Do you know your bitcoin from your ethereum, litecoin, or any other alt-coin? Cryptocurrency has been here for 10 years and while many of us struggle to understand exactly what it is, investors and businesses are using it more and more.
Teresa Truda is the CEO and Co-Founder of Chozun, the world’s first travel and loyalty ecosystem powered by cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. With an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) only weeks away, Teresa explains the basics of cryptocurrency before introducing the concept of an ICO to raise capital for a business.
Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. Similar sounding words can lead to them being deciphered wrongly and hence transcribed likewise.
Interviewing Public: Hey, yeah, so I bought my first one I think was Cardano bit of ethereum and OSP and NEO. Yeah, but I decided just to ignore their markets and just hold on hold on.
Interviewing Public: One of my friends was really into it. So I bought ethereum and I bought Bitcoin, put it there, pretend that it’s not there, and just leaving it as an investment. I’m not touching it. And then in maybe five or six years’ time, I’ll look back and say if it’s gone anywhere, I think it’s going to go up in value in a very quick amount of time. I think a big event is going to occur and suddenly it’s just going to take over.
Serpil Senelmis: For WeTeachMe. this is the Masters Series where industry professionals share their secrets to business success. I’m Serpil Senelmis, from Written and Recorded. When you hear the word cryptocurrency do you think of the boat you bought when Bitcoin went through the roof? But do you scratch your head and ask what actually is it? Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange that relies on distributed Ledger’s like blockchain, rather than bank assets to reflect its value. For investors, it’s a rollercoaster ride of speculation. For businesses, it’s an alternative to using shares to raise capital. Teresa Truda is the CEO and co-founder of Chozun, the world’s first travel and local ecosystem powered by cryptocurrency.
Teresa Truda: Think about it like when a company goes IPO and they sell shares publicly. An ICO is when a company creates their cryptocurrency and sells it publicly, so I’m selling my crypto for you to invest in.
Serpil Senelmis: Chozun is already operating in 22 cities across the Asia Pacific region. In just over a month they’ll open initial coin offering where investors can buy the Chozun cryptocurrency and join the Chozun ecosystem. But before we get to the ICO’s, here’s Teresa with the beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency.
Teresa Truda: Hi, where he’s obviously had some crypto chats. And before we do that, I’d like to just introduce myself. So I come from a very traditional Italian family and why I share this is because I’ve gone on a pretty wild journey to get to where I am from growing up in a super traditional family to now running a blockchain company throughout APAC. It’s been an incredible journey and I like to share my story a lot with people. A couple of years ago, I started Chozun, which is our startup which now is a blockchain and cryptocurrency loyalty and travel ecosystem. And we moved over to China and expanded our business to across 22 cities. And now we’ve actually created our own cryptocurrency called CCN. I’ve been in cryptocurrencies for a couple of years. Now, I also run CryptoQueens which is a consultancy for blockchain and cryptocurrency. So I run workshops, I do talks like this to educate people and try and really simplify blockchain technology and what cryptocurrency is. But before we do, I think it’s actually really important that we rewind and actually talk about the technology behind cryptocurrencies. So blockchain, I thought we’d start with some really simple definitions of what blockchain is. It’s basically recording transactions on a digital ledger that is immutable. Now what that means is, if you think of transactions that are done in chains on a block, and they’re authenticated by different people along the way, so it’s actually proving that a transaction has been done on the internet, and then that can’t be erased, right? So I can’t say to you, Hey, I transferred you $1 but and then I could be lying, I could just send you a fake screenshot. Whereas with blockchain, if I transfer you $1, it’s actually recordable and it can’t be erased. there forever. I like to use this analogy of the apple. So if you’re shopping at a fruit store, and you buy an apple, and we’re all he watching you buy an apple, we all take a photo and record it and upload it on the cloud that is verifying that you bought that apple. So it’s important to note the blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. There are two different things. Cryptocurrencies or digital currencies that are verified by peers on the blockchain network. Now, they operate independently of any central bank. all transactions on the blockchain are approved by people by you and I, by miners. So what’s all the crypto hype about? Blockchain phenomenon and the technology started with Bitcoin as we all know, but like most technologies and emerging technologies, it’s taken years for it to grow. And now with the release of Bitcoin, there’s basically a whole bunch of other cryptocurrencies that have come out to play. And this is because of technologies like etherium and Cardano. What the differences with Bitcoin is that Bitcoin is a digital currency, right? Then you’ve got technologies like etherium and cryptocurrencies like etherium and Cardano, and they actually allow people to write their own protocols and rules to build their own cryptocurrencies. So if you think of it, like when you’re building a website, and you’ve got WordPress as a CMS, and you can build your own website, right, ethereum is allowing you to do that so is cardano. So with these technologies that have come out is basically a rise in altcoins. There are so many altcoins. People say that altcoins are basically any coin other than Bitcoin, but you would be exposed to so many already unsure in the media. Blockchain tech enables cryptocurrencies to be created and become a valuable asset with real use cases. So a lot of people are releasing a bunch of different cryptocurrencies, with the purpose. Some people are releasing cryptocurrencies with a very bad purpose. And there’s a lot of talk around scams in ICO’s, which I’m going to touch on a little bit later. But I guess blockchain technology is opening up a whole bunch of opportunities for businesses, products, to actually be able to create an asset a valuable asset. So why the buzz? What are the actual benefits behind blockchain and cryptocurrencies? It’s decentralized, which actually means that there is no one governing body that controls all of the transactions on the blockchain. It’s people, and that means that we’re bringing power back to the people. That’s why people are empowered by blockchain and by cryptocurrencies and there’s so much buzz around it, because we’re all getting involved. I could be a miner, you could be a miner, we could all be miners in this room. And we’re part of this community to build a decentralized system.
Teresa Truda: It brings back authenticity because you actually tracking every single transaction on the digital ledger. So when I say digital ledger, it’s like a record book, think of it as a record bookkeeping track. And so we’re tracking every single transaction, so it’s authentic. I can’t lie about something that has happened on the blockchain, it’s there and it’s there forever. The blockchains are really, really powerful source of technology. So it means that we can be more efficient in our day to day business. So it’s actually saying a lot of traditional industries that are starting to utilize blockchain technology and develop their own cryptocurrencies and kind of shake things up. So I’m just going to touch on a couple of the industries and brands and what people are doing in the space with blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies. So the first one is the energy industry if you guys heard of power ledger. So basically, the energy industry there’s a lot of energy companies that are using blockchain to enhance cost-effective sustainable energy solutions, right and keep track of real-time usage. So again, there’s no lying. It’s all authenticated. Governments are using blockchain. In Moscow, they’ve used it to implement their voting system and to be able to make sure that there’s no fake votes. Then there’s a bunch of industries here mainly traditional ones, but banking, they’re using the blockchain to place settlements, make payments more efficient. The mining industry is verifying the quality. Shipping is the supply chain with better distribution manufacturing. Insurance is using it again to verify that something happened. And there’s even veganism in food so there’s even a vegan coin that was brought out to authenticate that someone’s actually a vegan and that the supply has come from a real organic source. Kodak reinvented themselves not long ago, and they brought out Kodak coin right because there’s a lot of issues with photographers and verifying that you know, I’ve paid for an image or I have the rights to use an image. So Kodak is now using the blockchain to help photographers to make sure that their photograph that’s being used is actually being licensed. Has anyone heard of crypto kitties? Yes, no? Okay, crypto kitties is basically gamifying digital kittens. Now, crypto kitties was this phenomenon last year, right? People went nuts over these kittens. They are digital kittens online and you can go and you can buy a digital kitten. And it’s all on the blockchain. It’s all verified and over a fancy right. So far crypto kittens has made with their cryptocurrency 6.7 million US dollars as of February this year. Now for one cat to buy one digital cat the highest price that a cat sold at 100,000 US dollars spent on a crypto kittie. Smart contracts allowing us to develop new protocols, both individuals and brands are doing it. And we’re building out daps which essentially decentralized apps. People are approving transactions and verticals. So it’s giving power back to the people. I can’t emphasize that enough about why there is such hype around blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Serpil Senelmis: Wow. So blockchain and cryptocurrency are giving power back to the people and were using that power to buy digital kittens go humans. Now that you’re a full bottle on blockchain and cryptos. It’s time to ramp things up and look at initial coin offerings. Teresa will explain the ICO right after this.
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Serpil Senelmis: As always, thanks Ad Guy. Teresa Truda is a cryptocurrency pioneer. She co-founded Chozun as a travel and local ecosystem that runs on its own crypto coin, the Chozun. In just over a month that crypto coin will become available for any one of us to buy. This is where cryptocurrency gets really interesting.
Teresa Truda: Let’s talk about ICO’s, initial coin offering. So companies are creating cryptocurrencies and when they create that cryptocurrencies, they’re creating what you call an initial coin offering. Think about it like when a company goes IPO, and they sell shares publicly. An ICO is when a company creates their cryptocurrency and sells it publicly, so I’m selling my crypto for you to invest in. The things that you should consider when you’re looking at investing in a cryptocurrency or purchasing a cryptocurrency, is look at the strategy of the crypto. What’s the purpose of it? Why is it abuse? Why is it a value? Why is it potentially going to make you more money or grow in the market? If it’s a company that’s launching their own ICO behind it to raise some capital, have a look to see if they’ve got an initial product. Have they got any history? Do they have a team behind them? Are they actually really a legitimate business that you want to put your money into? Have a look at the company history. There’s one company in Vietnam that raised 600 million US dollars, and their website was fake, their team was fake. And then everyone that invested in them were like, Oh my gosh, these guys disappeared, what the hell, but no one actually did proper research to realize that no one in that company on that website, even were connected on LinkedIn. And so these guys have gone off with 600 mil from an ICO raise that they did and never to be seen again. So I would say honestly when you’re looking at investing in cryptocurrencies, particularly if it’s run by an ICO you need to have a look at these things and consider them and also look at protocol setup. So it’s really important to understand how their smart contracts are set up. Now smart contracts are essentially a list of rules that are written on the blockchain, right? And you can have access to all of that even as a novice investor, it’s really important for you to look into these things. So how are you investing in cryptocurrencies, you’re doing things like going onto exchanges, having a look at the market value, the price, you can use an exchange to obviously buy into a cryptocurrency. So if you want to buy Litecoin, or you want to buy etherium, you’ll go into an exchange and you can purchase it with fiat currency, which is our Australian dollar. So you need to have a digital wallet to store your cryptocurrency and there’s a bunch of different wallets and depends on what cryptocurrency you own will matter on what wallet you choose. So you have to make sure that the wallets are compatible with the tokens that you’re buying or the cryptocurrency that you’re buying. Again, just reiterating that if it’s an ICO, have a look at the Ico setup and just make sure that everything’s legit before you put some money into it. And also consider the market value consider how much the cryptocurrency that you’re looking at investing in has grown over the period of time, have a look at how much it’s anticipated to grow, but have a look at the industry as well. Is it a booming industry? Is it something that’s going to you know, go wild in 2020? You need to consider these things. When I think about the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I actually like this quite a lot. So, I think about the early days of the internet, no one had an idea that it would turn into what it is today. People were still trying to figure out how to use it. Then, email came along. Suddenly, there was this extremely powerful and important use case that changed how people thought about the internet. I can remember my dad showing our family emails when I was younger, and we were all amazed, you could instantly send a digital note to someone halfway around the world, it was groundbreaking. So if you can actually cast your mind back to when emails came out, it was groundbreaking at the time, it was an amazing piece of technology that often send an interaction to someone over the internet. And so I like to say that that’s kind of where blockchain technology is at now. We know that technology is incredible, and it has a lot of potential and that there are many opportunities for disruption. And its full potential is yet to be realized, particularly when blockchains actually going to be combined with other emerging technologies. So things like quantum computing in the future. So there’s a lot of opportunities, but it’s still very much in its infancy. It’s been around for 10 years, the technology now, and it’s only starting to really take off, but what needs to happen with blockchain is that a lot of people need to get on board, a lot of businesses need to get on board for the whole supply chain and blockchain to actually truly have an impact. And I think that we will start to see that as more and more companies, businesses, traditional businesses start to adopt the technology. So with new protocols, people will continue to build upon the tech, disrupt, and create powerful decentralized internet underpinned by cryptocurrencies.
Serpil Senelmis: Okay, I have to admit it, my head is swimming just a little bit. I’m going to have to go back and listen to this episode one more time to get a handle on cryptocurrencies. But first, I’m going to see if I can afford a crypto kitty. Thanks, Teresa. If you’re thinking of buying cryptocurrency before you get out of your old fashioned money, be sure to get some sound financial advice. from someone who can take your specific circumstances into consideration. Next time on the Masters Series, time management and productivity tips. Can technology help us to get more done in less time? Software as a service gives you access to a wide variety of tools from customer service relationship management, to corporate travel solution. We’ll hear from the experts in the field with a few tips on how you can do more with less. Until then, I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded and for WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series.
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