Tag Archives: interviews

Interview With Philip Lima From CoExistCoin

Bitcoin Dood: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. For many of my readers you need no introduction, I believe this is your second or third time being interviewed by The Dood. For the new readers could you please tell everyone who you are and your relationship to CoExistCoin?

Philip Lima: Hey Hey. Thanks for having me back. It’s always great chatting with The Dood. For those that don’t know me, I am Philip Lima, founder of CoExistCoin. Back in October of 2012, there was a destructive hurricane that wreaked havoc where I live on Long Island, N.Y. It took years to rebuild many towns that are by the water even though there were millions upon millions of dollars donated to help people in need to get their lives back together. March of 2014, I was doing work for an old customer at his location. I couldn’t believe 17 months after this storm, the area was still in bad shape. I asked how come nothing was done with all the money people donated. Where did all this money go to if not to help people rebuild homes and local shops? He gave me a look and said “Phil. Those charity organizations are full of crooks. No one really knows where that money is going. Good honest orgs at best give 25% of what’s donated to where and what they intend to” I was shocked and furious. I thought of the donation my wife and I gave with the intention of helping our neighbors.  Now at this time I was already aware of bitcoin and litecoin. And dark coin was just being released (who later changed to DASH). I was researching blockchain technology realizing this was going to change the way the world does digital transactions. That is when I got the vision of creating a cryptocurrency with the intention to help the less fortunate.

BitcoinDood: I’ve always thought CoExistCoin was an interesting, well intentioned project. Can you tell the readers a little about CoExistCoin and what you hope to achieve with this coin?

Philip Lima: When creating CoExistCoin I had multiple things that I wanted to accomplish. One was to create a system in which people can see if charity organizations are abusing donated funds. We know with using cryptocurrency we can follow funds wallet to wallet using a block explorer. The block explorer that we currently use have so many functions, you really can envision an in depth accounting program. Using Blockchain tech those accounting numbers cannot be changed or compromised. It’s there for all to see. Another issue that I still to this day is getting donations. It is very hard for a lot of people to donate money, even if they wanted to. What if we had a payment system much like PayPal, but fueled by blockchain currency and those transfer fees goes to charity.  PayPal charges around 3 bucks to make a transaction. Credit cards charge businesses transaction fees. Imagine a worldwide payment system where the fees are used to help humanity instead of going to greedy corporations and bankers. This is my life goal. To create a charity organization and a financial instrument to help change the world.

BitcoinDood: You guys are currently going through a coinswap and are moving to the Waves Platform. What was your main reason for switching over to the new Waves platform?

Philip Lima: Multiple reasons made this decision easy for me. It is hard and costly to have a cryptocurrency on multiple operating systems. Large scale it is even harder with our old source code.  CoExistCoin was struggling to have this available to all.  Only windows and Linux users had access to COXST. New users were frustrated with updating nodes and waiting anywhere from 6 hours to a full day to completely download the full blockchain. We had an app on google play. It took 2 full charges on my google tablet to download the blockchain and after that it was clunky. The IPhone app was not available and iOS wallets were very costly to run and maintain. Another factor I had to consider was the responsibility I had to investors. Our old source was a POW/POS system. X11 algo has become very easy to mine. Daily mining rewards were being dumped in the markets drowning our value. No one was happy with this and interest was dwindling.  No one is interested in losing money.  I was considering either going to go through the grueling process of trying to get investors and coders to rewrite a better source algorithm or maybe give up on my dream. Shortly thereafter I was approached to consider on moving our blockchain over to the WAVES platform.  This move I realized after much research cured the problems that I was having. WAVES creator and CEO said he wanted a charity foundation on his platform.  “A” as in one. This move was offered with no cost to us.  My prayers were answered. I don’t know if you believe in fate Dood?4But I know I was meant to make this project a reality after this opportunity was offered to us. It’s like the universe wants us to succeed to help humanity.

BitcoinDood: For anyone that may not be familiar with it, could you tell us a little about Waves Platform, what it is and how it works?

Philip Lima: WAVES is a decentralized blockchain platform. It uses a lite client wallet where one does not have to download the blockchain. Most of us know the rigors of that.  The network handles up to 1,000s of transactions per second that can be paid in CoExistCoin, Waves, BTC, USD and EUR. The platform has many other tokens and fully license and compliant gateways with many more to come. WAVES platform also includes a true peer to peer decentralized Exchange.  WAVES plans to have non turing complete Smart contracts by the 4th quarter of 2017.

BitcoinDood: Does this add any new features to CoExistCoin? How does the new platform benefit CoExistCoin users?

Philip Lima: The very first thing is that it is available to use on all iPhone and android apps as well as all other operating systems. The wallet is hassle free and easy to use. CoExistCoin original code was a mixed POW/POS X11 algorithm. The entire blockchain had to be downloaded by the user. A huge issue that we found is that after many POS payments the wallet would slow to a crawl. Each POS payment was sent to a new address within the wallet. Combining any wallets would cause the wallet to seize up because each block could only hold 900KB. Waves alleviates all these problems. Any updates WAVES makes, we also get the update. So when the smart contracts are available on WAVES, it is available to CoExistCoin. One can see how this was a no brainer move for us. With all the future integrations that is in the works, I am very excited for our future. I struggled and worried so much trying to keep up with the tech, that I had no time to get to what the real purpose of CoExistCoin was created for, to help and empower those in desperate need of everyday survival.

BitcoinDood: The coinswap has been going on for awhile now. I guess users can swap directly from their Waves Platform wallet or they could do a manual exchange. What has it been like working with the new platform? If someone asked you if switching over to the platform was worth it, what would you tell them at this stage of the game? Has it been a fairly decent experience?

Philip Lima: The swap began on June 27th. A developer of WAVESGO set up the migration service on their site. If you have COXST in a QT wallet (windows and Linux) you can use the form to automatically exchange old COXST for new COXST that shows up right in your WAVES wallet. I set up a manual exchange page and doing swaps for those that have COXST on exchanges. There are some cases of people having stuck wallets, like iOS wallets or just weird things. They can send the wallet.dat file to me and then I auto swap it for them.

Working with the people at WAVES has been better than expected. They are great people that help with whatever is needed. Their community is big and dedicated in making WAVES and everything associated with it succeed. Using the WAVES platform has been easy and care free. Switching over to the WAVES platform has been worth it. There is small percentage of people that do not like change or they are not computer savvy at all. CoExistCoin brought new people in the crypto world. Their intention was to help people. Not learn how to use a QT wallet. Swapping over has been so easy with almost no issues. Issues that were reported ended up being user error or one simply had to delete cookies and cache in their browser to use the auto migration service.  I’ve had no negative complaints about COXST in the WAVES wallet. The only people that stand to lose anything are the miners dumping COXST onto exchanges.

BitcoinDood: How long do users have to swap their coins to the new platform and where can they get the info to do it? (feel free to post any links you want relating to instructions, wallets)

Philip Lima: The swap ends on 7/14/2017. After that I will send all swapped old COXST to a burn address. I have had confirmation from 2 of 3 exchanges that they will delist the old CoExistCoin, helping kill that blockchain. You can find info for swap at  http://coexistcoin.com/swap  or if you have COXST in a  synced QT wallet you can go directly to http://www.wavesgo.com/CoExistSwap.html

BitcoinDood: Well, exciting times indeed. I just wanted to touch base with you real quick and see how things were going. Do you have anything you want to add about the new coin, or the Waves Platform that hasn’t been covered in the interview?

Philip Lima: Yes. I would like to add that with this migration it is easier now to accept donations and keep track of what the foundation is doing, as is one of our goals. That is to be fully transparent. Anyone can deposit usd, euro or btc right into one’s own wallet, and then send it to the foundations wallet. There anyone can watch these funds through the block explorer.

WAVES platform is dedicated to being compliant and legit in the financial world. This is so very important to us. Last week the WAVES CEO visited and signed a memorandum strategic partnership with Deloitte. Deloitte provides international audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and other services to select clients. I believe WAVES will lead the future of cryptocurrency and I am so happy to be a part of it all.

BitcoinDood: What type of rolls do you think these new token platforms will play in the future evolution of cryptocurrency?

Philip Lima: These tokens platforms ultimately will add on and off gateways for centralized fiat to enter a decentralized world where the individual is their own bank and unshackled by anything but the free market. With CoExistCoin if you want to help provide clean drinking water to a tribe in Africa, buy a well and the person installing it is paid a world away in 2-3 minutes. That well can essentially begin being installed tomorrow, without passing through two or three banking systems, various regulatory agencies and bureaucracies all taking their part, for 10% of the money to arrive 6 months later to the people in need.

BitcoinDood: As always, I have to end each interview with the same last question. Where do you see cryptocurrency heading in the future?

Philip Lima: Cryptocurrency is going to be the real democratic vote of the future. Do we all take back the right to decentralize our finances, or do we keep abiding by the rules of multibillion dollar banking and finance corporations that are owned by private central banks?  The future is ours.  Are we autonomous citizens or are we owned by the decisions of generations past?

Thanks so much to Philip Lima for taking the time to answer The Dood’s questions and share his story. If you’re interested in finding out more about CoExistCoin you can check out the links below.

http://coexistcoin.com/
https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/coexistcoin/
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1083647.0
https://twitter.com/CoexistCoin
https://wavesplatform.com/

 

The Dood Interviews, Brian Innes Attorney.

legal, blind justice

BitcoinDood: First off, thanks a lot for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. I’m really excited about this interview. I’m just a trader, and have an extremely basic understanding of the legalities of cryptocurrency so it’s really exciting to talk to someone from this sector of the industry. Please excuse my basic terminology when asking legal questions. This topic can get pretty confusing for the average guy, and The Dood’s about as average as they come 🙂

BitcoinDood: To start with, could you please take a moment and introduce yourself, tell us a little about who you are and what you do?

Brian Innes: My name is Brian Innes. I am attorney practicing in Utah. My practice focuses on business and real estate transactions. I am also working to develop an expertise in the legal issues surrounding blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Before starting, I need to make the following disclaimer. This interview does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on by any person. This interview is designed for general informational purposes. You should seek advice from your own counsel, who is familiar with the particular facts and circumstances of what you intend to do and can give you tailored advice. No attorney client-relationship is created, nor is this intended to be attorney advertising in any jurisdiction.

BitcoinDood: From a lawyer’s perspective, what are your thoughts on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general?

Brian Innes: From a legal perspective, it feels like we are in uncharted territory when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain legal issues. Current laws and regulatory frameworks are not adequate to address all of the challenges and issues raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. These laws and frameworks will need to evolve to deal with these new challenges. Also, as a contract attorney, the potential for disruption of the legal industry by smart contracts is something I am watching with interest.

BitcoinDood: How did you first get involved with cryptocurrency?

Brian Innes: I first heard about Bitcoin a number of years ago. At the time, I didn’t really see the usefulness of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It wasn’t until I learned about blockchains that the light turned on. Once I understood the potential use cases and applications for blockchains, I became really interested in cryptocurrencies.

BitcoinDood: From a legal standpoint, what is bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Is it money, a commodity, a security, some sort of financial instrument? What legal category would cryptocurrency fall under?

Brian Innes: One of the first things I learned in law school was the answer to the nearly every question asked by a law professor is “it depends.” I think that’s applicable here. Depending on the context, a cryptocurrency or blockchain token could be any of the above. Some people are purchasing blockchain tokens to use as money, some are purchasing blockchain tokens like gold or another commodity, some are purchasing blockchain tokens as a store of value and others are purchasing blockchain tokens as investments in the same way they would a security. Depending on the applications and uses of a particular token it could be any or all of the above.

BitcoinDood: A really touchy subject in the cryptocurrency space is regulation. For an industry that was basically started by a group of self-proclaimed crypto-anarchists, “regulation” is a dirty word. I see the eventual regulation of cryptocurrency as inevitable. Overall, where do you see regulation heading in the future? What type of laws do you think we can expect in the future and why?

Brian Innes: Regulation of blockchain tokens is difficult, among other reasons, because of their hybrid nature. Tokens and currencies with different properties will likely need to be treated differently. There can’t be a one size fits all regulation scheme for all cryptocurrencies, any regulations will need to be flexible enough to account for the difference between currencies and their uses.

I think the regulation we will see first will be in the securities law arena. The frothy ICO marketplace has already attracted and will continue to attract people looking to make a quick buck by using blockchain tokens to perpetrate pyramid or other fraudulent schemes. Many ICOs are also looking very much like securities offering. Even the term ICO is confusingly similar to the term IPO, which is a securities offering. It’s not even just fraudsters that are running afoul of the law. There are legitimate ICOs out there that likely have violated securities laws. Any securities offering must be either registered with the SEC or exempt from registration. Any ICO that is deemed to be a securities offering must be registered with the SEC. Failing to get this approval or having a valid exemption to rely upon can result in serious consequences. The registration process is designed to protect investors by requiring the promoter of an offering to provide sufficient disclosures for an investor to make an informed decision. I expect the SEC to step in at some point and reign in ICOs.

BitcoinDood: We’ve seen many states begin to pass “cryptocurrency laws”. New York has the BitLicense, and I know a few other states have passed laws, or are in the process of drafting laws. Many cryptocurrency businesses will not deal with individual states for legal reasons. How can a small business or start up protect themselves from state by state compliance issues?

Brian Innes: I think the first step is for the business owner to do as much research as possible on their own to learn what potential laws and regulations apply to their business. The less jurisdictions the business owner is conducting business in, the easier it will be to keep up with compliance issues. The next step would be to hire an attorney with expertise in the area.

BitcoinDood:  It will probably just be a matter of time before federal regulators get involved and draft additional legislation. My understanding is federal law, supersedes state law. What types of laws do you think the government will try to enforce with cryptocurrency, and would federal regulation straighten out a lot of the issues with state by state compliance?

Brian Innes: I agree with you. I think it’s a matter of when not if regulation comes. The SEC seems to be the organization most likely to take the lead with respect to cryptocurrency regulation. Federal securities laws do preempt state securities laws, but there are also in some circumstances additional rules and regulations imposed by state regulators that must be followed.

BitcoinDood:  So we’ve covered state law and federal law, but cryptocurrency is a global phenomena without borders. Cryptocurrency is decentralized, without a single point of failure. For instance bitcoin miners all over the world keep the bitcoin network up and running. There technically is no way to stop bitcoin unless you shut off every mining rig around the globe. For example, if you cut off the Chinese miners, then the Venezuelan miners, Brazilian miners, and all the other global miners are now keeping the network running. Based on that fact, many argue that any regulation is unenforceable. What do you say to those people who think regulation is unenforceable? Are they correct or delusional?

Brian Innes:  Coordinated international regulation would be difficult if not impossible to accomplish, but countries could definitely regulate (to some extent) the purchase and use of blockchain tokens in their own countries. In the United States, for example, the SEC could bring blockchain tokens under their purview and prohibit ICO organizers from selling blockchain tokens to any unaccredited investors in the United States without appropriate disclosures. Some blockchain token ICOs already restrict purchases from US citizens because they don’t want to deal with US securities laws. The decentralized and autonomous nature of cryptocurrencies makes it difficult for regulators and lawmakers to catch up and decide what do. Existing law is likely inadequate to deal with cryptocurrencies and will need to change and evolve to meet this new challenge. Because of the international nature of cryptocurrencies, governments will have a really tough time trying to shut cryptocurrencies down entirely. Also governments that try and overregulate cryptocurrencies run the risk of falling behind the times and other countries that are friendlier toward cryptocurrencies. Another area of potential regulation is with banking. If the US government wanted to discourage cryptocurrencies, they could make it difficult for banks to handle cash from cryptocurrency trading.

BitcoinDood: If an investor gets caught up in a blatant ICO scam, do they have any legal recourse? What can they do?

Brian Innes: I think it would be exceedingly difficult to have any meaningful recourse. Finding the promoter, suing the promoter, obtaining a judgment against the promoter, and collecting on the judgment, would be difficult but not impossible. Because of these risks, investors need make sure they’ve really done their homework before purchasing tokens in an ICO.

BitcoinDood:  Anyone that’s been involved in altcoin trading for any length of time can see there’s all kinds of insider trading and market manipulation going on in this industry. I’ve seen several pump groups on twitter and different social groups. Most of these groups select a coin, pump up the price by buying large amounts of the coin while hyping it up on social networks, then when it reaches a certain price they dump the coin back into the market driving down the price. Are these groups legal? Wouldn’t this be considered inside trading? Should participants in these groups be worried?

Brian Innes: This type of conduct is definitely illegal under existing securities laws. Pump and dump schemes are common with thinly traded stocks and are heavily scrutinized by the SEC. Doing the same thing with cryptocurrencies doesn’t seem to be any different to me. People engaging in this conduct could be subject to both criminal and civil actions. I would be surprised if the SEC isn’t already aware of and investigating these types of schemes.

BitcoinDood: Cryptocurrency and taxes. As far as I know there really isn’t a tax code that deals with cryptocurrency. Most people in the industry want to pay their taxes, but don’t even know where to begin. I asked my accountant about it last year and she was at a complete loss. Do you have any suggestions on how cryptocurrency traders should be handling the taxes on their gains and losses?

Brian Innes: The IRS has provided some guidance on taxation of cryptocurrency: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-virtual-currency-guidance and https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-14-21.pdf. For tax purposes, my understanding is the IRS treats cryptocurrency like property and not foreign currency. That means someone selling goods or services that are paid for in cryptocurrency must pay taxes on the value of the currency on the day received. Gain on cryptocurrency is also taxed. The tax treatment depends on whether the cryptocurrency is held as a capital asset or not. Cryptocurrency held as a capital asset is given capital gains treatment. Cryptocurrency that is not held as a capital asset is given ordinary income treatment. With respect to mining, the miner is required to recognize the revenue at fair market value on the date the coin in mined and appreciation would also be subject to additional tax.

BitcoinDood: The Dood really appreciates your time, thanks so much for answering these questions. I ask all my interviews the same last question. Where do you see cryptocurrency in general, heading in the future?

Brian Innes: I am really bullish on the future of cryptocurrency. I do expect some measure of price correction in the future, but long term, I think the outlook is positive. The potential of blockchain is limitless and I think people find some amazing ways to use it.

BitcoinDood:  If people want to retain your services, how can they get in contact with you?

Brian Innes: Anyone interested can follow me on Twitter at @blockchain_law.

Thanks again to Brian Innes for taking the time to answer The Dood’s questions. Please remember nothing here, in this post, or on this website is meant as legal or financial advice. Please seek a duly licensed professional for such matters. Thanks for reading, and happy trading everyone!

Interview With Sergey Nikitin of xcoins.io

xcoins logo

Sergey Nikitin has about twenty years of information technology experience. He holds a BS, Computer Science degree from UCSB and an MBA degree from UCLA. After graduating, Sergey was recruited to work at Microsoft. He later formed a software development outsourcing business. Sergey is passionate about cryptocurrencies and believes that they are the future of money. He wants xCoins to ultimately become a one stop shop for all cryptocurrency needs.


BitcoinDood: So what exactly is xcoins.io? I get the impression that it’s an exchange, but you guys are doing things a little differently. Could you explain a little about how xcoins.io works, and what separates you from other exchanges like say Coinbase or Gemini?

Sergey Nikitin:  xCoins is the leading destination for instant access to bitcoin . XCoins is one of the qucikest and easiest ways to get bitcoin and has one of the highest paying affiliate  programs in the world that pays in bitcoin.

We are different in two ways:

  •  From the client’s perspective, we are quicker and we accept payment methods such as credit cards and even PayPal.
  • From the business model perspective, we are a marketplace as opposed to an exchange. In other words, we do not sell bitcoin. Instead, we have users, who provide bitcoin to other users.

BitcoinDood:  Getting set up on an exchange in the U.S. can be a daunting task. Do customers have to get verified before they can use the service? How does your verification process work, and after signing up, how fast can a user begin buying and selling?

Sergey Nikitin: It takes about 30 minutes for first-time users. The subsequent transactions are instant. If you’re signing up for the first time at xCoins, you will need to upload an ID and a selfie while holding your ID with xCoins and the date written on a piece of paper.   This is then sent to our approval team that does a detailed yet rapid cross-check of necessary information.  While the speediness of our verification system is a huge advantage for new users and something very valued at xCoins, we do take security very seriously, and make sure we only approve individuals that have passed our verification criteria.


BitcoinDood: Reading over your faq, your company accepts major credit cards, as well as ACH and PayPal. Many bitcoin exchanges are leery about dealing  with credit card companies and PayPal out of fear of chargebacks where the customer disputes the charge and the credit card company refunds their money. Does xcoins.io protect its users from the chargeback problem? Also, are there any benefits the customer might receive by using their credit card?

Sergey Nikitin: The main benefit of using a credit card or PayPal is that it is possible to get bitcoin instantly, as opposed to waiting a few days for ACH (bank transfer).

The core competency of our company is mitigating the chargeback risks. In fact, we are so confident that our users, who provide bitcoin, will be protected from them that we even have a profit margin guarantee, which means that we will reimburse a user out of our pocket, if his/her profit margin falls below 50% with us. No one else in our industry or anywhere else for that matter offers anything similar.


BitcoinDood: OK, lets say I’m a first time user. I sign up on xcoins.io, go through the verification process and decide to buy some bitcoin. Could you give us a brief summary of the process?

Sergey Nikitin: That’s the great thing about xCoins!  It’s super easy and convenient.  You enter the amount of bitcoin you would like to receive and then our alogrithm does its magic.  The bitcoin instantly appears in the user’s wallet, after he makes the payment.  Simple as that.  The ease and convenience of getting bitcoin is what xCoins is known for.


BitcoinDood: From what I read, the selling process seems a little different than the average exchange as well. I logged into the site and didn’t find an order book with buy and sell walls like most exchanges offer. Could you explain a little about how the selling process works and might differ from other exchanges?

Sergey Nikitin: That is correct.  xCoins is not an exchange, we are a Peer to Peer Marketplace.  Users can give their bitcoin to other users and receive a high premium of 15% for each transaction.


BitcoinDood: I see your exchange also  offers a referral program. My readers and
I are always interested in ways to earn extra bitcoin. How exactly
does the referral program work? Do you payout in bitcoin?

Sergey Nikitin:  You can earn money in three different ways. They can refer borrowers, lenders, or other affiliates (also called sub-affiliates) to the site. The commission is calculated as percentage of the xCoins loan origination fee, which can be 5% or higher of the transaction amount. Commissions are paid instantly in bitcoin to the xCoins wallet, and all affiliate commissions are paid for the lifetime of the customer. All you have to do is  sign up for an xCoins account to start referring clients. It only takes a few minutes. No approval needed.  Then you just refer users, and once they place a transaction, you receive the commission!


BitcoinDood: Well that covers just about all my questions. Thanks for being the
first exchange to be interviewed by The Dood. I really appreciate your time. Do you have anything you want to add that wasn’t already addressed in the interview? Any company news, promo offers or special features we haven’t talked about already?

Sergey Nikitin: Glad you asked!  Now we have an ACH Payment method in select states, which allows getting bitcoin for only 1.5% fee. User can also instantly add their bank account payment method!


BitcoinDood: I always end my interviews with pretty much the exact same question. Cryptocurrency is a fairly new industry that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds every day. If you had a crystal ball in front of you, what do you think we would see in the future for
cryptocurrency in general? Any thoughts, predictions, or trends you could share about the future of cryptocurrency and the direction the industry may be heading in?

Sergey Nikitin: Sure. We will see significant changes in many aspects of our lives because of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general. Banks will lose the monopoly on financial services. The financial services will become peer-to-peer, such as lending for example. There will be less financial fraud! Bitcoin is irreversible, plus there will be smart contracts. There will be less other type of fraud, as important information, title deeds for example, can be stored on blockchain. Finally, all goods and services will be cheaper in the future because of cryptocurrency, as it has smaller processing fees and there are no chargebacks. So, the technology will profoundly benefit everybody.  We are living in an exciting time.


Thanks to Sergey Nikitin for taking the time to answer The Dood’s questoins. The Dood wishes him and the entire xcoins.io team the best of luck on this project and all their future endeavors.

If you’re interested in finding out more about xcoins.io you can check out their website here.

https://xcoins.io/

Disclaimer:

The Dood is currently not affiliated with xcoins.io in any way. I may become involved in the affiliate program sometime in the future.  Please do your own due diligence before sending money or bitcoin to any company. The Dood has never used this service. I met the xcoins team on twitter, we got to talking and they agreed to do an interview  If you currently use xcoins.io or have in the past, please feel free to comment and tell us about your experience. Thanks for reading and happy trading everyone!

Interview With Lewis Just of The Eco coin Project

ECO coin logo

ECO coin To economically reward environmental action

BitcoinDood: Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to this interview. Could you please tell the readers a little about who you are and your relationship to the ECO coin project?

Lewis Just: My name is Lewis Just and I am the project leader of the ECO coin, which is an initiative of Next Nature. We are a think and design organization based in Amsterdam that stems from a need to explore how technology and nature come together to create our future environment, our Next Nature.

BD:  ECO coin will be a bit different than other cryptocurrencies out there. From what I understand, its main purpose is to help as an incentive based token, to reward individuals for acts of eco freindly actions. The PDF you sent me uses the phrase, “To economically reward environmental action”. Can you expound on this a little more and tell us how a cryptocurrency can be utilized for this purpose?

LJ: Absolutely. When we look at our current economic system is seems that we often reward actions that our terrible for our ecology in order to gain profits, grow business and help a debt-based economy survive. And yet we do very little to truly understand or protect the value of our shared ecology. It seems strange that businesses can make money from cutting down the forest and turning it into a raw material, but citizens are not paid to plant the forest.

Although there are some initiatives (ecosystem services, carbon trading etc.) that try and combat this growing issue they are often top down solutions that rely on bureaucracy and are there to limit the damages done. The ECO coin by contrast is a currency that positively rewards citizens who are actively contributing to a more sustainable world. It is a bottom up approach that we are designing to help catalyze our economy and society to transition to a more ecological one.

We believe that by utilizing blockchain technologies we can make the ECO coin a project that is not owned by one but many. Having the ECO coin as a cryptocurrency also means that the way in which it is created does not need to be the same as the way in which fiat money is created, through the creation of debt. Carrying out sustainably good actions can create it.

BD: You’re planning on partnering with some pretty big names with the likes of Deloitte and Bitonic. Can you talk a little about these organizations and how they will help the advancement of ECO coin?

LJ: Yes, the ECO coin has been an idea of Next Nature for some time now but it is only fairly recently that we have really been transforming the project from a theoretical idea into a practical solution. To do this we feel it’s best to collaborate and find partnerships that fit and we have been fortunate to find these with Deloitte and Bitonic. Both organizations have fantastic people with really hands on knowledge of blockchain technologies and implementation expertise. They will help us to run community experiments to see the strengths and weaknesses of the currency so that we can develop it into the strongest possible form it can be. At Next Nature we really believe that no single party should own the system but that we should all help to bring it to life.

BD: Your white paper states that the coin will be promoted and used at music festivals. This seems like an absolutely brilliant idea and great way to introduce a lot of new people to the use of cryptocurrency. I’ve helped promote rave parties back in the mid 90’s and giving 10,000 plus people instructions on anything can be a bit daunting. What is your vision for this idea and how would it be executed?

LJ: The great thing about music festivals is that they come with amazing communities and the space provides a great context as it has everything you might find in a city (water and energy infrastructure, food and marketplaces, housing etc). The key to making the ECO coin a success at a music festival is to design the system so that festival goers can learn as they go. So the ECO coin will be integrated into RFID wristband tickets meaning everyone already has their ECO coin wallets. Then people can earn and spend throughout the festival when they like. Say you use a digital ticket instead of a paper ticket to enter the festival ground, then you can immediately earn an ECO coin. Attend a lecture or workshop about sustainability and you can earn more ECO coins. Help to keep the festival tidy of plastic cups, earn even more. You can then spend your ECO coins onsite on meat-free food, exclusive digital downloads or if you earn enough ECO coins you can become a V.E.P. Much like a V.I.P but you will reach Very Ecological Person status and gain access to areas of the festival that others can’t. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to execute but we have a great festival onboard (we will be announcing who in the next few weeks so keep following our progress at nextnature.net) so we are optimistic we can make it a success.

BD: One of your plans will be to have approved businesses, festivals, and projects, to earn and use ECO coin. The white paper I read discourages trading to fiat or to other currencies. I’m trying to wrap my head around how this will work. If businesses are accepting ECO coin for goods and services won’t they eventually want to cash out for some other form of fiat or cryptocurrency? I’m imagining some guy renting bicycles at the beach and accepting ECO coin. Once he accrues a good amount of ECO’s he’s going to want to cash those out. How will business owners go about this and will this coin be listed on any of the altcoin exchanges?

LJ: Yes, although we cannot stop people from buying and selling the ECO coin we would always promote that you earn them through environmentally good actions. We want to avoid businesses “cashing out” by making sure that internal trading can happen from the other ECO coin businesses. So if the bicycle repairman has many ECO coins he can spend them on employing an urban miner to go and salvage old bike parts. The miner can then spend the ECO coins on locally grown fruit and vegetables and so forth. This idea is borrowed from the Wir Bank, which has a very successful track record of strengthening business ties whilst lowering the amount of cash liquidity a business needs. This is just one idea but we are also looking at other currencies and ways in which you might be able to invest your ECO coins in new green businesses. We also hope that becoming an ECO coin business will carry some reputational value with it. So like B Corporations, the ECO coin stamp will be a marker of a sustainable business or organization.

BD: From what I’m gathering you currently have a proof of concept and the ECO coin itself is not available yet. When can we expect to see an actual working blockchain and completed project? Please feel free to talk about any road map plans as well.

LJ: That’s correct. We are not yet on a blockchain but are, with our partners, exploring the best way to achieve this. There are many ways we can realize the ECO coin on a blockchain but we also want to use the technology when it’s appropriate. Many projects use blockchain technology too early without establishing a great community to use their coin. So our road map for the ECO coin is first focused on testing the currency within a local community (a music festival). Once we understand how to make it efficient and easy to use then we will look to spread the currency to other communities to create an international network of ECO coin users. This will go hand in hand with implementing the coin on a blockchain so that it will become a global cryptocurrency for anyone, anywhere to use.

BD: On the last page of your white paper it talks about the benefits of using the blockchain for the ECO coin token. The paper explains the benefits of blockchain voting, and making it more decentralized and democratic. Are you planning something like what the DASH community is currently doing with voting for projects and the distribution of budget funds? http://dashvotetracker.com/ How will the democratization and decentralization of the blockchain benefit ECO coin and the ECO community in general?

LJ: Exactly that. We see that blockchain technology can facilitate a far more decentralized governance system. Although the project will start with a core team/leadership we want to democratize the system so that everyone using the ECO coins can have a say in its future. We believe that no single party should own the system, but that all partners and users should be able to improve the system. In that sense making the project open source is really important to us.

BD: I remember reading about a very similar project awhile back, and at first I thought this was that project. I’ve always thought this was a novel use of blockchain technology and I love the concept of an incentive based cryptocurrency that helps to better the environment. While researching for this interview, I came across multiple other coins with the same name and ticker symbol, ‘ECO’. It looks like most of these other projects have been abandoned. How will you separate yourselves from the other ECO’s out there?

LJ: For us it’s less about separating ourselves from other projects (actually we are open to collaborate when it makes sense if we are working towards the same goals) and more about making sure that our ECO coin is something that, to stick with the environmental analogies, can grow organically. This means it has to start with making sure there is a community for this currency and that all parties are benefiting from its use. I don’t see a problem with many initiatives exploring this idea of valuing our ecology in tandem, especially when others also share what they learn from their experiments.

BD:  I really appreciate your time in responding to this interview. Is there anything that you would like to add or talk about that hasn’t been covered already?

LJ: If you want to follow our progress on the ECO coin and support our project we welcome you to become a member of the Next Nature Network at nextnature.net/welcome

BD: I ask all my interviews the same last question. Cryptocurrency will likely play a large roll in future society. How do you see cryptocurrency in general being used in the future?

LJ: Personally, I see any technology as a way to achieve some sort of societal goal. So I believe cryptocurrencies certainly have the potential to play a strong role in the future of our society because it can allow us to develop and redesign our monetary system. I think one major success of the Bitcoin and altcoin movement is that it has helped open up the conversation about how and what we value in our society. Euros, Pounds, Yen and Dollars represent one form of value but I believe its far more interesting to have many currencies representing many value systems in the world. This creates not only a more resilient economy, but also a far more diverse economy that people, objects and even plants may one day be a part of.

The Dood would like to thank Lewis Just of The ECO coin Project for taking the time to answer these questions. I’m really looking forward to watching this coin develop and wish the entire ECO coin team the best of luck on this project and all their future endeavors. This is an interesting use of blockchain technology and I’m really looking forward to following this project in the future. Try these links to learn more about ECO coin and to follow their development.

https://www.nextnature.net/projects/ecocoin/

Coming soon: http://ecocoin.com/

On twitter: https://twitter.com/TheECOcoin

 

Interview With Sam Patterson From OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar Marketplace logo

OpenBazaar is an open source decentralized marketplace.

BitcoinDood – Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I was really excited about getting the opportunity to talk to someone from your organization. This has been a project that I’ve followed for some time now. Could you please take a moment to tell us who you are and your relationship to the OpenBazaar project?

Sam Patterson – I’m Sam Patterson, a co-founder of OB1, the company that develops OpenBazaar.

BitcoinDood – OpenBazaar is a decentralized peer to peer marketplace. Could you explain a little about what that means and how it works?

Sam Patterson – Most online commerce today is done by using centralized marketplaces, owned by huge companies. Those marketplaces take a cut of every transaction, they collect the data of buyers and sellers, and they place restrictions on what can be bought or sold. OpenBazaar is different; it’s a marketplace that isn’t controlled by a company or any central organization. It’s a decentralized marketplace, meaning it’s a collection of people running the software and connecting directly to each other in order to buy and sell. Engaging in trade directly means there are no middleman to charge fees, collect data, or censor transactions.

BitcoinDood – I have to admit, when I first signed on I was almost a little nervous and not really sure what to expect. Thoughts of the darknet filled my head, and I was hoping The Dood wouldn’t end up on yet another Government watch list for just being curious… LOL half kidding… Yet I was really surprised to find a fairly tame marketplace, with very little controversial content if any. OpenBazaar is a marketplace not much different from say Ebay or even Overstock for that matter. I found everything from clothing, bumper stickers, to food products and honey. I don’t know why I expected it to be a little more say “Underground” is this a common misconception of OpenBazaar?

Sam Patterson – OpenBazaar started as a fork of the “Dark Market” hackathon entry in 2014, and many still have a misconception that OpenBazaar is an underground or darknet marketplace. OpenBazaar has always been about making trade free for everyone, not focusing on any type of trade or community. We believe that the benefits of a free and permissionless trade platform are significant and should be available to everyone.

BitcoinDood – So this is another really cool opensource software project.Can you tell us a little about the development, the number of people involved, and how the decision making process works?

Sam Patterson – Since OpenBazaar began in April 2014 it’s been open source and community driven. The number of contributors has fluctuated, but there are several dozen people around the world who have submitted code and hundreds who have tested, opened issues, and submitted bug reports. The majority of the work has been done by the developers working for OB1, the company founded in order to hire dedicated developers to build the platform. Our project leader, Brian Hoffman, has been leading the development since he started the project initially.

BitcoinDood – OpenBazaar bills itself as a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online.There are no fees and there are no restrictions. Without fees, how does the project fund itself?

Sam Patterson – Originally the project solely consisted of volunteers. Eventually Brian Hoffman, Washington Sanchez and I decided that we wanted to form a company to hire dedicated developers and build OpenBazaar properly. We formed OB1 and obtained venture capital investment. As of the end of 2016 we’ve raised $4 million in venture capital. OB1 will offer value-added services to OpenBazaar users in the future in order to make money, but will never change the software to force users to pay fees.

BitcoinDood – So to go back to my earlier statement about not knowing what to expect the first time I logged on. OpenBazaar encourages an open market without any restrictions yet when I logged onto the client I was surprised to see how tame the listings actually were. Are there any restrictions on what users can post? How does the marketplace maintain such a “wholesome” environment without any restrictions? I was really surprised at how professional, and mainstream the offers I found on your platform were.

Sam Patterson – There are no restrictions on what a user can post. We encourage users to list their items as NSFW if applicable, and in the software there are tools to block other users if they offer items that you don’t like or they are harassing you. Most people just want a platform where they can buy and sell without fees and other restrictions while using Bitcoin, and OpenBazaar is the only place to do that right now.

BitcoinDood – Currently you can only make purchases with bitcoin? Are there any plans to add other cryptocurrencies down the road?

Sam Patterson – In the latest release we added ShapeShift integration, which allows users to spend a variety of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the core currency because it’s the most widely used cryptocurrency and has all the necessary features (such as multisignature transaction).

BitcoinDood – I’ve loved everything about OpenBazaar so far. I have to say though the software wasn’t the easiest to get working. I run an OpenSuse laptop and had to do a bit of tweaking to get it running on my machine, but hey that’s linux, and that’s almost the norm for linux users. I did however try to install the software on a Windows10 PC at work and to my surprise also ran into some difficulties with the install. When I did a google search I discovered I wasn’t the only one. Is there an effort underway to make the install process a little easier? Granted once the client is installed and running it certainly is worth the effort.

Sam Patterson – Getting peer-to-peer software to install and connect correctly across all operating systems and network configurations has proven difficult. We’ve tried to make the process simpler and more reliable, but we’re aware it doesn’t work properly for all users. Fortunately, the 2.0 version of the software (to be released this year) makes substantial improvements in installation and reliability. Our community is very helpful and if you have a problem, feel free to join our Slack group and ask for help.

BitcoinDood – From what I gather, vendors are kept honest through the use of moderators. Could you explain a little how the moderation system works? Can anyone become a moderator and are the moderators rewarded in some way?

Sam Patterson – Moderators are a third party that both buyer and seller agree to in order to use an escrow system. Using 2-of-3 multisig all three parties have a key to the funds, but two of those parties must agree in order for the funds to be released. Normally the buyer and seller agree and they release the funds when the transaction is completed, but if there is a dispute then the moderator is notified. They talk to the parties and determine how to resolve the dispute, then join with the winning party to release funds to them. Anyone can become a moderator; it’s an open marketplace. Moderators are rewarded by receiving a percentage of the overall transaction when they resolve a dispute.

BitcoinDood – Thank you so much for your time in answering these questions. Is there anything you want to add, or any special news you would like to share that hasn’t already been covered?

Sam Patterson – OpenBazaar costs nothing to try out so we encourage anyone interested in Bitcoin or decentralized technologies to test it out and let us know what they think. The 2.0 version of the software is being built on IPFS, which will allow stores to be visible even when they are offline, and includes many other major improvements. To follow along with the development of the software, check out our blog.

Bloggers note: IPFS stands for InterPlanetary File System A peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol. TechCrunch wrote an interesting article about it here.

BitcoinDood – I ask all my interviews the same last question. Could you share any thoughts or predictions of where you see bitcoin and cryptocurrency going in the future? If I handed you a working crystal ball, what do you think we would see?

Sam Patterson – Permissionless money and permissionless trade are concepts too powerful to not gain traction over the coming years. In countries with devaluation or demonetization of currency, Bitcoin will become an increasingly popular alternative, leading to the adoption of platforms such as OpenBazaar to facilitate use of the currency. Even in countries with stable currencies we’ll see more use of Bitcoin and OpenBazaar because of the increasing growth of the digital economy and diminishing importance of where digital workers physically reside.

Thanks to Sam Patterson for taking the time to talk about this truly interesting project. You can find out more about OpenBazaar and download the software on their website:

https://openbazaar.org/

OpenBazaar GitHub

OpenBazaar on Reddit.

OpenBazaar on Twitter

Special thanks to the OpenBazaar Twitter folks for helping to put this interview together. Much appreciated! Thanks also to Sam Patterson for sharing the OpenBazaar story with me and my readers. Your time is greatly appreciated.