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Meet the Masters – Your Browser is Buying Your Next Bourbon with Mike Fraser, Founder of Avalanche Media Works
Visual communication entrepreneur and Crypto Culture watcher Mike Fraser talks to Trevor and Blake about the future of making and spending money. We break down how Cryptocurrencies and The Blockchain are influencing the future of personal finance. Mike uses a Brave Browser which pays him – via Blockchain – to click on highly targeted ads. He uses the money to buy some pints and food from local restaurants. The future wallet is here.
Hey everybody. It’s Trevor Chambers from Olde Raleigh Financial. Once again, we are posting up another awesome, I think awesome at least, considering my guest blog post on our blog, A Soundtrack to an Advisors Life. And today we’re going to talk to another master. We like to meet masters who know their space really, really well. And I want to welcome Mike Fraser, Founder of Avalanche Media Works. Mike from the big state of Ohio. What’s going on out there, brother?
MIKE FRASER: Hey, we’re just living the dream up here in Ohio.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. Hey how is Notre Dame doing? Buddy, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. How’s Michigan doing up there. I mean –
FRASER: Yeah. We don’t kick off until later in October.
CHAMBERS: I got it. Yeah you guys are on a different time line up there.
CHAMBERS: In more ways than one.
FRASER: Right, right.
CHAMBERS: I’m only kidding. I’m only kidding. All right, so Mike, you are – I saw some – you have a design background. You’ve been in the webspace forever. You understand marketing, specifically Social Media marketing and that’s kinda (sic) your day gig. And then one of the things that you kind of study, and I think from a, like a journalist point of view is blockchain. And so, todays – we’re going to talk about blockchain. We get, you know, questions about blockchain occasionally. We get questions about bitcoin, especially a couple years ago. That was the topic among certain clients. Then they moved on to marijuana stocks. That was another popular one, like last year. So, two years ago, it was bitcoin, then marijuana stocks and there’s always these, but blockchain has been around. Not going anywhere and Mike’s going to talk about it so welcome, Mike to Olde Raleigh Financial Group.
FRASER: Well, thanks Trevor. Yeah. It’s great to be on this show. I’ve been on the other side of it, you know, working with you guys to get Meet the Masters up.
FRASER: So –
CHAMBERS: Full disclosure, Mike handles our – builds our website and our social media and is a WordPress award winning WordPress guy. So, Mike, let’s get right into it here. Cryptography. What is it, kinda (sic) in a two to three minute, give us the nutshell of that and then let’s talk about blockchain and go from there.
FRASER: Yeah, that’s a great starting point and I think that’s what gets lost in the whole conversation when you hear crypto or cryptocurrency. You know, it – it sounds like it’s, you know, kinda (sic) shady or it’s like scammy (sic) or things like that. But cryptography goes back all the way to Julius Caesar time. You know, during the – he was sending crypto messages through, you know, through his military, you know, with a decipher, you know, how do – how do – how do they decipher on the other end. Even through World War II, obviously it’s the process of crypto messages advanced through that war. So, really when – when the internet, you know, was born and, you know, and ecommerce, you know, people wanted to buy and, you know, sell online, that’s where, you know, cryptography got a new – another life. Because now there’s ecommerce, you know, which everybody trusts. You know, how many people, especially now during the 2020 era, you buy everything online. And, so, and what makes that happen is a key, you know. A private key, you know, where – where it goes to your, you know, merchant account and it goes to the other end, you know, when the money is transferred, you know. But everything is encrypted, you know. You see that SSL, you know, lock on your URL, you know, so, you know, banks use it. You know, so that’s like the essence of, you know, digital crypto. You know, aside from the cryptocurrency. You know, the digit, you know the cryptography on the ecommerce side obviously everyone trusts to a certain extent. I mean, there are hacks and, you know, there’s always, you know, bad, you know, agitators out there, but for the most part I think – I think, you know, you have no problem, you know, shopping on Amazon. You know, they pretty –
CHAMBERS: Oh yeah.
FRASER: — much, you know, have loyal, you know, they, you know, Apple. You know, I mean they have it locked down.
CHAMBERS: And cryptos all worked into, like venmos and the paypals and all that of course.
FRASER: Yep. Exactly. Yep, it goes to your bank. It’s, you know, it’s – it’s –
FRASER: — trusted, you know. So, the difference is with cryptography, different from like the World War II era is through technology is, okay, I want to send you something. I have a key and then you have a key. So – so there’s like two keys involved now. It’s asymmetrical, so to speak. So, that’s what makes it really hard to hack. You know, and that – that is kind of what sets everything up for – for, you know, when bitcoin was invented and that whole Satoshi Nakamoto guy. But I don’t think it’s one guy. I think it was a group, you know, of nerds that really put together a beautiful piece of code and algorithms and they – they put that out there on the blockchain, which is, it’s not a centralized server. It’s a decentralized network. It’s like a digital leger which – which is basically un-hackable. So, that’s where we’re at with that part. Hey how’s it going?
BLAKE PARO: Blockchain. What’s happening?
CHAMBERS: A new entry. A co-host, Dr. Blake Paro.
CHAMBERS: No, not really a doctor. Distinguished. Professor emeritus. Joins the crew.
CHAMBERS: So, Mike was just getting into –
PARO: Are you recording this?
CHAMBERS: Yeah. Mike was just getting into blockchain and the difference between crypto and blockchain. Talking about that a little bit.
FRASER: Yeah, we started with cryptography and the essence behind cryptography. And it really started back with Julius Caesar and how they sent coded messages through their military. So, and – so that essence has migrated, you know, through all the way to the digital era that we’re in now. So, it’s basically I have a private key. You have a private key. I’m sending you something. You know, it’s encrypted. It goes through the internet and no one can really mess with it. And cryptography, aside from cryptocurrency, cryptography is how we use ecommerce. So, that’s kinda (sic) where we’re at. And a lot of people don’t really put that together, you know, when they hear the term blockchain or bitcoin or some of these mores scarier, new terms when they’ve been using a lot of this technology, you know, from the – from the early days, so to speak.
CHAMBERS: Right. And then blockchain comes along and it’s a decentralized network and we were talking before we hit record that Napster was kind of an early version of this, isn’t that what you were saying earlier?
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah, so a lot of people don’t understand what blockchain is and I’m like well how many of you use Napster? You know, that was the original, you know, you fire up that app or that software and it – it connects with other people that have that same software and there’s no server. You know, there’s no like – Napster didn’t host all of those, you know, millions of songs that were illegally acquired. It was basically, you know, people sharing it on a, you know, in a decentralized method. And, yeah obviously they had a central, what was it called, they had a — a central directory and that’s how they got brough down. Because they did have a master database of music but then that migrated – after Napster fell, then it migrated to this other network called, oh boy what was that called?
FRASER: Gnutella, yeah, but it was based off, yeah, LimeWire off of Gnutella. And Gnutella was truly decentralized. It’s truly peer to peer. There’s no like central thing. So that’s when you – that’s when you started seeing record companies sue individuals based on IP addresses. So, that’s how that kinda (sic) came about.
CHAMBERS: You know, funny thing. I – I think Blakes like a silver level member still of Napster and he gets most of his – people don’t know –
PARO: I love my Napster. It was the greatest.
CHAMBERS: I still use MapQuest, printed MapQuest.
FRASER: Oh man. Okay.
CHAMBERS: I’m just kidding.
PARO: Who was the founder of Napster, Sean?
FRASER: Yeah, Sean Parker?
PARO: Parker, I think you’re right.
PARO: And then he eventually had a hand in Facebook, right?
FRASER: Yeah, he was one of the – one of the – yeah, yeah. If you saw that movie, he was – he kinda (sic) helped Mark Zuckerberg take it to the next level.
CHAMBERS: Right. So, what about – what more about blockchain do you want to share?
FRASER: So, with blockchain, you know, if you’re online and you’re looking to learn more about it there’s a hashtag. I use it all the time and it’s #web3, the number three, and there’s great conversations happening in there. And –
CHAMBERS: Did you have one recently with the – the Winklevoss twins, or something like that?
FRASER: I did.
CHAMBERS: Tell us about that, brother.
FRASER: So, he posted this thing. He’s like –
CHAMBERS: Well who are the Winklevoss twins. Not everybody probably knows that and then what are they doing and then –
PARO: Speaking of Facebook and the Winklevoss.
FRASER: Yeah, they actually invented Facebook and then –
CHAMBERS: Hey. It doesn’t matter who invents it, what matters is who (inaudible) it.
FRASER: Right. Yeah. So, they were like the bobby pin people and the Zuckerberg put the little crimps in the bobby pin to make it like what it is today, right?
FRASER: No, he was the coder. The twins were the, you know, the visionaries of it. But when they won their lawsuit, they had all this money and I don’t know the full story but they basically found this card that had bitcoin – it had bitcoin in it. And it was one of those key cards of, you know, I’m trying to think. I don’t have one of those storage cards but they found one and they – and then – and then that’s how they started playing with bitcoin. And they ended up going all in on it. They basically put all their Facebook money into it. And they’ve now set up their own exchange in New York called Gemini and they’re – they’re great facilitators of this web3 movement. And they were – and Cameron Winklevoss said that, you know, at one, you know, soon you’ll be able to go into a coffee shop and, you know, purchase a cup of coffee but then also a percentage of stake in the company as well. And, I was like, I can now through Uphold, because it’s backed by Mastercard, I can go into a coffee shop and, you know, swipe it for coffee. Of course, I’ve also used that card for Craft Beer and Barbecue and my chef – my Cajun chef friend, you know, I but jambalaya off of him all the time with it.
FRASER: You know, just to prove that it’s not fake.
FRASER: Because I have a lot of friends, that you know, make fun of me and stuff. They think it’s, you know, it’s funny money or something like that but –
FRASER: — you know, so I like trolling them online to so.
CHAMBERS: But Winklevoss, he’s saying he’s going to give you equity if you use it.
FRASER: Yeah. So, I asked him. I go, can you explain how I would get, you know – you know, percentage of ownership of the company. And he said, well what can happen is, you know, through Ethereum they can offer equity tokens, you know, to their customer’s so I don’t know, I don’t know that space well enough to really go in deep on it but, technically it would be like, you know, buying a stock in the company all at the same time, you know, as getting your coffee. So, I think – I think moving forward you’re going to see the web3 movement, you know, powered by blockchain come through people like me because I’m already trying to learn how to develop websites on it. There’s a – and through Ethereum, that –
CHAMBERS: What’s Ethereum? What’s Ethereum?
FRASER: It’s a – it’s like a – it’s like bitcoin but it – it handles smart contracts. So, technically I don’t need, you know, a notary anymore. I don’t need a – I don’t need a lawyer anymore to, you know, to stamp off on a contract. You know, if I want to sell, you know, my house to you and, you know, here’s the contract and we run it through a, you know, Ethereum, and it’s all, you know, goes through the blockchain digital ledger. You know, it’s – it’s, you know, you sign it. We exchange money. And boom. It’s done. And that’s the – that’s the disruption that’s going to happen to, you know, the financial industry, banking industry is the decentralization of this through peer to peer. Same thing what Napster did to music, you know, a variation of this is going to happen with – with how I, you know, how I give you money. You know, how we share money, so to speak. Which – which I don’t know all the answers to but I – I know it’s coming, you know, because I went through the web 2.0 movement when most of the websites I was developing were flash based and then, you know, Steve Jobs came out with the iPhone and I’m like, “wow, this is a really cool phone.” And, you know, so I got one and I’m looking at all my websites and they don’t show up on that phone. And – and – and he later comes out and says, you know, flash will never be on the iPhone because it, you know, it’s a – it’s bloated, you know. It takes up too much, you know, battery life, you know, I’m like oh my gosh. Okay, so I know I have about six months to, you know, to really kind of figure out, you know, where I’m heading – where I’m going to move all my clients to because – because he doesn’t know that mobile – this type of phone is going to be the future. Whether it’s an iPhone or, you know, a variation of it. But then that’s when I found the wordpress community and it was a blog back then. And it opened up accessibility, you know, where, you know, clients can have access to their website. I’m not the gate keeper anymore. You know, they don’t have to go through me anymore. They can log in and they can make, you know, they can basically power their website once, you know, either they purchase a cheap theme, which disrupted my industry. Or – or they still have, you know, people like me develop the site and then I hand them the keys to run with it. Which – which scared a lot of developers. You know, a lot of them are like, forget this man. You know, and they just like left the industry all together because they thought it was ruined. There is no money in it. But I looked at it, you know, as a – I just said, you know what, I’m going to evolve along with it and, you know, it really opens up more collaboration between my client and, you know, the skills that I offer. And, you know, it’s a – it’s a, you know, moving forward, they don’t have time to do – they don’t have time to run their website so I’m still doing, you know, updates here and there. Obviously, you know, if you’re into content marketing, you know, you still need a search engine optimization strategy. So, so that – that kind of – I’ve always kind of evolved with disruptions. Try and –
FRASER: — look for the good – the greater good of things so, that’s – that’s – that’s how I kinda (sic) see the Web3 coming in to – to this space and I think – I think now would be a great time to transition to the Brave browser. Which is a blockchain based web browser, you know, like chrome, like safari, like google —
FRASER: — Firefox.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, so tell – you mentioned brave. I think I actually downloaded it. So, this is kind of interesting personal finance sort of, annual to this. So, tell us – tell us how this works and then in the end what are you left with and how that plays into commerce?
FRASER: Yeah. So, I think, you know, as this really takes more of a foothold, I think this type of – this is kinda (sic) like your crypto – crypto gateway drug. Download the brave browser for free. You know, it’s a great browser. It’s so much faster than all the other browsers out there because it blocks all your ad trackers. It blocks, you know, keeps your information private and that’s one of the benefits of the blockchain is that it locks that down. So, in – in this era, 2020, you know – you know, we saw what happened in the last election. You know, with, you know, with scary ads coming through on both sides. And, you know, this isn’t a one-sided story. You know, they’re both doing it. You know, they put these ads out there and they are using it off of your information, your data. You know, like Facebook, you know – you know, the big thing is, you know, on Facebook, they say that – they say that you’re the product of Facebook. It’s not really you, it’s your data. It’s what you do on Facebook and that’s what – that’s what Facebook sells at a premium, you know. So, brave browser eliminates that – that angle. So, anything that I’m surfing online, you know, they’re not – I’m not getting tracked. But this is where the interesting element is, is where you can opt into their ad platform. So, they’ll serve you up ads in the form of like a little notification and you can click to view it and then if you view it and give it attention then you earn – you earn money, basically. You earn a, it’s called a – a token – a basic attention token, B-A-T. And it trades just like a bitcoin does, you know. Day to day based on, you know, how many people are, you know, buying into its perceived value and all of that. But I think right now it trades at like anywhere from 25 cents up to 30 cents. Sometimes it spikes. Sometimes not. But at the end of the month, I just get my accumulated tokens. It goes into my wallet which I – which I – there’s a couple of them that you can use, that you can attach and brave makes it really easy. You just go through the steps and it stores the tokens there. And at that point, I can move that money wherever I want. I can – I can – I can convert it into bitcoin. I can move it out to regular money and then, you know, give it – if I’m working with you guys, then I can – I can – that can be part of the money that I’m investing. You know, so I think that’s the interesting merge that we’re going to see moving forward. Especially when a lot of people are out of work. You know, these types – the tokenization of the web and – is going to put a lot of people to work. It’s going to be interesting. I don’t know – I don’t know exactly how it all kinda (sic) unfolds but there’s going to be a lot of new opportunities for people to make money off the internet than just the traditional way that we know it, as of now.
CHAMBERS: Are there any other disruptions that you see coming, like you were talking about banking and things like brave browser and all of that. I mean, what else are we – what else are you seeing that we’re not seeing?
FRASER: Yeah, so that’s – that’s really the decentralization of the internet, you know, what happens to, you know, I mean once – once this catches on, when people know – when people realize how – how much they’re being exploited, you know, by apps, by all kinds of things –
FRASER: — you know, I think that’s when you see a tipping point, you know, to – to products like brave.
CHAMBERS: Okay. Well let me stop you right there. My kids, his kids, they’re, I mean my kids are teenagers. These guys don’t know a world without an iPhone. They literally do not know it.
CHAMBERS: So, you know, for that – for them, like, you know, the intellectual real-world relationship between the data and them, I don’t know. It’s hard – I think it’s – I guess I just want to — I resist that a little because I just don’t think they think about it at all. Not one bit. Those guys –
FRASER: Well, yeah. Yeah, so, yeah, so younger kids probably – yeah, they’re – they’re growing up with this in real time. So, yeah, they’re – they’re kind of intuitively aware, not so much of, you know, their data isn’t as valuable as people like us that, you know, that are –
FRASER: — out spending money on things every day or investing in things every day, or yeah. Just, you know, interacting with people every day like what are our likes, interests and all that. So, and that’s what – that’s what brands are looking for. So, I think you’re going to – you’re going to – you’re going to see social networks get more private. You know, I – unless – unless they kind of, you know, self-police themselves and, you know, give up a little bit of that, you know, advertising money and not, you know, not get as deep with the – with their search graph. You know, where they – where they sell data but that’ – that’s to be – that’s to be seen, I guess. Yeah, so, that’s a big gray area there.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. It will be interesting to see how it play out. Is there any real-world applications for blockchain that you want to discuss?
FRASER: Well, I mean, we just – we just went through that with brave.
FRASER: I mean that’s –
CHAMBERS: Okay, so any others than that?
FRASER: Well, if there’s – there’s the wallets and the cryptocurrency exchanges. They’re getting easier and easier to work with where you can move crypto to regular money, back and forth. I do see – I do see changes in like the Robinhood app, where – where now they allow incremental shares being bought. Like you can buy, just like 50 dollars’ worth of Apple instead of, you know, having to buy a full share.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, so you mentioned Robinhood. Why don’t you – I tell you what, what’s Robinhood and then go into that a little bit deeper.
FRASER: Yeah, so I guess that would be a do it yourselfer investing app, right? Where, you know, they give you a bunch of information that you can run with it and you can invest on your own, however you want. You know, it’s kind of like the wild west. They have a money card associated to it. You know, so you can move money. You can buy – there’s only three cryptos in there right now. Bitcoin, Ethereum – maybe there’s a couple but really bitcoin and Ethereum are the only ones you really want to pay attention to inside of that app. Yeah, so I mean, it’s kind of like the trend of – of what – what wordpress did to my world. I think, you know, where you feel like, oh my god, I’m not the gatekeeper anymore. Especially for a bank. Like if I was a bank right now, you know, I would be like, you know, red flags everywhere. It won’t happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in three years maybe. But after around five years from now, you know, maybe we don’t even need a bank anymore. I mean, it’s – it’s pretty – it’s pretty crazy. Especially when – when people get used to – when people really get used to moving money around from their phone. Because you’re going to go to the grocery store and you’re going to open up you’re Apple wallet, and you’re going to say what am I going to pay this for? You know, what am I going to pay today? I can use this credit card. I can use this bank debit card. Or I can use, you know, I can pay with bitcoin if I want. It’s going to be that fluid. Because I’m – because I’m doing it now in the uphold with my uphold card. I don’t know if I have it on me.
CHAMBERS: So that’s a credit card that’s sort of tied to it or the debit card or whatever?
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah, it’s just a beautiful green card looks just like everything else.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. So, this is what you buy your IPA’s and other –
FRASER: Yep. And, yeah, I went – I went on a little weekend excursion with some high school buddies and one of them is a financial advisor and he always gets emotional about cryptocurrency and stuff like that.
CHAMBERS: Why? What, does he think it’s a bunch of malarky?
FRASER: Yeah. He says it’s a scam and stuff like that. And so, you know, when it came time – when it came time, you know, to buy the – to pay for the beers, I’m like, no – no, you know, I got it. I got it.
CHAMBERS: Right. Of course.
FRASER: And then after I signed it and stuff like that, I looked at him like hey man, I just bought – I just bought these beers with crypto.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. It’s sort of like the points. I was telling Blake here, you’re a huge – you’re big into points using credit cards and stuff.
CHAMBERS: And it’s – it’s kind of like that. But do you want to talk about blockchains? We occasionally get, what’s bitcoin doing today and the volatility of it.
PARO: Well it’s two different issues. Cryptocurrency versus –
PARO: — blockchain.
PARO: Our stance, or my personal stance, on cryptocurrency has always been, it’s hidden and it’s somewhat nefarious in terms of it – it’s intentioness (sic) to be hidden and protected. And anonymous so you gotta (sic) be careful if you’re going to put your earnings, your money, your value with that pool of money, be careful who you are in bed with because you’re also dealing with nefarious, by nature, people in a nefarious environment. And so, I – I don’t know how much translation that has into the future barter, in terms of the economy or transactions. There’s certainly potential for it. The blockchain aspect of it is, and tell me your opinion on this, the blockchain technology and its ability to scale into different industries and uses has far, far greater potential, in my mind.
FRASER: Right. But the thing is, everything in the future through blockchain is going to be tokenized as well. So, there is – this is my tip of the day, I guess. I’m really – I’m really bullish with this company called VeChain and it is a Chinese based company and they run a supply chain management, you know, through the blockchain. And, you know, so you gotta (sic) do your homework on, you know, who you’re investing in. Because that’s the thing is with the cryptocurrencies is, they’re backed by a company that, you know, it’s just like a stock. You know, there – you – you’re, you know, you’re banking on their performance. You’re banking on their history. You know and –
PARO: so to speak.
FRASER: Yeah. And with VeChain, they’re already working with Walmart China. They’re already working with BMW. They’re already working with one of the biggest natural gas suppliers over in China. And they’re already using their technology for – for supply chain – all their supply chain things that they do. And it’s only trading at like under two cents now because it’s brand new. But the most – the thing you want to look at is, you know, what – what their proof of work is and the skies the limit for companies like that. So that’s like a – other, you know, that’d be like another example of braves, you know, brave software is a browser running through the blockchain, you know. And they – and they – and they – they, you know, they offer that – that basic attention token. VeChain has a, you know, they – they’re – they go through Ethereum where it’s a contract, you know, based platform and people trade on that. They have — they have underlying tokens underneath VeChain as well, so, where people can invest into it, you know, based on the performance of their company. And then, you know, then it’s just like a – a stock market in that regard, you know, where there’s, you know, it – it’s accepted – it doesn’t stop at 4 p.m. Hint. Hint. On the weekends like it is 24/7, so. It’s a little different. A little different world but the – the, I mean the gist of it is the same, you know, the same thing as, you know, what happens, you know, in our market. In our traditional markets. So, I think – I think in the future, you’re going to see, you know, I mean there – there’s tons of them out there now but that’s the one that I really like. And then there’s another one called Chainlink which has a lot of possibilities. But the good thing is with blockchain is it – it is a digital ledger so, you can track, you know, everything is above board how it tracks through the blockchain and how it gets stamped and validated. There are – yeah, there are some currencies that are – that are more hidden. The risk is just user error, you know, at this point. I don’t – I mean the code – the code itself can’t be hacked just because of the way it was produced and put out there and decentralized. So, not – so there’s not one entity that can control it but what can happen is, either, you know, you use a – a crpyto-exchange that can get hacked which you hear about. That’s why, you know, you want to use someone like Gemini or Coinbase or, you know, make it easy to move money from crypto to traditional fiat money and then, you know, then you can invest it the traditional way. Or sit on it. You know, I mean at that point it’s, you know, all liquid, you know, you got it. But, yeah, I – there – there’s –
CHAMBERS: Hey —
FRASER: What’s that?
CHAMBERS: Yeah, I can see one day, ten years, twenty years down the line where this is part of, potentially, somebody’s portfolio. Either something they’ve gotten themselves or eventually the market develops where you have really stable understandable by the consumer products that then, you know are legitimate parts of people’s portfolios, to a degree, you know. But right now, it’s – just — just a new market that’s developing and it’s just absolutely fascinating. We look at the charts occasionally of bitcoin and the volatility is just unbelievable which is what you would expect in new market, in the early part of the market, you know. It really staged the market.
FRASER: Yeah and it was interesting to see, you know, how it – how it handled the pandemic that we’re in. It did initially drop but then now it’s – now it’s back up, you know, trading over ten grand again too, so. And it didn’t need any, you know, there is no money injected into it either, so. It’s a – it has a ten-year record of positivity. I mean, yeah, there’s dramatic ups and downs but –
FRASER: — it – that’s only because, you know, early people that got in early, you know, they just cash out when it spikes and then, you know –
FRASER: — it moves the market.
PARO: Do you believe in, in talking about bitcoin or cryptocurrency, do you believe that some country somewhere will eventually adopt 100 percent cryptocurrency versus their own fiat money?
FRASER: I believe, yeah, you know, Venezuela, China, you know, they could – they could – they could develop a variation, you know, they can develop their own kind of token, based off, you know, that stems off of bitcoin. But, yeah, I mean everything is going to be tokenized. I mean, technically when I go into the gas station and, you know, and I buy, you know, buy my gas or – or, you know, some convient store items and I – and I take my apple watch and scan it, you know, there’s no, you know, I don’t have, you know, paper money with me. You know, it’s – it’s, you know, a US dollar, you know, obviously, it’s US money and it – and it goes and it gets, you know, encrypted and, you know, and gets transferred that way. So, —
CHAMBERS: With – with a little dig on the transfer fee all the way. You know what I mean. Those are the – those are the companies that are making money.
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. That’s where I’ve seen Mastercard being really smart right now because they’re embracing – they’re the big backers of – they back the Apple card. They back – they back this Uphold card and I think they back the Robinhood car too so –
CHAMBERS: I assume you transferred from the token into the actual card where you buy the beer with it. I’m assuming you’re going to be charged a little dig for that transfer? You gotta (sic) —
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah. So, there’s a — there’s like a little conversion fee that happens.
CHAMBERS: That you get hit with?
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah.
CHAMBERS: Got it.
FRASER: It’s like when you purchase something online, there’s that little tax or – or if you – or if you get money from PayPal, you know, PayPal takes their fee. So, yeah there is – there is that fee.
PARO: Processing fee.
PARO: Or currency exchange where they process –
PARO: — So let’s say a country adopts this. What in your opinion is the impact globally and what does that look like for exchange globally and what does that look like for global currency transactions?
FRASER: You know, it – with these digital wallets that are – that I have now, whether is Abra or Coinbase, I can move crypto around. I can move regular money around to all these different currencies already. Like, you know, if I want to go to Euro or to Yen or, you know, whatever. I mean, I can – there’s – there’s all those currencies that are – that are in there. Traditional and nontraditional. So, I think – I think traveling, I think it will be a lot easier traveling. I won’t have to run everything through my American Express, you know, to get the best conversion rate because I think, you know, whatever app, wallet I’m using, you know, I can just use the card associated with – with it. I think – I think that’s where – that’s where things get really interesting with how things move forward. Because there’s going to be such an easier flow of money between all of these currencies and new jobs that come from companies like, you know, that are giving out rewards. You know. I think – I think – I think a lot of jobs, or I mean, I think a lot of companies are coming back to have things made in America but at the same time, technology wiped out a lot of the workforce so, you know, there’s things that can be done now with – with AI and robots and, you know, machinery and things like that, so they won’t need as many workers. So, I think blockchain is going to, I think that’s going to be one of the drivers that fill the void of the need, of you know, of future work.
CHAMBERS: Or future revenue generation?
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, you guys swim along with it, you know, there going to be – it’s an easier crossover, you know, to do what you guys do.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, that’ll – it’ll be interesting to see. I don’t know.
FRASER: Well, if I –
CHAMBERS: But I think this has a lot of like personal finance applications to it, you know, which is kinda (sic) what we’re talking about and – and (inaudible) I mean, Blake often talks to clients about, you know – you know, use your credit card to buy things and build up points and work the point system. And also, it’s a safe – it’s much safer. You can’t – you’d be amazed how many people use a debit card; you know.
FRASER: Right. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t – yeah, my debit card doesn’t leave my house.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, and that’s critical, right. I mean, that’s a big –
PARO: It’s a direct line to the kitchen sink.
PARO: So, you know, so that guy that’s vulnerable to, that’s the worst case scenario.
FRASER: But here’s like a —
PARO: — comprised and there you go. You have no protection on the back end.
FRASER: Right. So, I mean here’s like a future situation for me. Say I – say right now, I currently own 700,000 VeChains? And it’s trading at two cents. If it’s projecting the way I think, you know, in maybe another couple years, that VeChain token will be, you know, ten dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars a token. So, then I’m at a point where, hey, okay, what’s 700,000 times 50? You know, this is what I got. So now I’m in an interesting position where, you know, do I let it ride in there? Do I move it? Where am I moving it? You know, do I withdraw it? Talk to you guys? You invest it? You know, so that – I think those are situations that aren’t that far off. Well, I mean they’re already here. When bitcoin went – spiked to twenty thousand a coin back in ‘17, whatever, ‘18. So I’m sure that happened a lot but I think that’ s going to be a regular occurrence, you know –
PARO: So, at year end then you get to deal with us and the biggest part of all of it is investor behavior.
PARO: Then it becomes the emotional game and if it spikes to 20, you’re, you know, you move it out. You do something different with it, etcetera –
PARO: — and then now you’re just playing the human emotion game.
FRASER: Right and I said –
PARO: That’s all we do is monitor – monitor and manage those investor emotions.
FRASER: Yeah. And I’m sitting at that table and I’m like what do I do? What do I do now?
CHAMBERS: All right, anything on the greater crypto, bitcoin, blockchain that we need to cover before we cover Charlie three leg? Anything we have left on the table for this particular edition?
FRASER: Yeah. I think we’ve covered –
CHAMBERS: All right.
FRASER: — we’ve covered a lot.
CHAMBERS: What I’m hearing is Facebook monetizes my data so, what I’m hearing is with brave, I’m actually going to monetize my data?
CHAMBERS: Okay, good. Perfect.
FRASER: Yeah. Or you know, google. You know google –
FRASER: — tracks the you know what out of you.
CHAMBERS: Got it.
FRASER: You know, and even if you don’t use brave, there’s another search engine out there called DuckDuckGo. And it is strictly privacy based so, you know, you’re not going to get exploited via the google mothership.
CHAMBERS: I like it. This is good tips. All right, switching gears. Unless, Mr. Paro, do you have anything else to chat about?
PARO: Switch gears.
CHAMBERS: Pints, Forks and Friends. Blake and I are actually – we were strategizing – we’re going to do – smoke a butt because this man can absolutely crush it on the smoker.
FRASER: Ooh, I know.
CHAMBERS: (Inaudible) we were debating techniques, you know, with rosemary and garlic and some marinade among other stuff. But anyway that segways into you are big food guy and you have — and tell us about Pints, Forks and Friends and then Three Legged Charlie, your three – yeah three legged Charlie. That’s hilarious.
FRASER: So, Pints, Forks and Friends was a concept of me getting tired of joining all these networking groups and chambers of commerce’s. I got so tired of that kind of thing so what I wanted to do was create my own network, so to speak, around things that I like. So, craft beer and food, you know, and in particular barbecue. There’s a huge segment in our – in my community that are barbecue heads so it’s a great paring. You know, craft beer and barbecue are like, you know, peanut butter and jelly. So, I just really just, you know, in my spare time, you know, just worked the social media channels. You know, following other influencers. I followed people that were sharing a lot of content that were related to craft beer. Me being, obviously, a wordpress developer, I created a more news – a news style site where, you know, I would reach out to bloggers, you know, if they wanted to contribute any – any – any content to the website, you know. If there any articles or anything like that, you know, it’s free. You know, just really, just trying to get – get their name out there and – and, you know, get – get the Pints, Forks and Friends name out there so it was a win-win for both of them. Then I started doing meet ups, you know, around town. And it – it – it sucks because right before COVID, I took over two groups on meetup.com, totaling probably around five thousand additional members from them. And they had, you know, I mean we’re – you know, it’s going to fire back up as soon as everything’s safe. But we had sponsors, you know, at certain breweries and sponsors at certain restaurants and, you know, people be – take a tour of the place but really it was the synergy of bringing people together around common interests. You know, and – and at – and at that point there’s no agenda. Just interesting to kind of, you know, watch people, you know, they start following each other. Then they develop relationships and then, you know, it – it – there’s – there’s great collaboration now. Great synergy and I’ve picked up work from that. And then I’ve also parlayed it into my business. If I’m working with a – a restaurant or a food truck or a brewery, you know, I already have a – a kind of a pre-defined audience, you know, willing to buy from them too. So, it’s a – that’s what I call a content community that’s very active and if I come across a rub that I like for barbecue, you know, I’ll share it in that community. And then – then –
PARO: Perhaps —
PARO: Perhaps some smoking wood from Rockwood, maybe.
FRASER: Yep. There you go. That’s some great wood, too.
PARO: Yes they do.
CHAMBERS: He – Blake cooked a butt a couple weeks ago. I’m about to put something on –
PARO: With some Cherry Rockwood?
CHAMBERS: Yeah. Yeah.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. And I’m working through a draft and an image of a post that’s on there because our – you know, we love food. So, it’s a big part of our brand. And I think that’s – so what you’re doing is super cool.
PARO: And if we could add one more letter to the PFF, maybe at the beginning or the end? Maybe a B somewhere in there for maybe, bourbon? I don’t know, that goes hand in hand.
CHAMBERS: Now it’s Pints, — yeah.
FRASER: So, the grand scheme, right, is to –
FRASER: — build – keep building this up. Building up. Building up. Then – them convert this community into a brick and mortar to where it – to where it is. Truly Pints, Forks and Friends, you know, where there’s, you know, start – bring all the Bs in there. We’ll have barbecue, bourbon, boils –
FRASER: — beer.
FRASER: Yeah. So, it’ll all be there. I probably want to, like a top shelf of tequilas too because I really like that.
CHAMBERS: And if it doesn’t get that far and it just ends up being you and a couple of buddies in the backyard, that’s fine too, right? Yeah.
FRASER: You know, that – one of the great hashtags is #backyardbarbecue.
CHAMBERS: Oh yeah.
FRASER: It’s phenomenal.
CHAMBERS: And you’re up to 25, 30 thousand followers?
FRASER: Correct. Yeah.
CHAMBERS: Yep. Great. That’s awesome man. I mean you can’t – it takes a lot to get that many. I mean, you know, that’s – that’s a lot of time and effort, so. And then real quick, we’re – we’re big dog fans, you know, adopting dogs. Alex, our senior partner, just adopted a dog a couple months ago. Tell us about three leg.
FRASER: Yep. Charlie three – Charlie three leg. Yep.
FRASER: He’s – he’s a – don’t know what happened to him. We think he got hit by a car because he – really all he cares about when we take him out for walks is, you know, where all the ladies are at.
FRASER: But he – they told us he was fixed so I don’t – he’s still trying to get after it. And he just puts his nose down and, you know, he’s all about where’s all the action at.
CHAMBERS: But he –
FRASER: But, yeah –
CHAMBERS: He’s missing a leg?
FRASER: Yeah. You know, he’s hopping.
CHAMBERS: He’s a tripod, you said.
FRASER: Yeah, the tripod. Yeah.
CHAMBERS: He’s a tripod. That’s hilarious.
FRASER: Yeah, so he – he’s been a – just a joy for us. Especially just going through, you know, all the ups and downs of 2020.
FRASER: We – we got him in late January.
FRASER: You know, he was kind of real quiet but now that it’s a – you know, he’s been with us for, you know, almost a year. He, you know, he’s really blossomed. You know, his little personality has come out.
FRASER: So, at this point in my life, moving forward, rescue is the way to go. It’s a, you know, you’re doing a great thing.
FRASER: And, we donate to the rescue, the local rescue up here routinely now. And –
CHAMBERS: What’s that rescue called? We’ll give a little shout out to them.
FRASER: One of a Kind Pets and they’re in Akron, Ohio.
FRASER: Home of –
CHAMBERS: Yeah, we’re big supporters of that local scene here too. Participating in a cool event called the Fur Ball.
PARO: For the Wake — Wake County chapter of the SPCA.
CHAMBERS: Yeah, which is really well run. They’ve got a relatively new director in the past couple of years and she’s on it. And it’s just a great – great thing to do for yourself and obviously animals, so.
FRASER: Sure. Well talking about Pints, Forks and Friends, so my wife and I, we had a little side business about – about ten years ago and it was a dog – we made dog toys and it was called Mud Puppet and I still have all the channels active and I still have the website active even though we’re not – we’re not selling the toys anymore. So now Charlie came into our lives and it’s like, you know, maybe we should do like a little three-legged toy.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. The tripod.
FRASER: Yeah. And so, I – you know, so Charlie is a public figure on Instagram now.
FRASER: Charlie three leg, same hashtag and I’m talking to a pet company that creates supplements for dogs.
CHAMBERS: Oh, okay.
FRASER: So, Charlie could be an influencer for them.
PARO: That’s great. That’s funny. I’ll tell you, so my wife started a business a number of years ago. She’s since closed – closed it up. She made dog collars.
CHAMBERS: I didn’t know that.
PARO: Yeah. She sold it. Traveled and sold them at trade shows. I’d go with her, so. All different sizes and variations. Like good quality dog collars. So that —
PARO: — a fun venture for her.
CHAMBERS: You know, you think you know a guy. And then he just pulls this out, you know what I mean?
PARO: I still think we have a whole bunch in a bin somewhere sored away.
CHAMBERS: I can’t believe I don’t own one myself. And certainly, give one to him. I mean, Mike (inaudible). He’s’ trying to get rid of them.
PARO: I’m sure there’s some holiday ones. Halloween as well as Christmas, perhaps, in there that are still left around.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. There’s some fur on fur version. It’s the pimped-up fur. Your dog’s fur’s not good enough. We’re going to have fur on this too.
FRASER: Yep. There you go.
CHAMBERS: I got it. That’s awesome. Well, Mike Frazier, form the greater Ohio, Buckeye – we just actually brought on a client who was an Ohio kid and he’s all fired up to get his football back.
FRASER: Yeah. What part? Where is he –
CHAMBERS: I don’t know. I got to — I don’t know.
PARO: What part of Ohio, specifically?
PARO: We’d have to go back and ask him.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. But, anyway. I – he’s a good guy and he’s extremely fired up about getting football back, so I’m sure you are.
FRASER: Yeah. Yeah, it’s – it is a huge – huge thing up here. Especially when the weather gets ugly, you know.
FRASER: There’s not much to do. So.
CHAMBERS: And also, when your home state teams are Cleveland and Cinnce?
CHAMBERS: I think – well, anyway. We won’t go into that. All right, well listen, man. Thank you for the time. We’ll do this again. We’ll review the tape and maybe do this topic again.
FRASER: Oh yeah, for sure. We just kind of touched on things. Kind of generically, so, yeah.
CHAMBERS: Yeah. It’s good for people to know about and I – and I, you know, it’s definitely playing a role and going to play a role in our futures and how we move money around and maybe even our assets to a large degree. I don’t know, but anyway. All right, brother, thank you so much for the time. We’ll do this again. I’ll talk to you soon.
FRASER: All right, guys. I appreciate it.
PARO: See ya.
CHAMBERS: Thanks a lot.
Blake Paro – Full Bio
Blakes began his career in the financial industry in 2003 when he went to work for A.G. Edwards with his future partners at Olde Raleigh Financial, Alex Mihajlov and Kathy Duckworth. All three acquired perspective and wisdom via an unexpected journey through Wachovia Securities, Wells Fargo Advisors, escaping to Raymond James, and ultimately transitioning into the Independent Investment Advisory status.“Our practice is in the ‘personal finance business’. So, any strategy we suggest we personally invest in. Why would it be any other way?. As an Independent Advisory firm we must uphold the obligation to go find the best solutions for our clients. They pay us to make decisions in their best interest and under no uncertain terms there is a lot riding on those decisions.”
Trevor Chambers – Full Bio
Trevor joined Olde Raleigh Financial Services in January of 2015 and his primary role is new business development and marketing. Prior to joining the firm, Trevor spent 12 years working at his family’s restaurant, Raleigh’s Bella Monica Cucina & Vino. “Exceptional service, no matter the industry, is paramount and we attract clients who value and take comfort in being taken care of.”
Michael Fraser – Full Bio
Michael Fraser is an award winning visual communication entrepreneur that started his business in 1999 after working for a few local Advertising/Marketing Agencies. Michael has a BFA from the University of Akron and an alumni of their prestigious Design X Nine Program. For over 20 years he has worked on large national accounts all the way down to local start-ups. Michael is a regular speaker at WordPress (Wordcamp) Events, and has been invited to speak at both The Ohio State University and the University of Akron. He has a passion for helping businesses grow with effective business communication focusing on corporate branding, social media, and digital marketing. Michael’s professional goals are to provide hands-on business communication ideas, digital marketing, and quality corporate branding which involves multiple business touchpoints. Michael builds media properties and grows social communities around common interests, thoughts, and ideas. The outcome has been a sustained business model that is thriving. Mike runs Pints, Forks and Friends (Google it) and he and his wife rescued Charlie3leg – a tripod dog.