T:WTF 011 – Tricia Martinez and the first zero-fee money app

Digital Currencies in Emerging Markets for the Underserved

Access to digital currencies is a real issue! Too many people have suffered the lack of financial inclusion. This is due to high costs and limited infrastructure. In fact, the number is close to 3.5 billion consumers unbanked and underserved. This is the financial problem that Tricia Martinez and her team at Wala are trying to solve.

A Bit More About Tricia

She is a serial entrepreneur and behavioral economist. Solving this problem is the focus of her work and life’s mission. After moving from the US to work in Barclays Rise, she moved to Cape Town. As Tricia explains, in this interview it was a brilliant move and she is helping her win in solving this problem. Digital Currencies in Emerging Markets for the Underserved.  This is an important topic? Half the world’s population still operates outside the formal financial system. A number that is too high, thanks to high cost and limited accessibility.

How Is Wala Solving The Digital Currencies Challenge?

Talking Digital Currencies on the WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast
Tricia Martinez from Wala with the #WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast team: @Brett_StClair & @michael_cowen

Tricia and her team use the best of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and tokenization. By creating Walla, Tricia and her team launched the Dalla token.  We all know how high the financial costs can be. We also know how much of a pain it can be.

This can be from the actual cost of accessing products and services; to deposit fees, or withdrawal fees, and payment fees. We have all felt this pain.  The bottom line is that anything a consumer wants to do and finance, they pay for it. This disincentivized participation in the system.

When Tricia and her team looked at this problem, they decided to create a platform that bridges that gap. Wala works between a bank and a consumer. To get a better understanding – in Tricia’s own words – listen up! Tricia goes into much more detail in the podcasts. And once you have finished you can find more info about Wala on their website or follow them on Twitter.


The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

 

T:WTF 010 – Lorien Gamaroff – Bitcoin Guru and Centbee Founder

You know the podcast has been good when the guest is the MC and is late for his own party! That was Lorien Gamaroff a Bitcoin and Bitcoin Wallet expert!

And boy did Brett and I laugh!

But What Makes Our Bitcoin Local Boy Not So Local?

Chatting with Lorien was a fountain of insight and info. By his own admission, he focuses on the crypto side of things. Why? Well, the idea that no central bank can control, manipulate and corrupt the currency is too big to ignore.

I agree. But Why?

Money is central to everything that we do. It is the oil that drives our economies. It is the current fuel that drives the economic growth. And it is the level that our governments use to control Monetary Policy.

You change how money work and the motivation behind money, and you change everything. As Monica Singer says; capitalism is defined by a ledger. And it’s why Andrew Keys says that the Blockchain will change everything.

A Few Lindens for A Few Bitcoin

Lorien shares a wonderful story about how he got hooked with his first bitcoin – when it was still less than a dollar. He built some solutions on Second Life. This earned him some Lindens and he had to go through a virtual adventure to swop them for Bitcoin. Go listen for more on this :).

The World’s Most Awesome Bitcoin Wallet

Lorien wanted to build the Bitcoin Wallet that he would want to use and founded @CentbeeWallet..

The core idea behind @CentbeeWallet Bring Bitcoin to Africa. It looks at moving the very real issue of remittance for African Markets and operates as a mobile money. It has some integrated features like gift card purchases.

Whats great is that @Centbee maintains an open-source Bitcoin Cash merchant payment system. This is for brick and mortar retailers.

How Satoshi Invested In The The Most Awesome Bitcoin Wallet!

Lorien also talks about the August split between Bitcoin core (the mainstream) – which is the BTC that you trade – and Bitcoin Cash. He’s behind Bitcoin Cash – which makes him a bit of a contrarian.

Lorien shares how he gets Craig Wright as an investor. Craig Wright, an Australian, came out a few years ago claiming to Satoshi. Of course, there are many who don’t believe this.

The Austrian School of Economics

Lorien also digs into the speculative nature of Bitcoin. He breaks down what it means and the economic model that it’s following. He shared a fascinating story about an Economist Cover story. It foretells a new currency in 2018.

Here is an image of the Economist Cover.

The blockchain use case vs the business case.

Lorien digs into the difference between use case √s the business case. This is a very important point and something to be considered. Lorien shares his reason why he sees digital currency as the most important element of the blockchain.

Something to ponder on!

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

T:WTF 009 – Nico Steyn on IoT, Why It’s Important, and Where It’s Going!

The Internet of Things. IoT for short. It can be a big buzz word but the implications of IoT as we evolve technically is huge.

Breaking Down The IoT Picture

We chat with Nico Steyn, the Founder, and CEO of IoT.nxt about IoT, where it is going and what it means. It’s a conversation, idea, and concept that you need to get your head around. And the sooner the better.

Today, no-one will be fired for NOT implementing IoT. This puts IoT into a certain perspective and how far we still have to go from here.

If you are wanting to get your head around this subject, this podcast is a great start. In it, we covered a wide range of areas; from edge computing, interoperability, big data, cloud, blockchain among many other areas.

An Agnostic, Interoperable IoT

Nico and his team have built IoT.nxt by focusing on a critical problem. They have built a framework that makes the efficiencies, cost savings and increased revenue from IoT a reality for businesses.

Critical to Nico’s approach is the delivering an agnostic technical solution. This will overcome the challenge of connecting different devices or systems. This delivers on the on the interoperability and interconnectivity.

A WTF LiveCast

A Live Podcast that Explores how to do the future in front of a live audience. This was our first Livecast and we chose the world of IoT as its such a big topic that will be a massive focus going forward.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts
If you loved the show, please give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

You can also subscribe on iTunes.

 

T:WTF 008 – Hyperledger – The Opensource Blockchain

Marta Piekarska is the Director of Ecosystem at Hyperledger – and whats really cool about the Hyperledger Blockchain is that is an open source blockchain platform.

Wine and The Hyperledger Blockchain

That’s where we started the Hyperledger conversation.

The Hyperledger blockchain allows you to track everything about wine. You can track the provenance of grapes, the age, quality – anything. It provides full traceability through the supply.

This means you will be able to scan a product anywhere in the world and see the details. Verified through a smart contract.

Marta goes down into the details of this. Fascinating! She also references the big brother example of this; Blood Diamonds.

We all know of the pain and the size of the problem. Yet, Everledger is redefining the Diamond industry. It’s a project that built on Hyperledger and SAP. It allows you to trace and verification what diamond is from where,

An Evolution, Not A Revolution

As Brett points out this, pulls together many things: IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning. It’s a great point.

Marta makes the point that Blockchain needs to be an evolution – it needs to plug into what you have already. This is a very different way of thinking.

But What Is Hyperledger

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative, hosted by the Linux Foundation. It creates permission based Blockchains for enterprises.

It brings together leaders in finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing, and technology.

Marta’s talk showed how this next-generation blockchain is dedicated, adapted and scalable for professional applications.

Opensource and the Blockchain Baking & Cookie Example

Opensource is powerful. It takes the common – or baseline elements of a process, makes it freely available. This allows you build your unique value on top of it and commercialise it.

History has proven that it works.

It is a truly distributed system that balances centralisation and decentralisation. Marta used a great example to help us understand how to use the Hyperledger Blockchain. She talked about baking and cookies.

In essence, Hyperledger provides the piping. This allows a consortium – banks, insurance companies etc – to build a common foundation. They are then able to leverage this through their unique IP or customer experience.

The bottom line is that you can make huge cash while contributing to the greater good!

The Permission vs Permisionless, Public Vs, Private Blockchains Spectrum

There is a spectrum of blockchains. Go listen to get a better understanding.

Marta breaks down the difference using medical records and her desire for a Harvard Degree. A mind-blowing discussion that comes down to incentives and personal motivations around consensus.

Hyperledger has built their own blockchain. It’s not about the currencies and they have built permission-based blockchains.

If you want to learn more about Hyperledger, you can do the free online course.

 

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

T:WTF 007 – Peter Manning and The SARB Blockchain POC

The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything. The reason? It’s a distributed ledger and everything in capitalism is built on a ledger. Blockchain gets to the very foundation of what capitalism is built on. Project Khokha is proof of how disruptive it can be.

Project Khokha: The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Blockchain POC

The pilot project was called Project Khokha. And it was a quick job – as Peter explains. The decision was made and they had to hustle to get the POC done in a couple of months. There were certain criteria that the Consensys Team has to make sure they hit.

The pilot focused on the real-time settlements between the central bank and the different commercial banks. As Peter shares, the current settlement technology (SAMOS) works very well. It does not to change.

So the question is why? And how disruptive can the really be?

There were 7 commercial banks in the Project Khokha POC project. The Central bank facilitates the settlements between each bank. So, if I bank with FNB and you are with Standard Bank, the reserve bank will manage the settlement process.

So with each bank having a ledger account with the SARB and SARB has a mirror account with each bank. With 7 commercial banks, it means we have 14 different ledgers.
Once Ledger, Real-Time Settlement. Privately.

What Peter and his Project Khokha team were able to do was consolidate the different ledgers into one ledger. They were able to run it in real time with the right privacy levels.

This is a very big deal. It means that auditors are no longer needed to check that the transactions are correct. They are verified in real time. It means that the risk of problems, errors and possible theft is dramatically reduced. No lawyers arguing over risk issues or lost money.

It Will Take Just One

While this is still a POC project, the genie is out of the bottle. It will take just one Central Bank to embrace this fully and we will see the change start happening. For us its a question of when. Not if. As we said, the blockchain will disrupt everything!

Enjoy.

A Little Echo

The way we record our podcast is that we record live at different locations. We have a little mixer and some pretty good microphones. That said, every now and then we get caught up in a room with a bit of an echo – which is what happened here. So for any of the initial sound quality issues, we apologise.

Thanks for Listening!

If you loved the show, please share your thoughts and give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Subscribe

The Think WTF podcast is available on several podcasting platforms. Please subscribe to the platform that you love to use.

iTunes | Overcast | Spotify | Sticher

To help out the show:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

T:WTF 006 – Peter Munnings on the Blockchain, Central Banking, & Fiat Currency

Will a Central Bank Blockchain change they way money works? And how disruptive will it be?

It’s an important question given the truth that most people do not understand money. They cannot answer the simple questions like; What is money and where does it come from?  Perhaps this is best summed up by Henry Ford;

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.


Satoshi Created Bitcoin to solve the money problem.

Satoshi created the Bitcoin token and blockchain in direct response to the 2008 financial collapse. The design of Bitcoin is to solve the money problem.

To put this into some perspective, think of money as collateralised debt. Commercial banks have the power to originate or create money. We call is the fractional reserve framework. This means that you are not borrowing someone else’s saving. Rather the bank is creating money out of nothing based on a reserve percentage.

Positive Money breaks down of how banks create money and what the issue with debt is.

Central Banks and Blockchain!

The Central bank does not originate money in the form of commercial debt. The central bank does print real money in the form of cash. What you carry around in your wallet. They are also responsible for the countries Fiat Currency.

But what happens if Central Banks started putting their fiat currencies onto the blockchain? This has the power and potential to change everything.

In this What’s The Future podcast, we chat to Consensys’s Peter Munnings. Peter is building some amazing blockchain technology within the banking space.

We dig into this subject and it opens up some very interesting possibilities. Here is some stuff that you will get of this podcast:

  • Peter goes into a bit of background into the growth of Consensus, the work they are doing.
  • What happens when you issue a countries currency onto the Blockchain. What are the implication and the compliance frameworks that it needs?
  • Peter breaks down wholesale banking. This looks at inter-banking payment facility through Central Banks. The idea is to increase resilience and reduce costs. This leads to the cross-border payments cross borders.
  • Of course, we spoke about how a Central Bank’s Blockchain can solve SASSA and Fees Must Fall. The big issue is the last mile and giving people access to their money. A lot of work is being done in this area and its a matter of time.
  • What is the implication of full reserve banking? This is a move away from a fractional reserve banking system. The implication is huge. And it is now possible with Blockchain technology. This will stabilise the boom-bust cycle that we currently experience. What happens when we turn money from a Liability to an Asset.
  • And what happens when we have one ledger system rather than multiple ledgers. Every intermediary in the banking chain has their own ledger. A Central Bak Blockchain can streamline this into one ledger.

T:WTF 005 Colin Iles on the world of Innovation

Innovation is everything in a world of fast constant change. To get a better handle on this we sat down with Colin Iles, whose is a bit of a rockstar in the innovation space.


 

Fear The Future

Colin shares why you need to fear the future. Given that you do not know what’s coming, you cannot afford to be complacent. What we can say with certainly is that things are moving incredibly fast. And the most powerful way to manage the disruption is to create it rather than ignoring or reacting to it.
 
This conversation got Brett all excited about his old days at Google, where he shares his Google experience. He talks to us about why they are so petrified of the 2 person business. They worry about what it can do to their business model. Which makes sense when you consider that Google was a 2 man business at some stage.
 
What this means is that you need to keep innovating. Or as Colin says, lets forget about innovation and just call it what it is: Problem solving.
 

How To Win In The world of Innovation

 
We recorded this conversation at The Equinox in Sandton. Its an ABSA initiative to help clients innovate and help them b grow. Colin is the CEO and spend s a lot of him time advising the C-Suite on Innovation.
 
Click here to get more info about The Equinox?
 
You can also follow Colin on LinkedIn. He shares a lot of thinking around innovation and why you have to a Massive Transformational Purpose as an organisation.

Thanks for Listening!

If you loved the show, please share your thoughts and give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Subscribe

The Think WTF podcast is available on several podcasting platforms. Please subscribe to the platform that you love to use.

iTunes | Overcast | Spotify | Sticher

To help out the show:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

How Is Your Innovation Strategy Going?

Want a kick start on how to get your innovation moving in a world of fast constant change.

Fast Constant Change is the new normal. As soon as a new digital solution has been implemented it’s out of date. New disruption is coming. This is why we see new digital businesses like Uber deliberately disrupting themselves.

The big question is how do you manage this Fast Constant Pace of Change. Its hard, right? And you have to if you want to keep your customers happy and buying more from you in the future.

In this keynote The WTF team break down how to focus on the things that don’t change so that you can be constantly changing. Yep a bit of a paradox but its the best way to win in the digital economy.

What you will learn out of this keynote:

  • What are the things that don’t change in your business
  • How do you turn them into your competitive arrange
  • How do you out compete against competition that you can see
  • How to use digital disruption to digitally transform without breaking everything

 

T:WTF 004 – Uber’s Justin Spratt Talks the Gig Economy

The Gig Economy is huge and growing every day. As part of the future of work (FoW), we wanted to understand this phenomenon. Like blockchain, it has the potential to disrupt!

To get a better understanding of what is currently going on we chat with Justin Spratt. Justin shares on his personal views about the Gig economy.

The Gig Economy Bigger Picture

And while Justin is currently at UBER, this is not a podcast about Uber and what is happening at Uber. It is a more in-depth look at the current situation and discussion around this topic.

As some of you may know, both Brett and I have worked for a gig economy company called M4Jam. It was a great idea that did not live up to its potential. But that’s a whole other story!

The point is that we joined the business given the potential that micro-jobs have to change the world.

The idea is to give people a way people to earn small amounts of money doing different, small job. You want to enable people to utilising the under-used resources they currently have.

This could be an asset, labour, time or any other form of resource.

The Potential To Change The World

In a country like South Africa, this is huge. We have one of the worst Gini Coefficients in the world and something needs to be done. The desperation and despair that most people live in today is extreme.

This was an interesting chat with Justin – who was suffering from a cold! So we really appreciate him taking the time and sharing!

Enjoy

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts
If you loved the show, please give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

You can also subscribe on iTunes.

T:WTF 003 – Why The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything

Monica Singer is the creator of opportunities for Consensys South Africa. She is a strong advocate for building blockchain solutions after her experience at Strate.  And it’s no wonder when you think about how it will redefine how we live our lives.

Andrew Keys and Monica Singer Explain Why The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything

In this Podcast, she gets to introduce us to her “Boss”. Andrew works at Consensys and has been there since the beginning (he even denied he was employee number 1). As he explains Consensus is a Holacracy (Google it), you get his Andrew’s reaction. But Holacracy aside. Andrew was an explosion of information! He gave us a brilliant break down why the Blockchain will disrupt everything. He also shared what the Consensys Vision is and why they are so passionate about changing the world.

The Internet’s 94 of 96

Andrew points out we are in the internet’s 94 of 96. This makes the blockchain and exciting, yet untested model. It has the potential to solve the world’s most common problem; The Geni Co-efficient! He explains 85 individuals have the same amount of wealth as 3,5 billion people. He goes on to explains that trust is everything. Yet, until now, trust needs to work through an intermediary. He is working on commoditising trust. Freaking nuts right! Andrew also explained how the world we are moving into is broken into 3 foundational aspects:

  • Self Sovereign Identity
  • Peer to Peer Interactions
  • Natively Digital Assets

Why is this important?

It will open up a whole new world of commerce. It builds the critical element of trust. And with the growing interoperability of the Blockchain, it will affect you! And this is why you have to learn about this. Monica makes the profound point that capitalism is based on the recording of The Ledger. And she will know! She is a Charted Account, an ex-World bank employee and previous CEO of Strate. Strate the intermediary that runs the JSE backend and is where Monica built a blockchain. In this podcast, Andrew’s expands on his talk that The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything.

Watch Andrew’s Keynote

Here is Andrew’s shortened bio:

Andrew drives the enterprise business development strategy for ConsenSys and co-founded ConsenSys Enterprise, to create Ethereum blockchain solutions for Fortune 500 companies and governments. Andrew co-created the first Ethereum Blockchain-as-a-Service offering with Microsoft and catalyzed the creation of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an open-source cross-industry initiative focused on permeating Ethereum technology through enterprise environments.

Andrew keys and Monica Singer at the Blockchain Africa Confrence
Andrew keys and Monica Singer from Consensys talking about blockchain disruption

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

 

T:WTF 002 – Practical Insight on Building an IoT Startup with Mark Allewell

No one has been fired for not implementing an IoT solution. That’s how new this technology and thinking really is. And it’s why we wanted to talk to Mark Allewell. He’s the founder and CEO of IoT business Sensor Networks.

Iot Is a big issue – especially for Brett who digs deep into using Googles IoT Core through our digital interventions. But he’s a geek. What I like about IoT is how it redesigning the way networked intelligence works and moving intelligence to the edge.

The Idea For Network Sensors

Mark for stumbled into the idea of what would become Sensor Networks while taking the time out to travel the world. Mark had sold off tourism Radio and needed a timeout and was travelling the world.

The idea behind Sensor Networks is to help insurance companies reduce risk, through smart sensors. Its a highly focused business and Mark is dogmatic about what he says no to. It was this attitude and approach to business that was really inspiring about this conversation.  

Entrepreneurial Wisdom

Brett and I love talking to entrepreneurs. Yet through these chats, we do see the difference between an entrepreneur who is truly enterprising and one who is just ticking over.. Mark is one of the former. He has taken his battle scars and turned them into real wisdom.

What was an unexpected outcome of this chat was the wisdom Mark shares a lot of his entrepreneurial experiences. He talks about the key lessons that he learned along the way, He expands on how he’s evolved into the IoT/Technology space.

Mark offers some very practical, solid advise around getting the business going, raising the cash to grow the business.

This is one of those good podcasts that Brett and I turned to each after said. Boom. That’s as a ripper.

Find Mark

If you want to find more info on Mark and Network Sensors, please click on the respective links:

Linkedin | Twitter | Company Website

Thanks for Listening!

If you loved the show, please share your thoughts and give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Subscribe

The Think WTF podcast is available on several podcasting platforms. Please subscribe to the platform that you love to use.

iTunes | Overcast | Spotify | Sticher

To help out the show:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

What’s Your IoT Strategy?

Need An Inspirational IoT Keynote?

50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. 7 times more than humans on planet earth. Brett St Clair breaks down what is driving this trend in this IoT Keynote. He looks at why are we seeing this explosion and what industries will be impacted by these sensors? Here is what you can expect to learn from this keynote:

  1. Understand why IoT is exploding
  2. Understand which industries as seeing the greatest benefit
  3. What other trends will accelerate because of IoT
  4. How does your business benefit from IoT
  5. How does this impact our everyday lives

Book The WTF IoT Keynote Below: