HOW TO START A BITCOIN CONSULTING AGENCY
Welcome to the GrayHawk DJC podcast. In today’s podcast, we talk with Angela Morrone, owner of the AJ Morrone Consulting Agency in Dallas, Texas. We hope you enjoy the podcast.
David: Hey Angela.
Angela: Hey David.
David: How you doing?
Angela: I’m good. How are you?
David: Pretty good. Welcome to the podcast.
Angela: Thank you so much for having me.
David: Sure, thank you for coming. I know we don’t really know each other but thank you for replying and coming on the show. So we typically start by getting to know you a little bit. If you could tell us about you, where you came from, your family, where you grew up, your background.
David: You know, let us know more about you.
Angela: Yeah. So I’ve actually been in Texas for 10 years now. This month just marks 10 years. So I, like many of your guests, I’m a transplant. So I’m originally from the northeast and I grew up there. I did my undergrad work in psychology and while I was doing that, during one of the summers, I worked for a residential treatment facility. And I realized quickly that clinical psychology wasn’t really for me. So I found that out really fast, that conclusion. But what I did notice is that the company I worked for, at that time, I was really interested in how the organization worked and how the actual people within it functioned and that, to me, was pretty fascinating. So it led me to industrial organizational psychology which is a specialty within psychology that is concerned about organizations and organizational development. So it really led me to a good path, in that sense, because it’s really rewarding for me.
David: Do you get a degree in that?
Angela: Yes. So I did my undergrad in psychology and then I got my master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and I did that in Chicago.
Angela: And one other thing. While I was at that residential treatment facility, that was actually in 2008, I had opened a 401k account because they offered that to me. I was, like, wow, this is so cool.
David: And you put money in and they match you?
Angela: Yes, everything and it was growing. Then the end of the summer came and it kind of got obliterated.
David: So what happened?
Angela: The financial crisis happened. It wasn’t like there was a ton in there to begin with, but it was my first experience with what can happen.
David: When you say it got obliterated, what happened?
Angela: It shrunk in size. The value of the 401k went to almost nothing. It was pretty dramatic at the time. But you know, it was an experience and something you remember. So it got me interested in finance a little more. I was still very focused on my education and everything but it kind of left the mark that I would revisit at a later time.
David: So after school, where did you end up?
Angela: While I was getting my master’s degree, I started consulting for a few different companies and it was focused on organizational change management. So that is a discipline that’s within IO psychology and it’s really concerned with managing the people’s side of change. Because, a lot of times, people don’t like change, especially when it deals with the way you perform your job or the way that functions. And companies really want to be able to maintain a high level of performance whenever they move over to new things or change the way people do their jobs. So I focused on that kind of work. It brought me down here. So while I was in school, I started consulting down here, and then, after I finished my master’s degree they offered me a position in Texas full time.
Angela: So I moved down to Dallas for work.
David: How did you get those consulting gigs?
Angela: I was actually doing an internship through my master’s degree and was working with a consulting firm. They started working with organizations that were in Texas. So it was a really great experience.
David: When they bring you in, what do they have you do? Tell me what your day-to-day activity is?
Angela: So whenever you’re looking at change, you kind of have a whole, full process and depending on when you’re coming in, if it’s early on with just developing the change or if you’re on the back end and it’s like, you know, you’ve really got to just jump right in and start your strategy quickly. So a lot of times what you want to do is start a needs analysis to really get a pulse on what’s going on in the project and in the organization. Questions like, what are the different cultural factors that kind of go into play when it comes to defining what that change needs to look like? And depending on your stakeholders, you’re going to have a different type of outcome. So what kind of leadership do you have, do they have their own capacity for change and leading change? Sometimes you’re having to build their capacity and coach them so they can then coach others that they lead to drive that change and make it happen.
David: Are you actually speaking to them or are you coming up with an evaluation form?
Angela: I’m speaking to all levels of stakeholders, from the end user that is going to have to be consuming the change, to the people that are leading the change, and the people in between that are helping to manage.
David: So you’ve got the managers and individual contributors. You’re having to go through all of these different pieces and factors to pull together the narrative in the story and do a diagnosis of what needs to happen to make a change successful.
David: What types of changes do you run into?
Angela: Some of these changes are the ways somebody performs their job. So you might be going from something like an older technology that’s all based on just terminal and keyboard to what we’re used to today which is a user interface where you click and point. That can often be very challenging when you’ve been used to doing it one way for 25 to 30 years. So being able to manage that and take those stakeholders, to show them the changes being developed is crucial so that they can give us real-time feedback and say, “Well, no, that’s not going to work this way and here’s why”. “Here’s how I need to perform my job and here’s how quickly I need to do it because I am focused on something that was very operational in nature”. It’s really important that we plan all of that ahead of time and that they are fully prepared to consume the change and be able to do their job completely differently, basically, the next day.
David: So is this also the end users managing how they’re going to make that change plus also telling the managers what they need to expect?
Angela: Right. It’s kind of a full feedback loop so you can get that top down and bottom up kind of feedback because a lot of times it’s just top down and they don’t really know how the bottom up works or how that needs to function because the farther you are away from that end user, the less you really know about how things need to work or what the ideal state is.
David: So if you don’t do this as a company, what happens?
Angela: Well, you can kind of see what happens whenever you don’t handle change right. So a lot of times, your productivity goes down. You get attrition. People leave because they’re unhappy and they don’t know how to do their job anymore. They’re not comfortable anymore.
David: Do you see a lot of companies saying, “Well, they’re just going to do what we tell them and what’s the big deal?” Do you get that pushback ever?
Angela: Sometimes, but you do see a lot of times where they see the value in change management because as I would say, when I started off about 10 or 11 years ago, it wasn’t as, what’s the word?…popular. I don’t know if popular is the right term or if it’s just that people weren’t aware of it as much. It was kind of like you were saying, well, they’re gonna just have to deal with it, right? But whenever you can make a case that says, here’s why you can do it differently and how it’s actually going to benefit you as a stakeholder or as a leader, then you’re able to start influencing that conversation a little bit more so that you can get a more people-friendly change environment.
David: So how long were you at the consulting agency?
Angela: So I consulted with them for about a year and a half until I moved to Texas full time at my current job. Then, after a number of years there, I always had this desire to work for myself. So in 2017, I started my own consulting business on the side which is really focused on individual development. Because I really find value and fulfillment in helping other people grow and it’s just genuinely something that makes me really happy. And I know it’s something that I can help people with. I’m confident in doing that. So if I can help with their transformational change in whatever capacity they’re interested in doing, I’m happy to help them in that way.
David: What was that decision like to start your own company? Were you pushed or did something happen that compelled you to start?
Angela: I wouldn’t say something happened per se but it’s always kind of been in the back burner of my mind and when I first came out of school, I was really focused on all of my debt, all my student loan debt and being really focused on paying that down. So I didn’t really want to put myself out there and continue to add more risk when I was just starting out my career full time. But when 2017 came around, I think I realized that this is something that I knew I could do. And my master’s degree really prepared me to become an internal and an external consultant. So all of that helped me wanting to be my own independent person and to become “sovereign” in that sense. I really wanted to be able to promote the values that I have and I felt that starting a company was a good outlet to be able to reach people in a way that I couldn’t at my full-time position.
David: Okay. And what’s the name of your company?
Angela: It’s AJ Morrone, LLC.
David: How did you fund the company? Tell us how you got started? How did you get clients?
Angela: When I was getting started, I was really mindful about how much everything was going to cost because it’s just really a party of one. I was able to keep the costs down and tried to drive the business in a way that lent itself just to having lower costs. So, for example, not having a physical office space if I’m going to meet with a client. I’m either going to meet with them off-site somewhere or online with a web webinar. Being able to meet with clients online and then having a website which I can easily just promote to people and say, “Here’s my website”, was important. The website gave me an online storefront and you can see the different services that I provide.
David: So the initial cost was mostly forming the company and then creating the website at first?
David: How did you go about getting your first set of clients or did you already know folks?
Angela: Well, I was doing a lot of word of mouth at this point because I wanted to make sure I didn’t overwhelm myself with it. So I’ve been growing it that way and it’s been really beneficial to me and very fulfilling.
David: What is your avenue for getting clients now?
Angela: It is still more word of mouth at this time. I’ve also recently started offering Bitcoin classes.
Angela: Because that is something that really embodies my values and is something that I think is extremely important for people to understand. And it’s very misunderstood at this point. I don’t think there’s a lot of good data and information out there. I mean, there is but there could be more.
David: Let’s say I was someone that called and asked for your services. What would that process be like and, when we met, how would that go?
Angela: I guess I would talk about what kind of information you were looking for? What kind of growth pattern were you looking for? Because, I offer services such as individual coaching and also personality style development. So a lot of people have a different personality and they have a set way they like to do things. I have a tool that enables you to really see what your personality looks like and then what your current environment is asking you to do. So we have different stressors in our environment and depending on what that looks like, sometimes it can drain a person and they don’t really see that until they walk through this personality process.
David: Would it be someone that says, “So I’m not as far ahead in my career as I thought I would be at this time in my life, can you help me figure out what I may not be leveraging”?
Angela: Yes. We could go through something and say, “Hey, based on your personality style, here are the kinds of things that you might be able to gravitate towards and do well with. Here are the kinds of things that you might struggle with because of your personality style. So if you’re a pretty introverted person, for example, and you don’t like to talk to people or you just have a real close knit type of social circle, you’re not going to want to be selling cars, right? That’s just not your personality to want to go out and be very sociable.
David: So if you did the evaluation, could one of your recommendations be this is not the best career choice for you and this might help you better?
David: Wow. That sounds very interesting. I didn’t know this existed. If someone were to start their own company and they’re thinking about that, what is your advice for them?
Angela: I would say, really know what your purpose is in starting that company. What are your high level goals and values? Because if you don’t have those things, it’s hard to fill in all those details because there’s a lot to creating a company and keeping it going and having the motivation to keep driving it. Because a lot of times, it’s a lot of work and there’s not always the reward that matches that.
David: Right. A lot of entrepreneurs face barriers with their family. They have responsibilities where they can’t take that next step or risk. As someone in your profession, how would you tell them to manage that? Just from our interviews, we see how very difficult it was for entrepreneurs at first to really muster up the energy to take that risk. So any thoughts on how someone can get over that hump?
Angela: Well, I would say, it takes a lot of inner thought. You know, like what your purpose is, understanding the support you have around you, and how you can leverage your environment. Understanding all of that can really help you. We also have access to so many resources these days. You can just go to the internet and search how to do X and you can find a million different guides on how to do Y to make yourself better. So having a kind of growth mindset is really important. So there’s this concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. We often look at things with a fixed mindset. An example of that is someone who is just trying to stay above water but not really trying to grow versus someone who looks at mistakes and says, “Well, I can learn from that and I’m gonna challenge myself and I’m going to grow. That growth way of thinking lets you expand on things and be open to all kinds of challenges. So basically, it’s okay to fail if you have that growth mindset.
David: But for you, personally, it wasn’t that difficult to know that you wanted to do this.
Angela: No, it was not.
David: Okay. So that was always a part of you for a long time. That’s awesome.
Angela: Yeah. And again, with my background, it really made it easy to do that because it was almost expected during my masters that here’s how you get business and here’s how you write a proposal and here’s how you do all of these things.
David: So what do you see for your company in the next five, ten years?
Angela: I guess teaching Bitcoin. I mean, that is such a big deal for me. My values are about the concept of peace. So having a peaceful and tranquil environment and really making things that are harmonious is what I am after. To me, that concept is being attacked right now in many different forms and fashions in our environment. So I feel like that is so important. I want to make sure that we focus on that as a society. I want things to be fair. That’s another value that I care about, the concept of fairness. Are things fair? Are they perceived as fair and why? Then, my last primary value is liberty. Individual liberty and having that paired with accountability. So you can be a free person and be accountable and it can be okay. Just don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff, right?
David: So in your business, do you see more of the Bitcoin consulting growing or the coaching?
Angela: Well, they’re really interrelated. So while I do see Bitcoin as being a big piece of my future, I would also continue to want to grow people with the coaching. These concepts can be threaded together actually because thinking about Bitcoin and change management, there’s quite of a big hurdle with Bitcoin in society. Bitcoin means two things. It’s an open monetary network that anybody can participate in and then there’s Bitcoin the asset which is what most people think of it as. The “coin” that is worth about forty nine thousand dollars as of today. Managing the change society needs to go through to adopt bitcoin will be a very important thing in the future.
David: Ok. So do you ever have companies calling you to ask about Bitcoin and how they can get exposed to it?
Angela: Right now it’s mostly just individuals. And really, my Bitcoin services are only a few months old. So the courses that I launched are focused mainly on small group webinars, like no more than five people because it’s such a complicated topic. I want to be able to provide an intimate setting where people can learn and ask questions and be comfortable. Because if you’re not comfortable, you’re probably not learning that well. I want to build a brain friendly environment that allows people to learn about Bitcoin and also how to manage change when you’re adopting Bitcoin.
David: So let’s get into the Bitcoin. I guess we can start from the very basics. So what is your take on money and what it is? Then we’ll go into Bitcoin because I think people are very confused about what money is actually, right?
Angela: Right. So money has three main components. It is a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and ideally, it’s a store of value.
Angela: So the dollar is what we often think of as money. Money is supposed to be a store of value and it’s supposed to be scarce. But the dollar isn’t always scarce. We don’t even know how many dollars are out in existence or being borrowed right now. But with Bitcoin, for example, you know that the cap is 21 million Bitcoin and that’s it.
David: Right. How did you get exposed to Bitcoin? What is your journey to understanding it?
Angela: I first learned about Bitcoin in 2012 and it was actually through the Ron Paul campaign. Somebody was speaking about Bitcoin and sound money because, you know, Ron Paul is very big on sound money, meaning money that’s backed by something and has some kind of soundness that has value aside from just government confidence. Our dollar system is just based on confidence. So in 2012 when I learned about Bitcoin, I was like, wow, that’s a great idea. So there’s this concept in neuroscience called S.C.A.R.F. The scarf model is from Dr. David Rock. And in neuro leadership, it stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness.
Angela: So these are things that act as social drivers of behavior and we’re always scanning for them in our environment. We’re looking for threats and we’re looking for rewards in them, and if we think that there’s going to be reward, we’ll go towards it because it’s positive. But, if we think that there’s going to be a threat in one of those areas, we’re going to back off and even maybe fight it off depending on what it is. So depending on your personality and if you’re trying to manage change, when it comes to Bitcoin, people can assess things like Bitcoin through S.C.A.R.F. So like I was just saying, the status of Bitcoin for me was pretty low in 2012 because I didn’t have any confidence in it yet. I didn’t know what it was or I kind of knew what it was, but it sounded just like pie in the sky. Then, as the years went by, Bitcoin’s status began to rise for me as my education level and knowledge of Bitcoin became greater and greater. Bitcoin has reached over a trillion dollar market cap within its 12 years. No company has ever done anything like that in that time, without a PR firm or marketing or a CEO, you know.
David: Sure, absolutely. What is Bitcoin to you?
Angela: Bitcoin is a vote for freedom in my mind. It is a peaceful way to interact with people. It is separating state from money, so there doesn’t have to be any third party for me to send you money. One Bitcoin can be broken into 100 million Satoshi’s. So it’s very divisible and you can choose to interact with it or choose not to. So you have the autonomy to engage with it as much as you want or as little as you want. And this concept ties in with what I said earlier, Bitcoin is an open monetary protocol and it’s also an asset that rests on that 21 million number. Bitcoin’s open monetary network is very similar to the internet, which is an open network that anyone can engage with and participate in and that’s what Bitcoin is. It’s a totally decentralized system.
David: What do you say to people that say they’re worried about how secure it is? Can you tell us about the technology that provides that type of security?
Angela: So the security of Bitcoin is called the hash rate. The hash rate has only been going up since its inception 12 years ago. If you look at the hash rate today, it’s extremely high compared to when it started back in 2009. It would have been very easy to hack and take over and manipulate back then but, at this point, there’s so much competition with the mining that happens, that it is basically impossible to hack. Mining is the act of clearing transactions every 10 minutes and putting them in a block on what’s called the blockchain. The blockchain is the entire ledger of all transactions that have ever happened in Bitcoin. So that’s how you know where all the Bitcoin lies because everybody can see where it’s been. You can look at this ledger and anybody can go in and say, “Oh, this is where this Bitcoin or these Satoshies are at this time”.
David: So these miners are all verifying that ledger at the same time? They are all competing with each other?
David: To verify the transactions?
Angela: Like, if I send a Bitcoin to you, I have to sign something to send it to you and the miners are going to look at that transaction and ask, “Is this valid or not”? And if it’s not, they’ll just ignore it and then I just wasted money because I attached a fee to send that Bitcoin to you. But if it didn’t actually go through, I just kind of lost some money. And it’s because these miners are constantly competing to make sure the ledger is secure. That’s what’s causing it to be so secure. It really works off of Game Theory. So it’s more beneficial for someone, at this point, to just participate and try to mine a block than to hack the system because, whenever you successfully mine a block, you get a subsidy for that. So, first, the miner gets all the fees whenever users send transactions and, at this point in time, they also get 6.25 bitcoin for securing the network and clearing the transactions. Now that subsidy goes down every four years and that process is called the halving. When Bitcoin first started, the subsidy was 50 bitcoin for one block and now it’s all the way down to 6.25. This process is built into the programming. So there’s a lot of certainty to the whole system because you have the hash rate that’s been increasing this entire time, you have blocks that are old every 10 minutes, and the difficulty to settle that block actually adjusts every two weeks. So as more miners come onto the network, the difficulty is increases. If a lot of miners come offline, let’s say something happens in a country where they weren’t allowed to be there anymore and they want to move, the hash rate will drop too.
David: So the recent drop with what happened in China. Was that a concern to Bitcoiners because that might affect the hash rate and then the security of the system?
Angela: I don’t think people who are highly knowledgeable were as concerned as people that didn’t know as much because if you looked at it, yes, the hash rate did drop but Bitcoin didn’t miss a beat. It didn’t stop at all. So that was a really great test where we saw a ton of miners come offline and it was still secure. It didn’t close down. Bitcoin was open 24/7. So you don’t have to really concern yourself and you can look at the network’s activity metrics and see where the data is going, where Bitcoin is moving, how many addresses are being created, and how much is in them. You can look under the hood as much as you want.
David: So as far as anyone knows, right now, there hasn’t been a hack on the Bitcoin, correct?
Angela: There has not been a hack on the Bitcoin network. But, a lot of people get confused whenever an exchange or something like that gets hacked and there’s news about people losing their Bitcoin. So one important concept about Bitcoin is who custodies or holds the Bitcoin. You can self-hold it, you can hold it in your own offline wallet or cold wallet, or you can, if you’re a trader or if you’re trying to buy and sell, you can have it on an exchange. And if that exchange gets hacked, you might lose your Bitcoin because the exchange is holding your Bitcoin. It’s like if a bank gets hacked and you had your money at the bank.
David: So people are confusing the institution or exchange getting hacked and Bitcoin being taken with the Bitcoin network itself being hacked?
David: Wow, that’s interesting. So when you talk to your clients and they are newbies and they’re just exploring this new world, what advice do you give them to get exposed to it?
Angela: I think they really have to hear that wake-up call and have an interest in it. Because you really start to go down a rabbit hole when you start to learn about Bitcoin. And you kind of have to gauge what their appetite for that is because I don’t know if you’ve seen the Matrix with the red pill and the blue pill. Well, there’s the orange pill that represents Bitcoin. Are you going to take the whole orange pill and really understand what money is and what’s happening in our current environment with currency and the unlimited printing of money that’s been going on and what that does to your purchasing power in whatever denomination that you’re saving? Currently, the purchasing power of the dollar is literally losing energy and you’re trying to contain and store your energy, right? So I want to make people aware that this type of thing is happening. The dollar is purchasing you less all the time. So I’m trying to get people to see this alarming environment that we’re in because I don’t have a lot of confidence in the dollar for the long term. We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary, this month, of the dollar being off the gold standard. You used to be able to turn in a dollar and get some gold for it. When that system was taken apart, it really gave government an unrestrained credit card.
David: So would Bitcoiners be less likely to be concerned with the monetary system if we were still on the gold standard or is the centralized control of money the big problem?
Angela: I think there’s a lot of manipulation with gold prices and I think people see that. I also think a lot of Bitcoiners do like gold still. A lot of Bitcoiners came from that gold realm. So they could probably be open to both gold and Bitcoin because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket per se.
David: The people that you’re talking to, are they getting into Bitcoin because they just want to be speculative and make money or do you see more of them wanting to go down the rabbit hole and figure out what exactly is going on in the world?
Angela: I kind of see a bit of both. People hear about it and they talk about it with me a little bit and then they’ll come back and they’ll be even more interested. I see people being fired up about Bitcoin and that gets me fired up seeing them excited. At the same time, I hear people say things like, “Oh should I sell it at this time or this time”? When I hear that, I’m thinking you don’t fully understand it yet. A lot of people, they don’t want to take the time to get it because it’s a lot to understand and you can continue to go down this rabbit hole and still be learning. For example, I learn about it all the time because there’s just so much development in the space and in the Bitcoin network. There’s things like the Lightning Network which is a protocol that runs on top of Bitcoin and it enables things like faster payments and transactions, cheaper transactions, and reduces congestion on the network. So things like that are solving problems that Bitcoin began with. People have criticized Bitcoin for being slow, expensive, and they’re comparing it to credit card and debit card transactions. And then, on top of this confusion is the presence of all the other cryptocurrencies out there in the world which are built specifically to solve some of the issues that Bitcoin wasn’t necessarily built for.
David: When you talk to people and they ask you these questions, what do you say regarding the other crypto currencies? How do you go about making them understand this whole crypto world that’s out there right now?
Angela: Well, I tell them that Bitcoin is different from all of the others. So I kind of see it as like the mitochondrial Eve of cryptocurrencies. If you know what that is, you know that biology tells us that most humans are descended from a single person who lived in Africa millions of years ago. So Bitcoin was the first blockchain technology and that’s what allowed this flourishing of all the other crypto-coins. But what I can say is, Bitcoin is the only one that is actually decentralized in the sense of, you can’t point to someone and say there’s the leader and there’s a CEO and there’s the person that runs this coin’s operations. Whereas, Ethereum for example, and all the other crypto-coins, they operate from a centralized place.
David: Why is that bad?
Angela: Because it’s subject to manipulation. If we’re trying to separate state from money, you don’t want any single person or entity having the power to manipulate said currency. Bitcoin is still being monetized. It’s just under a trillion dollars in valuation right now but it has the ability to assume over 300 trillion dollars in value. That means it could be worth up to ten or twelve million dollars per one Bitcoin, one day.
David: But that’s on a longer time frame, right? That’s like a 10 to 20 year time frame. Which maybe isn’t really that far from now but it is for some. Do you see a world where Bitcoin can exist as the store of value and then some of these other coins existing as more transaction focus platforms?
Angela: I guess. Well, I see all of the other coins as venture capital because my level of confidence in them is nothing like Bitcoin. They are just different animals and they are not money. Bitcoin is open to nearly 8 billion people with just a phone and you can’t really say that about any of those other coins. In fact, since they have that element of centralization, if a government wanted to go and say, “Hey guys, we’re going to take you down”, they can do that. But with Bitcoin, there’s no one single person or entity that you can get to. The Bitcoin network is made up of nodes in space and hundreds of thousands of miners. Transactions are becoming faster with things like the Lightning Network. The whole system is growing fast and it’s solving for those types of issues. If you choose to use Bitcoin you have a life raft. Do you want a really strong sturdy raft or do you want something you’re not really sure of?
David: So are you saying that if you had some money to invest in cryptocurrency, you would put most of it in Bitcoin?
David: What do you say to those critics that say the harder it gets to mine, you will have these large groups of miners taking over the mining process and the whole system becomes centralized to those mining groups. Is that a concern that Bitcoiners should have?
Angela: There will always be a lot of healthy competition in Bitcoin mining because there’s a lot of money to be made in mining. You can also mine Bitcoin anywhere in the world. It could be in a volcano somewhere or in Antarctica somewhere. There’s just so much potential for people to interact and to participate in that competition of mining. It would be really difficult to see a scenario where it’s all centralized in one place because it’s open to everybody.
David: What do you say when people say that Bitcoin and the Lightning Network is maintained by people who are altruistic and they’re not motivated by greed? Bitcoin is an open network so people go there because they want to help out of their own goodwill but it’s not motivated by the greed that drives capitalism. Whereas, Ethereum is run by people motivated by their self-interests and greed which is more aligned to free market concepts.
Angela: I’m motivated by my own self creed.
David: Are you concerned that governments may try to crack down on Bitcoin exchanges?
Angela: Oh they’ve been working on it.
David: How do Bitcoiners think about that because do you see the government backing off ever and this just becomes part of everyday life or how strong is that resistance going to be do you think?
Angela: I think it’s pretty strong. They want to maintain their hold on control of how money works and how it functions. So there’s always going to be the struggle of the government wanting to be in control and the people wanting to be free. I think that will always be there. I think we’re in that fighting and winning stage. We’re in that stage depending on what country you’re in or what state you’re in. So, like El Salvador, they recently made Bitcoin legal tender which is just so explosive and such a great thing to see. But then, you have China doing the opposite thing.
David: So where do you see the US going?
Angela: I guess, you know, we’ll see. Bitcoin is considered property but there’s still a lot of legal clarity that can be had for it. And there’s, you know, the Federal level and what they’re trying to do. And then, you have a lot of states that are starting to become more Bitcoin friendly like Wyoming. Texas is also a Bitcoin friendly state and Florida is a Bitcoin friendly state. So I think the more that the Federal government tries to regulate it, the more states will stand up and say, “Hey, here’s how we’re going to treat Bitcoin and that’s how we’re going to do it.”
David: Do you ever see something wrong happening with a cryptocurrency that’s not Bitcoin and then they use it as an excuse to go after Bitcoin?
Angela: I can’t. I think you have a growing number of defenders that get Bitcoin, especially in Congress. You’re starting to see it. It’s really great to see some people standing up who understand it and defend it. And the younger generations saying we are here for Bitcoin, sound money, and being able to store value because the whole world has this issue of securely storing value and having property rights that can’t be taken away. I think Bitcoin is the supreme defender of property rights because you can hold it yourself, you can walk to another country with it, you can store it anywhere, and no one can take that from you.
David: So earlier in the conversation, you mentioned “State money”. That seems to be a barrier with a lot of people that don’t understand Bitcoin. Americans believe that money comes from the government. How do you think that way of thinking is going to be broken down?
Angela: Yeah, I agree. It comes back to that massive organizational change of understanding Bitcoin and going through that change of what money means and what your dollar means and what you’ve been saving all these years. What does that really mean and are you beholden to the banks and the dollar and hoping that it has value later or do you want to look at something that you can really have control of fully and is really a fair system? So again, going back to the S.C.A.R.F. model. If you look at the assessment of the dollar when it comes to S.C.A.R.F., the value of the dollar has been going down. We don’t even know how much there is of it. I mean, you can choose to use it but they often tell you what you can use it for and what you can’t use it for. It doesn’t seem fair in my mind because they can print as much of it as they want and make my dollar worth less. They are also taking away people’s time because, if you think about it, you use money to save your time. You use money as energy for later use. But if it’s being depleted all the time, you just keep running and running just to stay in one place and we’re even falling behind because if you’re not beating inflation, which last year was 25 percent in some places, that’s how much they printed, you’re losing the race. Did you get a 25 percent raise last year? So my S.C.A.R.F. assessment of the dollar is low. But if you do a S.C.A.R.F. assessment of Bitcoin, it’s high. You start to see that Bitcoin is extremely fair. Anyone can participate in it and when it started anyone could mine Bitcoin and earn Bitcoin. There’s no leader of Bitcoin. The person that created it, they never monetized the Bitcoin that they mined. It’s still sitting in those addresses. You can see that Bitcoin in the blockchain. So they clearly just wanted something that was going to be promoted into the world. Something that could stand to challenge the fiat system or the by-decree-system that we have from government.
David: Where do you see Bitcoin in five years? At what price do you think it’s going be more accepted? Do you think it’s going disrupt the financial world?
Angela: Oh yeah, I think it’s already disrupting that and I see the evidence of that in the number of changes and adoption. So one of the largest mortgage lenders is going to be accepting Bitcoin. They’re targeting this year to be able to do that. I just saw the article. So they have plans to do this. In their recent earnings report, they mentioned they’re working to add the ability to accept Bitcoin. I wouldn’t necessarily promote people using their Bitcoin to buy a house and get a mortgage just because that could be a taxable event. You want to look at the taxable events that you have when you’re using Bitcoin. The smarter play is to take out a loan against your Bitcoin, and then, as the price appreciates over time, you can just use a little bit to pay it off.
David: Why do you think people don’t understand that their money is being devalued every year because of inflation? It just seems to be an accepted thing. Like inflation is no big deal and just a part of life, right? If I took your money from your bank and you had less of it, you’d be outraged.
Angela: I think it’s because people just really don’t know what they can do about it. They think, “Oh well it’s happening, but I don’t know what I’m going to do about it.” So they just keep on doing and thinking the same way because that’s what’s always been done. They don’t really get this Bitcoin thing. It just looks scary and everything they hear in the news is typically bad so they choose not to go there.
David: Do you think companies are adopting it faster because they have more money at stake? So if I have 100 million dollars in the bank and inflation is 25 percent, I just lost 25 million dollars. Whereas if I’m an individual and I have a thousand dollars in the bank I’ve lost 250 dollars. Do you think this is why companies are starting to notice Bitcoin?
Angela: I think if they’re cautiously optimistic in approaching and adopting Bitcoin. That’s kind of where a lot of people or a lot of companies are at this point.
David: If someone were to approach you and say, “I’m thinking about getting exposed to Bitcoin”, tell us what your advice would be for them and where they can go to get information on how they can purchase Bitcoin.
Angela: I would definitely say it’s a worthwhile journey to continue learning as much about it as you can. Also, one of the cheapest ways to purchase it, at least at market price, is through Strike. Strike is an application. They are the company that helped El Salvador make Bitcoin legal tender in that country. They are by far the cheapest in prices when you convert dollars or another currency to Bitcoin. It’s very quick and you can do things like send Bitcoin to yourself or pay yourself in Bitcoin.
David: There’s a lot of volatility with Bitcoin. How do you explain the volatility to people and the fact that it can go up and down 20 or 30 percent in a week?
Angela: I’d want to understand their time frame first. So are you planning to buy Bitcoin and then sell it next week? I wouldn’t buy Bitcoin if you’re going do that. If you are thinking of buying it and then holding it for at least two to five years, that would be a better mindset. I would still hold it even longer because it’s going to continue to be monetized for a number of years until it really settles into a price. It’s under one trillion dollars in market cap right now and if you compare that with the infrastructure bill the government is working on, Bitcoin is still in its infancy at this point. So I would definitely recommend people to buy and not sell it. But, you know, you can’t control people’s behavior. You can only say, “Well, here’s why I wouldn’t do that.” But I’m not a financial advisor and I’m not giving financial advice. I can help educate folks so that they can make educated decisions and be confident in getting Bitcoin. You can also earn it through spending. So there are different debit cards and rewards cards you can use and get Bitcoin through your normal spending.
David: When you talk to people about Bitcoin nowadays, do they believe you when you tell them about the way money is printed and governed right now or do you see people saying that this is all a fad?
Angela: I’m seeing more and more people come back to me and say, “Hey, I’m starting to see this stuff about Bitcoin more and more.” Because they’re seeing the prices go up in terms of their dollars. It really depends on that person’s journey and their interest because if they’re not really concerned about money, they’re not going to care too much about Bitcoin. We are a highly banked society in the United States versus say Africa or someplace where people don’t have banks. Those people would be very interested in Bitcoin because they only need a cell phone to participate in it and to send it their friends or family without paying all of these crazy remittance fees.
David: Well Angela, I think we’ll end the show with that. Thank you so much for this. We would really like to have you back one day to tell us more about your agency, how it’s grown, and about all of the new folks that you’ve introduced Bitcoin to.
Angela: That would be great. Thank you for having me.
For more information about the AJ Morrone Agency