Ryan Dennis fills in for Zach Q this week as we cover some of the latest topics in crypto. Then Evan interviews Gabriel Shepherd from Hosho to recap what happened at the first ever "Hoshocon" blockchain security conference.
1:50 - 2016 Indian banknote demonetization
6:20 - 0x (ZRX) listed on Coinbase
11:40 - Tether (USDT) unpegged from USD?
21:30 - TRON (TRX) partnership with Baidu
31:10 - Fidelity Digital Assets
45:15 - Interview with Gabe Shepherd from Hosho
01:01:00 - Zach Q can't bowl
Watch on YouTube:
The ICO Alert Roundtable Podcast is a casual discussion between members of the ICO Alert team. At no point is anything said in this podcast to be construed as legal, tax, financial or investment advice. For the sake of transparency, members of this week's Roundtable own the following cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tron and EOS.
Evan: Boom, boom. We are back with another episode of the Roundtable. You may have noticed something a little bit different about my co-host here.
You look a little bit different today Q.
Evan: Is it the hair, did you get a haircut?
Ryan: My haircut isn't the same, but feeling good.
Evan: So obviously Zach Quezada not here, but we've got my main man Ryan Dennis filling in for him.
Ryan: So happy to be here. These are big shoes to fill, but I'm sure I'll do a little bit better than him 'cause I'm a Giants fan instead of a Cowboys fan, naturally do everything better, so this should be fun.
Evan: So there's a rumor on the streets that the reason Zach couldn't make it is because he's still a little bit under the weather from Hosho Con.
Ryan: Oh Hosho Con in Las Vegas? Why would you be sick after something in Las Vegas?
Evan: Yeah, a boring place, but you know we're going to have Gabe Shep, Gabe Shepherd from Hosho on to talk about Hosho Con and we took a couple of digs at him, so Zach Quezada if you're out there watching just know that no good deed goes unpunished around here. So the fact that you didn't make it on the show we made sure to note it.
Evan: So anyway Ryan you and I are here, we're going to dive into some topics. I know we were out last week, it was because we were traveling out to Las Vegas but there was some big news. I want to start it off by just correcting the record on one thing that happened on our last episode. We had a comment from Alain [Fornier 00:02:00], he said, "Hey guys enjoying the podcast, but you are wrong about India. India made their two highest denomination notes the 500 rupee and the 1000 rupee illegal in November 2016."
Evan: So to give you guys a little bit of context about this, we were talking about how I enjoy Bitcoin, I don't think that it has really reached its full potential because there hasn't been enough government interaction with currencies as of late to really make the modern world and the first world realize the power of Bitcoin, the power of this uncontrolled currency. So I was mentioning India and I didn't have all the facts right and Alain came in and corrected the record. So I did a little bit of research and I just want to read this because this is a super fascinating story for anyone that doesn't know.
Evan: So on the 8th of November 2016 the government of India announced the demonetization of all 500 rupee and 1000 rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi series. It also announced the issuance of new 500 and 2000 rupee banknotes in exchange for the demonetized banknotes. Now listen to this, "Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization in an unscheduled live televised address at 20 hundred hours Indian standard time on the 8th of November. In the announcement PM Modi declared that the use of all 500 rupee notes and 1000 rupee banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi series would be invalid past midnight."
Ryan: Wow, so you have dollars that you can't use.
Evan: So you have four hours or your bills are going to be unable to be used.
Ryan: I think that's called a burn isn't it?
Evan: They pretty much burned their currency.
Ryan: Yeah, that's-
Evan: And so the government claimed that the action would curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism. Apparently it caused deaths, there was that many people rushing in line to trade in their currencies, and I don't know if it was midnight the next night or ... Can you imagine if Donald Trump got on television in an unannounced press conference and said, "Hey everyone out there, any of your 20 dollar bills you have right now, they don't work, you gotta get rid of them." And people had to rush to the bank to trade in for whatever currency that the government all of a sudden wishes.
Ryan: Well if you did that there probably wouldn't be an announcement here in the US because the treasury kind of does their own thing, but like when was the last time you saw a ... I feel like less and less I see ten dollar bills. You know. I feel like they print maybe hundreds and ones or twenties, but I don't really see ten dollar bills that often. I see a lot of fives. But I mean, I think it's normal for you to burn your currency, the fact that people were dying that's really sad, trying to trade it in, but-
Evan: Well you have to consider that India's probably largely a cash society compared to the US, so so many people there are using cash that when the prime ministers gets on TV and says, "Those 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes you have right now, unless you trade them in at midnight you lose that money."
Ryan: If they're smart they'll burn all of their currency, so they became a cashless society.
Evan: Well, and [crosstalk 00:05:15]-
Ryan: All the way right now.
Evan: So apparently that was the point, was that so they could track and monitor transactions and make it easier for taxation and things like that, but to do it in such a crazy manner and so soon-
Ryan: I feel bad for the maybe handicapped, disabled people or older people.
Evan: Or people who missed the announcement or I mean, people who were ... You know you're dealing with something else and all of a sudden now half your money's gone, like holy shit.
Ryan: Like say your grandpappy has all of these bills under his mattress in the old house and they're useless in a year.
Evan: That's crazy. So it's just another example out there of why I think Bitcoin really hasn't reached its full potential. These kind of things happen in the developing world and they're going to happen more and more as governments move forward, they collect this debt, inflation goes through the roof and I think that Bitcoin, it really is going to be the solution to a lot of these problems out here.
Evan: So anyway, I wanted to correct the record on that from our last episode. Thank you so much Alain Fornier, we would knight you, but Q's not here to do the knighting, so we're just going to move onto some other news for you guys.
Evan: So big news. This was from last Thursday. ZRX listed on Coinbase Pro. The first listing on Coinbase for a while I believe.
Ryan: Yeah, I love when Coinbase list things, 'cause I buy it and it dumps and I lose money. I love losing money, it's great.
Evan: So Ryan I know you yourself, you're not a huge price speculator, but we like to get into a little speculation on our show, we like to keep people entertained. So ZRX, that's the ticker symbol for Zero X, it's on a nice price jump actually on the day of the announcement from 65 cents to around 83 cents, which was on a red day for most of the market. And so this leads me to believe that there could be an opportunity out there. Again, never investment advice coming out of ICO Alert, but Coinbase right now they're still testing from an announcement, I believe that was back in July or June, they're still testing Basic Attention Token, Cardano, Stellar and Z Cash, so you know, Ry, I know you're not a big time speculator, but which one of these do you think will be next and will see the same jump from one of these coins if they get listed on Coinbase next?
Ryan: Well I think it adds legitimacy to ZRX immediately. I always say [inaudible 00:07:31] Coinbase is probably the most underrated or most legitimate crypto company out there right now. They're dabbling in work with Facebook, so what they do it has serious consequences.
Evan: Yeah it makes waves.
Ryan: It does and so it adds a lot of legitimacy to ... So I say you gotta look into ZRX and say what are they doing right, what have they built, why would Coinbase be interested in them? I think it's pretty interesting that they're listing it with BTC and with the Euro, but not like an Eth switch. So it's interesting that you can trade the pair, but there's no Ethereum trading pair quite yet.
Ryan: So I was reading about the stages of how they're launching. It's pretty interesting, so people who have Eth, a lot of Eth and want to trade it in for some ZRX they can't really do it right away, but-
Evan: There's also no Fiat buying yet.
Ryan: Oh really?
Evan: Yeah, so whenever someone says ... We need to make a distinction here, because when someone says you're listed on Coinbase the first thing you think of is, "Oh holy shit, everyone and their mother who wants to buy Bitcoin for the first time can now go on Coinbase and they'll see Zero X as an option." That's not necessarily true. Coinbase launched Coinbase Pro which is their exchange essentially, and this ZRX is on the exchange right now, but as far as I know there's no Fiat buying yet. It's just going to be trading on Coinbase Pro, but that could be the first step into that eventual sign onto Coinbase.com and you see ZRX as an option to buy with Fiat.
Ryan: I think it's cool, but I don't know, I think it's kind of lame to have ... No shame on Coinbase, but I think just the name Pro for these paid services, when are we going to get away from that? Its so cheesy, it's like you're not a professional unless you got the cash, unless you're rich, unless you subscribe. It's like, so we're all amateur crypto traders or owners or-
Evan: Is it like Coinbase.com is Coinbase amateur now and you have to be on Coinbase Pro-
Ryan: Exactly, I mean, that's extremely capitalist, I think it's an idea from the big banks, you can be a pro and not pay to have a subscription. So maybe something like Elite, or Elitist.
Ryan: Upper echelon.
Evan: Coinbase Bougy.
Ryan: Yeah, I guess pro is so short, that's why websites use it. Coinbase Bougy.
Evan: Hit up Coinbase Bougy for all the top new trading coins out there.
Ryan: Yeah, but I think Coinbase is a very smart company. I think Brian Armstrong at the helm, I'd put my money on him, I look at him as one of the LeBrons of the industry in terms of making an impact. And he's worked with a lot of fantastic people, he has some of the smartest people on his team. I think it adds a lot of interest to Coinbase Pro, we're talking about Coinbase Pro, why would we be interested in it any other way.
Ryan: And I think that what I like about Coinbase is they put out content immediately on why they are doing things, it's very fleshed out, it's not some skeevy, shady announcement that we've seen a lot in cryptocurrency. They put up the medium article immediately and there's some clarity on it. So they tell you where and how you can get it, so Coinbase, shout out to you, you're making waves, we're talking about you on the Roundtable so you're more legitimate than ever now.
Evan: Good job Coinbase, you're more legitimate now that ICO Alert's talking about you.
Evan: And you know for those of you out there that maybe you're not familiar with ZRX, you're not familiar with what they do, ZRX was created to streamline Ethereum token trading off chain, so essentially users can retains their tokens in privately held wallets and be able to exchange them across platforms for other ERC 20 tokens without having to go through an exchange and not have the custody of your tokens. Most of the time when you put your tokens onto an exchange, if you're familiar with it you actually have to put it into a wallet where you don't own the private keys, little bit of risk involved in that. So ZRX helps people retain safety and actually be able to quickly transfer things without fees. So ZRX they're in the headlines.
Anyway let's move along here, we've got a couple of different things that cover other big news. This was actually from yesterday. Tether took a crazy dump.
Evan: I think it was Sunday night into Monday. And so I'm a little bit on the fence here because-
Ryan: How did that happen, I'm trying to think about how that happens?
Evan: Well, we have our thoughts about Tether around here, I personally would not Tether down or Tether up however they say it, because I don't think that Tether has been properly audited and they're changing banks and a lot of shady shit's going on with them. But someone in the office said that the news was that I think it was three USD pegged tokens has just gotten listed on OKX, which is one of the bigger exchanges, and someone was showing me a chart that Tether had actually dumped down to 63 cents or something crazy like that. And it's come back up since, but it was interesting to look at one of these peg tokens, it's called True USD, which the ticker is TUSD, which is going to confuse the shit out of everyone, because the Tether ticker is USDT. So now we have TUSD.
And this was listed on OKX, it's built on the Eth protocol which is huge news because it actually allows you to pull it off the exchange. So the biggest problem right now with Tether is that people are trying to pull it off an exchange or they're trying to actually exchange it through Tether.com or Tether.io or whatever the hell the website is and they're actually not able to do that, because for whatever reason Tether's not liquid, it's seems like it's just a tool used to help people overcome volatility in the market, but it's not actually redeemable for any US dollars.
So this new True USD you can pull it off an exchange, you can move it to another exchange, and another big thing about it was ... And this is according to Forbes, they're actually held in custodial accounts by FDIC insured banks. So you know that it's audited, you know that these banks have their books in order, and it seems like this could be one of the currencies that is the true peg moving forward for the US dollar.
Ryan: Well two notes, number one you don't know that these banks have their numbers in order. That's why crypto exists.
Evan: Skeptic, I love it.
Ryan: You know, I don't think that ... They can manipulate that-
Evan: That's right.
Ryan: But for anybody that doesn't know what a Tether is, it's not like tetherball when you miss and then your arm gets rash from the rope, you know tether ball's a very fun game.
Evan: Tetherball is a classic, an American classic.
Ryan: I don't think it's the best analogy because tether balls always go shorter or longer on the strings.
Evan: Well I think Tether is because it's the ball is tied to the pole.
Evan: So maybe if you think of the US dollar as the pole.
Ryan: So it's tied to a pole that continuously sinks for eternity.
Ryan: Got it, okay. Well for those who don't know-
Evan: How's your tether ball game, by the way?
Ryan: Well, it's pretty good, I played a lot-
Ryan: At Scarsdale municipal pool back in the day-
Ryan: So if anybody wants to challenge me, come through. I'm ready.
Evan: What is the point of tetherball? Isn't it to get the ball to wrap around the pole?
Ryan: You want to get it wrapped, whether you're playing counterclockwise or clockwise you want to get your ball wrapped around that way, so the other person's trying to stop it. Very painful if you get smacked in the face by it. It happens.
Anyway. Tether ball's a very fun game, shout out to all my bocce ball players as well, rugby-
Ryan: Any kind of balls you're playing with pause. But I think that if you're really going to be honest with what kind of Tether you're going to be buying into, be very cognizant. I think you're making a good point, you don't understand the difference between TUSD and USDT, it's not like Diet Coke and Coke Zero, they're very different. There's different companies backing these and checking these books in order. When you're buying Tether you're not actually buying dollars. It's kind of like what people are concerned about with ETFs and Bitcoin, are you actually buying Bitcoin, are you buying shares that are backed by a bank to be Bitcoin which is kind of ironic for the point of what Bitcoin is.
These are sometimes called stable coins, people believe that if it's tied to a dollar then it's going to be more stable, so when he says trade up or trade down he means so if I buy a bunch of Bitcoin and the price is going down I'll just sell all of my Bitcoin and buy Tether, so that the amount of dollars that I have is kind of tied to the US dollar for a minute instead of Bitcoin, so my money's kind of safer in that dollar number.
Ryan: Safer, quote, unquote, because [crosstalk 00:16:02] USD is a little bit less volatile than-
Evan: Well yeah, USD, if you're in the US, or I guess really it's like the global reserve currency, it's obviously less volatile than Bitcoin, but it seems to me like Tether isn't actually redeemable in any sense for US dollars. It seems to me like Tether, right now the way it is, if you have a Binance account it's just used as a tool to help you get out of the market and so I'll go Tether up or Tether down or however the ... I don't even know what the term is, I might just be making it up right now, but if I'm tired of the volatility or I think the market's going to go down, but I don't necessarily want to get into anything that I think's going to go up, then I would get into Tether.
And typically you will see Tether maybe will go up to a dollar and two cents or a dollar and three cents when the rest of the market goes down, and vice versa. But it seems to me still even though it's a tool in the market for people to get out of the volatility it's not actually ... You can't actually liquidate it for US dollars. It's probably easier, in fact, to get back into Bitcoin and then go back out of Coinbase.
Evan: So it's-
Ryan: And you can build a stable coin on other assets as well. Right, you can put a stable coin on oil or gold-
Ryan: Or other kinds of commodities.
Evan: You can build ... I mean, people are looking at futures now, things like that. It's going to be interesting. I'm not a finance guru in any sense of the term, but go ahead.
Ryan: It's alarming when you see 63 cents for something that's supposed to be one dollar USD.
Evan: Oh yeah. And it's like okay you're based off some sort of partial audit of their books, the whole creation Tether is real shady if you look it up. It was Bitmax or Bitfinex created it and it was like an IOU for their company. There's actually a great YouTube documentary you can watch out there for free [crosstalk 00:17:54] it's called-
Ryan: We should [crosstalk 00:17:55]-
Evan: Yeah, I'll link it in the video. It's called Decentralized Deception. And it explains the whole thing about how Tether was created and I think it is a necessary tool for people to keep cash on the sidelines quickly because if you wanted to go out there and be a trader and you wanted to get out of the market and get back into US dollars, I mean that would be such a pain in the ass to go through Coinbase and go through all these wallets. It's easy to just flip into Tether and then come back out. But there's still that risk of, say I want to get out of the markets because they're crashing for two or three days and while I'm in Tether all of a sudden some report comes out that Tether isn't audited and it's all bullshit. Well now I'm totally screwed, and that's the risk that's out there for people who are in that. And so I think there's True USD, there was a couple others, so sorry if I didn't mention them, they're probably screaming their heads off if anyone is keeping up with this story.
But these new stable coins that are actually, at least, claim to be FDIC backed, we're going to have to keep up with that. I want to see these really come to the forefront and actually become a trading pair on some of the bigger exchanges, I think that'd be cool.
Ryan: I think stable coins are going to be really big in 2019. I think a lot of people are going to build them. There's a lot of assets and commodities that may be legitimately tied to cryptocurrency, for whatever reason. And I think it's very exciting to see how people become creative with using stable coins and combining them with different utilities in the future. So the point is to be more secure with your money, but at the end of the day there's no security here brother, because USD the price has gone down incrementally almost maybe 98 percent since 1917, and the price of Bitcoin has continuously gone up. They're both volatile. One is subject to inflation, one is subject to-
Evan: Deflation actually.
Ryan: Yeah, deflation. You know and then you got even assets like the Indian rupee. Which is going to be burned, so everything is volatile, please be careful. Obviously none of this is investment advice, but from my perspective stable coins will be very interesting to watch in 2019 with regard to how companies utilize them from a technological standpoint.
Evan: Yeah, and again stable coins aren't something that you're going to get rich off of anyway, the point of them is the amount of money you put into them is a good way to get away from that volatility. And if you think the market's going to go down it's just like having a brokerage account on Etrade, and you're trading all kinds of stocks and then you say, "Holy shit, I think the market's going to take dump." And then you liquidate into US dollars and you just hold on US dollars and then wait to get back into the market. It's just like buying and selling. That's what these stable coins are trying to do is give you that home base to go back into easily without having to, "All right let me transfer out of Binance, let me go into Coinbase, let me export from Coinbase, let me." You know-
Ryan: I want to know what people think about stable coins and Tether. I want to know, so Roundtablers obviously I don't have the kind of authority to address you, but if you think that stable coins [crosstalk 00:20:55]-
Evan: Knights and serfs now I believe they're called.
Ryan: Yeah, if you guys think that stable coins are cool, if you see anything interesting, if think that trading ... I think you've said it's like up trading.
Evan: Tether up or Tether down.
Ryan: Tether up or Tether down. I love that. I love that.
Evan: I think Tether down, I don't know, they both kind of make sense to me.
Ryan: I'm going to use that day to day when I'm at the grocery store and stuff, but anyway I think that's enough on-
Evan: Yeah that's enough Tether.
Ryan: And my tether ball game shall not be challenged, don't come at me.
Evan: I love tether ball, that's hilarious. So all right, so moving on we've got some other big news. I came out with a video where I interviewed Roy Leo, he is the head of business development for Tron, so TRX were always kind of ... We've started addressing this project more and more. I don't really believe strongly one way or another about Tron, I think they have some interesting acquisitions, and I guess their vision is grandiose and they've got a good mission at the end of the day, but they do some questionable things, so-
Ryan: I disagree. I think that Tron is one of the more legitimate companies in the space. Here's why I say that. They're top 20, they've been top 20 for awhile, they release their main net, they have purchased an actual company, an actual software company in Bit Torrent.
Evan: True. True.
Ryan: Bittorrent is, and if you're a millennial, and you've used Limewire, Kazaa, any of those things, shout out to everybody who's been a pirate and stealing content.
Ryan: Then you're familiar with Bittorrent. Bittorrent is where you go after you go to Pirate Bay, you download a video.
Evan: Shh, don't tell people about that website, not that many people know about it.
Ryan: Again, this is not advice. Don't do this.
Evan: Don't do that.
Ryan: Don't search the Piratebay.org and download videos, because they actually are probably really illegal to have any of that there, but Bittorrent is an incredible peer-to-peer sharing platform.
Ryan: That makes a lot of sense when you compare it to cryptocurrency. I spent some time with Roy, that's where you guys met at the conference, right?
Ryan: I had lunch with him. He's an extremely professional business development leader for his team. He has very big plans for what they're going to be doing, and they're dipping their hands into a lot of things, and I like what I see so far. Justin Sun obviously has accomplished a lot in his career already, and he's already made a name for himself in the cryptosphere. I think from a lot of perspectives, he's brought Asian companies into the Western Hemisphere.
Ryan: In terms of what is a legitimate blockchain company, because we don't see a lot of the Korean projects, but there are remarkable technologies in Korea, South Korea, as well as Japan, as well as China, that we don't talk about simply because it hasn't been translated yet. I think Tron is one of those that has bridged the gap, so when they talk about having a big announcement, I kinda believe them. Bittorrent purchase, that was a big announcement.
Evan: Yeah, that's a big announcement. Trust me, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. If you're gonna look at the numbers. If you're gonna include bit torrent as, I mean, it's not really a Dapp, but if you're gonna include it as an asset of a cryptocurrency company out there, they have the most users of any cryptocurrency company, other than maybe Ethereum main net or Bitcoin, but they're acquiring a lot.
Evan: I agree with a lot of what you say. They're not screwing around. I don't think they're joking about any of this stuff. I think they are legit. Justin Sun is well-accomplished in this space. I can't remember the name of the company he started, but when he was in China, he started like the Snapchat of China. I can't remember the name off the top of my head. Sorry all you Tron fans who are watching. Then he was actually with Ripple for awhile. He was with Ripple, for I want to say two or three or four years, and then came into Tron. He's well accomplished. He's a smart guy and he has a good vision, but I'm going to play a bit of devil's advocate here.
Evan: Because the way that they make announcements just flusters me so much. This was October 12th news. This started with a tweet from Coinness, which this C-O-I-N-N-E-S-S, like coin and then Ness from Super Smash Brothers.
Ryan: Yeah, Coinness.
Evan: They don't have many followers, so I don't know where this information is coming from, but they said that the Tron team told them that a partnership had been confirmed between Tron and China's IT giant Baidu, which will be officially revealed by Baidu Cloud next week. Then Justin Sun gets in on the action. He says, "Finally. First time to partner with tens of billions USD valuation industry giant. Guess the name." Then he just does like a smiley face. This is what I don't like about the way they do their PR. They act like they're gonna partner, or maybe they are gonna partner with this massive giant.
I don't know if you know about Baidu, but in China you can't use Google. You cannot Google things in China unless you use a VPN. You can't use Gmail, you can't use Google, you can't use YouTube. Even on my iPhone when I was in China, and I've been to China multiple times, it was interesting to me because they default search on your iPhone is Google. I'd take for granted so many times. I'd be like, "Oh, who is that singer? What was that movie called?" I would look it up and then I'd be like, "Oh shit, my phone doesn't work." I'd have to either go to Bing or I'd have to go to Baidu. Baidu is the Chinese version of Google.
The way that they make these announcements is always like, "Let's find the biggest fucking company in the world in China and act like we're going to partner with them, or actually partner with them, which is in this circumstance, but then let's not really announce it. Let’s announce it, but not really announce it. It just seems to me, just why do that? Just do a press release like everyone else. Why do you have to do this song and dance every time with these announcements? Again today, there was an update that China's largest internet search provider, Baidu, their partnership will center on cloud computing sources, not blockchain, according to a report published by O Daily, and that was Coin Telegraph that came out with that.
Again, listen, I'm not super like bullish or bearish on Tron either way, they're obviously legitimate contender in the space. I want to actually start providing more Tron content, because we have some connections there and I appreciate their vision, but I'm not a huge fan of the way that they do this shady, like, "Oh, Alibaba. We're partnered with Jack Ma, but not really. It's just like, "Why do that? If you have a partnership, just come out with a press release. Let's get it straight and forward. It just seems like price pumping to me every time they come out with one of these announcements.
Ryan: Well, I think again, there's that kind of translation difference. I think we need to be cognizant of the fact that the project is moving from the East to West.
Ryan: The way that they communicate and translate things is different. Maybe these kinds of Tweets are fun to the team and they think that's part of their culture, just like surprise announcements.They want to get their people excited. They want to get people pumped. If you think price changing and manipulation, that's one thing, that's one view. But to me, that's a view from somebody who has traded cryptocurrency.
Ryan: If you're just watching them, just interested as a fan of the projects that they're doing and the technology. Then you're like, "Oh okay, cool. I can't wait to see what they come out with. Maybe it's a partnership with a larger peer-to-peer platform." They've got their style. Some people like it, some people don't. But when you compare them to a lot of other companies in the space that don't own actually any software programs, they have not released their main net.
Ryan: A lot of companies have not shown any MVP. When you look at Tron, they have that, and so they can be a little bit confident about when they announce something that there's gonna be some legitimacy. I'm curious as to why people don't talk about Tron that much at these conferences. I see them talking EOS. People talk about EETH all the time.
Ryan: Bitcoin is obviously the number one talking point when it comes to cryptocurrency. Tron wants to get to that level. They want to get to that place where people are talking about us too, because we've got some interesting things going on. I think Roy makes a good point when he talks about Tron. They've legitimately bought some assets, they've launched their product. Why don't people put them up there? There price has been up there, right?
Ryan: They're one of the largest valuations out there. It's an interested project, working with Baidu is gigantic, I think. The question is, on what level of intimacy?
Evan: Right. And this actually brings me to another question that I have. Again, I don't want people to think I'm out here bashing Tron. Like I said, I want to bring more Tron ...
Ryan: No, you're bashing Tron. I'm gonna Tweet that.
Evan: I want to bring more Tron information to people, because we had such a good response from the interview with Roy. I'm a huge fan of any project that's coming out of China that's trying to decentralize the web, but one of the huge hurdles over there, even with traditional internet, is this great firewall of China. How much can Tron, who is acquiring these large companies, which inherently when you look at China and their government, when these companies in traditional internet become large enough, they become controlled by the government. So if you're gonna partner with a Baidu, or you're gonna partner with an Alibaba, but your mission is to decentralize everything, there seems to be some ... I don't know, I'm having some-
Ryan: Like a conflict of interest?
Evan: Yeah. There's a conflict of interest there. Again, I'm not trying to say I'm against Tron. I just want to know, and maybe someone out there has answered this. Maybe Justin Sun himself has answered this. I just want to see, if you're gonna partner with these large companies that are very controlled by the most centralized government out there, arguably. How are you going to achieve your mission of actually decentralizing the internet?
Ryan: They're not the only large company that has been thinking about getting into crypto, in terms of Baidu. We have that here in the U.S., which is another very controlled company, when you talk about media in some other ways, in the land of the free here. You've got Fidelity, right?
Evan: Right. Right. Yeah. That's a good segue into the next bit of news we have, which let me bring it up right here. This is another big news story and this is out of the U.S. Oh God, Fidelity Investments is spinning off a stand alone company dedicated to bringing cryptocurrencies to institutional investors, this is from Forbes as well, called Fidelity Digital Assets, the limited liability corporation based in Boston will provide enterprise grade custody solutions, a cryptocurrency trading execution platform, and institutional advising services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. First and foremost, I'm a huge fan of Boston, ever since we went to Token Fest up there?
Evan: There's a lot of good startups in Boston. They've got MIT. They've got Harvard. It seems like there's a lot of good cryptocurrency stuff going on up there. I know Ryan maybe not the hugest fan of Boston.
Evan: As far as from the cryptocurrency perspective, it seems like they're maybe on the frontier.
Ryan: From a crypto perspective, Boston was very cool. When you talk about Token Fest Boston, they did a good job. You've got Sam Adams outside complaining about the brand of the beer. You've got a lot of problematic situations happening in Boston. I don't have to go into that. But also, the sports teams are just so ... Let's just not get into it.
Evan: Oh God. Yeah, let's not get into that. Do they have a tetherball team?
Ryan: Shout out to all my New Yorkers. The New York Tetherball Squad is coming through to Boston, start a new rivalry. Really excited about companies like Fidelity getting into the digital assets space, especially with the institutional investors. Because that's the talk of the town in crypto right now. When you talk about large scale companies thinking about getting into crypto, that's how these things start to get some movement. When some of these really smart people, these large Fortune 500 firms, start talking in our language and the world that we're trying to create, it gets them thinking about, "Hmm, maybe I should leave my corporate job and think about getting into the crypto blockchain space."
Ryan: They come up with new ways and how we may be able to do it. At the same point, or the same token, for lack of a better term.
Evan: Pun intended.
Ryan: You like that? Okay. From my perspective, there's kind of an irony here, right? You have these large companies that are kind of handling identity and some people's funds, whereas that's kind of the birth or the heart of cryptocurrency or Bitcoin's white paper.
Ryan: I want to have my own identity that you can't perturb. I want to have my own assets that you cannot disrupt, interrupt, dip your fingers into, and yet companies like Fidelity are launching an institutional platform for these accredited investors. So it also says that it's going to add more money, more players, more legitimacy to the blockchain space, so it's a give and take.
Ryan: I think it's an interesting play. From my perspective, there are- They said it's like a seven trillion dollar industry?
Evan: Yeah. Fidelity Investments provides financial services for 7.2 trillion in customer assets and provides clearing, custody and investment services for 13,000 institutional advisory firms. Obviously it's not like 7.2 trillion dollars is just gonna pour into crypto overnight. It would probably be a small fraction of that would be- I think what they're gonna do is the digital asset side of Fidelity it going to become a fraction, a piece of the pie of people's investments, and that's even the people that kind of opt into this side of things.
Ryan: Yeah. I think what's exciting is it’s gonna be a stand alone, they're saying, from Fidelity. But when I see numbers like 7.2 trillions dollars for 13,000 customers, it freaks me out, man. That means each one of those customers got some bread!
Evan: They bankrolled very highly, yeah.
Ryan: I'm a fan of venture capitalists and hedge funds that are making moves. My question is, where does this leave the retail investor? The answer, from my perspective, my first answer is always gonna be the ICO, the token sale. When you can't get into these deals that Fidelity is launching, if you can't get into these platforms, if you only have $10,000 to invest, Fidelity doesn't care about what kind of money you're gonna be using. In ICO, a new token, a new project that has a creative way of allowing people to get equity or tokens, or ownership, or a digital asset associated with the utility of the company. To me, that's still much more exciting than these big news, big name companies coming into our space and trying to make noise.
Ryan: To me, it's not really news. It's more like they're trying to get into blockchain, well who isn't?
Evan: Yeah. Yeah. I guess the good thing is if you are a retail investor, if you're someone like you or I. We're not hot shots, but the thing is if you're in the cryptospace right now, you can still get in at a retail level and if some of these big whales start getting in- Because we still haven't really seen that institutional rush.
Evan: We saw a kind of speculative bubble at the beginning of last year, but we haven't seen huge institutional backing yet. So if you are still a retail player like you or I, we still can come in before these guys do and hopefully high tide will rise all ships, from that sentiment.
Evan: I agree with you that- Like we said at the beginning, I think the main use case for Bitcoin isn't Fidelity giving us a fund, or these ETF that everybody's thinking is gonna raise the price. I think the bottom line is the use case is governments are out there screwing around with our money. I can't make money in any other denomination other than U.S. Dollar unless I leave the country. Even then, I'm subjected to whatever other governments out there. I think Bitcoin's use case is governments and big banks and people messing up all of our assets. I see Fidelity is big news, Wall Street guys, Dimetri was happy about it. I'm kind of on the same page as you, which is like, yeah, these guys are coming in and hey, at the end of the day if it raises my bags then I'm happy about it.
Evan: I still think that the core values in crypto right now, the retail investors, is kinda not on the same page.
Ryan: I think what's exciting is for these institutional investors, or stock brokers, stock traders, people who own some Tesla or something like that, what you're thinking about is the face that you can buy and trade assets and it doesn't have to be six in the morning to three in the afternoon, or whatever the trading hours are now on Wall Street.
Ryan: It's an always on protocol.
Ryan: I think that's interesting to see from a company like Fidelity, that is very competitive with traditional stocks. I'm looking at Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins, cryptocurrencies, and saying, "Okay. What's the next big thing? What's the next move I can make?"
Ryan: That brings a lot of legitimacy to a lot of cryptocurrency trading because now I can use other forms of analysis that I have not seen in traditional stocks, like sentiment analysis. We've been seeing some companies trying to get into that. Sentiment analysis is very interesting for cryptocurrency, and trying to think about other ways to raise your bags or raise capital, or just hold your funds. I think that if you really look at it, when you're buying something at the grocery store, you're actually buying it, if using USD, you're using an IOU for a USD. It’s not even a dollar, it's a Federal Reserve note.
Ryan: It says that on your dollar if you haven't looked at cash in awhile. It's just an IOU. You're actually an IOU to buy products. Now these stocks, some of them are IOUs on top of IOUs on top of IOUs that are backed by people who have capital. It's all IOUs.
Evan: Have you even seen The Big Short?
Ryan: Yeah. Absolutely.
Evan: When Selena Gomez, I think, is that her name? She's explaining the poker table, or their playing blackjack and it's like all these real estate derivatives that crash the whole real estate market was just a bet on top of a bet on top of a bet on top of a bet, and they got leveraged out so crazy that once the actual packaged loans on the mortgages when done, the whole market just exploded.
Ryan: Yeah, and it happened. It happened while we were going to college, right?
Ryan: We had to kind of jump out of this industry, the corporate world and say, "Hey, I think blockchain in more reputable for certain reasons." I think if you're a bitcoin Maximalist, or if you're interested in cryptocurrency, I don't know, I feel very happy about this, because if you're allowing people to make these trades and then real crux, the root of the tree of how people are going to do financial trading, is a blockchain as solid as Bitcoin, I'm actually pretty excited about owning some actual Bitcoin.
Ryan: Because if you have some actual Bitcoin, that's much more valuable than an IOU on Bitcoin. Imagine if you had an actual silver dollar from the 1800s.
Evan: Yeah, and no one can take that from you.
Evan: If you have Bitcoin, not on an exchange, but in an actual wallet where you own the private key, no one can take that from you. They can strip you of all your clothing and beat you and it doesn't matter. You know the private key. If you can memorize a hash then you're probably a genius and you've got bigger issues to worry about. That's another thing that we talk about in the office all the time is, you could be in a third world country and you have your hash written down on a piece paper, you can cross borders and whatnot and nobody can stop you from doing it. Then you can get into safe place to actually go and withdraw your funds. I wanted to go back a little bit to what you were talking about with market hours closing and things like that.
Evan: It's funny. When I traded regular stocks- Again, I'm not a finance guru, but I used to play around on E-trade and whatnot, and I just was looking, I think it was Tesla, because they've been in the news a lot lately with Elon Musk and all his crazy antics. Elon Musk did something over the weekend, or he did something after the market had closed, and the Tesla stock, it either pumped like crazy or dumped like crazy. I forget exactly what it was. I remember looking at the chart and it was like, oh, it's after hours action.
I was just thinking to myself, "I remember when I had to deal with that bullshit, where it's like the market's closed. Do you want to put in an after hours trade? Crypto is just so much better than that, where the markets just don't close. I don't have to deal with any of that shit. I don't have worry about the CEO going crazy at 4:31 and the markets close at 4:30 and now all of the sudden- What is it, 4:30 or 5:00? I forget when the markets close, but it's just like there's so many rules and regulations with stock trading where the retail investor gets screwed because they don't have maximum access. With crypto it's like, "No, you have ownership, man. Here's your wallet. Here's your exchange. It never closes. Do whatever you want."
Ryan: Yeah. You said this on Twitter, I think. It's a crock that I have to go to the bank before 9:00 and 4:30.
Evan: Oh God, it's terrible.
Ryan: Get out of here. What is the point of these hours, so that working people can not actually move their money?
Ryan: They can't touch it. What you're really saying we're creating more limited availability for these assets to move, which is you're actually trying to control volatility, right? If you could trade at midnight, then everybody who drinks alcohol would be messing up the market.
Ryan: When you look at these large banks and these large powers that be, I'm not excited about them getting to the space. I'm also going to be a little bit skeptical here, okay? When I see a company like Fidelity getting into crypto- Oh no no no no, they're not! It's actually Fidelity Asset Services. That the separate company that they launched. It's a limited liability corporation. Everyone knows an LLC is what large companies make when they want to try new stuff and don't be the blame when they it up.
Ryan: When they do mess it up, they're not going to be able to sue the original 72 year old firm in Fidelity. They're going to come at the small, new digital assets firm. Do not forget about Long Island Blockchain, which used to be Long Island Iced Tea Company, that changed their name to Long Island Blockchain. They saw a stock pump, and then it went down a little bit. Everybody was like, "What's the point of this?" But in the end of the day, the company is doing better.
Ryan: They're adding more legitimacy by- So maybe the new term for blockchain is digital asset.
Evan: Maybe that's it.
Ryan: I think it could be a crock...
Evan: That could be it.
Ryan: ... as well as the banking hours.
Evan: I think that's a hardcore skeptical point. I would hope Fidelity putting their name in the title, of Fidelity Digital Asset Service would hopefully save us, but you never know. The banks are known to screw people over more than one time ever in history. Ryan, I appreciate having you on to fill in for Q, man.
Ryan: You know, it's a lot of work to sit here and talk to you for almost an hour. Q, you got to come back here, man. This is not right. Who wants to be with this guy all the time?
It's been a real pleasure. I think that it's great that we have a platform where we can do real talk about this kind of topics. I think that it's a very good time to talk about cryptocurrency. We're getting into the holiday season. Businesses start to get a little bit slower, and this is when things started to move and shake a little bit in the game. Whether it be prices or new project announcements, this is when a lot of companies who will make their moves before the holiday seasons, when things get quiet until the middle of Q1.
Very exciting time, very great show. Thank you, Evan. You're an amazing host, man.
Evan: Thanks, man. I appreciate it. For all you guys out there watching, we always appreciate your comments, your feedback. Feel free to tell us about how terrible of a job I did, or how awesome Ryan did. Usually I'm bashing Q, but this episode I got bashed pretty hard.
Ryan: I'm really sorry for the loud noises I've been making as well. I know the fluctuation is not pleasurable on a podcast.
Evan: We're gonna take a quick break here. When we come back, I'm gonna have Gabe Shepherd from Hosho. He's gonna tell us all about HoshoCon, and the reason why we can't even find Zach Quezada.
All right. Without further ado, I now have on the line, Mr. Gabe Shepherd. He is the VP of Global Strategy at Hosho, one of the finest hosts we've ever had for a conference, for HoshoCon. Gabe, how's it going?
Gabe: Good, Evan. How are you doing?
Evan: I got to tell you man, after HoshoCon, I needed a couple of days of rest there. My co-partner, usually on the show, didn't even make it here. I could tell you that we had fun. Let's say that.
Gabe: A job well done.
Evan: Yeah. You guys did a great job.
Gabe: For HoshoCon, that's our metric of success, is how many of our friends and partners, how long they take to respond to our texts and Telegrams after HoshoCon.
Evan: Yeah. Usually people come up to us. Or after a conference, my inbox is flooded. After this one people were just typing one letter responses like, "Hey, are you still alive?" They'd type, "Why?" or "And?", and then send it back to me. Be like, "All right, we know we had a good time."
Gabe, for all of listeners and all of our watchers out there, tell me a little bit about HoshoCon first, and we'll dive a little bit more into the actual conference that you guys put on.
Gabe: Sure. Hosho is a cyber security firm focused solely on the blockchain. Today that consists of penetration testing of exchanges, smart contract auditing, consulting services around best security practices within the crypto space. That's our business. We're not an events company, we're not an events business for a revenue stream, but we decided to produce HoshoCon to offer the community an alternative type of conference.
There are a lot of great crypto conferences, a lot of blockchain based conferences. They all have their individual purposes. But we didn't see a lot of conversations happening within the circuit around security, or the consequences for a lack of focus on security. We decided to produce one. That's basically how it came about.
Evan: I thought it was amazing. You guys have your own little ecosystem going on out there in Las Vegas. There would seem to be this focus on security, which brought a lot of players into the expo, and a lot of people who were talking on the stage that were focused on that aspect of this technology. A lot of times people get caught up in the hype, or caught up in the pricing, or whatever it is. This was a cool change of speed for us, to talk to people who are really focused on that aspect of the tech.
I've seen, just by traveling to a bunch of different conferences this year, that there has been a trend away from that more shilly type, "Hey, this is gonna 100X. This is gonna 1000X," and people are focusing on the technology. But here specifically, at HoshoCon, it was very nice to see that you had experts in the field.
When we were at an after party, I talked to someone from the IRS. I talked to a guy who had 20 years experience in the FBI, in crypto security. It was amazing. I loved the amount of people that you had there, and the expertise that they had. How did you feel about the conference overall?
Gabe: I think I'm gonna be our toughest critic. I've been in the experience and event game for a long time. I'm gonna be our harshest critic. But I think for year one, an inaugural event for a company that doesn't have the resources that an events company does, I think we killed it. But at the same time we made plenty of mistakes. There's a lot of things I would do differently. But I think that's to be expected with any event.
For me, what I am most pleased to hear about is A) our guests were treated well. I haven't gotten any negative feedback about how we treated our guests, which is important. We're a Vegas based company. Hospitality is what we're known for. By a proxy, that's what Hosho should be known for, with respect to customer service.
Two, I liked that people like you and others have recognized the curation of speakers that we paid a great attention to. I know that there's conversations about what conferences are, what they [inaudible 00:49:24]. There's plenty of great events out there, but I'm glad that you picked up on things, like we did not have an ICO pitch competition. That's not because we have a problem with ICOs. In fact, the majority of our business from a security perspective comes from ICOs.
We respect ICOs, we work with a lot of ICOs, but there is a time and a place, and there's plenty of great platforms for them to get the word out. What we wanted to focus on was the maturation of the space through sophisticated technologists. The curation of our speakers and the types of things that they were talking about, there was no shilling. It was high caliber speakers talking about actual tech, and actual solutions, and visionary type stuff. That was our goal from day one. With respect to how we did, I think on that front we did really well.
Evan: Yeah, I think you guys did a great job. You mentioned maturation of this space. That was something, when I was interviewing a lot of the projects there, just going up to them, talking to them, learning about their projects, it seemed like almost every single person that I dealt with was focused on that maturation and bringing this crypto space, which is still a niche. It's not mainstream. Let's not lie. It seemed like everyone there was very focused on how can we provide security enough to bring this to the mainstream, to make it so that you can pull out a phone and know that your crypto is gonna be protected from multiple different angles.
I think it was Rivetz actually, was the project. I spoke with him how they're protecting keys. Not only from the hardware level, but also from the cell phone sim card provider level. It's like you said, maturation of the space seemed to be an awesome focus. Let me as you then. On the expo side of things, what was some of your favorite projects that were there on the expo floor?
Gabe: Rivetz obviously has some pretty big things brewing with Telefonica, which I think are interesting. I'm also a big fan of Quras. They're out of Japan, if you guys take a look at the Quras project.
But as a whole, Evan, I think what I was most inspired by is you talk about the niche nature of blockchain industry as a whole. Imagine trying to produce a conference in a niche blockchain industry, within a sub niche of security, within blockchain. It isn't an easy task to overcome because sure, it isn't the sexiness of the ICOs and the token craze. It isn't that. That was certainly a challenge for us in making sure that it was quality.
Obviously not one of the biggest conferences in the space. One of the things I think is interesting, in talking with people leading up to HoshoCon and talking with all of our great sponsors who deserve a lot of the credit, to be honest, companies like Quras, like Rivetz, like TLDR, iComply, even Qiwi from Russia, a lot of credit goes to them because they saw the vision and they bought into the vision of a security conference, and they made the investment to help us subsidize the event. But I think when you talk about the niche nature of a security conference within a niche industry like the blockchain, it allowed us to focus on quality.
A lot of people think that not being an events company, that Hosho would be at a disadvantage going to produce a conference like this in a bear market. I looked at it as the ... At first, leading into the conference, I'm like, "Boy we do have some challenges, and this is definitely gonna be tough." But then I started to see who the real players were, and who believe in the ecosystem enough to invest, and to attend. You guys obviously voted with your feet and showed up, and traveled across the country to attend and partake in what we were doing. I think not being an events company was actually an advantage. What I mean by that is my feet, and the feet of my team, was held closer to the fire to produce quality than a traditional events company in that we don't have the luxury of producing a poor event.
There's a lot of event companies out there that just produce conferences, and it's a cash grab. I'm by no means suggesting all of them. There's a lot of great organizers out there. But there are some, if we're being fair, that are really just producing events to make money. As a security company, we didn't have the luxury of just producing an event, and not giving a shit what the audience thought, and then shutting down the entity, and spinning up a new entity, and create a new event with a new name.
Hosho doesn't have that luxury in that we're in this space, we've been in this space, we have killers in the game with respect to security engineers. These are top-notch people. We couldn't jeopardize our brand by throwing a poor event. What that did is that allowed me, and Michelle, and Ryan, and everybody on our team to really focus on the quality of curation of speakers and the experience of people that attended, 'cause we knew we had to live up to that brand.
Evan: Gabe, you're an inspiring guy to talk to, let me tell you that much. I appreciate that sentiment so much. Being in this space myself, I see a ton of people. We get asked to go to conferences all the time, and these people, they're just looking for projects just to fill the booths up and make money off of it. From day one, you mentioned to us, "We're not here to make money. We're here to move the whole industry forward." I greatly appreciate that.
Let's talk a little bit. Let's go from the expo now, into the speakers. You guys had an all-star lineup of some speakers, some huge names. I got to catch a lot of the speakers there. Tell me who are some of your favorite speakers there, and who really wowed you? Who surprised you there?
Gabe: I'd be remiss if we didn't mention our keynote, Andreas Antonopoulos, of course. When we got into this ... HoshoCon in itself evolved, even from what we thought it would originally be. I think that's a credit to our team of letting it evolve into what the community thought it should be.
Originally it was gonna be this really security, high-end hacker kind of culture. I think over time there will probably be a track that evolves into that, but the core what we wanted to do was educate our guests. We had technical guests and we had non-technical guests in attendance.
When you bring the brightest minds in the space into a room who from a security perspective, who are some of the smartest people in the industry, you would be mistaken to not leverage their attendance to help educate the non-technical guests. That's why we did cool, creative things like workshops on how to set up two-factor authentication, how to properly set up Gmail, 'cause a lot of people are using Gmail Suite, how to properly set that up for a decentralized team, how to set up your hardware wallet. These are educational moments that unfortunately, a lot of non-technical people don't understand.
We had these technical minds in the building, so we said, "Let's do these workshops and these hands-on type of things," which I thought was creative. But from the educational perspective, nobody in our opinion epitomized education specifically in the blockchain space, more than Andreas Antonopoulos. You think about his history, and traveling the world, and spreading knowledge about Bitcoin and blockchain to communities all over the world, big and small communities. When this became a full fledged front on education of the space, we could think of nobody better than to have him keynote. That was our target from the moment we identified that, was how do we figure out a way to convey to Andreas that this was important. He came through and he delivered, of course, like he always does, and delivered a hell of a keynote.
But also, I would say one of my favorite speakers, and we're gonna release all these videos on HoshoCon.com, but Anand Prakash. Many people don't know who this person is, but Anand Prakash is considered one of the best white hat hackers in the world. He's from India. He's hacked Uber, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter multiple times over. He did this amazing talk on the main stage, a non-technical talk, to let people know of these easy vulnerabilities that he found in some of the world's biggest platforms in 10, 15 minutes. He shared with us how much he made on these bounties, what the severity of the critical vulnerability was to give us insight into if the Facebooks and the Ubers of the world are making mistakes, imagine what people that are building on top of blockchain, the mistakes they're making in the software they write that sits on top of blockchain. Obviously the vulnerabilities exist.
Anand Prakash, to me, was a personal favorite. But man, we were stacked. There was a lot of incredible speakers. I'm thankful to all of them for giving their time to believe in what we were trying to do.
Evan: I think that's amazing. I'm gonna have to go back and look at Anand Prakash's speech. That sounds really interesting. I'm glad that everything worked out so well. Tell me, 'cause now we've talked about the expo a little bit, we talked about the speakers a little bit, but you know we go to hit that third part, maybe the reason why Q couldn't even make it here today. You guys did great on the entertainment side with the after parties and the networking. Tell me a little bit about the entertainment you guys had there, and some of the spaces, the MTV suite that we were in. I felt like I was having fun nonstop. Tell me a little bit about how that all came together.
Gabe: This is two-fold. The first is we knew that this is Las Vegas. Sometimes Vegas, rightfully or wrongly, in my opinion, gets painted with a pretty broad stroke of assumptions about what Las Vegas is. Sure, we have parties and there's ragers on the strip, but I don't live anywhere near the strip. I'm 20 minutes out in the suburbs. I'm raising a 13 year old daughter here in Vegas. But at the same time, I wanted to live up to the expectation of our guests, of you come to Vegas, you want to have a good time. I could think of no better way to do that than to provide world-class entertainment.
We brought in curated music from Justin Blau, he's known as 3LAU. He runs a crypto project called OMF. You can check him out, OMF.io. It's basically a tokenized festival model where people that attend festivals can influence the lineup, and merchandise, and these type of things with the tokenized model. OMF, Justin's a good friend of ours. He's from Vegas. He curated all the entertainment.
On opening night, we had Justin Caruso, who's an up and coming DJ. We had 3LAU, of course, himself perform, and then we had Kungs. Kungs is a world-class EDM DJ out of France. Those are our three entertainment. What we wanted to know each night, is we wanted to make sure all of our guests were walked through systematically, different pieces of the venue. We could have chosen one venue and did it there every night, and here's the party. But no, we wanted to make sure you saw different parts of Vegas in the property that we were at. We wanted you to have a different and unique experience every night. That's why opening night was at Vanity, pool was on Wednesday night, and the closing party was at The Joint, which is a world-class music venue.
You're talking about the Real World suite, which is a after after party, because in Vegas, the parties don't stop, it just moves locations. We did this MTV Real World suite that we secured for three nights. Every night you would be invited to this after hours, just chill vibe of cocktails. It had a bowling lane in it. One of the best views in Vegas that probably on 10% of tourists actually see. For us, it was giving you that all encompassing Vegas plus blockchain experience, without you having to leave property.
Evan: We had a great time. I think even Zach Quezada, my co-host, who's absent. I'm gonna keep drilling him on that. He actually tried to bowl a strike, but I think he only hit two pins. I've got video of it, so maybe I'll play it over this part.
Gabe: Zach is probably a shitty bowler, just from what I saw. But as long as Zach had a good time, then I think we at Hosho accomplished our mission. Obviously, Evan, you and I have hung out multiple times at conferences around the world, and Dimitry. We got connected to ICO Alert a while back. We certainly appreciate the support that you guys have shown us, not only on HoshoCon, but you've continually been an advocate for Hosho when it's appropriate. We certainly appreciate all the love.
Ultimately for me though, if I look at HoshoCon, all I care about is that people have a good time, and a good experience, and that it accurately reflect how we treat people, and how we think of our partners, and how we think of our clients. I feel like we accomplished that. We have a lot of feedback to amass still. We have surveys going out to all our attendees so we can get better. But I hope everybody had a good time.
Evan: I think you guys did an incredible job. I guess this is a good segue into my next question then, which is, what's gonna happen next year? Are we gonna so HoshoCon part two, because you can punch my ticket now if that's gonna be the case.
Gabe: I would be surprised if we were a one and done type of event. What I will commit to today though is I will tell you that we're committed to making sure that we get all the feedback from everybody that attended, and sponsors included, and that we take that information and earnest, and we dissect it and make sure we're doing our best to represent people that invested in it year one. If we feel like there's an opportunity to do it year two, and get better, and be even more influential in the conference circuit, then I can't see us walking away from that opportunity.
Evan: Sounds good. I'll definitely be punching my ticket then for next year. That's what I'm hearing.
Gabe: We have a challenge in year two in that, if it happens ... Nice try. If it happens, we have a challenge in that the Hard Rock is under management change.
Evan: I heard Richard Branson is actually buying the Hard Rock.
Gabe: That's right. The management transitions already happened, and Virgin's about to take over and they're going through a remodel, which would basically cut out the dates that we would normally want to do it. Which means A) I got to find another property. Side note though, we almost had Richard Branson as our opening remarks.
Evan: That would have been awesome.
Gabe: So close. So close. So close.
Evan: Aside from HoshoCon next year, tell me a little bit about Hosho the actual security company. What's on roadmap for you guys as we head into 2019?
Gabe: Today, a lot of our work has still fallen under that penetration testing of exchanges. If you're running an ICO, we can certainly help protect your investors, protect your brand, protect your customers by auditing the smart contract, whether you're doing a token, token plus crowdsale. We want to be the security provider. We've done close to 200 smart contract audits by this point, some of the biggest projects in the game. We've done entire protocol audits now. We want to be a partner for those companies that are looking to raise capital.
We obviously can do it on the Ethereum blockchains, but we have the engineering capacity to do other blockchains as well. That's primarily where our work is at today. I will tell you that we're working on some product and service lines outside of those security offerings. One of the Meadow Suite, which is our open source toolset that we just released at HoshoCon, which helps developers actually build better, more secure smart contracts. I encourage everybody to check out MeadowSuite.com. If you're writing smart contracts, I would take a look at that.
Evan: Gabe, I appreciate you coming on and talking to us. I loved HoshoCon. Hosho fosho, I say it almost all the time.
Gabe: We're gonna see you at Malta Blockchain Summit? Is ICO coming out? What's the deal?
Evan: I will be in Malta. I've been requested there by some of the most famous Maltesians, or however you say it. I'll have a presence there. Are you gonna be there yourself?
Gabe: Yes. I will be there, Hartej will be there, a couple other people will be there. That's a really busy week. It's really a challenge for even a company of our size. Devcon is that weekend in Prague, World Crypto Con is that weekend in Las Vegas, and those dates, and then Malta Blockchain Summit are those same dates out in Malta. We're digging up our roles, but I will definitely be in Malta with Hartej. Can't wait to reconnect with y'all. Tell Zach to get his shit together by then.
Evan: Hey, I'll be sure to tell him. Thank you so much, Gabe, for coming on. We appreciate it.
Gabe: Yeah, thanks guys.
Evan: All right, cheers.