Funding for To the Contrary provided by and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation The Park Foundation and the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation.
Hello, I'm Bonnie Erbe' Welcome to To the Contrary A discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives Crypto currency, Bitcoin, NFT or Nonfungible tokens and the metaverse.
Is the future all about digital assets?
and how involved are women in this revolution?
This week in our Women Thought Leader series, we have my Mai Akyoshi.
Akiyoshi is the co-founder of Curious Addys Trading Company, the first educational NFT project.
The company functions as the Duolingo of crypto teaching users the ins and outs of the crypto world.
So welcome to you Mai and thank you for being here Thank you so much for having me.
So let's start with what all these acronyms stand for.
What is an NFT?
Yeah, so NFT stands for NONFUNGIBLE Token.
So let me talk a little bit about what Nonfungible means.
So fungible items are something that are perfectly interchangeable.
For example, US dollars are fungible items because if I have 100 dollars and if you have 100 dollars, you can easily exchange, right?
And the one that gets upset.
However, most of the things in the world are actually nonfungible.
So for example, my dog and your dog are different, right?
And are nonfungible things.
So nonfungible tokens are something that are unique and perfectly not not interchangeable.
So there are so many misconception that NFT is actually an art, but that's not actually true.
Even though you see on the news like this art, then if they are was sold for $24 million or $69 million.
The art itself is not NFT NFT is actually a certificate that proves the ownership of certain assets.
So think of it as like a title for the house.
If you just look at the house, it doesn't tell you who the owner is.
So NFT the same thing.
It's like a title.
So NFT shows who the owner is and what that what kind of asset that represent.
So how could you have possibly buy... how could millions or billions of people buy that same certificate?
Only one of which I would imagine is issued.
There's only one each.
Each NFT is just only one.
So people just buy different types NFTs.
For example, NFT that we issued, 5000 NFTs and each one of them is very different.
Each one of them have different values.
Each one of them have different traits, different like face, different clothing different expressions, for example.
So each one of them, each different owners can buy different NFTs, for eac one is very different.
Now let's get to cryptocurrency.
What is that, please?
So cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is decentralized, managed in decentralized system, meaning that, you don't , that this currency doesn't rely on any central parties, such as central banks or central government.
So the benefit of this cryptocurrency is you can actually own your money, Because if you deposit your money to bank, you don't actually own, and bank can legally lend out the money to make money for them..
But cryptocurrencies, you can actually own in your wallet and you can actually have a control of it.
Tell me about who is actually making all the money in the crypto world.
Are there giants of the crypto world the way there are giants of the financial world?
And are they mainly men?
Which is what I would imagine.
To explain this point.
I'll give you one statistics.
So according to CNBC, 83% of million millennial millionaires actually have crypto in most of their wealth.
And more than 50% have at least 50% of their wealth in.... (Bonnie) Wait, wait wait So 50% of millennials have some cryptocurrency?
And does that does that swing male or is it equally male or female?
It is disproportionately male.
So actually, 18% of Web3 users are women.
So that tells already that most of them cryptocurrencies are going to the men, which which means that and this cryptocurrency is actually the biggest transfer of generational wealth, but that's only held by mainly men.
So, you know, if we don't change that ratio right now that this disproportion is going to stay for long term, just like Web 2 would.
Now, what influences the value of cryptocurrency?
Quite frankly, I think to myself and I would warn any man or woman.
It's so all over the place.
You have got to be out of your mind to have anything more than a small portion of whatever you have invested in cryptocurrency.
What influences the price?
Because it goes up and down by huge percentages that you don't see with regulated currencies, and you can lose everything.
You can lose millions of dollars overnight.
Very good point.
The price really is influenced by different reasons.
Sometimes like sometimes like price changes how the China moves, or sometimes it's influenced by this Ukraine- Russian thing and sometimes it's different reasons.
So no one can predict.
For example, a lot of people actually predicted that crypto is going to go up really high at the end of the last year and going down because that has been a trend of every four years.
But that didn't happen as much as they thought.
So no one can predict.
And as you mentioned, this 3% up and down is very, very normal thing.
And it was it became a little bit more stable because previously it was more it was it could go down 90%.
So it is very, very fluctuating asset and it's a very speculative asset as you mentioned Have more investors lost than made money in crypto?
It's hard to say.
It depends on when you, when you buy, and when you sell.
But most of the people whose this is different financial-wise but some people that I know who bought in Bitcoin or Ethereum in very early age and really believing that the technology and hold for long term has made some some some wealth based on it.
So it really depends on like how, how, when, when you buy, when you sell.
So given the vagaries of the crypto market, I mean, unless you have a computer set up that monitors every country in the world, what's going on everywhere.
What's happening to oil prices, real estate prices, the stock markets in multiple countries, not just your own.
And the commodities markets, you know, how could you make money in this and who is making money in it?
It could be individual investors.
It could be institutions.
Institutions are coming into the space more and more in recently.
So I have seen a of like like big institutions come in and that that actually brought the actually is bringing more crypto space more mainstream.
So but mostly what I have seen has been a in individual investors who are interested in technology and keep holding that asset.
And the most of them are someone who are interested in computer science because the blockchain is a piece of good, right?
So in all, it's all work in in the in the world of programming.
So all the people who understand programming and computer scienc are the ones who kind of start believing that that technology at very early early age.
Now, your organization is trying to get more involved, women, more involved in crypto.
How are you doing that?
To start with What I feel, what I felt when I first entered the space, I felt not welcome because a lot of the products were feel very male masculine.
So the start to start with how we can bring more woman is we want we are creating the product that that woman can feel like they belong to the space.
So we are starting with community and a lot the communities are hard to get in because if they're a woman and there are so few women and it's hard to get in and it's hard to speak up.
So we created this channel for women in crypto and create a space for women to talk and be comfortable.
And that really brought a woman to to our community and women are comfortably talking about like crypto and NFTs in our community.
So that's something that we want to keep doing.
When you say that the products that are available are mostly male, what does that mean?
The design of them almost a product felt really masculine, the color and the, the, the copywriting.
It's it's a little subjective and it might not be true.
But alot of the woman also say the same thing While when I say about and they say about this this thing this feel masculine all the women who have seen the product are like, yes, I felt the way it feels bro-y.
So that's it's it's the dark colors and the copyrighting is like, you know, let's make money kind of copy, which doesn't necessarily resonate with woman.
So those are the things that I felt like it's the most.
The products are kind of male targeted and masculine.
You say there are a lot of scams in the space, so why would you be trying to get women who traditionally, you know, are much poorer than men they earn, you know, two thirds, three quarters something like that of what men earn.
And then, of course, there are so many single mothers out there also supporting children on minimum wage jobs.
So what would you say to those women about how to avoid the scams?
Thanks for asking, because it's really important.
And one advice that I always give is don't rush into things, because a lot of the scams happen when people are busy, people are not paying attention because most people are very careful.
But, you know, women are busy.
You know, single mothers are busy.
And sometimes when they try to do transactions, when they're not paying attention, those are a time that most people will get get scammed.
So when you when you do transactions, when you make transactions either buying NFTs or sending the money to someone else, please make sure that you check all the things that like you're sending to the right place or you're saying the right amount.
And please check it very carefully, because the beauty of the cryptocurrency is it's decentralized, but the opposite side is no one's going to protect you.
So if you lose your money, there's no one who can we can help you.
So you are the ones who have to be very careful.
So that's one thing that I always tell people.
Isn't a good warning because there are scams and every kind of sale on the internet isn't a good warning is if it looks too good to be true.
Go to the next page.
It's so true.
It's there are so many times that I saw that while this is so good to be sure and then it was good to make sure, you're ,you're so right.
It's it's if you see any flags that wow, this is good to be true this is definitely going to be scam.
If it doesn't warn you, you could lose every single penny you put into this investment because you can and many do.
Then they're not being honest with you.
They're promising you.
You're making, you know, scads of money, run away.
So tell me about the programs you mentioned a little bit, but are you bringing women in for computer training?
I mean, the first thing is somebody has to be extremely computer literate to even understand the purchase programs.
Are you bringing women, women of color, less educated women into a program somehow to teach them how to navigate cryptocurrency purchase programs?
One of the products that we are building is Web3 Playground, which is interactive tutorial.
And we we designed to be a way that you don't have to make an investment to learn.
So if you go to curious dot, x, y, z you can, you can start setting up the wallet.
And wallet is something that you store your asset like either cryptocurrency or NFTs and you can start set up with the wallet and we are going to send a little bit amount of cryptocurrency so that you can use that to buy NFTs And at the end of the tutorial, you have your own first NFT, and that entire process is completely risk free and, and really comfortable to jump on.
So this is a first time point that I always to recommend to everyone because it's it's hard, it's scary to jump on and not everyone is ready to put their own money.
So we wanted to create a place where people can learn by doing, but businesses are spending money on on their own.
Would you be advising any women interested in investing in crypto via NFTs right now to make some piece of artwork and try to sell it online?
For creators, they're there are two components for NFTs like buying NFTs and creating NFTs.
So by NFT, it's a lot, a lot more risky than buying cryptocurrencies, like buying a stable cryptocurrency not not stable, but like major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum because the NFT is still really NFT technology has been around for some some time.
However, the, the just craze of the (inaudible going up just happened.
So no one knows how the price is going to play out.
So I wouldn't recommend most of the new new people to get into NFT.
I recommend to learn about it.
But you know, if you want to get into, I definitely recommend to learn further and understand what exactly you're buying and only invest amount that you are comfortable buying.
Only invest that amount that you don't care if it's gone tomorrow essentially right or you want it won't hurt your standard of living.
It's not all gone tomorrow.
There's a lot of talk about the environmental impact of cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Tell me about that.
What is that?
Is that the use of electricity while you're on your computer?
Most electricity being made by gas or natural gas or oil.
Most of the energy consumption happens in blockchain.
So just like Bitcoin and Ethereum and it's because it happens because in order to create a block for blockchain, so block is kind of made out of transactions.
And in order to add new blocks, adding more new transactions, you it consumes a lot of energy.
So how it works is that energy and you block the all the people who are eligible to create the block compete to solve the mathematical problem.
And the first one who solved the problem can add the block and earn the reward.
So the people, all the people who want to create the block in the whole world try to put as much of the resource on the resource as possible.
And that consumes a little energy.
And at the moment, the whole electricity that Bitcoin mining uses is the same amount of electricity that whole whole Netherland uses.
So it's (Bonnie) the Netherlands uses?
So it's a, it's a very, very high energy consumption.
However, the second biggest blockchain However, the second biggest blockchain Gold Ethereum, is now exploring the new scheme to add the block to blockchain, and that doesn't require energy consumption and it's going to reduce 99% of energy consumption.
Once it rolls out and that's going to be happening happen predicted to be a year or two in within a year or two.
So once it turns out the environmental effect is not going to be as as harmful as right now.
Now, do you think more should be doing and should be done in schools worldwide, public schools, private schools to educate girls about not just cryptocurrency, but, you know, all the ways to make money in computers and in I.T.
The people who understand Bitcoin is the ones who understand technology and understanding how why this is going to be a big thing, why this is going to be revolutionary.
And that's the power, right?
So the younger generations have to know how blockchain works and how why this technology is revolutionary and what exactly has been changed.
And as you mentioned, not all countries have financial education for how to invest in stock, how to invest in cryptocurrencies.
And that should be changed.
And especially for for woman.
Women are not risk averse, women are risk aware.
So we just want to understand what the risks are and.
We do more research than men.
Men jump in.
We wait, say wait a minute, let me find out about this.
That's the stereotype, anyway.
So once we get we know what exactly is, then we are comfortable putting money into it.
So it's really important that education is done for women so that they are comfortable what they're investing.
And then they can they can comfortably invest in the amount of the money that they are.
They are aware of the risk.
You work on something called the Better Angels Project with Randi Zuckerberg.
Tell me about that please.
MetaAngels is a project that helped introduce a very interesting scheme, which is you can anyone in the community can make a wish and anyone the community can realize that wish.
So example, I wanted to have an accountant and I post that I wanted to have accountant and committee members introduce a couple of accountants and my wish was like fulfilled.
So that's Meta Angels how MetaAngels work and Randi Zuckerberg well was one of the advisors and we are one of the advisors so we worked together to help the project and Randi Zuckerberg is one of the most helpful cheerleaders for the space, and she's so passionate about bringing more women up.
So it has been really blast to work with her and learn from her.
How did you get involved in the NFT Meta Angels Project?
The founder of MetaAngels, Allyson Downey.
She is the one who has been helpful for our project and she helped a lot for bringing our she's the one who connected us to Randi Zuckerberg.
So we started chatting about the project and concept and decided to help and help her in development way because we are both developers MetaAngels is an NFT community that is centered around the core values of generosity, transparency, and accessibility.
On the generosity side, really building on a community that is purpose-driven, that is meant to elevate other people.
So when people come to the community, they know what they're there for.
They're there to offer help to others around them.
And that could be introductions, that could be advice, there's a wide range of things it could be.
Lots of people say the window to make money in crypto closed 13 years ago.
I don't think so because I started researching cryptocurrency, too, in 2018.
And still it's it wasn't late.
And this space is really huge and there's so many divisions popping every every single day.
For example NFT just blew up last year and people just jumped on last year, but still, it's not too late, so there's no too late at this point.
I would say it's still early.
So if you're interested in investing, however, thinking it's too late, I would say it's not too late.
Do you envision a world and if so, in how many years where people go to restaurants or grocery stores and pay in Bitcoin, particularly women?
Right now, if you go to San Francisco , you see Bitcoin cash, some some restaurants are accepting Bitcoin cash.
So it's not like really the future.
It's not like really far future away.
But in order to like create the infrastructure and spread out to like a very different parts of the world, it will take a while.
But I think because the US is the center of that, you know, cryptocurrency and the innovation, it is happening quite fast.
Quite as fast as like quite fast.
Do you see a future where not so much ordinary and regular purchases as groceries and restaurant, but even health care or insurance are involved or purchased through crypto?
Restaurant and retail stores are going to be easier to kind of jump home because resemble PayPal was was first be used by you know small restaurants and you know like retail stores.
Health care system, it's it depends on how fast like the providers is going to develop the the eat the system that's easier for them to use.
because a lot of consumers are coming into the space.
Although they're all coming to space.
Therefore all of the VCs are coming to the space, Which means that a lot of startups are coming into the big space and developing the tools for people to use, and that could include the included, like making it infrastructure for the consumers to use or like some merchandise to use.
So I am thinking, I'm very hopeful that the infrastructure infrastructure will be developed quite, quite in the very near future.
You talk about the U.S. and specifically San Francisco, I think with restaurants where I suppose you what you do is convert your crypto currency to cash and then pay the restaurant in cash.
Is that what you're talking about?
So if the U.S. were if the government were to get behind cryptocurrency and regulate it, do you see a much bigger future for cryptocurrency?
Yeah, it's it certainly solves a little problems.
So by buying or at least 40 pages of like the possibility of benefits of a central bank so digital currency and that states a little benefits such as it's it's easy to send money to international party and it's a lot more cheaper and also it's going to give a lot of the opportunity for people are unbanked which is 5% of the population so those problems are solved by introducing like digital daughter by government.
However, it's going to be not decentralized, going to be a centralized currency.
So we don't we we won't know until how how they are going to how they are going to introduce and how they're going to roll out.
It might just it might not be like it might not be as helpful as it should be.
Mai Akiyoshi thank you so much.
That's it for this edition.
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Funding for To the Contrary provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
The Park Foundation and the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation.