Tushar Agarwal

Ep. #32: Former builder of Internet and early Amazon employee – Jonathan Kochmer (APAC Head RChain)

Show Notes

In this episode, we speak to Jonathan Kochmer, who is the Founder of RChain Asia. Beyond his fascinating life story and career trajectory, he has in his own words:

  • helped create a new treatment for palliative care of mesothelioma (extending his father’s life several years);
  • had two original songs reach the top 40 on US AAA broadcast radio; 
  • discovered a species; and
  • had the unusual honor of Jeff Bezos referring to him as “a genius… and a gentleman”.

Tune in to hear about:

  • His fascinating life story – he’s been an evolutionary biologist, helped to build out the internet, was one of the first 10 employees at Amazon.com, started a music record label and now works with a Blockchain project
  • We go deeper into each of the different phases and work in his life –
  • One of the last guides to the Internet written by Jonathan – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963528106
  • How it was to work with Jeff Bezos in the early days of Amazon, what the recruitment process was like
  • Parallels between the Internet and Blockchain technology in terms of user adoption

Quick note: Around the 42nd minute mark, Jonathan mentions that he thinks that mass Blockchain adoption is one month away. He meant one year away.

Video

Ep. #30: Cryptocurrency/Blockchain Fund with Czhang Lin (MD JRR Crypto)

In this episode, we speak to Czhang Lin who is the Managing Director at JRR Crypto. JRR Crypto is a Swiss Cryptocurrency/Blockchain Fund with a Chinese team which invests in both Crypto projects and the Crypto Ecosystem. They are the second biggest equity shareholder in the Crypto Exchange with one of the highest trading volumes – Binance!

Czhang is a Taiwanese Canadian who grew up in Poland and took his family business public on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. He is an alumnus of INSEAD and Tsinghua University.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Czhang’s very interesting background and how he got involved in Crypto/Blockchain
  • JRR Crypto – structure of the fund, investment thesis, areas of focus etc
  • Crypto ecosystem investments (70% of portfolio): Incubation, Consultancy, Investment banks, Media, Exchanges, Wealth Management, Fund of Funds
  • Crypto projects reperesent 30% of portfolio
  • JRR is the 2nd biggest equity shareholder in Binance
  • Quick overview of the Chinese Crypto/Blockchain ecosystem
  • Reason for the success of the Chinese Exchanges (OKEx, Huobi etc)
  • JRR’s acceleration arm: Super advisor (light involvement) and Co-founder (heavy involvement)
  • JRR’s roadmap
  • Views on a dual token system (utility + security tokens)

Ep. #29: Regulations, Compliance, Security Tokens & Stablecoins with Patrick Tan (General Counsel, Compton Hughes)

In this epsiode, we speak to Patrick Tan (https://www.linkedin.com/in/patricktankoontat/), General Partner and Counsel at Compton Hughes. Patrick is a self professed ‘entrepreneur first and a lawyer second’. He has previously practiced law, founded companies and in his most recent role founded a Statistical Arbitrage Crypto Hedge Fund.

Tune in to this episode to hear about:

  • Patrick’s journey in the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency ecosystem
  • Regulatory environment in general – SEC, China, Malta, Gibraltar etc
  • Regulatory arbitrage
  • ETFs
  • How does a company approach an ICO from a legal perspective? An STO?
  • Patrick’s new venture: A Statistical Arbitrage Crypto Fund and his role as General Counsel
  • Strategies that his fund is deploying and what makes them unique
  • Process for client onboarding into a Crypto Fund in a compliant manner
  • Security tokens and Stablecoins: https://medium.com/predict/security-tokens-versus-stablecoins-2d33b91e2fd

Ep. #28: Hedera Hashgraph, a novel Consensus mechanism with Edgar Seah (APAC Head Hedera)

The Hedera Hashgraph platform provides a new form of distributed consensus – it is a fast, secure, fair ‘Blockchain’ with a novel Governance mechanism. In this episode, we speak to the APAC Head of Hedera, Edgar Seah. Edgar has a very eclectic background with stints in Investment Banking, NGOs and corporates aroud the globe. Tune in to hear about:
  • Edgar’s background and how ended up as Hedera Hashgraph’s Asia’s head
  • History of Hashgraph (consensus mechanism)
  • Hashgraph is leveraged in a private manner by a company called Swirlds and in a public manner by Hedera
  • Background on Swirlds and Enterprise clients on Swirlds (e.g. Credit Union Consortium)
  • Motivation behind creating a public ledger in addition to the private ledger
  • Properties of Hashgraph – Speed, Security (aBFT – Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance), Fairness
  • Governance and a deep dive into how Hedera is trying to solve this problem – Council Governance (off-chain governance) and Consensus Model (on-chain governance)
  • Discussion and views on the claim that Hedera is a private Blockchain and not a public one
  • Regulatory compliance and the path Hedera is taking to achieve mainstream adoption
  • Hedera Hashgraph’s roadmap and the 20 or so projects building on top of it etc
  • Specific areas of focus in Asia
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashgraph
  • Website: https://www.hedera.com/
  • Hedera 18 Hackathon website: https://www.hedera18.com/

Ep. #27: Email on Blockchain with George Hartley (Co-founder Sendy)

Our guest for this episode is George Hartley, co-founder of Sendy. Sendy is aiming to bring about improvements to emails by rewarding the attention of email receivers through cryptocurrencies. The attention is rewarded in Sendy tokens which can be purchased by advertisers.

George comes from a mixture of marketing and product background having worked with several startups and marketing agencies.

Tune in to hear about:

  • George’s background and journey in the blockchain/crypto space
  • Views on email marketing
  • What Sendy is about (https://sendy.network/)
  • Problems that exist in email marketing today and how Sendy is trying to address those
  • Stakeholders in the Sendy ecosystem and role of the token
  • How the current business (https://www.smartrmail.com/) is going to be leveraged/affected?
  • Sendy’s roadmap

Ep. #26: Infinite cash, monetary policies and synchronicity with Andrew Pantyukhin Pt. 2/2 (CEO Tangem)

In the second part of the interview with Andrew Pantyukhin, we speak about certain topics that occupy a great deal of his mindshare beyond the company that he is trying to build (Tangem – https://tangem.com/)

Tune in to hear about:

  • Concept of money as a means of communication
  • Making cryptocurrencies ubiquitous – infinite cash for everyone (along the lines of Universal Basic Income)
  • Optimistic and pessimistic views how the world looks like in a few years
  • Subsistence economies and monetary policies
  • Synchronicity in the world
  • Why speculation in crypto could be a good thing?

Ep. #25: Banknotes for Cryptoassets with Andrew Pantyukhin Pt. 1/2 (CEO Tangem)

In this episode, we speak to Andrew Pantyukhin, the CEO of Tangem. Tangem is aiming to make cryptocurrencies more accessible to everyday individuals by allowing people to store them in smart and secure banknotes. These banknotes can then be used to purchase items or make transactions just like how we use banknotes today.

Andrew has held several roles in various tech businesses prior to founding Tangem. He is a product guy with background in technology and Venture Capital.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Andrew’s introduction, background and about early days of crypto
  • Projects Andrew was excited about in the relatively early days of crypto (21/earn.com – https://earn.com/ and ZCash – https://z.cash/)
  • What Tangem does
  • How does on acquire a Tangem Note and how to use it?
  • What does the customer journey look like for using a Tangem Note
  • Details about the Tangem note – Is the card reusable? How to top up the card? How much does Tangem Note cost to the distributor and customer?
  • Tangem’s business model
  • Tangem’s roadmap and ambitions
  • Website: https://tangem.com/ 

Ep. #24: Decentralized CryptoBanking with Alex Wearn (CEO Aurora/IDEX)

Aurora is a decentralized financial platform with IDEX, a hybrid decentralized exchange, as its first product. Subsequent products will include margin lending on the hybrid exchange and a stablecoin to support the Cryptocurrency bank (called Decentralized Capital)

Our guest for this episode is Alex Wearn, CEO of Aurora DAO. He has previously worked with IBM and Adobe and is a graduate of Kellogg School of Management.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Alex’s background, introduction and journey in crypto
  • What is Aurora? (Decentralised financial institution)
  • Problems with the current financial system that Aurora is trying to address
  • Concept of free banking
  • Bundling of stable coins: https://www.tokensets.com/
  • 1st product of Aurora ecosystem – IDEX which is a hybrid centralised/decentralised exchange
  • Decentralised aspect – custody and settlement
  • Centralised aspect – dispatch of trades to the blockchain
  • Liquidity providers / market makers on IDEX?
  • Key challenges during setting up IDEX and how they were overcome – acquisition of users, operating on Ethereum network
  • Fee structure on IDEX
  • ETH gas prices – https://ethgasstation.info/
  • Understanding Mempool (pending transactions) – https://99bitcoins.com/what-is-bitcoin-mempool/
  • Margin lending on IDEX
  • 2nd product of Aurora ecosystem – Cryptocurrency bank (Decentralised Capital)
  • Stablecoin (Boreals) and how it’ll work
  • AURA token – staking token of IDEX network
  • IDXM token – membership token (3 years of free trades) to bring forth revenues for the company
  • Daily trading volume – highest was about 20-25m, average is 3-7m
  • Aurora’s roadmap
  • Views on the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency ecosystem in general
  • Website: https://auroradao.com/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aurora_Dao
  • Discord: http://bit.ly/AuroraDiscord 

Ep. #23: Android AppStore adopting Cryptocurrency with Tiago Alves (VP APAC AppCoins)

AppCoins (https://appcoins.io/) is a blockchain-based open-source protocol for the App Economy supported by the Aptoide App Store (http://www.aptoide.com/). It proposes to move to the blockchain three of the most critical flows of App stores: (i)advertising, (ii) in-app purchases and (iii) developer’s reputation.

Our guest for this show is Tiago Alves, the VP Asia Pacific of AppCoins. Tiago has held several roles in the Telecommunications industry mainly in Portugal before taking up a role as Aptoide’s/AppCoins’ VP of APAC.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Tiago’s background and intro
  • What is Aptoide? (Android App Store)
  • What are the App Stores beyond Google Play on Android Phones today?
  • The problems for smaller App Stores today – payments (lack of ability to monetise in-app purchase)
  • Appcoins – reducing the cut from in-app purchases from 30% (for Google Play Store) to 15%
  • 5B fine for Google in the EU recently
  • Other problems – advertising inside App Stores, Application approvals and security
  • Solution – reward users in Appcoins for getting exposed to ads, sharing of information about viruses and malware to make apps more secure
  • How Aptoide’s current business is going to be affected and how dies it affect the various investors involved
  • How the native token works
  • How does the platform look like today?
  • Roadmap
  • Development of the AppStore Foundation
  • Telegram: https://t.me/appcoinsofficial
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/AppCoinsProject

Ep. #22: Cryptocurrency Exchange & P2P Marketplace with Rahul Raj (CEO Koinex)

Our guest for this episode is Rahul Raj, CEO and co-founder of Koinex (https://koinex.in/). Koinex is one of India’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges and peer to peer marketplaces which is backed by leading investors such as Pantera Capital (https://www.panteracapital.com/) and Beenext (https://www.beenext.com/).

Rahul is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology and has dabbled in various startups and social entrepreneurship initiatives before starting Koinex.

Tune in to hear about:

  • Rahul’s background and intro
  • How Koinex (India’s first KYC compliant multi currency exchange) came about
  • Why Koinex initially decided to have only fiat to crypto pairs for all cryptocurrencies
  • Customer journey for transacting
  • Different steps involved in setting up a crypto exchange
  • Three important pillars of setting up an exchange: scalability, security, customer support
  • Other factors to consider while setting up an exchange: UI/UX, liquidity, ecosystem development
  • Building an exchange in house vs. using a white label solution/third party integrations – pros and cons
  • Where does an exchange source their crypto from?
  • How Koinex built liquidity on the platform
  • Highest daily trading volume that Koinex saw – USD 265m
  • Why BTC was trading at a premium in India
  • Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) current stance on crypto and way going forward
  • How the crypto-exchanges responded to the RBI directive
  • Koinex Loop (https://koinex.in/loop) – the crypto marketplace
  • Improvements of Koinex Loop over LocalBitcoin and LocalEthereum
  • Challenges with Koinex Loop as far as fiat is concerned
  • Koinex’s roadmap and plans beyond an exchange
  • Views on the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency ecosystem in India
  • Projects beyond Koinex that Rahul is excited about: Ethereum, BAT