When the internet was in its infancy, Alex Mashinsky anticipated that one day, our voice, through phone calls at the time, would become an application on the internet – and now it is. Alex is one of the original creators of Voice over IP or VoIP.
These days he’s forecasting that the internet we use today will become application on a blockchain. So now Alex has moved from VoIP to MoIP from Voice over IP to Money over IP.
He founded a company called Celsius Network that is reinventing financial services and moving money over a blockchain. He’s reinventing how banking works, bringing back high interest savings accounts to people who want to earn interest on their crypto and giving out loans to people who HODL crypto as collateral.
Alex is an award-winning entrepreneur and has been working in technology throughout his career. One of the stories he humbly shares with me is when he heard about Bitcoin from a co-worker in 2010 and didn’t see its potential until years later.
But, he helped bring VIoP to the world, which 3 billion people use now for free. He led the project to install wi-fi into the New York City transit system that 8 million people use for free now. And he’s started a company that gives people an alternative the big banks, putting more profit back into the pockets of consumers and less in the hands of the shareholders of the big banks.
“Invention and reinvention is the catalyst. It's the most important thing. And, here the blockchain really comes and says it's not just that we need to inject the blockchain into the banking world or into the healthcare world or into the insurance world. The whole purpose of the blockchain is to reinvent the whole thing.”
The way the banking industry works today is -- investors make a lot of money. Banks overcharge for service fees, credit card interest, mortgages and that money is given back to the shareholders.
Before blockchain, only accredited investors have had the opportunity to invest in the next big thing. And to become accredited, you need to either make over $200,000 a year or have $1 million in assets (aside from your home). So it’s not the average American who has the opportunity to invest in Uber. Blockchain is changing that, but there’s still a lot of friction in the system. Most people don’t know how to buy crypto, let alone set up a wallet or secure their private keys.
The New Internet will see us doing things completely differently with money, transacting safely with our identity, with our data and privacy protected. Alex takes me back to his vision of where phone services were going when the internet was in very early stages when he imagined and created voice as application on the internet.
Back to Bitcoin, he explained its value, from a whole new perspective.
“You have to remember that the Bitcoin started at zero, so if you plot in the chart of the Bitcoin versus the Dollar, the Dollar has lost 99.99% of its value since the Bitcoin was created - 99.99% of its value by definition, because of Bitcoin started at zero. So, looking at the last few ups and downs is completely irrelevant in the context of how much the Bitcoin is done better than any other casset class. There's nothing you could have invested in the last 10 years that performed better than the Bitcoin - nothing, not a single asset class.”
It's interesting thinking, to compare Bitcoin’s rise in value against that of the US dollar. It shows that there IS a real value to bitcoin, the value that the people, the hodlers have decided on.
And Alex shares with me, this incredible analogy of a relay race. It’s the History of Bitcoin Adoption in a simple story and he does a great job of explaining how things went down, where it went wrong and where we are now.