Alex Adelman is the CEO & co-founder of Lolli, a Bitcoin-back rewards platform that has helped over 600,000 people stack sats while shopping.
We had a wide-ranging conversation that covered Lolli’s aim to increase Bitcoin adoption, why Lolli has chosen not to integrate the Lightning Network yet, and why Alex believes smart contracts on Bitcoin are a big net positive for the ecosystem.
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00:00 - Intro
02:27 - Alex Adelman Intro
10:41 - How Bitcoin Prices & Economic Downturns Affect Lolli
16:39 - How Do We Accelerate Bitcoin Adoption
28:14 - What Should Bitcoiners Be Focused On?
32:09 - Why Non-Fungible Assets are Important to Bitcoin
37:21 - Celebrity Investors & Bitcoin
45:32 - Why Lolli Isn’t on the Lightning Network Yet
52:02 - How To Make Lightning Simple
58:12 - Lolli’s Roadmap
1:01:17 - The Evolution of Cash Back Rewards
1:15:39 - Incentivized Advertising on the Internet
1:20:26 - The Lightning Round
Alex Adelman - 00:00:00
Right now. You know, bitcoin is parading around saying like, oh, this is great for bitcoin, bitcoin literally fixes this. And I'm saying that as well. But the reality of it is that's not the perception. And in order to bring more retail investors and individuals into the space, you need bitcoin to have this positive, cool light to it. What happens when you actually swipe your card or give someone a dollar? And how inefficient Fiat is is mind blowing when you really break it down? How do we make money more efficient? That's what the world cares about. That's what where the world can adopt bitcoin. Bitcoin is the most efficient if bitcoin is the standard, if it's on Lightning, because we can move money anywhere in the world, right? And any one Lightning solves a lot of people's problems, just not ours. How do you remove clicks? How do you remove friction to get people into bitcoin? I think smart contracts are so, so important and bitcoin is so far behind. It's like ZK roll ups on bitcoin are possible. It's not anti-bitcoin if bitcoin is the base layer.
Kevin Rooke - 00:01:08:
Alex Adelman is the CEO and cofounder of Lolli, a Bitcoinback rewards platform that has helped over 6000 people stack sats. While shopping in our wide ranging conversation, we discussed why rewards are an important piece for accelerating bitcoin adoption. Alex talked about why Lolli has not yet integrated bitcoin's Lightning Network into their application. And we discussed the importance of smart contracts and why Alex believes they are a big net positive for the bitcoin ecosystem. Alex is also asked to have his share of today's show splits sent to the Human Rights Foundation. So if you enjoyed this show and if you learned something new from the episode, the best way you can support it is by sending in sats over the Lightning Network. You can use any Podcasting 2.0 app. There are dozens of them, but my favorite one to use is Fountain. Before we get into the show, just a quick message from our sponsors. Today's show is sponsored by Voltage, who is creating the Lightning Network infrastructure toolkit built for engineers. Today's show is also sponsored by Stakwork. Stakwork is a Lightning powered transcription tool that takes the best of AIS and humans to create better, faster and less expensive transcripts. We'll have more from Voltage and Stakwork later in the show. Alex, welcome to the show. I'm thrilled to discuss everything you're building at Lolli, but before we get into it, why don't you give listeners your background? How did you get into bitcoin?
Alex Adelman - 00:02:39:
Yeah, so thanks for having me, by the way. Yeah, I got into bitcoin in 2013. I was building my last company and coming to New York, crashing on couches, just trying to do the bootstrap founder life. And I remember being at a bar and meeting this guy who had just gotten orange pilled and he was teaching me all about bitcoin. So we ended up talking about it for like four or 5 hours, closed out the bar. And I had a background in payments and ecommerce and been a kid of the internet for forever and also hired people all over the world. So I feel like when I got into it, it solved like a million things, a million questions I had problems I had with the internet, and a few things that resonated with me in that conversation was money that could connect 4 billion people with internet connection and 8 billion people that interact with money almost every day. That alone really solved a big problem, big pain point for me, which was a democratization of money, democratization of finance, and yeah, once I got into it, I haven't been able to look back or do anything since.
Kevin Rooke - 00:04:04:
Yeah, so that was 2013, learning about bitcoin, and then I believe, fast forward to what 2018 when you decide to build Lolli?
Alex Adelman - 00:04:10:
Yup. So the company I was building at the time, we tried to actually implement bitcoin because we were more or less a payments company and we were working with some of the biggest merchants in north America, and I ended up taking bitcoin. And cosmic was a company name to all these different companies and saying, hey, we're hooked into 99 different payment gateways. Why don't you just add bitcoin as payment gateway number 100, trying to position it creatively because they were already working with all these other payment gateways. And so I was saying, this is just a payment gateway for the internet. Like, look at bitcoin is this way of someone sending a transaction to you and instead of it going through ten intermediaries to get to you, and 70 or 90 days later with remittance, this gives it to you instantaneously. So I think there's like a misconception of how merchants, like, thought about it then and think about it now. The three biggest issues that were in 2013, it wasn't that they hated bitcoin, it wasn't that they didn't get it, it was that they didn't have remittance networks. There were no consumers that had it. The consumers that had it didn't want to pay with it. So all of those things, like, it doesn't matter if a merchant loves it, if they hate it, whatever. It just had no purpose. As being as starting is almost like satoshi's original vision, which was paying another party, and consumers could pay if they were in a country where they wanted to move money. But in the US. Which is a massive market, clearly it didn't quite make sense because the merchants didn't want to accept it because they never met the network set up. So fast forward many years, we ended up getting acquired by racket and the biggest cash back company in the US. In many parts of the world. And I was there and I was just like, oh my god, this incredible way to distribute cash to people. Why not just distribute bitcoin to people. It removes all the issues that I saw in 2013, which was remittance. Merchants don't have to deal with remittance when it's rewards. Consumers don't have to have it. They could just pay with a credit card, pay with whatever they want, and they get it. And then they don't have to spend it. They just have to earn more of it, because bitcoin goes up over time and has gone up over time. So it answered those three big questions of like, making bitcoin a rewards platform and think of as a rewards as opposed to thinking of his payments first. And so yet to this day, I think we have incredible traction just based on that thesis alone and just the US alone of 600,000 users over 1000 merchants, I think we have more merchants than any other crypto company in the world. And I think definitely bitcoin company. And so I think we've done a lot of creative built a lot of creative tools in different industries to think about bitcoin a little bit differently with the pursuit of getting bitcoin to be more widely adopted by both merchants and consumers at the same time.
Kevin Rooke - 00:07:22:
Interesting. I like that idea of bitcoin as a rewards platform in the last four years. Has your vision for what Lolli will become or your understanding of the problem that you're trying to solve, has any of that changed in the last four years?
Alex Adelman - 00:07:43:
Not to brag, but I feel like I've been pretty right about the industry. I think that even back then there was talks about Lightning and the potential, I believe, the future of Lightning. I believe that bitcoin will eventually be a payments tool for many people. But I didn't predict COVID, which I think accelerated faster than I thought it was going to be. I didn't predict a global recession, which I think we're in the midst of, and it's just getting started. And so I think there's a few things that I didn't predict that were sort of external factors of like, we built Lolli to be really good in a recession, and we thought maybe over the course of a lifetime of a company ten plus years, there would be a recession. Because there really hasn't been a moment in history when 20 years have gone by and there hasn't been some form of recession, right? So we were like, there probably will be some form of a recession. And we know that cash back and rewards do really, really well during recessions because people want to save money. So I was like, if we can time it right and build this company during this time and almost like, invite a recession or have a recession happen by some form or another, just by natural occurring things, then maybe it would happen. And then Covid happens, and we're like, oh, my God. This is arguably, like, the perfect storm for Bitcoin. You're going to have inflation. You're going to have people want bitcoin because they may or may not trust their government. And there's plenty of bad things clearly that happened from COVID But for bitcoin, I think it'll be a pretty big accelerant when we look back ten years from now at what it sort of forced us to solve. Moving money all around the world, not relying on government as much as we were, giving people the ability to accept money from anywhere and move money all over. We're these global citizens now. We can't pay each other globally or we couldn't before bitcoin. So I think there's a lot of things there that I didn't predict on more of like the macro side or predicted loosely, but I think bitcoin has done exactly what I thought it was going to do. I think even on the big bitcoin rationalist, bitcoin believer, I have a lot of criticisms of bitcoin, but those criticisms have been pushed into a bitcoin product because I think that bitcoin at its core isn't solving those problems fast enough, in my opinion. And so we need creative products that work around it and it's limitations of today so that it gets pushed forward to the future that we want tomorrow.
Kevin Rooke - 00:10:39:
That's really interesting. So you mentioned that in a recession, cashback rewards and things like that tend to do really well. How does the bitcoin price affect Lolli adoption? If we assume Lolli adoption increases in a recession, does a bitcoin price increase, have you seen that lead directly to an increase in users? Does Lolli adoption increase when bitcoin prices are going down and people are trying to furiously stack sats? What is that relationship for you guys between, I guess the overall economy and the bitcoin price when it comes to user adoption?
Alex Adelman - 00:11:20:
Great question. So I have some sort of more of a nuanced answer because it's a complex problem that we're solving here in the back end of ultimately we're trying to convince people that bitcoin is better than cash, right? You're getting cash back and other apps or competitive apps, or you're getting bitcoin. In our experience, and we have figured out ways to get the highest rates in the industry because our users are so valuable. They're bitcoiners, they're more affluent, they're a little bit more like tech savvy, and they want to save money, which is really great. That said, they are typically like bitcoin as an asset has sort of a cap during bear markets. There's only a certain amount of people that want bitcoin over cash, and they all want it during bull markets. Contrary to popular belief. If you think, oh, it's like in a rational world, you'd see this thing is dipping. Everybody knows about bitcoin, and I want more of this scarce asset. We're not in the global adoption cycle yet where everybody knows the value of bitcoin. There's a lot of criticism of bitcoin, there's a lot of grouping of bitcoin and crypto. So anything that happens, like the FTX fiasco, bitcoin got hurt by that, right? It didn't dip as much as I think people thought it would, but like, 3AC bitcoin was wrapped into that. FTX bitcoin was wrapped into that. So all these moments that are happening in crypto are also like negative moments of bitcoin, or criticism of crypto brings bitcoin down. And then on the other side, the consumer is looking at it all as one thing. Like, the mass consumer is looking at all one thing. So right now, you know, bitcoin is parading around saying like, oh, this is great for bitcoin, bitcoin literally fixes this, and I'm saying that as well. But the reality of it is that's not the perception. And in order to bring more retail investors and individuals into the space, you need bitcoin to have this positive, cool light to it in order for people to adopt it. So we have two real customers. We have your die hard bitcoiners that want more bitcoin. Every satoshi counts. That is an incredible customer that is actively using Lolli and trying to stack more and figuring out more ways to earn during this time. That is one subset of our customers. We have the other customer, which is has never had bitcoin or has very little bitcoin or Lolli is their first bitcoin experience. At first we were really just it was just like all bitcoiners were using Lolli. But we've now started, and this is a positive sign, is that market has gotten smaller as we've gotten bigger. So now we're bringing in so many new users because we've capped out at the bitcoin and in the US that already have bitcoin and that love bitcoin. We sort of capped that out of like we have all like, if you're a bitcoin or you don't use Lolli, what are you doing? Pretty much everyone in the US. Is a bitcoin. I feel like it's heard of Lolli or knows it. We're now focused on this, on bringing on new people. So I look at it as like, every bitcoiners sister, brother, mom, dad, friend is kind of the category we're going into now. And those people knew that Kevin has bitcoin, but they might not care about bitcoin, and so they're a little bit more wavering on price. So for them, as bitcoin crashing, they like they don't care as much about bitcoin and we have to do more to educate them. And it's hard, like, convincing somebody that bitcoin has more value than cash is a very, very difficult task. So we've gotten creative about how to teach them that. Part of it is being a cashback application. So messaging more things like cashback, where you happen to be able to earn bitcoin, it's more like savings focus and cash back focus and merchant focus. So, like today, we launched a partnership with Duncan. Everybody knows Duncan, everybody wants rewards at Duncan. Why not? So if you can go earn with Duncan, that's going to be the center of our focus in our marketing, you just so happen to be earning bitcoin, and now you can earn cash as well. And so giving people that choice of what they're going to earn, I would rather that they earn cash back in our ecosystem if they don't want bitcoin, because next time bitcoin has a catalyst moment, or next time bitcoin doubles, I can go say, hey, that $5 that you earn from Duncan would have been $10. That's what gets them. If they have been earning that $5 somewhere else, I have to go reacquire them, I have to go acquire them in some other capacity. And so we take this longer term approach that I think most bitcoin companies and crypto companies can't and don't, which is like, let's go build a great relationship with these customers and earn them money, make the money in any way that they want. And over time, because we're a bitcoin first company, we're going to keep educating them as long as they have a captive audience that's earning and using Lolli.
Kevin Rooke - 00:16:38:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So over time, as you mentioned, you educate these users and you teach them about bitcoin. When you think about bitcoin adoption ten years from now, how do you think we get from where we are today to ten years? What does that path look like for the industry? How do we get to the point where we can get billions of people on board? I'd love to hear your thoughts on just the next kind of like, phase of bitcoin adoption.
Alex Adelman - 00:17:10:
So, full circle, I actually can't share too much about what you and I worked on a few years ago, but I don't want to spill the beans because it's still in the works. Honestly, I don't want to share too much, but I'll share very high level. So for the audience, Kevin and I met in the context of working on a few projects together, like, how do we bring bitcoin to the masses? And one of the things that we worked on together, and I can't say the title of it, but it was basically what were all the inefficiencies of Fiat money and trying to identify those and the full cycle of like, where does your dollar go? Because one of my biggest learnings from the last eleven years is just being in the world of payments is how inefficient Fiat money is. And most people just look at it as like, I have a dollar, I give that dollar to McDonald's, and McDonald's magically turns it into something and like fries and service and everything. The reality of what happens when you actually swipe your card or give someone a dollar and how inefficient Fiat is, is mind blowing when you really break it down. And so Kevin and I, without sharing any more, and sort of like as a future excitement because we'll release it soon, like three years later, funny enough, is this idea that how do we make money more efficient? That's what the world cares about. That's where the world's going to adopt bitcoin. Bitcoin is the most efficient. If bitcoin is the standard, if it's on Lightning, if certain things happen because we can move money anywhere in the world, right to anyone right now. You have to give someone or someone has to have this suspension of belief to believe that a money that is highly volatile is a better money than the money that they know today. And how do you convince somebody that's in the US that this money that's down from 69K, down to 16K is better than the money that they have? That's only inflating 7%, right? So fiat could be hyper deficient, but it's not dropping 90% or whatever crypto has done over the last few months, if we're looking and being honest with ourselves. So what my big thesis is, and I know this is a controversial opinion amongst bitcoin is, but I just call like I see it and I try to find truth where it exists is stablecoins. I think stablecoins are going to be the necessary evil that we have to have in order to show the world that crypto is a better medium of exchange, first and foremost, and that it's a better segue into a bitcoin standard, a bitcoin future. And so you have to show people that crypto, which it is a more efficient meaning of exchange. So you can move money anywhere in the world with stable coins. You don't have a macro payments problem. You can move a billion dollars, you can move $0.01. So it solves the macro and the micro problem, it solves the volatility problem, because in a perfect world, it's one to one pegged to the dollar that you know. And so you can run an entire decentralized system in the back end of any app and they can all communicate with each other through stable coins without ever touching any other currency. And that is extremely powerful. You can do swaps, FX swaps, right? There's so many applications that exist when you start to play a stablecoin future. Now, there's a lot of things that we need from that. We need to know that it's one to one. We need it to be decentralized. We can't have wallets being blacklisted like they are on Tether. There's lots of innovation that has to happen in order for stablecoins to be adopted and to take off. But I believe stablecoins will be ultimately, I think we'll look back 10, 20, 30 years from now, and stablecoins will be the conduit for bringing crypto to the masses and ultimately bring bitcoin to the masses, because it's an easier switch to go from a stablecoin into bitcoin than it is to go from cash to bitcoin. And so part of technology is shortening the timeframe to get from one place to another. It's fewer clicks, fewer friction, less friction, right? And most people don't think about that every day. I'm obsessed about that. I think about it literally every day. How do you remove clicks? How do you remove friction? To get people into Bitcoin, to get people into Lightning, to get people into anything, right? And so that's the problem with Bitcoin. It's too hard to get. It's too difficult. You have to do so many mental leaps to get to it, if you're being honest with it. So that's my answer. Is it's going to take stable coins, it's going to take, like, some form of efficiency increase doesn't turn to digital dollar to get people ultimately into a Bitcoin future, right?
Kevin Rooke - 00:22:26:
So first the idea is that you improve efficiency. You cut down all the processing fees and costs and delays that are associated with fiat payments. And then once you're there, so you're doing the medium of exchange piece first, and then people come to Bitcoin like a gateway, and that kind of opens up a store of value. But now that's interesting that you say that, because there's another argument to be made for the opposite. I think. This was Vijay Boyapati. In his writing, he outlines the path that money has taken to get to adoption, starting with a store of value and then going to a medium of exchange, then a unit of account, or actually starting as a collectible first and then to store value, medium of exchange. So I'm curious to know what you think about the can these two ideas co exist?
Alex Adelman - 00:23:23:
They absolutely will.
Kevin Rooke - 00:23:24:
Alex Adelman - 00:23:25:
Yeah. So I look at it from a few different lenses. I speak about it through first and second world countries. Third world countries should hypothetically just use Bitcoin, right? Bitcoin on Lightning for them. I look at it as like, if you Zoom out really far out to look at the macro picture of the world and the financial system, every currency. So Bitcoin, I think, when I first got into the space, was like the hundredth most volatile currency in the world. If you looked at it as, like, 4x, right? And a lot of people don't look at 4x and Bitcoin being intermingled, but I do. So it's like if you looked at every currency in the world, top hundred currencies, bitcoin, when I first got into it, I think, and like, back in the day, it was around like 100. I remember that being like when I was developing my own personal thesis. I was like, how does Bitcoin fare against every other currency in the world? That's ultimately the job to be done. The example I use is like, the grim Reaper meme, if you've ever seen that. Whereas the grim Reaper is like a bunch of doors and all these currencies are each door. And so every single time that it's less volatile and goes up, it knocks down a door, it goes onto the next currency. The next currency. The last time I looked, Bitcoin was a top 20 least volatile currency, which is incredible, right? In a 67 year time frame, your time frame, it went from 100 to top 20. Now, important caveat, the only currencies that really matter are like the top ten. And those control the entire world. And really, the entire world is really still on the US dollar. And so you could argue, really there's one currency that matters and it's the US dollar. But if we look at like 8 billion people and you thought of what is the best currency for each individual and you believe in a self sovereignty, self sovereign world, you could backtrack and say you could say the people that are in third world countries that have no control of their monetary policy are taxed by the US. In attractive form. By the time that value gets to them from the time that we printed a dollar, by the time it gets to them, it's so abstracted and so diluted that them being reliant on the US dollar is completely inefficient. And if they could just go get a bitcoin, bitcoin is way more important and way more valuable to them because it removes the need of a central party. And so for them, they should hypothetically either have a US dollar stablecoin or bitcoin in a perfect world right now, we could bring another interesting thing. We want to go there is many of them adopted Ethereum in this last wave because NFT, because free to play, because gaming. And so there's an interesting development happening with Ethereum where Ethereum solved the store value and the medium and change problem in one go with it cheap. And so bitcoiners missed that wave. And like I said, a lot of criticisms of the bitcoin space. And that's why I fight for it so hard, because I want more out of it. Bitcoin is the best money in the world. But when you look around at like, who's doing a better job, Ethereum is doing a way better job as a community in so many ways. And they had a massive leap over the last cycle to get real users wallets and noncustodial wallets, which is the goal of bitcoin is, right? The last I checked, NFC NFT wallets past the live bitcoin wallets, which I thought was fascinating. I just looked at it the other day, I was like, let me see if that's accurate. It was. So I would love to see that in real time. And I was just pieced together a bunch of different data points. But it looks like NFTs were pretty important in the grand scheme of things, of creating stores of value, enabling creators with international commerce, and creating a need of exchange of saying people want to pay with this thing called Ethereum. Interesting, which is pretty impressive. It's still day one. Like bitcoin is still winning, but it's an interesting development going on there.
Kevin Rooke - 00:28:14:
So now if you were unilaterally in charge of bitcoin's marketing strategy, if you could kind of like pull the strings on the industry and just say, here's what we need to be working on. I know this is just a hypothetical because of course no one has that power, but what would be your focus if you were in charge of like, trying to get more bitcoin adoption from the rest of the industry? What would you be saying to everyone else? Here's what we got to do.
Alex Adelman - 00:28:45:
Smart contracts. I think smart contracts are so, so important and bitcoin is so far behind it's like ZK roll ups on bitcoin are possible from the research that we've seen so far. And so I think that ZK roll ups on bitcoin would allow for smart contracts of any type to occur. And bitcoin, the way I understand it, is bitcoin core cannot do it right today, but it could do it through a soft fork. So I don't think that bitcoin is going to do a hard fork for smart contract. I just don't think that there is the appetite to do that. But the fact that we could do it through a soft fork, basically like Taproot, I think if there was enough of people to do it on the marketing side, you can't have it just be a fungible asset. You need a non fungible component to it. And if you look at the ways of adoption and what people actually want out of these chains, you need to have a stablecoin attached to bitcoin. If you want bitcoin to be the standard. You need non fungible assets to be attached to bitcoin as a fungible asset. If you want people to pay for things on a digital, in a digital environment, I look at it as like bitcoin was so far ahead of the race and it does so many things way better than anything. Like, it literally one proof of work. Like, no one really talks about that. Like, you know, they look at it from like, oh, Ethereum trying to be more energy efficient. It's like, no, Ethereum couldn't compete with proof of work. Bitcoin won proof of work. But now we're losing this other game to be played, which is like transactions. And so if you believe in proof of work, which I still very much do, we need to have smart contracts on bitcoin to be able to do flexible, to build a flexible financial system where bitcoin is the base of everything and people can build applications on top of bitcoin being the base layer. It doesn't disrupt bitcoin, it doesn't change bitcoin, but it creates a central truth of the universe of money and that's the game to be played. Bitcoin is the monetary policy that is set in stone for 2140. Everyone can agree behind and build tools on top of it. But right now it is too difficult to build on top of bitcoin. And you need to invite creators, you need artists, you need gaming platforms which are going to bring on the next. Hundreds of millions of people. You need banks, you need institutions, you need stable coins. And if all these things that I just mentioned can only be built on other chains, the next five years are some of the most important years to be building. And look at where they're building. They're not building on bitcoin. They're all almost like 99% of the entire industry, 9% is building on other chains outside of Bitcoin. So it's going to be hard and need we developers, we need people to build smart contracts and build these tools on top of Bitcoin.
Kevin Rooke - 00:32:09:
One thing you mentioned was nonfungible assets. I'd love to dive into why you view those as so important to Bitcoin adoption.
Alex Adelman - 00:32:19:
Because it's a nonfungible assets, in short, are tokenized culture. It's probably the best way of describing it. I think you have, if you look at the whole world of value and where we assign value and there's art, music, movies, ownership, property, all things that have value in this world, where a lot of Bitcoin is, I think, are silent in the NFT debate is how do you argue with art? How do you argue with value in what people are buying with their money? Bitcoiners can easily argue with Ethereum as a chain, and they can easily argue with saying proof of stake is bullshit. Can I cuss on here?
Kevin Rooke - 00:33:13:
Alex Adelman - 00:33:14:
Okay, cool. So you can easily say, like, I disagree with the fundamentals of Ethereum, but if every artist and Disney gaming studio is building on Ethereum, how do you argue with that? How do you argue with the consumer choosing, say, I want a Murakami as a Bitcoin, I can't argue with that. Someone paying $100,000 for Murakami, that's cool. I like that. Murakami is sick. These artists are incredible and they're all going to another chain. So how do you capture the zeitgeist of the creator of the culture and make Bitcoin the base layer? Right now, Ethereum has become the base layer of culture. Is becoming the base layer of culture. I think that still Bitcoin can still win this. It's not like a lost battle, but it's a scary thing that's happened. It's like we're losing on culture. How do you become the best money in the world if you lose out on the cultural zeitgeist? That's interesting about Play, the scenario where it's like the best 1000 artists in the world of like the Monets, the Picasso's of today, and we fast forward 100 years and we look back at all of their art, it's all on Ethereum. The last five years, it's all on Ethereum. So where do we, you know, let's go play this out even further to say the best game makers, like the Final Fantasies, the Command and Conquers, the Sims, that next wave of games, what are they building on these like, franchises that will exist for the next 20 years? What are they going to build on Ethereum right now? Polygon. So when we look back at like Mickey Mouse or Pokemon, whatever that like Pikachu is. Imagine owning Pikachu and you look back and that's not on bitcoin, that's on Ethereum, literally on chain. And so maybe you can make an argument that some sort of stretch of imagination, that Ethereum is not going to exist in 20 years. It's like, okay, maybe, but like, Pikachu on chain and the equivalent of pikachu on chain is going to exist. That was art and that probably was part of a game that is played by 100 million people. Pokemon. How do you argue with that? So when you say on the marketing side, I'm trying to sound the alarm of, like, hey, guys, don't you see what's happening here? Isn't it so fucking obvious to me? But you can't just have a fungible asset in a world economy. You have to have nonfungible and fungible assets. It's how the world works. And to ignore it is to get left behind.
Kevin Rooke - 00:36:10:
Alex Adelman - 00:36:10:
And bitcoin can do it. Sorry, like, maybe a little tangent here, but, like, it's not anti bitcoin if bitcoin is the base layer. Like, bitcoiners shouldn't give a shit what people buy. They should care what they're buying it on. And bitcoin needs to be the base layer if it's going to win.
Kevin Rooke - 00:36:29:
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Alex Adelman - 00:37:48:
Very much so. And it's both for me and it's for bitcoin and it's for Lolli. It's a thing where it's like in order to get the message out that I believe in. How do you have the most eyeballs on something that you believe in? And I believe in bitcoin. I think that bitcoin doesn't, to your point, doesn't have a marketing department. Right? So it's only as good as the people that are building on it. The people who evangelize it. And the reason we have one of bitcoin's attack vectors has been shitcoins, right? And shitcoins, because you can create your own monetary policy. You create your own tokens, and you can go give them to Floyd Mayweather and he can go shill it. Floyd Mayweather goes, and he's a victim. And he goes and subjects hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people to whatever his token is. I think I'm a steward for good and for bitcoin adoption and have shown that over the last nine years. And one of the things I was realizing like four years ago is, I don't know enough celebrities. I don't know enough people with a big enough reach. I think I've been very right about Bitcoin and right in my positioning of being a bitcoin rationalist, of seeing the pros and cons of Bitcoin and how do we make this hyperbitcoinization future that we want? How do we make how do we give this equitable money to 8 billion people? And so I looked at my own network, and I was like, I don't have a big enough reach. I want to reach a billion people, and I don't have the people to go do it. My big initial is like, I'm going to go become friends with all of these people that have hundreds of millions of followers. And then that's going to help Lolli spread the word about Lolli, and it's going to help Bitcoin. And ultimately, it's going to help the celebrity, too. Because think about it from their perspective. No one from bitcoin is coming to them or prior to me and maybe a few others was coming to them and saying, hey, I'm going to teach you about Bitcoin. Everyone's coming to them being like, I'm going to teach you about this, like, shitcoin X, shitCoin y, shitcoin z, and I'm going to go give you $50 million. They don't care prior. They didn't care about bitcoin. They didn't care about shitcoin. They were just like, this currency is giving me $50 million. This currency is giving me nothing. What am I going to do? They're rational business people. They're going to take the one that's giving them $50 million. And they don't necessarily going to ask all the questions. They're treating it like a brand deal. I'm coming to them saying, look, I'm going to help you. I'm going to teach you about the fundamentals of this space. I'm going to help you not get fined by the SEC. And if you stick with Bitcoin, it's long term good for you and your brand. And we're going to be a bitcoin first company, and we're going to help you with that. And by you positioning yourself with a trusted company like Lolli, we're never going to steer you wrong. We're never going to be like, shilling, you the next shitcoin. And so that's where I think we built this really great relationship. And when you look at FTX. And when you look at 3AC and you look at all these blow ups and all these shitcoin ICO scams, we're sitting here, everyone's looking at us being like being like, yeah, this guy that promised me that three years ago is right. All this stuff of people throwing money at these celebrities and selling them false promises, I've never done. I've only told them the truth and they can believe it or not, but so far it's been right.
Kevin Rooke - 00:41:26:
Yeah. And for those who aren't familiar, I think you have Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian, I think you have Logan Paul, a few others. And you're right. We've seen lots of celebrities investing in either bitcoin companies or crypto companies or getting involved in the space now. And the opinions I see on Twitter are pretty divided that there's, especially when it comes to investing in companies, the net value that a celebrity brings to a brand. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on maybe a framework for founders who are considering bringing on celebrity investors. Anyone who's building a company. When is it a good idea to bring on a celebrity investor? When is it a bad idea? Because we've seen both sides, both outcomes, right. Where celebrities either get burned by a company or the company falls apart or their image falls apart, or we see positive signs, too, where it can lead to a lot of adoption.
Alex Adelman - 00:42:30:
Yeah, it's tough. We've almost been burned by a few celebrities that we didn't end up working with because their reputations were tarnished or mixed feelings on them. So I think the strategy is to build a real relationship with them and establish what your goals of it are. What are they optimizing for? What are we optimizing for? They're optimizing for making money. They're optimizing to build their audience as fast as possible. They're optimizing to build the trust of their audience. As soon as they rub their audience, people stop watching them, people stop trusting them. So what we can bring them is all three of those things. We give them trust because we're built on bitcoin. We are giving them that established credibility that bitcoin has had over the last 13 years by letting them work with a trusted bitcoin company. We're going to pay them regardless, and we're going to help them develop a great relationship with their customers in viewer. So it's just really understanding. I think a lot of the world's understanding. Just like, what is everybody optimizing for? What does everyone want in the world? And once you understand what they want, you very much can optimize for, like, how do you help them? So I think we help them and they help us. Very symbiotic relationship.
Kevin Rooke - 00:44:03:
Yeah. I'd love to explore the ways in which they help you. How do you channel that influence that someone has into bitcoin and Lolli adoption?
Alex Adelman - 00:44:14:
Yeah, like communication. I'm texting with them most weeks, most months, and just like building a relationship with them, telling them what's going on, the space, and then when it comes time for us to work with them and need a ad campaign red, or when they go on CNBC or Fox News or wherever they go, they mention us. So there's a lot of organic reach that it has. You've probably seen it, but a lot of our celebrities talk about us without even us paying them. One thing is they're proud in these blows. They're proud to work with a Bitcoin company. They're not working with some crypto company that's like scamming everybody. They're working with a company that's literally giving people free Bitcoin. Right? So there is it almost makes them look good to have to talk about us. So I think it's building a relationship with them and knowing when to ask them for things and then we pay them money to when they do dedicated ad reads or dedicated features or sponsorships and stuff like that. I think it really is just like, who's their audience and how do you tap into it. And yeah, so far it's worked for us.
Kevin Rooke - 00:45:30:
Nice. Now I want to switch gears a little bit and dive into the Lightning Network, because this is you have a few competitors in the space who have integrated Lightning Network. Lolli has not integrated Light network to date. And I'd love to understand the thought process in the last few years, as you've seen Lightning adoption tick up. What is the reasons behind the decision to not integrate Lightning today?
Alex Adelman - 00:45:57:
So the technical reason is it doesn't solve any of our problems. It doesn't really solve any problems for the consumer, for our user. In reality, there are people who are like the idea of it, and they're like, oh, it'd be cool to accept it for the novelty of it, but it actually doesn't solve the problem. We do bath transactions, so transaction costs for buying and selling and holding Bitcoin, we don't need Lightning to do that. We're treating like part of the innovation is the creative angle that we're able to run a custody solution for Bitcoin without people actually needing to move money or people having to hold their own keys and so they can earn it. It goes into more or less an omnibus account and any moment they can transfer it out. And so we do bash transactions on the outflow and the consumer pays next to nothing to do any sort of transfer. It's not really a problem on the Bitcoin transaction side, so it doesn't really solve a problem for us. The only thing it solves is, like, if enough people wanted to do it and there was reason that it actually made the experience better significantly. But I think we'd be doing like ten transactions a month ahead Lightning. So when you're building something that has a pretty significant lift and having ten transactions that are actually using and setting up the invoice, like, it's a lot of complications. And there's teaching the average consumer. Like, one exercise I do internally is like, if I have to teach our user something more than just bitcoin, it's probably too hard. And I think that there's a set amount of users, like a hardcore bitcoin user, that would use it, maybe. But I actually think that the more important job to be done is that more people can get bitcoin and get Lolli and just have it and see it and see it go up and down, and that's more important. And so when I look at it as, like, dedication of resources, I just think bitcoin is in its infancy, in its current state. People don't know how to set up liquidity and lightning. People don't know how to set up invoices. It's not that easy. If you really think about it, you could maybe say, hey, go use Muun Wallet, and it figures out some of it, but then it's not even not really using Lightning. It's like you're not really using invoices. It's sort of this it's a great experience, but it's custodial. So it's like, what's the point? Why would somebody not use our custodial but use their custodial? It's just custodial to custodial. So you're not really solving a lot of problems with Lightning as it is today. That said, giant caveat Lightning solves a lot of people's problems, just not ours. So extremely bullish, Lightning. I think it's incredible. And kind of going back to what I was saying earlier about smart contract, I think that Lightning is very much necessary to exist in order to get to a future that proves out that we can do more creative things and more flexible, like turn bitcoin into a more flexible payment system with Lightning. So I think Lightning is one of the most important things going on in bitcoin right now, and it's incredibly important that people use it, but it doesn't solve our problems of moving money. We kind of already solved it with rewards.
Kevin Rooke - 00:49:47:
That makes sense. And you're right, there's a lot of complexity that still has to be worked out. So just to recap, I guess the areas in which Lightning could add value to Lolli are either if users decide that they really want it, which they haven't to date, or b, if I guess if Mempool gets so clogged up, transaction fees get so high that you run into problems there, but both those haven't happened. So therefore the value prop for Lightning today at Lolli is low. Is that the idea?
Alex Adelman - 00:50:21:
100% correct. During the last run up, it was kind of funny. It was like a good reason why we couldn't be on it. You couldn't send transactions on layer one for less than like $200 unless you did it super in a long period of time. Maybe that's the answer, but we don't have to send transactions in a short period of time. Rewards are such that, like, someone request a reward, we put in the reward and then it's sent and it can be on a very long period of time, so it's not instantaneous. The nice thing about rewards is it can be like over a period of time and people just need to get their bitcoin right. So I think that intentionally, we don't have the same problems that bitcoin as payments have. Bitcoin as payments. If I'm going to go pay a merchant, it needs to get there right? Then I'm not going to sit there for an hour at a grocery store in San Salvador or whatever, like, waiting for my money to go through. Like, payments is very different rewards. Like, you put in a request and we'll send it to you, you'll get it.
Kevin Rooke - 00:51:37:
Important that it arrives within a second. Can be an hour. Doesn't really matter as much.
Alex Adelman - 00:51:43:
Yeah, I think the answer to your question is, like, if the Mempool ever gets too full that we have Ethereum, like clogging, then it would be an issue. It would probably be something that's what we would we would have to build it sooner than later, but we haven't had that yet.
Kevin Rooke - 00:52:02:
Now on the side of users requesting Lightning and the fact that it hasn't happened yet and it's still a complex thing, are there any features or changes that you think Lightning products, Lightning teams can implement today to change the way that users think about Lightning and to reduce that complexity that you see today?
Alex Adelman - 00:52:25:
I think Muun Wallet is like a good example of removing the complexity where it's still more or less how do people talk about people saying
Kevin Rooke - 00:52:36:
there's debate all over Twitter and all over Stacker News about it, but yeah, I think they've referred to themselves as a noncustodial Lightning wallet.
Alex Adelman - 00:52:44:
Kevin Rooke - 00:52:45:
I think that's how they refer to themselves. I've heard conflicting views and I'm honestly not up to speed on the full discourse going on, but there are people have raised concerns about it.
Alex Adelman - 00:52:57:
Okay. That's the concerns I've heard, like, behind closed doors and stuff like that from people I trust. And I try not to get into the Twitter back and forth and stuff too much, but I think Muun Wallet has done a really incredible job of making things easy. And I think we need more experiences like that that make Lightning easy and teach people how to basically go down a simpler path so they learn what's happening and then they can go deeper down the rabbit hole with setting up invoices and everything like that. But invoices, it's not going to solve the Satoshi's original vision, right? No one's going to set up an invoice every single time. They're going to try to accept a payment. It's just like you need something to be way simpler. You need something to feel like I'm swiping a card, like I'm doing this thing. You just need to be completely automated in the background. And most things that are completely automated, most things that remove friction are not necessarily going to be noncustodial things. Lolli is a custodial product. We don't try to hide that or anything. It's like you get bitcoin and at any moment you can move bitcoin out. But we don't try to position it as something that's completely non custodial because it just serves a different purpose. So I think those are the products that I think the most interesting. I think Lightning is probably one of the most exciting things to work on. I think that building smart contracts is going to be the most important thing over the next couple of years that people could work on. So, yeah, I think those are probably the most interesting things.
Kevin Rooke - 00:54:48:
Yeah. Have you had a chance to look into Lightning addresses or the unified QR code set up that Cash App is integrated? Are either of those interesting to you if you had a chance to look at them?
Alex Adelman - 00:55:02:
I haven't had a chance to look at those. I looked at their Web5 deck a few months ago when they released that, it was really interesting, but no. Can you tell me more about it?
Kevin Rooke - 00:55:12:
So, like, a Lightning address, for example, is I can set this up. I set it up on all these YouTube videos I have for this podcast, and it lets someone just type in as if it was an email address and sends sats that from any Lightning wallet. And then the unified QR code with Cash App is, I believe you can send and receive bitcoin or Lightning bitcoin using this QR code. And so it doesn't matter what layer you're operating on.
Alex Adelman - 00:55:42:
Yeah, I think that's the kind of innovation we need. It's a UI change where I shouldn't care if something is on Lightning or on bitcoin. If it's on Lightning, it should be on bitcoin. So it's the same problem that like, Ethereum face that we can learn from, which was like, if I'm moving money, that's like, I shouldn't care if it's on optimism or arbitrum or any of these, like, layer two or anything. I just care about Ethereum. Same thing is true with bitcoin. If I'm giving you money, it should be interoperable with every form of that money. Lightning should just be the technology that makes that money faster or better. It shouldn't be like, if I'm seeing bitcoin, nothing should get clogged up or hit or whatever. It should just go through. So the QR code thing is really very cool. I'm going to check that out.
Kevin Rooke - 00:56:33:
Yeah. And I agree with you. I think that that's the right way to look at Lightning. As much as I focus on Lightning, the Lightning ecosystem on the show, at the end of the day, it is a tool. It's not the end solution for everything. It's a tool that can improve bitcoin adoption and bitcoin usage. And I think it's a very powerful tool, but it is still a tool and there's important nuance in when it's useful and when it's not. And this is going to always be in flux over time. But it's an interesting perspective to hear from a team that has not integrated it, thinking about what might have to happen for you to make that decision.
Alex Adelman - 00:57:14:
Yeah, people will request it on Twitter every once in a while. They'll say, win Lightning. And then I'll DM them and I'll explain. I'm like, why do you want Lightning? And a lot of them are just like, I don't know, I just thought it'd be cool. And I'm like, do you have any issues with your transaction? Did it cost too much or anything? Like, no. So that's like, how it happens mostly. And so that's why I'm like, all right. I feel like a few people use the novelty, but most technology shouldn't just be used for novelty. It should be used for bitcoin at least. How do you break the masses? Does it solve a problem? Like, what I care about, I don't care about five more users using Lightning. That's not my job. My job is to bring, like, 100 million people to bitcoin so someone else can figure out how to bring five more users into Lightning. I'm going to go figure out how to bring 100 million people into bitcoin, and that's my job to be done.
Kevin Rooke - 00:58:11:
Now. Let's get into the roadmap then, for Lolli. Like, as you look out in the next few years, is this cashback style rewards the vision that you see Lolli going for in the next five years? Do you see yourself expanding the scope of Lolli to incorporate other products? I'd love to hear more about just the overall roadmap for the company.
Alex Adelman - 00:58:35:
Yeah, so I want to be the first place that people go to to get their bitcoin. If you think about if you're going into Coinbase, which has been primarily the first place to get bitcoin or crypto for most people, you come in and you just see a casino, you see all these other currencies and you have to buy them pay to play to be a part of this casino. And most people, if you do like user interviews, have no idea what to buy. They've heard of Bitcoin, they've heard of Ethereum, they've heard of Solana. A lot of people buy a little bit of each, but they don't really have to know anything about it. And if you think of investing versus shopping, investing is something someone does, like the average person doesn't do for one, and then the average person that invests, they invest maybe like once every couple of months and they look at their portfolio. I want to make bitcoin closer to Satoshi's vision. I want it to be a part of everyday life. I don't think it's going to be like that for most people for a very long time unless we make it part of rewards. The beautiful thing about rewards is it's taking bitcoin and making it a part of every transaction, not in satoshi's original vision, but in making it a part of everyday life. So every time I swipe my card, I need to think about bitcoin. That happens to everybody every day all around the world, that people are moving money when they're shopping. Everybody shops, not everybody invests. So my vision for Lolli is like, how do we get bitcoin in the hands of more people faster? By making it a part of the shopping experience, which daily experience, make it a part of a gaming experience, make it a part of a survey experience. Like things that people do all the time versus things that less people do in less period of time until bitcoin becomes a medium of exchange and something that people use every day, which they don't. Right now, my way of getting people to use bitcoin every day is through awards, and it's going to continue to be that. So we just launched the ability for people to earn in store, making it way more of a daily experience. Before, it was an online shopping experience that people would use a few times a month. Now people are using it every day where they're going into getting their coffee every morning, they're going and getting their gas, they're going getting their groceries. We have a merchant for everything in store and online. And my job is to continue to bring on more merchants that make bitcoin a part of your everyday life.
Kevin Rooke - 01:01:16:
Interesting. And what did these I bundle Lolli into? Like, the cash back rewards companies. And there's a lot of them, there's different variations online, and I've seen a lot of them pop up in the last five to ten years. I'm curious to know what was the Lolli before the internet? And what could Lolli and these cash back reward companies evolve into over the next ten years? Can you talk me through the transition of this genre of company?
Alex Adelman - 01:01:47:
Yeah, cashback rewards really started with coupons. Truly, I don't know how your childhood was, but my childhood was like Saturday Sunday morning clipping coupons with my parents. And we were always very like savings family, where my parents very much instilled, being smart with their money, our money, and we would always click coupons. And so we go to the store, we exchange with coupons to get discounts. And there wasn't really like a concept of cash back. Cash back started to emerge, really, like with points with like, amex and discover and visa mastercard being able to take the interchange and give that back to the consumer. Basically interchange, for those of you who aren't familiar, is the cost that every transaction pays. It's kind of full circle of the inefficiency of money. Every time you swipe your card, the merchant is paying the card network for that transaction. And it is an absurd amount of money. Absurd amount of money, especially for low transactions or like, smaller transactions. So every time you submit your card, you're getting this. Money. And that money interchange does go to your, you know, 1% cash back or 1% or one extra points back on travel or whatever your card program is giving you. Credit cards have higher interchange than debit cards. Debit cards have very low interchange, but more people have debit cards than credit cards. And it's trending that direction overwhelmingly that more people are just saying, I don't want credit. I want debit. I don't want to be on the hook for the credit card fees. And thus the high credit card rewards, which ultimately defaulted accounts are paying for. Like, that's the credit card model, right? People that can't pay the credit card companies are ultimately paying for your juice up cash back that you know and love. It comes from the people who can't pay their credit cards. So kind of the dark truth of where your rewards come from and what that actually is. So it's built up on a system of credit and debt is what points most points and cashback programs are built on. Fast forward a little bit. Ebay. It's a company called Ebay. It's emerged in, like, early 2000s as part of the post dot com boom, and it struggled for many years. It actually struggled up until after the recession, interesting enough. So new CEO comes in. His name is Kevin Johnson, and he is looking at the space, and he's like, oh, my god, this has so much potential. It's so cool. But 2008, what does it look like? It was like Paris Hilton and opulence was like, sort of the vibe of 2008. Everybody was in debt up to their eyeballs with their home, with their car, with their purses, like, all this. It was like mass consumerism. And he came in and was like, oh, my god, this app would be incredible. Or the website at the time would be an incredible way to actually save people money. And so he comes out and comes in the CEO. And then, like, six months after he becomes CEO, the financial crisis hits, and they scale back a lot of their operations because they got scared. The board got scared because people were spending less. They grew like crazy over those next few years because they focus on saving people money. And people went from wanting to be like Paris Hilton to wanting to save money. And saving became cool at the time to save more money. So fast forward a little bit. Honey was launched in 2013, I believe, in 2014, and I was building a company of buy button technology, the first dynamic buy button. And we were trying to power all these companies. We're trying to power companies, trying to power merchants, trying to power the social media sites, video sites, everywhere to do this connective tissue of payments and ecommerce for people to buy and sell anywhere. And we're looking at, like, honey and racketon, retail, me, nod, and all these coupon sites like deals, and all these coupon sites out there and being like, this is an incredible place to actually give people the ability to buy and sell. And so I met Ryan and Georgia. Honey, met the whole industry and sort of felt like where we would fit in and saw this incredible path where I was like, honey took this experience of rockets and experience of retail me, not of bringing coupons to you. It said, wherever you are, Honey will pop up and it'll say, I'm going to save you 10%. And it was this automated way of saving people money and giving people, making people feel good. So I meet Ryan and George on this rooftop in Santa Barbara one day, like 2013, 2014, and funny enough, they were like OG. Bitcoiners and Honey had started actually as a Bitcoin company, but they realized what I realized, which is no one wanted Bitcoin back then and they couldn't build a business off of it back in the day. But kind of fun story there. So I end up talking with them about what it would look like to give Honey users the ability to pay anywhere with Cosmic technology, my last company, and save money instantaneously, wherever they were. And so we came up with this concept where it was like Honey was everybody's or what they told me is honey was everybody's favorite app at the point of checkout, where previously PayPal was. So fast forward many years, PayPal ended up buying Honey for $4 billion because of that exact fact they had 15 million users that wanted to save money at the point of checkout. And that was a more attractive experience than PayPal. So what we're trying to do in this long game is if we can be everybody's favorite app at the point of checkout, we can ultimately be a conduit for bitcoin payments, for any crypto payment, really, to get people to actually pay with this better form of currency. Because we're their most beloved app at the point of checkout, because they're saving money with Lolli. And ultimately they can save more money because it's more efficient medium exchange. We can offer better interchange and we can ultimately offer better rewards to everybody in the world because we built a better medium of exchange.
Kevin Rooke - 01:08:30:
Right? That's really interesting. So there's two different pieces here that I'm seeing. One thing you talk about with the interchange and the prices of the dark side of cash back rewards, right, where they come from and the fees that people are paying because they can't pay their credit card bills off. One part of me thinks that if people start using Bitcoin on a regular basis, and especially if they're doing it over Lightning or actually on chain as well, there's no concept of debt there and there's no tool then for these companies to extract this cash back to give back to their power users, right? Like if your 5% cash back on hotels or travel or whatever is coming from other people's debt and now those people are not in debt. I wonder what happens to that market. And then on the other side, the couponing side I don't know the answer.
Alex Adelman - 01:09:28:
Let me answer that real quick and let's do two part question.
Kevin Rooke - 01:09:30:
Alex Adelman - 01:09:32:
Yeah. So different forms of money have different properties that make it more advantageous to the person receiving it. One of the disadvantages of accepting credit or sorry, debt, is that there is a lag period of like 30 to 90 days that the credit card company is going to go pay out the Walmart's of the world or the Joe's Coffee Shops of the world. And so no matter who you are, you have this lag of when you're accepting money. So instant remittance, which is one of the most beautiful things about Bitcoin, is an advantage. So there's a cost that a business pays for that. It's not just the cost of the interchange, it's the cost of how much does that 90 days of working capital, of cash flow, how much does it cost every business? And I think there is a big enough value prop for businesses to get money instantaneously that would make Bitcoin and crypto as a whole stablecoins. Whatever money they want. It's not really up to us to decide. It's whatever money they want as long as it has instant remittance. And it's fraud free, which are huge costs of credit companies. Credit card companies, right. And fraud detection is huge. And then making sure the money actually gets to the end merchant is massive. So instant remittance, I think, is like solves for the delta that interchange had before. And I think merchants are always going to have to pay something. It's just like it's like part of the problem to be solved. But it can be almost like a decentralized choose your own interchange by when you're willing to how much are you willing to pay to get Bitcoin? Does that make sense?
Kevin Rooke - 01:11:30:
Yeah. So that's one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is on the couponing side. Have rates changed at all when we transition from, like, newspaper clippings to Internet coupons or like the honey or the lollies? How has a company's willingness to put up money for these coupons changed as Discoverability has changed on the Internet?
Alex Adelman - 01:11:59:
Yeah, great question. It's changed a lot. Went from coupons to digital coupons to people wanting and expecting instant automatic cashback. They don't want to clip their coupons anymore and really they shouldn't. It's kind of funny is like transactions in the Fiat world are dumb. They're like, there's nothing that says anything in the transaction. Right. If you look at your credit card statement, that's literally what a bank is getting, is saying, this person shopped at LaGuardia underscore Star S box store 32. Right? And so that's a dumb transaction. There's nothing you can do with it. You have to interpret what the literal 32 characters is and says that is absurd. Like think about what's happening. Bitcoin doesn't really do this. So talk about Ethereum for a second. Ethereum. You can send somebody something and then get an NFT back, like an entire asset that has pixels and comes with a file, like on chain files. That's pretty incredible. I'm just calling out truth here. Not sure it's not like Eth Maxi, but like the it's really incredible if you think about what you can do with a smart contract. And this is part of my campaign to Bitcoiners, let's build smart contracts is like, look at all the cool things you can do. If you can make a smart transaction, the amount of things that you can do is, like, limitless of private transactions, right? Like, how do we make private transactions on Bitcoin smart contracts? If I want a private transaction, if I want no rewards, and I want all my transactions to be private, I don't care about rewards. I just want to move money privately, I should be able to opt in for that. That would be an intelligent transaction, right? That would be saying, like, I'm going to do a tornado swap, or I'm going to be, you know, I'm going to do a ZK roll up that has, you know, private pool or whatever it is. I'm going to be doing something that's going to make my transaction intelligent to some degree and have all privacy. If I want to do a transaction where I get rewards, I should be able to do that, right? And if I want to share data, I don't care if someone knows that I am like, I'm pretty privacy oriented. I don't care if I am a male that's buying this product. And so if a merchant is willing to pay me 1% reward back because they just want to know that, am I a guy or girl that's buying this product, that matters to merchants. Merchants would definitely pay to know location, gender, age, income. If you look at the future of data and how we will value it, all of our data will have some form of value attached to it. And I would hypothetically be able to get smart transactions where I pay something to get something. So if I'm willing to share something so I can earn 5% on all my spend because I'm willing to share that I'm like a male living in New York, and this, then I should be able to opt into that. If you believe in freedom and supply and demand and free markets that's what free market demanding right now, merchants won't pay for it.
Kevin Rooke - 01:15:38:
Yeah, that's a really cool use case, especially that it's opt in. I think that can really transform the way advertising is done on the Internet, and it gives people the ability, as you said, to earn Bitcoin for providing that.
Alex Adelman - 01:15:52:
Let's talk about that real quick because you asked about the evolution of the space and the elephant in the room that we haven't talked about is like, Facebook and Google. Facebook and Google essentially have like a 30 or 40% for some businesses, 60%, 70% tax on the entire space. If you want to acquire a customer, you have to pay Google 30, 40% to acquire that customers because they're the only channels to go buy them from. And so if a channel is what I pay with, or a channel is what data I share with the company, and I don't have to share the data that I'm already sharing with Facebook or Google, and I can just share it directly to the person I'm paying. That's a better world. I think this whole illusion Lolli doesn't sell data. And so we're not really like an issue here, but there are companies out there that are literally in the data business that are making all their money from selling your data. Like, what do you think Facebook does? What do you think Apple does? What do you think Google does? Like, these entire YouTube Instagram, they're in the data selling business. Every ad network, the internet is founded on selling your data. And so how do we remove that? We give the user, the individual, the opportunity to be in control of their data and to put privacy and data parameters and have an incentive to do that. Right now, you don't have a choice. If you want to use Facebook, you're the product. If you want to use Google, you're the product. Your data is getting sold into every merch, every place, and you have no control of it. I would rather the individual have the control of their data and be able to be rewarded for that as opposed to some company making all this money off of your data.
Kevin Rooke - 01:17:42:
Right? So right now we've got this, like, centralized system where there's only a few people that are controlling the data pipes. It's making it very expensive for merchants, and it's rewarding people with nothing today. And we can flip that around and say, hey, now people can talk to the merchants, reveal what info they want to reveal. Merchants can set their prices, and then we can kind of build like, a more equitable system for all.
Alex Adelman - 01:18:11:
Yeah. Privacy. Privacy advocate, if you've heard me talk about before, but I think that privacy should be a basic human right. I think that everyone should have the ability to be fully private in their lives. I think that the merchants and free enterprise should have every right to buy that. That is what the free market is demanding. You have people who want privacy, and you want businesses that want some of that data and need some of that data to be a better business. I don't know if you'll really remember how bad advertising is when it's not targeted. I don't want to see tampon ads. I don't need to see tampon ads if I'm in the market for a jet ski or something. I'm curious. Show me jet ski ads. That is a better world to be able to opt out of ads or have targeted ads or something. Like, there is a degree of privacy where I don't want my name and be able to turn off the faucet of my data, but I need control of my data and you need to start with the root layer, which is the individual.
Kevin Rooke - 01:19:34:
Right, that makes a lot of sense. All right, let's jump into a segment I do at the end of every show. It's called the Lightning round. I got a few rapid fire questions for you. I hope you're enjoying the show so far. Just a quick message from our sponsor. Stakwork is a Lightning powered platform for generating high quality transcripts of all your audio or video content. They combine AI engines and hundreds of human workers all over the world who are paid over the Lightning Network to assemble these transcripts. And that's what lets Stakwork create better, faster and less expensive transcripts. To see the results for yourself, I use Stakwork on my personal website where I transcribe all of my full length podcast episodes. Check that out. And if you want to learn more about Stakwork, visit stakwork.com. That is S-T-A-Kwork.com. First up is in what year will Lolli integrate the Lightning network?
Alex Adelman - 01:20:35:
I would say like, let's say 2023. Okay. I think it's like too far off, but I just don't think it's like just like when you look at all the features we have to bring bitcoin to millions of people. I think it's like pretty far down the list.
Kevin Rooke - 01:20:50:
Yeah. How many people hold bitcoin today.
Alex Adelman - 01:20:57:
As a whole in the world?
Kevin Rooke - 01:20:59:
Yeah. How many people do you think?
Alex Adelman - 01:21:01:
Last I checked, 25 million active wallets that would be considered users of bitcoin, like individuals was the last I checked, I think that the total number was like 75 to 90.
Kevin Rooke - 01:21:15:
Okay. I don't know the actual number. I'm just curious to hear your guess on how many human beings today not addresses, like just actual humans owned bitcoin.
Alex Adelman - 01:21:27:
Okay. With all exchanges and everything, I would say, like, actual people who own bitcoin or had bought it at some point is probably like 90 to 100, maybe somewhere in that range. But people who are actually using bitcoin on chain I think is a no number. I think it's 25 million.
Kevin Rooke - 01:21:48:
Right. If you could only hold one asset for the next decade and it could not be bitcoin, what asset would it be?
Alex Adelman - 01:22:02:
That's a great question. I would probably own a home. I do not own a home, so I think that's a purchase I probably would like to make over the next, like, ten years when I have a family and I'm ready to make that purchase and real estate investment is bitcoin. It's worthy, but you get to live in it and you can't live in your bitcoin. So I would say probably a home would be the next one.
Kevin Rooke - 01:22:35:
It's hard to print homes. It's easy to print cash, but it's not impossible to make homes. But it's a lot harder. Have there been any books that have meaningfully changed your view of the world?
Alex Adelman - 01:22:50:
The big one standard, I think, really helped me. I already really knew a lot of it about bitcoin, but I think it taught me a lot about the history of money and sort of more of, like, solidified my thesis for bitcoin. So I think I think every bitcoiner has probably read it, but I think it's a very good book to read if you haven't the self sovereign individual. Also a great book. I love philosophy, Alan Watts, more and more so listening to Alan Watts, but he has some really good books. I just think he's a better order. But I love Alan Watts. I think I've learned a lot from him.
Kevin Rooke - 01:23:40:
Yeah. Okay, last question. Who's one person in the bitcoin industry you'd like to give a shout out to for the work they're doing?
Alex Adelman - 01:23:48:
Great question. This isn't like, what everyone does. Elizabeth Stark, I think what she's done has been incredible with Lightning labs, and I really appreciate her for the work that she's done and just been, like, doing for so long with, like, very little thanks. And then one more, I think. Jack Dorsey. I got to give a shout out to Jack Dorsey. I think when I look at the entire industry of what's needed for bitcoin adoption, there's so few CEOs of multibillion dollar companies with tens of millions of users that take a bitcoin first approach. Many of them take a multi currency approach. And he has done so much for bitcoin adoption. And I respect he could make so much more money if he had done a bunch of other chains. But I think he's been really, really incredible for bitcoin. And I think Elizabeth on the core, like, focusing on Lightning and the dedication there and then Jack on more of just, like, bringing my goals, bringing, like, bitcoin to the masses. He's just done an incredible job. Like, there's nothing like Cash App that has brought bitcoin to everyday people at that scale and been bitcoin only and built a business off of it. So I think he's done a really incredible job. shout out to both, then.
Kevin Rooke - 01:25:15:
Great answers. Where can listeners go to learn more about you and Lolli?
Alex Adelman - 01:25:21:
So we're very active on Twitter. Our accounts @trylolli. I'm very active on Twitter as well. It's @alexadelman. My name Lolli.com. Lolli.com is where you can download both the extension and the mobile app. Yeah, start earning free bitcoin today. It takes less than a minute to get set up and you can start earning free bitcoin. So I think there's, like, why not?
Kevin Rooke - 01:25:45:
Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you for taking the time, and I hope we can do it again soon.
Alex Adelman - 01:25:50: