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Utsav Jaiswal sits down with Amber Ghaddar, Founder at AllianceBlock, about building the AllianceBlock Protocol, understanding money matters, and getting down to business. 🤝
On this episode of The HackerNoon Podcast:
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Follow Amber on Twitter @amber_ghaddar
[00:00:00] Utsav: Hello and welcome to the hackathon podcast. and tonight's guest is someone very special. She holds a double master's degree, one in neurophysiology and the other one in microelectronics and nanotechnology. Then she decided it's quite boring, probably, and decided to go towards the investment banking, invest in back in, fight off things.
She worked at Goldman Sachs. She had a deems art JB model. And that is just 2018 and 2018. She decided maybe investment banking is not worth her 99. She decided to build something new altogether. And she is a founding partner at Alliance block. And today I'd like to welcome Amber Godard, who is with us to discuss some of these things that are leading the industry on a wider scale stuff, such as how different is it to be a woman, a deck?
What are some of the learnings that she has heart from the scientific side of things to the FinTech side of things, and now towards the cutting edge blockchain and cryptocurrency side often. So without further ado, hello and welcome to the hackathon podcast.
[00:01:19] Amber: Lovely, lovely to be with you.
[00:01:21] Utsav: So tell us about your background now, but like for do your parents like tank about your, in your opinion?
[00:01:27] Amber: I've my parents are both doctors, so it was normal for me to follow the path of my parents as very well. We follow in the steps of our mothers and fathers. And I've always been interested in science because it was something that was very common in, in the house.
And at the time I was very interested in I was a big fan of science fiction. Let's put it this way. I wanted, I was so tired of learning by heart history and geography. Cause we were supposed to learn everything by heart. And so I wanted to create a a sort of a chip that you could put in your brain to upload memories that, and that's why I did neuroscience neurophysiology.
So I have a master in neuroscience and neurophysiology and then another master in microelectronics center technologies. And then I studied for a PhD in molecular model. And so after my PhD, this is when I discovered that actually research is it is not for everyone. It takes a lot of time.
You need a lot of patients and sometimes while your thesis is wrong, so you need to restart everything from scratch. And because I have Lebanese blood, Lebanese people, what I have Lebanese people are known for business. And so it was normal for me to decide, to go to business school where I did a master's in international business and from their own.
So that was in 2009, 2010. I finished. That was right after the global financial crisis and, finance and banking, where were in the news on a daily basis. And it was some something that interests me quite a bit, because I understood at that time that if if economy. If economy is a it's the heart of a society, finance is explode, and I really wanted to be at the center of where things were were done.
So correct. I started at Goldman that I moved at the to JP Morgan where I stayed roughly eight years. And from there on. In April or maybe I should rewind a little bit. So when I was much younger I was quite a big fan of peer to peer file sharing networks. I don't know if you would recall.
Here you go. Here you go. And so someone in 2009, send me the Bitcoin white paper look at this because we used to discuss between ourselves. Why file sharing is not, what's not working. And basically he told me, look at this. A Bitcoin is based on the gossip protocol. He was in a Consella and I read this thing and I was like, okay.
The amazing thing that they have done is actually creating incentivization because the main issue that we have in the file sharing peer to peer is that there was no, no incentivization, right? Download or upload those. If you were an upload or basically you leave your laptop at night and you leave your laptop open at night and people would come and pick files from from one drive.
But no one was incentivized to do that. And I was like, oh my God, that is such a genius idea to add an incentivizing. And again, because every work needs to be rewarded and there was no reward for those that were uploaded, upload those in the file sharing peer-to-peer system. So this is where was my first contact with Bitcoin.
And that was 2009. So 2010, I think I started investment banking and I left it like completely the back of my mind. I was too busy with what was going on in markets. And then Rashid, who was one of my very good friends, contacted me in April, 2018. And he was already with my teas and they wanted to start at the time.
It was a in ICO platform with rating where they were rating the different approvals because. I moved the ICO. You didn't know
[00:05:18] Utsav: what
[00:05:21] Amber: yes, but that was before that, that, that was, and I remember I sat down with Rashida at first. I wasn't convinced, I was like, what is this token? I was looking at it my first sentiment was like, this is a security.
I was like, security already. It doesn't make sense. Are you, is this regulated? Did you guys speak with lawyers? What's going on in there? And then we continually, continuously discussed. I was still not convinced that for me. I remember very well that I said, you know what? These are basically cash settled for.
On the air. So
[00:05:55] Utsav: you need to explain these words to us later, after you got settled forwards.
[00:05:59] Amber: And but then I started thinking into the technology and. Okay I really missed something here. I really miss something because this could be, the next revolution in finance. And as I usually say, the third revolution was the internet and mobile communication revolution, which democratize the access to information and the access to data.
And then the next revolution in my view is really blockchain, AI, and other emerging tech that are going to democratize the access to capital and ideally democratize capitalism itself by precinct the number of intermediaries and allowing people to generate wealth in a way that, retail investors cannot invest in hedge funds.
So yes, sorry. My, my bell was ringing. Don't worry.
[00:06:49] Utsav: It's okay. It's okay. If you had dogs barking, it's just dogs on my street. It happened right. This is the problem that the rest of us face when speaking to highly lucrative people, such as yourselves, like you use words that you think everybody knows it happens mostly with us.
Your circles are smaller and more educated than the desktop. So when you use a word like a gas cycled forward on air or something like democratizing capitalism, what do you mean by that? Like break down these words for that. And
[00:07:24] Amber: so a forward is a derivative that represent the price of something or represent something, or you have forwards and futures. Futures are usually traded on exchange they're listed. So it's a derivative that is listed and forwards are usually traded OTC. So you can have forwards on gold. You can have forward stock, you can have forwards on everything and you have two ways of settling. You can set up.
Either cash. So it's just the difference in price from the strike price to the exit price in settle. For example, in case of forwards on equities or futures on equity with stock number of stock, you receive the number of stocks instead of receiving the receiving the cash. So w for me, when I was saying it's a cash settled forward on air is because, especially at the initial boom of ICO's, there was no product that there was no product.
So basically you were investing in an idea and you didn't even receive equity. They didn't even write a paper study. You have equity in the company. You just was just a cash settled forward on an idea, right? Because ideas we believe in reality, right? Something an idea is not very tangible, right?
It came from and with regards to democratizing capitalism, I think, one of the big issues that we faced especially since the global financial crisis, it was already existed, but especially since the global financial crisis is that we had this huge disconnect in wealth between the bottom 50% of the population and the top 10% of the population.
So if you look at the data, it tells you post financial crisis, everyone lost a lot of their wealth. You could see the charts just going down crunching down, but you would see that the top 10% not only recovered. From the level they had in 2018, 2008, but they multiplied it. But one of them 50% today stay stands.
What, today? That was the last time I checked that number. It was early 2020. The web that they had was equivalent inflation, adjusted equivalent to the wealth that they had in 1971. That's so basically our generation is poorer than the generations that of our parents or our, or of our grandparents. And even more, we have a lot of data that tells you that the millennial generation is still 20% poorer than.
So what happened was financial crisis. There was a lot of easing fiscal easing, monetary easing, but who benefits the most from that? It is those that already have access to capital funding. You need money, right? You cannot make money out of air. Unfortunately, if you have, you can multiply your money. And at the time when financial crisis hit people lost their houses.
People were in debt, et cetera, no one had like cash. And even those small investors that had cash, they didn't have the capacity to enter the market in the same way that a hedge fund would enter the market. Any institution would enter the market. So for these type of institution, you have access to very interesting products like derivatives, you as a retail investor.
At the time, we didn't really have access to these products.
[00:10:52] Utsav: Sorry,
[00:10:52] Amber: Just give me a second.
Sorry about that. So you, you couldn't have access to this product. And what I've seen around 2000, like mid 2000 tens is the emergence of FinTech companies like Robin hood and other trading platform that gave access to the little people to be able to allow them to trade fractionalized, share, not have to wait.
I don't know, a thousand dollar it, one stock and gave them access to option and the rest, and this has allowed the creation increase in the creation of wealth and that extended with crypto because now crypto is so easy to access, right? Most of the time you don't really need . You just, it's very easy to access.
So there's two things. It's the ease of. And then the second part is the collective intelligence that you have today. That is the the child, if you want of the internet and mobile revolution, right? Because internet, you can learn anything he want, you have wall street, Reddit groups that teaches you what a government squeeze is.
Even at the time, like you go 10 years or 15 years back, someone in banking on the MNA side, wouldn't even have heard of this expression before. So technology has in a way, started to democratize democratize information, democratize knowledge. And now are we expected to do is democratize capital.
[00:12:20] Utsav: That is very interesting. And sanitize, let me like spice it up. So you heard about the game stops things that happened. What happened with AMCs and whatnot? That is a very derogatory way by which these Reddit wall street, bad guys are described. As people call them crayon eaters, like the crayons and stuff like that.
I don't like subscribe because
they eat crayons that they say that their IQ is the same as the room temperature, like stuff like that. Cause they don't know what they are doing. They are just aping into things. Maybe one person knows about grandma's Greece, but not the rest who does get into it because everybody else was too Ingrid.
What I want to ask coffee because this is, I guess what. Wall street, bad guys demonstrated what past was that these hedge funds are not touchable. These hedge funds are not as antifragile as you would have wanted a group of Redditers were able to take down two of these headphones, melvin capital went down or there was somebody else as well.
So what does that tell you about stuff? Is it always going to be the power of a few against the power of the many and it would always be on this balance. Are valid or are there ever be something like an equitable distribution of belts? Communism, basically in my opinion. But do you think it's the future?
[00:13:56] Amber: I think the difference between equal access to wealth and communism,
communism takes into account that each individual is the same, right? It takes into account that we are equal. We are the same individual, which is something is fundamentally right. 'cause Courtney school, right? Some people are born good in math. Some people are born good painters. Some people are born short.
Some people are going tall. Some people are beautiful.
[00:14:49] Amber: Jokes aside, Jackson. We each have our own special specificities and our own correct touristic that makes us individuals. So the most important thing is to take into account the individualism of each person, which communism didn't do at all right now, the vision that we have for what I call participative capitalism is a form of capitalism where everyone is rewarded.
For not only their work, but also for, in some way their influence or the reputation or the knowledge that they bring rewarded for their capital. So something that I really don't like currently about governance model in a, in defined protocols, is that the more tokens you have, the higher your voices, it's very dangerous because this is location of wild capitalism at its worst.
The more tokens you have, the more influence and decision-making power, you have it shouldn't be like that. You can have very little token, but let's say you're a very knowledgeable person, or you're a person that's been helping a lot in the protocol. You should have a voice that is more balanced, right?
So that's a very important point that you're thinking about that we're working on very hard at Alliance. And we have also called Cali Brock Resy or basic the weight of an actor in the ecosystem is based on these three elements of capital of knowledge and of work.
[00:16:27] Utsav: Gotcha. Gotcha. That makes sense.
So when we talk about economic incentives, and then we talk about how to make things fair, what do you think is the way forward you spoke about Calibre? Okay.
[00:16:43] Amber: You just mind, would you just mind just let me tell them that I'm busy. Cause they're just like ringing.
[00:16:50] Utsav: So what do you think is a fair mechanism? Is a proof of work fair it's proof of stake. Fair is valuable. Krissy, as you mentioned, faith, like how do we make things?
[00:17:03] Amber: So for me, what is the model that I've worked out? So for me, Calibra secrecy is the fairest model because it allows for a weighted average that takes into account profile and equivalent of proof of work.
If you want an equivalent of proof of stake, which is the capital and equivalent of proof of authority, which is the knowledge and the contribution that you put into into the ecosystem is how the model should it should be built. And it's very important because throughout history money has been.
It still is. But we have the chance now with automatic mechanism to change that, to be able to buy everything and be some people are scared about quantifying everything. But in my view, it is better to quantify everything. Then to that things run wildly the way they are. If you want to go take a loan at the bank, right?
Imagine you're an entrepreneur. You want to go take a loan at a bank. If your dad is rich, they will give you a loan because they know you'll have a backup. They only look at capital. They don't look at what is your experience? How experienced are you? They don't look at how much what is your value in the society, other other than money and with the Callibra cratic , system, it will allow to take into account things other than, oh, is this person, does this person has enough collateral to repay a loan?
It's more of does this person has a forward that will allow him or allow her to repay a loan?
[00:18:34] Utsav: Got it. That makes a lot of sense. How do you see these things travel into the real world? Because the banks are always gonna look for collateral. How does caliber aquatic system help out, like in the real world, in the same example, as you said, how bank.
[00:18:51] Amber: It is already coming. So one of the things that really disappoints me, I would say in the current regulatory conversation, especially when they're talking about taxation of crypto, I'm all for taxation, but if you're taxing crypto asset, it means they are an asset. And if they own asset, it means you can use them at your bank as collateral for a loan as collateral for a mortgage, which you can know today.
So in the traditional system, you can't use your Bitcoins, you take cash to go buy a car or go buy your house. There are defined protocols that are working on that very well, but in a way, I think there's a lot of education that needs to be put forward between. The defy the defy actors and then governments and regulators.
I don't like the fact that they believe that we are some blogs rogue hackers running on the internet. And our goal is just like to make money. Okay. Our goal is to make money, but everyone's goal is to make money. It doesn't make us rogue players. So this is why education is.
Sorry. So this is why will you be able to edit or no? Okay, good. So this is why education is very important, and this is something that I'm working personally on by creating what we call the crypto industry. The crypto industry regulatory authority, the Korean row, and our goal is to set up standards for our industry because there's, we should always protect our industry, but we should be very conscious about what is wrong in the industry.
And there's a lot of things that are wrong that can be done better in terms of market integrity and in terms of investor protection, but we need to protect our industry. And if we stay decentralized, we won't be able to protect the industry we need funnily enough, to centralize our effort and face. The regulators and face governments and educate regulator and educate governments and be at the forefront of this very important regulatory conversation that is going on around the world at the time.
[00:21:09] Utsav: And about that. Are you worried about the trickle down effects of the information that happened? Like you have been in crypto for a long time in 2017, somebody reminded the world about the hallway desk and every cryptocurrency project had a page on their white papers saying how their past, the, how we test, they won't be economics.
They already have the answer and then they were going backwards. So things like this is why my token is a utility or whatnot. That is a very good example of what is called a trickle down information, what we, how we test for us and what it ended up being in the minds of these people was very different.
Now when a person of your stature speaks about my food or a mod or all of these Frank Dodd or Dodd-Frank act, you understand it, you understand where all that. Is is coming from, but what happens when it has left your chambers than it is in the hands of somebody like me? Like, how do I make sure that I am getting it correct.
[00:22:17] Amber: The easiest thing would be to speak to a law firm, right? Usually law firms will give you a we'll give you a report and we'll decide, or in the report, they will say, okay, we have tested this. And it looks like it is a utility token based on the definition of a definition of English law or Dutch law, et cetera.
But w what you highlighted is a very important question because. I see three solutions, right? Either we abide by the current regulations, which to be in my view very harmful for the industry. Sorry about that. Very harmful for the industry. Or we need to find a middle ground where we abide by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, or we need to change paradigm completely.
First one, it will be really. The second one is what we're working on because we know what the laws are. We know these laws are here to protect the investor and to make sure that markets are to protect market integrity. The third one is the best one because when we changed paradigm, what is a security each country, different definition for a second.
Maybe we should start. Maybe we should sit down with regulators and government and re-explain try to find a new definition to what securities are, especially in the crypto space, right? Some definition that was created. So the, how we test that was created in 1933, I think post the great depression in the west because of their very particular case of
in Florida, doesn't really apply to what we have today. Not really. Let's sit down. Let's brainstorm. Let's find no definition. Again, the goal is to protect the investors. And it's true. Investors are not very well-protected in crypto. We can definitely do 1000 times better. Okay. But let's not force us to abide by rules that are outdated for an industry that is as as as fast and as dynamic as the crypto industry and as any force any open source industry, because you do realize the greatness about open source is that it allows multiple braids from everywhere in the world.
On the project, but the danger also of open source is because it's open, it allows players or actors that don't necessarily understand what's going on to start interacting with these systems without really understanding the risks is where we should come in and make sure that there's enough education.
And that there's enough transparency. Ironically enough, blockchain is fully transparent. Yeah. But blockchain businesses. Most of them, a lot of businesses are not there. So we should really work on this transparency and on this educational aspect of things.
[00:25:28] Utsav: Got it. Now that is this section of this Bitcoin to it now where the general belief is that we gave the vault 2000 or 3000 yards.
You had your feet, you had your paper money and you mastered out view, said you as a bank, we used to bond in 2008. We learned already bad lesson. Although we learn it every 20 years, if you look at history, but it has been like normal. I am signing out. I don't get about your regulation. I don't care what you call it.
A security. It is going to be a transaction between me and another consultant. Consenting other like what I chose for its value to be global, let's take in a way, but it's very individualistic at the same time. So how do you tell these people, like how do you get them on the regulation side of things?
Are you, how do you get them to open up to regulation? Cause everybody like, at least every smart person who I speak to says that regulation is going to be an eventuality for Bitcoin to grow at $20,000. The sec was not looking at it at 50,000. It is, and it is going at it with a very various scrutinizing eyes.
And for Bitcoin to survive, you need regulation, but then it's most vocal proponents are like, we don't need regulation. How do you speak to these people?
[00:27:02] Amber: So unfortunately we do not exist in a vacuum. I would have loved. To build a completely parallel financial system, but unfortunately we kept Reason number one is a lot of people compare blockchain with the internet, right?
Watching revolution, the internet revolution, you see a adoption at the rest. But one thing that they completely missed is that the internet and data revolution occurred in a space that had no regulatory constraints at all. We started having data regulation in 2018. GDPR Europe was voted in, so that's roughly 20 years and data had 20 years of free run with no regulation, hampering their development and hampering.
The creativity, right? Finance is not like that. Finance is heavily regulated credit operations in the us are three times more regulated than the healthcare industry. Then healthcare. We imagined that so we act in a void. That's number one. So if we want to be part of the world, we unfortunately either need to comply by current regulations, which as I said, I'm not very warm about that.
Or we need to sit down with governments and regulator and rethink proposed a change of paradigm, a new definition of what financial instruments are of what transparency is and the rest of the rest. Keeping in mind, always we need to protect investors and always protect market market integrity. Now the other problem is first, central banks are a modern.
[00:28:51] Utsav: It will be a few who have no idea what a central Lankans I have, unfortunately, white sands. Okay.
[00:28:59] Amber: Before having a central banks, so I will give you an example freely in Europe, you had royalties, and had Nobles each noble had his own state, his own quantum fiefdom.
Exactly. And nobody's used to print their own currency. Okay. And then that started to be a little bit more like some economic problems and the rest and they wanted to facilitate right. They wanted to, they started, they were decentralized. They needed to centralize to basically make sure that the value is correct.
That the gold, the amount of gold in a gold coin is the same that the amount of gold, the coin that is coming from another fiefdom. So we actually moved from decentralization. Of money because it was decentralized to centralization of money where money was managed by a central bank. And the first two, it was the risk back in Sweden and then the the bank of England in the UK.
And I think that was around the 18th century. So it's not a, completely an old concept. It's a new concept. And now what we see is we need to go back to the centralized. There's too much. Power has been centralized too much. And we've seen that the little people are the ones that get hit in the right.
We are the one who pays most taxes, middle class, the middle class, upper middle class. They pay the highest proportion of the, of of faxes, whether it's a bus, whether it's a it's in the UK, but what are the benefits that they get? They don't get much benefit. They have no money all of their life.
They don't have access to capital as someone who is in the top 10%, for example. So sometimes we got to a stage where we are smarter than. With the internet. My brain is not only my brain. My brain is your brain and the brain of someone else that is, I don't know, in Latin America and we're talking and we're thinking and we're building together.
So do you have all of this collective intelligence that makes us smarter as human beings and makes us more aware of what's going on in our system? And now we have ideas about how the system should be run. That is not necessarily the ideas of what maybe the top 1% have. Okay. But we are still in the fifth world.
If I cannot use my Bitcoin and I would never use my Bitcoin to go buy pizza. But if I cannot use my Bitcoin in any shop to go buy, this is not a currency. When you think about Bitcoin, you don't think about you, you think in dollars, what is the value of Bitcoin in dollars? Do you think of what is the value of dollar in Bitcoin?
So we are. It never really linked to the field system. If we want to extract that money, that wealth that we're making on the blockchain, we need to exchange it into core currencies, because these are the cards that we're using in the real world. So unfortunately there is no escape from it, right?
We need to work with regulators and governments, and we need to be very smart in order to perfect the industry, because you don't want to end up in a situation where you are being slammed by regulation as we are. We have seen what's going on in the, in, in the west right now. And again, this is why I insist on being at the forefront of the conversation.
[00:32:24] Utsav: So you speak about. About the 1%. And I had this down, I read somewhere that if you make $32,000 a year globally, you are a part of the 1%. Is that true?
[00:32:38] Amber: I would think it is true. And you highlighted a very important point that I did. Not that I didn't. I think about there's actually two uses of finance in crypto, right?
So you have the use in developed countries where in developed country and all I'm speaking about is developed countries at the moment is increasingly. Then you have huge use in emerging market countries where you have a huge number of unbanked people, or number of people living in countries where you have a lot of corruptions where you don't really have payment system where central banks are, eh, not doing their job where blockchain and crypto becomes a gives you the infrastructure for payments system, give you the infrastructure for wealth preservation because your currencies are just, devaluating in, look, what's going on in Afghanistan.
Look, what's going on in Lebanon. These are use cases that us in the west we don't really think about, but there are huge cases, use cases for blockchain and crypto in in in emerging market that are different from those that we have in the development.
[00:33:48] Utsav: That is very like interesting. So when we talk about regulation, there is this argument where it says that regulation basically ends up adding breaks, checks, and balances to how much I can do.
If I, as a middle class person, like there would be a check and a balance once Bitcoin is regulated is the concern that a lot of these people come up because of these protections come at a cost. Those people who got into Bitcoin when it was a few dollars or even a few cents, and they could leverage the benefits of the Bitcoin going to 50,000, a hundred thousand, whatever.
But once Bennett has regulated that exponential growth is. The middle-class or the people who did not have access to the kind of capital that you need now that only weapon has been taken away because people said regulation is a gourd for you. What do you tell these people for home? The risk outweighs the gains or like the risk outweighs the losses that you might take away?
The common saying you would find on wall street bed says I'm either going to become a millionaire or I'm going to apply at a Wendy's. They don't want that middle part void where you have to
[00:35:12] Amber: say to these people there's a difference between regulation and taxation. Regulation is here for transparency, for investor protection and for marketing.
Okay, very important. And we need that, whether we self-regulate or whether we we collaborate with government and regulators to regulate, we need that station. That's a different story. And then I have my own opinion on taxation, where I fully agree with you. And as I said, it's the middle class and upper middle class that is the most hit.
Like in my view, it shouldn't be like that in my view, they should be paying the lowest amount of taxes because in a world where we've already lost so much wealth as millennials, you cannot ask you,
excuse me, a second.
This is incredible. Like they
Give me a second and I'll be okay.
[00:36:07] Utsav: So yeah, you were saying,
[00:36:11] Amber: what will we say?
[00:36:13] Utsav: So you were telling me about the difference between the utilization
[00:36:16] Amber: and yes. Yes. So yeah. So w with regards to taxation, I am with an overhaul of the taxation system and keep in mind, there's big differences between different countries, whether you're in the developed world or whether you're in the emerging market world, but we should not tax.
Games on capital for people who make below a certain amount or who have wealth below a certain amount, as high as they're proposing to do it. But this is where you have opportunities, right? Look what happened in Portugal. So first to that, you pay 0% tax on capital gains. Portugal is a small country in Europe that has suffered from the European crisis and basically allowed it, allowed them to have an influx of crypto enthusiasts and crypto traders because they know they're not going to be paying taxes on capital gains.
So here opportunities, smart countries, I know big countries, they are in debt and you see that of the U S so the debt level of Europe. So they need wherever they are. Take cash. They need to take it. So conversation there is going to be very complicated, but this gives opportunities to smaller countries or even emerging market countries to actually go you know what I want to I want to bring.
Crypto into my world. Look at what Salvador has done it for me, it's a marketing reason and it's a genius. The reason, right? Genius, marketing reason, it puts El Salvador on the radar. And a lot of miners now want to go to to Salvador. A lot of enthusiasm are talking about Saratoga, good for them.
And so you can have all of these countries actually smaller countries deciding that, you know what, 0% on capital gains tax. And they should do that in my view,
[00:38:07] Utsav: is it ignored because these smaller nations, I like the smaller people or the little man, if I want to use the analogy because they have nothing to lose, they have.
Appetite for risks like El Salvador, about it more than I like they have all of these sanctions, they cannot get access to credit from the world bank of whatnot. Bitcoin is their only alternative aquatic plants don't have access to capital plus inflow of tourists or whatever is always going to create wealth.
So a big nation cannot do
[00:38:40] Amber: that. Be very careful be very careful about this. And let's be very careful about this putting between having Bitcoin as a legal currency can have very damaging effects the economy, right? It can have very damaging effect on what we call credit risk. So how high is the interest rate that you're paying on your debt?
Because Bitcoin is so well. So there are a lot of risks that, for example, at Salvador, didn't think about, and that you can envision a new, you can see in credit markets, the spread on the bonds of El Salvador just spiked up after the announcement, because it's, it puts on quite a, quite an important risk.
Now, is there a way to go to, to to, to bypass it, maybe creating a BTC bond? The bond issued in is that these, and then if you turn your. The only way for this to work is that you're starting your whole economy to BTC. And you are an independent country where you don't really have important exports, right?
Because if you're going to import and BTC plunges, it means that your currency has devalued massively. And that basically it would be very hard for you to import, right? There's a lot of points that people have not really thought about in a in details that they should,
[00:40:03] Utsav: It becomes so interesting.
Could talk to you about economics. I guess doesn't dire forecast. They came when, less than an economic. I have one final thing about this before I moved to the Anna stuff, the gates of sandbox. The tight deadline of inflation and they started, they even use the Indian rupee as one of the currencies. They had six, the us dollar.
So that was how Fayette helped our nation take care of their problem. Although I wouldn't say take care, but whatever people were able to do, exchange value backed by the dollar. And then you take the case of a country like El Salvador instead of going the dollar route or a country like Venezuela, which are trying to use the Bitcoin as a standard for exchanging value.
What could be the differences between these two types of countries in terms of the outcomes that you as an economic can afford?
[00:41:04] Amber: Very different, right? The dollar is the currency of the world. We talking, everything is priced in dollars. The Euro was supposed to balance the dollar, but Europe failed and it's not balancing the dollar.
Now you have the Yuan, the Chinese Yuan that is trying to take a, to take this position, but they're still far from there. So the U S USD is the currency of the world. If you have USP, you can buy anything that you want. And the currency is stable. Like the us dollar doesn't move 20% average, doesn't move 20%.
Stability is very important in accounting because when you budget, it's very simple. When you budget, you need to know how much money you have and allows you to do that. But the problem with dollarization. So basically back in your currency, by the dollar is that it comes with It comes with political handcuffs.
You, you have no control about your monetary policy because your monetary policy is the monster factory policy of the fed. But then the fed monetary policy is not necessarily, it's not necessarily, it's not, it's big emerging markets, right? It is weld for a high growth rich developed country, and then add to this also political sensitivities.
So if you're using the dollar, basically you're under the control of the us government in terms of where you're spending in terms of FATCA. So countries like Venezuela and El Salvador. So Ventura is anti-American right. They have different visions. They're anti-Western anti-American the Venezuelan president, the Salvadorian precedent a little bit as well.
So he, he had enough of American control and this is why also for him, he wanted, he can go to. It can go to you one yet, but he's going to, he's going to Bitcoin as a, I would say a breath of fresh air in the corner, but it could be a sword with double edges.
[00:43:08] Utsav: Gotcha. And with that, no more questions on economics.
Let's move to the other thing. What is it that you guys are trying to do with Alliance block?
[00:43:18] Amber: The initial idea was to build a decentralized participative and sustainable investment bank. And then he idea grew to become a building the future of capital markets and the future of finance and how we look at that.
So we look at that three fold. So we have three main blocks. We have a regulation block that includes a cross-border regulatory compliance protocols and what we call trustless, KYC, AML. And then we have a data block that includes what we call the Oracle of Oracles with the API and then the data tunnel.
And then we have a defined terminal, which is basically the investment part of the business, where you will have a lending where you will have following. And we have also an exchange that is coming in in Q4. Of this year. And I would advise everyone particularly with our exchange because there's a lot of work that has gone through to decrease what we call it, permanent loss, which is one of the main problems that you have in decentralized exchanges at the moment.
For sure. I'm sure your listeners, your viewers are aware of the loss of capital that could cure due to implement floss in in, in liquidity pools.
[00:44:36] Utsav: I so want to ask you to explain it, but when I'm lost, cause I read somewhere, it said in permanent loss happens both ways that you can go without all your Legos goes down, do what happened, but when it lost, but as I said, Get you on for that economics lecture, unless you want to give that.
Oh, what I want to ask you first? What do you like want to explain it? But when it lost to us
[00:45:01] Amber: well, in PR you should look at influence loss as basically a marked market of a negatively convects assets. And I think the easiest way to look at it is you're putting in Yeah. If this pair has volatility, the more volatile the pair is.
So let's say you have a ETH and a LBT, right? Alliance, block token. So a NBT rallies versus ETH the number of LBT that you will have in the pool under your name is going to decrease. And that means that you missed on the rally of LVT because it looks at the constant value, right? So let's say you put in, and I'm very much simplifying here.
Let's say you put in $10,000, these $10,000 will need to stay $10,000 and they become $15,000. They will need to sell something to bring it down to $10,000, simplifying very much here. So that's the way to think about it. So the more volatile the pair of. The more money you will lose, or you won't lose money.
You will basically miss on growth, miss opportunity, because in the end you will receive a constant, some of what you put in initiatives like dollar, because you see the whole world is based on dollar. So even if you receive constant, but if the dollar value has changed, then the final amount that you receive will be smaller.
That's again, proof that everything works with dollars dollar and in this world,
[00:46:36] Utsav: slower trip, speaking of working. You have this team Alliance clock, and you guys up there is pretty much all across Europe, probably some parts of Asia as well, or the, like how America is. And the thing that you guys are working on.
Fairly very advanced. Like I use fairly in a very cavalierly manner. I guess I'll need a hundred people understand what you guys are doing. So in this decentralized world, in this work from home office culture, how do you guys manage to communicate? Because everybody is what are like some of the ways that you guys have found to be helpful for your business?
[00:47:17] Amber: So there are there are different teams, right? And as you can see, there's different parts of the business and each block can be a company by itself. We have. So the teams that work together are very close to each other team that we're cross then these communicate in through zoom or through through to mainly but we have offices in the Netherlands where there's quite a big number of developers there, and we have offices in Switzerland.
We're also, there's a big part of management. Management and executives are also based there. And then we organize we organize event where we basically bring the whole team together so everyone can meet each other. And fortunately due to COVID, we couldn't implement it as much as we wanted because when you want it to implement that quite frequently.
But hopefully the world is going to open. And we will be able to implement our our team getaways.
[00:48:10] Utsav: Got it. Got it. Speaking of the LBD token. So a lot of the people holding it might not exactly know what does that token do? If the audience for your token, the general people like myself are, is it going to be, the institutions are going to be.
[00:48:35] Amber: So there's different types of tokens. And I will not go through this at the moment because it will it be for a later stage, but the token is the blood of the of the ecosystem, right? So you need the token to be able to interact with every component of the system. So we have launched a multi chain bridge Bridging for EDM blockchains and is going to be bridging on EVM blockchain soon.
And you use the token to be able to to pay for costs. Same thing on the exchange. You will be paying with the tokens on what we call funder, which is the investment platform where you have the rating of the investors that I was mentioning earlier on. You will also use the token and there are multiple cases of use and keep in mind that it's very important for us, for the token to be deflationary.
So as the program, as we see progress in development, because as you can see, as I said, each part can be accompanied by itself, but in the end it all comes together. So the ecosystem is being built now and at a certain point, it will close and you will have all of the use cases that will need the use of.
[00:49:43] Utsav: Gotcha. And now I want to get to the final bits of this interview. So you work in stem, right? The general consensus is filming are not interested in stem. And you were like, no, I am, I'll do that. I'll read it. You did that for a while. Like I say, , that's a huge jump. Then you talk about investment banking, mostly bros.
The pejorative term is cocaine bros. And again, an environment, not that you would, that most women would be interested in. You were like, I am, I'll read that too. Then comes cryptocurrency again, dominated by pro. And you were like, I'll be tattoo. What have been some of your experiences dealing with the most colorful of the men that the world has to offer it?
I use that very manner that people can understand.
[00:50:47] Amber: It's it's interesting because, so for me, when I started in finance, it was quite different. It was quite difficult to understand what was expected of a successful trader in terms of you're going to laugh. But in terms of looks in terms of voice, in terms of behavior, right?
I was educated. I have two brothers, I was educated like a tomboy quite loud being Mediterranean, it's not a, it's not a very good thing. And I remember that was right after my first year after my first year. And I started comparing behaviors of the woman at the time, I was a junior that were all MDs.
They had the behavior that was very different to mine. So I was like, I would definitely not be seen as valuable as they are because management is mostly made of. Not fully made of men. And so I had to work on myself to change my behaviors, change, stop wearing colors. I used to love wearing colors.
And then I stopped. I was wearing dark colors all the time. So it is important. I always say to women and I mentor quite a few women and I always tell them it is great that you have two choices, either. You say I'm going to go the way I am and F the system, whatever happened. It is me. This is who I am, et cetera.
Or you need to move. And you need to adapt to the environment you're in. If you adapt to the environment you're in, it's very simple. You'll be successful. If you don't adapt, you would fail. That's how, unfortunately that's how the world is. So that is my advice for women. If there are women are listening to us, we're still not at a stage where there is enough women in a high level of management where we can be who we are in some way.
You see what I mean? And that the same thing in tech, but in tech it's even, I would say it's even slightly more aggressive than than finance. Because if you look at the data in the UK 12.5% of the pool of developers is women. Platform 5%. So you're already starting with a very small pool and the culture of the bro culture, as you were mentioning is even more present.
But the great thing I would say about blockchain, that you will be surprised for example, in India, I think it's more than half of investors are females in crypto
at Binance. I think 50% of employees are women and I think 40% of women in the us are interested in investing in cryptocurrencies. So we have seen a boom of women taking control of their finances. And that's an interesting point because in financial independence in women is a new. In some countries, it was until the seventies that they could have a bank account.
West, I don't know the date exactly. But in the fifties they didn't have a bank account. It was the bank account of their husband. They couldn't take the loan without their husbands signing. Independence is new. It's only our mothers that have experienced financial independence. Our grandmothers were not financially independent.
So the, I would say the relationship of women and money is different from the relationship of men and money because men make money. Consume money in some way. So we're learning to make money. It's 4:30 PM in the afternoon. On the Friday, we're allowed to make some jokes right.
[00:54:13] Utsav: I am all for jokes. Like I just wanted to like, let you know that you can let your hair down, speak, whatever comes. Yeah.
[00:54:20] Amber: We're speaking with old, with open minds and open heart, but it's true in the end we spend money. We're very good at budgeting and I'm not saying it as a joke.
Women are very good at budgeting because who manages the budget of that? I have to go, it's your wife. So your wife goes all the numbers. You just give her an amount. And she's the one that is budgeting this amount. So you will be surprised also that women are much better at investing than men, because we are very good at budgeting and we are very good at risk management, but this is new.
See our daughters are going to have, are going to be brought up in an environment where there's not this unconscious bias about it's the men that makes the money. And it's the woman that's spending environment where it's both men and women that are making and and spending money. But I have very good.
Very good. The vision for what's going on in blockchain. And I think there is, I think I see it there's more and more women coming into the field and it is needed. It is needed. We shouldn't be left behind. And I would say it is very needed in emerging market countries because blockchain development is each job that allows you to work from your laptop at home.
If you're in a country where there are walls, if you're in a country where there are some political political how would you say. Concentrate, political constraints on women. You can just stay home, make money, be in front of your head, be in front of your laptop. So I encourage women to learn to code.
I encourage anyone who has a daughter or sister or a niece, or a cousin or a friend to get them into coding school at a young age. And I encourage women to stop looking into crypto and start learning how to trade because wealth generation is very important.
[00:56:12] Utsav: That is very interesting. And that answers a part of my question.
You have seen a lot of these women symposiums. Again, I am not an expert on any of these stuff, just for women organizations, test problem in women and management and men and product women in tech. Do you believe like you personally, that women of your stature have a responsibility to help the little girl or is.
[00:56:43] Amber: No. Of course. And but because he was talking about it, we I have founded with a friend, what we call the 200 billion club, which is an accelerated. That is focused on training women, entrepreneur to become VC investible. And we have 28 partners, 28 VC partners on our investor on investor committee.
So giving back to the community is something that is very important. I'm also on the board of DBA, which teaches girls how to code. And I, once you get to a certain level, you need to get to give back to the community because imagine that it was you, I would have loved to have had that.
When we started Alliance work, I would have loved to have a women focused accelerators or women funds. It's only by unity that we can increase the number or the representation of women in in a, in these businesses, women, and like between you and I, especially in emerging market. When I say.
I mean your kids. Yes. Women and men push the kids into this space, especially when you think about how automation is going to change the world. A lot of jobs are going to be lost, no jobs, you stop, you start your life, basically with with a plus one. Even if you don't want to be a quarter India, but you start with the plus one, why take this plus one away from your kids?
Just let them learn. They like it. They like it. They don't like it. You know how they say in emerging market, they're forced to study,
[00:58:14] Utsav: right? Scotty, get a degree and then follow your passion.
[00:58:19] Amber: Exactly. I agree with this 100%, right?
[00:58:24] Utsav: So the reason why I asked that it's I at least speak on like myself as a man.
I have never felt the need to pull up the little man desperate Garcia. Maybe that makes men IP be social and women more social. I don't know the sociology behind that, but that is a very nice gesture, which I see happening over and over again across cultures. Is that what you would call a fermenting?
Is that because you feel that you have clots certain glass ceilings, you need to help others navigate, or is it more offered tribalistic thing that it is a man's world and we need to take care of assets.
[00:59:03] Amber: I think the representation in jobs should be in, in not an altar, but like I say, in tech or in finance or in certain industries, the representation should mimic the representation of the population.
If you have 51% of women in the world and okay. I admit some of them are not interested in jobs in finance or jobs in tech. No problem in their same. Some men also are not interested in there, but if you have 51% of women in the world and 49% of men, you should find at least something comparable treatment in a very same industries.
Okay. Now I can understand that in, I don't know, industries that are more typically male oriented, I don't think we're not mechanical engineer. I would say like more like building, where you need body strength that most women, not all, but most women don't have. It makes sense to have a representation that is different. And in a way, it also makes sense to have more nurses that are female than men, because it's, caring is something that is inherently maternal and inherently female.
But th the, this proportion is too large. When you have active board, 20% of women only, how can you get your voice up there? How change the, how can you change the the workspace to be more inclusive? And I'm not talking only about women, I'm talking about. Enterprises that represent their society.
So you live in India and so slightly. So when we live in the UK you have people from Africa, you have people from south Asian descent, you have people from middle Eastern descent. It is important for these people to be given access and opportunities that are similar to the Caucasian people.
And a lot of governments have been working on this, having diversity programs and people, because what you don't want, which is what you highlighted is tribalism. The issue with poverty is that the poorer you are, the more tribal you. C. So if you want peace in your society as a government, if you want to be in a peaceful society, especially when you have minorities, you need to make sure that you're lifting these minorities from poverty, by giving them access to exit education, but also access to high, rewarding, high paying job, because you want to create a middle class and upper middle class coming from these minorities, because if you're going to have social problem and you're going to have, we've seen what happened in France, I think right before the right before COVID started where you have the minorities in France going and burning Paris.
So people should be wary about that. I should think about that. And yeah, you should tell government it's not about humanity. They don't want to think about it from a humanism point of view. Think about it as a national security. So you need to lift up these people and you need to offer equal opportunities to have.
[01:02:03] Utsav: Most definitely. And I learned that quite recently, like there is a need for role models and there is a need, it's a work in progress, getting the equations and part of it took somebody to reach the moon before people, or at least little boys growing up, wanted to be asked. If that are not going to be the main astronaut, they would not dream of that.
Cause they would start to think, okay, why should I need that? And I learned that while I was in watching this new co-sponsors movie game out into, and the 60 all female cast, I was like, my childhood was ruined, but I sat down with my wife. I bought a cheap, enjoyed it immensely. And that's when I realized that maybe there is a need for role models for all like people, it doesn't have to be gender.
It has to be all deeper as you like
[01:02:55] Amber: very light. Yeah. Look, what, how we were taught. Remember the cartoons when we were kids with women, all the women were princesses that needed a prince to come and say. In our subconscious, it just create this bias that, we need to be saved. We cannot just need to be pretty and smile.
And the prince charming will come and save us. And it's interesting how you see the progression of cartoon. So in today you have a, I remember brave what it was. It's a fighter girl and Milan, and you have like more and more cartoons where women are taking, active role and actually can fend for themselves.
[01:03:35] Utsav: But sometimes the men need saving. We would meet women all the time for that. So yeah, with that, I'd like to call it a wrap on today's episode. It was quite interesting. I enjoyed it a lot. If you have any closing words for the Hakkinen audience, we would like not to hear from you now.
[01:03:52] Amber: What I mean, thank you for a very interesting conversation.
I didn't expect the interview to go to go in this direction at all. That was a big surprise. As I said, it's a comforting afternoon, Friday afternoon, and I hope you all enjoyed having a cup of coffee or cup of tea. With me, I would ask you to follow Alliance block on Twitter follow Alliance blog on the telegram.
And you will have many surprises in Q4, 2021.
[01:04:19] Utsav: I'm with that best wishes from the heartburn own team to the entire land squad team. And especially to you, Amber, have a nice day and take care.
[01:04:28] Amber: Thank you so much.
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