How can cryptocurrency change the world? Is blockchain really a problem looking for a solution? In this episode of Ask Me AnyFin, we talk to Zion Schum, the cryptocurrency enthusiast and the CEO and co-founder of Leutheria.com. Check out the video or read the transcript below to find inspiring insights about cryptocurrency and blockchain specifics, its merits and challenges, and the vision of the future of the crypto world.
Cryptocurrency expert says, “Ask Me AnyFin,” and is not afraid to answer
Zion Schum is the CEO and co-founder of Leutheria, a technology startup that empowers individuals to live more fulfilling lives by taking full advantage of the cryptocurrency economy.
He’s working on simplifying cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies for people by providing them with easy-to-understand educational content and simple, time-saving tools that enable them to generate yield and achieve digital self-sovereignty.
As we can read on Zion’s LinkedIn profile:
“Leutheria believes in a community learning experience where everyone works with one another, shares ideas, asks questions, and grows as an individual and as a collective. One individual knows very little, but a community of people knows a great deal. Aggregating the collective knowledge of a global population yields tremendous results for individuals engaged with that community.”
To get some inspiring insight into the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, we met with Zion and used the opportunity to Ask Him AnyFin…
Watch the conversation with Zion or read the transcript below.
Why crypto? The story behind Leutheria
Małgorzata Łabanowska: Welcome to the next episode of Ask Me AnyFin, our series of conversations with FinTech insiders. Our guest today is Zion Schum, CEO and co-founder at Leutheria. Hello! Can you briefly tell us what you do?
Zion Schum: Yes, so thanks for having me on, first and foremost. I appreciate you taking the time. My name is Zion Schum. I’m the CEO and co-founder at Leutheria. Leutheria is working to empower individuals to take advantage of the crypto economy through a global community that helps them get their questions answered by people who are maybe more experienced than themselves and build meaningful relationships with people from around the world. It also provides profit-generating, time-saving tools that allow them to invest intelligently into the crypto economy.
Małgorzata Łabanowska: Great. So first, a few questions to set the background. Zion, what made you choose cryptocurrency as the niche for your business?
Zion Schum: We took an interest in cryptocurrency back in 2017. My co-founder and I were currently doing our undergrad, and he was working as a research assistant on campus, and I was working as a manager at a local restaurant. And we discussed with each other that we didn’t want to do this for the rest of our lives, and we didn’t really want to do a 9-to-5 job once we finished school. So we started to talk about how we can build a better future for ourselves.
We started to look into investing our money, and it was around this time that one of our friends, Jake, introduced us to the idea of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. We had never heard about it before, but we immediately became enthralled with all of its capabilities and innovative technology. And we knew that this is going to be something that’s not only going to be around for a long time, but it’s going to impact almost every industry in a major way.
So we started to do pretty much all the research that we possibly could. We were listening to podcasts, we were reading blogs, watching videos, reading articles. Back then, there wasn’t as much content around crypto and blockchain as there is now, so we were trying to get all the people we knew involved in it as well. We were telling all of our friends… You see, we were really excited about getting on to something like an innovative technology early because, at the time, we knew that we were late to the Internet party.
That was in the early 2000s. We wanted to be part of… kind of the next wave? When you look at something like decentralized technology, we think that it’s kind of like the second Internet. So we started to dive into it and, as I said, we got really excited. We recognized a few problems in the crypto economy when we first got started, and that’s when we began to brainstorm. How can we address these problems through an enterprise? So we started to look into different ideas for that, and that’s how we came up with the idea for Leutheria.
Major merits of cryptocurrency
Małgorzata Łabanowska: Very interesting. You mentioned problems and issues about what are the major merits of crypto. Can you give us specific examples?
Zion Schum: When it comes to the merits of cryptocurrencies, I guess I would start off by saying that it depends on the cryptocurrency that you’re talking about. Some merits span across all different cryptocurrencies. But if we’re talking about something like a stablecoin, for instance, one of the merits of a stablecoin is that you don’t have to experience the same level of volatility that you do with other cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, when you use it. So you can use something like USD Coin or US Terra, and its value is always pegged around one US dollar.
So one USD coin is worth one US dollar. And this enables you to take advantage of the benefits of blockchain without actually needing to experience the volatility of some of these other crypto assets like Bitcoin in theory. And so you can use these stablecoins to use things like decentralized lending protocols and earn yield with low risk because you don’t have to experience that volatility of when you’re holding the stablecoin, you’re worried that the value is going to go down 45% in a few weeks like we just saw with Bitcoin. So that’s a merit of a stablecoin.
But then you look at something like Bitcoin, and the merits are almost entirely different. So for Bitcoin, if you’re a person from a Third World country, the benefit that you get from Bitcoin is that it’s a store of value. It’s kind of like digital gold. So it’s a lot better at retaining its value than maybe your local hyperinflated currency if you’re a person who lives, for example, in Zimbabwe.
So people there like Bitcoin because they can basically use it as their money. They can save their money through Bitcoin’s decentralized network.
And I guess decentralization, if we’re talking about the different merits of cryptocurrency, is one of those things, it goes into the heart of the ethos of the crypto economy.
And the idea is you don’t have to trust a centralized entity, but you can instead trust this decentralized network of nodes spread across all these different computers around the world.
So there’s no one central point of failure. It’s a lot harder to hack that system, so it’s a lot more trustworthy in a sense. And the other major merit that goes across a lot of the cryptocurrencies is trustlessness. So with Bitcoin, one of the things that this enabled was people to transact with people from across the world. That was not possible before cryptocurrency. You can now transact with people across the world without actually knowing that person in advance.
I don’t need to know Lucas to transact with him. He could sell me some Bitcoin, and I could buy that from him without ever having met him before. And I know that as long as the transaction fees are paid, the transaction is valid. Therefore, you kind of open up the possibilities in terms of all of the transactions that can occur across the world. So I would say those are some of the merits of cryptocurrency overall, decentralization and trustlessness.
But then there are also these other merits that are specific to different cryptocurrencies, like non-volatility and stablecoins, and then also stores of value and verified scarcity. Because what enables Bitcoin to have that store of value is the fact that we know there’s only going to ever be 21 million of them, so that verifiable scarcity is one of the merits of it as well.
Major problems with crypto that Leutheria is about to solve
Małgorzata Łabanowska: You also mentioned problems, so I’m curious what kind of problems you were actually trying to address with Leutheria when you started.
Zion Schum: What happened was we started to dive into trading and to invest in that space and, as I said, tried to educate ourselves on all of the different technologies and areas that we can go into here because we knew that there’s so much potential. It’s kind of like if you got involved at the beginning of the Internet, you would think, which way do I actually go? There’s so much opportunity.
It’s like you’re at a table with a bunch of different foods that you love. And you think, which food do I want to go after first? So we started to do research, and some of the problems that we came upon were that it was kind of difficult to find answers to questions that we had. And so we were trying to search for answers, and we ended up scouring website after website and doing several Google searches to find an answer to one question.
We thought it would be a lot better if we had a global community that we could tap into and discuss these questions that we have with them, and not just get a basic black and white answer, but have a meaningful conversation about the idea. And maybe get a different perspective from other people from around the world as well.
And that was where we came up with this idea for a community because we realized that one person knows very little, but a group of people knows a great deal.
If we can aggregate all of the knowledge of a group of people into one area, the people who are part of that community will benefit significantly. So that was one area that we decided to focus on early on. And then another area was how much time it took. This is actually a funny story. When we were in our undergrad program, you have to realize, we were doing school Monday to Friday, and then at night we were studying for our exams and things like that.
But we were also working part-time jobs. And then, when we weren’t doing that, we were doing crypto 24/7. So we would come home, and we would be doing cryptocurrency at 1:00 a.m., and we’d be sitting there trading and trying to figure out what’s the next area that we’re going to try to invest in. What industry is going to be interesting in the future? It turned out to be incredibly time-intensive for us because we would end up entering into a position, and then we’re waking up… This sounds ridiculous, but I was actually waking up every 10 minutes.
I would set the alarm on my phone, and I would wake up every 10 minutes to check the price because I was trading on an exchange where the volume was so low that at any point, my investment or my trade could drop like 70% over the course of 15 minutes. So I would be trying to sell out of my position overnight. I had a class the next morning at 9:30 a.m., but I was waking up every 10 minutes with the alarm trying to exit a trade.
That was when we recognized there’s an issue here. This is way too time-intensive. And it’s not realistic to be sitting there trading or investing all day for most people. Some people can trade or invest all day, but most people want to take advantage of the crypto economy, but they don’t want to spend too much time on it. So that’s when we started to look into some of these time-saving profit-generating tools that allow you to invest and trade intelligently into the markets without needing to spend as much time and wake up every 10 minutes from an alarm overnight.
The biggest misconceptions around blockchain and cryptocurrency
Małgorzata Łabanowska: This sounds like a journey to you. I also really love the idea of the community and benefiting from being in the group and not just working on your own. I guess it also helps not only to address the problems but also to understand the most common misconceptions around blockchain and cryptocurrency. Could you explain what they are?
Zion Schum: When it comes to the misconceptions of crypto and blockchain, I think one of the most commonly known and talked about is this idea that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are used for nefarious purposes, like criminal activity and dark web stuff. But if you look at the research and the data, obviously, there’s a percentage of any currency that’s used for nefarious purposes. But if you look at Bitcoin specifically, because it always gets criticized for this, the research suggests that a very small percentage of the overall transactions are for these nefarious purposes.
That’s a common misconception — that Bitcoin and these other cryptocurrencies are mainly being used for these purposes.
It’s usually people who haven’t looked into the crypto space very much that are making those claims. I encourage them to look at their own fiat currencies and see what percentage of those transactions are used for nefarious criminal activity because it’s a much higher percentage, the research suggests, than something like Bitcoin transactions.
Another misconception is that blockchain, and I’ve written about this in a research article when I talk about business models around blockchain, this misconception has to do with blockchain, specifically, not cryptocurrency. It’s basically that blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. We’ve been hearing that for four years now, at least for me personally, people saying blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. And that it doesn’t have many applications.
But that’s the same thing that’s said of most innovative technologies when they first start — that there are not many applications of it. Who’s going to use it? It’s not going to be that valuable. But when you dive into what is occurring in the blockchain space today, you see things like decentralized finance and the hold that it’s taking on traditional finance. And all these different applications allow people from around the world to connect their digital wallets to these different applications and plug into a global financial ecosystem that they weren’t able to previously tap into with traditional financial tools and companies.
And so, we see blockchain already impact the finance industry in a major way. And it’s going to be affecting other industries as well, in just as large a way in the coming years and decades, I would say. So when we look at [it] like, is it a solution looking for a problem, I think that’s just a claim that came organically because we’re in such an early stage, and people commonly will overestimate the impact that innovative technology will have on the short term, but underestimate what impact it’s going to have over the long term.
That’s what we commonly see with innovative technologies when they start to proliferate. People at the beginning are saying, “Oh, this is going to change the entire world in the next three years.” But then it doesn’t happen in three years. And you have something like what happened in 2018 where you have that bear market for a long time, and people lose faith in the technology. But that happens with a lot of innovative technologies. And then that’s when all the building is occurring in all of these different companies and applications and protocols.
And then you see this bull market that we go into now, where you actually see the applications actually work. I always say this when I talk to people about getting them involved in crypto, when they think, “Oh, I missed the boat, Bitcoin went up to 65k, it’s getting late.” But I always tell them we’re still in the very early stages of this. You can see with the applications that are happening just in the device space, that’s going to happen. There are going to be applications like that in pretty much every industry, in my opinion.
A precious source of knowledge for crypto enthusiasts…
Lucas Korol: Let’s get back to Leutheria, and let’s start with the question about the courses you are providing within your platform. Could you tell us a little bit more about them? Who are they dedicated to?
Zion Schum: I’m really excited about the course that we have just released on Leutheria.com. Right now, we’re focused on helping people get involved at the early stages of the crypto economy and going from zero to hero, we call it. When you first get started in the crypto economy or even if you’ve been in the crypto economy for some time, you might not know how to make calculated entries and exits out of some of these positions.
So the first course that we’ve released is a beginner technical analysis course. It’s aimed at helping people really understand how they can analyze price action, analyze the charts to better make calculated entries, and buying and selling decisions on these different crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It teaches you things like volume analysis, how to read and trade a trend, whether it will be bullish or bearish, how to read candlesticks, how to identify support and resistance, and trade-off of those as well.
The students that have taken that course already gave us some very positive feedback that it really helped them start their journey into the financial markets. A lot of them haven’t traded or invested in any financial market. So getting involved and learning how they can make these more effective buying and selling decisions versus just throwing caution to the wind and just buying and selling whenever they see someone on Twitter… These people prefer to understand the mechanics behind why the price is moving in a certain way. And that’s what our course enables them to do — to get started in that process and learn the foundational elements they need to start generating consistent profit.
We’re really excited to be following that up later this year with our advanced technical analysis course that’s going to help them go from that first stage of just getting started and understanding those core concepts to understand more advanced concepts like market psychology, market cycles, and other different concepts that are related to making calculated buying and selling decisions.
… and tools that make crypto trading even easier
Lucas Korol: It sounds like, through these courses, you are trying to build a community that will also be using the tools that you mentioned before. Could you tell us a little bit more about the tools that you also plan to build? And at what stage of development are they right now?
Zion Schum: The tools are also something that I’m really excited about right now. We’re going to be rolling that out relatively soon. Our tools are focused on a couple of different things, but we’re building two of them right now. I’ll start with the first one, which we’re building right now. It’s a crypto automatic signal generator. This tool, like many great ideas for startups, came from problems that we had personally.
So we wanted to scratch our own edge. We thought, let’s develop something that we can use. So at the end of the day, even if the business doesn’t work out at all, we can still use these tools ourselves.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m really excited about this because I know even when we develop it, even if no one wants them, which I think many people will, once they see their merits, we can still use them ourselves.
So the first tool that we’re building, as I said, is the crypto automatic signal generator. This tool allows people to save time in the trading and investing process in different crypto assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum. What it does is it allows you to create a strategy, which is just basically a set of rules that determines when you’re going to buy or sell these different assets. A simple example of that could be a moving average.
Let’s say it was a 20 moving average. So whenever the price went down and touched this moving average, you’re going to buy the asset. Then whenever it goes up two percent, you’re going to sell. That’s your basic strategy. You can take that strategy, and then, with our software, you can backtest it against historical price data. It means that you can see what your potential return on investment will be, based on the previous price data for any crypto asset that you’d like to look at.
Then, you can decide for yourself: Do you want to run with the strategy you have, or do you want to go back to that first stage and edit that strategy so you can have a higher ROI? Then, once you get to the point where you feel like the ROI is where you want it to be, you can apply that strategy to different crypto assets on all of the major exchanges. Then the software will say, OK, I’m going to save you a bunch of time now, and I’m going to look at the charts for these assets and apply your strategy to them.
And I’m going to send you buy and sell signals on your phone to tell you when to buy and sell, instead of you having to figure out for yourself. You know, go on there, analyze the charts, talk to different people and figure out when to buy and sell. The notifications will say, “Buy Bitcoin at this price and sell Bitcoin at this price and then you generate profit.” So it saves you a bunch of time in that process from having to analyze all these different entries because most people don’t have the time to do that throughout the day.
Even if you do have the time, if you ask anyone, anyone would like to have more time on their hands. So this allows you to take advantage of the crypto economy without having to spend a bunch of time on it.
The second tool that we’re developing right now is an artificially intelligent sentiment analyzer. If you’re not familiar with the idea of sentiment, this is the general feeling that people have about a specific asset at any point in time. For instance, if the sentiment is primarily bullish, that means that people think the price is going to continue to go up. If it’s primarily bearish, they think that the price will continue to go down.
The reason you care about the sentiment as a trader investor in the crypto asset class is because you want to take the contrarian route to whatever position most other people are taking. So if most people are bullish, the odds that the most profitable trade is a long is low because it’s already priced, and most people that are bullish already bought the asset. So that’s priced in. The more profitable trade is probably a short because most people aren’t expecting that to happen.
So if it starts to go down, people are going to panic, sell, and it’s going to have a more significant price movement. That’s why people care about the sentiment. They want to use that to take the opposite side of what most people are taking. And so what traditionally people do, what I do, is I end up going through platforms like Twitter. And it’s a very inefficient process because I’m reading tweet after tweet and mentally tallying in my head; what is this one, bullish or bearish?
Then at the end, I say, OK, the majority of people were bullish, or a majority of people were bearish. So the sentiment right now is bullish, or it’s bearish. It’s a very inefficient process because it’s not cryptocurrency specific. It’s not like there are tweets specifically related to Bitcoin, and I’m able to tally, OK, that one was a bullish Bitcoin tweet. It’s really inefficient.
So we thought, let’s build a tool that analyzes this social data for us and scrubs social platforms like Twitter and Reddit, and then displays on an easy-to-understand dashboard all of the sentiment analysis that we need, all of the information we need to make those contrarian, potentially high-profit bets.
What this tool enables people to do is instantaneously get that information on specific cryptocurrencies. They can type in “What’s the sentiment on Ethereum?” and they can see on Twitter and Reddit how people are feeling specifically about Ethereum, not the overall general crypto market. It’s very beneficial for people that are a little bit more sophisticated in the crypto economy. So we’re very excited to be releasing those relatively soon.
People that are interested in signing up to trial, try all those, and become the first members of that, can go to Leutheria.com, click on the automated trading tab and sign up for that. Those are the tools that are going to be released relatively soon. So that’s the stage of development that we’re at.
The power of community in crypto economy
Lucas Korol: So fingers crossed, and we will look at those tools as soon as they hit the market! You also mentioned that you are trying to build a community around Leutheria. What is this community like today, and how are you trying to build it? What communication tools do you use to enable this community to grow?
Zion Schum: This is another area of my business that I’m extremely excited about because we’ve been getting a lot of engagement from the members that are already in the community. Right now, we have people from over 12 countries around the world that I’m aware of. We might have even more. It’s fantastic because the community is this melting pot of different opinions, perspectives, and ideas.
People can get their questions answered by different people in the community without having to do several Google searches to figure out how something works. Why is it this way? What do I need to avoid? And people in the community that are early and just getting started are taking advantage of people like myself that have been in the space for four years. Now I’m kind of disseminating the knowledge that I’ve accrued over that time and enabling them to avoid the mistakes that I’ve made over the course of my four-year crypto career.
The community is fantastic. We primarily engage on Telegram right now. We have live community chats each week where we discuss different interesting topics related to the crypto economy. Last week we talked about narrative-based investing and how we’re moving into this era of narrative-based investing. And it’s driven by these younger generations of crypto traders or investors and how the community members navigate that terrain as a trader investor.
That was a topic that we discussed last week. But we talk about a bunch of different topics that the community members like to discuss. They come with questions, and we come up with answers, and we discuss a variety of different things, such as decentralized finance, market cycles, and other things like that. We also have events. We have events where we collaborate with each other and talk about similar stuff like this, where we go on a Zoom call and discuss different topics and learn from each other, and we grow with each other as well. The idea with the community is…
You know, one person knows very little, but a group of people knows a great deal. By aggregating the knowledge of all these different people, we can take advantage of the fact that everyone has different experiences.
It’s very exciting to see the community is growing each day. We’re adding new members, and our goal is to build a robust community where, when a new member is added, they can instantly start to take advantage of the cryptocurrency economy in a meaningful way that they wouldn’t be able to do individually.
Crypto economy trends that are going to thrive
Lucas Korol: Let’s get back to cryptocurrency in general. I think we can say that you are a crypto enthusiast rather than a pessimist or realist. So we want to ask you what you think about the future of crypto and what the progress will be. Let’s start maybe from this short-term perspective. What trend or progress or development do you think there will be, or maybe you hope there will be around cryptocurrency?
Zion Schum: I know you are focused on the FinTech trends, so I’m very happy to talk about the trends that I think are coming very nearly for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. For cryptocurrency, I think one trend that we’re seeing right now, that’s pretty much on the cusp of taking over traditional finances, is decentralized finance. And this is the idea that you can create these applications that no central company is in control of, that exist on the blockchain and that anyone with an Internet connection can use.
So if you have a digital wallet and you have some cryptocurrency in your wallet, you can connect that wallet to these different applications anywhere in the world, and you can use them and take advantage of things like yield, varying bearing, savings accounts, cryptocurrency collateralized loans, different things like that. And for most people, they’re saving their money in a traditional bank account, for instance, and in traditional bank accounts, at least in the US, your savings rate is around 0,05%.
That’s what you’re earning. And the interest and inflation are degrading that and eating into that. So you’re actually losing about 3,5 to 4% of purchasing power each year by saving your money in a savings account. A lot of people don’t know that. They think they’re saving their money, but they’re just putting it into a place where they’re losing money every day. That flies over most people’s heads because they don’t understand the concept of inflation.
But the idea with cryptocurrency, or one of the ideas with decentralized finance and cryptocurrency, is that you can take advantage of these different lending protocols and earn yields of anywhere from 6 to 20%. And that’s very low risk. Some of these different platforms, like Nexo, BlockFi offer insurance on their assets through different providers like BitGo. And you’re using things like stablecoins, so you have a very low level of risk because the asset you’re holding is not fluctuating in value.
Then the platform you’re using has this robust kind of security mechanism in place that says, “If we get hacked, we still have some insurance on our assets.” It’s very similar to a bank. Obviously, it’s not FDIC-insured yet, but I think in the future, some of them will be. So when I talk about this concept to other people, this is why I think this is going to be a trend that we start to see really take hold, and we are seeing take hold.
The DeFi space in total has already accrued about 88 billion dollars in total value locked on these different applications. We’ve grown significantly over the past 12 months to get to that point. And it’s going to be not long before we get over a hundred billion in total value locked. These different lending protocols, when you talk to people about it, they understand the concept of “Oh, I can earn 8% interest on my savings versus 0,05% and lose money every day. I’m going to do that.”
People, even my family members, like my aunt, who obviously never looked into the crypto space before, is now putting her money into something like anchor protocol, where she can earn 18% fixed APY on her savings. And she’s starting to venture into that. So I think it’s just the early days of the proliferation of things like decentralized finance applications because they’re just better than traditional finance.
Traditional finance is, I think, caught on its heels right now. They don’t know necessarily how they can compete with something that can offer those sorts of yields or how they can do it in a manner where they don’t have an actual company behind the curtain that’s managing the day-to-day operations. These are applications that once they’re deployed, they’re on the blockchain, and no one can do anything about them. There are smart contracts, so there’s just code that automatically executes a set of parameters when certain conditions are met.
When you deposit your money into these protocols, no one’s saying, “OK, he put in one hundred dollars, so give him five dollars in return.” And they’re doing something on a keyboard somewhere in Australia or something.
It’s interesting because we already see people who have not been in the crypto economy ever venture into it because of things like decentralized finance.
That’s one trend that I think is going to continue, and I think it will take over traditional finance. You’re going to see a lot of traditional finance companies that just say, “Oh, blockchain and crypto, we don’t need to worry about that.” They’re gonna go bankrupt. So that’s a trend that I see happening in the near future.
Another trend is this trend with NFTs. So NFTs are non-fungible tokens. If you haven’t heard about them, there’s one application that’s taking hold with people that have not been in the crypto economy as well. That’s the NBA Top Shot. This is an application in the US that’s gaining a lot of traction with NFTs, and they’re verifiable, unique images or videos, or pieces of data. Basically, that’s what a non-fungible token is.
A fungible token is like a dollar. The dollar is fungible, meaning that one dollar is the same as the next dollar. But non-fungible means that something is not the same as the next thing. That’s a basic idea of NFTs. NFT platforms like NBA Top Shot are taking hold, and they’re bringing in regular people into the crypto economy. People that have never read about anything, they’ve never heard about anything. But they’re interested in the NBA (the National Basketball Association). They’re interested in the league, and they like these players; they’re fans of these teams. So they’re buying NFTs because they’re fans of these teams in real life and because they want to hold a specific memory of a player they enjoy, like LeBron.
They want to hold a LeBron James dunk that they watched live on TV. So they’re buying that, and they’re holding that as either an investment or a trading card, like a baseball card or something back in the day. That’s the early days. This is like the first application of NFTs, bringing mainstream users into the crypto economy. And I think that this trend will continue with different applications in gaming, different applications in social as well, like social media. I think decentralized social media is taking hold as well; that’s another trend.
So I think NFTs and DeFi are two really big trends that will continue to bring more people into the crypto economy and take over traditional finance and other industries.
A vision of blockchain and cryptocurrency’s future
Małgorzata Łabanowska: And if you were to go a bit crazier on the predictions, what do you think could happen about blockchain and cryptocurrency? That is maybe unlikely, but still plausible?
Zion Schum: In terms of what could potentially happen with cryptocurrency and blockchain in the future, I think that there we have a world of possibilities that could occur here. But one of the things that are interesting to me is the idea of people creating their own cryptocurrencies. I think that this is something that we’re starting to see the demand for now; it’s something like Uniswap, with people being able to create their own cryptocurrencies and deploying them without needing anyone’s permission. So anyone can go on and create one if they have the technical knowledge.
If I expand my imagination and look out several years from now, I think that we’re going to get to a point where even kids will be able to create their own cryptocurrencies for the purpose of transacting with their friends.
Like they do with trading cards, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, things like that. But in the future, it’s going to be like “Johnny Coin” and “Jimmy Coin,” and things like that.
Right now that doesn’t exist because you can’t create a cryptocurrency easily. There’s no platform that you can do that easily, at least to my knowledge. There might be, but I haven’t heard of it. I actually considered creating a business around that idea because I think that that’s a valuable application, and there’s a growing demand for that. A lot of people want to create their own cryptocurrencies once they see the value that can accrue to them.
So for all the entrepreneurs out there, listen to this, if you want a business idea, there’s a free one you can take. I’m not going to use it. You can go ahead and run with that if you’d like!
But I think this is something that, if you expand your imagination — kids creating cryptocurrency — seems far-fetched. But I actually got that idea from Andreas Antonopoulos, who’s a prominent thought leader in the Bitcoin space.
I heard that in one of his talks where he talked about the idea that people are going to want to create their own cryptocurrencies in the future, and you’re going to see things like “Johnny Coin” in the future. That talk was like a couple of years ago. And we’re still in the early days, but I think that it’s something that could be possible in the future.
Małgorzata Łabanowska: That’s very interesting. What do you think, Lucas, about creating Lucas Coin?
Zion Schum: I’ll buy it, Lucas!
Crypto as a worldwide decentralized currency
Lucas Korol: Yeah! So maybe I will take the opportunity and share my thoughts about it. And of course, maybe I think about it from a different perspective, but in my opinion, the best thing that could happen in the crypto space is very practical — just the possibility to use it in your day-to-day transactions, which is not so common today. It’s something that is in a very big niche right now. Or a very small niche, actually.
In my opinion, the best thing that could happen is that someday it will become very common and very easy to use, like a payment currency that you can use for a real transaction. Because the problem with cryptocurrency is, as I understand it today, is that today cryptocurrencies are more digital assets rather than currency. But the core idea was to actually make it a currency. And this would be amazing if this would happen one day because this would just be like a pure idea turned into this, let’s say, a democratic and free currency for every single person on the planet. This would be something that I would hope for in this field.
Zion Schum: If that future did play out, Lucas, I’d like to ask a question as well. If that future did play out, do you think you could see yourself actually transacting with the cryptocurrency?
Lucas Korol: Yeah, because if this happened one day, it would solve one big problem in the current global economy — multiple currencies that you have to use, and how they are being converted, how you transfer this through the sequence of very different institutions between you and the person or business that you are transacting with. If you were able to use crypto and just transfer the money on a global scale, this would be much, much easier, and much, much more efficient even from the cost perspective.
I think that it would be very natural for all people on the planet to use it because this will be the best way to do transactions with everybody. This would mean that the current economy with all of those centralized institutions in the center would need to disappear. It’s hard to imagine, but this would be a very natural step in this progress of using cryptocurrencies.
Zion Schum: It’s interesting that you say that because we’re seeing right now some of the central banks for some of these governments actually create their own cryptocurrencies. The acronym is CBDC, Central Bank Digital Currencies. We’re seeing China is leading the way there with the digital yuan. And this is where the idea of those centralized institutions, the banks, and the governments, they don’t want cryptocurrency as in stablecoins and Bitcoin to become the actual currency that people use.
They’re like, “Let’s create our own and take advantage of blockchain technology and not be dethroned by something like a decentralized cryptocurrency.” But obviously, people that are in the crypto economy don’t want to transact those because it’s basically just the same thing as using your credit card today. It’s not much different except for the speed of transaction, obviously, with people across the world. But I think that it’s going to be interesting to see what wins out if they end up being like one global currency as well.
Because you look at the project that Facebook came out with Libra, where their goal is to become the global currency. And the regulators in the US were like, “We’re not letting that slide, Facebook!” So they stepped in there. So it’ll be interesting to see the developments that occur there. I think you’re right.
This is an interesting thing to see if cryptocurrency can really live up to that expectation of becoming a global currency.
Lucas Korol: I think that a quite interesting thing has to happen to allow it because behind crypto or behind single specific crypto, for example, Bitcoin, there is no specific institution that will have any power to make this available. So this has to happen as a result of pressure from people, you would say, from the community or any potential user of crypto. Sometimes I think about it as a match, a fight between the institutions and the governments and the community of crypto enthusiasts. This is very interesting because today we would maybe expect institutions fighting institutions or maybe countries fighting countries. This is actually a very different process, where people are trying something that is decentralized, fighting something that institutions, corporations, and governments represent.
And I think that maybe nobody actually knows what will happen because no single person or institution is actually in a position today to be someone who will play the cards here. For example, with Libra and Facebook, it sounds similar to crypto, but it’s so far away from the crypto idea because it’s just a digital currency created by a corporation.
On the idea level, it’s totally opposite to what cryptocurrencies are trying to be. This is actually very interesting, even from the perspective of the history of the development of different economic systems. Because this is something that didn’t happen before. And how this idea is actually used by people to actually change the economy.
Because we want this as a group of people and not because there is an institution that comes up with the idea and tries to implement this on the market. So it’s very, very interesting. I don’t think there are a lot of people that actually understand what is happening, but from a different perspective, it’s a very interesting time to live. Is it possible to have a universal currency?
Zion Schum: Yes, absolutely.
Małgorzata Łabanowska: I guess we can just wait and see what happens. It was really, really exciting to listen to you both. Thank you for being with us, Zion, for joining us. It’s been a pleasure!
Zion Schum: Thank you! Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I love your videos, so I encourage everyone to check out the other Ask Me AnyFin videos as well. They’re great. Thank you.
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