There’s no doubt that blockchain boosts the level of transparency and security marketers need to do their job better and boost customer trust in the process. And it’s clear that Bitcoin is a disruptive technology that marketers need to get to grips with how to avoid losing ground to competitors in years to come. The opportunities are massive, and so are the problems marketers face when they seek to distill reams of news into knowledge they can use to know, for example, where their ad spend really pays. This is just one use case our host Peggy Anne Salz discusses with Peter Rujgev, a multi-faceted and multi-talented crypto authority who freely shares his insights via CoinPM News, a one-stop destination for industry developments and news. Peter provides a crash course in crypto, sharing his pick of top trends and destinations you need to know to stay ahead of the curve. A native of Bulgaria, Peter also talks about his other interest and ventures, which include the startup Currant and his work with Exergy, a sustainable engineering company based in the U.K.
We do have to understand it, it does intersect with mobile and marketing particularly if you’re a games marketer, games app owner, you’re using this for virtual currency – there’s loads to catch up on and the timing couldn’t be better because as I understand it, we’re past the hype and we’re into the real deal. So, to lead us through this new territory, help us navigate, my guest today, Peter Rujgev, he is Producer of Coin PM. Peter, it’s really great to have you on the show today because, as I said, timing couldn’t be better to have you here. Thanks for joining me.
Thank you for having me, Peggy, thank you very much for this opportunity. You know, I’m very excited to be here as well.
So, you come highly recommended to me I must say through a circle network of friends who I highly respect and they’re telling me that you are basically Mr Crypto, so maybe your new name but how did you become this? What do you do? You do this amazing podcast, we’ll talk about it later as well but if you do something really well it means you’re very passionate about it. What makes you passionate about crypto?
Absolutely. Well, to be honest, it’s not something that I thought I would be so excited about and I think it’s always the case when you don’t know what – all the details and little bits about it but I was working some years ago, 2016, for a corporate finance publication, I was quite involved with hedge funds, alternative investments, so Bitcoin came on my radar, I started reading about it, I spoke to a couple of people about it, so I got really into the whole idea behind it.
So, the more I started reading about it, it’s a very simple idea at first but there’s a lot of kind of details and technicalities so the more I was reading about it, the more I felt like, you know, wow, this is something that could really make a difference and it’s just fantastic.
So, this is how I got introduced to it, I was reading maybe for five or six months before I actually got involved with it, so it’s very, very exciting. It’s been around since 2009 so, well, 2007 officially but 2009 when it all started picking up so it’s super, super exciting and I’m super excited to see what’s going to happen in the next 10 years because I really, really believe that this is – we’re only now just starting to pick up steam if that makes sense.
That makes sense and you’re talking about the next 10 years which a couple of, well, maybe like about two years ago I might not have said it was going to happen because I thought it was going to implode in its own hype but that hasn’t happened. It’s here, we see shows around it, I'm seeing more and more news about it. What’s your feeling? I’m thinking that this is a good time to understand it, for mobile marketers, for our audience, would you say that it’s the right time to just listen or is it the right time to execute and actually do more than just stay up to date on what’s happening out there?
Well, one thing which is very important we mention at this stage is that obviously everything we discuss in here is not financial advice and should not be taken as one. People should always do their own research no matter what they say and no matter who they listen to. This is probably rule number one if you’re planning to get involved into it.
I can’t tell you whether it’s a good or bad time to get involved in, if you already are involved, you probably know that it’s a good time. If you’re not, you might want to wait for a little while – it’s things like that, nobody can tell you 100% certainty. I’m in it for the long-term, so to speak, so you know I’m more focused into what’s going to happen, let’s say, in 5, 6, 7 years time. So, you know, in that kind of line of thought, it’s definitely perfect timing to get involved in all this, technology...
A very interesting interview which actually is quite interesting, somebody was talking about the internet when you had to connect your kind of cable through the phone and then go through all the kind of boring...
A modem, I remember...
A modem, that’s it. So if you think how involved and how many companies had websites at that stage of the internet, you will see that it actually is not such a great number – I’m sure there were quite a few but we weren’t talking globally, maybe because it was so difficult to kind of connect to the internet and you needed more - you needed a telephone line, you needed a modem etc etc.
Once we got past this stage, the internet literally exploded. So, with that line of thought, I think crypto is just about to start kind of evolving past the modem kind of base, so to speak, so I really think as the technology develops, more and more people will see that it’s actually quite applicable for the businesses and industries and it’s actually more efficient as well so very, very positive about it, definitely, if you’re planning on getting involved, do your own research and just read about it.
So when we say planning on getting involved, I mean, I’m part of this too because I'm watching it, I’m not in that, I’m really into apps, app marketing and watching app and web go back together and when we lose mobile and stop – because now it’s going to be like a prefix at some point, it’s just going to be the way things are... So I’m watching that with great interest but when we talk about crypto, at one level we’re talking about the investment and making a killing and the other level we’re talking about Blockchain which is something you can do for security, I’m reading about it for ads and even attribution and other things. When we say get involved in it, what level of this can we actually – should we actually be taking more seriously than the other. The investment is one thing but would you say it’s about Blockchain, understanding it as a marketer, using it for the way that it enables processes or is that not what’s so hot here?
Well, Blockchain is definitely the big thing about it, everybody will know about Bitcoin, I’m not sure that everybody will know as much about Blockchain. So, what Blockchain basically enables you is really to kind of – it gives you great flexibility depending on the industry you’re working with. So, in terms of publishing very recently we had a brief talk about this as well, so we’re seeing big publishing kind of companies looking into how they can utilize Blockchain, banks are already on this kind of bandwagon so they’re already investing crazy money.
I can’t think of a big bank at the moment that hasn’t invested in the past, I would say year and a half, it’s a very efficient way to transfer data and also to protect data like you said. Long story short, explained very simple, you don’t need to have one server where you store all your data and you have connections where they pick up the data from that server. What happens is opposed to this, is you distribute all this data around a Blockchain – a connection of computers so to speak and that way it’s making it much more difficult for somebody to get hacked and get all the data that you host in one place rather than when you host it on the Blockchain, if that makes sense?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve got that, my question is where should I be focusing? I’m a mobile marketer, is Bitcoin as relevant to me as Blockchain?
I would say so, you know, very interesting – say for example, mobile marketing is for me personally, it’s all about sort of the smaller kind of publishers, you know, we’re not talking about big companies here. There are a lot of services which are very, very good and useful so to speak for smaller publishers at the moment that are involving both Blockchain and Bitcoin or Crypto-currencies in on e way or another.
There’s a very interesting service called Tippin Me, I’m not sure if you’ve come across that, but this is basically something that’s allowing you to tip people on Twitter based on their content. So, it’s very simple to do, long story short you log into their website which is tippin.me, you create a log-in with Twitter, this instantly adds a little button sort of like a flashlight next to your retweet, like and all that, in the actual Twitter interface, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, is already using that, I know for sure.
So what that allows you is it basically open to people to donate socially so to speak, you know, the sense of Bitcoin for your content. So if you’re an avid tweeter and you want to monetize your content or you need some support for some reason, you can do that, it costs you absolutely nothing, you can do it in 10 seconds, maybe less, and people are basically able to support you that way and we’re talking something very, very flexible for small publishers.
Blockchain technology, if there wasn’t for Blockchain technology, people wouldn’t be able to do that and obviously Bitcoin is there because of what Blockchain is allowing it to do, so to speak.
So, complete alternate parallel economy is what we’re seeing here, no wonder you’re so excited. That’s tippin.me, I’ll have to check that out and maybe this is a good time to just note we do have to go to a break, but when we come back we’ll be talking about some more of the signposts in the development in Bitcoin and in Blockchain that you need to know about and getting more from Peter because he is a wealth of knowledge, that’s why we have him on the show and that’s why you’re coming back.
And we’re back at Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz with Mobile Groove and we have Peter Rujgev, he is Producer of Coin PM. Peter, right before the break we were talking about what had moved your cool meter, so I say, tippin.me, very cool idea indeed. So we know that there is stuff brewing and bubbling under the radar. What are some other ways and concepts around Blockchain that you’re saying, “Hey, that is really cool”, that’s something that not too many people know about, that’s why we’re asking you.
Yes, I mean, there’s many, many things going on, I think they’re just over 2,100 and something projects taking place. Obviously you can’t expect all of these to deliver but there are some pretty, pretty interesting kind of things going on. One of the things which kind of comes to my mind at the moment is there are quite a few projects which work with the so-called RFID technology, this is actually not a new concept but what we’re seeing with it on the Blockchain itself is making it like I said much more flexible and applicable as well for people to use. I think in China this has a very, very big application because – and India as well – particularly big problem with counterfeit products there especially when it comes to babies and baby foods and kind of sensitive consumer stuff like that.
So, there are many, many interesting ideas. I’m personally very excited about, say for an example, companies like Ethereum, which is in my eyes is a company that hasn’t actually still found 100% what they can do, I think we pretty much could be looking into the new Google over there, I don’t mean to seem too optimistic about it, like I said, there’s many pluses and minuses always when you read into that sort of stuff but just the way that the actual industry moves around and the speed that it moves with is just so exciting and there’s new things going on all the time.
So, you count 2100, that’s interesting. Now we have an idea of the breadth of what’s going on out there. Before I get into maybe another cool couple of examples, because some of them are very practical and we can be taking advantage of them right now as free agents or as experts in mobile/apps, question comes to mind for me is I find out stuff because I read, well, I spend way too much time reading probably, but you have to do that in the industry. But other than setting up a Google alert for Blockchain and Bitcoin, I mean, what can you do – do you have to devour everything, I mean, you have a show, so that’s great, that’s a great cheat sheet in a way to listen into your podcast, but where do you get the stuff for your show? How do you stay up to date and what’s going on out there in the 2100 projects plus whatever else is happening?
Well, that’s a great question, Peggy. To be honest, it’s also one of the main reasons why I decided to start up the news podcast myself. Go a step back, when I first got involved in the industry and I wanted, I was just so thirsty for new information and for just quality content and for news to know what’s going on, what’s hot, what’s interesting, it was very difficult because what many people will find at this stage, maybe not as much as two years ago but it’s still the case I know for sure, is that a lot of the content out there is basically just duplicated. Many people just copy a story and once you copy the story, you change a small bit and then somebody else will copy it from you and the change a small bit – you end up with something completely different than the actual news is.
One of the probably best kind of sources of information which I find is Twitter, there’s a whole massive community, the so-called “Crypto-Twitter”, if you find the right people to follow, you can really kind of get some very valuable content. Medium as well is also a very nice place to source some content. The way I pick up and kind of select the news which I cover each day is from various different sources. There are actually quite a few very, very kind of interesting companies that sort of provide news, so for an example, The Block and Messari as well, they’re two sort of new mediums that I’m a big, big fan of.
There is also more of a kind of just newsfeed aggregator so to speak, so Crypto-Panic is one of them, there’s a crypto-currency newsfeed, a company which is also based in New York.
So, you can see that the industry is definitely developing because there are a lot of people that are looking for information and eventually end up finding it but the easier you make it for these people to find this information, the more customers you get and effectively your business grows as well.
I’m just wondering as an aside because one time I had to something with crypto and it was along the lines of, well, you can interview him but you can’t name him so I was like well, we can’t have him on the podcast if he has to be like Mr X.
Anonymity, complete anonymity, again, no offence here, it was also a man from China so then bells are ringing on two levels for me. Not dissing anyone here but you do have to have a certain level of a BS meter on all the time with crypto.
What is it for you that sets off a red flag or what should for the listeners set off a red flag because they’re going to be seeing a lot of stuff and they have to be able to say – it’s almost like fake news – this is something I can buy into, this is something that is really a little odd and I’m just going to leave that on the side. I mean, when people want complete anonymity in an industry, that’s a little odd for me. But what’s a red flag for you?
Well, to be honest I was actually working on something with regards to this very recently, a list of things which – to kind of look into when I’m researching a new project because I’m constantly looking for what’s new, there’s always new ICOs kind of coming up. So, basically, long story short, what I would look into is, one, the roadmap and the team itself, especially when you’re investing in a project and you’re looking for that. Now, I was laughing yesterday with a friend of mine that most of my internet friends are basically, you know, people that I don’t know their real names, they have an image of broccoli on so you have to kind of trust these people eventually.
But, my point is the team is a big thing, roadmap is a second big thing – delivering on the roadmap is always also quite important. There are many teams which will promise you, okay, we’re going to do XYZ, let’s say at the end of the month and then the end of the month and they come and say okay, we’re going to need a little bit more time – this has always been something I'm very punctual, I like things to happen when people say they will happen. When you make your roadmap, I’d rather them take a little bit more time but deliver on it rather than have to wait additional.
So, there are many things, you know, I can’t claim I’m particularly an expert in research but definitely websites, social media presence, there are many tools that people can use nowadays to see, for an example, what percentage of your followers are genuine followers, whether they’ve been bought. Engagement, this is probably one of the biggest things which I would advise people to look into.
So, yes, there’s many, many things, just like researching a business, I think actually researching a crypto-based business a blockchain-based business is actually much more easy just because they’re only available, you know, all the information that they have should be online, so, yes.
What about influencers? One, we can all start off by following you and checking you out which we will do and I’ll give that information later, Peter. But it’s like anything, if you ask me in my area of expertise, okay, mobile marketing, mobile app store optimization, that sort of thing – I’ve got a list. I say, well, you’ve got to check out Eric Seufert, the people over at Feature are really cool, I know these names, I know them off by heart. What are they in your industry, can you give us an idea of a few where we can start?
Yes, there’s actually quite a few people which I follow so just because we were talking earlier about The Block and Messari, so I would say Ryan Selkis, the founder of Messari and Mike Dudas, the founder of The Block, they’re very knowledgeable guys, they’ve been involved in multiple companies when you start from Google to Venmo etc., etc. I’m not going to obviously read their biographies but these people have been involved and they know how to grow a business and they realise that it’s very important for these businesses to be built on a solid foundation for them to actually succeed. So I would definitely advise you to look up for these guys and follow and see who they follow as well – this is actually a very good sort of life hack, so to speak, this is what I was doing initially.
I would find somebody which I really like their content, I can see that they’re a real person and they don’t mean to do any scam, so to speak, and I would just see who they follow because their interests will be effectively in real people and people who know what they say about...
I wanted to also mention a few podcasters as well. Laura Shin, she is basically, I don’t know, the god in the industry of crypto podcasts. I’ve listened to pretty much everything that she published, probably some of the stuff twice, she’s amazing. There’s also some kind of relatively new podcasters, Peter McCormack, he’s podcast what Bitcoin did, fantastic. Anthony Pompliano as well, his podcasts are really, really great. So these are people who have at this point very big exposure and they can get some of the best people to speak to and, you know, you get to understand the way these people, the more you listen to these podcasts, I’ve been addicted to podcasts in the past, I would say, two years and the more I listen to podcasts, the more I get into it because it actually gets you listening to conversations with people that are quite bright and I think this especially when you folks in the particular industry, this is quite helpful for you to kind of build your own ideas and vision of where you – what you want to find and where you want to go.
How about you, Peter, I mean, have you had not just connected in terms of where your wavelength is but have you actually sort of met cool people in the industry or what was maybe an interesting meeting or someone you met in real life or connected with that you can share? There might be someone who’s left a last impression.
Yes, I mean, there are many, many people that I speak with on a daily basis that I have met on the internet, some of them I have met in real life, others I haven’t. But for example, only recently I spoke to Jai Bifulco, he is a very knowledgeable guy in the industry, he’s working in marketing for this company that does basically allow people to invest in crypto that is backed by gold, very interesting idea.
I saw that recently actually, you’re naming somebody I got an email from recently.
It’s possible, Kinesis Money is the company that he’s part of. Brett Richly, I’m actually a big fan of the work they do, they have a relatively small project because it started only recently but it’s very interesting, they’re doing sort of an e-sports, m-sports gaming platform that is based on blockchain and operates quite a lot with crypto-currencies. There are many, many interesting ideas.
Obviously aside from these people, there are quite a few sort of people which I haven’t met in person but I converse with them quite a lot on a daily basis and they’re quite knowledgeable. There is a guy, Crypto-Cred, which of course this isn’t his real name but he’s probably one of the most knowledgeable persons I have met in my life, you know, I haven’t actually met him in person like I said but the content that the guy puts out and the way that he kind of manages to... and Laura Shin as well, like I’ll go back to her – she is just fantastic, she’s obviously a professional journalist and you can hear that the questions that she asks lead to somewhere rather than, you know, just kind of trying to get it out of the way, if that makes sense.
Yes, a great list, I love the way that you’re so freely sharing this as well, Peter. And at some point down the road, we will also meet in person I’m sure since you’re travelling in and around Europe and we’ll get to more of these tips so listeners, don’t go away, we’ll have our last break and then we’ll be right back.
And we back at Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz with Mobile Groove and we have Peter Rujgev, from of Coin PM. And Peter, first of all, great to have you here, I hope it will not be the last time. I know that you’re very busy, you’re travelling around Europe. Give me a little bit of your background. I mean, you are from where originally?
I’m originally from Bulgaria, Sofia, Bulgaria, I actually grew up in a very small town in Bulgaria with my grandparents called Belene. I’ve been living in the UK for the past ten years, I travel a lot around Europe, I love Europe to be honest with you. If you haven’t visited, I definitely suggest you do so. I’m based in Birmingham at the moment, I am currently actually in Sofia for a couple of months due to working on a site project and, yes, I’m a journalism graduate and I’m just super passionate about what I’m doing.
And also in finance, you told me, you came from hedgefunds, you were in financial services, i.e. bank investment, that sort of thing, right?
Yes, well, I was working for – when I started working it was a start-up, a publishing start-up that is dealing with magazines, corporate finance magazines. My focus was alternative investments, hedgefunds, MNA, that sort of stuff. It actually wasn’t something that I had any knowledge, by the time I started, I spent I think 5 years, just over 5 years with the company and by the time I left, it was just a passion for me. So, yes, this is pretty much how I ended up talking with you on this podcast.
And as I said, it will not be the last time. As you look out into the industry, I mean, there’s so much to cover, that’s why you’re going to be back, but you look out into the industry, 2019, relatively early still in the year, lots going on in Bitcoin and in Blockchain but if I am a listener listening in and it’s like, Yes, this is it, this is going to be the new, my stretch goal, I’m going to know what in the world is going on out there in this industry... But, if you could say something is ripe for the picking, there’s an opportunity or something you’re so excited about, what would it be?
Well, there are a few things, you know? I will start with sort of the most obvious one for people who we know have some knowledge of the industry and that’s the ETF, the Electronically Traded Funds, so basically this is one of the things which everybody’s looking at in the industry at the moment, whether the Securities Exchange Commission in the US is going to allow for crypto ETFs, to put it in short. There are many indications that have been postponed, some have already been delayed – rumors are that effectively an ETF will be approved and once this happens, basically, this opens the doors for institutional investors to pour in some money into crypto and it’s needless to say that we’re talking about a lot of money here.
So this is definitely one of the things which I’m excited about this year, hopefully it will happen, again, I’m not holding my breath but it’s definitely something that I'm following.
Another thing as well, very recently, social media, you know, Facebook, they’re jumping onto the crypto wagon officially, there’s also a separate project which is called KIN which is sort of founded by the Kik Messenger platform, so this is basically something that will allow people to expand the audience of crypto. Imagine you go on your Facebook, you scroll through your feed, you see something that you can purchase, you really like it, you click and you buy it – I think this will open the door for people to interact with crypto to see how much more convenient it is.
So, I’m also very excited about this, of course there’s a lot of legal kind of things which need to be considered until we get there, but I think this year, a lot will happen on that front and I'm also – my eyes are definitely there.
Very exciting in the social media sphere in particular.
I guess I just want to ask you before we wrap up is of course I did want to hear about your own start-up, so just high level view, very quickly, what is Currant?
Well, Currant is very interesting – Currant is actually a multi-disciplinary kind of creative studio which I have joined with a few kind of colleagues of mine. We don’t actually have a specific focus which is the thing that kind of grabbed me with it. We work with all sorts of clients, industries, we don’t really specialize, say, for an example, in making websites only or that sort of stuff, so we’re very open minded. The things that we do are sort of quite a few, so to speak.
So, for an example, we’re constantly looking for new opportunities, we work with quite a few NGOs this year as well on some social issues such as – well, not issues, but kind of social topics such as tourism, minorities, human rights etc. So, we’re working with a big partner from abroad, at the moment I can’t really kind of disclose a lot about this but it’s a start-up that it’s very, very interesting and if people are interested, they can definitely check it out at currant.ltd, I think, just get in touch, we’d be most happy to have a chat with absolutely everybody.
And perfect segue because my question to you is how do our listeners stay in touch with you? I mean, you’ve got your podcast, we’ll have that in the show notes, you’re obviously sharing - so kind of you to say you need to read this, you need to listen to that, you need to connect with these people – I mean, it’s just like the primer right here, the crash course in crypto. So how do they stay in touch with you personally?
They can find me on Twitter, I’m a big fan of Twitter, @peterrujgev or just follow @coinpmnews. It’s also on Twitter. I respond to everybody, I’m sure if you find me on Twitter, you’ll find out how you can send me an email, I read all my emails all the time, this is like a rule I have. So, yes, if anybody wants to reach out, I’m a pretty easy person to find.
I love your energy, Peter, I have to say. I’m inspired, you’ll be back, so listeners, don’t worry, don’t say “I didn’t take down all those notes” – Peter is coming back.
And in the meantime, if you want to keep up with me throughout the week or find out more about how you can be a guest or sponsor on Mobile Presence, then you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile Groove is where you can find my portfolio of content marketing and app marketing services.
And that, my friends, is a wrap of yet another episode of Mobile Presence. As always, you can check out this and all earlier episodes of our show by going to webmasterradio.fm or you can find our shows on iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, Spotify and iheartRadio simply by searching Mobile Presence. So until next time remember, every minute is mobile – perhaps also crypto, who knows - so make every minute count. We’ll see you soon.