Leon Fu: Okay.
Tai Zen: I want to get confirmation that the video is broadcasting, then we’ll start.
All right. If you can hear us, please just type in the chat box that you can hear us. After doing all the checking, we’ll get started.
They say that they can see us and hear us. We’ll go ahead and get this investor Q&A started.
I just want to welcome everyone today. This is Tai Zen and we’re here for the first the investor Q&A with Chris Trew. He is the founder and CEO of the Stratis platform. Are you broadcasting from London today, Chris?
Chris Trew: I am true. Yes.
Tai Zen: When I first saw Chris on the Stratis website, I thought he was a young Vin Diesel from the Fast and Furious.
I thought it was a bogus website. However, when I saw his video with the English accident, I realized it was not.
Chris Trew: Thank you very much. I take that as a compliment.
Tai Zen: You got to say: “It’s about the family”.
Okay. Then, we got the honorable grandmaster LeonFu.com, one of the great oracles of cryptocurrency.
LeonFu.com is broadcasting from the city of Austin, Texas. Say Hello, Leon.
Leon Fu: Hi guys. Hope you all made money on Stratis.
Tai Zen: We also got another fellow cryptocurrency investor trader. His name is Shaka Daniel. He is broadcasting out of New York City. Say hello, Shaka.
Shaka Daniel: Hey everybody. How is it going?
Tai Zen: Let’s go ahead and get this started guys.
We would cover several things regarding the Stratis platform. We have been trying to get this interview on the air for several weeks. However, due to work conflict schedules and all kinds of different conflicts, we were not able to get it until today.
It’s not easy to get 4 people all together at the same time. It’s Sunday morning. Everybody’s off, so we’re able to get together.
We would talk about several topics here. Leon will be asking Chris some of the technical questions behind the Stratis platform. I and Shaka will have some opinions on that, then we’ll focus on marketing, sales, business acquisition and some of the trading investing questions related to the Stratis platform.
To start off, can you talk a little bit about your background? What were you doing? What are your experience and technical skills? How have you got into Bitcoin? How have you eventually got into the Stratis platform?
Chris Trew: I used to work as a technical architect, predominantly around cloud computing and virtualization including a lot of Desktop as a Service and VDI type implementations. The majority of my work has been predominantly in financial services. I’ve worked for some of the top banks in the UK during my career.
5 years ago, I had an internet marketing and SEO business. I owned a very good salary from an empire of micro-niche sites, which are basically just small sites to deliver buy-side information to move up in the Google rankings.
Then, Google released many updates. The first one was the Pandora update, which took my earnings from 5 figures per month down to $200 if I was lucky. Therefore, I instantly went out looking for a new challenge. That’s when I found Bitcoin.
In terms of Stratis, From my experience in Bitcoin and blockchain technology as well as my day-to-day corporate experience, I could see a huge gap in the market. Therefore, we basically wanted to fill that gap. That was where Stratis was founded.
Tai Zen: What was the problem that you saw in the markets that inspired you to come up with the Stratis platform?
Did you see that there was a niche that needed to be filled in the cryptocurrency market?
Chris Trew: There are several points, but the main one is due to the majority of corporations development resources, which are usually C#.NET.
Now, the C#.NET development communities don’t have any full node framework to develop blockchain applications on.
Although we’ve got NBitcoin, which was developed by Nicolas Dorier who’s also part of the project, did give developers the opportunity to develop blockchain application, there wasn’t actually a full end-to-end development platform for that purpose.
Therefore, the idea was to build the Stratis platform, which would allow businesses to develop, test and deploy their applications all under this one platform.
With our full node framework, developers are able to develop applications and platforms with our blockchain as a service platform that enables to provision nodes that they can test the application on.
Then, on the same blockchain as a service platform, they can actually deploy the application and scale it out as required.
Tai Zen: Okay. Since our viewers are non-technical, I will paraphrase what you’re saying so that they can easily understand.
Because you say C#.NET is the dominant language in the computer world, I will compare it to English, which is the most popular spoken language in the world.
Then your whole point is all the cryptocurrencies, even Bitcoin is not written in that dominant language so that it’s accessible to everyone.
Is that what you’re saying?
Chris Trew: Exactly.
Bitcoin Core is written in C++, which is a very hard language to find a skilled developer in this day and age. However, with C#.NET, it is way more accessible.
Besides, in a corporate environment, if you look at the desktop of all of the employees, the majority of business applications that run on those desktops are actually.NET applications.
As a result, this platform allows us to open up the door for all of the existing.NET lines of business applications to integrate blockchain technology into that application.
Leon Fu: I have a quick question about that. We know that the development tools for.net and C# are a visual studio. If I’m a Microsoft C# developer and I basically live in visual studio, could you describe what would I see if I’m trying to use Stratis?
Chris Trew: I’ll go back to NBitcoin at this point because NBitcoin is actually in production news.
If you’re a C#.net developer and you are developing a visual studio, there is the package manager inside visual is called NuGet. You can actually go to this package manager and install NBitcoin into your .NET project. That will gives you the full functionality of NBitcoin.
It will be the same as the Stratis full node framework. It will be a package installed via the inbuilt package manager in visual studio, would allow you to use that full functionality.
One of the things that we were trying to do is simplify the development process for blockchain applications. Therefore, as a part of this platform, we’re going to have a blockchain university that reduces the learning curve for C#.NET developers to actually pick up the Stratis platform and start developing blockchain applications.
Leon Fu: It’s more like a framework or a plugin that C# developers just can add to the visual studio. I’m sure the visual studio has many others of these libraries. Is that correct?
Chris Trew: That’s correct, yeah.
At the time being, the only library or framework in existence, I would say it is fit for purpose, that I could actually recommend somebody to use in production is NBitcoin.
We’ll probably cover how that actually came about, but when I decided to actually move forward with the Stratis project and this whole C#.NET, one of my first steps was to actually go out there and do research to find out whether anyone is doing this already. That was how I found NBitcoin and Nicolas Dorier.
Nicolas Dorier actually released a blog post in the early hours of this morning to explain how the relationship with Stratis has come about because it’s a very funny situation with Nicolas. I’m not sure if you are aware of him, but he’s actually Bitcoin Core developer.
When I first approached him, he basically laughed at me and said I had no chance. However, when I actually explained what we were trying to do and what we are trying to achieve, he actually sat back and said he needed to look at this closer. It ended up with him actually join in the project and being with us on this journey, which is brilliant.
Tai Zen: Before we go into the questions about Nicolas, I just want the audience to understand what we’re saying.
When you say that the C#.NET is the dominant language in computers and business, can you give us an idea like what their market share is?
For example, 90% of the business applications out there are written in C#, and Bitcoin is written in a language that only accounts for 10% of the market.
Do you have any figure or idea like that?
Chris Trew: Yeah, as far as a percentage of the line of business applications, I don’t believe there is an actual figure for that.
The C# development community is actually comparable to the likes of Java, which is a huge, huge development community.
When it actually comes to corporate environments, line of business applications, C#.NET is definitely the dominant language.
For instance, if you look at the market share of actual desktop estates, it has to be 80% Windows PC on desktops. I mean most organizations do have some Macs in there, but the majority if you work in a corporate environment is Windows-based desktops.
Tai Zen: Basically, the audience can just look around and see how many desktops and PCs that are on the market. That’s how dominant that computer language is.
If that’s the case, then it’s pretty dominant.
Why didn’t Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin or the Bitcoin code developers write the Bitcoin code in that language? Why did they have to write it in a language that is not dominant in the market? Is there a reason for that?
Chris Trew: that’s a very good question.
Tai Zen: Because if Satoshi Nakamoto had written the Bitcoin software in C#, which is the dominant business computing language as you said, then there would haven’t been any need for the Stratis platform.
Chris Trew: That’s a very good point. I guess it comes down to skill set.
I mean you always will try to develop in the language that you are most proficient in first. If it’s not fit for purpose or there’s some technical reason you can’t use that language, you then look over languages. Therefore, Satoshi must have look at C++ as it’s fit for purpose.
There was probably another factor. One of the gripes that many people have had with Microsoft and their .NET framework over the years is it’s been a closed source.
When Satoshi developed Bitcoin, .NET was a close source. It doesn’t make sense to develop a decentralized platform on a closed source framework.
Last year, Microsoft released the .NET core, which is a new version of .NET that runs natively on Linux and Mac OS.
Previously, in order to run .NET code on Linux and Mac OS, you had to use an emulator called Mono. Now, Microsoft removed that requirement totally, so it’s actually going to run natively on OSX and Linux. That gives you access to the full capabilities of the underlying OS. The other thing that you’ve done is they’ve actually open source .NET for the first time.
Therefore, this was a huge factor… In my decision, you have to go ahead with this project because I didn’t want to release a project, then come up against roadblocks with people saying you built a decentralized source project on a closed framework.
So .NET open source is a very big deal.
Tai Zen: Basically, if Satoshi Nakamoto is working on this project at this moment in time, he may have considered the C#.NET because now it’s an open source computing language instead of being closed source like it was in the past.
Chris Trew: I believe so, yes.
Shaka Daniel: I have a question. Why does Stratis start university? How this provisioning of other blockchains add value to Stratis?
Chris Trew: Because the blockchain is a service platform. It just gives it more reach. If we only provided Stratis nodes, that would only apply to the use cases for Stratis.
However, at the end of the day, I don’t share this capitalistic mentality. As far as I’m concerned, blockchain is still in its infancy, so there’s no need for blockchain projects to see each other as enemies at this moment. There’s enough room for all projects to collaborate together.
Therefore, if we have blockchain nodes to be developed on the platform to allow developers to develop applications on an innovative platform, then we look forward.
Leon Fu: Speaking of blockchain as a service, as you know, Microsoft Azure is a kind of endorsing many blockchain applications.
For example, Ethereum, Factom, Lisk, etc. and there’s about half a dozen of these that are hosting on Microsoft Azure. Are you trying to get on Microsoft Azure or any sort of partnership with Microsoft?
Because when we were watching the Lisk ICO, their ICO didn’t have too many Bitcoins. Then, they announced that Microsoft was going to post them on Microsoft Azure and it just exploded.
That was the pattern and it happens repeatedly for every crypto project that Microsoft got behind.
You seem to be focused on Microsoft, especially C#, but I don’t see any partnership or connection with Microsoft yet. Are you working towards that and how are you working towards that?
Chris Trew: We are working on it, but to be honest, it’s not a huge priority for us because although we are focused on Microsoft .NET technologies, the Azure is a competitor for Stratis.
Tai Zen: Okay. I have a question about your Stratis technology.
My understanding is you saw there was a gap in the market where the cryptocurrency technology is not being written in the most dominant business computer language.
How are you the first person to see this? I’m sure there are other programs and developers out there that must have seen this too.
For example, if I see a really popular book that’s written in, let’s say Vietnamese, where I come from in Vietnam, and I know this book is extremely very popular as a top-selling novel in my country.
After that, I come to America and I know that English is the dominant language here and in the world. Why I would want to translate that into English as soon as possible? How hasn’t anybody tried to translate this project into the most popular computer business language yet?
Chris Trew: Yeah, that’s a good point.
I can’t profess to be in first because Nicolas did see the gap and he started working on NBitcoin in 2004, about two years ago.
We’ve spoken about this at great length because I was very disappointed that he had not built more traction into NBitcoin because I could see the gap that he was filling.
However, the problem with Nicolas is he is an out-and-out developer. He’s not a marketing guy. He’s not a business guy. That’s what he does.
Therefore, although NBitcoin is strong technically and it provides great functionality, it doesn’t have that marketing behind that’s required to actually bring it up to that next level.
Tai Zen: Okay. I read some stuff on Nicolas and he’s your core developer, right?
Chris Trew: He is our lead developer of our Bitcoin full node framework.
Tai Zen: From what I’ve read, he seems to be a die-hard Bitcoin maximalist, who only believes in Bitcoin and don’t care about other cryptocurrency or altcoin.
How did you get him to transition from being a Bitcoin maximalist into a guy who develops an altcoin? Because he states all over that he does not support any altcoin or any other cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin. I mean he’s like the Tone Vays of Bitcoin developers.
Chris Trew: To be honest, he hasn’t transitioned and I haven’t changed the fact that he is still a Bitcoin maximalist. As far as he’s concerned, there is no such thing as altcoin and blockchain technology, but Bitcoin.
However, I made such a compelling argument about the value that we’re going to add to Bitcoin, which he just could not turn down the opportunity.
There’s another side to it as well because we’re effectively paying him to work on something that he loves. Now, he’s actually getting to work on his own project that he invested the last 2 years in a paid capacity.
Basically, he hasn’t changed his opinion on altcoins. For him, I guess the difference between Stratis and other altcoins is that we’re actually a development platform rather than just being an altcoin. There are many components to this platform. They’re actually being built in.
We get asked this question a lot: “You’re developing this Bitcoin full node framework that Nicolas is working on, but how does that benefit Stratis?”
My answer to that is always this. The reason why we’re using Nicolas and building on top of NBitcoin is we want to build our platform using the proven architecture of Bitcoin.
As far as I’m concerned, Bitcoin over the last 7 years has proved to be the most secure cryptocurrency out there. It’s a good starting point for any startup who wants to offer blockchain services to corporations.
Besides, the work that Nicolas is doing on a full node framework will be translated to the Stratis platform. All of that good work that Nicolas is doing is going to be translated into the Stratis platform.
I mean if anyone gets a chance to read Nicolas’s blog posts from this morning, he actually touches on that subject and basically says that Stratis is going to add value to Bitcoin and vice versa. I think that as a brilliant relationship and a great position to be in.
The other point for having Nicolas involved in building on top of the Bitcoin architecture is somewhere down the line, I would like for Stratis to be seen in the same light as a company called Blockstream. Therefore, we need to be innovating on Bitcoin.
Tai Zen: If you’re using the software code that Nicolas is working on, you call it NBitcoin. N as in November and then Bitcoin, right. I make it clear for the audience because sometimes newcomers might not recognize what you just said there.
If you have Nicolas writing and building the code for the NBitcoin software and the Stratis team is going to use that NBitcoin, wouldn’t it mean that you are working on the Bitcoin blockchain?
I mean I’m not a technical person, but it sounds like to me that you’re just working on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Leon Fu: Yeah. That was a question I had. I follow up to that Chris. Since you seem to be building on NBitcoin and on Bitcoin, how is the Stratis token that the investors like us bought during your ICO tied into Stratis?
In other words, what are these tokens that we bought going to be used for?
Chris Trew: If I explain to a very high level the process of how we’re actually going to develop on this platform and then migrate over to, it’ll probably give you a better understanding.
What Nicolas is doing now is he’s taken NBitcoin and NBitcoin is a rewrite of Bitcoin core in C#.net. It provides probably 80% of the functionality that Bitcoin core provides. The last 20% it does not provide is a full node full validation which keeps a full copy of the blockchain and also validates in blocks and transactions.
Nicolas’s work on the Stratis Bitcoin full node is going to be that last 20% that provides things like the network layer for peer-to-peer communications that it settles on. Once that’s complete, we will implement the private chain technology over the top of it. Then, that will actually form the base for the Stratis parent blockchain moving forward.
Leon Fu: What I just heard from you is the Stratis chain is going to be somehow anchored to the Bitcoin blockchain…
Chris Trew: No. Sorry.
Once Nicolas has completed that works to that 20% loss, we will actually take that full node framework and we’ll actually fork it. Therefore, it will be completely separate blockchain. Then, we implement private chain functionality into that code base so that businesses can deploy a private chain pegged to the Stratis chain.
Leon Fu: Okay. It’s going to be a completely separate chain.
Chris Trew: Exactly. The only relationship that we have with Bitcoin is that we’re developing up this full node framework to actually work with Bitcoin.
Moving forward, we’ll maintain a Bitcoin full node framework and also a Stratis full node framework. The idea is any innovations that we make on the Stratis full node framework can be implemented into the Bitcoin core framework without a hard fork.
In Nicolas’s blog post, he actually talks about a BIP, Bitcoin improvement proposal, that he’s actually already put in and it works with enough full node framework. Therefore, you could see BIP coming back from Stratis into Bitcoin and that’s where the value comes from the Stratis project for Bitcoin.
The other real benefit that we’ve got of developing our bit full node framework is it allows us to market in the Bitcoin community. You would just not be able to market it if you’re an altcoin and don’t have this Bitcoin element your project. This is like the Bitcoin Reddit for instance.
I mean I challenge someone to go on and repost the link to their own projects and see if it ever gets onto the first page because it won’t. However, having enough full node framework and this value that we bring to Bitcoin allows us to market in those areas.
Leon Fu: Okay. Basically, these are almost 2 completely separate projects that you’re developing.
Stratis has its own blockchain. If I’m a C# developer, I’m going to be using this Stratis blockchain.
Besides, you also have this implementation of first building Bitcoin full node in C#. Once that’s complete, you’re going to work that into what will be the Stratis blockchain and then develop the visual studio and .NET tools on this separate chain.
Chris Trew: correct.
Leon Fu: What did we just buy during your ICO?
We bought this Stratis tokens and this doesn’t exist yet, right?
What is the blockchain that exists today where the Stratis tokens that we are all holding and trading…Could you explain how is that? I’m very confused.
Chris Trew: That’s a good question. This is going to be great information for the investors.
We decided to release an interim wallet shortly after the ICO completed. The reason why we chose to do that is we wanted to kickstart the blockchain and be decentralized straight away. Therefore, all ICO investors have to trust the third party a.k.a us.
The simplest way to actually get around that was to release an interim wallet, which is literally just a clone of Bitcoin core that would then allow everybody to secure their own holdings.
Once the actual full node platforms released, they’ll actually be a very simple upgrade process, in which you’ll actually download and install a new wallet, then open it and pull in your private keys from your old interim wallet.
We’re trying to make it as simple as possible. When a new full node framework comes out, you should just be able to download the wallet and carry on as you have been.
The token that everybody purchased during the ICO is going to become that Stratis blockchain. There will be no additional coins minted. There’ll be no premise. It will be Stratis as you see it now into this Stratis blockchain. We’ve had a very simple migration path.
Leon Fu: What happens is the Stratis wallet we have right now is just a fork of Bitcoin core. When Nicolas and your team complete a project, you will issue another wallet written in C#. Then, that will just replace the wallet that everyone’s using today from purchasing the ICO tokens.
Chris Trew: Exactly. I’m also going to ensure that we’ve got backward compatibility as well.
Leon Fu: To sum up, you’re doing 2 projects. You’re doing one a port of Bitcoin core to C# for the Bitcoin community so that if I want a C# Bitcoin wallet, I can use that to manage my Bitcoins.
There’ll be another fork of that to do this Stratis blockchain that you’re working on. In addition, the tools that you’re building for the visual studio will use the Stratis blockchain and not the Bitcoin blockchain.
Is that correct?
Chris Trew: Yeah, there’ll be 2 versions.
We’ll have a Bitcoin version and Stratis version. We’re going to offer complete flexibility. The developers will be able to develop for the Stratis blockchain and for the Bitcoin blockchain if they choose to.
Leon Fu: Okay. However, the Bitcoin blockchain, as you said, is very fixed. It has its specifications. You have to follow it.
For example, in case I’m a .NET developer, I would get more features if I chose to develop my blockchain app with the Stratis blockchain.
Is that correct?
Why would I choose the Stratis blockchain over the Bitcoin blockchain if I had that choice?
Chris Trew: I guess it’s just going to be a matter of preference. There’ll be no technical reason as to why they choose Bitcoin over Stratis.
However, Stratis will provide additional functionality that will not be provided in the Bitcoin version. The reason is some of these changes just will never get implemented into Bitcoin. Therefore, the functionality is not going to be available in the Bitcoin blockchain.
Leon Fu: Okay. One of the things in your white papers is you made a big deal of private chains. That was a section in your white paper. That’s something Stratis can offer, which you can create your own private chain having your own specifications.
This is my thought on that. The strength of blockchain is decentralization and censorship resistance. That’s why people started using Bitcoin.
If this is a private chain that no one else can look at it, why do I need a blockchain in that case? Why can’t I just use an SQL database if it’s going to just be a private chain that I control?
Chris Trew: That’s a very good point. Stratis had been in the planning stages and the conceptualization stage for about 5 months before we actually even announced the project. I guess when it came out, a lot of people thought Stratis was just trying to capitalize on the ICO hype. However, that was not the case at all.
We’ve been working on this project for 4 months before we even actually announced it. Everything you see in the white paper is stuff that we can deliver.
I did not want to put things into the white paper that we’re innovative or we were not 100% sure that we could actually deliver.
Speaking of the private chain tech, we are 100% sure that we can deliver. We will be making innovations in any area of side chains. Therefore, we won’t just be referring to private chains. There will side chains that are completely decentralized on the side chain and it’s going to be a lot of different options available to corporations that want to deploy whether it sides chains or private chains.
That is a very good point that you raise about why you would want to use it as a centralized blockchain and why not use it as a database instead.
However, there are some use cases where a private chain is actually fit for purpose. I mean some financial organizations just don’t deploy that application on a decentralized platform if they can get the benefit of blockchain technology without some of the risks that they foresee with decentralization.
I will tell you one use case for it. If a company had regional offices and the managers in each regional office need to consensus for a toss between all of them, it would actually allow them to do that on a private chain. Although everybody can just download the source code and run a node, they still get the benefits of blockchain technology.
Leon Fu: I would see a private chain being useful in case of parties that don’t trust each other.
For example, I’m bank A. I’m doing business with Bank B, C, D and we don’t trust each other.
That’s where I see maybe a private chain could work, which is among groups of entities that stopped trusting each other during the financial crisis.
However, there is one thing I would challenge you. Let’s say 6 months or 1 year from now, you finish building the Stratis platform. If I’m one of the corporate developers are in charge one of these projects, could you give us an example of an application that I would develop using Stratis, instead of the traditional 3-tier client-server database, SQL database model that we have today?
Chris Trew: Yeah. We’re actually working on it right now. I can’t really share any of the details because it’s not been defined.
However, let’s say you had an organization that had regional offices all around the world and the office in Singapore didn’t want to install any infrastructure in that regional office. They didn’t want to instill any servers that come with problems around authentication. Then, the question is how they authenticate the user if there’s no infrastructure there to actually process that authentication.
That is a great use case for this technology because it would allow them to issue the individual with a private key. As long as that person had the private key, they could then authenticate their identity by using the blockchain.
Leon Fu: Okay. What you’re saying is something like in the government or the CIA, where they have this agent that they don’t really know who they are. Then, they just say: “I’m going to drop by a private key in a garbage can or something. I don’t want to know who you are and I can still authenticate you even though…” It’s more like a mission impossible type.
Chris Trew: That’s sound much better.
Tai Zen: I’d like to jump in. Since we got a lot of technical questions covered, I’d like to cover some of the marketing questions.
Based on my understanding, you’re going to develop the Stratis platform after you have Nicolas completed the NBitcoin software. That’s when you’re going to use it for the Stratis platform.
Who do you want to see as customers or clients to use the Stratis platform?
Chris Trew: Large-scale financial services company.
Tai Zen: Just to start an example such as Apple, Microsoft. I mean who do you see?
Chris Trew: A lot of people are smoking about Microsoft and we’re really not into hype. We really don’t like to hype things because as far as we’re concerned, quick increases in price are usually followed with quick decreases in price.
I mean we would like to collaborate with Microsoft. Obviously, we must have a compelling argument for them with the technology and the platform that we’re developing. As far as actual customers that I’d like to work with, any of the large-scale UK financial organizations like Credit Suisse, Barclay’s bank, any of those.
Nonetheless, it’s not just financial services. There’s going to be use cases for lots of medium to large to enterprise size businesses so I couldn’t really give more details…
Tai Zen: Is it safe to say that you are bringing this…. Hold on real quick. Who just joined the hangout. Are you give the link to someone?
Chris Trew: No
Leon Fu: No. We have an interloper it seems. I don’t know
Tai Zen: Did we get hacked in the middle hang out?
I mean I only sent the link out to you. I didn’t send the link out to anybody else. I’m just curious. Is this the DAO attacker?
Leon Fu: Well, Tai, Do you want to eject him or something?
Tai Zen: Did you want an opportunity to identify who you are?
Leon Fu: Yeah. All right, well I’m just going to kick them out.
Tai Zen: okay.
Shaka Daniel: Let me jump in that quick pause. Where do Fiat gateways fit into the Stratis plan for private chain and blockchain consultancy?
Chris Trew: The private chains are just going to be there to allow Fiat to move into Stratis chain easier.
The blockchain is a service platform. The fuel of the platform is going to be Stratis. In order to actually run a node, as you would do on yours or any of the cloud providers, you’re actually going to pay for that service in Stratis. Therefore, we need to offer a very simple way for people to pay for that service, but actually hide the fact that Stratis is acting as the intermediary. Does that make sense?
Tai Zen: I’m still trying to figure out is who will be using this. Is the Stratis platform mainly for commercial use or for individuals to use? Are you mainly targeting commercial enterprise level people or just consumers?.
Chris Trew: Yeah, that is our main focus is the corporate, the corporate environment.
Tai Zen: My thought is this. We used to deal with getting the energy brokerage firm that I used to work at. They had a Bitcoin farm next to it. That’s how I learned about Bitcoins originally. That’s how I let Leon know about Bitcoin and we got started into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
When I was looking at this energy brokerage firm, we had to make sales calls and marketing calls to businesses to use us as their energy brokerage firm. It’s not easy to just call into a business and get them to use your product or service.
From my marketing perspective, how are you going to get businesses to use your Stratis platform? That’s the thing. You can have the best software or technology in the world, but how do you get companies to use your software? What is your marketing and sales strategy to do that?
Chris Trew: That’s a very good question. There is something that I didn’t touch on when I was talking about my experiences.
For the 11 years working in a corporate IT, I’ve been working as a consultant for myself, but for the last 4 years, I’ve actually been working for a large consultancy provider in the UK. Therefore, I’ve got an extensive background and experience on business-to-business sales and providing consultancy to businesses.
To answer your question, if I start from the very beginning up until this point, our marketing has been focused purely on the crypto communities. That was to raise awareness for the ICO and also to raise awareness for the Stratis platform.
However, as we draw nearer to the point that platform actually been ready for release, we’re actually going to switch a bit and our main focus is going to be on marketing and promotion to corporations and business-to-business sales.
We’ve got a very mixed skill set in our team and we’re not just purely developers. We’ve got some very good skills in marketing and business to business sales.
Therefore, once it actually kicks off, we’re going to be doing the full range of marketing to corporations and businesses. We’ll be going to conferences. We will be doing cold calling. We’ll be doing a lot of those types of activities.
Another thing I’ve actually explored as well is there are companies that provide sales services. You can literally give them a book of leads and then they will just go through that book of leads and cold call all of the links on that.
Since they work on commission, if they don’t sell, they basically don’t get paid. They’ve got to get a good feeling for you that they’re going to actually be able to sell your platform or service.
That’s going to be something that we’re definitely going to explore because bringing companies on board just gives you those extended capabilities without having the overhead of permanent employees.
Another avenue that we’ve got is probably around 90% of our business came from a channel. A channel is another partner, which is either consultancy providers or hardware, software manufacturers. That was where the majority of them are actual customers came from.
Basically, we’re going to imply a similar static. We’re going to reach out to a lot of the IT service providers in the UK, a lot of the hardware-software manufacturers. Actually, we are trying to set up partnerships and relationships with these companies, so they give us access to their customer base.
Tai Zen: I come from a sales and marketing background. I’m very familiar with getting customers and businesses.
Let’s say today, your Stratis software has done and complete. Everything is working fine. Tomorrow, you need customers using this Stratis platform. Who would be the first 1 or 2 businesses that you would approach? How would you approach them in a way that they would look at your Stratis platform and consider using it? Because no matter how good of software you have, if no one is using it, it doesn’t mean anything.
Chris Trew: Exactly. I totally agree.
Tai Zen: Let’s just say your software’s done. Everything is working the way you want it to be. Now, which is the first 1 or 2 businesses that you would go and knock on their doors to get them to use your software?
Chris Trew: The first business we’re going to approach is the financial services companies that I’ve actually worked at previously. I’ve got relationships with the guys that still work there. It’s not hard to knock on their doors. Those are the quick wins. They’ll be the ones that we’ve reached out to first.
After that, it’s literally going to be a case that we’re going to have books and books of leads, thousands upon thousands of leads of companies fitting a specific demographic.
They may have purchased a particular type of software or hardware before. They may be open to blockchain technology or they’re using an application that we’ve identified it could actually benefit from blockchain technologies.
Tai Zen: What is your role at Stratis as a CEO. Are you going to focus on the marketing side to get customers and businesses to use a Strauss platform or most of your time going to be devoted to coding the software?
Chris Trew: It’s another good question.
I’m going to be getting involved in all areas. I’ll be doing some coding and overseeing marketing and sales.
Once we’ve actually acquired the customers, especially when we start to go through the workflow and conceptualizes the solution, that would be where I really shine.
Tai Zen: Let’s use the Waves Platform as an example. During our interview with Sasha in Russia, even though he knows how to program and code everything, he is not going to spend any time coding. He’s going to be spending most of the time on the business development side while he pays the coders to code it for him.
Is that what your plans are? Because you sound like you are capable of having conversations with business and people.
Usually, technical people are very nerdy and techie. They don’t have the social communication skills to be able to communicate business in a way that will sell or convince customers to use product or service.
Therefore, are you going to use your skills in the technical area or in business development are? What’s your plan?
Chris Trew: I’m going to use my skills in both areas. However, we’re not going to get to the point where the business side is careless than the technical side.
I mean I actually became proficient with C#.net. I don’t think there’s been a time where 2 days have gone past without using visual studio or coding. I’m not about to stop doing that.
Leon Fu: Nicolas is going to be focused on NBitcoin and the core. Who is the lead developer on all the rest of the developer tools in Stratis?
Chris Trew: That’s going to be Stéphane.
Leon Fu: Stéphane. Okay.
Chris Trew: He’s another C#.net developer. He’s very skilled and has a very strong background in Java. One of the real benefits that he brings to the team is before he actually moved into a full-blown development, he was supporting developers.
He’s got a very good understanding of the procedures around the release management, software life cycles and that type of thing, which in the business-related task. That will be really helpful.
I guess things have gone pretty smoothly thus far. People seem to be very surprised at how our ICO distribution was so smooth. That’s only because of our internal procedures around the testing and chain management.
Leon Fu: From the business side, I have a question.
Once you quality these customers, how are you going to charge them? Are you going to charge them or how are they going to pay if they do decide to use Stratis and build an application on the Stratis platform? How are you going to get paid? How are we going to get paid as investors?
Chris Trew: There are several parts to it. There’s going to be an entity, which is a Stratis consultancy.
As you said, we could develop the best platform out there, but if we don’t have the customers, then it was worth coming from. Therefore, the next question is how we are going to manage your relationship with that customer or how we are going to support them? That’s where Stratis consultancy comes in.
We’ve also got the opportunity to fly Nicolas out from Japan if we needed him. They’re going to offer a fully managed service around the Stratis platform. For me, this is really sharp and true potential…
Leon Fu: Is Stratis consultancy an agency?
My background is IOS mobile development and I’ve worked with many of these mobile agencies.
Basically, if I’m a company and I wanted an IOS or Android app, I could just hand it all off to them and they just do the entire development for me. That’s some of our clients. Is that something Stratis consultancy might do? They might just do the entire app on Stratis for a client.
Chris Trew: Exactly. At first, we’ll have a face-to-face meeting with their business and technical people together to discuss exactly what they want to achieve. After that, we’ll come up with an architecture of how they could achieve that and then it’s up to them. We can actually manage that development and develop the application or platform.
Leon Fu: Sure.
Chris Trew: We can have our developers like Nicolas actually come in and work on site with your own development resources. It’s going to be very flexible.
Leon Fu: You might know that we also invested in Factom and Factom is based on that model too.
There’s a non–profit Factom that generates the actual token and the infrastructure. Then, there’s Factom, Inc., a for-profit consulting agency, which will build the application for clients on top of Factom. Is there going to be 2 legal entities?
Chris Trew: Well, exactly. It is going to be the exact model that we use.
Leon Fu: Okay. All right. Then, that’s very clear to me because both Tai and I understand Factom very well.
In addition, let’s use Factom model as an example, if you want to build an application on Factom, you need to buy Factom tokens or so-called Factoids in order to make entries in the Factom blockchain.
The more people use it, the more the value of the token goes up. That’s how Factom is going to make money because millions of entries are being made, which drives the demand up as well as the price. Then, we make money from that.
Back to Stratis story, I understand your Stratis consultancy. You’re going to make money from your clients by charging them a consulting fee. Then, the next questions are how we are going to make money as ICO investors.
Chris Trew: That’s a very good point.
As I said, the blockchain is a service platform. The central payment method for all services across that platform will be Stratis through all Strats. That will be the main method of paying to host a node and things of that nature.
Another part of Stratis consultancy will be actually developing custom implementations of side chains pegged to Stratis on an individual and the corporation.
Therefore, if a corporation has some needs or requirements that don’t fit the standard private chain model that we have, they can then work with Stratis consultancy to actually develop a custom solution.
However, how do the standard private chains actually work? In order to provision your private chain, you actually have to purchase the number of STRATs that you would like to exist on your private chain.
For instance, if you wanted to buy 500,000 tokens on your private chain, you would actually have to buy those STRATs on the parent chain. Then, as part of this two-way pegged private chain, those are effectively locked up in a private chain. Hence, it’s 2 fold and it increases the demand. I mean it doesn’t reduce the supply because those coins are just locked and they can be unlocked.
We’re going to have a system that basically says this is the number of private chains we’ve got as well as the number of STRATs that are locked by private chains. If you know, for example, Stratis has 98 million coins and 60 million are locked up in private chains, that’s a pretty good position to buy in and hold.
Leon Fu: Yeah. One of the ways investors can make money is when the side chains are created, they need to lock up a certain amount of STRATS in order to to create tokens for their own private chain.
Obviously, they have to buy STRATs at first, which starts to drive demand, and then take them out of circulation for them to use on the private chain.
Is that the main method which is based on creating private chains and using STRATs as the token of value to pay for it?
Tai Zen: I guess he got disconnected there, but can you hear me, Chris?
Chris Trew: Yeah.
Leon Fu: Hey, we got the cut off here.
Tai Zen: Yeah. You asked about using the STRATs as the payment token.
Leon Fu: Basically, what you’re saying is as ICO investors, we have 2 ways to make money. One is the side chains by taking them out of circulation. Two is they need to use STRATs to pay for the services that Stratis offers. Is that correct?
Chris Trew: That’s correct. Yep.
Leon Fu: Okay.
I just was trying to repeat your answer in my words to make sure I understood because I was very confused before this interview. You’re doing Nbitcoin and also doing Stratis. Apparently, I can see the value, but I don’t see how I’m going to make money as an ICO investor.
I guess what you’re saying is there are going to be featured on the Stratis chain such as side chains and other things. Therefore, if they’re going to use Stratis to build an app on it and use those features, they have to use the Stratis blockchain. They can’t use the NBitcoin library.
Chris Trew: Correct.
Leon Fu: Then, once they start using the Stratis blockchain, they’re going to have to buy STRATs in order to pay for the services that blockchain offers.
Chris Trew: Yeah. That’s where our FIAT gateways are coming in. We basically want to welcome people who have no exposure to digital currencies to actually use the platform…
Leon Fu: …but is that what Stratis consultancy will do on their behalf?
Chris Trew: I mean Stratis consultancy can act as the buffer between the Stratis platform and the corporation to manage that whole relationship.
However, I’m talking about the developer who wants to test his blockchain applications. He comes onto the blockchain as a service platform portal, logs in and deploys a node.
We don’t want him to have to install the wallet or go into Bittrex to buy some STRATs and send it. We want to simplify that whole process. Consequently, there should be options to pay with the visa, debit card, credit card or Paypal. In the background, the Fiat gateways will take that fee back to Stratis.
Leon Fu: It’s more kind of a ShapeShift for USD, EUR, and GBP.
Chris Trew: Yes. It is going to be a wave type implementation with USD tokens or anything like that.
Leon Fu: Okay.
Shaka Daniel: I have a question about the remittance market. I saw in the white paper that it’s a $600 billion industry. I’m not super technical block, but I know that hardly any blockchain can handle remittance market, even Bitcoin. It is probably the slowest, but the most secure blockchain. The questions are how Stratis will do that better?
Besides, I’d like to speak for some of our viewers who missed the ICO like myself at the price of 3,500 Satoshi. However, is there a cap number of STRATs or how does that work?
Chris Trew: There isn’t a fixed number of Strats. We’re currently in a POS. The interest rate is around 1%, so we’ll see 1% inflation per year on Stratis.
However, we are looking at some points in the future when we actually move into a model that doesn’t have a block reward and the only coins earned are from the transaction fees. As far as I’m concerned, we can’t move to that model until there are sufficient transactions to incentivize people to run nodes.
Shaka Daniel: Speaking of remittance, how is Stratis going to do it better than everybody else?
Chris Trew: That’s a very good point you raised and it’s completely correct.
We’re not just saying: “Develop Remittance functionality can be provided across many different blockchains. To answer your question, from my perspective, it’s going to be the fact that we offer an end-to-end platform.
your application and then you’re on your own”. We, with the support of Stratis consultancy, can actually manage that development life cycle all the way from inception to deployment and production.
I mean I come from a corporate environment and I’ve worked with software resellers, hardware manufacturers and a lot of companies. If you don’t have that on the ground presence, then you just stand no chance.
Shaka Daniel: What is the block times for Stratis?
Chris Trew: 1 minute.
Shaka Daniel: Okay.
Tai Zen: When you talk about the side chains and using the Stratis platform to help process some of these other chains, that sounds like the NXT platform and what they’re doing with the Ardor platform they’re coming out with. They’re about to release the Ardor platform.
My question is if I was a business developer and I wanted to create this blockchain application, why I would create it on the Stratis platform compared with Ethereum platform, Bitcoin platform or NXT platform, especially when these other platforms have the money and time?
From where I stand, these platforms have been out longer and more stable, more secure. Plus, they have more money to fund their projects. Whereas, the Stratis platform barely got a thousand Bitcoins to fund the project. What’s my incentive to do it on the Stratis platform?
Chris Trew: I’m not sure if you are aware, but I actually come from the superNET slack Next community. Therefore, I’ve known a lot about Next (NXT) and Ardor. I actually spoke with Damelon from the Next Foundation. We spoke many times in the past, but recently we’ve mainly discussed Stratis.
Since I knew some negative comments about Stratis on their community, I actually went over and just said:” Look, guys, blockchain is still in its infancy. We do not need this capitalist dog-eat-dog mentality. There is enough potential business out there for both platforms as far as I’m concerned. Both have their advantages over each other.”
As you said, Next has been proven and been around for a long time. They’ve got some amazing developers, so they do have benefits.
However, when it comes to a project like Stratis, as far as technical and security, we’re building ours on the proven architecture of Bitcoin. Therefore, if anybody wants to argue whether our blockchain is secure, then you should ask the same question for Bitcoin.
That was one of the reasons I didn’t want to play catch-up. I didn’t want to start this project and it not be ready for production use for another 2 years.
Apparently, using the proven architecture of Bitcoin and utilizing Nicolas’s skills has sort of given us a jump because Nicolas had been working on Nbitcoin for 2 years and we’re benefiting from that. Therefore, I wouldn’t consider us to be a brand new blockchain for companies to be worried about the security.
As far as some of our advantages over some of the competition, it is going to be the fact of Stratis consultancy.
I mean a lot of people have said to me:” Stratis consultancy is brilliant, but as ICO investors, we make nothing off of Stratis consultancy.”
There was also a saying thinking like this: “If Stratis consultancy went out tomorrow and got Credit Suisse’s as a customer and implemented them onto the platform, the ICO investors believe that it would actually see any reward from that.”
However, I don’t quite agree with that. As far as I’m concerned, Stratis consultancy allows us to be looked at in the same light as Factoms.
We’re not just providing this brilliant platform, but we’re actually providing a fully managed service offering off the back of it. Although other projects may be proven security, they’re not going to have the capabilities to actually go and have face to face meetings, to be on site and to fly a Bitcoin core developer out from Japan for meetings.
Tai Zen: Basically, your Stratis consultancy is exactly the equivalent of the Factom, Inc., the for-profit side of Factom.
Chris Trew: I would say yes.
Tai Zen: If that’s the case, Factom, Inc. recently just closed their Series A funding.
Are you planning on raising similar funding to fund the Stratis consultancy portion of the Stratis project?
From my understanding, the number of Bitcoins you raised during the ICO is going towards the development of the Stratis software. As we know, the Stratis software is an open source public software, but the Stratis consultancy is a business and a company. Therefore, how are you going to get money to fund that company?
Chris Trew: We have possibly reached out to VCs somewhere down the road. However, I would prefer to retain complete control of the business, so that really will be a large resource.
As far as we concern, once the platform is developed, Stratis consultancy can actually start with limited capabilities. We don’t need a huge amount of funding to actually get Stratis consultancy off the ground. We just need a few customers.
As I said, by reaching out to organizations that I’ve worked, I’m pretty confident that we will be able to secure our first few customers. The revenue that comes in from that will be used to go and find more customers.
Generally, reaching out to VC is one of the options that we may explore somewhere down the road.
Now, one of our products that we definitely will be seeking VC funding for is the Stratis appliance. I will explain the issue it solves so that you can understand it more easily.
If you worked with a financial service company, they would never ever install wallets on their desktop PC. Consequently, you wouldn’t have a pool that HR manager runs the Bitcoin wallet on his desktop because there is a lot of security implications with that. You have to open up peer-to-peer points so that you can reach other nodes out there on the Internet.
Basically, financial service companies are not going to install wallets on their local desktops in their organizations for security reasons.
What Stratis appliance does is it’s a 1U or 2U hardware appliance that a company can purchase and stick in their data center.
What it does is at a very high level, which it sits in their DMZ location on a network. For your information, DMZ (Dematerialized Zone) is where a corporation would put all of its web servers and anything that’s going to be Internet-facing that they see as more of a risk.
Normally, they have that segregation between secure internal LAN and their DMZ. Stratis appliance actually sits in their DMZ. What that does is instead of having to open up any firewall ports for a thousand desktops in your environment, you only have to open a firewall port for the single appliance. Then, the appliance provides an HTTP as API that your internal desktops or your applications on those desktops then talk to the Stratis appliance. Following me?
Leon Fu: You’re going to build an appliance. Can you repeat what the appliance actually do?
Chris Trew: It provides full access to the blockchain…
Leon Fu: It’s a Stratis node. That’s what it is.
Chris Trew: It’s Stratis node, but we will also offer the capability to access the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains as well. And again, by using that app, we can just increase the reach on a device.
Shaka Daniel: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Tai cryptocurrency pocket dairy..
Chris Trew: No
Tai Zen: I call it cryptocurrency bucket. For example, MaidSafe, Siacoin, Dogecoin belong into the decentralized dropbox bucket, sector or niche. Then, you got Akarsha, Steemit belonging in the decentralized social media bucket.
Would you put Stratis in the same bucket as the decentralized apps? Where would you put yourself in or is it a new bucket that people have not heard about?
Chris Trew: I would say it’s a new bucket and the bucket would be businesses on the blockchain. You could probably put Factom in the same bucket.
Leon Fu: I think the bucket you’re talking about is the enterprise services bucket. That’s kind of what you would say you’re most likely, but I see you more of like a Lisk for C#.
Chris Trew: I would agree because we do offer the same functionality as Lisk in side chains. That is a valid statement, but that’s just one part of this whole platform that we building. There are other projects that we’re working on that we haven’t even announced.
Coming back to what I was saying about creating hype, we will only announce some something when we’re 100% sure that we can live with.
We are working on a lot of things in the background, so we don’t want to get into the same bucket as Lisk. That’s a reason why we’re building 4 end-to-end platforms offering these various different services because we don’t just want to be adapt provider.
Leon Fu: I’m a software developer myself, so I know estimates are never correct. Between now and the middle of 2017, what kind of development milestones should we be seeing coming out of Stratis? What should we see first to show that you’re making progress to this vision?
Chris Trew: By mid-2017, we will have full platform production ready with innovations that have not even been discussed now.
However, the first official public milestone is at the end of November or December, we’re going to have the first release of the platform ready. I know a lot of people have said how we were going to develop this in 3 months. The answer is thanks to the brilliant work that Nicolas has been doing over the last two years. I can’t give credit enough to Nicolas.
Leon Fu: What should I see out of Stratis by the end of the year?
Chris Trew: By the end of the year, we’ll have the blockchain as a service platform. We will have our Bitcoin full node framework, our Stratis full node framework, and the private chain. You can call it Revision 1, which may have some technical limitations but will be fit for purpose.
December is the first official milestone. However, we’re not going to make the community or the investors wait till December for the first announcement. We are working on things in the background and we do hope to release thing before then. I can actually give you a bit of an exclusive now.
Leon Fu: Okay, sure.
Chris Trew: We’re going to be developing a library for UNITY. I’m not sure if you’re aware of it. UNITY is the dominant framework for game development.
Leon Fu: Yes.
Chris Trew: I believe they have a 50% share of the combined game market throughout the world. They have over 10 million UNITY developers. It’s also done in C#.
Basically, we’re going to be developing a framework for those 10 million developers out there to integrate the blockchain to their games whether it be Bitcoin or Stratis.
Leon Fu: Okay. What would they do that for? Would it be like to keep high scores or to play against each other?
Chris Trew: There are so many use cases. I mean it’s like a digital item…
Leon Fu: If I’m playing this game and I got this special weapon, I can sell it to someone..?
Chris Trew: Exactly, because it’s on the blockchain, it also provides user base with the visibility so they know you’re not saying we’ve issued 10 million coins but we don’t have the same amount of funds in our reserve. It gives your user base visibility.
There are so many use cases for it. We can literally be here for an hour and a half just talking about that.
However, it is a huge deal and Nicolas has looked at it previously, but just didn’t have the time to actually execute it.
Leon Fu: When is this library going to come out?
Chris Trew: Can’t give a date at this time.
Leon Fu: All right.
Tai Zen: We definitely appreciate the exclusive announcement here on the cryptocurrency.market channel here. We definitely appreciate that.
I am not a big gamer. I grew up playing outside and climbing trees. I didn’t grow up in the video game age. I remembered when I played duck hunt on the Nintendo when first came out. I never got past the first level. I’m 43 now and I still would not have been a big gamer.
However, when I do know that we are able to sell weapons on video games to each other, that is a huge game changer. I think that alone would be enough to put you out there on the map.
We’ll be looking forward to that and I hope that you get back with us when you get hit that milestone and then we can have a release together.
Shaka Daniel: Talking about the future changes, will you have a hard work for these future changes or will you use your own side chain technology? Will it be a layer on top of Stratis or how would that work?
Chris Trew: We will be making changes to the Stratis block structure to actually enable us to implement some of these innovations.
As I said, we hope that a lot of the innovations that happen on Stratis will be ported over to Bitcoin. However, any that require a hard fork or changes to the block structure are just not going to happen.
As far as on the actual Stratis blockchain, when we moved from the interim wallet to the full-blown full node framework, there won’t be a hard fork. It would just be an upgrade puff.
Tai Zen: How long were you in the Supernet and the NXT? Have you been following it for a while?
Chris Trew: About 2 years now.
Tai Zen: I’m just curious. Leon and I have seen this trend in the cryptocurrency community and we even made a video about how the NXT community seems to produce the most cryptocurrency entrepreneur, investors and new projects. Let’s just throw a few out there.
The NXT community put out a Max Kordex with the Lisk project, Sasha Ivanov from Russia with the Waves project. The first community that Leon and I joined was actually the NXT community also.
I go back to our early videos related to Bitcoin, the first community that we even went to is Texas Bitcoin conference. When we spoke at that conference, we got lots of interviews about the NXT and things like that.
Leon Fu: Yeah. New Economic Movement came out NXT as well. NEM.
Tai Zen: IOTA founder was one of the former NXT foundation founders.
As we can see, people like yourself, Max and Sasha gravitated towards the NCX community and then now everybody’s out. They came in there, learned from it, got the experience and then branched out and got their own career.
Cryptocurrency.market investing channel that LeonFu.com and I have here is a cryptocurrency project. It just happens to be in the investing space and not in the actual software development space like yours and the other guys’ products are. Why do you suppose that is?
Chris Trew: Honestly, I have no idea but it’s a valid point because there have been some brilliant projects from Next community. However, I was more part of the SuperNet community rather than the Next community.
Tai Zen: SuperNet was one of the biggest projects inside the NXT community.
Chris Trew: Yeah. Oh yes. Most definitely. Yeah.
Tai Zen: The NXT community, platform, and software seemed to be a training ground for people to come here, get their experience, learn about cryptos and branch out onto their own projects.
I don’t know whether that’s a coincidence or not, but if you combine all the projects rooted from NXT, it would be safe to say that the NXT community has raised more money in the cryptocurrency space than any other community.
Chris Trew: Definitely. We must all have something about us. We have these brilliant ideas and actually execute them because a lot of people have brilliant ideas, but they just don’t execute them.
It’s probably the reason why we all found Next. When I first stumbled upon next, I installed the NRS and browsed over the source code. I was absolutely blown away because my only ever exposure to a wallet and blockchain was Bitcoin. Maybe, that plays a part or maybe all of us have a good eye for technology.
Tai Zen: The reason why that we gravitate towards the NXT project and the second one, which was the Ethereum project, is they were the first new cryptocurrency project that was not a clone of Bitcoin.
Let’s switch gears here to talk a little bit about the people on your team.
We’ve heard a lot of mention about Nicolas Dorier. Where is he from?
If you can pull up the team page on your website, I’ll send the link here for everyone to follow along.
One of the things that Charles Hoskinson said in our video with him about the Ethereum classic project is the key to any cryptocurrencies success is the community and the team that goes behind it.
Therefore, I want to talk about the team that you have inside the Stratis project and the community that you have outside the Stratis project to help promote.
Then, I’ll share a couple of insights that I and Leon noticed in our preparation for the announcement and the preparation for the Stratis hangout with you. We noticed some differences that we did not see before.
If you want to follow us, go to Stratisplatform.com and go to the team page.
While I’m waiting for everybody to get there so they can follow along with us, I and many other investors have one question for you.
You are an Internet marketer. You know about building websites. You are a programmer, developer, and everything.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but out of all the websites that we’ve seen for an ICO, this is not at the top of the list as being one of the best websites.
For example, there were a few times that one of us invested in the ICO and the other one did not. There were 2 reasons for that. The main reason was I was busy. When he kept telling me to get into the ICO, I just slipped my mind. The second reason was when I looked at your website, it was not the most professional and the most modern website.
I did not put a lot of importance and priority into it. I’m not talking about my unique bells and whistles and things like that, but there’s a lot of incomplete stuff on there. However, one of the audience members he listed some of the concerns that he had. I want to share this with you and to get a response from you about this.
By the way, this is from JS, who emailed me. I usually don’t bring up questions that people email me cause they’re usually trolling. However, the one that JS brought up is very legitimate.
He says: “ Nowhere on the website that lists the company information. If it does, I don’t see it. It’s not easily found in the usual places. I would want to know the registered company name and registration number. Which countries did they register in.”
Now, something like that you might keep personal. I can understand that because some of the stuff that I registered for my websites might be a person too.
However, there’s no company information listed in the white paper. The website domain is registered using the domains by anonymous registration service, a common favorite for scammers to hide their real identity and location.
What are your responses to just those couple of pointers that I just brought to your attention?
Chris Trew: Firstly, If you look at the current price of STRAT, it’s not good to judge a book by its cover.
Tai Zen: Okay.
Chris Trew: I mean I’m happy with the STRAT website. We’ve actually had people say that they really liked the website, but I guess it’s everyone’s opinion. The website functions. It provides the information. It’s a clean website. It’s not too graphic heavy. It could be better.
Tai Zen: That’s just a personal preference on the appearance and the aesthetics of the website. Let me just ask you this. This is something that causes concerns here. JS mentions that the domain is only registered for 1 year. Is that correct?
Chris Trew: I’d have to confirm that, but…
Tai Zen: If I was part of the Stratis team and I have a that strong belief like you have conveyed, I would have registered for 5, 10, 20 years. I mean I don’t plan on going anywhere with it.
For example, some of the websites I have a serious interest in that topic, I registered the domain for multiple years. I might register it for 3 or 5 years so that I have enough time to not deal with it again.
Chris Trew: I did actually say my team member registered for 3 years, but he just registered 1 year instead. Besides, there’s actually a penalty in ICO for only registering your domain for a year. I don’t know if you’re aware of…
Tai Zen: I am because I also study Internet marketing too. That was how I got our cryptocurrency. market channel to be the most popular in crypto investing channel.
My question is whether that was a funding issue. When I started my internet marketing career, I did not have a lot of funding to pay for a lot of stuff, so I just did everything on the minimum and I pay as I go.
Chris Trew: It was just an oversight.
Tai Zen: Back to the team members that you have here, I swear your profile picture looks just like a freaking Vin Diesel from the Fast and Furious.
Chris Trew: I’ll tell you what is a real compliment because he’s good looking.
Tai Zen: I’m putting the team in the chat box here.
Who is Stéphane Gaudreault, the developer? Earlier when you mentioned his name, everybody thought it was Stephan Tual from the slock.it team,
Chris Trew: He’s a very talented c#.NET developer with extensive experience in development, not just in C# but also in Java. He’s also got a very good experience with internal procedures as I spoke earlier about release management, which we put a big emphasis on internally.
I know with some crypto projects, it’s just sort of developing and then releasing. However, we have very stringent internal procedures. The reason is user perception or investor perception is key. Once you lose investors and let them have a negative view of the project, it’s very hard to turn that around.
Therefore, via our internal procedures, we won’t be releasing anything late or releasing something that doesn’t work and it’s not for fit for purpose. That is where Stéphane really shines. He’s a talented developer in terms of internal procedures and making sure that everyone’s following those internal practices.
Tai Zen: I’m not technical enough to know if he is a good developer or not. Maybe, Leon will.
From my perspective, when I look at a business team, I just want to know how you met this guy and what made you trust that he is capable of doing what he is supposed to do?
Chris Trew: I met Stéphane when I was working on the Blitz project. Stéphane actually joined the team to work on the Viral Exchange. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that platform. That was one of the first projects I developed in blockchain and crypto.
He came on board to sort of push that platform forward and to implement hundreds upon hundreds of additional features and he did exactly that. He’s had thousands upon thousands of commits to Viral Exchange codebase.
I could see that he was a talented developer. His skills are not up for debate because he has proven it and the actually delivered it.
Trust comes over time. We’ve been through many situations where he could screw me and such, but he hasn’t. He’s still here. Therefore, I’ve got a hundred percent complete trust in Stefan.
Tai Zen: Okay. Are you using some of the ICO funding to pay him as a developer?
Chris Trew: Yeah, he’s not full time. He’s not full-time on the project, but he has been paid.
Tai Zen: How about Nicolas Dorier? You’ve already talked extensively about him. He’s a Bitcoin core developer. No need to elaborate on him. How did you meet him and what made you trust in him to recruit him as a player on your team.
Chris Trew: As soon as I came up with the concept, like any business, the first thing to do was researching your competition. Is anybody doing it? Can we offer a significant competitive advantage over them? Then, I found no one was doing it. The only code that existed out there was this NBitcoin framework.
After looking down the code, installed it, used it and confirmed it did actually work, I reached out to Nicolas on Bitcoin talk. His first response was just really blunt. However, we still messaged back and forth a few times after that. Once I actually explained my vision and the reason I was trying to achieve, he actually got on board. That was when he decided to work on the project with me.
Tai Zen: Okay. Did you communicate on a regular basis now?
Chris Trew: Yeah. Yeah. Everyday. Everyday.
Tai Zen: Okay. Next up on your roster is Freya Stevens, a marketing consultant. How did you meet her? What made you bring her on?
Chris Trew: Freya Stevens was introduced to me by an acquaintance. I won’t share the reason, but she’d had a gap out of work and she just actually come back.
She messaged me and said that she was available. I reached out to Fria to explain the idea, what we wanted to achieve, what would be expected from her and what we needed from her. Then, she very quickly said yes and she’s been with us ever since.
Tai Zen: Okay. Is she the one that’s managing your twitter account and everything?
Chris Trew: No, that’s Krushang, our public relations consultant.
Tai Zen: That’s the guy that I’ve been communicating with to set up this interview. Since we brought him up, how did you meet him what made you bring him on as the public relations guy for your team?
Chris Trew: I actually know Krushang offline. He is a very good friend of mine. I’ve known him for over 10 years.
Tai Zen: He’s a close friend that was outside the crypto community.
Chris Trew: Exactly. Just a bit like you guys, I just introduced him to Bitcoin and we’ve never turned back since.
Tai Zen: What about Richard Madras, the Business Development Consultant?
Chris Trew: Richard has an amazing background in business-to-business sales and business development. Once I started speaking to him and he sent over his Linkedin, I actually looked at the type of roles that he’d had and the type of company he has actually worked for. It was a no brainer to bring them on board.
Once the platform developed and we’ve got this platform ready, he is going to be the one that really drives it forward and bring those customers, so I can concentrate on managing the business as CEO.
Tai Zen: Is Richard going to be the one that’s going to go out there and handle the sales and get businesses to use a Stratis platform?
Chris Trew: He is, but his role is more on management. It’s not going to be the case of having one person calling around companies. He’s going to be managing a team by implementing the procedures of exactly how they are sending our services to corporations. He’s sort of sitting in between myself and the sales team.
Leon Fu: You mentioned Stéphane is not full time and you’re promising to hit this milestone by December. Therefore, who’s actually working on this day in and day out? Who else is actually coding and getting the work done?
Chris Trew: At this moment in time, I’m not even full-time. I’m on a project. My last day with my current employer is on Friday.
Leon Fu: Okay.
Chris Trew: From then, I’ll be full time. However, I’ve been working in my spare time like I have been doing the last 4 years since I discovered blockchain technology. Nicolas is full-time working on the project and also Krushang.
Leon Fu: Okay.
Chris Trew: I did want to have a larger team of full-time employees because we didn’t raise the funds that we were hoping to raise. However, that’s not going to affect the capabilities at all.
If I wasn’t 100% sure that we could deliver on our promises with the funds that we had received, I would refund everybody.
People just need to understand that I’ve left a very good career behind me that I’ve been building up over the last 11 years. I’ve got 2 small children at 4 years old, marriage and mortgage. There is no chance for this not to work and no room for failure there.
Therefore, if there are internal problems or internal delays, everyone can be assured that I will fix those straight away because it’s not just everyone else’s investment. My head is on the block here.
Tai Zen: On Friday, you’re going to go full-time on the Stratis platform. Congratulations on making that leap. I know it’s not always easy for entrepreneurs to leave their golden handcuffs.
I have another question for you. What is your expected burn rate?
For anyone that does not know that doesn’t know what the burn rate is. Every software project has a certain amount of money they need to spend every month to pay for developers and everything. That’s called burn rate.
Chris Trew: If we raised 20 million like the latest platform, then we’d probably have a similar burn rate because it would allow us to have an extended team and those extended capabilities.
We expect our burn rate for the first 3- 4months to be around 10K,15K a month. Then, we expect that to drop down after the full node frameworks released because Nicolas doesn’t have to work full-time on the project every day.
It means Nicolas would still be around and he will still be working on a project, but we’re not going to need him in a full-time capacity. To be honest, the project couldn’t afford to pay him in a full-time capacity indefinitely because Nicolas is not cheap.
Tai Zen: You want to talk about that so that the audience will know, Leon. What’s a good developer run for?
Leon Fu: Yeah. 10 or15 grand at least at US prices. I mean I’ve got 20,000 or 30,000 in a month out from my previous job. Therefore, it’s not cheap for a good developer.
Tai Zen: Let’s say you raise 950 Bitcoins at the price of $600, that’s $570,000. If you divide that by, let’s say you guys burn up a $10,000 a month, that’s about 57 months. Around 4 years. Is that enough funding for you?
Leon Fu: There is one point I want to bring up. I don’t think that’s enough to build everything that you’re describing Chris. I mean $600,000 to build what you’re trying to build is not enough. Maybe, it’s enough to get you to the December to get the release out.
I think you’re going to need additional funds and where’s that going to come from?
Chris Trew: Everything that we’ve promised in the white paper and everything I’ve spoken about today will be delivered with what we’ve got.
Leon Fu: Sure. Then, what about after that? What about marketing and about all the things that you need? Where are the funds for that going to come from?
Chris Trew: Realistically, I expect the funds to last for no less than 2 years.
Leon Fu: Okay.
Chris Trew: That’s with marketing, sales and all the rest of it.
Leon Fu: Okay.
Chris Trew: If somewhere down the road we do need to actually go and seek additional funding, that’s going to be a point where we’ve developed this innovative platform that we’ve delivered.
We’ve got several customers that are actually using it at that point. It will be very easy to go to VC or to go to crypto investors to actually get more money if we need in it.
However, as far as I’m concerned, we’ve got enough funds to last us for the next 2 years. Every promise on the roadmap, in the white paper, will be delivered from the funds that we have received.
You did raise a very good point. I did want to raise more money and I was slightly disappointed at the end, but it’s actually turned into a good thing because our ICO was not overboard. It was underboard.
We are seeing the benefits of that now and the people that are seeing the benefit from raising a smaller amount of Bitcoin are the investors…
Leon Fu: I believe that there were some tactical decisions that why you raised so little. Part of it was timing because you had run the ICO right after the DAO blew up. It was also during the Bitcoin halving.
In addition, it was also during the time when Waves basically flopped out of the gate. We’re all down 25% on waves after giving them too much money. I think even Sasha himself says: “I don’t need all this. He got 30,000 Bitcoins, which are about $20 million when he probably didn’t need more than 6 or 7 at most.”
I think you timed it badly given what the event’s going around in the community at that time. However, on your part, I think you also launched the ICO before doing enough promotion about yourself.
I’ll take Ethereum as an example. Before Vitalik did his crowdsale, he had all the conferences. He had been writing for Bitcoin magazine. He had already been well known in the community because he worked on Mastercoin and Colored coins. Therefore, everyone knew Vitalik even before he started Ethereum.
None of us have heard of you until today and that’s the ICO. Besides, you didn’t at least go to any conferences. If you had done that, let’s say for 3 to 5 months, and hit the North American Bitcoin Conference and all these different conferences to get your message out first, then run the ICO, I think you would’ve gotten the funds that you need.
Instead of that, you launched without any of us know who you were, plus the timing too. That’s why you only got less than a thousand Bitcoins.
I think that that’s maybe a lesson we all make mistakes, but I think that’s a lesson to be learned.
Tai Zen: I think during the Bitcoin halving, everybody was a little bit reticent to hold onto their Bitcoins. They were hesitating and reluctant to let go of their Bitcoins because everybody was expecting the Bitcoin to shoot up in price.
Chris Trew: I agree totally. We should have done more marketing before the ICO started, but the reason for that was we wanted it to start before halving. However, there were errors.
Tai Zen: Despite the errors, if we had to rate the top 5 best ICO or the top 10 best ICO performance from just an investing and trading perspective, the Stratis platform would definitely have to be up there in the top 10.
I’m just rounding it off here, but I think you guys have like 1,100 satoshis per STRAT and now it’s almost 8,000. It’s almost an 8X return or almost 800% profit from that. I mean, that’s not bad for $570,000 project. Basically, it’s a half a million dollar project that has grown to almost $3 million. To me, that’s pretty impressive.
Shaka Daniel: After the ICO was done, you probably thought I didn’t raise as much Bitcoins as I wanted. However, was there a time when you thought to yourself that the added value NBitcoin will boost the price of Bitcoin and help the Bitcoin that you raise in the ICO.
Chris Trew: I didn’t actually consider about that, but that’s a good one. Knock on effect.
Tai Zen: You might have only raised a little bit over a half a million, but that sum of money should be worth a lot more now.
Chris Trew: I’ll come back to Leon’s point about future funding is 8 million Stratis tokens were actually allocated to the team for further development and for the team’s own incentive to actually deliver this platform.
I’ll probably be left with around about 6 million STRATS afterward. Now, there are probably 200K+ maybe. In a year’s time, when the platform has been released, if Stratis wants to go times 10, times 20, times 40, times 50,…
Leon Fu: …then you’re fine. That’s exactly what happened to the Ethereum foundation.
I don’t know if you’ve been following Ethereum. I’m sure we all have. They almost ran out of money even though they raised $18,000,000. They were blowing $400,000 a month. They basically almost ran out until Ethereum spiked the 10 bucks, then the foundation was reloaded.
It is in your interest. You need to get the STRAT price up, not just for investors like us, but also to get the funds to continue development.
Chris Trew: Exactly. That’s a good point.
I did a google hangout halfway through the ICO. I think before the hangout, we were at a couple of hundred Bitcoin, or maybe not even a couple of hundred Bitcoin. However, after the hangout, we had like 600 Bitcoins coming in in a couple of days. We could see that investor confidence was increasing…
Leon Fu: You really needed to do more of those before you started the ICO. Not only that, but you needed to get your face out there too, like in some of the major conferences to talk to the community. That’s what Vitalik did.
If you look at Ethereum, which was one of the most successful ICO back in 2014, he went out there to the North American Bitcoin conference in Miami and pitched his idea for 2 hours in front of everyone in the community. That’s why he got $20,000,000. That allowed Ethereum to become what it is today, which is a billion dollars project.
That’s something you guys should have done. You need to get your names, faces, and message out to the community before running the ICO, not during the ICO. You know what I’m saying.
Chris Trew: I totally agree. That would definitely be my advice to anyone else thinking about running an ICO. However, I’m not bitter or disappointed in any way at the number of Bitcoin we raised because at the end of the day, it actually became a good thing.
I think this interview has had an effect on the price, but one of the main reasons why the price has been going up so quickly is the ICO was so undersold. You’ve got a huge number of people that did not only do not invest in an ICO but was not even aware of Stratis. The fear of missing out is kicking in…
Leon Fu: If you’ve been following my twitter, I said as soon as Poloniex decided to list you, we knew what happens when Poloniex did that.
I think that that’s Bittrex right now is a fraction of the size of Poloniex. You’re not getting investors simply because they don’t want to open an account on Bittrex.
You do need to get listed on Poloniex. I’m not just talking my book because I’m one of your ICO investors, but you need to get the price of STRAT up because you’re still holding funds in reserve and that’s going to be a source of funding.
If more people can invest, buy or trade STRATS, that will drive the price higher and give you the additional resources you need to because you don’t have a big margin of error. You just have 900 Bitcoins.
Of course, as an investor, I want to get a return and that means I don’t want too much money given to projects because that just lowers our returns. However, at the same time, you do need to get enough money and a little more for a margin of error in order to complete the project.
I mean the underfunded project is probably going to fail because that’s what happens if there’s not enough money to complete it. That’s the concern I have. If the price doesn’t spike higher in, let’s say within a year, you’re going to be starting to run it run low on funds.
Chris Trew: Yeah. My response to that would be we could have raised a $5 million, $10 million, $20 million and we get our big paid day now, but we haven’t received that. Our big paid day comes from hard work for delivering on our promises and doing exactly what we say we’re going to do. To be honest, I like that model. I prefer that model keeps everybody hungry
Shaka Daniel: Do you think Stratis will be added to Poloniex as quickly as our Library Credits? Because Library Credits was added to Poloniex very quickly. It shot the price up a lot. The waves platform didn’t get the chance to get listed to Poloniex and that could easily take it up to a dollar. Therefore, do you think Stratis will be added to Poloniex as fast as Library Credits?
Chris Trew: I wish I knew.
Shaka Daniel: there any communication between you and Poloniex?
Chris Trew: I haven’t spoken about Poloniex publicly because I did not want to rock the boat. I just wanted to leave it in their hands.
However, I have spoken with Moby Dick during the ICO. He said that he would get his review team to look at it. As far as I was concerned, that was a positive because we didn’t get a no. Then, things went dead. I haven’t heard anything since. That is honestly where we’re at.
Shaka Daniel: Twitter is the land of the scam as far as when it comes to cryptocurrency. They have multiple duplicate accounts and all kinds of stuff.
I’m going to give him a little bit of fame right now. I don’t know for sure, but we have Social Pumper on our twitter telling everybody to grab a lot of STRAT because of the Poloniex add. Do you know about that? What was going on with that?
Chris Trew: No. Social Pumper just came into our channel one day and said that he’s going to socially pump STRATS. My response was we don’t endorse any type of market manipulation or any type of spam in the market. Then, he decided to go off and do it on his own.
I’ve received so many messages from people very annoyed that timelines are just absolutely blowing up. I mean it is interesting what he’s doing, but it doesn’t look good on the project.
Shaka Daniel: A lot of people are refusing to even look at it because of a whole Social Pumper guy. At the bottom, he always says to the moon. I just want to know.
Chris Trew: Yeah, we don’t officially endorse any type of market manipulation, any type of higher pin because if the market moves up quickly, it will move down quickly. The best thing we can do is deliver a platform, get businesses to use it, get large names in tech as partners and we will see an increase in the evaluation of Stratis. That’s my plan and that’s what I’m going to do.
Tai Zen: Okay. That’s all the questions that I have. Do you guys have any other questions, Leon or Shaka?
Leon Fu: I’m good. I’m good. I think we can finish up here.
Tai Zen: This has actually been one of the insightful interviews that we’ve had about a crypto new, a new crypto project. As always, I wish you good luck with it.
If you have any other exclusive announcements that you want to announce our audience in the future, you know how to contact me.
One more thing, what is the best way to be able to follow your project.
Chris Trew: Slack is the best way to follow us because I and Nicolas both posted on slack.
Tai Zen: What is the address to Slack?
Chris Trew: For anybody watching now, if you want to join the Slack, please go to our website and choose to contact us page. The links will be there.
Tai Zen: Besides, where do you mainly make the announcements or security updates for the Stratis platform? Is it on Twitter – @Stratisplatform?
Chris Trew: Announcement goes out across all of our platforms such as Slack, Bitcoin talk, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
If anyone wondering how they can get key information that may give them an edge when it comes to trading, I’d say join the Slack.
Tai Zen: Okay. If you guys have any questions, join Slack and get ahold of them. Don’t ask me questions about Stratis because I don’t have the technical know-how to answer it.
If there are developers out there or any people that want to get involved in the Stratis project, what is the best way who should they contact or who should they reach out to?
Chris Trew: They should contact Khushang on Slack. They can also reach out to us on Twitter. They can also email us at [email protected] There are a few different ways, but the best way if you’re a developer and you’re interested in joining the project is to join our Slack and message Krushang.
Tai Zen: That will conclude this broadcast.
This is one of the longest interviews that we’ve had. I’m going to leave this original one up, but then I’m going to go through and slice it off into little sections. In that way, if somebody wants to a review specific section that Chris and us discuss, they can do that or they just watch the whole thing as the first one.
Thanks for joining us on this interview. Thanks, Shaka. Thank you, Chris, for taking the time to educate everyone on this. Thanks to the honorable grandmaster Oracle of cryptocurrency LeonFu.com for joining us with his insights.
This will conclude this broadcast guy and I’ll see you guys in future videos.