Transcription Episode 20

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Vikram Nikam. He is the founder of He’s worked with Unocoin before.

He’s actually one of the veterans in the space. He’s been there for a long time. He’s kind of seen it all.

He’s seen the financial crash in the UK and how he kind of veered towards the crypto industry and that became a huge part of our conversation. It was a lovely chat, very insightful. So let’s deep dive right in.

Hi Vikram, welcome to the episode. How are you doing today? Very nice. Thank you very much for the invite.

I’ve always been pleased to talk about blockchain, Bitcoin. Been interested in talking about it since a long time. Yeah, I think that’s the thing about people who are working in blockchain.

Everybody is like very excited to talk about this space because it’s so dynamic. Totally, totally. For me, it was like a different thing.

When I heard about it first, it was 2009 end. And it’s like at the beginning of crypto, so early that it took me till 2010 to meet one person to talk to him about Bitcoin. Till that time, I never met anyone.

Even though I went to like about 15 countries. So I was living in England and my recession, the 2008 recession just changed the pricing of my house, of my assets and everything. So to find out what happens to your asset holding in recession time.

Because I’m from India and I’ve never seen any land value or a house value drop like the way it happened in the UK. So when I was looking for answers, I came across Bitcoin. The very first time when I read about Bitcoin, I completely wrote it off.

It means so bad that I did not even look at it for the next six months. It came back to me again for my research. Because the first time when I read about it, I just completely believed that it is something from the banks.

Before they used to have credit cards and debit cards in the style of cards. They used to give us a way to spend money from our bank. Now it’s a digital format.

That’s all I thought of it. And then I moved on. I’m not a financial guy.

I’m not an economics guy. And I was not a technical guy. So this is like the main three subjects of crypto.

So I passed it. I went on. And again, in mid of 2010, I came across because the price of Bitcoin was doing pretty good.

I mean to say that it had price. Because till that time, there was no price for Bitcoin. And the first time ever they had some decent price and it jumped to 50 cents.

It went back to it again. Because I read some messages of people saying that, Oh, 50 cents for a Bitcoin? It’s going to survive because it’s the highest. It can never ever go higher than 50 cents.

That’ll be the end of Bitcoin’s price. And that’s the mindset people had because that’s been happening from the beginning. I’m the proof for it because I said it.

I saw it then. Even today, people say the price of Bitcoin, whatever it is, it’s too high. It’ll never ever go again higher than this.

Same thing was said in 2017 when it touched 20,000 USD, close to 15 lakh Indian rupees. People said this is the heights of Bitcoin price. What a digital commodity or I call it resource.

So for me, Bitcoin is like a great resource of the world. So a resource like that can never match more than that price is what people say. And I’ve been hearing it all the time.

And I know for sure it is going to go even higher. The reason because Bitcoin has to be the global reserve because of the kind of properties that it has. It’s on the blockchain.

It gives equal opportunity to everybody in the world. And especially the countries would love to use it because your USD as a global trade reserve is not necessarily a decentralized system. It’s a centralized system.

So the guys who own it centrally take advantage of the printing press that they have in control of. So because of that, Bitcoin is going to be the global reserve. And to be the global reserve, it has to overcome the price.

I would say, you know, the market cap of gold, the market cap of USD, then the market cap of the properties around the world, that kind of size of pricing on Bitcoin. It’ll definitely show every four years the predictions that will shoot up 10x. And it’s been happening.

This year also is a year full run. This year is a year full run because we’ve always seen in the past year after you’re halving, it triggers price. The reason because when it’s halved, by that time when it is halving, already the miners are feeling the heat that it’s not making enough for them as they’ve seen before profit-wise.

And then when it halves, the miners are now in a very tight situation. A lot of miners go off the space. But of course, a lot of new ones come in.

So when they come in, they see the amount of Bitcoins that they make as a price that you get for mining is not enough. And they will be the first ones to start pushing for a little higher than what they would be getting before. Because they need to cut their costs, right? So they have to keep pushing the price of Bitcoin a little up.

They will easily sell it for a lower price. And the interest in that next four years that is built up also brings in more buyers. And of course, the trading part of it is the most important thing because the traders are actually the ones who are bringing in price to it.

And, you know, I would say a more presence to it in the world. Because the idea of cryptocurrency and the interest of it is not necessarily bringing in a lot of people. The trading part of it is what is bringing in a lot of people.

Because of the way it fluctuates and those kind of things is something for people to see and learn. Because a lot of people when they read about Bitcoin, you don’t necessarily understand it. Only the time teaches you.

So for me, it took me two years to eventually buy into Bitcoin. Even though I heard it in 2009, I only bought it June 2011 to Bitcoin. And at that time, there was only one exchange in the world.

It was called Mt. Gox. It was in Japan.

It linked to my bank account. But my idea of the time was to leave UK and go travel. So that was my interest.

That’s how I came to know about my assets collapse also. So when I was doing that, I didn’t want to link my bank. I had some money in my bank and I thought, why not just like get some Bitcoins? Because I’m still learning and took me two years to buy it.

But still, I didn’t believe it so much. Or, you know, the 100% feeling of Bitcoin was not there because I had not met anybody. I was so eager to meet someone to talk about Bitcoin.

It’s only online. And the other people that I talk about it is only because I have told them. Right.

There’s nobody who’s already knew about Bitcoin and had a conversation with me. That didn’t happen, like I said, until 2013, January. So in the end of 2011, I was planning to leave UK.

So I didn’t want to link my account. I just bought some Bitcoins, a few on That was the only forum then. And I would say it was one of the biggest forums to find information on Bitcoin.

And I found some friends that I used to read about. And then I put a message saying that I’m interested in buying some Bitcoins just to get a start. Is any home miners who are sitting and mining at home would like to give me some? And then there were like a couple of guys who came across.

Of course, this is very early days, right? So there was no fear of escrow or anything that who will send the money first. Between us, we just had one email contact and we said, okay, I’ll send you 0.1 of a Bitcoin. Which is worth nothing then.

And then if I feel, yes, I received it, it’s working fine. Because for me, it’s the first ever transaction. So, and then I said, I will send across the money.

You can send me the remaining. And the transaction went smooth. Bought a few more times, a few couple of them.

And these guys were mining at home, right? So they had two, four, six, like that kind of numbers if it went. Just to get to understand. So actually that helped me a lot.

Because if I would have ever bought it at Mt. Gox. The facility that Mt.

Gox gives you by holding your Bitcoin is a great facility. But then I don’t get to learn about it. So if I download my own wallet, store my own Bitcoin in my own security.

Like I’m being responsible for my Bitcoin. Gives me more knowledge on it. So that way I even got an advantage that I did my own thing.

Download my wallet, store my keys to him. To send across the Bitcoin. Manage my private keys.

So that way I learned it a lot. I don’t wish to, because a lot of people, they had a chance to do that. Because they kept it on Mt.

Gox. A lot of people lost thousands of Bitcoin. Because of the time when Mt.

Gox got hacked. They lost 800,000 Bitcoins of the people around the world. So you can see, even my friend later I met in 14.

That he was telling me that, yeah, even he had it on Mt. Gox. And then he lost them.

So that was really disappointing. But I guess eventually I realized by today that is, that a lot of people have lost Bitcoin. That’s how Bitcoin becomes really more scarce and more valuable.

Because it’s clear demand and supply now, right? It just kicks in. So this is my story from how I started. When I completely got into Bitcoin.

In terms of understanding from online. The fact that it was not very good at finance and economics. Made me feel like I should study about it.

Which I did in 10 for a year. Just to get more confidence on this thing that it should work. Why should it work? And who will make it work? And those kind of things.

And eventually with all my research I realized. It’s for me to just go ahead and use it and be part of it. And that’s how it will eventually grow and become big.

And today it has. So countries like Venezuela and Iran depend on Bitcoin a lot. For the reason of their global trade.

It’s because they’re heavily sanctioned. India is at a level of being sanctioned. As India, we have sent about close to a billion dollars to Iran.

And it’s not reached Iran yet. It’s still stuck in New York. Because New York says we cannot pay and buy oil from Iran.

Even though it is cheaper for us. And those kind of choices that they don’t allow us to make. Makes it so strong for us to go ahead and use something decentralized.

So that’s why Bitcoin is a tool of the world. It’s just a matter of time when it gets the market cap of gold. And then crosses gold.

And gets like 10 times the price of market cap of gold. Maybe then it can start becoming the real global reserve. Because today countries like China are already helping it.

China started moving away from USD. Way back in 2016. Because US tried to pressure them also to stop printing.

To do QE, to stop doing QE. Even though they themselves do a lot of QE. Quantitative Easing I mean to say.

Which is called as Monetary Easing in India. China went ahead and did it. They couldn’t stop China.

China realized they have an air over it. They started dumping USD. And just recently about a month ago.

I heard that China was doing more than 50% of their global trade. Without the US dollar. That means they are using Yuan.

The Chinese currency. Then the Ruble. Then other countries a few.

And then Bitcoin. So with all this they are doing the reserve. Eventually I think USD will be phased out.

And that’s something which we need. Because we couldn’t give so much power and economic wealth to a country. Just because they have the printing press.

And they have nothing else. They don’t hold gold. They don’t allow you to even audit gold that they have in their reserves.

It has never been audited since 1987. And whatever happens. Even if you get to audit.

The amount of gold that you are holding today. Is not necessarily equivalent to the global trade market cap. Or the USD forex market cap.

Those things are way way higher than gold. Because when you look up on Google. And search for gold’s market cap.

When I started searching and learning about it. It was 7 trillion. Now it has touched 10 trillion.

But 10 trillion is too less. Compared to what has been printed by USD. Just the last COVID year of 2020.

They printed 26% of their whole reserve that they have. In just one year. That means they have become too silly.

Too smug perhaps. Very stupid. Just because you have some defenses to support your dollar.

Doesn’t mean that you keep liquidating so much. You want to use that to go and again fight wars. The sole reason Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein died.

Is because they wanted to use gold. Other than USD to do global trade. And they have been taken out.

Because they don’t want anybody to use anything. Other than the paper printed by them. So that gives so much knowledge.

To understand why we need something like Bitcoin. And something like blockchain based cryptocurrency. Which totally negates centralized system.

And then gives more power to it. The real world which is working hard towards the economics. Should get advantage.

And only Bitcoin and blockchain can do that. Bitcoin of course is the first one of its kind. In terms of blockchain based technology.

For that reason it has the best market cap. But I guess blockchain is what is revolutionizing the whole industry here. By putting industries like IP, intellectual property on blockchain.

Then you put in all kind of banking facilities that banks provide. On the blockchain by making it smart contract way. Without any centralized person trying to dupe you.

You have the blockchain that you depend on. To do escrows, to do loans, to do you know staking. Then you have your you know.

There are many things that come out of it right. There are so many. There are so many financial services like right now.

That have you know come in because of particular technology. Like there is such a boom in DeFi as well. So obviously like solutions are coming up.

Which kind of you know. You’ve talked a lot about like the US supremacy. And how China kind of was the first to see it.

What do you think about you know CBDCs. What do you think about central banking issuing their digital currencies. Like China again was pretty much the first country to start doing it.

And now they are doing pilots also with DD etc. What are your thoughts on that? Well I guess the thoughts is very clear. It’s indirectly they are understanding that the digital currency is the way forward.

Because it makes it very simple to bank. To start with US Federal Bank is always wanting to do that. The only reason they have not done it till now.

Is because I read it recently. That they are afraid of that other banks become you know redundant. Because when central bank starts issuing digital currency.

They can monitor everybody on one ledger, one scale. Instantly. Even if they are centralized I mean to say.

Because a central bank issued digital currency will be centralized. So they want to control it. But it is so simple to control.

That they don’t need to use all these other banks in the line. Of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citi. It’s good to throw them out.

Because they are crowding my Bangalore city here. By giving 10% more to the staff. And then they just like flocking everybody.

All the best talents go to them. They are the corrupt people in the world. They have big cases on them.

They have done corruption of more than 10 times of what they pay in fine. So you do 10 million of corruption. And then you pay only 1 million as fine.

And they are getting away with it. So those kind of things has to be. But then just to get that support from them.

The Federal Bank didn’t start it. Can you believe that? That’s the heights of stupidness that you can see. Again when you compare that to other currencies.

To other countries like India. We don’t have that problem. We would like a digital currency to actually help the future.

It’s similar to how we have UPI in India. Only India has something like UPI. Which makes it easy for people to move value around.

We don’t have it abroad. When I talk to so many people and I have meetings. They talk to me as if like we are in 80s.

Because they say, oh you know, no Vikram. We will have to wait till Monday morning for it to be settled. I was like, okay I understand now.

Because I live there. I know the system is not good for the people to really do financial transactions easily. So that way India is going ahead to try different things.

And I think digital currency is one of them. The reason because all countries other than US. Have to have something like digital currency to take an edge over it.

Because the facility is there. The technology is there. When you use it you realize that it’s so much easier for people to do commerce.

And also we don’t have the power already. So we don’t have to worry about like the way the US is worried about. And in other way it actually helps cryptocurrencies to boom.

Means eventually when digital currencies from all countries have been issued. Even centralized. They at a long run will have to be pegged to something.

We were pegged to gold. But we came off the gold standard. Then we were pegged to US dollar.

Now that we are throwing US dollar out of the window. We eventually will have something to peg to. And that will be Bitcoin.

It’s inevitable. Bitcoin will be the global reserve monetary system. And all the digital currencies.

Centralized, decentralized. Does not matter. The value will be eventually then pegged to gold.

Depending on the way that we issue our own digital currencies. If it is continuously printing more or in terms of inflation. If we have set a system of inflation to be X amount of inflation percentage every year.

Accordingly it will be pegged to the Bitcoin. And the pricing will be done accordingly. Right now the forex market is controlled again.

And because of that the pricing is set by few centralized people. Digital currencies all over the world. Every country having it.

And then Bitcoin being centralized currency. Then the price mechanism will be on a free market system. It will find the price depending on the market movement.

Not necessarily because of some will sit in an office and decide. We should get benefits. So how should we price? That should be taken.

That’s what is forex right now. Because if you think we have a right forex reserve. And it’s not manipulated.

Then actually Indian rupee should have been more stronger than Westi. Because US is printing more than India. It’s like a monopoly game.

If your neighbor on your monopoly game is taking more and more paper. And playing with it from the bank. Then you cannot just give him your assets for cheaper price.

You have to keep charging more and more. That means your currency should become stronger. But it is not happening because it’s a manipulated market.

So I’m thinking digital currencies coming into countries. Will be the real boom to Bitcoin. And to the blockchain technology that’s coming up.

It will eventually bring in open doors to a lot more technologies. Like what you said DeFi. DeFi is just the beginning.

DeFi on Ethereum is just the beginning. And DeFi and other cryptos on their blockchain is also going to be very popular. Depending on how and what kind of needs are there in the future.

DeFi is going to help support. It’s a decentralized finance. That’s all we want.

We have been in the centralized finance. We just want a decentralized finance that nobody gets duped. All the smart contracts are non-biased.

They are not trying to help one person or the other. They are only being there to support a system. And I think that’s the future.

That’s quite a picture. And I think that’s the ideal scenario. Pegging it to Bitcoin so that it actually becomes like a store of value.

Right now you mentioned that there are a lot of traders and speculators. So what would you consider yourself? Are you like a trader or are you like a hodler? Well, I guess I’ve been all of it now. There was a time when I had to be a speculator.

I have to talk about it so much. I couldn’t stop. So I was already there.

Hodling has been the thing. Because now that you know there is a cycle of Bitcoin that goes on every four years. Years of price correction.

You have to hodl. If you don’t, the experience you have in crypto makes no use to you then. So I’m not a hodler.

Trading is not my cup of tea. I must say that because I’ve never been into trading. I’ll tell you my trading experience happened the first time as a full-blown experience.

My meetings have been happening since 2012 and I’ve been meeting people online. And then eventually offline and in person since 2013 beginning. And it never stopped.

Every weekend or once in two weeks I have to meet people and I talk about it. So in terms of the trading part of it is when I went to Bombay to talk about Bitcoin. This was first time in 2015.

I met these people. Till that time two years of my meeting people in Bangalore. I was so engrossed with the people talking about technology, tech of it.

How to buy Bitcoin, where to hold it and this and that and everything. Then suddenly I go to Bombay and Bombay everybody talks about Bitcoin as a trading tool. And that was like it was a really nice surprise to me.

Because in Bombay is the place of finance and trade and everything. So everybody believed Bitcoin is that. And that’s how they came to me as my meetup.

And I learned from it more than they learned from it. I would say. It’s just my experience that I share of course all these places.

Because everybody who’s into Bitcoin and blockchain becomes stronger after they meet somebody. That I can talk to the way I talk. So I all do that to help people.

And in Bombay I got a lot of knowledge from them about trading. Because they had so many questions that they said. How can you just allow a cryptocurrency like that to be traded? Globally, open markets with 24×7 markets, instant settlements.

Because those things were new for them. The earlier trading systems that they’re used to are delayed settlements, fixed hours of trading. Entry and exit of value was limited.

It was not global. And suddenly all this is possible with Bitcoin. And then they were like how can this be possible when nobody’s regulating it? I said you don’t have to be.

It doesn’t have to be regulated. The reason it has all that means totally it can give you the feeling of everyone to be a global person. Because when I was living in UK, I met my neighbors, my colleagues, my friends.

If anybody talked about business or did plan to start a business. They wouldn’t be considering their business to be a local business. They would always imagine their business as global business.

But in India, when we start a business, we do not consider our business global straight away. I don’t have to blame any of that because India is pretty big already. And if we serve, India itself is a big market for us and big business for us.

But the idea that we not think about global is what makes the Bitcoin blockchain gives us that. That’s the kind of limitation even people in Bombay had that they were thinking of their trading only limited. But now this exponential growth of the trade platform that they get is so huge that they cannot imagine that it is not regulated also.

So those kind of things was amazing to hear. But I guess that’s my understanding from part of the trading. But I love people who trade because they have a lot of these questions.

Some of it I get bugged because it’s repeating. What do you think about the price? What do you think about the price? It’s like I keep on explaining them. There is a certain trend in Bitcoin because of the way Satoshi has written the codes.

It has to half every four years and that sets the set for the price. But they don’t get it right. It’s because it’s a different system to what they are used to.

But I guess that’s just a pursuit of learning. It’s just happening every time I meet them. I’m hopefully meeting somebody in March also.

In Goa, this big platform for traders. And I’m going to set up a talk show there, talk for them, and explain the whole thing again. Since I know how I’ve met the traders before and what kind of questions come up, I’m looking forward to that again.

So that’s a side of my trading. But I do have platforms that allow people to trade because that came up from a year of meetups. Because when I was doing meetups from the beginning of 2013, the main first lot of people that I got from Bangalore had one question in common.

They said, where do we buy Bitcoin? And when we were hearing about it so much, I thought, okay, this is the idea and we have to build a Bitcoin exchange. And a partner along with me, who was also part of the meetups, we got together, we set up a company. And eventually in the meetup, we even recruited a guy who’s going to be eventually the technical person who’s running Unocoin right now.

So we set up Unocoin. We recruited the Unocoin tech person also from the meetups. And we got Unocoin launched by end of 2013.

The idea was to make sure that there is a place for people to buy and sell Bitcoin. But it went beyond just buy and sell, right? It became a great trading platform. When I realized that there is a trading platform, which is needed and they got it.

But now how do we bring in that knowledge to the people? Knowledge of using your own cryptocurrency, being owner of your own, you know, passwords and your private keys and not give your… Because it’s decentralized, why should we go back to the centralized system? Even though I’ve built my exchange, it’s a centralized exchange. I have to hold people’s Bitcoin. If I don’t hold people’s Bitcoin, I don’t allow them to trade.

So for the sake of trading, it’s already ready. But for the sake of using it as payments and building knowledge, improving the usability factor of Bitcoin, I was thinking about it since then till 2017. Eventually in 17, I realized we have to do something called InstaCrypto, where now that I’m managing InstaCrypto, allows people to buy and sell, but to their own wallet.

Because InstaCrypto do not provide wallets. Because we do not provide wallets, people make a small effort to get their own wallet and receive it to their wallet and secure it by themselves. So there is no centralized hold of Bitcoin by the company for the people, so that there is less risk of getting hacked.

Because any centralized exchange are very volatile or I wouldn’t say volatile, I would say a target for hackers to come and hack. Because they know at this point, at least there is a centralized coin base. There is somebody who’s holding some lot of coins, so we may be able to get a good luck out of it.

So that way in InstaCrypto, we do not hold people’s coins. So we are not a target to exchanges or your hackers. So instant transfer.

When it’s an instant transfer, you get a feeling like UPI. UPI is an instant transfer. If you don’t have an instant transfer, people will be, this poor guy will still be looking at you, thinking that your money is not coming from a bank.

Are you going to scoot from here? I have to keep an eye on you. That thing is there. But if it’s an instant transfer like UPI, the shop guy now doesn’t have to keep an eye on that customer who came in.

He has his product, his money is with me. It’s like cash. It’s like exchanging cash.

Once you give to their hand, it’s instant settlement. That guy doesn’t have to even look at you. You can just leave because you have your money.

So that feeling of UPI is a great feeling for people to use for commerce. And that kind of a system is what is now pending on Bitcoin. And eventually Bitcoin Cash is what makes that happen.

Because you allow people to do instant settlements. So that’s the way that things are happening now. Right.

Yeah. No, I think a lot has changed. And you’ve kind of covered a lot here.

Mentioning about centralized exchanges and non-custodial exchanges. Instant exchanges. So currently you are working on InstaCrypto, right? Could you tell us a little more about that? I believe that it’s an instant exchange.

Yes. Like I said, it’s for you to instantly exchange. For you to feel that when you buy into crypto, you should instantly have crypto in your wallet.

Because the way crypto is instant, you should feel that exchanges also give it to you instantly. So, you know, it helps you understand. Wow, this works so quickly with an exchange.

When you send it to somebody, also when it is sent, it’s a feeling. It’s a feeling like how emails help do commerce. Because of emails, we are able to sell and buy things online instantly.

Otherwise, we will be waiting on post office message. If I am away from you, I will have to wait for a mail from you on a postcard with an image of that product. Then I approve it.

Now approve it means I’m sending you an email. Sorry, a post mail, snail mail. It takes about a week for you to feel that, yes, I have bought it.

I have agreed on buying it. Until that time, two weeks, you’re holding on to the product, not selling it to anybody because you already asked me. So, the delay was fixed by internet and the email system.

Instantly, you can send me. Instantly, I’m able to reply saying that I’m buying it. Then they just look on to the other jobs.

So, that part of the commerce is only half done. Means you bought the product. But now when I’m sending you money, if money is not instant to you, the remaining half of the commerce is delaying the real market.

Because the liquidity is not with you, you will have to wait for 45 days if it’s through a credit card. And then if it’s a wire transfer, it’s X amount of days. You pay more fee than you.

It’s only $20, things like that. So, that becomes expensive and delayed system. That system of commerce, which is the remaining half of receiving payments, if it is instant with cryptocurrency, then your commerce will boom even more.

Like how it has already helped boom because of the internet. So, that way, I believe that the commerce will adopt to instant payments and settlements very quickly, very soon. And InstructorPro is going to be part of it.

We want to build systems to help people understand, to look and do beyond trading, beyond decentralized. It does instant settlements for global usage, micropayments for global usage. What I mean by that micropayments is one of the thing is, if InstructorPro is supported to one of the music guy in Bangalore or anyone in India.

And if we build a software which is small enough to be sent across the world instantly, he should be able to receive instantly some value where it is smaller also. So, today, if you receive anything less than 100 rupees, you still be paying at least 100 rupees as fees to do a global value system, value transfers. After paying that equal amount of 100 rupees, you still have to wait X amount of time.

So, all that gets reduced by the facilities of InstructorPro that you were able to receive value which is less than 100 rupees instantly from multiple people and lose very small fraction, not even rupees in paise. So, that means then you can sell your products for 10 rupees also because your market size is bigger. Globally, you are able to sell.

Unlike before that you’d be selling it for 10 rupees, but only to India, but you may not find those people who want your product within India. You may be able to find those people abroad. So, giving that kind of facility to people, to newcomers, when you’re able to send a small software, why not receive the value instantly? Because right now the commerce is only supporting the big value players, not the smaller ones.

So, those are the things we want to solve in the future with InstructorPro. The beginning of it on the surface that you can see clearly, it’s a marketplace for you to buy and sell. It’s a place to do a little bit of remittance, a little bit of payment systems, settlements, and grow into the real understanding of why UPI is famous in India.

Like that kind of a system for the whole world is something InstructorPro is looking at. Wow, okay. That’s quite a vision.

That’s a very ambitious vision. And what you said about how UPI, we take it very lightly. And I think we’ve taken it in our stride that digital payments are pretty much universal because it’s happening in India, but that is not the case.

And the vision that you’ve painted for InstructorPro, it’s quite an ambitious one, but a very relevant one as well. So, kudos on this lovely platform. What is next for InstructorPro? What is the next big milestone that you’re looking at? So, the next near milestone will be the payments.

That is for solving payment gateway systems for cryptocurrency users. Many people tried that in India before. It just didn’t succeed.

Not just in India, even in China, it didn’t succeed. I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. So, in China, there was Baidu.

Baidu is equivalent to Google for China. Right, right. And they started accepting cryptocurrency a long time ago, back in 2016, if I’m not wrong.

So, when they started that, they thought that they were going to get a lot of traction. But they realized soon that within six months, they shut down. They said, we’re not going to take any payments.

And cryptocurrency is not for us. We’re not going to do it. This is not the future.

But those little bullshit that they gave, what really happened was Baidu, when they started accepting cryptocurrency, they only got 1.6 Bitcoin for the whole of six months, plus or minus a little bit, because that’s the information that I got from my research, that because the usage was less, they didn’t want it to have that as a system to be used. They didn’t want it to continue with Bitcoin. So they just stopped it, and they used different things to say, not necessarily the right thing must be there because of the government pressure or things like that.

They said those things. But then that is not the real answer to it, actually. That is not the real result to it.

What had actually happened is, in that time in China, to get hold of cryptocurrency itself was a little hard. And once you buy into cryptocurrency, and when you have a cryptocurrency, and it goes to India also, but when you hold cryptocurrency, and then you go to a shop, to start with, the shop guy takes cash, takes digital transfers, which is like UPI, which is for China also. They take bank transfers.

They take cards. They take many kinds of ways of payment, which is simpler to you, and you’re used to it. Because you’re used to those simpler methods, you continue doing that, and you don’t give your crypto to a settlement.

Because it was not the easiest thing to buy into crypto to start with. So you don’t want to spend it easily. You would want to spend it by other means, which is easy already.

So because of that, the commerce of crypto didn’t happen as much. It was even in China, for that reason, it didn’t pick up as much for the payment sector, because within their country, they have a great payment system set, like we have in India. When you go to a shop, there’s many ways that you can pay.

Online also, many ways you can pay. Simplest for me, a lot of people used is cash on delivery. So the cash just comes, the product just comes, and then you can pay cash and settle it.

So those are great features, right? Because in the midst of those, crypto didn’t launch very well. But in a broad task, in other countries like Australia, Western countries like Germany, just giving you a few specific example, but there are other countries also doing really well, including Slovakia. In Slovakia, there is a place called Ljubljana, the capital.

Those cities are using crypto a lot because they don’t have that kind of easy feature. Only have credit cards, that’s most popularly used. Cash is less circulated.

They don’t have an UPI. So they were expanding their idea of Bitcoin and they were using Bitcoin for their payments. But in India, it didn’t catch up as much.

So because it is one of the difficult to get into, we’re working on that to get, to crack that first. If we crack that and get people to spend because the shops are giving some discounts because you’re paying with crypto. And also there are some crypto users because before I don’t think there were many crypto holders also.

And now that we have a few, we can push into getting some merchant adoption happening. So the shops, at least to give an open mind to cryptocurrency, say that, yes, they are accepting cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum. Those are the main three costs that we have.

That’s what we push for people to accept. If you go into a shop and the shop says, yes, we accept crypto. These are the few main cryptocurrencies people always have.

And if they really want to spend with that, is to experiment, they should be able to have a venue to use it. So that’s the basic, the first milestone that we want to cover on and see how we can bring in Indian crowd, believe in cryptocurrency for payments. That small thing is very useful for Bitcoin Cash, if I may say, because Bitcoin Cash, the real code follower of Satoshi, because even in Bitcoin, the codes of Satoshi was changed in 2016.

They moved from your first in first out to your RBF, it’s called Replace By Fee, which actually doesn’t help newcomers and small humans Bitcoin very easily. Because if you understand right, Satoshi on his white paper, the very first abstract of the paper, it’s very clear, it’s a digital peer-to-peer cash system. What it means is much beyond what people of Bitcoin understand.

It means it’s a value proposition system for everything, including payments, as like how we do peer-to-peer cash system. To follow a particular thing of Satoshi, Bitcoin Cash group follows that a lot more because they understand that Bitcoin Cash was kept as Bitcoin Cash because we didn’t allow that split to happen or the fork to be inserted, like how we did in Bitcoin in 2016. By Replace By Fee, what does Replace By Fee do in Bitcoin is that if I make a transaction first and you made a transaction after me, but you paid a higher fee and I paid a less fee, you can go before me in the queue, even though my timestamp was earlier than yours.

That actually is not a very good feature to have for newcomers and small payments. So what happens with that is you as a bigger player make a big fee and then you take the slot of the bug before me. But Satoshi didn’t write it that way.

Satoshi wrote it as first in, first out. So if I was the first person to make a transaction, it does not matter if my fee is small. I will be the first person to go ahead in the transaction.

That’s what Bitcoin Cash follows. But that particular point that Bitcoin Cash follows really helps the financial system of the world. Bitcoin continues to live like that as an asset class, as a trading tool, but not going to be really breaking into the payments and financial systems of countries like India, Africa, and Asia because we all work on a smaller basis.

We don’t pay fees as $1 or $2. It’s not easy for us to pay for a UPR user. Yeah, so Bitcoin perhaps is not like the ideal medium of exchange, you would say.

Yes, yes. It’s an ideal medium for hodlers, for an asset class, for a trading tool because the fluctuation in trading in Bitcoin gives them higher range than any other crypto. So that way, Bitcoin is a great asset class and a trading tool, but it is not a great payments tool like the way Bitcoin Cash does it.

Because Bitcoin Cash really follows Satoshi’s vision in clear format that Satoshi wanted it like that and that was his code. When Satoshi was so smart to build a product like that with many technologies he’s put in together with a lot of experience, you should understand that he has made this for a reason and at least that part of it should be, you know, explored. So Bitcoin and maximalists have forgotten a little bit of that and don’t explore that part of it because they’re happy exploring the asset class and the trading tool class because everybody’s time is limited, right? We can’t explore everything because our time is what gives us the ability to research and understand.

So that they don’t necessarily, everybody don’t come up with. That is absolutely true, yeah. Bitcoin Cash is there.

Yeah, with the Lightning Network obviously, it makes it a little easier. With Lightning Network, it definitely does. It’s just a second year as a custodial Lightning Network because the Lightning layers are mostly custodial.

There are ways to do it, of course, but an on-chain instant settlement is something a lot of people like as a libertarian. If you are a libertarian, you look at that kind of a system because you don’t want the feature of a slice being there because then they have the ability to stop, to reverse, to deny a transaction. You understand what I’m saying? That’s what we’re trying to come out with, right? Julian Assange felt that in 2011 that his payments, his donations were stopped, diverted and put fear in those payment systems’ minds that they don’t facilitate Julian Assange to start getting donations.

So those kind of centralized systems is what we want to take out. And so that is why Bitcoin Cash is something I look at it at a greater vision in my system because of the way that we are thinking about payments and settlements and bringing in that preferred option. Yeah, absolutely right.

I think I agree with mostly all of your points that you’ve made here that Bitcoin can be moving forward. It would be like a store of value. It can be pegged to your day-to-day currency.

But for a medium of exchange, obviously there is still, you know, it kind of leaves a little wanting. So that kind of, you know, quickly brings me to my next question. So, you know, which projects would you say that you kind of are rooting for right now, currently in the global space or from India? So if you have any specific examples of those projects, I would love to talk about them.

My project idealized when you asked me the question was very wide. No, I basically am referring more to, you know, if there is a particular platform that has kind of caught your eye and you think that they’re really solving a particular problem, which you think is, you know, relevant right now. And which you think, you know, has the correct vision to perhaps execute it right.

Are there any projects that, you know, you’re eyeing at the moment and you think that, okay, they’re really, really solving a real problem there? Well, I guess that’s the point. Very good. Because you really have to solve the economic issues that’s there, right? That’s when you want to make something famous and talk about it so much.

Well, I have to go back to Bitcoin Cash for that reason, because that’s helping that payment settlements part of it around the world. After that, is something to do with the tech itself, is I would say the Ethereum-based blockchain developers are actually cutting the edge right now. I have been in a conference recently where the contents was very specific to Ethereum and its blockchain and the way the decentralized smart contracts have been getting executed.

And I think those projects are really changing the financial landscape to put in all of them on decentralized system. Very, very useful and very knowledge part of the ecosystem. Because every new developer who’s coming in, he’s probably able to understand that what is the value addition that the smart contracts are bringing.

DeFi system smart contracts, because you can think of any of those products that banks provide you. You can build that on an Ethereum blockchain, put that on a DeFi system. You’re just moving the centralized banking structure or banking idea that was there to a decentralized blockchain.

You kind of give it the same facility if it’s a lending one from the banks or it’s a savings account or it’s FD. Those kinds of things are already built. There is escrow.

Banks are the biggest escrows of the world because if I have to trade with somebody in Delhi and if I don’t travel as much to meet him, then I have to depend on a bank in between us to be an escrow system to make us believe in each other, do our transactions, send and receive our value to receive our business needs of course that we’re doing. So that part of it is now going on Ethereum and in India that I have seen is that there are many, many developers and they’re all working towards it. It’s a good beginning because if you don’t work on specific part of the crypto and its blockchain and based on that side, you will not eventually learn about everything else.

So at least they have put their minds on understanding the centralized thing to move it to decentralized. That is a very good exposure that they’re getting. Once that exposure is fulfilled by them through their coding and their tech development part of it because eventually you all get kind of bored a little bit when you keep doing the same thing and then they realize, okay, I did so much of this.

Let me explore a little bit more of cryptocurrency in terms of being it’s an asset class, being a certain trading tool or being it as an instance. Then they will understand that, wow, these things are just expansion to what he was doing. Then they will prove their knowledge and build more things for cryptocurrency in the future.

And that’s inevitable. I have seen in the past they built on Ethereum blockchain, something’s called Slockit and Uproof. Have you heard those projects before? Actually, I think I’ve heard of Slockit, but not of the other one that you mentioned.

But yeah, go on. Yeah, it was very simple. Slockit allowed a bank hotel kind of infrastructure to get things from customer directly through crypto and gives him slot on the blockchain, gives him the keys on the blockchain saying from this time to this time, he’s able to use this particular room because he’s paid for that.

He doesn’t have to now go into the reception and without the reception, he can straight away walk to his room. And with his phone’s blockchain being powered through internet, he’s just able to open the room to that specific time till that specific time that he has booked it for. And the blockchain and the internet together manages the whole experience of him using the hotel.

So that way, that’s one of the DeFi systems that’s been built outside the financial network. And there is another one which is outside the financial network which has been built. It’s called Uproof.

It’s actually a platform built in IP intellectual properties. Because your intellectual property system that is available in the world is a very old system. It’s a very slow system.

It costs a lot. You have to hire a lot of people, lawyers and whatnot, spend a lot of money and a lot of time to get your result. But then all that is fixed on the Uproof platform by just taking a picture or a small audio recording or video recording or even a file, you change to a hash of that you embed that hash with your transaction.

And your transaction was as low as 7 paise. That means for 7 paise, I can do an IP intellectual property of the shoe that I just designed. I took the design of the shoe that I did, put it on the internet, on the Ethereum blockchain.

That’s it. That’s my IP. In the future, if there was any other shoe somebody was wearing something like that and paid 10,000 rupees for it, I can go and claim who sold that to him saying that that’s my design.

How can you just sell to him for that price? Even if you did, just give me my part of it. How do you claim that part of it? By showing him this transaction which is timestamped on the blockchain to show that this is his idea before he got the mask. That kind of a proof is very simple on the blockchains.

So Uproof did that. If you open the website of Uproof, it is a funny thing to read. The caption that they’ve written below that, it says patent pending, which is actually not happening in Uproof because it’s never pending.

It’s instantly done. What is patent pending? It’s actually the way the real IP goes through because everybody goes through the real IP website and look up every time they see this thing called patent pending for years, for months. Yeah, it is so complicated, the entire process.

And this kind of simplifies it. So that is essentially I think what technology does. Technology is supposed to be solving problems and making life easier, so to say.

That is why all of these newer solutions that are coming in, they’re going to revolutionize the way that we interact with so many verticals in our life. And that is why this space is exciting because it kind of manages. It’s like an octopus.

It’s not even an octopus. I think it’s more like an amoeba. It’s touching so many verticals.

And we are in such a dynamic space which is growing tremendously. So, you know, the kind of what we’ll see in not even the next decade, probably in the next two years is going to be absolutely mind blowing, I believe. Very right, very right.

You got the point very clearly. That’s one of the things. Maybe not two years, but every four years, it gives a dramatic change to the landscape of how crypto has been adopted and used and priced.

And why the price goes up is a question from a lot of people that I hear. It’s pure economics. It’s the market play, right? Yeah, it’s just market, right? How does the market work in general? So this is something that people, you know, keep coming to me about as well.

And then I kind of like, you know, give them the example that, you know, you have the markets right now and maybe they’re not that, you know, volatile as compared to crypto. But then, you know, you need to also understand that crypto is absolutely in its infancy and it’s constantly growing. And these markets have been around for a while and the market kind of settles itself.

So that is something that people really do need to keep in mind, right? Very right. Because it’s very clearly it’s in the early stages. There was one classic example for this IP thing that I came across was when Kim Kardashian, I’m sure everybody knows that who listened to it.

She claimed she has this IP taking a picture of her behind in a mirror. And the reason this came up is because one girl in Africa has better behind than her. And she took a picture of that from a mirror and then became a little famous on Instagram.

So when that happened, she said, no, I hold rights to it. Well, of course you will be because the richest person, one of the richest person, it’s easy for you to get an IP from anything and everything. What kind of facility can we give to that girl in Africa to get her IP for a lesser price is your blockchain.

Just take a picture, put it on the blockchain. Like how she would send it to Instagram. She can use that just sending it through a transaction.

Today’s transactions are very, very low. I mean to say it’s lower than the coins that we believe in is proving that. Of course, I have on my Instagram account Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Those are the two daddies of the crypto. Bitcoin being the real daddy. And we have to have the other which helps our idea of Instagram crypto, right? So we have Bitcoin Cash and Tron because Tron is eventually free.

Like means in Bitcoin Cash, we pay six paise. In Tron, we don’t have to even pay six paise. So that means that girl can make a transaction of one paise without paying any fee and putting that particular IP idea of hers on the blockchain for such a low cost and instantly that gives the facility to everybody to come up in a way and be the player in the market.

Absolutely. Blockchain kind of levels the playing field so to say. Not just in finance, but as you mentioned in IPs, there are so many ways because that is what decentralization does essentially, right? Because when there is centralization of power, you basically call the shots, right? As you said, with Forex, there are a bunch of people sitting in a boardroom and they decide, okay, how do we stand to benefit from this? And that is how they price it.

So with decentralization, essentially with blockchain, it kind of levels the playing field. So, you know, very valid points and a very fun example as well. So this was really nice.

We’re kind of running short on time so I would like for you to quickly give me perhaps some content creators or books that you would recommend to our listeners who want to, you know, perhaps get into this space or just to get the information right because there’s a lot of noise in this space as well, right? Totally, totally. Well, quickly, I can tell a few things that if you’re looking up to understand how Bitcoin is going to help and cryptocurrency is going to help. A few people who’ve been talking about it.

They’re great guys. They have great knowledge so you can listen to them. One of them is Andreas Antonopoulos.

Yeah. The other guy is Eric Warrows. He’s the Shapeshift guy.

Then, of course, Roger Wuer is there from These people have that deep understanding of why crypto is so useful because they come from the real land of Westworld where it’s controlled so they give that better eye-opener examples so you can follow them. Some of the things that I recently liked was this book called Who Painted My Money White that gives you another idea of why we should adopt to something like this because by staying on the old system of paper money, you can see a lot of people just flooding your paper with a similar same kind of paper which you thought you never would have given it to your counterpart, your enemies. That’s the system people are playing.

Even companies from Germany, UK, and US after reading that book, I realized that even the companies are trying to play a bad role in Indian economics. Right. They do not care about economics of 1.3 billion people and they’re making a fool of us by giving out the same paper that they gave to India to another terrorist organization for them to make counterfeit notes and flush it in India and then take advantage of that.

Those kind of things has been explained on that book Who Painted My Money White. It’s just a level of understanding. I’m sorry.

I think there’s a lag. I interrupted you. But yeah, Andres Antonopoulos is a fabulous example.

I keep going back to him and his videos and his books The Internet of Money and all the volumes. They are fantastic places to actually start. So this kind of brings me to the last question and I ask this to everybody who comes on the show.

What would be your two cents for somebody who wishes to get into this space essentially to start living on blockchain? What do you think a person should do? I think a little bit of time to put in in research to understand first of all on a blockchain means that you have to hold some kind of blockchain-based cryptocurrency. So you’ll have to buy into it. If you’re a beginner to buy into it InstaCrypto or the blockchain then the idea then just doesn’t have to stop because once you hold the crypto which is a blockchain-based crypto then you automatically look into venues of what more blockchain can do and that’s a good start for you then you can straight away get on to the best thing that you like about Bitcoin or blockchain to start exploring.

Yeah, I think those are the ways to do it. I think learning by doing is going to lead to sort of hyper growth of learning and of being in this space. So yeah, that is perhaps the best way.

I usually say that if you want to get into the space just buy a little bit of crypto because once you have some skin in the game you would want to learn more and kind of expand your horizons. Exploring. Wonderful.

So this has been a lovely chat. Vikram, do you have any last thoughts? No, I’m great. I think I had a lovely talk with you.

It was really nice chatting with you because you understand basic, you know, underlying reason for why crypto is alive today and Bitcoin is there in this world today. That helped me answer better and I think kudos to you. You’ve got a great show going on.

I’d love to be on it again sometime. Yeah, absolutely. We will call you again sometime and you know this I think you know it was such an interesting conversation that could have gone on for like two hours but because of the positive time we have to kind of cut it short but yeah, we’d love to have you again on the show as well.

Thank you so much Vikram for taking out the time. It was lovely speaking to you. Thank you very much.

It was a great talk.

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