How Crypto Will Bring Financial Freedom To The World – Alex Mashinsky / CEO of Celsius

EP 13 – Alex Mashinsky – CEO of Celsius

Listen to this incredible conversation with legendary entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky.

Alex is one of the rare entrepreneurs in history to found & lead multiple billion dollar companies.

He is most known as the inventor of VoIP but has a storied career that you could write multiple books on. You can read more about his long list of accomplishments on his official website.

Currently, Alex is the CEO/Founder of Celsius and on a mission to bring economic & financial freedom to the hands of the people.

Podcast episode, show notes & transcript below!

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify. Also you can watch the video version of this interview on YouTube!

Show notes:

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[expand title=”Click here for the raw, unedited transcript:”]

This transcript was automatically generated using Descript.

[00:00:00] Ismail Humet: Welcome to the bound to be rich podcast, where I attempt to reverse engineer people who seem to be successful, no matter the circumstances, so that you can apply those lessons to your own life. I’m your host Ismail Humet. In this episode, we are joined by Alex, the machine Mashinsky founder and CEO of Celsius.

I don’t think I’ve said this yet on the podcast, but you are not going to want to miss this one. You can also watch the video version on YouTube and I’ll have the link in the show notes. Alex has had a legendary career. And is one of the few entrepreneurs in history to have founded multiple billion dollar companies. He’s most known as the inventor of VoIP voice over internet.

Uh it’s because of him basically that we’re able to speak to anyone in the world for free over the internet. Obviously the global telecom companies all hate them. He then started GroundLink, which was essentially Uber years before Uber was started and he holds over 50 patents that cover aspects of group on Twitter, Skype the app [00:01:00] store, the Netflix streaming concept.

The list goes on. He’s even responsible for bringing cell phone service to the underground New York city subway system, man has done it all. Alex is currently focused on bringing a hundred million people onto the Celsius platform and into the world of crypto and that doing a pretty good job so far, there’s currently over $18 billion in crypto assets on Celsius.

Now the big banks hate them too, because Celsius provides people with passive income in the form of very high interest, just for storing their funds in the Celsius wallet Celsius also allows you to borrow cash against your crypto so that you never have to sell your coins. Which of course is one way to avoid having to pay capital gains taxes.

I couldn’t wait to have this conversation, and now I’m super excited to be able to share with you. Let’s dive in.

[00:02:00] Alex, thanks so much for coming on the show, man. Really, really appreciate it. 

Alex Mashinsky: Thanks for having me. 

Ismail Humet: So, um, I, I share in your vision of, uh, bringing regular people to crypto, I think your current vision is to bring a hundred million people to Celsius. I want this conversation to help put a dent into that.

Hopefully if we can bring a few hundred people, we’re a couple of thousand people onto Celsius, I’d be happy. But before we get into that, I’d like to set the stage and get people to know you a little bit more because when I read the introduction, you sound like it’s very unreliable. This guy just hits home, run after home run.

He does all these big things. So if you don’t mind, I have some, I’ve got a ton of questions that I know I’m not going to get to, but I’d like to start with something I’m curious about. So I read that you were born in the Ukraine, right? And my family’s also from Eastern Europe, I’m from Macedonia. So I go there often, uh, the former Yugoslavia and I have a lot of friends and family there and I speak to them.

And one thing that [00:03:00] always stands out to me is that, uh, how lucky we are to grow up in America, where. We believe we can do anything because a lot of my friends and family, they don’t have that optimism. Their hope is to get out of the country to go to America, to go to Europe. So I really want to hear how someone like you, who came out of there.

Uh, this is years ago before the internet, how did you not fall into that mindset? And how’d you believe that, Hey, I can do something. 

Alex Mashinsky: Yeah, sure. So, uh, I mean, uh, I’m not sure that the United States is, is that still viewed as that, uh, um, you know, house at the top of the hill that we all, uh, aspire to come to?

Uh, I think, um, um, you know, it used to be that you had an American passport and you can basically go anywhere and do anything now. Uh, I think a Canadian passport is better, you know? So, so, um, Uh, but definitely growing up, uh, in the Ukraine. And then, um, my parents immigrated to [00:04:00] Israel when I was seven. So growing up in Israel, it looked like, uh, people in the United States just have a much better life, you know, and, and, uh, if you’re going to get at stock in Ukraine or Israel or, or, you know, uh, Serbia or whatever, uh, uh, Macedonia, whatever the country you’re in, uh, you’re just not going to have the same opportunities.

And yeah. And, um, you know, it’s, it’s definitely a, um, the United States of America is definitely a place where you, you you’re, uh, you can achieve more than your aspirations, right? You can kind of exceed your own expectations. And, but it’s also a very difficult place. Uh, there’s no safety net, right? So there’s no, uh, if, if it things don’t work out.

And there’s no one who really cares about you, right? You, you don’t have your family, you don’t have a, you know, [00:05:00] knowing it’s time for friendship, you know? Uh, so it’s a little bit different. Uh, there are sacrifices. It’s not just all good, you know? 

Ismail Humet: W what about, you’ve made your different curling up there where you then fall into that mindset of, Hey, we can’t do anything.

You know, it is what it is, what made you think I’m going to go to America and I can do something. 

Alex Mashinsky: So, and it’s a long story, but basically, uh, when I was trying to be an entrepreneur in Israel, that was before Israel was a startup nation right then. And, uh, I, I didn’t have any degrees. I didn’t, uh, didn’t come from a wealthy family or had any capital and just no one wanted to listen to anything I had to say.

So, um, so I, I actually was doing international trade and I flew to Europe. And to try to, I was in Paris trying to close a deal that I was working on. And it was just cheaper to get a ticket to [00:06:00] New York with a stop in Paris. You know, air France gave you basically a lower rate going to New York through Paris than flying direct.

So I, so I had that stop to come to the United States. I never, it wasn’t like, okay, I’m just going to go to the U S and I’m going to stay there. I had, uh, I had that ticket. I was like, look, what could go wrong? You know, let me just go figure it out. Worst case. I always have the return ticket. And if things don’t work out, I’m just going to, um, uh, you know, come back.

And, uh, I knew one person in New Jersey that, and so I reached out to him and I said, Hey, you know, I’m going to fly in. Can, can you, can we meet, can you come? He’s like, oh, I’m going to pick you up. And then he never showed up, you know? So I took the bus. Two 42nd street, then that was like my, uh, uh, my introduction to New York.

Ismail Humet: It’s funny because a lot of my family, friends immigrated to America with the same plan. Like they just wanted to come to America, work enough to have enough [00:07:00] money to buy a tractor and then go back home and then never left. So, right. 

Alex Mashinsky: So, so it’s definitely, you know, what’s amazing in America, especially after working in Europe is that, uh, when I went that again, I came here as a 21 year old and I went and told people my vision for, you know, the internet.

I mean, back then it wasn’t the internet. It was a information super highway back in the late eighties. Uh, and they looked at me like, what are you talking about? You’re not at, and T you’re not nine X back then it was nine next bill Atlantic. And all these companies. How, how are you going to get anything done?

I’m like, you don’t understand that everybody’s going to have internet and looked at me like, what are you talking about? You know, you mean phone lines? I’m like no internet. So, so, uh, what’s amazing. Is it in Europe? Like I was in France, it was using Minitel, which was their, uh, their version of the internet.

And it was already basically in [00:08:00] every home right then. And, uh, so it was easy to see that vision come to life and with a search engine and everything, and, and, uh, it was non-existent in the United States of America. Right. So everything was BBS is dial up and so on. So a lot of it, it all says to do with, uh, being at the right place at the right time.

Right. So, but people basically heard my ideas. They invested in my company and I built a voice of rep and, uh, you know, I definitely could not have done that in Europe. 

Ismail Humet: Right. Um, like you said, things may have changed now a little bit, but at that time, I think America was the, the north store for entrepreneurs.

I also read somewhere something about your father, uh, was also like a tinkerer. And maybe that, can you tell me a little bit about your father and did any of that rub off on you? It seems like it did. 

Alex Mashinsky: Yeah, my, my, my dad and my, uh, my grandfather were both, uh refuseniks meaning they, they, they thought [00:09:00] that, um, um, you know, Jews should immigrate to Israel and, and they felt that, uh, they wanted to leave the state, the communist party, which was a big no-no.

I mean, the, you know, like, uh, so basically they lost their job. They were, uh, w w Refusenik means refused exit right there. We’re not allowed to do anything cause they were not part of the communist party. And, uh, and we were lucky that the 1972, the. Uh, the Americans are actually Armand hammer and a bunch of other politicians, broker to deal.

Uh, Russia was struggling with food and their, the horrible harvest. So they shipped a 300,000 metric, tons of wheat to feed the Russian, uh, um, ma uh, masses. And in exchange, the Russians agreed to release 300,000 Jews, uh, to basically leave Russia. Right? So we were in that. Uh outflux and, [00:10:00] and, uh, so people, it’s funny because when people say to me, why did you come to America?

I’m like, well, I owe four metric, tons of wheat that the United States paid for me in 1972. And with, with inflation and interest compounding interest, I’m going to have to work a long time to pay that back. But, but, uh, basically while many, while many people, uh, uh, who left came to the United States, you know, went to Brooklyn and Miami and wherever.

My family was adamant about the fact that we have to immigrate to Israel. And three months later, the  war started. So my mother was like screaming at my dad. You took us out Russia. And he brought us here. They’re like, we got to lose this war. It’s going to be the end of us. The Arabs were winning the first few, you know, first few weeks it looked like the end was near.

So. Um, 

Ismail Humet: it’s, it’s a crazy story. Um, if you, if you look at it in a certain way where you, you kind of were traded for wheat, um, [00:11:00] but then you ended up adding so much value to society. Like you ended up putting a little dent into the universe, right. So, um, this is the stuff that I like to talk about because everyone looks at all these big entrepreneurs and they’re like, wow, they look unrelatable.

I can never be like them, but they all start somewhere. Right. So was there anything else that you did in the beginning? I had read about, uh, flipping items from customs or, uh, some other things that you were doing in the early days? 

Alex Mashinsky: Well, my, my, I, I grew up in this tiny in the Ukraine, the little tiny little town called churn of T, uh, or it, it, uh, it used to be a Romania.

Then it became, uh, uh, Ukraine, but in, in, it used to be cultural notes and, uh, eh, we had an outhouse. I mean, we had this tiny little decrepit house made out of like, Cobbled together, a wood than metal plaques. And, and there was an outhouse. I remember like asking myself, why do I have to in the middle of the winter, leave the house and go up the hill [00:12:00] into the outhouse to use the bathroom.

You know, it’s like, couldn’t somebody think about putting the bathroom in the house? I didn’t even think that, like, that was my existence. My, my, my life was about, uh, you know, I love the snow. I was like riding my sled and my whatever, writing a, but, uh, but definitely it was, um, very humble beginnings. So, so, and like you said, I mean, a lot of it has to do with, um, imagining a different future, right?

Imagining, um, uh, how you can make things better for yourself, your family, for others and, and pursuing that dream. Right. And so in the United States, pursuing a dream is almost like a. A God given. Right. You know, like everybody’s taking it for granted, but, uh, I always say to Americans have never left the United States that they must travel overseas and see how difficult it is, fathers, you know, how, how great we have in here [00:13:00] that we just take it for granted.

Ismail Humet: I totally agree. I actually really relate to that story when I visited Macedonia, same thing, an outhouse and people in America don’t realize this, this wasn’t that long ago where it wasn’t even a toilet. It’s like a hole in the ground and you have to go outside the home to use the bathroom. Uh, thankfully, uh, that was when I was younger.

I think recently they’ve all kind of modernized, uh, at least from what I’ve seen. So thankfully that’s happened, it’s still 

Alex Mashinsky: an outhouse, but now there’s a toilet instead of just a hole in the ground. 

Ismail Humet: Yeah. We’re, we’re making progress. What about, uh, I also heard that you, uh, tried day trading. Is that true?

Alex Mashinsky: Yeah, so, so I tried many different things. I think one of the important things about kind of figuring out who you are, what you’re good at. Is trying different things. So, so in the nineties I did some commodity trading. Then I did some stock trading and, and, um, um, 

Ismail Humet: we have a lot of traders listening to this.

Uh, some of my most popular episodes were with traders that made a ton of money recently, like these young kids. Uh, do you [00:14:00] have any advice for them, crypto traders, option traders, all of them are listening. So what would you say? 

Alex Mashinsky: Well, and the, the, the best advice is that that when you’re making money, don’t get confused with being in the good market with you being a super good trader.

Uh, which means that what happens is that you get so much confidence that you, every trade you make is great, or nine out of 10, you win, uh, that when the market turns, uh, you continue to take the same bad, so similar bats and, uh, you start losing and you don’t realize that the market has turned. You were just saying, you just think to yourself that you can continue to doing.

Do what you do. And, and that’s like, you get into the bear, a bear trap, or you get into all kinds of other things that really, uh, um, make you lose a lot of money. So, so unless you’re a world pro at, at picking trends and knowing ahead of others, when markets will turn and very, very few people do that very [00:15:00] well.

Uh, you’re going to end up losing money, uh, on the, in the long run. So don’t get confused between the bull market and you being a genius.

Ismail Humet: Great advice. Uh, so before we jump into the crypto, I just want to touch on, you also had the idea for Uber way before Uber came around. And I remember reading somewhere that it was difficult to see them succeed.

Um, so I have a very small example of that, uh, very small compared to yours, but I had this idea for a gym in my town. It was perfect location. I researched it. Um, And I didn’t end up doing it. And lo and behold, somebody else opened a gym and I have to drive by this every day and they bought the place next door.

They expanded expanded. It’s a huge success. And it was very painful for me to drive by and see that and say, Hey, that was my idea. Uh, so my takeaway was like, whenever I have an idea to trust my intuition and just go for it, right. If you fail, if you no big deal, keep going. What’d you take away from the [00:16:00] Uber experience and seeing them succeed.

Is there anything that you took away from that, that you carry with you? Yeah. 

Alex Mashinsky: So look in life. Timing is everything. If you are too early, it’s just as bad as being too late. And, uh, here we were just too early. I mean, I founded the ground link and in 2003 and, and, um, when Uber was just getting started in San Francisco, we were in, uh, 5,000 airports all over the world.

Right. So we had, uh, you know, uh, I think it was like 40 or $50 million in transactions. And. And thousands of cars and everything was going great. And, uh, you know, the 2000 thousand, a 2008 recession, we started right after the recession. So grew kind of slowly and then, and fast at subsidizing rides for their writers.

Right then, because we started before the recession, we were a profitable company and we [00:17:00] wanted to stay profitable and we didn’t want to subsidize the rights. We were not in the business of giving everybody a 50% discount. So, um, so, but the idea was the right idea, right? The, the basically on demand transportation available instantly.

So we we’ve, we want the right, the first app in the app store that offered that on demand service. Right? So basically Uber, uh, copied everything we had, eh, but they had $16 billion worth of subsidies that they gave the customers. And we didn’t have that. So. So, uh, having the best idea doesn’t mean you win.

And, uh, even if you have the idea first and you get the capital, doesn’t mean you win because if your timing is wrong and you burn through all that capital because of a recession or because of whatever else, and you kind of spend your bullets and other people are just getting started so they can actually get ahead of you, or they can learn from your mistakes [00:18:00] and start where you already are and where they didn’t spend all that money.

Right. They don’t have the arrows in their back for being trailblazer. So, um, so we were, uh, definitely, uh, you know, we’ll also, we chose the wrong investors with private equity and they definitely had zero interest in subsidized. They’re not VCs, right. Overhead VCs who were willing to burn billions of dollars and just gain market share.

Uh, and our investors, when I willing to do that, they’re like, they told me, I remember like today in 2010, they were like, we don’t have to worry about these guys that are going to go out of business, giving all these discounts to their customers. You know, I’m like, no, but what if they keep raising money?

No, one’s going to give them billions of dollars to burn on customers. So I left my own company, uh, in 2011, uh, which was very painful. It wasn’t easy to leave your creation because I knew it was doing. And finally remembered like [00:19:00] today, my wife told me you, you should just go and work for Uber. I mean, they, you know, they need, you, they’ll let you run the New York or the Northeast.

Uh, and I was like, I’m never going to work for my competitors. You know? So, uh, obviously in retrospect I probably should have listened to her, but, uh, uh, it was very painful going through that transition because. Again, you could see them just copying things, everything. We did, things that took us years to develop.

They were just like, oh, that’s a good idea. Let’s just copy that right then. Um, so definitely one of those at times where, um, being too early, didn’t help. 

Ismail Humet: It’s an interesting, I think we’ll come back to that theme later when we talk about Bitcoin, because I know you have similar thoughts about Bitcoin in the crypto world, but I’d like to talk about crypto next, because I saw this famous video of you in New York city talking to regular people on the street and trying to get them to buy crypto or [00:20:00] get them into crypto.

Uh, so that’s where I want this podcast to do, right. So how would you explain? And by the way, just to set this up, I actually requested a lot of questions from people in the Celsius network on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter. I got a ton of questions, but they were more, uh, from people that are already in the ecosystem.

They’re very specific to like features of Celsius. So I’m going a different way with this conversation. I want to pull new people into Celsius. So let’s say you have people listening. Now, the white collar is a blue collars that kind of have heard about crypto and they don’t fully understand it. How would you explain crypto to a regular person and why should they have it?

Alex Mashinsky: Sure. It’s actually not that difficult. Right? The. And historically the, when you made something and you sold it, you got a gold coin, or you got a paper note, then you knew that the value was either in the coin, right? The main it was made out of a precious metal [00:21:00] or the note was backed by gold or backed by some other asset that you knew, uh, had a good standing and, and basically the world, not just the United States, but the world has gone mad.

And since, uh, 1971, when the United States went off the gold standard and all the other countries that were tethered to the dollar as the reserve currency also went off the gold standard. So, so we created these Fiat’s currencies of free floating currencies, uh, that have nothing behind them. And when you ask most people, what is, what is money made of, or how money’s made.

They’ll tell you a little, still talk to you about Fort Knox and they’ll talk to you about some other stuff. And so nobody really knows. And if you watch those videos of, uh, Richard Nixon talking about getting off the, uh, gold standard, he says, we will temporarily good get off. I instructed them, you know, the head of the treasury too.

Yeah. [00:22:00] Temporarily golf, the gold standard. So, so we are running an experiment since 1971 and which is called the modern, the monetary theory MMT. And, uh, it’s just a crazy experiment. The idea is that we can print as much money as we want in an unlimited fashion and nothing bad will ever. So history, uh, has about 700 feet currencies that we can learn from.

And that all effectively either ended up in zero worth zero or lost 90, 99 up to between 90 and 99% of their value. Even the dollar already lost 95% of its value since 1971. So, so that, that is the kind of the foundation that most people have to understand that every day when you get paid your doll every day, somebody comes and clips a tiny little piece of your dollar and it’s worth less and less and less every day.

[00:23:00] So, so the context is not, is crypto good or bad? Is it a good investment or whatever are the context is, is that we, the citizens of the world and especially the citizens of the United States, don’t have a choice. No one asked us if, uh, our tax dollars should be put into savings. If, if, if our government should be frugal, And every government basically, uh, comes and spends as much as they can to try to win favor with, uh, their electorates and, and unfortunately our children and grandchildren and other ones who are going to have to pay the tab for all of this.

So, so, so Satoshi, uh, who’s the inventor of a blockchain of the Bitcoin, sorry, not the blockchain, the blockchain existed since the early nineties and invented or put together, it’s like Lego pieces he put together, or she put together a bunch of things that [00:24:00] other people already created, like the blockchain, like, and basically added one more ingredient.

It’s like taking the best soup that exists and adding one ingredient and magically, suddenly everybody wants to have that soup, right. That it becomes like the standard for everybody else. Right. And, and that ingredient. Additional green was the proof of work, right? So the, the idea that if you gave a separate group and incentive to keep the block, um, uh, safe and, and, uh, create, uh, blocks and in a way that is safe and secure and you had limited supply, the most important thing is limited supply.

You can create an alternative and a replacement to the financial system. You can actually create everything that exists in the financial system on the blockchain. And that system will not need intermediaries. It will not need the banks and the financial [00:25:00] institutions that we all rely on every day. So that’s really the, kind of like the, the foundation of Bitcoin, right, is the idea that, that, uh, you can create the internet, the money that runs on the internet.

I call it moist, but money over IP, just like voice, voice of IP. You can create Moines and 7.8 billion people can use it and they can detach themselves or, or separate themselves from this MMT system that is going to be the, you know, the undoing of all of us. 

Ismail Humet: I totally agree with everything and how you laid it out.

My, one of my most popular episodes was one about, uh, titled Cassius trash, where I dive deeper into stuff like this. So if anyone’s interested, they can see that in the show notes where like even my own mother, um, talks about I have to keep working so I can put my years in to get my pension because I’m going to get this dollar amount.

Right. But it’s a fixed dollar amount. So by the time you get that, A number [00:26:00] will be worthless. Like you were kind of saying, uh, worth less, not worthless. Uh, so people planning to live on this income that they’re getting in the future. Even if it’s social security, you may not get all of it. And even if you do it may not be worth what you think it’s worth.

So it’s a big problem for future generations. Um, but I also heard, um, that you were, you were skeptical the first time you came across the white paper or Bitcoin or crypto. So I’m just curious for someone like you was known for being like way ahead of trends, uh, in all these different fields. Why do you think you missed it at first and what changed that for you to get?

Alex Mashinsky: Yeah, so, so, uh, um, so I worked at, uh, uh, myself on, on, uh, on the version of Moit version of money, right? So in 2003, 2004, and I had a startup that tried to, uh, attach money to email and be able to send basically email too. So you can send somebody an email attach. $20 or [00:27:00] $50 or whatever, and they effectively could cash it out.

Right. It wasn’t decentralized, it wasn’t blockchain based, but I was working on a version of a, uh, basically electronic money, right. Or money over the internet. Uh, and, uh, so it’s not like, I didn’t know anything like, so when I ran, when one of my employees send me the paper and said that I posted that on Twitter, actually not too long ago.

And I posted on Twitter, the original, uh, email and from, I think it was 2009. And my answer to him was, uh, you know, uh, this is the world’s slowest database, which is true. Bitcoin is the world’s slow is database. It is a colossal waste of electricity, which is true. It’s a colossal waste of electricity and it’s consumed so much, uh, computing power and communications that it’s the most inefficient way.

Uh, to create, uh, um, [00:28:00] consensus. Right? So, so I was right about everything I just said, but I was totally wrong about how important that is, like the solving, uh, the, you know, the ability to effectively do a peer to peer transfer of value outside of the traditional banking system. So, um, so I didn’t, I didn’t pay any attention to it until Mt.

Gox after, after Mongox, which was, I think 2013, uh, um, when I sell that Bitcoin just continued walking. Like nothing happened, like basically, like people just dusted off Mt. Gox and continue walking. I said, wait a second. I’m missing something really, really big here because it should have died instantly.

Like they, they should have just died. Uh, we should have never heard about it before. And yet here it is. Uh, Uh, uh, you know, picking, uh, uh, [00:29:00] speed, picking up speed and accelerating and, and, and, and I started, I had to reprogram my brain because my entire, uh, upbringing was all about how do you take the latest technology, make stuff we’re on faster, cheaper, and better.

And this was the opposite of all that stuff, right? Well, it wasn’t the latest technology. Again, the blockchain was invented in the nineties, so we took really old stuff, dusted it off and put it in a very, very inefficient structure. And, uh, so it was very hard for my brain, which is kind of honed in on innovation and speed and everything else, too.

Understand the proof of work and consensus and the peer to peer, 

Ismail Humet: it sounds like you’re putting a lot of value in the proof of work. Like that’s the Trojan horse, that’s the value here? What does everyone else now, whether it’s Elon Musk criticizing the energy waste, or even a theory, I’m moving [00:30:00] through a proof of stake system.

What are they missing? Why are they wrong? 

Alex Mashinsky: Well, look, a lot of those people, uh, are just trying to fix their PR mistakes. So Elon is talking about all this stuff because he, uh, I don’t think he knew enough about the proof of stake versus proof of org or consensus or whatever. Cause, uh, he he’s two favorite, uh, children was Bitcoin and doge coin.

Right? So, so we both are proof of work, so it’s not like, uh, uh, you know, he jumped into Ethereum and then he said, okay, uh, I theorem is moving to proof of stake. So I’m no longer supporting Bitcoin. Right? So I don’t, I don’t think that’s the, it’s not that they’re missing something. Right. I think what, what most people don’t understand is that, that the power that comes from this distributed a computing platform, that the Bitcoin [00:31:00] network is the world’s largest supercomputer.

It’s actually a thousand times more powerful than the hundred largest supercomputers put together. So if you take the, all the NSA computers and all the Russian computers and all the Chinese government computers, you put all of them together. And plus the next 50 computers put, put them all together and it will be one, one thousands.

The hash power of what Bitcoin is. That’s how powerful. So Bitcoin is already. The network, the Bitcoin network is by far the world’s most powerful computer. So, um, so we already there, now that network consumes tremendous amount of electricity and more than the country of Argentina or the state of New York, the whole state, not the city of New York, the whole state of New York.

So, so obviously there’s a lot of concerns about the, um, the [00:32:00] need for so much hash power to secure the network. And there’s no going back here. It’s not like you can suddenly start reducing the hash power and say, okay, let’s only run 50% or 30% or whatever the hash power is increasing, uh, every year. And, and the amount of computing that is necessary is increasing even faster because the ACX and the miners are, are running better and better.

They’re more and more efficient. Uh, but they also consume more power. So, um, so the, the, the conundrum we have is by far, the safest network is Bitcoin. The chain, the Bitcoin chain is much safer than the theorem. It’s not, it’s not like, okay. Theorem is a little bit less safe. Bitcoin is again, several thousand times safer than theorem, because it is so much older chain and it has so much more hash power.

Right? So, so if you’re going to [00:33:00] move billions of dollars into more, it may be trillions of dollars. And how much security do you want? Well, I will tell you that if you really can’t comparing apples to apples, then you, you have to include the cost of running the us military in this calculation. Why?

Because. The U S military is not protected. The protecting the United States of America. The us military is protecting the U S dollar, the petrodollar the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. Right. And, and so when you think about the cost of running the network, then you should include, uh, all the protections, not just the, okay.

What, how much electricity does it cost to run JP Morgan or Citibank or whatever? 

Ismail Humet: I also heard that you believe, uh, back to the first mover advantage before with Uber. Um, you said that you don’t think in 20 years or so that Bitcoin will be the main, uh, currency. Uh, do you still feel that [00:34:00] way? And if so, how does that align with your bullishness on, uh, Bitcoin’s price for the next couple of years?

Alex Mashinsky: So we already have over 200 blockchains, right? So it’s not like, uh, Bitcoin is the only blockchain and. What I was saying is, is that I think that technology for the winning blockchain has not yet been invented. Uh, so for example, there is a definitely a scenario in which, uh, the Chinese government did show you on becomes a reserve currency of the worlds.

The digital currency it’s runs on a version of a blockchain and, uh, it wins away. Uh, it, it takes over and wins over all of the users, uh, that are using Bitcoin today because the Chinese Yuan is definitely going to be a, a great form of payment, uh, by definition, right? It’s, uh, it’s a Fiat currency effectively, right?

It just happens to run it’s digital field currency that [00:35:00] happens to run on a blockchain, right? So, uh, there’s a scenario where the United States come up, comes up with a digital currency and nothing bad happens with MMT. And we start running, uh, you know, on the digital dollar in our wallets and use it as a form of payment.

And that has a good chance of winning out against the Bitcoin as well. Right. So, so, um, so there was a lot of variants in the future of what is the winning strategy? What is the winning combination? Now, Bitcoin is a phenomenal store value, but it’s still a horrible form of payment. Most people don’t use Bitcoin for payment.

And if you did use it for payment, you are super sorry about it because the Tesla that you bought last year with Bitcoin, you look at it and you say to yourself, oh my God. You know, if I just had the Bitcoin, I would have 10 times I could buy 10 Teslas instead of one. So, so [00:36:00] when the world’s richest person tells you, I will swap you with my Tesla, with your Bitcoin.

You should think hard of who’s gonna have the winning hand, uh, at the end of that transaction, right? You’re replacing a value, an asset that appreciates in value with something that is depreciates in value, which is a Tesla car. 

Ismail Humet: It’s funny, you mentioned that a friend of mine is a barber in Manhattan and, uh, one of his clients like insisted on paying with Bitcoin few years ago, like $20 a haircut.

And he said, I looked at it recently. It’s like $5,000. So it’s a great, great trade for him. Um, all right. So how do we, how does before I get to Celsius, I just got one more question. Cause I, I saw a video like really early in the year where I think you said, uh, you were one of the few people who said, Hey, we’re gonna have a huge dip in Bitcoin, maybe like 25,000 before we start going back up.

And I think you, you said something over a hundred thousand by the end of the year. Um, do you still feel that way? Was that dip that we just had, do you think that was it or do you still think we’re going back into the twenties [00:37:00] before resuming the leg up. 

Alex Mashinsky: Yeah. So the we’re doing this in, uh, may of 2021.

So in January or February of 20, of 20, 21, I, I, I kept saying it’s too much too fast. We’re going to have to revisit the 25 to 30,000 price levels. And I had a lot of, you know, a lot of people on Twitter, basically. Just try to rip me into shreds. Tried though, like why you dip, you dissing the market. Why you saying bad things, stop tweeting, just keep your ideas to yourself.

And, uh, it’s not that I want it to be right. It’s not like, oh, here I’m right. And whatever. I, I, I feel that, and you know, people, people want to get rich quick and they want that to happen super fast and they don’t understand the consequences. Right. Because what happens is when you, especially when you’re on [00:38:00] leverage or when you borrow, have borrowed funds, And, and you don’t sell it, right?

You don’t take anything off the table. You end up getting wrecked. And the problem we had here is that last week when Bitcoin was down 53%, top to bottom in, in just a few days, uh, over 10 million people got wrecked, right? Completely got liquidated on all the different platforms. So, uh, that’s just not good, uh, for crypto.

So when I’m saying, uh, let’s bring a hundred million people into crypto, we just lost 10 million people in wa in, in one week we lost 10 million people that were super hot and excited about Bitcoin. And now they’re just sitting, looking at themselves in the mirror saying, oh, you know, I’m never touching this thing again.

I lost all my money. Yeah. So 

Ismail Humet: they may never come back because they got burned 

Alex Mashinsky: so bad. Exactly, please. So, so that’s not a good thing for crypto. It’s not a good thing for any of these people. So [00:39:00] what did we get? Right. So. So I think, uh, um, uh, slow and steady here wins much better than, uh, fast up and down and flash crashes and, and recycling a lot of people.

So I, I, I do think that I still think we’re going to be over a hundred thousand this year doing 2021, but I do think we will have another correction after this one as well. And we’ll end up the year with less than a hundred thousand dollars. So I know a lot of people are not happy about this view, but, uh, I’m sticking with it.

I’m not changing it. 

Ismail Humet: I tend to agree. There’s a lot of different models out there. Some people think you’ll overshoot a hundred and go way higher, but it always reverts back, uh, to the mean, I guess a little bit on that, on its continuance to go up. Um, okay. So I want to talk about Celsius because. When I first came across Celsius, I was like, wow, this is amazing.

I don’t understand how more people don’t know about it. Like a lot of I’ve been talking about it on my [00:40:00] podcast last few episodes. And it’s amazing that a lot of people don’t know about it yet. So it shows you the potential for growth. For me, what’s amazing is that everyone says, Hey, crypto, Bitcoin, whatever you can’t really, there’s no intrinsic value.

It doesn’t make money. Uh, but for people who are not familiar, you can put the crypto that you have into Celsius and earn a yield on it. So for example, right now there’s like a 6.2% yield on Bitcoin. And it varies based on the cryptocurrency. Uh, I wrote a blog post about how you can earn a thousand times the interest that you get at the bank, chase bank, city bank, by putting your money into a stable coin and putting it into Celsius.

So that got a lot of people’s attention. And that’s why I wanted to talk to you. How would you describe to people who are skeptical? Because everyone’s like, wait, how is that even possible? Why is the bank giving me 0.01% and sell us? You guys can give me 10% or 6% or 5%. How does that make sense? 

Alex Mashinsky: Well, it doesn’t make sense.

So, so, eh, for most people, and when the bank tells you that the rate is [00:41:00] 0.1%, you and you see one bank, second bank, third bank, the fourth bank, 0.15%. You’ll you’ll say to yourself, okay, well, you know, that is the rate, right? If all the banks and these are all big banks, they have big offices, big buildings, beautiful.

Uh, you know, lobbies you saying to yourself, they know what they’re doing. They’re pros. Uh, so if they say the rent is 0.1%, that must be true. Right? So, so if you look at the rate, the banks have been paying over the last decade or two, you will see that the rate has come down every year and it actually come down directly in correlation to them buying other banks.

Right? So they consolidated the banking world. They, there, there, there was the four fourth largest bank in the United States. Have something like 60% of all the deposits, right? Bank of America, JP Morgan, chase, uh, Wells Fargo. And, [00:42:00] uh, which 1:00 AM I missing Citibank? Right. So, so those are the largest banks.

And eh, what you have to ask yourself is not what they’re paying you. You have to ask yourself, what are they paying themselves? Right. So they’re all public companies and they all brag about their earnings to their shareholders. So if you, instead of looking on their website and what they’re telling you, you should be earning, go on the sec, filing, go and do a search for JP Morgan, chase quarterly earnings and see how much money they’re giving their shareholders.

And you will find out that they’re making between 15 and 17% return capital meaning yield on their capital. Right. They’re paying that to their shareholders either in the form of a dividend or a stock buyback. Or a bonus to their employees or anything like that. Right. So, so if they can pay themselves 17%, right?

Wouldn’t it be fair if they paid [00:43:00] themselves 10% and gave you five or 6%, right? Let’s split the pie. Should everything go to the shareholders? Or should we split some to go to the depositers and some to go to the shareholders? So when I say these things, people look at me and say, Alex, come on. I mean, the fed has low rates to zero.

So banks are making no money, no banks make more money than ever before. The banks have never made more money than they make now. So the rate the fed pays, although there rate the fed dictates has nothing to do with what they can pay. You I’ll give you, I’ll give you a simple example back. Uh, 10 years ago, when the rates, the fed rate was four or 5% bank charge you 24% on your credit card.

Now the fed charges bank zero, right? The lower, the rate from four to 5% to zero. So now their cost of capital went down by 5%. Did your credit [00:44:00] card go down from 24% to 19%? So, so you have to understand that that while the fed is lowering the cost of capital for banks, banks continue to charge you an ATM fee and a withdrawal fee.

And then the inactivity fee and an overdraft fee, you name it a fee upon fee, right? That, uh, they’re, they’re pros at the charging fees. So, so all that money and none of it is directed towards the depositor, right? Why? Because they are so dominant that they don’t have to pay. What are you going to do? If, if, if you try to go into your bank account, then to go bank and demand to know what is the bank doing with your money?

And who are the lending into what is the interest rate and how much of it you’re getting, right. Just, they’re gonna laugh at you and throw you out of the bank and close down your bank account. Cause they don’t need you as a customer, but those are all the things that Celsius shares with its customers.

Every week, [00:45:00] every week we tell all of our customers how much we received in deposits from the community. What did we lend out? How much did we earn? And we give 80% of that back to our community, to the depositers 80% of it goes back to the deposits. So in 700 years of banking, since the muddy cheese started banking and Italy in 700 years, there’s never been a crazy banker in not even one crazy person who thought that they should give their customers 80% of what they make.

Right. After all traditional banks keep nine 90 to 95% of what they make, they give their customers a fraction of a fraction of 1%. Right? So, so that is, what’s so hard for people to understand because you were conditioned over many years to not earn anything on your money. People assume that that is just how it is, [00:46:00] but the rich people, right.

I’m one of those rich people, rich people. If I’m, if I go and I give my money to Goldman Sachs, And I give him a hundred million dollars. The agreement between me and Goldman Sachs is that I’m the LP, the limited partner, and they’re the GP, the general partner. And I get to keep 80% of what they make. That is the agreement between very rich people and the banks, very rich people and their money managers.

So all Celsius did is took what the very, very rich people already have and gave it to a person that has a hundred dollars and said to him, look, we’re going to treat you as if you have a hundred million dollars, even though you only have a hundred dollars. And we treat I’m the largest user of Celsius. I have over $350 million of my own money in Celsius.

I, in percentage terms, I own exactly the same thing as somebody who just joined Celsius and put a hundred dollars to work. If I earn 10% on stable coins, you will also earn [00:47:00] 10% of stable coins. If I earn 6.2% of my Bitcoin. You will also earn 6.2% of the Bitcoin. And that’s what has never been done before.

Ismail Humet: That’s why, uh, the banks hate you, but you’re, you’re loved by the people. So, uh, I guess you’re doing something right. Um, one it’s, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it because in an inflationary system where the value of the money is decreasing and there’s more money being out there, you would think the yield should be higher, uh, versus a deflationary system like Bitcoin, where that’s a fixed supply.

The rate’s higher, but I think you explained, explained it. Well, the other, uh, hiccup I hear from people when I tell them about Celsius is like, well, my bank has FDAC insurance, right? So I’d like to hear what your response is, stuff like this. But for me, it’s like, I try to explain, maybe you’ll go into this because you can explain it better than me.

Uh, the fractional reserve versus the collateralized system. Yeah. They have FDAC insurance, but, um, they, they only have a tiny portion of the money they are lending out or the money they’re collecting from people. So in a way it’s a little bit [00:48:00] more risky, especially if you have more capital than that FDI C bar.

So I’d like to hear how you respond to that. Um, the, that barrier that people have. 

Alex Mashinsky: So again, it looks Elsie is not trying to be a federally chartered bank. I mean, our job is not to, um, uh, bank stick, tremendous risk, right? So most banks are leveraged 10, 20, 30 to one. Meaning for every dollar they have in deposit, they do $30 worth of lending.

Uh, Celsius only does what’s called asset back lending abs. Right? So, so if we have a dollar in deposit, we can only land 50 cents on a dollar. Right? So, so we are a much safer, uh, lending institutions than traditional banks. Now, most people say, what are you talking about, banks? That the word starts with a beat banks are very safe.

Well, if they’re so safe, why do we have to bail them out every 10 to 15, 10 years, they’re safe. You [00:49:00] can look at the last hundred years, this whole century, last hundred years. And you will see that every 10 to 15 years, we had a crisis. And every 10 to 15 years, we had a bailout. And guess who paid every bailout in the history of the United States?

The taxpayer. Right? So, so the issue, it wasn’t the FDAC. Show me one time, 2008. Did the FDAC common say, okay. Uh, bank of America is in trouble Merrill Lynch’s yeah. Tribal Goldman Sachs is in trouble. Uh, Morgan Stanley is in trouble. I am, they have DIC. I’m going to bail out all these guys. No, we created a tarp.

We went to the taxpayer and said, please give us $800 billion because they have the se cannot bail. Even one bank, forget about all the banks that are in trouble. So the people will think that there was insurance because when they go to the bank branch, there’s a big label on the door. [00:50:00] As you walk in, as you pull that heavy door, there’s a big label that says FDI, right?

Wow. I feel so safe. Now. What the hell? The value of an insurance policy that has never paid out. The FTSE has never paid out for any bank failure when bank bear Stearns, which was the first bank to collapse in 2008 had trouble. Did they have the SC jump in and say, okay, we’re here. It’s good to go. No, they took it.

And they forced JP Morgan to buy bear Stearns. Right. The next bank collapsed. They had, they forced the next bank to buy the next bank and so on and so on. And so they didn’t cough up any cash. I have it. Right. So you can, you can continue fooling yourself that, that yes, it’s safe. And it’s, it’s, it’s the same thing, like talking about your, uh, uh, your.

Mother a retirement plan, right? The, the, [00:51:00] the, the, the pension plan. So, so unfortunately, again, we printed so much money just this year in 2021, we printed close to 40% of all the money that ever existed, right. Between the fed and the government and everything else. So, so that’s 40% inflation in monetary terms in one year.

And the government is telling you that there’s 2% inflation, right? So, so we can continue lying to ourselves, or we can look at the facts, everything I told you, you can go and Google and check for yourself and come to your own conclusions. But what’s important is that you have a plan. You have a plan that acts in your best interest, not in the government’s best interest, not in the Fed’s best interest, not in the bank’s best interest, because all of the plans these people are giving you.

Are in their own best interests. Now your plan should be how, what is the best store value? How can I protect my [00:52:00] assets? Not my dollars. You want to protect your asset? The value created you exchange your time for value, and now you want to store that value in a way that will protect itself and will accumulate more value, more wealth.

Right. So how do you protect the wealth that you worked so hard for? Because if you keep it in dollars, it’s just going to continuously lose its value. 

Ismail Humet: It’s funny, when I was requesting questions from people like about a week or so ago, someone said, Hey, why don’t you ask Alex, um, how do we, how, how would Celsius react or do if Bitcoin went down 50% in a month and I’m like, I went back to them like, oh, look, it happened in a week and they’re still standing strong.

So I think that goes to what you were just talking about the collateralization and how it’s, uh, not as risky as the current system that we’re in. So 

Alex Mashinsky: well, just to comment, because this is public record. So last week, And we [00:53:00] had our best week ever. Meaning we made the most money last week in the history of the company.

Uh, we had zero institutional liquidation. So people, we lent money to all of them had margin calls and so on. They all gave us, uh, additional collateral. We borrow money from other people. So we had zero liquidations, meaning we did not get liquidated because we didn’t, we had to give more collateral to other people.

Right. Everything goes in a circle and we had one liquidation on defy, which we bought back at the loss of something like $10,000. Right. So the entire outcome of all of this was that we made millions of dollars. And we lost something like $10,000. That was the, the test, the stress test that, uh, Celsius went through right now.

Let’s take any of the banks and you pick any bank you want, let’s go and redo it. Use the value of their assets by 50 bucks percent and see what happens. I [00:54:00] guarantee you what’s going to happen. They will all have to come to the taxpayers and say, can you bail us out one more time? That’s the only thing that’s going to happen.

They can not survive. When you look at the stress test, just do a Google test. Well, the, the stress test on the banking system and see, what is the stress does down 10% down 20%, there is no scenario of down 50%. They don’t even test for that. I 

Ismail Humet: can, uh, testify to that. I used to work in the financial world as a credit analyst.

So, uh, they value they D they evaluate the credit risk, and they’re definitely not ready for a 50% draw down. And I think, uh, Someone who runs Celsius like you who’s prepared and expects a big pullback. I think I’d rather put my money there because, um, I’m like everybody else that says, Hey, we’re going to the moon.

You’re actually preparing yourself for the inevitable pullbacks. So one of the things I wanted to touch on, I know we’re coming up at the end of our time, but I think is a big benefit to Celsius. I’d like you to touch on is [00:55:00] the rich people have assets that go up in value and they’re able to leverage it and borrow against it without selling and having to pay tax.

Right. And as the value keeps coming up, uh, they’re able to leverage it again. So I’d like to have you just touch on that briefly before we go, uh, people are able to do that with Celsius with their crypto. They don’t have to sell it. There’s a 1% loans that they can use to take money out of it without having to pay a tax on the sale.

Alex Mashinsky: Sure. And, and again, uh, our previous president obviously used this, uh, he was bragging how he only pays $700 a year in taxes, even though he’s a billionaire. And so there are these illegal ways. This is not like some scam or some hidden unknown tax loophole. That’s just the law. What we’re talking about right now is what the law is.

The law applies to the rich and the poor. It just that the rich use it every week, every month. And the poor never use it once. Right? So, so if you [00:56:00] barely make enough money to make a living and, uh, and you pay full tax on it, right, you don’t have savings, you don’t have assets. And because of that, that you really living off the work that you do everyday, and you pay full tax, you pay whatever 30, 40, 50% depending which state you’re in.

But if you are very, very rich and you’re your own buildings or your own, uh, any kind of other assets and the value of that asset in dollar terms increases, or you collecting rent or other, other type of dividend income, And what happens is that you can borrow against these assets, just like you can borrow against Bitcoin or your stock.

You can borrow against buildings, you can borrow against other assets. And when you take a loan against the asset, that is not considered a sale, it’s not like an, uh, similar to how you pay taxes. When you get a pay full work that you’ve done. And because of [00:57:00] that, you can effectively defer taxes on the increase in value.

So if your building is worth twice as much, or your Bitcoin is worth twice as much, you not paying taxes on that appreciation until you actually sell it, meaning you can hold it forever. But at the same time through, through, for example, Celsius, you can come take a loan, a dollar loan, pay off your credit card bills, pay off your mortgage while your Bitcoin and other assets continue to appreciate, continue to earn interest.

So that is the, again, it’s not a loophole. That is how rich people stay rich. That’s how rich people defer taxes. That’s how rich people avoid, uh, paying all the money back to the government. So all of us can use it. And it’s just a question of first, you have to save, you have to huddle, you have to accumulate assets.

That’s the first step. You cannot do any of these things. If you haven’t accumulated anything after you [00:58:00] accumulate these assets, you can then again, have them earn interest, right? That’s what Celsius does. It pays you interest in 45 different assets. And if you need a loan, you can take a loan and use that to pay your bills.

Spend money, go on offensive trip. Yeah, pay off your credit cards and everything else. 

Ismail Humet: The recipe for wealth. I think it’s basically the magic of Celsius that you’re bringing all these benefits that the wealthy had to regular people. That’s why I feel so passionately about getting the word out. Um, Alex, as I expected, I did not get to all my questions, but it was a great conversation.

I appreciate your time. Um, I know by the time this gets published another benefit of Celsius so that you guys pretty radically have promo codes. So there’ll be promo codes, uh, coming out, I think later this week and I’ll have it in the show notes, everybody. And that’s a way to earn even more, uh, yield by, uh, meeting the metrics of these codes where you put in a certain amount of money.

Celsius gives you even more money on top of the interest that you’d be earning. So all that stuff will be in the show notes. Hopefully I helped put a dent into that a hundred million number number with, [00:59:00] uh, with this episode. And Alex, just thank you so much again, any parting words, anything you want to point people to, uh, let us know.

Alex Mashinsky: Sure. So thanks again for inviting me and, and, uh, And I hope this content will help educate people and have them feel more confident about doing what’s in their own best interest. Uh, you can follow me on Twitter at . My last name and Celsius network is our website. We have over a thousand videos on YouTube.

So if you go there and search for Celsius network, sign up to our channel, subscribe and hit the bell button. So you can get notifications. We post videos every day and, uh, you know, we’re going to be in the Miami, uh, Bitcoin 21 conference. If you go into Miami, you can meet us in person there. And, uh, otherwise, you know, I’m based here in New York and, uh, this is where Celsius was born.

So we very proud of it and, and would love to meet you all in person. And. [01:00:00] And again, take, uh, take Bitcoin to the moon, right? That’s what the, that’s what we’re trying to do. 

Ismail Humet: All right. Awesome place to leave it, Alex. Thanks again so much. I really appreciate it. All the links to everything you mentioned, we’ll have in the show notes, everybody.

Thank you so much, Alex. And there you have it. I strongly suggest you sign up for Celsius. I’ve actually gotten all my friends and family on it. Recently, as of this recording, you get 6.2% interest on your Bitcoin, 5% on your Ethereum, 8.8, 8% on your us dollar stable coins. So whether you own and believe in crypto or you’re still loyal to cash, you can still benefit from having a sales use account.

One of my favorite things is that interest payouts are made weekly on Mondays. So if you have a job and you’re used to getting paid on Friday, now you’d have to pay days a week on top of the interest. If you sign up via my link, you’ll receive $40 in free Bitcoin. Another reason I love Celsius is that they also provide promo codes.

They [01:01:00] give you bonuses for transferring and funds. For example, right now, if you transfer in $400 worth of anything, you get an additional $50 in Bitcoin. On top of the $40 you get for using my link. And on top of the amazing interest, if you transfer in $25,000, you get $600 in free Bitcoin. And so on. Make sure you input the promo codes before you transfer in any money.

And if you need any help, feel free to me on Instagram and I’d be happy to help you get set up. I will list the current promo codes in the show notes, but please note that by the time you listened to this, these may be outdated and there may be new promo codes. So just in case, I’ll also include a link to Celsius a site with the current active codes.

A final note, I started to record interviews on video and I’m experimenting with Tik TOK and YouTube. If you’re on any of those platforms, please help me out by giving me a follow and engaging with and sharing my content. It is really appreciated. I hope you got a ton of value out of this conversation.

[01:02:00] If you enjoy the episode, please remember to subscribe and leave a review for any and all resources that we discussed. Check out the show notes for head on over to bounty until 

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