This is a transcript of the Podcast – An Internet Entrepreneur’s Perspective on Blockchain with Alex Mashinsky – You can listen the audio here
Nye : What is going on everybody, what is going on? It is your boy Nye, and welcome to another episode of Evolvement, the podcast where we talk about bitcoin, crypto currency, and the future of our financial systems. Today I have a really, really special guest on the line, I have Alex who is one of the founders, and the CEO of Celsius network, a really cool project in the Blockchain space. Really cool company in the Blockchain space that we’re going to talk about a little bit today but, we’re also going to talk about entrepreneurship a lot. See, Alex is what some might call a serial entrepreneur. He’s an innovator, he’s a forward thinking mind that has a lot of creativity, and has built a lot of really cool stuff in his life. So, Alex, welcome. How you doing?
Alex Mashinsky : Great, thanks for having us.
Nye : Yeah. Yeah no problem. Glad to have you on, and I think where I’d really like to start off is before we get into what you’re working on with Celsius, before we get into any of your past businesses, can you just give a little bit of an introduction of yourself? Who are you, what were you working on before you got into the block chain space, and what got you inspired by what was being created in block chain in order to come in, and build a whole business in this industry?
Alex Mashinsky : Sure, as you mentioned, I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I’ve done seven start ups before Celsius. All venture back to companies that focused on different elements of basically internet, and communications. One company that I founded back in ’94 was called Arbinet, so that was the first company to build, and operate the voice of IP on the internet, and provide that service to over 4,000 phone companies around the world. Took the company public on NASDAQ, and eventually had at one point, seven billion dollar market cap. So, a lot of experience in kind of taking something from an idea to a full grown business. Usually I leave and do the next thing because, it gets pretty boring when you have a few hundred employees. Also, doing some turn arounds including Novatel Wireless which, is a NASDAQ listed company where I was hired to kind of do a turnaround, and take the company in a new direction. I think when I joined it was about 200 employees, when I left it was about 1,500 employees. So, growing business that got into a dark alley doing a reverse, and turning a left. You know?
Alex Mashinsky : So, what really got me excited about the Blockchain, is the resilience of the community, right? Seeing [inaudible 00:03:20] since 2013, seeing all these events that should have been catastrophic events for any other industry, and you can see basically again, millions of people just brushing it off, and keep walking. That tells you that there’s really a need for the service, a need for reinvention. I saw that as a great opportunity for me to come in, and try to help the community kind of get to mass adoption, and get us from that 30 or 40 million users, to several hundred million users, and so we can make crypto currencies in the Blockchain. A staple of the business, of running your capital, right? Of managing your money because, today we’re relying on banks, and other intermediaries as our trusted parties. But, really these guys are just a very inefficient toll collectors. So, I think the Blockchain can do a very good job at replacing them with the platform that acts in our best interest.
Nye : I love that, I love that, and I think one of the things that really sticks out to me about your story is, you’re very much an innovator. You’re very much someone who has seen the potential of something, and beyond innovator, you’re an early adopter. For example, with the internet, and VOIP, you saw the potential of that maybe before other people saw the potential of it. You were able to create a business to capitalize on that, to add a lot of value to a community to bring new technology to a forefront, to simplify things that may have been more complex than previously stated. Is this kind of the way that you see yourself as well? Or is this just something that’s just been natural for you? You always kind of see ahead of the curve?
Alex Mashinsky : Well, I don’t know if you can call it seeing ahead of the curve because, really everyone of us has a little bit different view of the world. Right? It’s not like all of us have the same scene, look at the world through the same set of googles, right? It’s just most of us are not willing to take the risk, or to dive in and learn enough. Or come up with an idea that is a winning idea. Nine out of ten ideas, are bad ideas. You know? In most cases. So, the skills that I have, that I think is unique is really I take risks early but, just that by itself wouldn’t be enough, right? You have to come up with the right business model, and you have to convince everybody else that your business model is the right model for them to both invest in that, as well as adopt it as kind of a standard. Right?
Alex Mashinsky : So, I mean, remember, in ’94, ’95, the entire internet was just a dial up network on top of the phone network. So, if you wanted to access any kind of BBS, or anything, this was before Netscape. So, if you wanted to access anything that was part of the internet, you had to use a modem, and dial into some computer on the other side, and have 300 or 600 bot connection, 900 bot connection, that was the speed of the internet. So, kind of to extrapolate from that, the internet is going to become a thousand times bigger than the phone networks, and the phone network will just become an application on the internet was definitely not the common view.
Alex Mashinsky : A lot of people thought I was crazy, and that I was just wasting my time trying to build a protocol, and standards, and systems that will basically run that type of service. Then also you had to basically eliminate all the complexity. You actually had to go to the address, and put a TCPI address to talk to another server. It wasn’t like today where you click on somebody’s imagine, or name, and you can have a conversation just like the one we’re having right now. So, a lot of the user interface issues, and issues that has to do with access, and routing, and speeds, and things like that, all that had to be sold, and it took a long time to solve, and 25 years later, even today, only half of the people on the planet are using VOIP for free. The other half insists on paying their phone company for access to use telephony. It just shows you how long it takes for adoptions. It’s not something that happens over night.
Alex Mashinsky : The value proposition for VOIP is very simple. Right? Instead of paying $3 a minute, and you can do something for free. That’s a pretty simple thing to sell. The community, like I said, even after 25 years, we’re still not all adopting it. What I’m doing now is really … I call it MOIP, or Money of IP. It’s really taking all the lessons I’ve learned from Voice of IP, and applying it to moving value instead of moving pictures of voice, or content on the internet. The issue here is I though it was a big challenge taking on the phone companies. Right? Fighting it out with the phone companies back in the ’90s. I can tell you that was just like a warm up to the real battle which, is taking on the banks. So, I usually take disruptive projects. Things that I think make the world a better place, and here this is something that like I said in the beginning, we have an opportunity to replace the banks with a service that charges one, one hundredth of the cost. That should make the world a better place.
Nye : I love what you just said there, and I think the interesting thing for me behind what your story is, and what you’ve seen is specifically what I like that you said, is that it’s not necessarily that you saw ahead of the curve. You just have a different perspective, and like everybody does, you have a different view, you look through a different set of eyes at the world, and what’s being created in the world, and that allowed you to see the opportunity of what you created with your first company, and things like that. What do you see through your eyes, and through your unique perspective that is special, that is different, that is innovative, that is game changing about Blockchain technology, and about specifically crypto currency?
Alex Mashinsky : First, it’s a very complex subject. So, most technologies are basically incremental technology. So, you have big data, and then you add AI on top of it, and now you have a better understanding, or better way to process data. So, these are kind of in my view, incremental technologies. The Blockchain is a revolutionary technology. For Blockchain, a technology like Blockchain only comes around every 30 or 50 years, and just to remind everybody whose listening to this, that Blockchain was invented in 1991, in Bellcore. So, it’s already 30 years old. The bitcoin is only 10 years old but, the technology itself has been out there for a while. We just have not found the killer app for it. Right?
Alex Mashinsky : So, today because, we have so much concentration of power with five or six companies on the internet which, basically these companies like Facebook, and others have basically hijacked the internet. They took something that was supposed to be decentralized, and power to the people, and freedom of information, and converted that into almost all of us being jailed inside like this giant internet called the Facebook. So, now with the Blockchain we almost have a second chance to reinvent the internet, and take back the power of the internet away from those dominant companies, and back into our own domain. So, the beauty of the Blockchain is that it can definitely very easily distinguish between what’s fake, and what’s real. Who has something, and who doesn’t, and make sure that there’s no issue with double spending or fake ID’s or identities.
Alex Mashinsky : Those are critical things to have if you really want to implement, and transact with digital assets. Right? Because, most of our transactions today when it comes to monetary values are happening on private networks. If you’re thinking about the Visa, or MasterCard system, or if you’re thinking about the banking system, those are, in most cases are detached from the internet for security reasons, and they’re basically your value, or how much you owe, how much you have is stored on ledgers that are very well protected, and are off chain for these operators. So, the opportunity here is really to reinvent the bank. Reinvent the insurance company. Reinvent all of these different services in a completely different way.
Alex Mashinsky : It’s not about injecting a Blockchain into the insurance company, or into the bank and making it a little bit more profitable. Which, that’s probably what the banks want but, that’s what the opportunity is. Like you said before, I’m viewing it as a disruptive opportunity, and most people are looking at it as an incremental opportunity where they’re taking it, and saying, “oh we got to have a better supply chain. Are we going to have less friction between banks?” Right? Things like that. So, are you swinging to the fences, or are you just trying to steal first base? That’s really the analogy here.
Nye : Interesting analogy, I kind of like that. So, first off, I think this technology is obviously very, very beneficial in multiple parts of the world. I think that the banking side is specifically right now, the use case for the banking side can be seen in places like Vietnam, places like Venezuela where, one, many people don’t have access to high level banking like we do in the United States, or other first world countries as well as, there’s high levels of inflation occurring, and causing a lot of damage to the economy in these places. Are you viewing it more as beneficial in those areas of the world? Do you think that it will actually affect banking in places like the United States where, while our banking system is very messed up, it is still a functioning to some sort of degree? What kind of time do you have on all this? Are you looking at this as the next 10, 15, 20 years? Next 50, 100 years? What’s kind of your thought process there?
Alex Mashinsky : So, look, the dollar in the United States of America is the world’s largest empire ever built. The dominant currency, and the dominant platform on this planet. I think that anyone who thinks that they can just come, and unseed the dollar, and replace it with a digital currency like the bitcoin is dreaming. Right? It’s not going to happen overnight. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, or seeing that as a real opportunity. That’s not what the issue is. The real opportunity in my view is that all the fiat currencies, the dollar, the yen, the euro, the Chinese yuan, are all inflation currencies. Meaning, if you look at a silver dollar that was minted 100 years ago, and you look at what that value is today, you will see that it’s lost 99% of its value. If you take the silver that the dollar was made out of, and you look at what that silver is worth today versus what the dollar is worth today, the dollar lost 99% of its value because, every year we have three to five percent inflation on the currency. We keep printing trillions of dollars of these currencies.
Alex Mashinsky : So, the bitcoin is the first time that humans have issued a deflation in their currency. So, that is like going from Keynesian economics to Austrian economics where the value of the currency is the most important thing instead of reflating the economy which, is that thee fed is doing every time we get in trouble. Really, the debate today is over which system is a better system. So, the economy, the US economy works very well because, people have to work all the time. Right?
Alex Mashinsky : The dollar value decreases, you have to put the dollars to work either in real estate, or in factories, or in any kind of investments. If you just let them sit, they decrease in value but, the bitcoin actually acts in the opposite way. It acts as a very good store value. Again, if you plot the bitcoin against the dollar, over the last 10 years, the dollar lost 99% of its value against the bitcoin. The bitcoin is the best performing assets over the last decade. You could have invested in stocks, or in bonds, or real estate, or in commodities. Doesn’t matter what combination, what location, bitcoin beat all of those allocations.
Alex Mashinsky : The reason for that is, it’s because it’s a deflationary currency. So, the more people use it, the more valuable it becomes, and even with all of the gyrations that we had over the last year, it’s still performing better than anything else over the last several decades. So, the opportunity here is really to enable people that don’t have access to create value for themselves which, is 90% of the population. In the United States, half of the population does not have $400 in case of emergency. All those people cannot afford to buy stocks, or invest in bonds, or a diversified portfolio so, for all those people, they need a different system that will enable them to create value, and join the middle class. The bitcoin represents the best opportunity for them. What I’m seeing is an opportunity to take a system, a financial system that does work for 90% of the population, and put it on its head by enabling like what Celsius does in this case. Celsius network has a wallet, and enables you to deposit coins that are deflationary coins, and we pay interest on those coins. Five to seven percent.
Alex Mashinsky : So, you have an opportunity for those coins to increase in value, and you have an opportunity to earn five to seven percent of return on top of that. So, that’s a structure that does not exist anywhere else. So, there are some early adopters that love that, and they look at it and say, “We believe in that, we don’t believe in giving the money to the bank. But, there’s still a lot of people are skeptics, and you have to prove every day that what you’re doing is in the best interest of the community, and you’re delivering value to these hodlers. If you do then, maybe knew people will join. If you don’t, then you will just be a forgotten experiment.
Nye : 100% agreed. 100% agreed, and I think that’s what we’ve seen over the last couple years is specifically the last year, year and a half, and we are continuing to see in the middle of this bare market is the fact that a lot of these are potentially failed projects, investments, businesses, that haven’t been like you said, they haven’t swinging for the fence. They’ve been shooting for first base, and the majority of people that shoot for first base just sometimes they just don’t make it. So, I’m curious to learn more about what you’re doing with Celsius, and I really like the analogy that you brought up where, some people are shooting for first base, some people are trying to hit that home run. What are you doing with Celsius right now, and how are you guys working on making it a home run? How is it affecting the whole space, as a whole?
Alex Mashinsky : Bitcoin is 10 years old, we have less than 30 million wallets, and that’s just not adoption. Right? That’s not enough to take this application, and make it something that the masses use. There’s more people using Uber than bitcoin. So, the opportunity is to really add services on top of these Blockchains, Lucky Theorem, and so on, which will make it a much more usable. A great example again with VOIP, is that most people who use VOIP don’t know how it works. They don’t know all the details, and yet they can use it every day, and they choice to use that instead of many, many other options that are in front of them. It’s the same way here, if you make it really simple, and transparent, then maybe people will use it. We decided not to build yet another Blockchain, there’s probably already 200 of them. We decided to create a layer on top of all these existing Blockchains, and let the community decide who are the winners, and who are the losers, and just enable the savings process, and the lending process.
Alex Mashinsky : Let’s take a simple example. When you make a deposit in the bank, your paycheck for example, the bank takes your money, pays you less than 1% sometimes zero, takes that capital and allocates to someone else. Let’s say me on my credit card, and charges me 25% per year for the interest of lending me your money. So, they make 24 out of 25%. That’s a 95% margin on your money. You’re not mad about it, you don’t go to the bank, and demand more. I’m not mad about it, I don’t go to the bank and demand that they only charged me 10% for example, right? It makes no sense that somebody whose an intermediary, whose just a trusted party for you, and for me, should make 95% of the value. Now most people don’t look at it that way. Most people are saying, “All I want is the bank to store my money for me. How much can they make on my money? It’s probably nothing so, I don’t care if they hold my money.
Alex Mashinsky : The reality is, that they’re holding hundreds, of billions of dollars, or trillions of dollars in the case of J.P Morgan. By lending it out, they’re making 60, 80 billion a year in profit from using your money, giving it someone, and collecting all the profits. So, all Celsius does, it says, “Look, we will pay you five, or six percent instead of zero, or one percent. We will land it at nine percent instead of a 25% so we’re going a cut the cost of the borrower by half, and we’re going to pay the lender five times, or six times more than the bank does.
Alex Mashinsky : It’s a very simple proposition. We did not invent a new business, we’re just taking something that the banks do for themselves, and their shareholders, we’re taking all that value, and we’re redistributing it half in and half between the lender, or the depositor in this case, and the borrower. They both benefit because, there’s so much margin to be gained by not using the middle man.
Alex Mashinsky : So, we think that is a killer app, and if we can scale that up then millions of people are going to stop depositing with banks, and they will start depositing money with companies like Celsius. So, people tell me, “Oh but the banks are so powerful, how can you fight them?” I’m like, the banks are not powerful. They’re only powerful because, you deposit money with them. If you stop depositing money with them, they will use all their powers overnight. Just like the phone companies lost all their power, overnight, the minute people stopped paying them $3 a minute, and used VOIP. So, I know it sounds a little ridiculous but, that’s exactly what happened.
Nye : No, it actually doesn’t sound ridiculous at all. I think that what you’re building is you’re taking an existing model that the banks are already utilizing, and you are revolutionizing it, or you’re at least simplifying it. You’re making it more affordable on both sides, and adding benefit for all parties involved which, is kind of one of the main goals of this whole movement of decentralization, and Blockchain, and cryptocurrency so, I really, really like that. I’m curious to learn a little bit about your entrepreneurial mindset behind how this has been building Celsius in the Blockchain realm. Has this been something that is a brand new challenge for you that maybe you didn’t face with some of your other entrepreneurial adventures in the past, or how is this compared to what you’ve built in the past, and how’s it going so far?
Alex Mashinsky : Sure, the experience I’ve collected over the last 30 years is obviously very, very helpful. You make a lot of mistakes, and with each venture you kind of explore new shores. It’s like going on a journey that no one has taken before, and some of these journeys are successful, and some are not. I’m lucky enough to have two amazing exits. One was building the wireless services in the subways here in New York, and the other one was Arbinet which, I took public and so on.
Alex Mashinsky : But, I had for example, a startup called Ground Link which, was Uber before Uber, we were five years before Uber, we went over 2,000 cities when Uber was just in San Francisco, and they copied everything we had, and cut the prices by half, and here we are talking about it. So, not every journey is successful, and not every journey ends up the way you were planning it to be but, you just have to know that you put every inch of your body, and everything you could into it, and you tried to make it … again, change world, right?
Alex Mashinsky : With Celsius, the opportunities are so dramatic, and the impact is so dramatic, I think it’s going to be even bigger than Voice of IP because, every person on the planet needs better income on their savings, and every person on the planet wants to pay less on their loans. So, there is no one whose not affected by this service. If you could deploy this service worldwide. So, we feel like the weight of the responsibility of basically, first again, helping the crypto community kind of get out of this nuclear winter that we’re in the middle of. But, also winning this fight with the banks because, until now … Fintech is something people talked about for the last 20 years but, every time, somehow the banks manage to win every time there was an assault on their monopolies.
Alex Mashinsky : Here, I’m taking on a very big fight. I can tell you the banks are not just taking it lying down, they’re doing everything possible to discredit us, and to make people not use our services, including using legislative moves to kind of block everything we’re doing. This is not going to be an easy fight but, I’m in it for the long term. Like I said, I’m swinging to the fences here, and the community will decide who wins because, it’s the same community that we’re fighting over. It’s a community of depositors whose giving the banks the money for free, that we are convincing that enough is enough, and we’re just not going to take this anymore.
Nye : I 100% agree, I 100% agree. What I kind of wanted to get into as we get closer to finalizing this conversation, and get closer to the end here is, you’d spoke a little bit about adoption. It seems like you have a very good mindset, and a very good clarity, and perspective on how adoption of new technologies occur. You’re at the very forefront of VOIP, you’ve been in the forefront’s of … you were there before Uber creating something that was similar, or the same as what Uber was doing before they were even doing it. What do you think will be the leading factor as we go into kind of the next few years of Blockchain technology? I think we can all agree that over the last X amount of years, we’ve seen a lot of speculation. We’ve seen a lot of anticipation about what this technology has the potential of doing. We’ve seen technology like, a theorem creating smart contracts that has a lot of potential use cases but, nothing that we’ve actually seen besides ICO’s that is actually useful to a larger, broad community outside of crypto.
Nye : Long winded question. What I’m really asking you is, what do you think the first few steps of adoption are going to be? What do you think that’s going to look like?
Alex Mashinsky : Look, it’s a great point, and we are experimenting. On the Ethereum for example, we experimented with the ICO’s and we thought that, that’s going to be the killer app that’s going to take us to higher highs, and so on, so on. But, we ended up finding out that is not going to be our salvation. So, I think the opportunity here is really to find something that will prove this as a business case. I’m actually a big believer in Stable Coins as the killer app for an Ethereum. Right? As an example.
Alex Mashinsky : Let me take it back for a second, and really try to explain what I think happened in this industry in the past two years, or maybe 10 years. If you look at the bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto created the bitcoin right after the 2008 collapse almost like a statement that says, we cannot fix the current financial system, we cannot stop the fed from bailing us out, we cannot get governments to stop printing money endlessly. So, we have to create an alternate system. We have to create something that will be for the people, by the people instead for the rich people by the rich people. Right? That system that is the bitcoin really took 10 different ideas. The open ledger, the consensus mechanism, the Blockchain, and there are many, many other elements. Put them together giving the right incentives for all the different participants to create a system in which we could actually avoid double spend, and scale things in a way that would act in everybody’s best interest.
Alex Mashinsky : Unfortunately, if you didn’t do the analogy of this as a four man relay race. Right? You think about who took the first baton. Who took the baton from Satoshi, and started running with the bitcoin, it was a group of anarchists. The first million people to start using the bitcoin were all anarchists. They wanted to blow up the world using the bitcoin. So, the use case was just completely illegal, not scalable, and it was just devastating I’m sure for Satoshi, and everybody else who tried to make the world a better place. The good news is that they ran out of people. After about a million users, a million accounts, the anarchists ran out of users, and they had to pass the baton to the libertarians. The next group, the next three million wallets were created, were all libertarians who wanted to save the world using the Blockchain. They were looking at this as the solution for everything. They gathered about three million users, and tried to launch different services, and frankly they were not that successful, right?
Alex Mashinsky : They had to pass the baton to the next group, which was really just speculators who came in, and said, “Oh we know how to make money at this, you guys got it all wrong, forget about your ideology, this is all about just making money on this service.”They took the bitcoin from about $2,000 a bitcoin to $20,000 with a grand plan of handing off the baton to the last guy in the race which, were the institutions. This is the first time in history that the institutions were not on the next big thing before everybody. They were actually the last guys in. They were looking at it from the outside. Looking at all these amazing returns that everybody had in the last decade and say, “How do we get in? How do we get a piece of this?” The handoff between the speculator, and the institution just did not happen. We dropped the baton, and that’s why prices dropped by 80 or 90% during that period of time.
Alex Mashinsky : During the same period of time, 2018, the number of active wallets, and you can find an article about this on Bloomberg, the number of active wallets in 2018 grew by more than all the users that existed prior to that previous 10 years. Meaning, it more than double from about 15 million to over 30 million users, active wallets. So, what it tells you is that adoption curve continues to go in as a hockey stick but, the price action does not correspond with what’s actually happening on the ground. Right? To the mass adoption that is taking place. So, what we have is, this bifurcation where today there’s a lot of people who think that bitcoin is dead, and may it rest in peace. There’s a lot of hardcore believers, most of them for example are users. The people that use Celsius are the hardcore hodlers who believe that it doesn’t matter what the price is, we will keep buying this coin because, they don’t make it anymore. That’s really the big kind of fork in the road that we’re stuck at right now.
Alex Mashinsky : Whose going to win? Are we all going to succumb to the pressure from the short sellers, and the naysayers, and all the people are leaving the community because, they didn’t make any money at it because, they joined recently. Or, are we going to rebuild this, and create services that really change humanity, and take this centralized world, and make it a decentralized world where power goes back to the people, and away from centralizing institutions that are dominating our lives.
Nye : I love that, I absolutely love that. That’s a perfect little background, I appreciate you giving that to the audience here. Moving into the final question here really, while we know a basic understanding of what Celsius does here, and what you’re working on, what your vision is with what you’re working on. Can you share a detailed process of how does it work? How does it function to get a loan, to borrow, and how can someone go about doing that.
Alex Mashinsky : Sure. We have a simple app. You got to the Android, or the Apple App store, you download the celsius network wallet, and you have to do KYCML because, we have to make sure that you’re a good actor. We don’t want any bad actors in the community. Then you either deposit coins, and you immediately start earning interest. You don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to move them around, you don’t have to trade, you don’t have to transact with someone. Just the act of depositing automatically creates a savings account for you. There’s no fees, there’s no late fees, there’s no management fees. We pay out every week. Every Monday we give more bitcoin on your bitcoin, and more ether on your ether. How much we give you represents your pro-rata of the wallet that we have. So, if we have a thousand bitcoin, and you gave us 10 bitcoin, then you get 1% of the allocation. You will earn 1% of the interest that we collected on behalf of the community the week before.
Alex Mashinsky : What we pay out, the annual interest that we publish. For example, right now it’s 5.1% that means that we are consistently earning 5.1% on the pool of BTC. We’re earning it through two very simple mechanisms. One is, we issue dollar loans. Te people that take the loans from us, receive dollars, they pay us interest, we take the interest, convert it into bitcoin thorium, and give it to our community as distribution. All of our competition, if you came to look Blockfi, or Salt, or Nexo, any of the other guys, the all issue loans but, they take the interest, and they give it to their really rich shareholders.
Alex Mashinsky : So, Blockfi has Mike Novogratz as their largest shareholder. They borrowed money from him at 15%, and they have to take your interest, and pay it back to their lender. They don’t give anything back to their community. You don’t, as a depositor there, you don’t get anything. Just like the bank, right? So, we’re trying to create an environment that acts in the best interest of the community. That takes any kind of income, and distributes it back to the depositor, and not to the lenders. Not to the people who are the lending organizations, or the banks, or the financial institutions. If we can do that, then we can keep all the profits inside the community. We can create the most power platform on the planet because, if we manage all the money for all of our members, and we have more member than anyone else then we have the powers, and the banks don’t. So, that’s one service.
Alex Mashinsky : The second service is dollar loans. You can use the same app to apply for a loan. We only lend against crypto meaning you must have crypto in your possession. Then we give you, let’s say 50 cents on the dollar. If you have $10,000 worth of bitcoin, we will lend you $5,000. That $5,000 we charge between five and nine percent interest, and that’s the interest if we collect and pay to the community as income. So, one person borrows it, next person gets the income, and we basically give about … 80% of the income is distribution, the 20% goes to cover all of our costs, and we have 16 thousand registered users. We just announced we did over 630 million dollars in coin loans in the last six months. So, that’s more than all of our competitors put together. We’re growing very fast, and we’re looking to add both members, and employees, and do good for the community. Do good, and then do well. That’s the plan.
Nye : That’s beautiful man, that’s beautiful, I love it, I love it. Where can people learn more about what you’re doing with Celsius, and where can they download the app and all of those things?
Alex Mashinsky : Our website is www.celsius.network, we also have a telegram channel, Celsius Network. You can follow us on Twitter, we have a very active You Tube channel with a lot of content on it. So, just do a search for my name. Alex Mashinsky, or do a sure for Celsius Network. You’ll see hundreds, and hundreds of videos which, explain what we do, how we do also, a lot of different reviews of the service by actual users as well as crypto influencers. Just talk to the community. Recently I saw a post on the telegram that said, a new user said, “Hey, I tried to find negative things about Celsius, and I couldn’t find anything. How can that be?” I was laughing because, we are so diligent about any complaint, or any issue that I’m really … again, credit goes to my team. To the 35 people that work on this every day, that they are on top of everything issue, every problem, and really I think we’ve done an amazing job for the community in delivering what we promised. Right? We did an ICO back in March 2018, almost a year ago.
Alex Mashinsky : I think we’re one of the very, very few companies that perform to deliver all of its promises as far as timeline of when we’re going to build things. What is it going to be? If you read our original white paper, and you see what we delivered, it’s one to one. We haven’t changed our plan even an inch. I think it’s because the community told us that this is what they want. It’s not like we came up with some genius idea, and we ask people in the community what they wanted, and we delivered it for the community. So, now it’s just a question of everybody both using it for their own interest. I mean, making 7% is something that you’re not going to be able to do anywhere else without the risk. Without much risk. This is about telling others, or bringing them or convincing them to put last dollars in the bank, and more money in crypto.
Alex Mashinsky : Tomorrow actually, I don’t know when you’re posting it but, tomorrow we are launching a new version of the app. It’s going to have eight new currencies, or tokens. So, were launching stable coins like USDC, Pax and a few others so, you’ll be able to not just use bitcoin, and Ethereum but, also deposit stable coins like the ones I mentioned, and earn 7% on them. You can take your dollars, convert them into stable coin which is one to one, you don’t lose anything, and then earn 7% on that.
Nye : That’s awesome man, that’s awesome. I first learned about Celsius, I think a couple, about a week or two after you guys made the announcement that you were doing an ICO. I did a lot of research on you guys so, I was highly, highly impressed with your background, and all the things that you’ve accomplished in your life. It’s definitely one of the main reasons that I had my eyes on Celsius for so long. So, it’s good that we got to connect man, I’m really glad that we got to sit down here, have a little discussion. Hear more about what’s going on with Celsius now, and the progress you’ve made, and thank you for sharing a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey with the audience. I think that you’ve been doing some really cool stuff with your life, and it’s really interesting to hear.
Alex Mashinsky : So, thanks for having us. I look forward to, your users to un-bank themselves. Right? It’s time for us to un-bank ourselves, and bring power back to the people.
Nye : Exactly. Exactly, for everybody listening, you guys can go find more about Celsius Network at celsius.network. This has been another episode of Evolvement, the financial podcast where we talk about bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and the future of our financial systems. I’m your boy Nye, and we will catch you next time, peace.