Transcription Episode 18

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Nitin. Nitin is the founder of B21 which is, you know, your go-to app if you’re looking to invest in crypto without any hassles.

So to say it’s fully compliant. He’s also associated with a bunch of other blockchain and crypto projects. He has been in this space for a really long time.

We had a free reading chat about everything under the sun in this ecosystem. You know, let’s just jump right in. Hi Nitin, how are you? Hi Tarusha, I’m fine, thank you.

How are you? I’m doing well, thank you so much for taking out the time to speak to me. You know, you’re working in this exciting space and you’re working on quite a few projects. Could you tell me a little about, you know, what you’re working on currently and that will give our listeners also an insight into how you came about into crypto.

Yeah, so I’ve been in payment all my working career, almost all my working career. So been around 15 years in payments and it started with buying then some early days of PayPal where I created, I was building product in PayPal and then in a startup, multiple different types of products, eWallet, banking services, cards, work with a lot of big names, corporates, B2B, etc. Then I built a product.

First, I started with building product. Then I got an opportunity to do, to market that product. So I picked up the marketing role.

So, and then I, as things would have had it, I got a chance to be head of sales. So I started selling the same product and it worked out fine. I was the head of business development for Asia and Europe.

And I would, because I was, I was the builder of the product or I built the product. I could, I knew more about the product. So I started selling it and it worked out fine.

It was, I think an interesting journey for around three years. And I think in 2013, I got introduced to crypto and it was like fascinating for me because I saw that, Hey, the next big thing in payments is crypto. So I started getting involved.

That crypto that time was only Bitcoin. Now like there are like 8,000 coins, but it was only Bitcoin that time. So it was Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin.

Started in 2013. And we got a chance to build a product in that. And so in 2014, we had a product in hand.

We launched it along with one of the biggest custodian of crypto that time called Zappo. They’re still around. And we launched, it was the Bitcoin debit card.

So you could actually spend your Bitcoin buying coffee in the real world. That was the thought process. That’s how I got involved in crypto.

And ever since the journey has been nonstop, I think it is a cutting edge of payments and technology. Yeah, absolutely. I think that is the pretty much the future like vis-a-vis, you know, payments going into the crypto space and for, but you know, we are far away from mass adoption, obviously, but there are people who are creating solutions every day.

What is your take on this? How do you think that people can be made to get into crypto and use it as basically for their day to day life? I think so the way we work, so I’ll just go back a little bit more. So 2014, when we had, we launched this product, we were focusing towards people who had a, if you own crypto, you could spend it. So that’s one part where you could, if I have Bitcoin, but I can’t go and buy coffee with it.

So we were trying, we were solving a problem of spending crypto in the real world. And Bitcoin debit card was a visa powered card, which you can spend it on all the merchants online and in shopping terminals for spending your Bitcoin. And that’s where we were trying to solve the problem of spending the Bitcoin.

But what we realized very quickly was that the, that the number of people who have crypto are fairly small right now. Okay. Out of like seven and a half billion people in the world, maybe a few million, maybe 20, 30 million people a day are directly or indirectly own crypto.

And it’s a very small population. And that time, 2014 to 2018, we ran the product. We had, we had a million users in a million cards in the market.

We were doing $2 billion in transaction volume. So it was great. In fact, Bitcoin was two, $3,000 and Bitcoin price would go up.

People would spend more and our volume will increase. So it was fun stuff at that time. But it was that time there were arguments that there are only four to 5 million people who are involved in crypto.

So it started becoming, so we said, okay, we have to solve the problem of people investing in crypto. We have to spend the people, we have to solve the problem of people using crypto more. So we have to bring more people into crypto.

The word you talk about mass adoption, right? It doesn’t happen on day one, but it is, it’s evolving. Look, now you can say that things are much more better because 350 million people from PayPal have access to crypto. Soon with Libra, et cetera, coming out, there will be close to a billion and a half people from Facebook will have access to crypto.

So things are much faster. But I think the interesting thing which has changed from what we were doing in 2016, 18 to 18, et cetera, is that that time crypto was a currency, right? Cryptocurrencies was the stuff, right? And I think that the innovation has happened in such a manner that it’s not a currency anymore, but I think it’s an asset class. So these are crypto assets.

That’s how I see it. Because I think that there are underlying coins. The utility of underlying coins are much more than currencies.

Probably there might be for all practical purposes. I think that even Ethereum is not a currency, but an asset. Ethereum is a mass, is a big decentralized computer network, I would say.

They work like layers, right? So I believe that, you know, these currencies, they’re like layers. So you can either believe that it’s an asset class and it’s like a store of value rather than a medium of exchange, per se. There are obviously other tokens that kind of fill in that gap.

Correct. And now you’re talking about comparing Bitcoin to gold, right? Which is the store of value or actually an asset class to just put it very boldly. It’s not only a medium of exchange.

It can be. It’s also a store of value or an asset class. And I think so that’s what we believe in.

And we started bringing more and more people to crypto by bringing a product in which the thought process is that if my mom wants to invest in crypto, she cannot invest today. She just doesn’t, will not go to Binance. I have had multiple people who go to Binance and it’s just not cut out for them.

It’s like so complicated. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

No, so Binance is just one thing. They are still doing like, you know, it’s still better than say a Metamask, right? Like Metamask is absolutely unfathomable for so many people. Yeah.

If I tell my, there is an argument of, from the Bitcoin puritarians that not your keys, not your coins, but the reality is that my dad, who has been a banker all his life, will not go to a Metamask, will not so easily hold their private keys. You tell him that, Hey, this is the private key. This is the 16 word seed.

Please write it and please keep it in a safety deposit box. Are you kidding me? Right? Yeah. It’s absurd for them, right? It’s absolutely absurd for them.

Like if I, this is the same problem that I have with my parents. Like if I start explaining it to them, they don’t understand, okay, this is like a free phrase that needs to be stored and it’s really valuable. As you know, the UI aspect, I think needs to be worked upon so much more.

That’s why solutions need to be so subtle that people would be using crypto and they don’t even have to really care what’s happening in the background. A lot like perhaps, you know, how internet or electricity works now that, you know, people use it day to day and every day, all the time, but they don’t necessarily have to the technology, like in the ins and outs of it is what I mean, like on the macro level, perhaps you do. So yeah.

Yeah, exactly. And the way we, we put this to places that think about internet and we talk about the Netscape moment, right? So before Netscape, I mean, all of us probably have only used browsers, right? But before browsers, it was only for techies or military, right? They would go to a black screen to access internet, et cetera. And once this came in, Netscape came and it was for everyone, right? And I don’t even extrapolate and think about even mobile phones, which probably we have seen in our own lifetime that when there was static phones or phones on the cradle, which we used to have the landlines, we used to have one landline phone per household maximum.

Today, we will have two phones in their pockets. So once the user experience is much easier, then the mass adoption starts happening. So I think.

Yeah, I think it’s about the user. Yeah, absolutely. I think you’re absolutely correct that mass adoption will happen when the user experience is better, but there has to be utility.

I think it needs to be really solving some sort of a problem. I don’t know. I don’t necessarily know what kind of a problem did mobile phones solve because I think they’re just like a piece of distraction now, but it was the gradual evolution of technology and we found solutions, right? And then people built on it and it became a part of our everyday life.

Yeah, I think that even if you look at, I’ll give you one more example to just complete the conversation topic on this, that if you think about even emails, right? Earlier, it used to be complicated to set up an email infrastructure to have an email, right? And people were like, Hey, why do I need an email? And then Hotmail came, it changed the entire thing. And now like Gmail has changed the entire thing for decades now. And like you were talking about our parents, they do have an email address, they do have mobile phones.

And I think they do not understand the pop or pop three access and all that stuff. It used to be there in the, in the IBM email servers earlier. So that changed.

And I think that’s where what you are also referring in what I’m vehemently agreeing that the technology has to be underlying it. It has to make things more simpler. So that’s, it has to be playing a role in itself.

So that’s what we are doing. We’re working towards making it easy for investing in crypto. So, and I think I just, I’m just explaining our thought process that it has become three words for us.

It is like investing and with all the DeFi stuff coming, it’s earning. And then last one, which we’ve done in the past as well, which is spending. So it should be your crypto assets should be able to easily invest easily earn on it and easily spend them.

So that’s the pieces with which we are working. And that’s what it is doing. Yeah.

So it’s lovely. It’s like a very clean interface that you have with the app. I think that is essentially, you know, what you said, I think this is something that has been my pretty much my North star now that I’ve been working, like I think in deep tech for like last 12 years, I think technology needs to be so simple.

Like that is the motor that I go with. It needs to be so simple that my parents get it. Like if my father gets it, because he’s not that tech savvy, but you know, with, as you mentioned that, you know, with emails being so sorted now with these new applications coming in, which make it easy, that is essentially how you pave the path for adoption in some way, because not everybody would care about, you know, not your C token and you’re not, not your keys, not your coin.

I understand that. Obviously that is very, very important, but that might not be for everybody. And that might not be the way to sort of help other people to jump on this bandwagon.

You know, so the underlying problem, which those people talk about from not your key, not your coin is because they think that the, whoever is holding your crypto may or may not be actually holding a crypto, right. Or runaway, right. It’s like, I don’t know, there are hundreds of exchanges.

So if you hold your crypto in one of these exchanges, right. Let’s just say that an exchange holds $20 million worth of Bitcoin for all its users, but actually they only are holding $10 million actually, but rest $10 million is just not there. Okay.

And if someone wants to any day start withdrawing, they don’t have it. It’s just that they are giving the, they just don’t hold all the assets. So that is the underlying problem, which is not your keys and not your coins is trying to solve because there have been big and small like players who cannot be trusted.

So in order to solve that problem, the way we are approaching it is we think that regulation is the way to go. We do think that it gives legitimacy. It gives trust and assure regulated.

If you, because you will bring in order to be regulated, we need to have systems in place, right? You cannot have the scenario I talked about that have 10 million of Bitcoins, but actually for the users, you should 20 million, right? So that problem is solved by only being regulated. At least that you might want to be, you might be doing the right thing, but since the space has got so much adulterated with people, with hack, with a lot of bad characters, that the regulation is the right thing to do. It also helps in doing away with any kind of an uncertainty.

So yeah, it gives the trust. Yeah. So users would be able to, you know, they feel a little more comfortable jumping onto this because they’ll feel that, okay, yeah, somebody has their back somewhere.

Somebody has done the DD already for them. Correct. And look, you can, you can always build insurances on top of it, etc.

So, so that’s what we are trying to do. And it’s not easy, right? So it has its own complications. We have a huge bottleneck right now, because our KYC, because we are regulated and we provide a regulated solution, it does take time.

It is not like instant KYC or no KYC. And we have to spend time, we have to spend effort and we have to spend cost in order to do the KYC of the individuals. And since it becomes like, Hey, others are not doing that.

Why are you making it difficult? Okay. Yeah, we understand. But you know, trust is never not built on day one.

It takes time to trust. So why we have taken a difficult path, but I think we are on the right thinking. Yeah, no, I understand this way.

You know, I understand and I empathize with you because I think KYC is such, you know, it’s an important part of the entire process. So earlier I was running an exchange and the entire KYC module was very resource intensive, right? Ultimately, if you’re going to be a global platform, it can only be automated to a certain level. It becomes very, obviously now there are a lot of lovely solutions, Onfido does, you know, Onchain KYC, SHIFT does it and they can just facilitate, I think.

And nevertheless, you know, KYC becomes like time consuming and it becomes a bottleneck as you said. And that can be a little frustrating, but you know, if you’re going to be compliant, then that’s the way to go about doing things. Yeah.

Like I was saying, since 2013, I’ve been into the space. So seen a lot of ups and downs, and seen things like non-compliant, rise and fall of a lot of exchanges. Like I can keep on giving stories, but, and we’ve just decided that, Hey, a shortcut is not the way to go.

And specifically, if you’re working towards mass market, shortcut is not the way to go, right? It’s a complicated long path. No, definitely. I think it’s a complicated path.

It’s a path with a lot of vehicles and because the space is so dynamic, new things keep happening, right? There are forks and whatnot. So, and you have to sort of, there are files at all ends basically. And yeah, I understand this entirely that, you know, compliance, et cetera, becomes very pertinent because there’s an easy way to do it, but then that might not be the long-term way to do it.

Yeah. Let me ask you, I know you’re asking me, but I’m just curious. You’ve been in this space for quite for quite some time as well.

What are you most excited about in coming days and months and what stuff means, whatever you are doing or anything that you are excited about this space? What do you think? Yeah, I think I find, you know, NFTs are very exciting at the moment. I think it’s a space that has been like very, it hasn’t, you people haven’t looked at it correctly. I guess, you know, we just, everybody was in, you know, kind of knew about NFTs just because of drug addicts.

I guess NFTs will have a huge role to play moving forward. The one thing that really exciting, you know, macro level, I think is adoption and to go about adoption, I think, you know, making sure that the right information is getting out and making, you know, we kind of have the control over the narrative that we are putting forward to potential users. That’s important.

And you kind of covered it with, you know, how allowing, enabling users to be able to spend their holdings. I think that is one of the most exciting thing in this space. Obviously now, you know, that Binance has a card and so many other entities also have a card, but ultimately it’s still very far away from, you know, just becoming like a day-to-day thing.

I think that is what my vision is to bring in accessibility and inclusivity. You know, if you’re building a fintech platform, there is the crypto and blockchain space. That is essentially what, you know, I’m working on as is or with Oropocket and OpenDeFi.

They’re bringing in redeemable assets, assets that you, you know, your TG might already understand, like we are doing gold and silver right now, but we will be adding crypto soon on the platform. The idea is to bring in assets that people understand and then offer financial services on top of these assets, be it loans, be it staking and earning like a yield or interest on your investments or being able to spend it using an asset-backed card. So that is essentially, you know, what I do.

And I truly believe that if you’re going to be building, so because blockchain is about decentralization, it is about inclusivity. I believe that, you know, we really need to work on solutions that work in a subtle manner that really are enabling and empowering the end-user so that they don’t even have to really worry about the nitty-gritties at the backend. You know, I’m funny.

If you talk about spend your spot, talk about accessibility and you talk about card, that’s been my, my holy grail. We’ve been, we’ve been working on the cards often. Like I said, I mean, Binance came with a card recently, but we had cards, a million cards in the market, right? Like I was saying, it is like, if you actually Google Bitcoin debit card and you Google a company name or almost all the provide, all the companies who were, who are providing Bitcoin debit card was through us, through Wavecrest.

I, and I used to be the salesperson selling all of them. So, and now what we’re doing is we’re actually, it’s the same thing, bringing this interesting thing of spend on the card. Yes, Binance has a card, but Binance’s card is only limited to Europe only.

And it takes time for getting a global solution. If you have seen that and that, I think I’m going to make, I hate to make, make a price prediction, but I’m going to make a, make a product prediction here. And I believe that in our lifetime, and I’m not talking about months and years, but probably in decades, we will see a fully card or a spend device, which runs completely unblocked.

No centralized authority, no visa, no mastercard. It runs completely on decentralized ecosystem. I think it will come in few, maybe in decade or time, et cetera.

But in our lifetime, we will see that happen. And that’ll be fascinating as well. That would be super fascinating.

And I think, yeah, that is the most ideal scenario, right? That there is no visa, there is no mastercard and there is decentralized cards where people are actually really in control of their money. So right now, I think people think that they’re in control of their money and they hand it out to banks and banks have too much power, I think, and they’ve become a little too smug, in my opinion. But, you know, what you said is, that is even a dream, right? For anybody who’s thinking about how crypto can become mainstream.

Correct. You know, actually what you talk about is right, banks have become, banks are, I will just use the word, banks are extremely slow, because they’re just complacent. It is, the innovation is not happening in banks.

Okay. Actually, they have been actually kicked in the backside multiple times now, because all the fintech, neo-banks eating their lunch. So the banks are forced to innovate.

So it is actually good for the market, for the banks to innovate. I mean, even close to our heart in India, you see banks have started innovating a lot, but I think this is going to go very fast. I also think that while I do think that there will be a lot of decentralized play will be there, but I also think that banks will actually play ball.

They will have no other choice but to play ball. You don’t, banks don’t want to become the Motorola’s of the world that they die, right? What they will do is that they will play ball and they will bring about smarter solutions, which will work alongside the blockchain and crypto space. And it will be compliant, it will be regulated, but it will be still running on a recentralization crypto world.

Providing much more value to its users. And that’s what I think is the future, which I’m extremely excited about. Yeah, no, it’s very exciting because this space is so young, like the technology is still in its infancy and it’s a very dynamic space.

So I agree with you a hundred percent that, you know, banks will obviously have to innovate to kind of stay relevant. And with all of the, you know, new banks and these fintech platforms that are coming in, I think banks are being left with a little choice, but to innovate, and hopefully they can innovate in a way which is, and because banks have larger footprint, I think that would help with building user trust and adoption as well. Let’s take this to next gear and talk about what are we frustrated about? Oh, okay.

I will, I’m just enjoying the conversation. So what the next thing which comes about is what are we very frustrated about in this industry, right? And that’ll actually open up. I can go first.

So I think the only thing which I’m extremely frustrated about is blockchainers or fellow kryptonians are short-sighted. We are very short-sighted. Oh, I was, you talked about conversation at the beginning.

It’s like so much, so busy that I don’t have like hours and hours to spend on Twitter, right? It’s like, okay, when I need to take a break, I go on Twitter and check it out and come back. So I happen to be looking at it in the month, right? And that’s what entrepreneurs probably are doing, going and checking and coming back. They’re not spending all their time on Twitter.

What I saw today is like, people were talking about, hey, this coin has done this percentage and I think it’s great. Okay. Yeah.

Okay. But what does this coin do? What does the product do? Okay. Right.

It’s like, it’s so ephemeral, right? It’s just so short-lived. Okay. Because it has gone X percentage up, right? It’s superficial, right? Yeah.

It’s very superficial. So yeah, you’re absolutely correct there because I believe that you know, people who are making the most noise in this space, they are primarily, you know, I’m not trying to be derogatory here. They’re speculators and traders and they’re here for the, you know, for a quick buck.

And at times people lose, sort of lose track of, and you know, they don’t have the larger vision that the platform might have. So as you said, what is the utility of this token? It might be performing really well. Yes.

But then, you know, there are watch trades as well. And what is the underlying cause that is making it perform so well? Is it the team? Is it the problem that they are solving? Is it the long-term vision that they have, which makes people believe, okay, yeah, this is the project that will do really well. So that is something that people really lose sight of.

And that is dangerous, I think. Yeah, exactly. And so what ends up happening is that it’s just like, oh, this coin went up.

I love this coin or this, right? It’s all determined. Well, I understand it has to be determined by market forces and price, et cetera. But you cannot, look, things don’t change on a daily basis, right? Things don’t change.

The prices change on a daily basis, but the fundamentals don’t change on a daily basis. So I think that’s what we are frustrated about. I also think, I mean, just adding to this, I think the crypto industry has picked up, has picked this trading stuff in a backward.

So if you think about traders out there in the industry, okay, but investors are not there. So I’ll explain my thought process a little bit more. Think about you have a company, you go do an IPO, and then you get the retail investors because they do a price discovery.

And then you have futures and options. And on top of it, day traders, then all that stuff starts coming up. First, you have retail investors, right? Who would most likely not be buying and selling every single day.

They would be buying and holding, et cetera. They have a longer view. They believe in the company or what they’re doing to a certain extent.

The way crypto has done it, it’s reversed. There’s more trades than investors, right? So all the media platforms, if you go, they are all investing platforms. We talk about Binance a lot, but if you think about more and more complex derivatives, more and more complex systems coming in play, right? They cater to only the traders, right? They cater to the elite few who trade, but where are the investors? Where are the common masses? My mom, my dad, where are they? They will not go and do a hundred X leverage trade, right? They would probably do a buy and hold and buy every month for amount and hold.

That’s what retail investors do. So I think that’s another thing which crypto has done, which I get sometimes frustrated that we do trade more, we have more traders than investors. Yeah, no, absolutely.

I think, you know, you’re absolutely correct there. I think, you know, they are, as I said, these, you know, I’m not trying to be derogatory here again, but the space is filled with speculators and traders who are just there for a quick buck. And there is nothing wrong with that.

It’s just that, you know, for bigger things to happen in the space, there needs to be a good balance between these traders, the retail investors and institution. Exactly. Do you trade? Just curious.

I mean, let’s, let’s take to the next level. Do you trade? Do you invest? What’s your philosophy? I’m happy to share mine, but because I think listeners would want to know that next question. Yeah.

So no, I think I’m not so much of a day trader. I don’t have that kind of time on my hands. Like when you’re, you know, as you said that you can’t really go on Twitter and, you know, spend all day on it.

Right. You know, I also can’t go on Twitter and spend all my day on it. If you’re building a company and if you’re scaling startups and solutions, you don’t have that kind of, you don’t have that liberty of time.

Right. And so I don’t spend like all day on Twitter and same goes here that, you know, if you’re going to be a trader, you need to be really on your toes right the entire day. I would believe, obviously there are bots, et cetera, that can help you.

And you know, there is, there are stop-loss features, et cetera, that are there, but that is still something I think that, you know, kind of requires a lot of bandwidth. And that is not what I’m in here for. I would consider myself a hodler like no other and I invest and, you know, it depends on the platform and the kind of utility.

So because I would say that, you know, both of us have been in this space for some time and we kind of have the same ideology here. We, you know, it depends entirely on what am I even sort of investing in? And then I wouldn’t consider myself a trader at all. Like if like for the long, to just sort of make the long answer concise.

What about you? Do you trade or would you, would you consider yourself an investor? I think I know what you mean. It’s funny, right? Exactly. It’s like I have invested and then I have forgotten about it.

Okay. And yeah, same. So there are some of them which I invested and then I didn’t keep a track, not a lot amount.

So I didn’t keep a track. And the other day somebody sent me a message, Hey, that’s gone. Like that’s done really well.

I said, Oh, let me just check if I still have it. Yeah. So this is my story.

This is exactly like my story, you know? Yeah. You discovered it and then you’re like, it’s a happy surprise. Correct.

I don’t even have a portfolio or whatever these, there are so many places that you keep track of your portfolio. I don’t have any of that sorted. I don’t have crypto, but I don’t have any of that sorted.

So I don’t look at the price every single day. It just, it is there. I believe in this, right? So that’s my sort of the story.

In fact, so I can actually give you a, I don’t know how many people you will meet who, who have bought or who have bought crypto or Bitcoin when it was a hundred dollars. So that was, that’s my buying time. My first Bitcoin, I bought it.

I did some work for somebody. They said, Oh, I’m going to give you a Bitcoin rather than this. I said, yeah, fine.

So he gave me a Bitcoin. It was like, okay, fine. It’s a hundred dollars.

Nice. Let it sit there. And then remember that time dollar was 45 to a rupee.

So it was 4,500 rupees for which I got that Bitcoin. And I’m like, okay, fine. Let it stay there.

And then we’re like, Oh, it has got 9,000 rupees. It’s got 10,000 rupees. Oh wow.

That’s a lot of money. Yeah. So yeah, no, absolutely.

I understand this like on a very basic level, because I think I’m in the same boat as you. We are not coming across as very good crypto shillers now, Nitin. I would say like our listeners will think that these people are just holding and they might not have the best financial advice to give, but then, you know, that is just how I kind of roll that.

I don’t believe that I have the kind of bandwidth to sit down and look at the markets every day and kind of study it and accordingly make my trades. I think it’s a full-time job, right? If you’re doing that. Yeah.

Also, I mean, just catching up on what you just said, right. You know, it’s difficult to not predict. That’s what I would say.

Right. Very easy to say, Hey, Bitcoin is going to go to 40 and it is going to go above 14 and then 15. Very easy to say.

Right. Yeah. Okay.

But Hey, it’s difficult to refrain from saying that, Hey, I’m not going to predict on the price. We believe in this space. We’re more about not only about the price we have here for a long time.

Why do we like the price? Right. Why we like more and more people getting involved while we take pride that Facebook and Twitter and PayPal came after us and we were here before. Right.

We’ve been, we’ve been believer in this space much before PayPal got to my alma mater. I worked in PayPal earlier. So it’s like, right.

All my fellow PayPalians, they were like, Oh, you’re doing something in crypto. Yes. And three years later when PayPal came into crypto, I said, now you guys are also coming.

Okay. So gives me a pride in saying that, but we’re not, it just shows very clearly that we are not in here for a short term. We like the ride.

We enjoy it going up, but we also understand it’s a material change, which this industry is bringing in the world. Yeah, absolutely. It’s the underlying change.

I think it’s the vision. So it’s like a way of, you know, this is just going to sound really corny, but it’s like a way of life. And I think, you know, you enjoy the journey, but you’re not here for just like, you know, just for those little moments, right.

You are here to work on the grander vision that you have for your life. That is essentially how I look at, at least, you know, the tokens that, you know, you kind of really believe in that, you know, you are here as a, as somebody who’s been there long before, you know, a micro strategy came in long before when PayPal came in and we’ll be there for a while. And obviously, you know, I think that I never really looked at it that way, but now I’m feeling a sense of pride too, that, you know, I was there before.

Right. Yeah. If someone from PayPal or someone from, from Facebook starts talking about crypto, you say, yeah, you realized it two years later or three years later, you used to mock us.

You still don’t allow us to put ads on Facebook about crypto. Right. So what are you talking about? Right.

So it is just me. It’s just that, that, and that helps, right. That helps put the belief more in it, right.

That, Hey, now, if all these guys are coming in, okay. I mean, a lot of people who like, Oh, I don’t know if it will go, it will not go up. It will not go down.

I only say this very simply. If Visa is in it, if DBS is in it, if PayPal is in it, if Goldman Sachs is in it, if BlackRock is in it, okay. If Twitter and Facebook is in it, Elon Musk tweets about it literally every week.

Okay. Which means it isn’t on his mind, right? It cannot be neglected. Are you still saying it’s a bubble? Right.

So you give me the answer yourself. So where I’m going with it, very easy to show, but very difficult to not talk about, right. Talk about the real stuff.

Talk about what does change the journey of change, which we are on. And it’s going to change a lot of lives. I mean, again, frankly, I put this in a way that when internet was getting born, right.

And if you take the example, even in India, when internet or the IT industry got formed because of the Y2K problem and India had the chance of solving that problem, et cetera, that time I did not get involved, right. And I was not there. Then there was a mobile revolution when there was so many mobile apps coming, right.

I was still not there. I was not part of it. I did not make a startup in the mobile app world.

Right. And then from the social media world, the Facebooks or the, even the WhatsApps of the world or Mapchats, et cetera, that happened, but I was still not there. Unfortunately, I was busy doing something else.

Right. But now the blockchain world or the decentralized world, I am there. Okay.

Or I would just say we are there. I don’t think, I mean, I think your journey is exactly similar, right? This one is our journey. This one, we did not do the, we did not become the processors and the pros of the world.

We did not become the Facebooks of the world, but we are in the crypto space. We will become one of the reckoning forces in this. That’s what I. Absolutely.

Your passion comes through and I, this is exactly what, you know, I did not believe it before this call, but I do believe during the course of this call, if we have a very similar thought process on where we are standing and, you know, this is what you said about how it’s going to be so many lives. So I think around a month back, I had spoken to Darren Tapp from Dash and, you know, he was talking about the kind of groundbreaking work that Dash is doing in places like Nigeria and, you know, Kenya that, you know, you can actually pay for your parking, etc. with Dash.

And I thought that was so amazing. Like, he actually sent me an advertisement of how, you know, you can actually order fried chicken using Dash. And I found that lovely because that is essentially what we need to do.

Make it so mainstream that, you know, day-to-day activities are happening in this space and more and more people are using this technology without having to really worry about it or be wary of it in any way. Yeah. Look, I think what you just said actually is a success of this call itself, that it actually made us believe more in what we are doing and made us more proud about what we are doing and how we are changing lives.

He, about Dash, well, I don’t follow it a lot, but it seems it is changing lives in Nigeria, etc. That’s a phenomenal journey. I, you know, the other thing also for our viewers and for our listeners, I think one thing we always forget in this entire, we talk about Bitcoin, we talk about crypto, we also talk about blockchain.

But the one thing which we actually tend to forget, and I think that’s the defining factor is decentralization. That’s the defining factor of why we are in it and what we are trying to solve. And just not forgetting that it’s all driven by trying to make things decentralized.

Yeah. No, I think that is essentially the very basic. Yeah.

That is something that is so foundational to blockchain and crypto in general, like just for this technology, that it’s all about decentralization and how decentralization kind of is becoming increasingly important with the kind of socio-political scenarios that are playing out all over the world. I think decentralization is the way to go. And in every industry, it’s not just, you know, that, okay, it’s in the finance industry.

Obviously, this is an industry that kind of touches everybody. But, you know, there are so many other verticals that decentralization becomes very pertinent as we are moving forward. Yeah.

I’ll tell you one more anecdote. Okay. And I was telling this too, because people will immediately understand with this one.

Okay. So think about blockchain. Okay.

And I was explaining somebody and he said, oh, so things cannot be unwritten on it and it is immutable, etc. Right. I said, yes.

And I was like, think about it this way. Okay. If the title deed of Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya would have been written on blockchain, it would have still been there.

Yeah. It is a very profound statement if you think about it. Right.

And think about 200, 500 years down the line or 1000 years down the line, how much of property records will exist. Right. They have to be put on blockchain so that they exist forever.

Right. That’s what decentralization and blockchain brings on the table. Right.

That’s what keeps us alive. Yeah. This is something that is actually very, very, you know, all over the world, it’s the same story with properties and title deeds.

This is a problem that so many people who are executing estates, they face because there is no clear title and with blockchain that goes away. Yeah, look exactly. And this is the way we put it was that we were talking and we put it that, Hey, you will never have a Khosla ka Ghosla if title deeds were on blockchain.

Right. Yeah. And that’s a good example.

I mean, it’s just relatable, right? People immediately get it. Yeah. True.

Right. And then the other thought, because it’s very interesting and I want to repeat it, the other thought, which I want to also say is that if you, if people say that we, we’re not selling coins, et cetera, you know, it will become the Hera Pheri days, that scheme, 25 days mein paisa double. Right.

That scheme doesn’t exist. Right. That scheme, if someone is selling you that scheme, right.

You just remember, just remember Hera Pheri, right. So why are you not selling bad coins? I just, very simple. Right.

And there are, fortunately, unfortunately, there are so many people who still get bought by that 25 days mein paisa double type of story. Right. Yeah.

Those are, so I think, I believe the scamsters are, you know, in every industry and especially like, you know, there was something very lovely that I had, I keep coming back to. Andreas Antonopoulos had written in internet of money that, you know, criminals tend to take on new technologies easier, right. They have nothing to lose.

And when, you know, if there is any innovation that is coming in, if there’s, you know, when there was, there are phishing frauds, et cetera, right. That came in, even with the telegram, there were frauds. So, so the idea is that there will always be people who are scamsters and who are on the wrong side of the road to sort of say, but, you know, you need to do your own research.

That’s one part. And that goes without saying, but then essentially what does matter is that, you know, there are more of us than there are them. And that is what you need to believe.

And you need to sort of take solace in as you move forward, because there will always be people who will be troublemakers, but then you have to look into the people trying to prevent. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

In every sector, you’ll find them in every sector. This is not just peculiar to blockchain, right? When internet started, I believe like, at least that was how it was with my parents. I wasn’t allowed on the internet, right? Because it was supposed to be like a den of consterns and mobsters and pedophilia, right? So that, which is there still, right? Which is still there.

Yeah, it is. We just have figured out a way to avoid them. And that’s what we have to do, right? We just know how to not get into that trap, right? And I’m sure that there are, I mean, we know so much is on the internet is going on, on that stuff.

So yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So look, there is a fine balance to be maintained there, but then, you know, essentially you can take solace in the fact that there are solution makers as well who are moving forward.

I’ll give you an anecdote, okay? So I don’t know if you know or not, but the first online credit card usage, you know, who started it? How did credit cards start? So credit cards, when they were made, they were made to be used on point-of-sale terminals, right? Those big machines, which you’ll have to swipe your card. How did it started happening on online? So the, and there is a movie in which it is shown, but the fact is that there were these NASA engineers who had nothing else to do. They had got left their jobs and they just decided that they want to monetize their phone.

So they put all their material online and they said that someone should pay. They actually coded using the information on the card to actually send the max drive data, create the max drive data or a cryptographic data and send it over the internet to swipe the card, right? So it was as simple rather than sending the max drive data, take the data, which is there on the card, which is card number CVV expiry, right? And create that max drive data and send it. It was as simple, right? Because you can’t swipe it on the internet, right? So, and that’s what happened.

And that actually gave birth to online usage of card. Wow. Okay.

I actually was not aware of this. This is so interesting. It’s very interesting.

And you will understand from there that it has been a revolution and there are things that the point that you were talking about, some people who have a really real need, or they actually innovate in some of these industries, right? They actually use the technology first and somehow it, that they would never have been a clip card or of Amazon. If that technology was never born, right? Or that those guys would have not figured out a way to use the card online. So it’s actually very fascinating.

And that’s how innovation has happened for time immemorial. So people using it for fancy purposes is it’ll always be there. It has always been there.

It has always been there in every stream of life, but this way there’s more and more innovation happening now. So the way you talked about that as well, we’ll see in the months and years to come. Yeah, absolutely.

This is, yeah, this is actually, so innovation is, you know, it happens when there is some sort of a problem to solve, right. And there are so many problems to be spread now with the traditional finance world. And that is why, obviously, you know, DeFi is growing by leaps and bounds, obviously still far away from any kind of mass adoption, but nevertheless, the kind of innovation that is driving this space, I believe that, you know, it’ll happen so much quicker than it has happened in the past, like for people to be able to trust the products and the solutions and to be able to make them a part of their day-to-day life.

Yeah. In fact, means just talking about that’s what we at B21 also are doing, trying to make a difference, bring more and more mass adoption by providing a regulated solution for people to invest in crypto, easiest way to invest in crypto. We provide, it’s not easily, people do not provide easily a way to invest in crypto using credit debit cards.

We have that, we have bank transfers. We have the earn feature that you earn on interest on all your portfolio. You can actually invest within $25, but you can actually select in a portfolio.

So you create your own portfolio, right? So look, again, going back to the basics of investing, right? We start picking up from there. It has to be diversified. So what you can do is you can select your own portfolio.

And we have actually made it so simple that you can literally buy Bitcoin worth of $1. So you buy it in a regulated manner, keeping it very clearly. It’s compliant in every way and easy for the user.

Correct. Yeah, yeah. No, so I believe that your solution is absolutely wonderful.

So could you tell me a little about where all, in what geographies can our users utilize B21? So we are live in 82 countries right now. So the interesting thing is that not very difficult for people to also go live in US, right? That’s a known fact, right? Even Binance doesn’t provide solutions in US. So we are even live in US.

So we onboard US users as well. That actually is a testimonial in itself that the systems and solutions that you provide are in a regulated manner, which can also be used by America, right? We are live. We have in 82 countries, we from US to India, to Europe, to Asia, large geographies, that’s where our big focus has been.

But we focus on, US has been slowly and steadily growing. In fact, if you think about US solution, I’ll give you a quick one, how we differentiate is that if you buy crypto with us, we will give you crypto right away. Even if you use your bank account, we will give you Bitcoin right away.

It is not like any other, even if you go to a Kraken or a Coinbase for that matter, and you buy using a bank transfer or a bank account using instant ACH, you will get crypto tomorrow or day after tomorrow. It’ll take 24 to 48 hours before they give you the Bitcoin. We give instant.

So it’s basically instantly. Yeah. So it’s an instant exchange.

Okay. Yeah. You do not know what the price will be tomorrow, right? So you might, and yes, there are risk concerns, which Coinbase deals with, and that’s why they provide, we understand why they provide it after 24 to 48 hours, but in our model, we provide it right there and then instantly.

Right. So we are live with India. We have a UPI in which you can use you invest using UPI.

It’s 2000 rupees, which is roughly around $25, which is what you should invest using. And then you can hold it. There’s no trade.

You cannot trade. It’s not like a Binance function that you can trade, et cetera. But if you are thinking of holding your crypto for a longer term, that’s where we come in.

You can, you take your entire portfolio. So if you have even a hundred dollars worth of portfolio spread across six coins in a click of a button, just one green button and you can stake the entire portfolio and earn between three to 14% per annum, right? If your crypto is sitting there. So it’s interesting, right? So think about for an average user, just like we talked about, like my mom or my dad, they invest a hundred dollars, they get a benefit of growth of crypto asset in itself.

Plus they get a benefit of three to 14% per annum turn on their crypto, just sitting there by just click of a button, right? So they can stake the entire portfolio. So that’s the stake fee or the earn feature. And then third one, which we’re extremely excited about and are literally this week, we should launch it.

Team is working 24 hours on that. And that is the spend feature. We do have a way in which you can convert to a bank account, but we are bringing about a card, Visa-powered card.

And actually it is a differentiating factor because we will bring about secure credit cards, which can be used globally and issued not only in Europe, but outside, but in Asia as well. That would be super exciting, I think. That we are extremely excited about.

And we think that being in this space and we understand the market. So that’s what we are focusing on. And I think the next few weeks and months will be amazing for the space as well.

So you will be able to not only invest, but earn, but also spend easily your crypto. Wow. Okay.

Yeah. So I think that is the way to go about, you know, just trying to get more people on the bandwagon for more people to understand that this is just like a scam of sorts or a Ponzi scheme, so to say, for the lack of a better term. Yeah.

But yeah, I think it’s very exciting what, you know, you guys are doing. So your apps are like available on iOS as well as Android? Yes. Yes.

So the app is both on Android and iOS. It’s a mobile first or mobile only play. No, no website play.

It’s only mobile. You can download. Yeah.

No web app. You can download and you can onboard and then invest and then take and earn. And then right there itself and get a card.

Right now we’re starting with physical card. We’re working on virtual card as well, but get a card and spend. And then there are many more features coming.

Like it’s just making it very simple. Actually Binance has changed. It’s actually interesting.

So Binance is, we were tweeting about it, but my, when my friends went into Binance and they created an account and they came back and they asked me, what is fiat? And I said, yeah, that’s true. Right. That’s not what anyone understands.

So they’ve changed it to cash. I don’t know if you saw recently or not, but they call it cash rather than fiat, but people would come back and say, crypto I understand. What is fiat? Right.

So that’s, so in our app, you will not find all that stuff. No jargons, no crypto lingo, no, no talk about all that stuff. It’s very simple.

You invest, you hold, when you want to sell, you will sell, withdraw to your bank account or spend while the money is sitting there or assets are sitting there, you earn. It’s a simple concept. Yeah.

It’s investing one-on-one basically. You know, it’s interesting without any of the frills and the drum rolls, it’s simple. It’s to the point, it gets the work done.

Yes. Lovely. So, you know, we are already kind of, I think, overblowing the time we had for this, but I would, I would love to ask you, you know, a question that I ask everybody who comes on the show.

If somebody is like perhaps peering in from the outside, I think, you know, you’ve kind of answered this already, but if you had to give a suggestion to somebody who wants to get into the space, but is still a little unsure, what would be your two cents to them? So my, the way I will answer it is that let today be your day one, rather than saying one day I will get into it, because one day you will get into it. Let today be your day one, right? That’s how I would answer. I would also say, look, and this is how I learned it in the entire, everything.

Okay. I got involved and then I learned it, right? Even stocks, I first invested in stocks and then I learned the entire thing about stock market. I never learned and then came and invested.

It’s always once you invest, because now your money is in it, you actually learn about it, right? If you invest in an ICICI bank stock, then you learn more about what ICICI bank is doing and, and how they are marketing, how they are selling, how they’re, and if you’re into finance, you look at PE ratios, et cetera, et cetera. You don’t look at it before, you look at it after you invest. And I think if you invest, right? And that’s how I say you invest $25.

It’s not a lot of money you invest and you will learn about it. And what we have seen, and people come back and tell us multiple times that first they invested, then they started learning about it. And because they started reading about Bitcoin and this and that, then Google started pushing more and more content to them.

This is what Google does, right? So if you read about Bitcoin news, then they will give you the Ethereum news also, and it’s not coming up more and more on your feed. And that’s what they said, Hey, we just started learning about it. And now I want to know more about what is Dash and what is this and what is DeFi.

And I said, okay, fine. Now we’re talking. So the fun stuff is in order to get those people adopt rather than making them learn first and then invest, we think that you should invest first and then learning will come.

Like it’s going to be a hyper growth in learning then. So that’s how I would, I would narrate what people should look at and get involved early. In India, we get involved always late.

Think about so many youngsters sitting out there in colleges, et cetera, get involved early. Okay. There are so many new careers which are going to get created in this industry, right? The Y2K problem or those days will never come, but Bitcoin or crypto days are just starting.

Right. No, you’re absolutely correct. And I think, you know, what you said about opportunities coming forward because of this industry about how, you know, you start today.

Don’t wait for that one day to start. Start today. Let this be your day one to start, you know, living on blockchain and to get into this space.

I think those are absolutely wonderful suggestions. And, you know, I also believe that it’s never too late. Like if you know, if you get to know today and if you start today, it’s fine.

You’re not late to the bandwagon or you’re not late to the party at all. Some people, you know, have all of these concepts in their head that, you know, you have to buy a whole Bitcoin and you can’t really, right. It’s basic stuff.

But once you get into it, it’ll be like, you know, a party like no other, as you said that, you know, you’ll be deluged post that with so much information and there’ll be so much learning and growth and that’ll happen automatically. But learning by doing, I think is the best way to get into the space and to really become more aware of what is happening. And I think that is like a step one.

And I think it’s a good step to take. So yeah, very, very good suggestions. This has been an absolutely wonderful call.

Do try B21. Invest using B21. Yeah, absolutely.

I’m going to put in the links in the descriptions of when this podcast goes live. And I think, you know, your app has a very clean interface and that is something that lacks in a lot of products and solutions nowadays that they kind of over-engineer things. And right now with your app, the interface that it has, it’s very clean.

It’s very nice without jargon. So I believe B21 is doing a splendid job here. Do you have any last thoughts about being on this particular podcast? No, I enjoyed the conversation.

In fact, we did not think about any questions which we were going to ask and I enjoyed the conversation because I like it that way. The genuineness shows because we are passionate and believers. It just resonates.

It just has fun. So it was good. I really enjoyed it.

I think that listeners will also take something out of it. And yeah, if anyone wants more questions or you want to talk, we are all available on Twitter and LinkedIn. Just reach out.

Always there to answer anything needed. Excellent. Lovely.

So I’m going to put in your socials in the description as well. It’s been really lovely talking to you, Nitin. Thank you so much.

Thank you. Thank you, Tarusha. I feel great too.

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