This is my calling. This is my mission. We make the world a better place by creating magic internet money from software and then showing people how to use it to buy the things they need when they need them. It fills the holes. It fixes the problems. It bridges the gaps. Cryptocurrency doesn’t allow for many new things but once you cross that event horizon and immerse yourself in it, it does make all of the things you already do a lot better.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryce Weiner, CEO and founder of AltMarket Inc. Bryce is a renowned expert and innovator in the cryptocurrency space. Bryce began his blockchain engineering career in 2012 by building his own bitcoin mining farm. Now, with over a dozen blockchain networks to his credit (several of which are publicly traded), Bryce is one of the most experienced blockchain engineers in the industry.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
I mined 3 Bitcoin blocks in early 2010 and then suffered a tremendous personal tragedy which changed my whole life. I had all but forgotten about Bitcoin until August 2013, and much to my surprise the price was going up parabolically. I remembered I had 150 BTC sitting on an old PC in storage. I converted those Bitcoin into a mining farm and changed careers. I started making my own cryptocurrencies shortly after. Unobtanium, one of the oldest cryptocurrencies in existence, just had it’s fifth birthday. At this point I think I have made and monetized more cryptocurrencies than anyone else on the planet.
I guess the lesson is that who you are isn’t what happens to you, but how you choose to deal with it. Tragedy can either drag you down or it can empower you to become who you were always meant to be. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Being a cryptocurrency developer is definitely a calling.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Far and away its the work I’m doing with AltMarket and my magnum opus cryptocurrency: Tao. I poured all of my knowledge and experience into this project. Being able to use cryptocurrencies to help artists create is real blockchain magic. Rights management and other technologies are incredibility fascinating, but when we talk about what cryptocurrencies can really do it’s move money from Point A to Point B. Musicians create small economies that we call a “fan base”. The harmony between music and cryptocurrency goes far beyond the economics itself, to the very emotional content created in people by the mathematics of both.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dad. People say I’m smart, but my dad made me look like a functional idiot. He’s gone now, but he had a chance to see the direction in which I was headed before he passed away. He was a college professor with a MBA and a PhD in informatics and when was impressed, it mattered to everyone who knew him. Dad was impressed by what I was doing, and that’s all of the validation I ever needed to keep going.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
1. The blockchain industry is like the best horror movie you’ve ever seen: any of the characters can die at any moment.
2. It is still very much the Wild West. Gentrification has only barely just started.
3. Everyone in the blockchain industry is an absolute character. There are liars, hustlers, businessmen, financial magnates, normies, tourists, lawmen, and thieves. There are a dozen books waiting to be written about this moment in history.
4. What we are doing seems silly and imaginary, but the power of cryptocurrency isn’t the technology… it’s how access to new financial tools directly impacts the daily lives of regular people, not only in their total net worth but in the peace of mind which goes with it.
5. The beginning isn’t over yet. This industry has only just started and there’s more opportunity every single year. If you’re only just learning about cryptocurrency, welcome. You haven’t missed a thing and in fact we were waiting for you to show up.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
The five things which worry me about crypto are the same five things that make me excited. Taking advantage of an opportunity is a function of recognizing a level of chaos and then summoning the courage to wade into it head first.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
We call Tao the “cryptocurrency of the music industry” because in the two years it has been in existence we have helped build careers with not just money, but fan support, tour support, promotions, and merchandising. The money cryptocurrency brings is itself a byproduct of the good that the software does in the world. The more abundance and wealth created, the more likely a cryptocurrency is to be successful. We work with a great group called Robot Nature. They had a problem on tour and their equipment got destroyed. Within 8 hours they had used Tao to buy new equipment and went on stage. They found their audience at Burning Man and now there aren’t enough days in the year for their tour dates. That money wasn’t there before we created it. Without cryptocurrency, that could have been a career which ended before it had a chance to begin and purely by random chance. Stories like that are very, very common in what we do. Cryptocurrency fills the gaps, greases the wheels, and makes sure the success is still on the horizon for whatever your field of endeavor.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
1. Don’t ever emulate anyone. In fact, if you feel you should then you should probably take an additional moment to check yourself. Crypto is a lot like music: you have to create your own sound and style. Nobody cares about what last week’s hit. Be real. Be yourself. Everyone is an expert and being themselves and nobody in the world will ever do it better than you. That’s your market. That’s your monopoly.
2. Stay humble. This industry will inflate egos as quickly as net worth. Having money doesn’t make you a good person, making money for other people doesn’t make you a good person. Being a good, ethical person who is dedicated to respecting themselves and others is the highest value possible in any industry. The value of integrity is magnified one thousand fold in crypto because there are no rules.
3. There are only two things of real value in the cryptocurrency industry, and it’s not the tokens. The first, is trust. In an industry based on software where nobody has the need to trust anyone else, trust becomes a highly valued commodity. The second, is a new idea. Everything is open source, and building a truly unique experience in plain view of the entire world is truly challenging when there are millions of people just looking for their own opportunity and the unscrupulous won’t hesitate to take yours.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
I have it tattooed on my left arm. Buddha sat under a tree for 20 years and the sum total of that meditation was three, simple thoughts that link everything you will ever know and experience. Transliterated into English: nothing lasts forever, nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever perfect. I cannot express how directly relevant that is to cryptocurrency, much less everything else in life. Bear markets don’t last forever. Bull markets don’t last forever. All things have seasons and cycles. There’s always room to improve and build. I got it tattooed on my body because I never wanted to forget that sentiment and after all this time I have totally brainwashed myself. That’s the world I live in and every single day is full of wonder and beauty… even the bad days.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am blessed because this is it. Right here, right now. This conversation. This is my calling. This is my mission. We make the world a better place by creating magic internet money from software and then showing people how to use it to buy the things they need when they need them. It fills the holes. It fixes the problems. It bridges the gaps. Cryptocurrency doesn’t allow for many new things but once you cross that event horizon and immerse yourself in it, it does make all of the things you already do a lot better.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
People can find me on Twitter @BryceWeiner, where I am always happy to frankly opine on the latest in both the cryptocurrency and music industries. I take a great deal of pride in saying the things that nobody else will say and (to the dismay of some) everyone seems to be feeling.