With me today, we have a huge lineup of guests here. We have the honorable Grandmaster legendary world-renowned Leon Fu Dot Com. Say hello Leon.
Leon: Hi guys.
Tai Zen: All right. The great Oracle of Crypto, right? With us also is Kirk Ballou. Say hello Kirk.
Kirk: Hi guys.
Tai Zen: Kirk is the CEO and the founder of an app and software agency in the city of Dallas called Touch Titans. He’s here to help us research the PROPS project here. We also have the platform lead in charge of developing the PROPS project platform. And this is Peter. Say hello, Peter.
Tai Zen: And then with him is Olivier?
Tai Zen: And he’s in charge of the user interface and the user experience on the platform. So let’s get right to it. Why we have these guys here? Before we get into the PROPS project, Peter, can you talk a little bit about your background?
Because in our channel, we have lots of investors and traders that are looking at this project. And from our research perspective, we always like to invest in people first, before the tech.
So let’s talk a little bit about your background. What you do, how you got into coding, developing and things like that, and then how you got into crypto.
Peter: Sure. So I started in Australia. I was very kind of into the music scene and taught myself to code, kind of based on that, where I was playing in bands, working with bands. So I started building websites to help them print posters and book venues, all that sort of stuff and started building music apps.
And then I founded a company called Swarm and moved to the US and raise some money to do that. And I did that for about two years.
Tai Zen: How old were you doing that time?
Peter: I was like 23 or so. Pretty.
Tai Zen: Okay.
Peter: I moved to the US, did that for a couple of years. It didn’t work out. It’s still out there. I had a lot of fun doing that. And so it was doing more development and then got connected to these guys to help with some of the website stuff.
So I started in the development and 3 years later, I’m still here as you know. And I’ve shifted more into some of the product management and kind of leading, some of the projects that were on, especially more research and kind of newer stuff that we’re working on.
About a year ago, we started thinking, we have this economy where people are buying virtual goods and we’re paying out creatives. We started to seem as a lot of the alignments with what’s going on with crypto and tokens and how it allows you to kind align between the developers of a system and the people creating the content.
So we started really digging into kind of how that can for our community. And I’ve sort of been deeply involved in that in terms of writing the white paper, trying to figure out how we can design the right incentives for everyone in the system, and then helping to actually kind of lead the building of it.
Peter: I heard about it quite ago. And I think everyone has this story of when they heard about it. And to be honest, I dismissed it. I’m not going gonna lie, I think kind of you had more foresight. I mean, I was there early.
I wrote it off, and I think like a lot of people, I found it kind of interesting technology but wasn’t kind of sure where it would end up. I even remember the Ethereum from a crowd-sale I’m thinking, this is nonsense, but clearly I was wrong there.
Tai Zen: Because you’re using the network now.
Peter: Exactly. I think we’re really starting to see it hits a point where it’s getting the usage.
And I think on the other side, we’re starting to see the need for it, in the edge, in terms of what’s going on, whether it’s a sense of ship or some of these platforms that are really large or what’s going on with governments and banking.
It’s just starting to get to that point and the technology is also getting to a point where robustness, all of it is starting to prove itself.
Tai Zen: Now something that you mentioned to myself and my other colleague, David, when we first met you a few weeks ago, right? And we talked about the PROPS project here.
You mentioned that in your spare time you love to go and compete at the hackathons right now. First of all, explain to the audience what is a hackathon so that people know. It’s very important here to know for the audience to know about you.
Peter: Hackathon is essentially where you usually go overnight and you’ve got a bunch of people and they build something from scratch in like 24 hours, 48 hours, barely any sleep. And sometimes there’s a direction that you want to go, sometimes there isn’t.
I think it’s a really fun challenge to try and build something from scratch in such a short amount of time. It’s usually a good experience to meet interesting people. This is how I actually got involved in the development community.
Actually, when I first came to New York, a hackathon that Spotify put on with a $10,000 USD prize, which I won.
Tai Zen: Congratulations.
Peter: Thank you. And there was literally a novelty-sized check, $10,000 USD.
Tai Zen: Did you get the picture with it?
Peter: I did. And then I took it home on the subway and everyone’s looking at me really strange because I’m just holding this.
Tai Zen: And then they found that it was fake, but it’s real.
Peter: They’ll pull out their phones and trying to scan it to claim it but no. I think that’s actually how I bootstrapped the company that I founded. It was just off these hackathon winnings. And I got that started.
Leon: But you must’ve gotten a ton of job offers with how these hackathons. I mean, did you always set on like doing your own startup or eventually what did you think of that?
Peter: I think I lean towards. I think for me, development is almost like a means to an end. I don’t see myself as a full-time developer, for the sake of development.
I’m much more interested in the idea and what can be created with it, but it just really helps to be able to develop yourself. So when you have an ID, you can crank it out.
Tai Zen: Kirk, you’ve also been to a ton of hackathon. So explain to the audience about the nature of hackathon bonds, how competitive it is and everything so that the audience will know. Because this is important here.
Kirk: It’s super competitive. If you go to Techcrunch Disrupt, which is the big hackathon of the year in California. There’re guys from Google that do this in their spare time, they’ll travel and do hackathons because they get a kick out of going in just doing this for 24 hours.
It’s almost like a social club, where you’re getting to go and collaborate with other guys with great ideas and build something.
Tai Zen: So is it safe to say they have different worlds? For example, in remote control race cars, they have conferences to go and compete in that. In sports, they have to compete in basketball or football or things like that.
Are you saying that these hackathons are like competitions of the top coders that come together?
Kirk: Yeah, it’s the top developers or the top product that emerges from that 24 hour period. And a lot of them are focused as he said, he’s interested in music. So you’re interested in music and coding. Spotify is a great hackathon to be at right now.
Tai Zen: Is it easy for people to win? I mean like he walked away with a big old check.
Kirk: No, I mean these are competitive.
Tai Zen: So you have to be good to be able to win those things.
Kirk: Yeah. If you look up Techcrunch Disrupt and there are thousands of developers in the crowd. So if you went out of there, like what he said with Spotify, there had to be.
Tai Zen: That’s not a small competition. That’s huge.
Tai Zen: Okay. So what would other hackathons? You just went to one just a few days ago in Waterloo? I’ll talk about that one.
Peter: Yeah, it’s cool. It was the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon. I think they had a couple of thousand people apply and then it was 300 people were invited up to Waterloo in Canada. So I took a flight there.
It was an amazing group of people. So you had 300 hackers, but then you also had these great talks the whole time. You had Vitalik, Joseph Poon, the consensus guys were there, Joe Lubin, everyone was there.
It was almost a distraction. Like you’re trying to build a project and meanwhile, the best people in the community are giving talks.
Tai Zen: So you went there to compete in there.
Peter: I went there to compete, but I ended up getting pretty distracted. So I played around with some things like 0X with. I hacked a little bit on their APIs but didn’t end up submitting anything cause I was so busy talking to people and getting to know people in the community.
Tai Zen: So now Leon and I, we met a young kid like you, right? And as a kid, because we’re all like in our mid-forties and stuff named Vitalic Buterin in a conference back in 2014. We’ve talked to him just like we’re talking to you right now. And you can go to our channel and see the interviews with us.
Kirk: What you said to him?
Tai Zen: The first advice I gave him, I said, you ain’t gonna run off with my money. I’m gonna fight you a punch in the stomach? He said, I can’t believe you told a 19-year-old teenager that you punch him in the stomach, he runs off your money.
But that project turned out to be a huge winner for us. Are you gonna be the next Vitalic? Are you going to be, I mean, you fit the profile and everything, that’s why we’re here. It raised, you know?
Peter: No, come on.
Tai Zen: Okay. Let’s talk about you Olivier. And talk about a little bit about your background and what got you into, where you came from, what got you into a user experience design, user interface design?
Olivier: Yeah. So I studied in Paris. I, a long time ago in 2010, founded a company called Super Marmite, which was a social marketplace for homemade food and that’s quite cool. I run that for two years.
And then I started to do design for all the companies and do a hackathon. So this is my other common element.
Peter: We’re both foreign hackers. I think we’re all on the same visa which is the O-1, the alien of extraordinary ability, they called it.
Tai Zen: Oh, alien of extraordinary ability
Leon: They call it almost sounds like a movie.
Tai Zen: I think that when Vitalic came to the US, he might’ve come under that aliens with extraordinary abilities and we are looking for that next Vitalic. So if you guys are those guys man, we are going to look back several years from now and be very happy that we are sitting here talking to you.
When did you first hear about Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies and what got you interested in it?
Olivier: So I heard it, I think maybe not the first time, but it’s a time where again, really get me interested in seeing with. I said I come from Paris, and again, the guys who funded Ledger, they’re from Paris, they were my entrepreneurial network in Paris.
And when a guy, Nicolas, told me, you should really buy some Bitcoins because we don’t know what will happen, but if you don’t, you will miss an opportunity and at this time I was missing this opportunity.
Tai Zen: I’ll bet you guys are working your butt off to make up for these missed opportunities with the PROPS project then.
Tai Zen: You guys are all in.
Peter: I mean, once it clicks, it’s like a rabbit hole. So I think the last 12 minutes or 12 months we’d been reading white papers, we’re just so deep because there’s a lot of catching up to do.
Tai Zen: So you finally took that red pill.
Tai Zen: Your eyes are open and then you can’t sleep now
Peter: Well, very deep. I mean, it’s a mix so we have the expertise and the product world in building these experiences for mainstream uses. And now as merging that with the Cryptospace and trying to make sure we can do something that’s accessible to people.
Tai Zen: On behalf of our audience and other crypto investors, we definitely want people that are on this full time and, wide awake and sleep – wake and dream about crypto, so that’s good.