minutes12 July 2023

Hashing it Out Personals | Stephen Pair - A Journey Through Bitcoin

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In this Hashing It Out Personals episode, Dee talks to Stephen Pair, Cofounder, President and CEO of BitPay.com. Dee and Stephen discuss the history of Bitcoin from the early days, to the lightning network, and to its role in modern economies. Stephen sheds light on his introduction to crypto and how he still manages to have fun in the industry.


|Demetrick (00:00):

|Anything out of the box, you just wanna go for it. Hey everybody, welcome to another one of hashing It Out's personal episodes and today we're actually gonna get personal with Stephen Pair from BitPay. How you doing Steven?

|Stephen (00:22):

|Good. How you doing, Dee?

|Demetrick (00:24):

|I'm plenty good. You know, it's pretty good. Monday here, we just lost an hour of sleep, but I'm okay with it. You know, I'm having a good start to the week. So if you could, either brief or longwinded, however you wanna tell stories, you can reintroduce yourself to our audience here at hashing it out.

|Stephen (00:47):

|Well, my name is Steven Pair and I'm the cofounder and cCEO of BitPay. BitPay is a company that's been around since 2011, and processing crypto payments, starting with Bitcoin only. It was the only crypto in those days, but we now support about 14 or so different cryptocurrencies on the platform. And, yeah, been doing this, this for a little while now.

|Demetrick (01:13):

|Absolutely a year in crypto is what they call in crypto and OG. Right. Or do you call yourself an OG or you can't now It's too, you know, that's not cool.

|Stephen (01:23):

|I guess so, there's probably, like at the first conference in 2010, actually, 2011, I think there was one in , New York, about 50 people showed up to that one. So I guess that qualifies.

|Demetrick (01:37):

|Nice. Have you personally found that it's getting harder  to run a company in crypto that kind of aligns with some of those original tenants of crypto? Or is it just a welcome challenge of how we had to adapt, or, to cross that chasm into like, you know, mass adoption?

|Stephen (02:05):

|I don't, I don't think the challenge is any different than it was a decade ago or so, in that regard , you know, for me at least, it's just, really always been about, this new technology we have and, and, and how it can be applied to make things better for people.

|Demetrick (02:29):

|Awesome. I think it was like right around last year or the year before we're in crypto, we started throwing around this phrase, custodial wallet, self custodies, third party custody. I, for one, think those terms are a little too technical for the everyday user, but we've now embraced them where we're going full tilt with them. How does BitPay allow users to maintain some of their custody of their funds that they use with the BitPay wallet?

|Stephen (03:00):

|Yeah, we've always, you know, our wallet, we've always taken a self custodial approach. And part of that was really just mitigating our risk as a company. You know, it was very unclear, a decade or so ago, whether, you know, a company like ours would be allowed to custody Bitcoin for somebody, and still be in compliance with regulations and whatnot. And so, for that reason we didn't build a custodial service. And part of it was just on principle. We felt like people should have possession of their own. So we've always been in that sort of self custodial camp. Also, in those days, Mount GOX and others that were getting hacked, money stolen out of these accounts, and just for our own not wanting to be a target and wanting it to take kind of step at a time with our company and what we were comfortable with doing. We elected not to take custody of people's Bitcoin, because we felt like it would make us a target. It's a big responsibility to take on that amount of large deposits from people and manage that well from a cybersecurity perspective.

|Stephen (04:35):

|And also as we see with what happened with the banks this weekend, just from an investment perspective and making sure those deposits are covered.

|Demetrick (04:48):

|I heard the very last part that you said, referencing what happened just this past weekend with Silicon Valley Bank. I'm gonna try to patch us in with another question. My next question was gonna be what was it that initially pushed you into like, okay, you've learned about Bitcoin, you, you, you fully understand it. What was it that pushed you to like, okay, well now I need to be the founder of the largest Bitcoin processing company on the, like, well, I don't think that's what you thought, well, you first started, but like, why was it, why did you see such a need for, okay, there needs to be bit Bitcoin, bitcoin payment processing that makes it easy for, for users, easy for the, you know, every day.

|Stephen (06:11):

|Yeah, so my cofounder and I, Tony, , he and I were, , so we went to college together. , I, you know, I'm a computer scientist, you know, studied computer science at Georgia Tech and was, , a big fan of something called Digi Cash back in the day. It was like early 1990s, and it was a cryptographic payment system, the first cryptographic payment system. And, , but it was centralized. And when did you cash when bankrupt, that payment system went, went away. , and, , you know, that I, I got really intrigued by that, that notion. And back in those days, there wasn't really a money for the internet. I mean, people were just starting to kind of use, actually, they weren't using credit cards yet on the internet. , so there wasn't really a money for the, , a payment system native to the internet.

|Stephen (07:01)

|And I just got fascinated by that topic and then started just studying money in general and central banking, the history of central banking and all that kinda stuff. And just, just became very, , you know, interested in the topic. And, , and you know, I had been sort of watching projects or seeking out projects that were trying to do something in the aftermath of, , Digi Cash going, , bankrupt. You know, I was just seeking out other projects that were kind of trying to do something like that. , and even with digit cash, it was, while I used cryptography, , to, to secure the payment system, it was still centralized. So they didn't really, digi cash didn't really solve that problem of centralization. , but when it went bankrupt, , I think a lot of people started thinking, well, how, how could you really build a payment system for the internet that what didn't require like one company to process all the payments?

|Stephen (07:55)

|And, and so yeah, I just got fascinated with that. And, , you know, to, , by the time Bitcoin came around, you know, say fast forward from early 1990s to now late 2010, you know, 22 thousands and 2009 when the blockchain launched, I heard about Bitcoin. I kind of dismissed it early on. , I think actually studying a lot about money and banking. You know, I kind of thought in those, with those early headlines around Bitcoin, it was like, run an algorithm and generate money. And I was like, well, what's the constraint on that ? And, you know, I just didn't think much of it at the time. , and so it wasn't until late 2010 that I really started studying. I read the Satoshi White paper, , and then I realized what mining was all about and, , securing the payment system. And, and that's when the light bulbs went off.

|Stephen (08:48)

|I was like, this could be really huge. And it, and it also coincided with, you know, with a a point in time where I was ready to get, , back into a small company, I, I'd had the most fun in my career working in a small company. And, and so, , even prior to starting BitPay, I've been, and unrelated to Bitcoin, I'd been trying to think of, you know, different things like different small, you know, companies that I could start, different products I could build, , you know, and just started, had been thinking in that direction already. , and then in the aftermath of oh eight, , I reconnected with Tony. We knew, we went to college together, knew each other from college. I reconnected with him around the aftermath of oh eight. He and I were both trading options and different things like that.

|Stephen (09:31)

|And yeah, just kinda reconnected actually. We can thank Facebook for that. And, , and so, , , you know, I I told him about, you know, Bitcoin and probably early 2011, and, , you know, he was kind of dismissive of it at first as well. , and I started trying to, I I was mining. I, you know, bought all the graphics cards in, in Atlanta and  built up mining rigs, and that was a lot of fun. , but yeah, so one thing that led to another, he and I started talking about this, and I'm like, this, this is really, there's something here. I wanna figure out a company around this, a way that I can do something and, and get back into a small company. I didn't even necessarily need to start a company, but, , just wanted to get back into a small company.

|Stephen (10:14)

|And this was an, a technology that was really exciting to me. And, and so, , you know, I tried a couple different things and, and Tony and I started talking a little bit more about it. And, , you know, they're already, , quite a few exchanges. There's Mount GOs and others at that time. And we, we felt like we wanted to build something, a platform that enabled people to, you know, utilize the technology for what it, what it was built for, and derive, you know, real value out of it as opposed to, , the exchanges at the time, which are providing a valuable service. But they were catering to people that were investing and speculating on the future rather than, than actually creating that future. And, and so that, that was genesis of the idea. Tony actually, you know, wrote me an email, , you know, talking about, let's start a company called bpay. And, , actually, I'm not sure he had thought of the name yet, but he wrote an email, long email about the concept, and, and, , I, I replied back. Sure. You know, let's do it. And that was the start of the company.

|Demetrick (11:24):

|Man, it is wild out time flies. I I have a few bid pay wall since then. , have you, I have a question for you. You said that Tony was, , dismissive. Now we're, you know, fast forward, what, 12 years from 2011 or 13? Come on math. Do me right Math. 12 years. Yeah. So do you, , do you still find, even with like, you know, you all have had immense success at bid pay. Do you still find people are dismissive when you first introduce them to, to crypto, to Bitcoin?

|Stephen (11:57):

|Oh, yeah. Oh, of course. Yeah. And, you know, I don't, I, you know, back in the day I used to spend a lot of time, you know, explaining why this is a, you know, a, a big thing and, and, and an important thing. , but, , I do less and less of that. There's a lot of people out there that, that do that and do it well. , but yes, absolutely today, you know, it, it, it still, , still happens, you know, different, , friends in different circles or queens as I come across and, , you know, that, , don't really know a whole lot about, but actually are successful people. And, , I mean, some of 'em like absolutely hate Bitcoin. They're like, they, you know, they, they hate the concept of crypto and they think it should be made illegal and banned and and whatnot. It's crazy. But, , these are otherwise intelligent people. , but you know, they just don't, haven't really thought. I don't, I don't think, , enough about it. , you know, there's a lot of tons of misconceptions out there, even still today.

|Demetrick (12:58):

|Absolutely. I, I found like the less friction that people have in, you know, the traditional system, , the more likely they are to be very apprehensive. And just some, like you said, dismissive, right? They're like, yeah, no, that's not, and I have no problems. I have no problems. So, , but anyways, , this one's gonna be an outside of the box question. Maybe you've heard it before me. You haven't. What's the most frivolous thing that you've bought with crypto that now would be worth thousands of dollars

|Stephen (13:33):

|And now would be worth thousands of? Well, , , I mean, I always joked in my house I'm sitting in right now, , it's a 20, 20 or 30 million house.

|Demetrick (13:45):

|Oh my gosh.

|Stephen (13:48):

|Well, yeah, I mean, but you know, you don't, I mean, you have to diversify. You can't, like, you know, as you, you know, I made an investment in, in Bitcoin and, and, , it obviously grew. And when that grows and it becomes a significant part of your, you know, savings, , you know, it'd be, it'd be kind of a little bit, , foolish not to diversify out of that. And, , even if you do think there's a great chance, it's gonna go to a million dollars one day, right? Mmhmm. <affirmative>, , diversification. And it's still, , a wise thing to do even today. You know, it's like, , I don't think about it in those terms, but, but yeah, I, , you know, I joke and I don't consider, that's not really a frivolous purchase. , so, you know, I think a home is, is a good thing to home. Oh,

|Demetrick (14:34):

|Yeah, I'm talking about a bag of chips. You got any thousand dollars basket chip? No.

|Stephen (14:40):

|You know, I just, I don't, I don't tend to be frivolous. I, I don't, I don't buy the fancy cars or whatever. And, , I, I'm just not, just not in that way, I guess , , yeah, I'm trying to think what's, what might be frivolous. I've purchased along the way. I mean, there, there are things that I've spent more money than I otherwise would have on, of course, but, , maybe vacations and things like that, that we spend more on nowadays. But, , yeah, nothing, , nothing that was just like off the, oof,

|Demetrick (15:17):

|See, I have some stomach churners in 2017, I paid my cell phone bill and my rent and Bitcoin the whole year just outta spite, really? Yeah. Like I was telling my family like, hi, you should have gone on board. Look at me now. I told you this stuff is real. And looking back on it now, probably shouldn't have done that, but,

|Stephen (15:37):

|Well, So a lot of people talk about spend, so it's a, it's a really interesting topic because everybody talks about, well, you should be aler and you shouldn't be spending, and all this kind of stuff. And I always say, I always tell people, you're not a true hot unless you have nothing but Bitcoin to spend . And, and if you want to eat, if you wanna have lunch or dinner, you're gonna have to spend Bitcoin. Cuz it's all you have that's a true hot, right? , so at, at some point, you, you know, your hunger outweighs the need to hang on to, to Bitcoin and, and see it, see how far it will, will run. , so, , so spending on, on that, well, if all you had was Bitcoin, then the only option you had to pay for that, that bill was, , was to use Bitcoin.

|Stephen (16:22)

|but people talk about, well, why would anybody wanna spend anything when, , you know, when, if the price is gonna continue going up? And, and the answer to that is, well, you know, you have to live your life. , you need to have a place to live. You need to put food on the table. , you have to buy a car, transportation, vacations and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, you can't, you can't live in a house built out of Bitcoin. You can't, you can't take vacations to, you know, Bitcoin island, . It's like, you've got to, you've got to spend it, right? Mmhmm. <affirmative>. , and in the case where you really wanted to hold onto the Bitcoin, you probably didn't have enough Bitcoin yet. So you probably should have had a little more Bitcoin, , in your savings than, , so that you would've felt good about spending some of it on, you know, when the price went up and, you know, pay that bill with, with Bitcoin.

|Stephen (17:13)

|So maybe you had a little too much Bitcoin that you wanted to get rid of, or what a lot of people do is they spend and replenish, , which to me is a little, it's a little silly. If, you know, you're gonna have a, , you know, you could look out three months and you say, I've got these bills and those bills, then why not go ahead and get Bitcoin now and, , then use it to pay for things, and you don't necessarily need to replenish. You're just using it to pay for things. , but even, but even that sort of spend and replenish idea is good in the sense that it, it forces you to go out and find places that will accept your Bitcoin, that you can use it to buy things, and it creates mmhmm. <affirmative> more activity and more, , you know, it helps the Bitcoin economy, as it were. And, , , and if you, everybody was out there trying to spend their Bitcoin on things, even if they were spend and then replenish, , you know, it might be a little extra work for you to do that replenishment and do it that way. , but you're at least helping drive and, and, and, , , you know, create that Bitcoin economy. And that's a good thing, you know, it helps, , you know, if everybody was doing that, then you'd have a lot more places that accepted Bitcoin and, and, , , you know, it just just makes it easier to, to live your life in crypto.

|Demetrick (18:36):

|Absolutely. Yeah. It's, it's slow moving. I think there's two states now that even lets you pay your taxes in Bitcoin. Yeah. , oh, was it Oklahoma and Dakota? Idaho. Anyway, I know it's one of the northern states in the us but anyway, I don't think I would, but there's some people out there paying their taxes with Bitcoin, one or two . , what, so what, there's thousands of tokens, right? Like thousands of currencies, which is part of the hardest part of, you know, what I do podcasting. Everybody naturally in my personal life comes to me, you know, what should I do? What, how do I, and I've, I'm almost at a point where I'm like, don't talk to me about it. I don't wanna, I'm not giving any advice. You're just gonna have to read the papers. But out of the thousands of tokens and quote unquote currencies, , BitPay has kept kind of a lower nber of ones that they process, , which is a good thing, I think. Like, how come you're so stringent about what you do and don't process? And, , you know, yeah, that's a, that's basically the question. Why, why so stringent?

|Stephen (19:43):

|Well, I don't think we're gonna see thousands of coins take off as, you know, payment methods. And, , , we, we try to look at the coins that have high market cap, a lot of interest, you know, Ethere, , you know, , U S D C, some of the stable coins that we support, , light coin, Bitcoin cash, , just ones that are sort of in the top of the, the list there in terms of market cap. , because market cap is kind of a reflection of interest in adoption. And, , and then they, they need to also be good for actual payments. , so, but, but I don't think you're gonna see like a thousand different payment options. What you will see are, , you know, more and more options, more and more ability to convert from one token to another that'll become easier and easier in either a centralized exchange or a decentralized exchange. and what people will do is just, they'll just need to convert into whichever token is, is accepted for payment. And, , yeah, I think that's, that's basically it. We kind of look at it like, what do our merchants want? , what are they asking us for? There've been a few, we've added just because a high profile merchant wanted it. , not necessarily we had any conviction about it being, you know, being a great payment method or great, you know, having a huge amount of adoption. , but it's kind of what our, what do our customers want? , , and, and oftentimes our customers are, you know, when we're in a competitive situation trying to win a customer, they're looking at what we offer versus what another payment processor would offer. And so we also have to take that into consideration that our competitors might be offering, , some tokens that we don't, and, , and that might matter to some of our customers.

|Stephen (21:30)

|And, and so, , so yeah, that's, that's kind of how we think about those things. Nice. , you know, and I think, you know, I I, I'm definitely, , a proponent of Bitcoin specifically. I think, , yeah, I think the technology there is is solid. I think, , the, you know, it doesn't change very, you know, it's, it's pretty stable in how it works, and well understood how it works. And, , you know, and, and yet, you know, as bullish as I am on Bitcoin, , it doesn't mean that Bitcoin is, is not susceptible to competition, right? So mmhmm.

|Demetrick (22:10):

|<affirmative>, you know, it's definitely ossified or it's getting that way. Bitcoin is, doesn't change very much except for recently this ordinals thing, which is boring, but for some reason everyone is loving it.

|Stephen (22:25):

|And it's been a debate since forever, like am in the blockchain, I don't understand it. It's like, alright, we've always had this ability, we've had this ability forever. Now they're doing a little bit more with it, , you know, adding a little bit more capability to it. But you've always had this ability to just stick random data into the blockchain and fill up blocks if you want to. But, , you know, but minors don't have to mine it, you know, and they can say, they can prioritize, you know, , transactions, however they want to PR prioritize them. And, , ultimately people have to pay for that data going into the blockchain and, you know, if they're willing to pay for it, you know, you know, who can argue with that? Right.

|Demetrick (23:12):

|I think you're pretty much saying right now without me having to ask, I have not done, I have not participated in any of the ordinals Bitcoin NFT project. That's okay. Cause I haven't either. I don't see the, I don't, I don't know. NFTs are still trying to win me over, I guess.

|Stephen (23:31):

|Well, I think NFTs have, I mean, the use cases I think of are like ticketing. You buy a ticket to an event that's an, that can be represented as an N F T. You can build technology around that to, you know, issue the tickets, to redeem the tickets, you know, to be able to trade them on secondary markets and things like that. That's a, that's a very straightforward, , in my opinion use case for an nft. , what I don't get are the, the NFTs that are just pictures. , you know, there's what, what actual capability or what kind of right are you getting when you buy that N F T? , I mean, cuz other people can copy the image. It's not like there's any restrictions on that. , and yeah, I think that's the question to a ask with nf with an N F T, it's like, what capability, what rights does this confer to me? If I own it, what can I do with it either functionally, can I make it do things this nft or can I, , you know, I I also think about, like, Jack Dorsey did an N F T right? Where he, , , I think auctioned off as an N F T, his first tweet. I'm like, well, everybody knows what his first week was. Although, I can't think of it off the top of my head. But what, why would you wanna own that as an N F T? I mean, like, maybe, maybe if that N F T came with, and I think it, I think he sold it for like two and a half million dollars. It was crazy. Yeah,

|Demetrick (24:57):

|I remember that.

|Stephen (24:58):

|Yeah. But what, so I always ask the question if, if with that N F T, you got the right to have a lunch with Jack Dorsey once a year, then that's worth something . And so having that NFT would have value, but as it is, what does it mean to own a tweet? I mean, especially when everybody knows what that tweet was. , I don't get it. Yeah.

|Demetrick (25:21):

|Hmm. Maybe it's just that people aren't thinking creatively enough about that last mile, like you mentioned. I mean, if is if it unlocks something or does something, then yeah, it's valuable, but there's not a lot that do Yeah. Right now. So I guess, I guess we shall see the BitPay. Can you hold the NFTs in BitPay wallet, I'm sure.

|Stephen (25:40):

|No. We, our wallet's strictly cryptocurrencies. It's, , got it. Not, not, not, we've not dabbled into the NFT space. We haven't discussed that though, because fundamentally what the wallet does is protect private keys and, , you know, we d we've thought about expanding and, and making it possible to do things with NFTs in the wallet. , but with our wallet, we've traditionally tried to focus on, you know, the payments use case and people that wanna conduct payments and, , just making that whole process as painless as possible and, , and, and a lot less painless than I, you know, credit card transaction in, in many ways.

|Demetrick (26:18):

|Nice. There's, , you mentioned something there, we've had discussions about it. What has been one of the hardest things you've had to say no to as a C E O of BitPay? Or, you know, you know, like a lot of people think it's always like, oh, make a plans. I'm in the public, I'm giving talks. But a lot of times from a leadership standpoint, it's things that are hard to say no to, that you have to say no, that's, you know, keep things going. So what is that?

|Stephen (26:46):

|Yeah. What was it? Steve Jobs used to say that the most important decisions that they ever made were what they're not going to do. , so I don't know, , what do we have to say? I mean, there's a lot of things that we would like to do. We just don't have the bandwidth to do them right now. , yeah, I'm trying to think. , you know, a lot of times it's been like the light coin community forever. , you know, Charlie Lee forever was saying, you know, you need to take light coin. You need to, you need to do light coin. And, and we were like, well, we will, we want to , but we've also got these other things that we've got to do. And, , eventually we did, we finally added light coin in, I, I'll tell you, to their credit, it's now like the nber two payment, , token, , behind Bitcoin on the platform. , by count. , they spend light users tend to spend less than Bitcoin users, , you know, naturally for a smaller amount. , you know, but by count it's, it's a solid nber two behind Bitcoin for sure.

|Demetrick (27:46):

|Yeah. When I very first started mining, I was mining light coin. Mmhmm. <affirmative>, man, I was a believer I would've had like a light coin jersey if they made it. , lo and behold, it's still like kicking and it's, I call it like the Bitcoin testnet, but yeah, I mean, it, it does, Lyco is an amazing token. It's just like slow churning, just doing what it exactly what it said it was gonna do. So, , , it's interesting. So it was a no on light coin until it was like, all right, now it's a good, now it's a good time. Ok. Yeah.

|Stephen (28:21):

|There's a lot of things like that. I mean, that we would love to do that and we plan to do, we just have, have to prioritize

|Demetrick (28:30):

|Nice. Are we gonna see, you know, like sometimes like go our websites, I buy things and then when I'm checking out, I see, you know, , all these payment processing card symbols, and I see the little PayPal symbol, how long until we see the proliferated BitPay symbol all over the web .

|Stephen (28:51):

|You know, that's, that's a great question. , we're working on it. That's the only thing. We have been working on it for a long time. So, , yeah. I mean, I, , you know, that's, we would love to do that, right? And make that happen. , you know, but we've been, , pretty successful in signing up merchants. It's the other side of the equation though, is we've gotta get people actually transacting with crypto and, and more activity on, on that side of it. , I think people have figured out how to buy crypto, invest in crypto, and they do it with whatever tools, whatever platforms they use, but they don't really think, most people don't think too much about using it for actual commerce. Mmhmm. <affirmative>, you know, the cases where they do it does come up is where, you know, it's, , people that are unbanked, , people, international transactions where it's just, , too risky for the merchant to accept a traditional credit card. You know, so cross border transactions, , , you know, and then, , what we do a lot of are luxury goods. You know, we talked about the frivolous purchases. We do sell a lot of the exotic cars. A lot of the, , yachts, I mean, you know, when, you know, we have a lot of yacht, yacht dealers, believe it or not, on, on our platform, , when the price of crypto, you know, when the price of Bitcoin is high and at its peak, people want to buy things like that. And, , we have a lot of the private jet charter companies on our platforms, so people charter private jets, , with crypto. So, , , and I think, I think the reason for that is that you do have people that have made investments that, , those investments go up and they find they, they want to spend that crypto and they wanna, , and we do make it a lot easier than if you were to actually move that crypto to an exchange, sell it, withdraw it, and then make the payment. You know, that that's a lot of steps there and a lot of hassle. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you just use a part of what you, your investment, part of your investment to make that purchase. And we can make that a simple process that's a lot easier for a lot of people.

|Demetrick (30:53):

|I would hope that you guys continue fighting that longterm fight. Because I, like, I'll just say this as a user, I've used BitPay services before and it is very smooth. It's like so smooth when like the merchant takes it and you've got BitPay, it's like click, click, boom. But it takes, it takes a long time. Takes a long time. But thank you for your,

|Stephen (31:16):

|Yeah. And there's, , yeah, to that point, there are many different wallets we have to test. There's mmhmm. <affirmative>, many different chains, many different tokens. , there's a lot of operational stuff. All the, all the tokens that we support are subject to an exchange rate, and we have to be able be able to sell and, and, and market those, you know, take those two exchanges and sell them and liquidate them to, to pay the merchants. , yeah. And we do have a lot of merchants that take crypto and sometimes we're converting from one, you know, light coin to Bitcoin because a merchant wants to take Bitcoin as settlement. , and, and of course we support that. , but operationally there's a lot going on there behind the scenes, a lot of testing, you know, all the different wallets. We try to support as many as we can. And, and we work constantly work on the, , you know, our messaging, you know, on the invoice, you know, when, you know, maybe this wallet has a few clerks and you gotta do things a certain way. And, , we try to try to do our best to make it so that they don't have errors in, in the wallet.

|Demetrick (32:18):

|Good deal. That's that. There needs to be more efforts like that in crypto. I swear,

|Stephen (32:24):

|Lightning Network, which, , was quite a bit of work for us to implement that as well. ,

|Demetrick (32:30):

|Is that going smooth? The light? Yeah. Rotation.

|Stephen (32:33):

|It works great. , and, , yeah, we, we we're, we're gonna continue building on that too. So

|Demetrick (32:41):

|I found it's, , I guess the mental leap that I can't get over with the Lightning Network is, is like, you can go to eMerchants, Hey, do you take Bitcoin? But then you have to ask that follow up. Do you take Bitcoin Lightning? Yeah. And like, , what, and it's like, , this is, there's still some work to do there as far as messaging, but Bitcoin Lightning is starting to work really, really

|Stephen (33:02):

|Well. If they take Vet Pay, , you know, it, it, , it's transparent to them. So the merchant takes all the tokens, all the coins, all all the, , you know, technologies that we support. So, , if they're using BitPay, then they automatically get that Lightning support, and you don't really have to ask that anymore questions beyond that. Right? , but yeah. Yeah, lightning where, where I think Lightning ha we have work to do with Lightning is making it more self custodial. Actually most of the wallets out there, and our, and the BitPay wallet does not support it yet. , but it will. And, , , but there's not a lot of options out there as far as if you want to use the Lightning Network in a truly self custodial fashion. So you typically have to deposit, , money with like, you know, one, one of the strike or, you know, or Cash app or somebody like that so that you're, you're, so they're holding your money and then they're using the Lightning Network to actually make the payment.

|Demetrick (34:04):

|Mmhmm. <affirmative>. Well, we, that's something that we've learned recently here a few times, is that's not the best option. So if you're listening to the show, self custody is the way to go. I didn't mean to, I didn't mean to plan that rhyme. That just kinda happened. Anyways. , let's keep moving. Let's keep it moving. , this is back to kind of more personal question. Crypto takes a lot of heavy hits, a lot of body blows, , as the boxers would say. Has there ever been a time where you were like, you know what, I'm just gonna go on an infinite sabbatical. I mean, we've had   most recently this year with all that, that wasn't this year. Sorry, that was last year. SPF nonsense. , there was of course Mountain Gogs, you were here for that. That's when I first kind of got in that Mount Go, happened a couple months after I had gotten into crypto. Like it takes some severe hits. , if you haven't thought of an Infinity sabbatical, , what is it that keeps you going?

|Stephen (35:03):

|I just have fun. I mean, I, I enjoy the challenge of it, and I enjoy, , just working on it. I, it'd be tough for me to imagine what I would do if I wasn't doing, working on this, and, you know, and I still believe in the, in the future, right? If I didn't believe that eventually the world was gonna be doing, not, you know, payments on blockchains, but, , but practically everything else we do anywhere there's, , a need for a database, you know, it's gonna be a blockchain of some kind. , if I didn't believe that I, I would, I would go find something else to do. , so I, I just enjoy that and being, you know, trying to, trying to be a part of some of, you know, something exciting and big. , so yeah, I mean, there have been times along the way where I've questioned, you know, it's been, you mentioned it's, it's taken a lot of body blows over the years. You know, we've fortunately side stepped a lot of those. , and partially by just, you know, staying kind of small, , and not, not trying to get too a little too big and, , just being air airing on the conservative side of things, not taking big depo, you know, not becoming a big depository institution, for example, is one, one example of that. But, , you know, I think Mount Gox was interesting when that happened. We, we saw that coming a mile away. And, you know, what was happening, , from our perspective was, you know, we, we need to take in crypto. And at that time it was really just Bitcoin. , we need to take in the Bitcoin, we need to sell it. , we had several exchanges we used, but Mount Goss was one of 'em. And, , and then we need to withdraw it.

|Stephen (36:44)

|And then we need to pay our merchants. Most of our merchants were getting settled in dollars or euros or, , something other than Bitcoin. And so, and, and our service, we wanna pay the merchant the very next day. So they get a payment today, they're gonna get it settlement tomorrow or when, as long as the banks are open that day. And what was happening there with Mount Gox was to ju it was just getting longer and the delays and, and getting a withdrawal were becoming longer and longer. And we were having to float more and more money in that process in order to keep paying our merchant immediately. And it got to a point where it was getting to, to be like a couple weeks before we, our withdrawals would get processed. And, and so at that point we decided, you know, we can no longer use Mount GOs, which was really unfortunate because they had the highest, you know, exchange rate mmhmm. So we could give buyers, , a better price when we could use Mount GOs, but that meant we actually had to be able to sell Bitcoin on Mount GOs and withdraw it. And, and so we finally said, you know, we, we, we can't do this. I mean, this is getting to be too, , too long and too concerning. And so we put out a statement that where we were gonna no longer, , incorporate Mount Goff's pricing into the, into our exchange rates that, that we, we use, , which meant like five or 10% less, , below what Mount GOs was. And, , , but we also thought people would read between the lines and understand there's a real problem there with Mount GOs because they're not processing and we explain that it's because we're ha you know, we're not getting withdrawals in a timely fashion, things like that. , but it took probably another year after that nobody, you know, for whatever reason, you know, we didn't want to come out, you know, and, and outright accuse Mount GOs of not having the money backing all of their deposits. Mm. And, , we're having, having problems there. And , but we did think people would read between the lines, but it took a whole other year before Mount GOs, you know, after that, , the Mount Go finally, , you know, it came to the, to reckoning.

|Demetrick (38:56):

|Oh yeah, it's happened.

|Stephen (38:59):

|A lot of those, you know, it's, it's, you kind of see the warning signs, right?

|Demetrick (39:03):

|Absolutely. And there was, , what is it? It ftx that one. Yeah, that was another one that just kinda, I mean, I think it's gonna happen time and time and time again. Especially like what, with, what's happened just as of this weekend with, you know, Silicon Valley Bank, they, it's almost like we on that side of the finance world,

|Stephen (39:26):

|Crypto companies, right? .

|Demetrick (39:28):

|Yeah. Yeah. It was like, we're totally okay with everybody almost knows like, oh yeah, there's no money in that bank, but it's a bank, so . So anyways, I don't wanna get into all that, but it's very funny how we're, we're, we actually absolutely need the crypto exchanges. You gotta have that money in there. , but cuz there's no bailouts coming for you guys, so. Yeah. , well, I, I guess we can, we can begin to wrap here. We have a couple of trademark questions that we typically ask, , and these questions are trademarked audience, so don't try steal our stuff. . , the first is, is there anything that I should have asked you that I didn't?

|Stephen (40:12):

|Oh, no, I don't think so. You know, there's, I mean, I could go on for hours and talk about this stuff, but, , oh,

|Demetrick (40:19):

|Do we have part two? We'll, we'll work with your people. We'll, the part two , nothing new. Exciting. Nothing fun going outta BitPay. You don't wanna,

|Stephen (40:28):

|I mean, most of the exciting stuff, at least this week is around all that Silicon Valley Bank stuff.

|Demetrick (40:34):

|Oh yeah. I don't even wanna talk about it. Yeah, I, I, I'm super self custodial. , especially I, you know,

|Stephen (40:45):

|If you are then a lot of this stuff just didn't bother you. You weren't troubled by it, right?

|Demetrick (40:51):

|Yeah, yeah. That's, so we profess in our like, community for our podcast, so we, we tell them, you know, get a hardware wallet, learn the hard stuff, you're gonna be fine. Yeah. Be patient, you'll be fine. , the other question that usually comes from our cohost Jesse, and he asks, , is what you do difficult?

|Stephen (41:12):

|It's what I do Difficult.

|Demetrick (41:13):


|Stephen (41:14):

|, no, no, it's not difficult. ,

|Demetrick (41:20):

|You're like the first to ever say that, so congratulations.

|Stephen (41:24):

|I mean, do we have challenges? Yes. But, , , but they're fun challenges. , I mean, when I think difficult, I think not fun.

|Stephen (41:37):

|Yeah, they're challenges and you just work through those. , there's a lot to what we do, , a lot to what di they does. , but what I do every day, I mean, it's so much fun. I don't even think about, you know, the other side of it. So

|Demetrick (41:54):


|Stephen (41:55):


|Demetrick (41:56):

|That's, it's good. But usually everyone's like, yeah, absolutely. I can't sleep. I don't know how my eyes are open. , I glue my eyelashes like, anyways. , and the last question is, in, in 10 words or less, can you describe BitPay?

|Stephen (42:11):

|Sure. , BitPay is, , the world's oldest crypto company and we process, , crypto payments for merchants and , and we also have our BitPay wallet where, , if you want to store your crypto in a self custodial wallet and use it for payments, it's a great option. , yeah, that's basically what we do. We can also do payroll. We can also do payroll.

|Demetrick (42:36):

|You can do payroll now. That's good. Yeah, that's good. That's one thing I did not know about BitPay, which is actually awesome because I'm finding some of my employees, , like, Hey, can I, can I get paid in crypto? And I was like, that's the first time I heard that in a decade. So, , you know, it's something to spin up, but, , you blew the 10 words out of the water by the way. , you, you were like at like 50, but it's okay, you know, at least it was succinct. So , so we got that. , Steven Perry, thank you very much, , for coming on catching out personals and, , sorry that your frivolous home purchase is now worth so, so, so much more, more.

Episode hosts - Demetrick Fergurson

Produced by - Christian Noguera

And edited by - Christian Noguera

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