be hurtful if you don’t, you know,
well, we have some bridges to that. That time period you’re thinking of where somebody will be forced to use Bitcoin for. It has some product right now you have like fold that is one sir. You actually get savings if you pay for things within So if you have consumers that are saying hey I can save you 10% on my Starbucks or my Amazon payment or target if I pay with Bitcoin they will start using it instead of fiat currency it’s a very new company it’s a very you know, not a new concept I think gift that is the first to do cash back rewards or to give discounts to pay in Bitcoin but stuff like that as well as you know, Mark Cuban accepting Bitcoin for the Dallas Mavericks games. He didn’t wire it, but if he for some reason say we’re only accepting Bitcoin for merchandise that will be a catalyst sort of what you’re saying so we’re on the bridge there this is just a top my head which you I think, I think somebody will pull that but I think, you know, let’s say Bitcoin past the all time highs this year, somebody’s going to do it before the end of this year. I mean, that’s, that’s because people FOMO into it. The mindset is, okay, well, Bitcoin doesn’t go away. It’s not going away anytime soon. In our rather have big wine which you know, a lot of people send somebody wants, the price goes up, and then that brings them in. But what keeps them there is the actual use case.
So as part of your premise in the book, as I understand it, that if you could get the black community to get involved early enough, that when there’s this gigantic boom in Bitcoin, and it becomes the sort of reserve currency, they’re ahead of the game and can profit and be more enriched in that. If they don’t do it now, now that we have institutional money coming in and sort of raking it in and taking a bigger share of it, how can you expedite that knowledge? Because there’s really as a time of the time is of the essence type thing, what you know, what do you think about that?
Well, I’ve provided dozens of tutorials, hours of tutorials Of course, writing the book, working on a follow up to the book, etc, Second Edition, trying to get the word out as fast as possible to as many People and like you said institutional money money is coming in and also not just focusing on Bitcoin and the price going up but also positioning yourself to get blockchain certifications to get jobs in the blockchain field to apply blockchain or Bitcoin to your business you already have. Because even if you can’t buy it, there are people who are accountants or lawyers who do freelance work. If they can just accept Bitcoin as payment, they can acquire Bitcoin over time, so they won’t necessarily have to buy it. It’ll just be a valuable asset that they will probably rather accept than cash. So I think that is one way to appease people on the way there but yes, definitely time is of the essence. I’ve tried to be as urgent with my message, which is why I wrote it a year ago because I think 2020 something biggest I didn’t know. But I knew it 2020 big Well,
It’s always something.
Well, 2020 especially has seemed incredibly exhausting. And we’re just halfway through. It’s we and we have a long way to go. But another thing that really struck me about your book was reminding people that we don’t owe the banks or anybody anything as far as putting our money there or using them to be able to shop and purchase and save and put our money away. I think one of the barriers that I have found with people is that they have a hard time understanding that peer to peer Bitcoin, being able to pay peer to peer and how you want with the bank in the middle and going right over the bank. It’s hard for them to visualize that because, again, that’s been burned in our minds that you need a bank. So when a lot of people who are outside in this community here, oh, you can be your own bank and banking the unbanked they seem like just throw away phrases or sayings to people who aren’t in this industry or in this space. How important is it for people to understand that part of Bitcoin?
Oh yeah, that is prop that is probably the most important part of Bitcoin as far as learning how it’s actually used why you need it is the most important part because like I said, price can go up all you want want people to actually be able to use it. And banking the unbanked is the point of crypto basically, you know, moving away from banks is big, of course, but no in the black community is 20% of our community is unbanked. And you know, some of that comes from the distrust of banks from older black people. I do a lot of people community that used to keep cash in the mattress. They didn’t trust banks 50 years ago, and I think it’s the craziest thing ever. But growing up, now I see why they thought that way, they just didn’t have another option. And now they do. And I think I’m banking or banking on banks, so to say with crypto is the mission and getting people to join the financial system to be able to make quick payments for cheap, cheap, very low price is the point. And we want to get people to be able to do that in every community. But, of course, you know, over time, it’ll take some time. But that is the point is to get people who are not a part of the financial system into the financial system.
I know in the Latino community, you’re probably very well aware of this. There are a lot of Latinos who don’t have bank accounts for the same reasons. They just trust. They don’t want to put their money in there. They think they’re going to be targeted for whatever reasons, whether they’re here undocumented or documented and they have people in the family who aren’t documented for whatever the reasons And so a lot of people in the Latino community use services like Western Union and all these money services that wire money to family in other countries. One of the things I want the Latino community to learn is that there is another way. Because if they go to some of these services, these wiring services, they get charged huge fees, if you’ve ever used Western Union, you know, and I’m not singling them out. Services, like Western Union all involve big fees. And it takes time and you got to go down there and it’s, you know, people send money home often enough that this could become a real time consuming, expensive thing to do. So for the Latino community, I can see it being beneficial that way because they can send Bitcoin directly to family instantly and with very tiny fees. But it’s the same for everybody else too. If you want to wire money to family, or get money to people in other countries or you have business transactions, going through a bank is also cumbersome and expensive as well. So I try to use these examples to explain to people how cool it would be if you could just jump over that barrier of a bunch of fees and holding up your money and worrying about whether or not the bank is going to question you why it’s going where it’s going. All the other things that people have become afraid of, that they can just skip all that get the money to their loved ones, or whoever it is they want to get it to to get it to. And wow, you did all of this without a bank.
Absolutely. And I agree totally with you. My Latino brothers and sisters. I have really I my ex girlfriend isn’t single. So I’ve been deepen the community and discuss a lot of these things. With remittance payments sending back home being like you said one of the biggest things um, it’s a very cash based economy, you know, in a lot of Latino neighborhoods is very cash based, but unfortunately our economy is moving to a cashless economy. So you’re literally leaving out millions of people as soon as they start saying more cashless businesses, unfortunately, where I live in LA, I’ve seen three new businesses become cashless in the face of the COVID-19 so like I said, we have sort of a perfect storm of digital money coming in germs like people don’t want to
Yeah, it’s it’s funny that it started out as a meme and it’s, it’s literal now. So when you want a cashless society coming and digital payments, provide oversight that some people in the community do not want like you said they’re they’re scared for their family or for others that they there may be some sort of, you know, oversight they don’t want Yeah, Bitcoin seems like a no brainer, but Like you said, some people have to realize they need it, and then getting the proper education. And then you go from there. And like I said, hopefully one day, I can see Bitcoin in brown America, from somebody because I think they have this as much light as I do to discuss economic disparities. And
So, around America…
That’s your next book. So…
My next book.
So let me ask you this, you know, you talk a lot about the black dollar in the book, which I’m not quite sure understood entirely. But one thing that did stand out to me is like, in my mind of what a black dollar could be, it would be like the project you referred to called qwop. I think is one yeah. grok coin, you know, just in looking at that looks like something that, you know, to me gives an opportunity for it to be a truly sort of enclosed economy, with your accumulated community based economy and is That part of the strategy part of the sort of goal of what you’re trying to, you know, propose. Absolutely. So explain that that little bit if you don’t mind.
Yes, yes, I’ll explain that as well. So the black dollar is a reference to black people using their dollars that they’ve had to circulate amongst their community because research has shown that a lot of immigrant communities we have in just in LA, we have Koreatown of Chinatown. We have a little Ethiopia. We have a lot of immigrant groups that stuck together and they own the businesses and the houses in the area. So the money is always circulated between them, they send each other’s kids and how basically, that is what is missing in the black community. We tried with, with group economics, with black Wall Street with rosewood with Wilmington and everybody got murdered. Literally. Not like something you see on TV and they just recipe No, they burned it to the ground. They murdered women. And children. And they said we do not want to see a the rise of a sort of economics from the black dollar because the strength it could have shown because people don’t realize the number one time for black owned businesses is now the second biggest time was the late 1800s. This is right. Right before Federal Reserve, when black people were left to their own wits, the black dollar was circulating just fine. And we were creating black Wall Street all around the country. Unfortunately, those were brick and mortar stores so they could be burned down. But today, the reason I’m so adamant about the black dollar and moving towards Bitcoin being that solution is you can’t burn down Bitcoin, you can’t there’s nothing you can do take it away. If we have a digital economy that is built, or that is uses Bitcoin, the only way it can be taken away is if you give it away. And I don’t think any black people are willing to do that after we’ve been through. So that is what I mean by the black dollar and group economics and how that works. Because it’s worked for a lot of other groups who have been left alone to build their their, their, their communities, because I mean, like I said, I mentioned Koreatown. They have businesses in their native language because they don’t even care if you know what it says on that side, because their community. I mean, the Hasidic Jews in New York, their communities, the police run away when they come outside, because they do not want those problems if they have to get sued, or if they mess with them, because the economic power they have in their community, they own it. That’s what that’s what happens. And unfortunately, we don’t have that as much in black communities. I would like to see a return to that in the brick and mortar space, but I know for a fact that can happen digitally. Hmm. So how would
You Sorry, also, I just wanted to ask if you could sort of explain that gwap coin and is that a possible illusion or like sort of something that brings it into just a community based currency so to speak?
Absolutely. So while coin is an example of a solution, there’s there’s other coins that have been created with this thought in mind. And yes, I believe Bitcoin is the crypto Current the reserve currency which you use, but as far as daily payment system, there may be something like one point that maybe a little faster, maybe a little bit easier for people to, to learn about and use. So I’m open to pretty much any project that will help with that. And I think what point can do that as well as some of the other projects I’ve seen come out as well.
You know, some of the things are examples I like to give people who still are trying to grasp the concept of blockchain technology, which is the technology that Bitcoin runs on. I try to give them examples of them being able to do things that were only reserved for institutional investors, the very wealthy, insider people, people high society, and that is to do things like invest in art, real estate cars, but there’s a way to do that called tokenization. And I try to explain explain to people that there’s going to be a time one day that’s actually already happening now with certain companies where you never dreamed you’d be able to invest in art and cars and real estate. Because like Bill pointed out, most people and families are living paycheck to paycheck. I think the story that came out last year, I believe maybe us said USA Today. outline that most families don’t have $400 extra in case they encounter an emergency. So of course investing. I mean, that’s crazy talk, it would have been in my house. My parents were concerned about roof over the head, food on the table shoes on the feet and you go into school, you got those things, you’re good. There was no psychology and understanding and having discussions. It was very much really surviving. In our family. Yeah, I had to teach Ah, Mother, you know, so the odds were stacked against them and there, but there are a lot of families who have those kinds of challenges. So I try to explain to people which you also explained in the book that Imagine if like, say the Mona Lisa was put up for sale, and everybody had an opportunity to buy just a portion of it. I have $100, I want to invest into that Mona Lisa painting, and you can, and now because of tokenization, you put your hundred dollars for the token, and you own a teeny tiny bit of the Mona Lisa, or whatever commodity is tokenized. And the more you do that, and the more you build, something like that continues to gain value, and so your tokens gain value and you’re investing and companies are doing now with art. Real Estate and people for the first time in their lives are getting to see that maybe they get a piece of that pie.
Absolutely. And I’m so glad to see it. tokenization has been one of the subjects that is very interesting simply because that is going to change everything, there will be no reason for you to have to go through so much paperwork for real estate. Like you said, buying valuable things for a small fraction of the price of its profit is going to be very mind. So now we can just get regulators to back off a little bit. We can move forward a little faster, because you know, they still want to consider it. The same thing as before when this is something totally different. And tokenizing things has already worked for some people already in certain industries. And I think the innovation that comes from tokenizing stuff like NBA contracts or tokenizing you know, companies With investments from around the world, all of these things put people in a position to like you said, he’s a small amount of money to invest and move forward. And for people who thought you had to be an accredited investor, or to be rich to do this. So tokenization allows you to be a regular Joe Schmo. And you could spend $10 a week investing in certain things. So I love it. I think that is going to be paramount to the industry booming, long term. So are you is that part of your, you know, education is helping maybe future black business owners know that they could tokenize their business or portions of it or, you know, some of their intellectual property or any thing like that? Absolutely. I tell business owners that a lot of times real estate is where I focus when I talk about that, simply because I used to do it for a real estate law firm. So I got to see the ins and outs of how real estate works and how convoluted It was like if somebody bought a house They will have to come in, they’ll have to get their check and paper then for the bank to get paid. So I had to drive to the bank to take it to them. And it was so so many steps in between it was way too much. And that’s where the costs come in. That’s where sort of the time you save and fees, all that goes away when it’s tokenized when people can purchase it. And the investment into it can happen like that in 24 hours, so to say. So, yes, I focused more real estate when I talk about tokenization. But I do talk to business owners that because I use an example in the book, Don Dixon. She was the first black home business to tokenize, her resale for pop calm, and she raised 1.4 million. And so those tokens and it was successful, so it can be done. And it will be done in the future.
I know Isaiah, you’re very passionate about this. I’m passionate about it. Bill’s very passionate about it. We’re driven, I think by a sense of justice. I think that’s very clear with you with all of us. But has there been any other experiences in your life that make you more sensitive to wanting to give justice? Like, have you experienced direct racism or prejudice throughout your life? And what were some of the incidents that stand out the most to you?
Oh, yeah. So I’ve been physically assaulted by police twice been what I mean, I could give the stories one mistaken identity. I went to a store beside a bank that had the robber earlier and the police ticker that went out to colleges, whenever you got an email. The description that they put was between five six to six, three black mill, black hoodie, in the middle of the winter, so it’s pretty much every black dude on campus. So I guess they thought I went back to the store. That’s Right beside the bank that was just robbed earlier. And they literally slammed on the ground, few bruises, nothing big but just to ask me about that. No, I was going to fail just to do that. please grab me out of the car. He just he walked into it. He didn’t say license Registration is open the door pulled me out. The CBOE actually stopped him from doing it. And because he, I guess, was embarrassed, just stop because I’m like, my seatbelt on. So I’ve been physically assaulted by cops I’ve had in educational circles. I’ve been a 4.0 student my whole life. I’ve gotten so many snarky remarks from a lot of white people who copied off my paper to get A’s or they will say, Hey, you got to get into this program because of affirmative action or I’m glad they got affirmative action. So you get into the school. Yeah. And a couple times for me, just a little snarky stuff like that. economically. I grew up in rough neighborhoods all the way up until 14. My mom was a teacher. So of course you can make a lot of money. So We live in a food desert. We live where there wasn’t really no healthy food options. Education was poor. Learning to me came directly from my mother because she was a teacher. My friends weren’t as fortunate. Even though I grew up in the same circumstance, I was doing the same stuff. Education was was lost at that capacity. Then as a black person seeing a lot of the things that has happened to us over the years, I have a grandmother who literally was at the tail end of slavery, she could literally describe these stories coming from them, the marches they had in 60s, a lot of the drug war, things that wreck the black community, I have friends who have gone to jail for years for doing a crime that was way less than some of my white friends who do all the time they don’t even get looked at. So as far as discrimination as far as black community as far as things we’ve gone through, I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through them to maybe a little bit more laid back only because you know, spiritually. I feel like there’s something for me so I don’t really worry about it. But yes, I have And this is not what I’m telling you is not like a, you know, out there walk on the street. And as Tim black, who’s the same question just asked me, you know, similar story. So, in my opinion, the stuff is happening, it’s not gonna stop me because I can’t look my children in the face and say, I’m sorry, I couldn’t, you know, support you because because of racism, I’m not gonna let that stop me. But yes, all this stuff has happened. And it pushed me to the point where I looked at the economic side of it, why does this stuff happen? and kind of put it all together? And that’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. And we’ll continue to do it. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
What do you think of the, you know, thought with the protests that are going on now? Is that do you feel like that’s all organic? Or is it a combination of people getting involved that really should have no business involved with it or you know, what’s your take on it?
So My take is, there are people who genuinely and organically want to march and want to have their voice heard. Unfortunately, our movement black people’s movement has been co opted by people that have no business there. I’ve seen enough vi deos, I’ve seen enough economic and financial evidence to suggest that certain movements do not benefit us. And if we want to talk about it, the statement, Black Lives Matter is true. But the organization is not helping us. So for anybody who is confused, I’m a black person telling you Black Lives Matter is not helping black people. And most organizations haven’t helped like people long term. They just have a black face on organization that does just enough to appease black people and everybody goes home. NAACP, I don’t know why they still have colored people in there. They don’t support us. Trust me these movements. In my opinion, there are people who feel out of it on a March, but the movement has been co opted by people who have way more money than I will ever have. And I know personally, there are actors who go out to a lot of these to these protests. There are provocateurs who show up just to wait for the crowd to get big and smash windows And then all of a sudden it’s looting. There is cooperation from police to leave a bait car, if you notice, there’s a big car at every single rally. It’s just one car sitting there burning. And then all the pictures, the media is in on it, because the media takes a picture of that burning cities on fire. Everything’s going one to hell. And it’s not. It’s one square blocks, and you could literally put the fire out in two seconds. So I think the movement has been co opted.
What do you think the motive is? What’s the motive for that?
Well, the motive for in my opinion, is economic. It always is what you want is you want people to be mad at the leadership, which is mostly Republican. So now you can put in democrats who can then get money and of course do what they do as far as donations, whatever that they’ve been doing with black people for years. I don’t think either party has our best interests at heart. Do not think either one of them supports us economically. It’s all a game and I think most black people are smart enough to realize that but they feel stuck. They like I want to support I want to go out and do something about it. But also understand some of this may be fake, and we’re stuck in between a rock and a hard place. That’s why I choose to focus on economics and not necessarily put myself in harm’s way physically because you could go out there and get killed or hurt for a cause that, to me was fabricated by a lot of organizations who have seen black people do this before and figured out how to make people mad how to provoke it, and then how to implement everything I just told you, the media, the police, and then certain other apparatuses to to to stoke the flames. And that’s what we’re seeing now. I do not I have not seen a group of black people, the protests, you know, basically go in and trying to mess everybody up. I have not seen that. I have seen teenagers who got paid by whoever somebody randomly offered hundred dollars. If you notice a lot of the windows get smashed out by a lot of young skateboarders because they’re paying young kids to literally run and they don’t know what’s going on. They just like a fire burning. Who cares? It’s summertime. It’s kids out of school. What were you doing back then so These are not. And I always say this, the black race is the only race that’s judged by the youngest of us. Because our entertainers, our professional athletes, our young kids, they’re the ones who are always on TV. And we’re like, why do you judge our entire race off, but what a bunch of people under the age of 30 are doing? No other races just like that, except black people. And then you have a whole bunch of old er people, which I’m part of 30, and up and who are responsible, we’re trying to do what they’re supposed to do. And unfortunately, they’re not on TV. They’re not the ones who you ask about people or property owners that kids have own boats and stuff to do. They’re not out there raising hell. But the media has made it seem like it and like you said, the movement has been co opted. So whether you’re white, black, brown, be safe. And in my opinion, as a black man, none of these protests are completely organic, only because digitally, they can track you on Facebook. They can see when you put the flyers up. I mean, it’s the surveillance is ridiculous on a lot of these sites. So yeah, it has been co opted But what can you do? And that’s why I present
An economic solution?
An economic way to fight back? Yeah. This is the ultimate weapon to have, by the way, in my opinion, I know it is yours too. But I want to let people know that Bitcoin and black America you don’t have to feel like, Oh, well, that’s not me. I don’t how could this help me But truly, I told bill before we got started with all of us, is that I feel like you have given people here with this book, the keys to freedom, sovereignty, financial security, and growth, the answers, the secret codes, the keys, whatever you want to call it, are really all in this book and you so beautifully laid out. I truly feel like the book would be a gift to me. Anyone Yeah, white, black, brown, whatever. Because it really is enlightening and just so powerful. And I think this would be the gift the best gift to give anyone or to get. What’s your opinion?
I agree on. I think it’s in reading it. It was certainly enlightening to a lot of you know, the reality I can’t possibly relate to. But all of that aside, and I think is very empowering information for everyone. But just aside from all of that, if you want to know about crypto and how to move forward with it, this dude lays it out. And he gives you a just a ton of information that’s actionable. So don’t not pick it up because you might not be black. It’s man. This thing is loaded with great information for anybody to use. To learn and empower themselves with I think,
If you’re just starting to learn, I don’t care what color you are, pick up this book, because you’re going to refer back to it many, many times, which is why I got all this stickies, no copious notes, just so I could refer back to it because I still feel like a newbie.
Oh, yeah. And I wanted to make it pretty simple so that beginners wouldn’t be overwhelmed. And I wanted to make pretty concise so that most people can get through it in a day or two, because I want people to stop reading as much and start doing stuff like after you read it. Alright, let’s start. You know, I’m one of those people that like action, and I don’t really like sitting around talking about it too much, especially once you know the problems. It’s on you to do something about it. So you’re an audiobook. No, sir. No audiobook for this version for the second edition. It will be yes.
And the second edition.
Yes. So the second edition for one year anniversary will be on July 11. It’ll be they It’ll be most of the chapters will be redone with more information, graphs, charts, and it’ll be hardcover. And yes, it’ll be scarce. So it only be a certain amount. And I’ll reveal all those details later. But yeah, yeah. We thought we’re discussing things like that now. So
Wait a minute. Did people know about this the second edition coming? Or did we just get an exclusive?
Nope. This is the second show I’ve ever said it on. And, yes. Now everybody knows, like I said, just look out for the information will be all updated. It’ll be a whole lot more businesses, a whole lot more blockchain professionals, and more of a look at the global economy. You know, the International part was a little smaller now because I want to focus on america but globally. Yeah, I’ll bring a lot more so yes, look out for that.
See more pictures for guys like me. They’re visual learners. Exactly.
Graphs always good for some people. They can see it visually. I don’t even need to read the rest. So yes, I have some things like that. Cool.
Well, Isaiah, it’s been a pleasure. I was so excited leading up to today. I really can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to talking with you and seeing you again since I saw you and met you last year. And to show off my signed copy that you gave me when I met you a year ago. I hope to see you again in person soon. And I would love to do future stories with you once Bill and I can get back on the road again with adventures and crypto we just can’t involves a lot of travels. So right now they’re not really a big option for us.
Yeah, you got to sign that iPad for me.
I appreciate it. But yeah, yeah.
Thank you so much. Again, I’ve done virtual hug. Thank you. Thank you. Sqn keep spreading the word will do.
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