Tai Zen: What’s up guys. This is Tai Zen. Today, I don’t have LeonFu.com with me. Instead, I have another software engineer computer programmer, similar to LeonFu.com, Kirk Ballou.
Kirk Ballou: Hi guys
Tai Zen: We’re broadcasting from North Dallas near the new Toyota North American headquarters that they are constructing right behind us.
I came here to here to interview and introduce Kirk to you because Kirk just built a pretty cool phone wallet app.
It’s a multi-cryptocurrency app wallet that is designed to store cryptocurrencies and do an exchange inside the wallet. It’s kind of like a combination of the Exodus desktop wallet combined with the multicurrency functionality of the Jaxx wallet.
He reached out to me to review the Coin Pouch wallet and see what we thought about it. Since he was right here in Dallas, I’d just come in and talk to him in person and you can listen on it.
First of all, before we look at the Coin Pouch wallet, can you talk a little bit about your background and how did you get into Bitcoins?
Kirk Ballou: Sure. We’ve been in Dallas 11 years. It’s app agency I started called Touch Titans. We work with a lot of Fortune 100, Fortune 500 and build apps for Red Bull, CNN, Nat Geo, and several well-known brands.
I got into crypto in March and I found it really interesting. We built a slack bot wallet that won the Stellar Build Challenge.
Tai Zen: Before you go too fast, are you saying you enter one of Stellar’s competitions?
Kirk Ballou: Yeah. That’s right.
Tai Zen: To let you know what Touch Titan is when he says it’s an app agency, it’s the company that builds apps for phone for other companies.
Kirk Ballou: That’s right.
Tai Zen: Your agency would look at the specifications and build it for the customer.
Kirk Ballou: That’s right we call it Idea to App Store, which means we have clients come to us at sketch level as well as they’ve got designs everything, and they just need us to do development.
Tai Zen: Let’s talk about how you heard about cryptocurrencies or Bitcoin for the first. Who introduced you to it?
Kirk Ballou: There are a lot of guys I know with. There are entrepreneurs around Dallas I would see on Facebook posting about Ethereum and Bitcoin. This was for a few months and I ignored them too long because I could have got Ethereum much cheaper
Tai Zen: Just like everybody else.
I’m going to share something with you to make you feel better. I don’t know if it will, but except for the people doing the ICO, no one has ever felt that they got in early enough. For the people that got early into the ICO, they felt they didn’t get enough in the ICO and they sold too early after the ICO.
So you were hearing from your Facebook friends and your business acquaintances about Ethereum and cryptocurrencies. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back that finally made you go into this for real?
Kirk Ballou: Once I actually started looking at the White papers, looking at the code and understanding that it wasn’t just fake internet money and people were able to buy stuff with it and convert it back to USD, I started to buy some some crypto and saw that grow, which got us interested in building apps around it.
Tai Zen: What was the trigger that finally made you want to buy one of these tokens just to see what if it really does? You’re a software engineer right, so you didn’t have any doubts like I did when I first got into Bitcoins because you can understand the technology behind.
Kirk Ballou: There was a lot. I mean if I’d gotten into it earlier, there wouldn’t have been as much to validate.
Tai Zen: Ripple was your first crypto then?
Kirk Ballou: Yeah. Because they’ve got an actual business model, so let’s try it out and see how it does.
Tai Zen: I’m sure you’re very happy.
Kirk Ballou: Very happy.
Tai Zen: Let’s move forward in time. How did you hear about our channel as well as me and Leon to reach out to us?
Kirk Ballou: I just went on YouTube and looked for some crypto channels. Then, I saw that you actually knew what you’re talking about. I mean the way you evaluated coins was really interesting because it was kind of like how you would evaluate a company or evaluate a startup.
Tai Zen: Not just on the emotions, we actually look at what the company actually does and what its potential earnings.
Kirk Ballou: Yeah. I mean if you look at it like the investment it’s not like your personal attachment to this coin.
Tai Zen: We have no attached.
I did with Bitcoin for a little bit. However, Leon kept reminding me that we’re here to make money, not to fall in love in any of these cryptos.
He would always point out to me that you put all your life savings into this not to fall in love with crypto that can make you money. That’s what this channel is all about. We are a cryptocurrency investing channel.
In case you are new to this channel, we are not a techno channel even though we look at and evaluate the tech. We do that to make the correct investment decisions, not to fall in love with it.
I was tweeting out about wanting to set up a cryptocurrency investing meetup in Dallas. I tweeted it out there that I was looking for a venue that can hold some people to run the investment meetup. You were the one who responds to my tweet and said that there were these different in Dallas. That’s how we got to know each other.
You also mentioned that you were putting out the Coin Pouch app and asked us to take a look at. It’s only on an iPhone right now, so I can only look at it on the iPhone store. Since you were down the street from where I live in Dallas, I wanted to take a look at it.
The first question I have is because there are quite a few of wallet apps out there, what prompted you to go out and build another one, especially while you are specializing in building apps for all these big companies these popular companies?
Kirk Ballou: There are a lot of wallet apps out there, but we saw a lot of the wallets not following the right way to build security app fro large brands.
Definitely, I think the safest thing is cold storage like a Ledger Nano or saving it off the line like paper wallets. However, as far as a hot wallet that lives on your device, I would only feel comfortable if I owned my keys and theirs are encrypted to my device.
Tai Zen: Let’s break it down, so the people watching this channel understand what you just said that. You said that you want to keep the private keys in your control.
In cryptocurrencies, you have a public key and a private key. The public key is what you give to everyone, so they know what your account number is to send you the cryptos or the tokens. The private key is what gives you the ability to send transactions out.
Kirk Ballou: That’s right. If you have that private key and this phone drops in the ocean, I can restore that wallet either on the web or on another iPhone using that private key. It’s kind of like you encrypted password to your wallet.
Tai Zen: For example, when I use the Coinbase wallet app, Coinbase has the private key. When I’m telling them to send you 1 Bitcoin or something like, I’m just basically sending a request email request to them to take that private key to send in my Bitcoins to you.
Kirk Ballou: Right. It’s very much like they own your security deposit box that has a key to it.
You’re using your login and password to get in, but for Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin, they’re essentially creating those security deposit boxes and they own the keys to each one of those.
Tai Zen: When you say that your Coin Pouch wallet follows the industry best practices for security, can you talk about that a little bit so that non-technical people can understand?
Kirk Ballou: There are a couple of just general guidelines if you want to keep your crypto safe. You want to make sure you never are doing transactions on a public Wi-Fi. If you want to go to the next step, you can even install a VPN like Tunnelbear, which basically says it keeps the outside eyes from prying in.
As far as what we did with this app, all transactions go over what’s called HTTPS. You can consider that like a secure highway for your data.
Basically, you have a security deposit box stays on your device, then you sign a transaction and what’s sent out over the network isn’t putting you at risk.
Tai Zen: What about all the other mobile apps that are available right now in the App Store? Don’t they do the same thing?
Kirk Ballou: No. We’ve evaluated some of them. I’m not wanting to name names, but I’ll just say that we’re following best practices for keeping your data safe.
If you’ve seen over the past couple months, a lot of exchanges are being hacked and that’s a case where your keys and your wallet live on the exchange. If a change goes down and your wallets there, those could be lost.
Tai Zen: They were hacked by the government.
Kirk Ballou: We got a partnership with Changelly, so you’re sending a direct transaction to Changelly backend. There’s not a central server to be hit where it could take down your wallet. Therefore, your wallet is secure.
Tai Zen: You’re saying that you’re following the industry-standard best practices for security to make sure it’s safe.
On top of that, is your Coin Pouch app an open source so that other developers and other engineers can review it to make sure that it does what you claim and there’s no backdoor, bugs or viruses in there to steal people?
Kirk Ballou: It’s not open source at this time because we’ve got brands are white labeling it.
Tai Zen: Because you are an app agency that builds apps, there might be a blockchain-based business that might want it to be their own app and you are going to provide that to them under their name brand.
If we want a TaiFu mobile wallet app right, we can have you built that for us and have that same one that put our label on it.
Kirk Ballou: Exactly.
Tai Zen: You had mentioned off camera that there are other traditional companies are maybe interested, so that’s why you don’t have it open source.
Kirk Ballou: Yes. We do a lot of work with big brands to build sports and entertainment apps. That’s another reason it is not open-source.
Tai Zen: Does that create a security issue? Because one of the things that have kept Bitcoin safe all these years is it’s been open source so other software engineers can review it right and make sure there’s no confining bugs or anything like that in there.
Do you have that as a concern for Coin Pouch? https://changelly.com/
Kirk Ballou: I don’t because we’ve had third party reviews.
Tai Zen: What I’ve learned from Leon is there are quality assurance agencies out there to come in and audit what you have.
Kirk Ballou: Exactly, specifically for security.
Tai Zen: And you pay them to do that? It’s not like Bitcoin where people just volunteer to do it.
If you could open it back up, I can show it to the audience. This is what the app looks like.
When we look at this, you have Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin and Doge on here. What made you decide to put start with Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, and Dogecoin (Bitcoin is the obvious one)?
Kirk Ballou: I see Doge as an introduction to crypto, where someone doesn’t have to go to Coinbase to send a few Doge.
For Litecoin, Ethereum and Dash, I look at it like when someone’s getting started in crypto, these are the main coins that we’ll be looking at.
Tai Zen: You just made an in-house decision just to start with those coins first. Do you have a process or plans to add new cryptocurrencies to this later on?
Kirk Ballou: We have a Twitter poll going right now because I’m a fan of Neo (Antshare).
Tai Zen: It’s the first blockchain that came out of China.
In full disclosure, I am invested in Neo, which was formerly called Antshare.
In our channel, when you hear me talk about any coin, just assume that I am invested into it.
Anyways, you said that you are going to add Antshare next?
Kirk Ballou: We’ve got a Twitter poll to see which one will be added next. Now, it was between Antshare and one is called Verge, which is a privacy coin and it’s hiding users data when you send a transaction.
Tai Zen: I think Neo would be a good one, not just because I’m invested into it, but because that’s might end up being the Monero for 2017. I think Monero was the best performing cryptocurrency in 2016.
Right now, if we had to take a poll, I think that Antshare or now we call it Neo would take the Academy Awards for being the top performer for this year.
Kirk Ballou: Full disclosure. I own Neo too. I think it’s a great coin.
Tai Zen: Just because we invest it, it doesn’t mean that you guys should. We’re not making a recommendation or anything like that because neither one of us are licensed, financial advisors. We’re just disclosing that we are in it’s because we are talking about it.
So if Verge or Antshare gets the most votes, you’re going to put it in here.
Kirk Ballou: That’s yes. I mean the next one we had.
Tai Zen: From a user’s perspective right, when I see people adding new coins into this, I usually ask how safe that is.
The reason is when you look at Coinbase after Bitcoin split, they said they needed time to upgrade their software and be prepared to accept Bitcoin Cash, so people could trade it and stuff like that. However, it seems like they take forever.
How are you able to do it so quickly on an app? Is it because of technology?
Kirk Ballou: The essential difference is it is not on a centralized server. It’s living on your phone.
Tai Zen: The attack surface is much bigger when the exchange like Coinbase trying to add new coin?
Kirk Ballou: In Poloniex or anything, there’s a centralized site for hackers to point out.
I mean in the Bitcoin Fork that happened if you own your private keys and have them on our wallet or any wallet were, you would just send them to an exchange that would recognize both the split of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Tai Zen: What are the long term plans here that your company has for the Coin Pouch app?
Kirk Ballou: We definitely want to support ERC 20 coins, which are the Ethereum-based tokens
Tai Zen: Is that much easier? Because I’ve heard that once you were able to put one token on, you pretty much can put all the other tokens.
Kirk Ballou: Exactly. It’s just changing out a contract address essentially.
Our plan is to support that and add more coins, but it’s not about having every coin on the market.
We want to eventually enable purchasing gift cards through the app, where you can be anywhere around the world and immediately convert crypto into Starbucks or whatever.
The other part is we have internal A.I. trading bot where you could select up to 10 different cryptos and you could select a cap amount at the most trade $500 worth of crypto.
Let’s say you’re in Bitcoin and set the price that you would set, then here’s the next viable coin for you to trade it into. We will have everything set up for you where you just push a button.
Tai Zen: It’s kind of like a signal provider right by using the bot that you created.
Kirk Ballou: Right. We might go fully automated.
Tai Zen: Is that part of this Coin Pouch or is that a completely different software that you’re building?
Kirk Ballou: No, it would integrate with this. It would be a backend that’s connected to that.
Tai Zen: What else about coin packs does the audience need to know that makes it different from the other besides following best security practices?
Kirk Ballou: As far as a blockchain interface, this is, if not the fattest, one of the fastest ways for switching between the different coins.
The feedback we’ve heard from users is that it’s much more user-friendly. Security, user-friendly and fast is the strength of Coin Pouch.
Tai Zen: It’s only available right now on an iPhone?
Kirk Ballou: That’s right.
Tai Zen: Are you going to come out with Android or Windows desktop version?
Kirk Ballou: We’re going to be releasing an Android version next, then a desktop version.
Tai Zen: When?
Kirk Ballou: Roughly 2 or 3 months out on Android because we want to go through the same vetting process and get the same another party to verify everything like this app.
Tai Zen: If I had to make a suggestion on a new coin to add, Factom is in desperate need for a wallet because they have only an enterprise wallet, which is not for the consumer.
I would say you should consider some of the coins out there like Stratis and Ethereum Classic. Ethereum Classic is a must because we got Charles Hoskinson, one of the original Ethereum co-founders, is working on it.
Kirk Ballou: As far as the cream of the crop would, you say Ethereum Classic, Factom,…
Tai Zen: Ethereum Classic, Factom and a lot of the privacy coins like Monero.
We believe that the privacy coins are a huge influence in the market, especially with the government taking down BTCE and being able to backtrack and figure out where all the transactions were coming from and finding out the ones who were laundering the Mt. Gox. That’s going to bring a huge focus on privacy and fungibility.
in case you’re new to cryptocurrencies, fungibility means that my Bitcoin is the same as Bi’s bitcoin according to Andre Santa. Once you receive, it should be treated the same. There’s no way you can tell that one came from drug money or digging ditches.
Bitcoin right now is not fungible because the Bitcoins that were stolen from Mt. Gox can be traced.
I think WizSec they were the firm that was able to do that security research and find out that the stolen Bitcoins now traded through the exchange called BTC.
Kirk Ballou: I agree. That’s part of why we pick Verge because it hides the user IP in the symbol and that one is XBG. Full disclosure that I do own some, but I see privacy is very important.
For the audience that’s new to it, it’s not just for life, not just people wanting to buy shady stuff on the Internet.
If you look at countries where Fiat is failing like Venezuela and they want to outlaw crypto, people can buy groceries with Bitcoin.
If you think about that aspect, people in those areas need some way to do transactions.
Tai Zen: We’re coming down to the conclusion of this recording here. I want to thank you for taking the time to explain about Coin Pouch.
If you like it, try it out on the iPhone until it comes out on Android and Windows.
If you like this video, give us a thumbs up and we’ll review some more wallets in the future.
Go check out you Kirk and Touch Titans if you need any apps built.
Thanks for watching this video. I look forward to seeing you guys in the future video.
Kirk Ballou: Thank you.
For more information about Kirk Ballou of Touch Titans & his Coinpouch crypto wallet, check out: