58 – Crypto Talk with Kelley Weaver

Public relations expert Kelley Weaver joins Luke Scorziell to discuss cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, and blockchain

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Episode Description

If you had mentioned cryptocurrencies to someone five years ago, you likely would’ve gotten a blank stare. Since then, however, the technology has blown up. Blockchain, the technology behind most cryptocurrencies, has expanded into myriad fields: healthcare, voting, advertising, artificial intelligence and more.

Kelley Weaver, the CEO of Melrose PR and the host of the Crypto Token Talk podcast, has helped usher in this new wave of use-cases. On today’s episode, she joins Luke Scorziell to discuss some of her most notable clients, experiences and thoughts on blockchain and crypto. Tune in for a thought-provoking conversation where blockchain might drive our future.

Let me know what you think of today’s episode on Twitter, Facebook, by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts, or just by leaving a comment below.

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Blockchain

Melrose PR

After graduating from USC Annenberg with a degree in journalism, Weaver began working in lifestyle public relations in Los Angeles. At that time, working in tech was pretty far from her mind.

That all changed when blockchain and cryptocurrencies created a tech revolution in her own backyard: Silicon Beach.

“We couldn’t ignore the tech revolution that was happening at our doorstep,” Weaver says. “And so an advisor had encouraged me to look at working with these tech companies.”

Now Weaver is the CEO of Melrose Public Relations, a PR agency that focuses uniquely on blockchain and cryptocurrency startups and companies. “We’re tasked with building brand-awareness for these companies that are doing really cool, potentially world changing things with this technology,” Weaver says.

Key Quotes

“All of our clients are rooted in blockchain in some capacity, but they’re always blockchain meets something else. Like blockchain meets ad tech, or meets healthcare, or better payment solutions.”

~ Kelley Weaver

“You don’t really need to understand the full scope of what the technology does to appreciate the problems and potential solutions.”

~ Kelley Weaver

Blockchain versus the Internet: What’s the difference?

Why can’t the internet solve many of the problems blockchain is solving? On a very simple level, data on the internet is generally stored in a centralized manner. Meaning, it is on one server, in one location, and if it’s changed there, then it’s changed everywhere.

Blockchain, however, is decentralized. It keeps a ledger of different data points and stores that ledger independently across the many devices running that blockchain network. If someone tries to change a data point on one device, the others will still have the original.

Key Quotes

“Really the inherent difference is the concept of decentralization.”

~ Kelley Weaver

The ICO Bubble

$20 billion raised

After the emergence of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies on a mass-scale around 2016, many new players entered the game with their eyes on quick money. As a result, a lot of these companies scammed people out of their money and disappeared. Other projects simply collapsed after their ICO because of poor management and responsibility.

The numbers are astounding. Between 2017 and 2018 over $20 billion was raised by initial coin offerings according to one study. However, after the buzz wore off, the money began to decrease. In the first quarter of 2019, just $118 million was raised. Down 58x from Q1 of 2018 according to the Wall Street Journal.

What is an ICO?

An ICO is very similar to an initial public offering of stock, an IPO. Someone with an idea to start a new currency or project asks people to send them fiat money (or bitcoin or ether) in return for their new currency. This differs from an IPO where you would instead get shares in the company for your investment.

An ICO investor would hope the currency they received increases in value relative to what they paid. You can learn more here.

Key Quotes

“The volume of inbound that we were getting in mid- to late- 2017 was like over 100 projects a week.”

~ Kelley Weaver

Regulation

To many in the crypto space, regulation is a dirty word. After all, many see cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as a way to escape government’s reach. But there are some problems with this view. In particular the fact that 80% of ICOs have been scams (Investopedia) ought to warrant some attention.

Weaver brought up a few key areas of regulation she thinks should be analyzed. First, taxation. Cryptocurrencies are taxed like property, says Weaver, which makes it very difficult to use as a currency. Second, making clear rules on what qualifies as a security and clarifying what is acceptable and what is not.

Key Quotes

“Regulation has got to catch up now… They can’t just turn a blind eye anymore.”

~ Kelley Weaver

“The more certainty we have around what you can and can’t do, the better.”

~ Kelley Weaver

“Even Facebook’s organization, the Libra Association, was formed in Switzerland because it’s easier to do this stuff abroad than in the US. So the US is inherently hurting themselves by not hurrying up and getting on it.”

~ Kelley Weaver

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Bills with Luke Scorziell does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice or recommendations. This material is solely intended for educational purposes based on publicly available information and may change at any time. Additionally, this article’s content is a summary of the Interviewee’s comments and, while rephrased by the Author, are not from the Author himself.

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About Luke Scorziell

Luke Scorziell
About Luke Scorziell and why he started Bills with Luke Scorziell.

Mr. Scorziell created The Edge of Ideas when he was 15 years old. After a few years of blogging he found a passion for podcasting and now regularly has guests on his show, Bills with Luke Scorziell. He currently writes for USC Annenberg Media and produces a weekly segment on Annenberg Radio News called “Politicking.” You can find more of his work here. Find out more about Luke and his unique journey. Feel free to send Luke a message below.

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