S3E5: The Realities of Cryptocurrency

S3E5: The Realities of Cryptocurrency

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Who is buying crypto? Is it a revolutionary tech or a speculative investment bet? In this episode, we welcome back money expert and writer, Miranda Marquit and content creator, Mika Reyes to join us for the evolution of our cryptocurrency discussion. We chat about how cryptocurrency motivates diverse groups of people to jump into this world, how to cut through the bs on crypto, and resources to learn about the space from a balanced perspective.

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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

MIRANDA MARQUIT, MBA, has been writing about money on the internet for more than 15 years. She’s contributed to numerous media outlets, including NPR, Marketwatch, FOX Business, The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and more. Additionally, Miranda is considered a financial expert and has been quoted in various media — including Marketplace, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal — discussing a variety of financial and investment topics. She is the co-host of the MONEY podcast produced by Money Talks News.

 

When she’s not writing or talking about money, Miranda enjoys reading, board games, travel, and the outdoors. She lives in Idaho with her teenage son.

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MIKA REYES was born and raised in the Philippines. She was previously a product manager at LinkedIn Jobs, Kumu & Ripcord through the KPCB Product Fellowship. She started the Filip[in]os @ LinkedIn group & was a Women in Product executive member.

 

Mika graduated B.A. Economics, Psychology, Data Analysis from Wesleyan University, Phi Beta Kappa & a summa cum laude equivalent. She is a proud Philippine Science High School scholar.

 

She is most passionate about broadening access through tech in emerging markets like her home, the Philippines & in the rest of S.E. Asia. On the side, she is working on a virtual startup incubator for emerging markets, & launched a fun social card game.

 

Nowadays, she is overloading on coffee & building products for creators as a founder.

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

Follow Miranda Marquit on Twitter, Instagram, and check out her website here for more money & freelancing resources.

Check out Mika's YouTube channel here, and her website here for all the resources & projects that she's working on.

View Transcript

[00:00:00] Nolan: Hi, and welcome back to the podcast. This is your host, Nolan. I am so glad you can be here with us today as we continue the conversation around cryptocurrencies. Today, I want to get into the question of who is investing in crypto. There are some indications that people who have had no previous interest in investing or finance are jumping into this world of crypto. Why is that? What are the motivations here? And should we be concerned about any of these trends? To talk through this all with me today, we have two amazing guests joining us. First, a friend of the show and previous guest, Miranda Marquit, who has been writing about all things money and finance for many years.

 

[00:00:44] Nolan: She's also the co-host of the podcast, Money, produced by Money Talk News. And as we learn in this conversation, she has had her eye on the world of crypto long before most. Also joining us is Mika Reyes. Mika is the founder of a startup that is currently still in stealth mode, and she spends a lot of her time engaging with the tech community, writing and putting up videos on YouTube about her own journey in the tech world.

 

[00:01:10] Nolan: Recently, she's been creating some incredible videos about the world of crypto and the thinking that led to her being a real believer in the tech. I encourage you to check those out on her YouTube page, which you can find in the show notes. It's a fun conversation and I couldn't think of two better guests to share their perspective on this topic. We hope you enjoy.

 

[00:01:34] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: Hi, I'm Mary. I'm Nolan. I'm Laquita Ann. We are your hosts, and this is 'Your World, Your Money.' We will be talking real money, with real people, in a real way. Because everyone deserves the opportunity and tools for freedom, financial or otherwise. 'Your World, Your Money' is brought to you by Hangar Studios, a New York city based recording studio, and Global Thinking Foundation, a global nonprofit working toward financial freedom and equality for all.

 

[00:02:19] Nolan: I want to start here. What got you both interested in cryptocurrencies? Whether you're investing in it, how you view it - and we'll start with you Mika. You're in the tech world. And you recently put out a video on YouTube describing your journey from skeptic to believer in crypto. Tell me a little bit about that journey.

 

[00:02:38] Mika: Yeah, I'll start with talking about how I was a skeptic. I think for the most part, I was investing in crypto and a couple of coins here and there. But there was a whole world of crypto with decentralized apps and the whole phenomenon of web three, that was just really, really complicated. And so [I was a] skeptic in a way that I needed more convincing that this was going to be worth investing a lot of time and... thinking about and diving into. So, skeptic for the most part and wanted to reject even just thinking about it. What got me over the line? I talk about this in the video as well. My 'aha' moment in crypto is that I saw that a lot of people in the Philippines - which is where I grew up, where I'm from, which is arguably quote-unquote 10 years behind in terms of tech - were now adopting crypto by way of a game called Axiom Infinity. So, the way that I personally filter out, if this tech phenomenon is still within a bubble within the tech space, is looking at what people are doing in the Philippines. And this was a really interesting phenomenon.

 

[00:03:46] Mika: There's actually a really good documentary about it, where a lot of Filipinos who were having a hard time during the pandemic, not able to go to work because of the pandemic, but needed to sustain their families and livelihoods turned to this game called Axiom Infinity, and they're able to play to earn and do it through the world of crypto and enabled that through crypto.

 

[00:04:10] Mika: And made a wage equal or more than their current salaries. That was really, really interesting because it was really fun for them. And it was more engaging than their normal jobs and even produced more money than their normal jobs. They continued to play it and word of mouth spread for all other Filipinos who wanted to keep playing it.

 

[00:04:31] Mika: And it made a lot of sense to happen to the Philippines, because of relatively lower wages, right? That [inaudible] surpassed the wages there and the Philippines

[00:04:41] Mika: is deemed to be the social media capital of the world. So, to say a lot of Facebook users in the Philippines, a lot of people just on the internet, on their phones.

 

[00:04:50] Mika: And so, playing this mobile game or playing it online, it made a lot of sense for them to engage in. Today, they've built an economy around this game, Axiom Infinity, and more and more games are coming out of the crypto world and is deemed to be the on ramp for the next billion users that come into crypto by way of something really fun and engaging. So that was like a hot moment. Saw lots of Filipinos. Some of them, my friends, and all over the Philippines in different provinces, in the Philippines, just engaged and not even knowing necessarily that this is crypto but understanding that applications of it enough to put it into their lives.

 

[00:05:33] Mika: So, [I] dug into that and decided, 'okay. Let's just give myself the permission for the next week or so to dive into the world of web three.' Let me understand this weird world, because it is admittedly a very weird phenomenon and a lot of things to dig deeper into and understand the ethos of. And effectively fell in love with it or decided that I wanted to go all in into the web three and crypto space and learn more about it being the frontiers of innovation there, and potentially build a company that helps onboard more people into the web three space and impact that world.

 

[00:06:12] Nolan: That's incredible. And there's so many pieces of that I want to tease out throughout this conversation. Real quick, from the start, I think we should define web three and web 3.0... web three for listeners who might not be familiar with it. How would you define that, Mika?

 

[00:06:27] Mika: Yeah. So, I'll talk about Web One, Web Two and Three. So, Web One was the early days of the internet, where it was mostly the information age. So, Google, you're able to look for information all over the internet, and that was revolutionary and has made great an impact in, in the world today. Uh, Web Two is read and write, so to say. So, you're able to, to look at information, but you're also now able to create user-generated content, right?

 

[00:06:55] Mika: The likes of Instagram and Facebook. You're able to put posts out there. Other people can read the posts that you have and there's more user interaction or the social media age. But three is this new age, empowered by crypto, and all these technologists building on top of these, what'd we call it a centralized network, and people liken it to be the ownership age.

 

[00:07:20] Mika: So, you can read, you can write, you can own a piece of the internet through tokens or NFTs or these ways that you can now participate as well as earn some financial incentive if you do contribute to the ecosystem. So that's web three and [it's] powered by the decentralized nature of crypto. I have to find a way to make that easier to digest and explain.

 

[00:07:50] Nolan: No, it was good. It was good. So Miranda, I want to bring you in here too, and learn about your journey. So, you've been writing and thinking about personal finance for a long time now, and we are big fans of everything you put out and your thinking on all this. What would you say is different about the world of crypto, If anything? Does this fit neatly into existing models to think about personal investing or is there something more disruptive that's potentially happening here?

 

[00:08:18] Miranda: Yeah. So, it's interesting. I like what Mika said about the idea of like the ownership and being able to kind of power your own creations with tokens and everything else. I don't know if y'all know this, but I have had Bitcoin since 2011. Yeah, so...

 

[00:08:36] Nolan: I did not!

 

[00:08:37] Miranda: Yeah. So, I actually had somebody ask me to write an article about this new cryptocurrency, blockchain thing. This new technology, this new payment technology. And they offered me a Bitcoin to do it. And of course, back then Bitcoin was like, right, about four bucks. Right. It was about four bucks. And, uh, I was like, 'oh, sure.'

 

[00:08:58] Miranda: 'I mean, I don't know about this. This could be interesting.' And so, I went through the whole rigmarole. Because, you know, back then there was no Coinbase. There was no Kraken. And there was no, there were none of these nice, handy thumb-drive looking wallets, you know. Like you had to like create a wall - you had to create a wallet on your own computer, hard drive.

 

[00:09:14] Miranda: It was like a whole situation. And so, I did, I went through all the steps. I did all the things. I received my Bitcoin. I wrote the article, and I was like, 'that is the least amount of money I've ever accepted for an article in my entire life.'

 

[00:09:29] Miranda: And now it's the most lucrative article I've ever written. And I did. I kept that Bitcoin throughout. I added more Bitcoin over the years, because I thought it was interesting. And I kept looking at the crypto space and got interested in Ethereum, because the use case there with the smart contracts, building the apps, as you know - Mika was talking about games and apps and all of these things that you can build on the blockchain.

 

[00:09:54] Miranda: I looked at DemoNero. That's shady as - that's shady AF. But, but interesting because if you grew up around a lot of preppers, like I did, you know that there are definitely people who want to be like off the grid, keep it all, like whatever. And so, I was like, 'okay.' And so, I just kind of looked at stuff. Now I have a crypto portfolio of... I look at it a lot in terms of like, 'okay, you've got the good old standard.' Right. You got your Bitcoins. You've got your Ethereums. You've got your Light Coins. Right? Like these, these sort of things that we've come in the crypto world to think of as standard. Right. And so. So, I have those things in my crypto portfolio. I have staking coins. I have coins that I'm staking for, for interests.

 

[00:10:36] Miranda: I've got Tezos, Algorand, Cosmos... Because these are coins where I've looked at things and said, 'well, my money is sitting in the bank account and it's getting 0.1% return.' But if I stick with Tezos then, or TSOs or whatever - if I stake with that, I'm getting 4.63% right. If I stay. Yeah. If I stake with cosmos, I'm getting 5%. But you know, it's a daily thing. At the end of each day, I get more tokens or portion of tokens based on what I'm staking, what I'm willing to hold.

 

[00:11:10] Miranda: And so, for me, it's turned into sort of an alternative kind of investment where I can say it fluctuates. I like normally to keep about 5 to 8% of my portfolio in crypto. I don't know, like four months ago, I bought me like 11 million units of Shiba Inu, you know. So right now, my crypto portfolio accounts for about 10% of my portfolio.

 

[00:11:36] Miranda: It's fine. It's fine because it's so volatile that it's just blown up right now. As of this recording. By the time this is out, I don't know. It might have crashed. And then that's the hard thing right now, with any new asset class, with anything that's new like this. It's unpredictable. It's volatile. People are excited about it, then people are disappointed in it, and you don't really know what's going to happen next.

 

[00:12:03] Miranda: So, I do fit it into my portfolio, but I do try to limit how much of my portfolio is in it. And then I also, like I was saying, I say, okay, well, 'I've got the Bitcoin, I've got the Ethereum, I've got the Light Coin.' I've got some of these staking coins and then I have some weird experiments, right? Like things that, that appeal to me.

 

[00:12:20] Miranda: Solana appeals to me because it's a blockchain built with the idea of sustainability in mind, right? It doesn't suck up as much energy. It's powered by green energy. So, Solana is interesting to me that way. Chain-link is interesting to me because it's supposed to like connect data from outside the blockchain and make it compatible with the blockchain.

 

[00:12:40] Miranda: So, there are a lot of interesting coins with interesting use cases that I can kind of experiment with. But like I said, you, you want to look at it in terms of like, well, has it reached this tipping point? No? Is it worth having some of this? Because if it does become mainstream and it does actually disrupt our financial space, having a little bit of it can be beneficial down the road because - right. Like I had Bitcoin before Bitcoin was like a household name. Right. So, I had the advantage of getting my first Bitcoin when it was worth four bucks. Well, today it's I think it’s still a backup of 60K today. It's hard to tell.

 

[00:13:22] Nolan: So, pretty close to that all time high as of this recording.

 

[00:13:25] Miranda: But as of this recording - so, you know, when we can talk about like looking at it to the future, I look at it in terms of, well, I'm going to put all of my eggs in this one basket and make a huge bet because I don't know which coin is going to come up on top.

 

[00:13:38] Miranda: Right. We don't know which blockchain technology, or if there's something out there that's next, you know. What's, what's the next iteration? What's the thing beyond blockchain? And so, I do want to keep some of it in there and I want to have access to it, but I also am not willing to, to like bet everything on it.

 

[00:13:57] Nolan: Interesting. So, I should probably mention at this point that I want to get into this conversation. We should give the disclaimer; we're not necessarily giving financial advice or investing advice on this podcast. So, let's speak freely. This is a safe space, and maybe we can jump into a little bit about how to make sense of all these different coins and trends.

 

[00:14:19] Nolan: And from my view, it seems like you've got your standard. You got your Bitcoin, your Ethereum. And then the meme coins are just very difficult to kind of sort through and understand what's happening there. So let me ask this question. Do you see a disconnect between understanding the potential value and innovation of crypto and blockchain technology and the current sky-high price of Bitcoin and the volatility of coins like Shiba Inu? How do you reconcile this? How do you think through that? How do you read the trends in a way that makes sense and puts things into context? Mika, do you have thoughts there?

 

[00:14:59] Mika: Yeah. So, the way that I think about my crypto portfolio and agree, by the way, that I probably keep my portfolio entirety for crypto at 10%. Um, but thinking about my crypto portfolio, if you have the the main things, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana, actually. And a few altcoins here and there. But for the most part, how I think about it is on the tech side, there are a lot of people who are primarily building on Ethereum and Solana. That's where a lot of smart researchers or engineers are flocking towards.

 

[00:15:34] Mika: And the ecosystem for those two, decentralized apps-wise, um, is only growing. And so, I want to help support those ecosystems by buying Ethereum and Solana, having a good stake of that. I have more Ethereum and Solana than I do Bitcoin, and [I'm also] also staking my coins into those ecosystems because one, like I want to grow my money, of course. But also, two, I believe enough in - those two coins in particular that the potential and the price that they're at right now is actually pretty low and could grow even more because all these other people are building decentralized apps or NFTs on top of these ecosystems. So, I kind of want to... Kind of my activist part of it is, is me using these coins to support that ecosystem. So that's how I think about it. I mostly invest in alt coins or other, other alt coins just to learn and try to understand what those ecosystems are.

 

[00:16:35] Mika: But at the same time, it takes a lot of research still. And so. Need to find some trusted voices or resources to make sure that you're doing your own research, is that do your own research. DYOR in the crypto space. So always do that. But it still takes time to kind of do that across so many coins. So, I try to choose a couple that I really, really believe in and want to help grow as well.

 

[00:17:01] Mika: And that for me is Ethereum and Solana.

 

[00:17:05] Nolan: So, I hear you talk about the use cases for Ethereum, Solana, others. I don't often hear Bitcoin mentioned in a conversation about potential use cases and blockchain innovations and how this will disrupt things. Miranda, how do you think through that disconnect? Like, why is Bitcoin the one that is just outrageously highly priced right now yet when we talk about the use case of blockchain and certain coins, we're always talking about other coins? What's happening there?

 

[00:17:39] Miranda: Yeah. So, I think one of the issues you run into your first of all is first to market, right? There's a lot to say about first to market. There's a lot to say about that kind of adoption of it. Because really, for the most part, right. Bitcoin is clunky. The blockchain is clunky. I haven't actually bought Bitcoin since 2016.

 

[00:18:02] Miranda: Like when it was still below a hundred, I think it was still below 106 in 2016. I'd have to check that, you know, and like I said, my first Bitcoin was given to me. And even though Bitcoin is interesting, and you like the idea of it because you're like, oh yeah, payments that are unrestricted by currency exchange rates, all of that stuff.

 

[00:18:20] Miranda: It seems like a cool idea. But then when you look at it, the blocks are so small, a daily transaction with Bitcoin takes 10 minutes. Are you going to take 10 minutes to buy your cup of coffee? But what's interesting is, and the reason why Bitcoin has kind of remained I think, it's first of all, first to market, like I said. It's also the one that people most recognized because it's been around the longest.

 

[00:18:43] Miranda: And also, the fact that Bitcoin is clunky and slow and outdated already is something that you can overcome. You can have your Bitcoin as your store of value, your digital gold. Right. Also, because it was first market. So many things try to make use of it. Right. You can use wrapped Bitcoin; you can get wrapped a Bitcoin and use Bitcoin on Ethereum.

 

[00:19:05] Miranda: With the wrapped Bitcoin, like it's a whole situation and you have to go through all these processes to make it work, but you can use it and you can make it happen and then just burns away later. And so, I think the idea is that really out there, and people kind of see it now, it's seen more as a store of value than it is an actual something that you would actually use for day-to-day transactions.

 

[00:19:26] Miranda: People see it as a place to kind of get some value set aside money for the future. And, you know, if they need to convert a little bit to something else, they might be able to. But it's really moved on beyond being something that even anybody's even trying to pretend like it has a use case at this point, right... anymore. We've just collectively decided that, you know, Bitcoin is digital gold. It's a store of value and we're not even trying to make payments with it anymore, unless it's connected to your, your credit or debit card with one of these exchanges. And then you can swipe that, and they'll deal with it in the end.

 

[00:20:02] Miranda: Right? I mean, even PayPal. Even PayPal, you can put some Bitcoin on PayPal and then you could actually use your Bitcoin at PayPal to make payments online. And that's the other thing, right? When different outlets started saying, 'okay, we're going to accept Bitcoin.' When like things like Bitco and BitPay and all of these things tried to make it easy to use and focused on Bitcoin as part of it, that just kind of keeps its primacy out there, I guess.

 

[00:20:31] Miranda: So, real quick, and I don't want to get too into the weeds here... for listeners who might know nothing about crypto. What do people need to know to get involved? Like when we're talking about wallets and things like that, what does that mean? Can you give us a quick little summary of that, Mika?

 

[00:20:48] Mika: Yeah, well, first off, come watch my videos. I have a video for you to get involved - three ways to start. But I think to start, figure out what the goals are. So, I think if, if you do want to invest in coins and just understand the fluctuations there, start by creating a Binance or Coinbase or an account in one of these exchanges and then buy a couple... X dollars, um, whatever you're comfortable with. Um, and see the price fluctuations and you'll better understand it once you actually experience it and see it. I think that's a really good way to start. And it's also going to be the first way you're going to have to buy these coins to get involve in decentralized apps, anyway.

 

[00:21:30] Mika: So, that's one. I think if you want to go deeper and understand what you can use these coins for and the centralized app world, or if you want to dip your toes in eventually buying an NFT, then creating a wallet is a good choice. It's, it's free to create a wallet. And again, you can look at my videos for how to do that.

 

[00:21:52] Mika: I recommend using either Metamask or Ethereum or Phantom or Solana. Um, and then transfer the coins that you do buy and put it into those wallets and then visit certain websites where you can do those transactions. But I think those are the two main places to start. And then it opens up an ecosystem of other apps or things that you want to be doing once you've kind of just gotten feel of those experiences.

 

[00:22:20] Nolan: That's so helpful. Thank you, Mika. So, I want to make space now for a part of the conversation that I really want to spend a lot of time on today. Talking about who is getting involved in crypto, who is investing in crypto. And I'm curious about each of your perspectives on this. There's some indication that crypto is pulling in brand new investors who weren't using their money in this type of way, who weren't previously investing in the stock market, say.

 

[00:22:47] Nolan: I'm curious what your read on this is. Miranda, from your perspective, do you see brand new investors jumping into this space and what are the implications of that?

 

[00:22:57] Miranda: Yeah, I do, actually. I think it's interesting. I like anything that gets people interested in paying more attention to their money and looking for ways to grow their money.

 

[00:23:05] Miranda: And so, from that standpoint, crypto's a really cool entry point because it's exciting. It's different. It gives people a chance to try something new. There's a relatively low barrier to entry. And while you - almost no one can afford to buy a full Bitcoin, there are plenty of other interesting low-cost ways to just like throw in 50 bucks and give it a try.

 

[00:23:27] Miranda: And actually, my own son got interested in crypto recently. He ended up trying a little bit of crypto arbitrage and trying to, like, do some things... and it ended up in a whole... being up all night and his anxiety not being able to deal with it. And in the end, he sold me his crypto and asked me about index funds.

 

[00:23:46] Miranda: And so, I think, I think the nice thing is, is it is kind of a great entry to start talking about investing. Well, what is an investment? What is a speculation? Right? At this point, I see most of my crypto as speculation. I think, I think it has great potential. I think that depending on which blockchain technology wins out, it could be really big. It's such a new asset class that I still see it as more of a speculation than a true investment. Right. But it gives you that entry point to start talking to people about, okay, let's talk about the long-term, let's talk about this. But yes, definitely seeing a lot more people really interested in the idea of this easy way to access technology, easy way to get involved and really start asking questions.

 

[00:24:30] Nolan: So, Mika. You at the intro, you were talking about the international perspective on all this, and for instance, the popularity of the game Axi - Axi Infinity is that what it's called? Axiom Infinity?

 

[00:24:42] Mika: Yes.

 

[00:24:42] Nolan: - In the Philippines. I'm curious what your thoughts are on, on who's getting involved in crypto and should we be using maybe a broader term than just investing? It seems like people are participating in this new type of economy in web 3.0, in lots of different ways. How do you make sense of all of that?

 

[00:25:01] Mika: Yeah, great question. I do think it is enabling a new class of investors or people who want to be growing their money in a different way that they wouldn't have discovered or realized otherwise. On one part of it is because there is still open questions about the regulatory part of it, such that people are able to participate. But also, too is, it penetrates other parts of society that isn't necessarily just the financial part of it. So, for example, games. That isn't usually seen as a way for you to grow your money. But now through play to earn and crypto you're able to find substantial gains from it. If you do participate in that economy. And it's interesting because it's more engaging and this class of people that maybe think investing in stocks is boring or is generally inaccessible for them to understand and grok, they understand gaming.

 

[00:25:58] Mika: And so, they use that as the entry point for them to then grow their money in, in ways that they wouldn't have otherwise or would have learned about or discovered otherwise. But you see that with NFTs as well, where there's a whole new class of investors or people who understand what art is or understand the ways that NFT communities can grow and how that looks like.

 

[00:26:22] Mika: And so, they are able to feel confident that the money that they put into these NFTs can grow when otherwise, if they invested in stocks, which maybe they know less about have less confidence or inability to, to grasp that. So, they wouldn't have done that, otherwise. That's where the interesting parts of crypto and web three are at - the intersections of financial investments and infrastructure and, and culture. And so, I'm excited to see - I think there are even more use cases for NFTs, whether it's in play to earn or in digital art. I think there are many more use cases where that can enable a new set of investors or just participants, um, in, in the crypto and web three space.

 

[00:27:10] Nolan: So, there's a couple points of that I want to tease out. But probably a good point to maybe talk a little bit more about NFTs. And I know this is, like many things in the crypto world, can get wonky and in the weeds real quick. But NFTs are pretty fascinating. I'd love to hear from either of you kind of how you view this space? How would you define NFTs? What, what you view this as, and particularly, do you think it's appropriate to see it as an investment vehicle or is it something broader than that?

 

[00:27:40] Mika and Miranda: Great question. Great. Set of questions. The answer is yes.

 

[00:27:52] Mika: Um, yeah, I personally only started diving deep into NFTs - and by that I meant buying a couple of NFTs, seeing how that would go - maybe the last month or so. And it's a fascinating world because it's unlearning a lot of the ways you might think about investments or, um, think about art. So, one do we think that it is, um - there's a class of NFTs where the use case is for investment.

 

[00:28:18] Mika: So, people talk about buying blue chip NFTs, similar to blue chip stocks and understanding the long-term value of holding that, if you enter at the right time. So, there's a class of NFTs and of the investors that see it that way. But I think there are so many bigger use cases of NFTs that go beyond investment.

 

[00:28:39] Mika: So, another example is the play to earn part of it, where effectively these are in game assets that you can use to then upgrade your Axi or avatar in this metaverse gaming world and continue to use those NFTs as representation of your in-game assets. That's another class. There's another class of NFTs that are tied to your identity, where you're maybe seeing a lot of people on Twitter buying these profile picture NFTs of monkeys and cats and putting it as their profile picture on Twitter or elsewhere.

 

[00:29:14] Mika: And there's a class of people who see NFTs as a core part of who they are and their identity, because they're now a part of other people who are also within this community, which is, I think a very fascinating use case of it. And there's another class of NFTs that could be representative of coupons or tickets where you buy this NFT, and then later on you burn that NFT so you can get access to a concert or a community channel. And then I think the one I'm excited about, I think there's, there's more sub classes of this, is there's this concept of NFTs as a part of your -what'd you call on chain resume or like if you achieve a certain thing after maybe finishing a course, you receive an NFT and that NFT is non-transferrable, it's only for you.

 

[00:30:05] Mika: Now it becomes a way for you to say, 'oh, I achieved this certain level or status because I went through this course' and eventually, long-term, how could that look like LinkedIn for web three? Where there's NFTs that represent, um, your achievements and your trophies and digital trophy, so to say and who you are.

 

[00:30:24] Mika: So that could be interesting. I think there's one realm of NFTs that are starting to look like that and could have potential long-term implications. But yeah, I think NFTs as an investment class is one part of it. I'm excited to see all the other creative ways that NFTs can be used. And we have yet to see.

 

[00:30:43] Miranda: I'm really interested once again - and I love the underlying technology of blockchain and the different things you can do with it. And one of the interesting things about using NFTs is, if you invest in a blockchain or blockchain company that supports them, it can be very helpful, right. NFTs can represent things that you actually have in the so-called real world, right? You could do your real estate deeds and, you know, using NFTs. They're already using, uh, NFTs to track the provenance of certain bottles of investment grade wine.

 

[00:31:19] Miranda: So, like you can use it for supply chain management. And so, it's very interesting because there are ways you can use it for verification of ownership and all of this stuff. So, for me, it's more of a, more of an idea of investing in the underlying technology, because there's so much out there that you can do with it to smooth the function of our world, right. If you've got your smart contract technology, right? Where you can get rid of the idea of escrow, our current idea of escrow, and you have your NFTs where as soon as their smart contract is executed, then that NFT - your deed is issued, real estate transactions instead of taking days or weeks are over almost instantly.

 

[00:32:02] Miranda: Right? So, the idea of, of this underlying use case that just kind of smooth the way we do business and gets things done is very interesting to me.

 

[00:32:11] Nolan: Not to open a can of worms here, but like there's a story of like, uh, an NFT of a Gucci bag selling on Roblox for more than the actual Gucci bag is worth in the real world. And when I hear things like that - and that just sets off warning bells in my head that like, okay, so this a weirdness to the economy of what's what's happening here. What are the red flags people should be aware of when they look at these things as investment vehicles and how to think through that?

 

[00:32:44] Miranda: Well, I think, I think it's kind of, like I was saying before, with any new asset class, you're going to have these weird things, you're going to have stuff. And then of course, when you kind of get that mass sort of interest and almost hysteria around these kinds of new things, you eventually get to the point where yeah, you're going to have things that just don't make sense and it gets a little bit weird out there.

 

[00:33:06] Miranda: And then you're also going to have scams. But you know, financial scams are nothing new. Right. We've had pump and dump penny stock stands for a hundred years, right? Like, so what you do have to watch out for is you do have to take a step back. Mika said something very, very interesting and something very wise, like way back at the beginning, she said, think about your goals.

 

[00:33:32] Miranda: Uh, you know, not, not exactly goals, I guess. But think about what you're doing and think about what is the purpose of having this, right? So, for some people, if they're going to buy an NFT of a Gucci bag, their purposes are probably going to be status, not necessarily an investment. And so, if you are looking at things in terms of investment, well, it's not going to make sense to buy an NFT of the Gucci bag.

 

[00:33:55] Miranda: So, so it's a good idea to kind of take a step back, think about what is your purpose, what are your goals here? And then look at something and say, if somebody is trying to push me into something and they're trying to make it sound really amazing, and really foolproof, that's a problem too, right? Like both Mika and I have some of our assets digital, right? We have cryptocurrencies. We have different types of cryptocurrencies and our reasons for having those cryptocurrencies. We know our reasons for having those cryptocurrencies. I have meme coins because it's funny. I, you know, I, I joke on Twitter about, I would really like Shiba Inu to make me a crypto millionaire.

 

[00:34:32] Miranda: I know it's not going to happen. But, but I think it's funny, right? I think it's funny. I doubled my money. I took some profits and I got out. And you have to know why you're doing it. So, for me, Shiba Inu, you know, it was kind of like a lottery ticket. It's entertaining. I think it's funny. I know why I am doing it. I took my profits and anything I make after that is going to be gravy.

 

[00:34:53] Miranda: For more long-term things like Solano, for instance, and Ethereum. Like Mika, I have both Solana and Ethereum, I think, 'okay. These have long-term promise. There's an underlying use case. There are things about them that attract me and that I think have potential in the next iteration of how we do business and how we interact on the web.' And so those are things that I keep more long-term. I am willing to hold onto, and I'm willing to see more as moving into that investment.

 

[00:35:24] Miranda: So, you really need to take a step back and think about why you're doing these things. And then sort of be brutally honest about, about what's going on.

 

[00:35:35] Nolan: Right. So, we've talked a lot about, you know, like you said, it's very good to assess why you're doing this, know your values, know your reasons, your goals and motivations. We also talked about how the barrier to entry is quite low. So, more and more people can get involved in this. And I think that's pretty exciting that more people can be engaged. I'm really particularly curious to hear from you both about how this maybe changes the representation of people who are engaged in this type of economy in a way that the traditional financial space wasn't.

 

[00:36:09] Nolan: But the flip side of that is we're bringing new people into this trading, investing, getting involved in something that is somewhat speculative and there's always risks. What do you think the safeguards are or should be? I guess, how do we uplift the people who, who are not previously involved, but still don't set folks up, particularly folks who might be marginalized or at risk in some way in the economy to lose more than would be sound? You know, so let's take that in two steps. I really do want to focus on the benefits here in the increase in diversity and representation. Mika, how do you see, uh, crypto pushing that forward? And, and what does that look like from your perspective?

 

[00:36:57] Mika: Yeah. So, I also see crypto and web three as kind of helping democratize this idea and notion of anyone is an investor or anyone kind of participating in this financial movement where maybe historically it's gated by these institutions and these banks that say like, because you're not of this age, so-and-so - which is very subjective. So, I see it as like a democratizing that idea for more people who do want to get into these new financial assets or new classes and growth their money. That said, you're right. Lots of risks on the flip side of it. And again. Not a great answer, but always do your own research caveat of, uh, everyone in the crypto space saying these are interesting coins, but always do your own research.

 

[00:37:47] Mika: I think it's always also hearkening back to in when, when the goals, what are you trying to get out of investing a certain portion of your portfolio into, um, is it really to grow your money or is it a status symbol? And either way is fine. Just being really intentional about it coming in. And I think the same notions of finances should also come into play into crypto.

 

[00:38:12] Mika: Even, even though it's a very new asset class, it's still... you don't want to put money that you might need, and you want to make sure that you have that healthy balance of risk tolerance and that this money could potentially go to zero. And so don't put the money that will help you with your day-to-day food and living costs.

 

[00:38:35] Mika: Otherwise, there is that big risk that it will go away. I think the same principles of finances and personal finances still apply. And we'd love to hear your thoughts on this notion Miranda, but that's how I think about it. It's just a new and different type of asset class that I'm excited will bring on and entertain a new set of folks. But the financial principles should also still apply.

 

[00:38:59] Miranda: Seriously. I mean, I think that's, that's the important thing. If you, you know, want to add this to your portfolio. Yes, definitely. But make sure you're doing other things as well. The basic things, you know, I mean, I don't even have - even though most of my portfolio is in index stock products, right? Index CTS and index mutual funds. Um, I also have like real estate. I have some real estate investment trusts. I have a little bit of gold. So really kind of take a step back and say, okay, how does this fit into my portfolio? And how does this help my portfolio goals?

 

[00:39:32] Miranda: Right. I mean the fundamentals of investing still apply. Diversify, understand the risks, understand what risk tolerance you have. And so to kind of start closing us out here, I'd like to talk a little bit about how we kind of sort through the information in the world of crypto so that when people are jumping into it, and I'm totally sympathetic to those who are jumping in with a lot of enthusiasm and optimism about the future of this, how do people find the right kind of balanced take and the right kind of research that acknowledges the risk acknowledges when some of these things might be in a bubble and speculative investments that could go south? I think it's fair to say in the crypto world, there's a lot of hype and sometimes bullshit around some of this stuff. How do you sift through it? How do you, how do you put things into context?

 

[00:40:27] Miranda: The question is when you're jumping into the world of crypto for the first time and you see this community, how do you put everything into the right context and find the views that I think you were both giving? That it's important to be balanced. It's important to not go too far forward with, with money you're not willing to lose. What's your advice there? Let's start with you, Mika.

 

[00:40:48] Mika: Yeah, I'm very deep in crypto Twitter. And sometimes that's daunting because everyone in crypto Twitter is bullish about crypto. And so, the ways that I personally find, and for the most part, if you do find these thought leaders, they're also fairly bullshit on crypto or, or the other side, either bearish or bullish. So how I find or mitigate that is actually more in the private groups that I'm a part of. So, as I was learning about crypto, kind of just put myself out there and said, 'Hey, I'm learning about this very nebulous thing who wants to join?'

 

[00:41:23] Mika: And lots of other people are at this point, extremely curious. And so, I'm sure other people will latch onto learning groups or small channels where you can just talk about open questions that you have with crypto. And the nice thing about that is I'm able to, to get lots of perspectives, but also get the nuanced and skeptical take about how crypto or certain parts of web three, et cetera, are evolving. And in a safe space where sometimes if you try to post on Twitter, you get haters maybe. But this is, uh, uh, the private groups or smaller groups where I can just openly ask questions and still get different perspectives has been helpful for me.

 

[00:42:07] Mika: Um, if interested in other thought leaders in the space though, that help, especially beginners and new folks coming in. One, check out my videos. Geared towards beginners, and in crypto. Second is, I really like Linda Xie. So, Linda X-I-E. She's an investor in scalar capital, which invests in crypto companies. But she has a lot of these beginner's guide to web three or beginner's guide to Dows.

 

[00:42:35] Mika: So, beginner's guide to everything. Fairly comprehensive, but still understandable for anyone coming in. So, I recommend checking her pages out. And then third, actually also helping with this Dow, starting a Dow around called Odyssey Dow, where we're looking to find people who want to onboard into web three. So, goal is to have a hundred thousand more folks transitioned from web two to web three, especially if you're already working in the tech space, but also just an open place that hopefully welcomes folks who just want to learn. I mean, ask all these questions. So, if you're interested in that, feel free to reach out. It's called Odyssey Dow still in the beginnings of it. So always welcome to newcomers.

 

[00:43:19] Nolan: So, Miranda you've been falling cryptocurrency for some time. What's your takeaway advice in terms of how to stay grounded, but still follow the energy and around all this?

 

[00:43:29] Miranda: I mean, I think it just comes back to looking for something that really kind of reflects your values and then what you think has promise for the future. Yeah. And always be wary. Crypto Twitter can be a very scary and weird place. And so, it just kind of be wary of that. And I think my general rule of thumb for any type of anything is, if somebody is so fanatic about it that they can't hear any criticism of it, that they insist that it is the one true thing... run away from that person and look to somebody else for some insight. Because there are just so many things out there and you really kind of have to watch out for - it is really easy to get stuck in this kind of group think and this group mentality. This idea of, you know, I just still keep thinking of the meme from back earlier this year, earlier in 2021, where there's this stick figure and it says like doge army and it's like poking Elon Musk and like asking Elon Musk to poke doge.

 

[00:44:37] Miranda: It's like this, you know? And it's like any, any time that you have something that is so volatile that it's living and dying by one person's word or that people are so fanatic about it, that they instead, I mean, it's like for some of these things, you get into some of this stuff and you're just like, did I enter. Diandra Colts, like what is happening? And so just kind of be careful about that and be careful about getting caught up into believing that something is the one true, the one true way, and just kind of step back.

 

[00:45:09] Nolan: I think that's sound advice and probably good advice to end on. So, Mika and Miranda, I want to thank you so much for joining us. We're going to link to your websites and Mika your YouTube channel in the show notes. So, listeners go check them out. They have a lot of great resources that you can learn from and thank you both so much for coming on today.

 

[00:45:31] Mika and Miranda: Thank you for having me. Thanks for having us.

 

[00:45:34] Nolan: Thanks again for listening. We're so happy you could be here with us. As always, check out our podcast website for bonus content and past episodes. That's at ywympodcast.com. We encourage you to drop us a line. If you have any questions you'd like answered, topics you'd like covered, or guests you'd like to see on the show, send us a note. Our address is hi@ywympodcast.com. Again, the email is hi, H-I at Y-W-Y-M-PODCAST-DOT-COM.

 

[00:46:13] Nolan: We'll talk to you soon.

 

[00:46:17] Mary, Nolan, Laquita Ann: You've been listening in with 'Your world, Your Money.' You can find us at ywympodcast.com and stay updated on Instagram at Global Thinking Foundation USA. Be sure to rate and review us and you can reach us with questions or thoughts at hi@ywympodcast.com. Our thanks again to Hangar Studios and Global Thinking Foundation. Thanks friends. Happy moneymaking. We'll see you next time.