Episode 1: Human IPO, Tokenized ISA with Alex Masmej

Ben Lakoff, CFA
August 10, 2020
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Alex Masmej is an Entrepreneur and “Mr. Human IPO” himself. He cofounded RocketNFT, which provides personal loans that are collateralized by Non Fungible Tokens (NFT) such as Crypto Collectables, Virtual Real Estate, Domain Names, or Crypto Art. He received a lot of press when he sold $20,000 worth of $ALEX tokens to fund his move to San Fransisco, offering $ALEX token holders a portion of his future income and the opportunity to “control his life” with their votes.

Think you’re really going to enjoy this wide-ranging conversation about some very unique opportunities in crypto. We cover a lot of topics in the Ethereum Ecosystem including Income Share Agreement (ISA) / Personal Tokens and Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Enjoy!

Show Notes

0:00:19   Background on Alex, How he got into crypto
0:02:48   What attracted you to Ethereum initially?
0:08:53   DAOs: Funding the ETH Ecosystem, How do they make money?
0:10:42   Rocket: NFT-backed Loans
0:15:16   How do you value the collateral (NFTs)?
0:18:39   The DAO behind the loans, how much was raised?
0:20:18   What is the breakdown of the Rocket Loans made?
0:22:30   How does the DAO that makes the loans work?
0:24:16   What are the most risky collateral NFT assets you take?
0:26:52   NFT Loans – What is the normal Loan to Value (LTV) Range?
0:28:12   Bullish on NFTs in general?
0:30:35   What’s next for Rocket? Where can people find out more?
0:33:39   Personal Tokens: What are they and why did they interest you?
0:40:48   What inspired the Personal Token Route?
0:44:21   Token Holders get 15% of Income, how is this tracked?
0:47:02   Treasury Management for the ETH Collected
0:50:27   Initial Tokens Sold versus traded supply
0:55:10   $ALEX Token Supply – Tokeneconomics
0:59:26   What is the process to launch own token with Roll?
1:02:59   Personal Tokens – Bulish in this space?
1:06:24   Personal Tokens – Legality / Security
1:12:33   Advice for someone interested in selling their own Personal Tokens
1:14:07   $ALEX Token – What excites you going forward?
1:15:52   What excites you the most in Crypto
1:17:50   Where can listeners find out more?

Show Links


RocketNFT (Twitter)

2008 Human IPO (Wired Article)

TokenSets Alex uses

Uniswap – Decentralized Exchange

Roll – Personal Tokens

Alex Masmej (Twitter)

Episode Transcript

Ben: [00:00:12] welcome, Alex. Glad to have you on the show.

Alex: [00:00:16] Thank you so much. Ben. Yeah. Super excited to be here.

Ben: [00:00:18] I wanted to just start off just a little background, who you are, where you are, what you did before crypto and kind of how you got into crypto.

Alex: [00:00:28] Sure. So basically I started getting interested in crypto around mid 2017.

So I’ve first bought like a hundred dollars of Bitcoin. and I was super interested in basically the next big tech, because I knew I wanted to be a founder, for pretty much all my career. And I knew that I had to find. A huge new technology that had very low barriers of entry. Right. And so I thought crypto was a really good one, but didn’t do anything full time on it till 2019.

So roughly like a year ago now, I joined MetaCartel, which is, a group of entrepreneurs, in the crypto space that do  hackathons and. They build  small projects. And so before the seed round,  MetaCartel, a collective kind of, invest small sums to get the prototype going before they go on to raise a seed round.

I started off in MetaCartel, so this is  a DAO, which is like a new primitive in Etherueum where it’s a community bank account. And it’s really interesting. So after that I co-founded marketing DAO, which is another DAO. So. But this time it’s for marketing. And so pushing the Ethereum, Brand, the Ethereum narrative.

Then after this, I created a group about  decentralized it’s loans, Defi loans. It was called under-collateralized DeFi and from that  experiment, I founded rocket, which is basically takes NFT digital assets as a collateral. It’s a brand new one way of getting a loan by putting down something that’s not directly money in crypto, but that’s actually an asset that can be a domain name or crypto art and things like this.

I decided to move away because it was, it was very crypto nerdy and probably not a huge market pool. I tokenized myself. with the $ALEX token to  give me time to figure out, what startup I want to do as a founder for the next few years of my life. And at the same time innovating with this new form of basically pre-seed investment.

I’ve done many things with the $ALEX token and super happy to discuss it today.

Ben: [00:02:34] definitely. And, I’m, I’m very interested to tease out a little bit more about rocket and $ALEX, some personal tokens, obviously. So I’m curious, you first started with Bitcoin and then you ended up in these DAOs and Ethereum.

So what most attracted you to Ethereum in the early days?

Alex: [00:02:52] Right. So I think the real reason, and I think this is not just for me, but this is for minute volume. If they’re, it’s when you discover a Bitcoin and you understand that it’s a scars asset, and it’s a way of breaking free of any thought of government or government covered currencies, you realize you don’t really have any room for any sort of impact unless part of the Bitcoin core team.

Which is like a very, very, very small number of exceptional engineers, I suppose. and so as a founder, I just had no impact or I could not be really useful to the Bitcoin community. And this is where I found it there where created a sparkle truck language that makes it as easy as internet software to build new things in crypto.

And there are so many use cases, and we’re just seeing it right now. There are so many things to do with it, and it’s just a start and this is why it’s so great. Bitcoin is kind of like email. It’s a, it’s a great technology, but there’s very limited things you can do with it. And if there is more like the entire internet.

And so it seems to me that there was way more opportunities. and so this is why I just, basically, joined the journey.

Ben: [00:04:06] Oh yeah. Well, , I think that’s exactly right. There’s so much happening on Ethereum. And I think this is part of the problem of  trying to explain what is Ethereum and what the potential is.

Bitcoin is digital gold. It’s this trustless new currency.  ETH there’s a lot going on on it.

it sounds like, you first got involved with DAOs,  just briefly on DAOs, you explained it as a community bank account, which is a great way of explaining it, but how do you see the DAO structure evolving in the space because the idea has been around for awhile, right?

touch a little bit on MetaCartel and Marketing DAO and how they’re doing things a little differently in a new innovative way.

Alex: [00:04:48] Right. For sure. basically DAO is trying to revolutionize something that has not been touched for a long time. So the ideas, the theories has been probably there for a long time, but publications I’ve never been sought out before Ethereum.

It was way less practical to do, and now it’s possible. And so basically like, Incorporating a company or any kind of entity in any jurisdiction is a national process, it’s a red tape paperwork. It’s anything but digital. and so because we can code any sort of value, on a theorem, we can code equity.

A DAO is just a brand new way of getting an organization that can make money or can give out grants. And it’s run by software, and not by legal papers or document. I’ve tried it, for, of course, the first few months of my short lived crypto career. I think the space is extremely early right now.

They are. Basically like the two biggest challenges. One is how to make money with a DAO. Okay. We can make a bank account, , that we can share. And it works today. It’s been working with Molach  (DAO)  where we collect funds and we give out funds to Ethereum, to developers so that we incentivize the development of blockchain itself.

So that’s one problem, which is how to make money with a DAO. And then the second problem is how to make it legal, because of course, this is like a transnational entity that’s governed by open source and there might not be all the enforcement that the law has embedded in itself.

And so should we need to code that same law and  jurisdictions, on Ethereum. Should we create a new, more efficient model, but then we have to comply with the regulations and how will this work at big scales? and so the latest things that I’m not too involved in, because I kind of, I’m not as involved in the DAO space as before are  venture fund DAOs.

there’s two right now, there’s tThe LAO by, open law, which is Consensys’ legal arm and  MetaCartel ventures. And so both of these experiments are legal. So that means that they are both, I think LLC incorporated in the United States, in Delaware, and they are investing in crypto startups and they invest, with a token, which is super smart because it’s digital, native, right.

It’s crypto native to invest, not inequity, but the token itself. So they both are solving. Two things at once they’re both are solving the legal problem and they are solving the money-making problem. And so I think are looking at cutting-edge experiments in that space, I would recommend to check out MetaCartel ventures and the LAO, which are the next version of Y Combinator or  other startup accelerators.

It’s going to be really interesting to see.

 Ben: [00:07:43] I’m actually talking to Peter next week about MetaCartel ventures, because I find it very fascinating. I get that that’s solving the problem of making money. but it’s basically just an investment vehicle that you come to consensus on the investments that the DAO is investing in.

it’s very different from some of these other DAOs, like one of the DAO structures that you had mentioned earlier is giving money to developers to further develop the Ethereum ecosystem. How then are you making any money back on that or that’s the problem?

Alex: [00:08:17] So I think the problem that Moloch was solving is that Ethereum 2 will be useful for everyone.

But if everyone, if every team with big funding from let’s say, 2017 ICO is for instance, We’re trying to create their own Ethereum 2 development team separately. That would be way less efficient. And so Moloch works without making money because it basically, like ends the free rider problem of the tradjedy of the commons, meaning that everyone expects someone else to develop Ethereum.

But really people are focused on their own startup and they are not incentivized to improve the blockchain system itself, although it would benefit everybody. And so this is why Moloch, was a real revolution because everyone has a small, everyone gives out, let’s say 10 times less funding than they would have if they had a dedicated team.

But they all get the outcome that they wanted to, and they can coordinate, and they  can even create a bigger team. and there will be less communication silos because everyone will get updated in this space. And it’s a very great symbiotic, experiments. So, yeah, this is the reasoning behind molec, the initial version of Moloch, which is called Moloch DAO, which is the model of DAO protocol, which is super interesting.

Ben: [00:09:39] Yeah, it’s certainly a fascinating space, one that I want to dive into a lot deeper. The second big jump into crypto, sounds like was rocket and these NFT collateralized loans. So just high level, can you explain to me what it is and what it does?

Alex: [00:09:57] Sure. So, basically I was frustrated by the fact that, right now, in crypto, if you want to get a loan, it has to be over-collateralized, at least in decentralized finance.

The reason is in crypto, I’m not talking about Coinbase or like centralized exchange, like in the decentralized wild West. right now you have to get more, you have to lock some money to deposit some money in order to get. a loan and that loan of course has to be lower because she can be anonymous and crypto was just, she’ll come to address it and create a wallet in a second.

it’s really important to make sure that there is no trust involved. but that’s a bit restrictive because then, most people like 99% of the loans are under collateralized in real life, meaning that people need the money. Like they’re not, giving, getting a loan to do some kind of speculation, like the main crypto use cases.

and so I think thought how to make it happen. And does it, there are many startups right now today trying to do defy loans. But one thing that I found is like, Why not instead of using a collateral like ETH or DAI or actual money, let’s try for,  assets that are not money, but they are, are still native and naturally they are NFTs.

it can be game items. It can be, Virtual real estates, crypto art , collectibles, like crypto kitties, which isn’t exactly a game, but something that’s rare in supply and the fifth, I think I might have forgotten, but, wait, collectibles, give items, domain names, crypto arts and virtual real estate.

Yeah. These are the five, the fives use cases. And so rocket basically takes a loan against those assets. And if that person doesn’t repay, we liquidated, the fact is we actually never liquidated anything. Everyone is repaying. And actually the first phase of loans is actually very soon ending in two weeks.

And I’m very proud personally, because I think we are on track to do five points on Eve in just six months. so it’s insane because you cannot make that much return on ease. Of course it was a very risky experiment, but yeah. So long story short, Rocket gives out loans in ease or die against a NFT that we lock into a multisig.

So like just to shared wallets of all the holders that give out the money . And, it’s been working well so far.

Ben: [00:12:29] It’s not that it’s under-collateralized, which is very risky thing, it’s more that it’s just collateralized by a different asset. One that isn’t a traditional asset that still has value , right?

Alex: [00:12:42] Exactly. Yeah. when people take a loan in the bank, it’s actually not under-collateralized either. It’s usually , collateralized by your house, for instance. But house is a non-monetary asset, right? It’s not directly something like money and it’s something that people can still use.

And we wanted to do the same. And for instance, we did like a loan against a ENS domain name. and the ENS were still set up to work while we locked it. So that person can still benefit from the domain name. but at the same time, we could have liquidated and changed the name to punish the owner. So there was still a deterrent so that they had to repay the loan, but at the same time, they didn’t lose anything.

They didn’t lose the utility, just like someone who didn’t lose DTC of their house when taking out a loan. So I thought this was a very smart way of basically avoiding to put down some money first.

Ben: [00:13:38] Gotcha. Yeah, that makes sense. So,  my next question would be, so, so I have this NFT say a virtual land, so a plot of land in decentral land.

Say, I want to unlock the value of this DecentraLand asset that I own. so I, I want to get a loan from rocket. So I give this, I put this in the multisig collateral, How do you value this piece of land to determine how much you can give me as a loan? What’s the, can you walk me through the process there?

Alex: [00:14:12] That’s a great question. So, first of all, you picked a very great example because virtual real estate, especially by decentral and is by far the asset that the people in the DAO, including myself, like the best, because it’s scarse, it has some value and it’s not just a one off, like art is kind of a one off or.

It’s not, it’s not also subject to hype, like games, games can gain and lose popularity very quickly, but DecentraLand it’s like another world. And it seems like it’s going to be a bit long glass longer-lasting. so first of all, the type itself, as I just explained is important, then I basically talked to experts in that area.

Or like,  expert of course, crypto is so young, but I talk to people who are familiar with virtual real estate. And they tell me, for instance, in the DecentraLand, like how many parcels is this? how close is it to the center of the map? is it close to a monument or any significant things on DecentraLand real estate?

So really that part is not too far from actual real estate assessment. So location is important. the beauty of the background, which is, sounds a bit crazy because it’s like a video game almost, but this is kind of how it works. And then. then I tell the DAO about the interest rates and, and now in crypto, there’s just no real science.

I don’t know what the formula about that. I just told the DAO and they tell me many things. And so we discussed a lot of things we want to charge a rather high interest rate because we are not exactly sure if we can resell it and stuff. So it’s in between 20% APY to 60% APY, which is enormous, right.

to pay. but it’s for short periods, usually like three months or six months, and also. it’s for small amounts, like, actually, well, we did try to do a $20,000 loan, but that was just before COVID. It failed, but the average loan was around a thousand bucks. So, you know, paying 15% for six months.

is like 150 DAI in six months, which isn’t that much. And so this was great for both parties because nowhere else in crypto, can you loan a digital asset and on the other end? No. Where else could we find a better interest rate, on the money from the DAO? So it seemed like a risk, a risk taking experiment, but a worthy one.

The interest rate were quite high and we also wanted in ETH because everyone was bullish on ETH. in the DAO. The people giving out the funds and deciding whether or not to make a loan, everyone was bullish on ETH. Unfortunately shortly after rocket, there was like a huge crash in crypto.

which made it seem like maybe we should have taken DAI instead. but at the same time, we were just playing like rocket is, is, is showing DeFi what can be done outside of normal collateral.

Ben: [00:17:12] So the money that goes for these loans was collected via a DAO in ETH from a group of participants, correct?  is it public, how much was raised?

Alex: [00:17:22] Yeah, for sure. So there is, I think 170 ETH 200 ETH at its peak or something. It’s something depending on if price between $30,000 and $60,000. which was actually more than enough because the utilization ratio was never over 50%. Really we at most needed 15,000 to  25,000.

We didn’t need that much money, but it was great. And so we raised it from a just people that wanted to try it out. So there’s, Jordan Leo from consensus code five, there is Peter pan.  so many. so these two are like very involved in the DAO space, so they wanted to try it out, then get con grants.

I think there was like $2,000 from the grants that I put back into the Sao, myself and people who worked on it. So it’s not that much money. Everyone just kind of put like five techniques and it just said mounted to that amount. which wasn’t an enormous amount, but we didn’t need that much anyways.

and we’re doing like 5% on it in six months, which in ETH is pretty remarkable because you cannot find this rate on compound, for instance.

Ben: [00:18:31] No, but you’re also taking a pretty substantial amount of risk. I would imagine.

this portfolio of like 30 to 60 K kind of what’s the breakdown, how many loans, average loan size,  these don’t have to be exact, but just to paint a little picture there.

Alex: [00:18:49] So the loan sizes, were on average between $500 to , 2000, $3,000. And we were about to do a massive loan, someone came to us with $250,000 of virtual real estate. He was asking for 20,000 DAI. I was super excited by this loan and I really wanted to make it, but I, yeah, pretty much much like COVID happened and the DAO Funds just crashed and we had like something like $18,000.

We did like a DAO call and there was just not enough money . And we decided delay it and that person didn’t want it to do it after the COVID crash .  Like it could have been a huge loan, but the other loan were pretty, small size, I would say $1,000.

And we made like, I think seven of them. So that’s like $7,000, $8,000 in total, which is very little because we got something like 400,  450 requests, which is a large number. And the thing is I started to kind of lose interest. In rocket. I thought the market was really small. And out of all these requests, we had many requests that were like, just unfundable. Like crypto kitties or video game items, or people just kind of like petting and just asking for free money.

This is why I thought, okay, this is, it’s a nice experiment, but I’m not really willing to do this full time. And so that’s why we did very few loans pretty much. And it was medium sized. I mean, small size, sorry.

Ben: [00:20:21] Gotcha. Well,  it’s, it’s a lot of each, each loan. It sounds like there’s a ton of work and due diligence that comes in.

It’s very customized. It takes a lot of time. So I get it, on that topic. So. Everybody throws in some Eve and then the profits from the individual or the loan portfolio are paid out pro-rata and then a portion is paid to rocket, the entity for like this extra due diligence sort of work that you’re doing.

Is that the way it works?

Alex: [00:20:50] Nope. To be honest, it’s it’s a Molach DAO. so there’s a price per share. when we decided to take money out to everyone who stayed on it and when we get the money back, everyone gets, the interests equally. I was just kidding the game in rocket, I guess I put Teddy stuff, mine.

I will receive on those 10 ETH 5%, which is, I think, sort of five ETH. And, yeah, I guess, I didn’t, I didn’t really choose to pay myself for this. It was a pretty small experiment. but it was quite successful and I got like investors and I think I could have raised a small round, but I just don’t think it was a huge market pool.

I think I’m, I’m great at marketing and think and seeming like this is bigger than it actually is. And so this kind of restrict people. but, yeah, like it was such an amazing experiment. I’m not, I’m not saying this is a bad at all. Like it was smoke, but it was really, really awesome. And, yeah, so no, there was no fee.

Everyone gets diluted and gets the reward equally. and so this is how it works.

Ben: [00:21:54] Gotcha. Well, that makes sense. Well, there’s, it’s kind of tough to stay motivated on something that you’re only just getting the same proportion as everybody else, and you’re putting in a lot more work. It sounds like. So I’m looking at all of the, that the landscape of NFTs, like what are considered the most risky assets to take as collateral against these loans in your opinion?


Alex: [00:22:19] the least like asset is for me video games. So I might be biased because I am not a gamer whatsoever, but video games, very, sometimes they have short-lived hype. And so this was one reason why I was scared. Maybe it could have, he could have been for like maybe two weeks or three weeks, like maybe like God’s and Shane, like you borrow a few top cards or top, game items just for tournament that you then give back.

That maybe could have been a great use case. But I, yeah, we decided to basically like the hierarchy was, virtual real estate is the best asset because it’s a mix of something that scars that’s durable. It’s also kind of fungible because you know, like one Renaissance and decentralization will be useful for the entire game.

so there’s many of that same class. so visceral real estate is first in my mind, at least from the central and couture Foxtel’s and sandbox. Then the second use case that was really great was crypto art because crypto art outlives, any platform you just hold the NFT. art is it’s quite subjective, but if the artist is famous enough, so we need to, loan with Renell, which is a famous NFG art collector.

And he had some Josephine Bellini NFT artist. And so Josephine is very famous in the ecosystem. And so I thought, well, this is a great piece. This is a great collateral.  Virtual real estate, art, and then  domain namse as well. When you go to do a loan with, ENS, one of the ENS directors, because I knew  he wanted to of course keep it,  he works at ENS himself, and that was a cool experiment.

And he could use his domain name even while it was collaterized. So that was really great. So I would say these are the top three, I think with game items and collectibles, it’s a bit harder because it’s really, depending on speculation that thinks like this it’s not  exactly art , so it’s tricky.

And then it’s not either a Virtual real estate where it’s a more general purpose item. so when it’s something that’s, dependent on a game, I’m not too sure of.  that’s for me, the riskiest asset.

Ben: [00:24:27] Yeah, that makes sense.  with some of these, they’ve got to be very, very illiquid as well. So,  there’s always this illiquidity premium on it kind of just high level, the loan to value amounts.

You said the real estate 200,000 and he was looking for 20 K. So , 10% is, is that kind of the normal amount or what’s the range here? Loan to value.

Alex: [00:24:52] Usually it was 50% loan to value. and then for that enormous loan, I think we just couldn’t have matched it, to like 50%.

Like we didn’t have 100,000  dollars. and also it’s very hard to value as well. so we usually value at  the lowest price, but we just basically evaluate all the kind of estimates. and so the estimates, where between a 100,000 dollars to $500,000. So we said, Fair Market Price could be $200,000.

if we sold it on OpenSea, as an option. And so yeah, for that precise one, it was 10%, but usually it was more like 50%. so like we would give  $1,000 against  $2,000 of DecentraLand and for instance, we’ve done that for the first loan ever.

Ben: [00:25:38] Gotcha. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So, overall for NFTs,  you said this is small, but do you see a lot of potential here? Are you bullish on NFTs in general? What’s your outlook there?

Alex: [00:25:50] Yes, I’m super bullish. So again, I kind of, stop exploring NFTs, like the DAO space. Like I pretty much like to, I think I’ve explored like every predominant crypto so far, which is pretty fun, but yeah, to finish off the NFC part, I would say is really, really interesting.

And a bit, basically what they do is that they fractionalize NFTs, I think they call it shards or something like this. I forgot or faction. and it’s really cool for increasing liquidity around NFT and kind of doing the same spirit as Rocket. And so, yeah, as my view on the general NFT Space, this it’s not the NFT space.

I think it’s more like the crypto art community, which is awesome. And there’s lots of artists that are creating this new kind of high quality gifts. which are very stylistic and, very artsy. And it’s like new  sort of creativity where you can speculate on some art or the art can change and be updated like software.

So super bullish on this video game is also a huge, because, it’s one of the most popular use cases right now. So not for the rocket use case, but I’m just saying in general, virtual real estate. Yeah. I guess AR and VR will be a huge, huge, improvement. And that will be a game changer to have like your own economy.

So that’s where crypto comes in NFTs are great, because it can enable AR and VR to have a natural decentralized economy. so yeah, like it’s not the NFT space I would say, but each primitive around the NFT, they’re all gonna distinctly, explode in the future. I’m pretty sure.

Ben: [00:27:24] Awesome. Yeah. Good stuff.

What was the website that you said I didn’t catch it actually,

Alex: [00:27:29] it’s called Niftex and, which is very recent, but it’s extremely amazing. it’s basically in the same path of ideas as rocket, but it’s a full time team. I’m sure. And it’s a very, very serious project and anyone in the NFT space should look them up a Niftex, pretty, pretty cool stuff.

Ben: [00:27:53] Great. Yeah, I’ll link it in the show notes. Niftex. Haven’t heard of it. So lastly, what’s next for rocket? Where can people find out more? Anything else?

Alex: [00:28:02] Yeah, sure. So rocket is @RocketNFT on Twitter. As soon enough, we are going to. publish, something around the first, like, like phase one of all the loans that we made, the six or seven ones that we made.

And it was a very fun time because every time we were doing a Loan. We’re like, Oh, the first ever domain name backed loan or the first ever, Virtual real estate backed loan. So it was really interesting to innovate every time and, to find new use cases. so this first phase will end.

And then I am maybe looking for someone to take over a rocket potentially, or, or I will just leave it as it is, and the DAO lives on forever anyway. So if someone wants to stick some funds into DAO and manage the DAO afterwards, it’s the, you know, open web3 world. So someone can take over anyway.

Ben: [00:28:52] what I actually really love about rocket is a lot of people, if they have this idea,  they built this big platform that you’re taking funds from investors and distributing, and  how to analyze these NFTs. And I love that you just rolled up your sleeves and you’re like, Hey, you know what?

I’m going to take these things as collateral, I’ll evaluate them myself. I’ll figure out the interest rate. And we’ll just do this whole thing through the tools that already exist with Typeform and these, DAOs that are already out there. So kudos to you for just rolling up your sleeves and getting this thing launched.

And you created a new market, right? So at least from my perspective, I don’t know anybody taking NFTs as collateral for loans. So, Yeah. looking at somebody like MakerDAO and saying, what if we used a different type of collateral that doesn’t exist now?

yeah, kudos to you. And I will link both of those things in the show notes, and I hope that, You know, I’ll, I’ll continue to follow it. And, if I have anybody that I think would be a good candidate for taking the reins, and keeping this thing live on, I think it’s a cool project.

Alex: [00:29:59] Nice, nice, awesome.

Yeah, really appreciate it. And, yeah, I think the spirit will live on, whether someone takes up a rocket or not because this project is like, like Or others, like I think a And. Yeah, like this there’s a few cool things going on. It’s it’s yeah, almost nobody in that market, because I think it’s too early, but, definitely, something to look forward in the future.

Ben: [00:30:22] All right. So next personal tokens, you are the personal token, the human IPO man, across the internet. You had a lot of press,  when this happened a couple of months ago. Why don’t you just give a  high overview, what you did, why you decided to do it and  how it went

Alex: [00:30:41] For sure. So to put it shortly personal tokens, lets you sell shares of yourself. And so yourself is a very vague term because it can mean anything. It can mean selling your time. It can mean selling your potential. And this is fascinating to me because I’ve always been fascinated by potential. Like I’m very, I’m a very young person.

And so. like the past year, everyone was so supportive in ether because system saying, Oh, you have so much energy, we are willing to back you. And I’m not the only one in that case. because actually shortly after, Kerman Coli, which is another young founder also raised like the exact amount as I did.

So it’s really, really interesting. I can dive through the history of the $ALEX token, but. For me, personal tokens has been a part of me ever since I joined crypto because not many people noticed, but I was  like in the Bay Area last year, probably around this time. And I really wanted to go to the Berlin blockchain week.

and so like I’m European, but that was kind of ironic because at the time I was in California and I didn’t really have the funds to go there, I just started being in MetaCartel  just for like what, four days something. And I’m like, huh, damn. I really want to go to building blushing week. Everyone we’ll be there.

And so I tweet like, Oh, if I had unlimited funds, I would probably make it. And I, Peter pan sees my tweet. And sends me the money over. So that five days notice I go to Berlin and once we inverted and he’s like, you know, I’m not really wealthy. but what I can do though, is that I can create a personal ticket for you that symbolizes the debt that you owe me.

And this was just crazy because he got his debt paid back, like way before I got the funds to pay him back. And so I paid back the debt holders instead, and this was such a crazy experiment and it was called AML 19. Alex Masmej loan 2019. It was really funny. And he created this in a snap. And so what happened is that when I did this experiment, the Team.

Which is so a team, that creates personal to can as a service, they reached out to me saying, wow, but this is crazy. Like, we are doing this as a company and you guys are doing it yourself. Like, do you want to create your personal again? Do you want to do it for a more general purpose use case where whatever you want to do with it, you can.

And I said, yes. And so this, this happened in  September. Of 2019 and for a few months, didn’t really do much about it. I think some people like, gave me some $ALEX and I could do a tweet, which was like a very minor use case. Didn’t do much about it. And then COVID-19 happened.

And I had like a, a deal with like a company that would pay me. And so I got it cut, during the COVID-19 crisis. And so what happened is. I’m like, Oh, damn, like I have a bit less revenue now. and the funny thing is that a week later I was on, on ETHCC. So the big conference in Paris, every year on the main stage talking about personal tokens.

And I was like, wow, this is such a crazy opportunity to in front of everybody said that I will be raising funds. So that short term. I can focus on, you know, building a startup and not care about making money on the side or anything. And I did it and at the time the response was pretty nice. So I said on stage in March.

it was really cool. People are like, wow, this is a bit like brave because of the COVID-19 crisis and things. But, you do you, and that’s, that’s pretty cool. So not much noise. And then I kind of prepare, the fundraise and in the start of April, I’m like, okay, this is it. Like I’m releasing it for sure. I launched my video article.

And so it was $20,000, which at the time for me was great because it’s the smallest amount that’s still substantial, but at the same time, I don’t want it to put too big because I’m not sure how much actually I could have raised. And I just do this. And in four days, it’s all like it’s oversubscribed.

And so I was super surprised and they were like awesome people in the space, like at Danfoss day, like the project lead get minimized or so many author, great founders and the investors. And yeah, I was really surprised when I finished it. This is when the media started, going at me saying like I was the first human IPO, et cetera.

So that was really fun times. And then I still like, ideate with people about startups and everything. And two months in I’m like, okay, I might do something again with my token. Because this was really fun. And so Austin Griffis, which is a developer in this space, just at this personal tokenvoting that was inspired by my token.

And I’m discussing with him. I’m like, well, I should really own it. And I should do some voting with my Token. And so two months ago, or like a month ago, I unveiled control my life. Which is like a clickbait title, but it is basically people can choose my habit in July. And so this July so far, I’ve been running five kilometers every single day, because this is what the challenge, this is what the people voted like they had to sign the $ALEX token.

so there was another use case. a month ago there was also a chat room. On telegram, where if you have an $ALEX token, you can send a transaction through that. You own them. And then we get you a unique invite to a telegram group. So I just like summed up the past few experience. We want the $ALEX token, but basically, it represents my potential as a founder my popularity. The more people are aware, likely the higher the prices going up and, on the basis that I will maybe be a successful person later. So I’m banking on this. so many use cases we can go through any, any of what you like. and yet that’s, that’s the $ALEX token for you.

Ben: [00:36:46] That’s just fascinating. there’s, there’s a lot to unpack there. these personal tokens have a lot of similarities with  income share agreements, which have been around for quite some time. And  I think actually the first human IPO was in 2008, of course it wasn’t tokenized and all of these things, but  did you talk to this guy before were inspired by him inspired by income share agreements? I know you talked briefly about  you have this potential and it’s, and I completely agree with you, right? It’s like you want to unlock this and help you get along your way, but did income share agreements this first human IPO did all of these things kind of influence you? Walk me through  the decision making process of doing the actual iPO itself

Alex: [00:37:30] for that

Ben: [00:37:31] initial person offering if it works.

Alex: [00:37:34] Yeah, yeah, exactly. Initial $ALEX offering. yeah, so, you’re right. it’s so it’s not Mike Merrill so Mike Merrill , is the person that you referred to, which is someone who in 2008 sold a million dollars worth of shares in himself. I knew he existed. I think someone told me like the year before, but I never really connected the dots on him. And I actually got to know him because I got some press and stuff. And so he got interested in me and now, like we know each other, but, no, like what really inspired me is that I knew that ISA was a big, I think because I come from the startup world.

I know that in the Startup world , if you’re a young developer, there’s Lamda school and other innovative schools that can form you, that can educate you and you pay later based on your potential as a software developer. So I knew that ISA was a big thing. I also knew of James Gallagher, which is like an exceptional, very young person, I think is like 17.

He did an ISA himself. And so that was really intriguing, and the third thing is that I am familiar with  the super ambitious young person in Silicon Valley. And I know that some people like welding Stanford or other very elite schools, sometimes Angel investors approached them saying, you know, I want to give you a hundred thousand dollars right now against 10% of your income in the next 10 years.

And so this is something that right now has just been reserved for the elite of Silicon Valley. And I really wanted to benefit from it myself, especially in times, like COVID-19 where there was likely a crisis happening, and it was maybe harder to make money in the short term.

And so personal tokens enable that they enable anyone in the world, if they have enough people believing in them, a very easy vehicle to fundraise. And it’s not like an ICO where it’s based on a project and it can be like, you know, opaque here. It’s it’s myself. Like I can’t really run away. Like, of course, like a less crazy scenarios, but I cannot run away from my own character and my own self.

So it feels more transparent. Sure. I can run away with the money, but that would ruin my reputation. So this is the reasoning behind it. . so yeah, the $20,000 for context is an ISA. I am giving 15% of my income in the next few years, which I find like a really good deal because it’s a good deal for both parties because I’m getting $20,000 and they might get more in the next few years, but it’s like a delayed loan.

so it’s, it’s, it’s really good. I think for both parts and it’s easier for me as a founder of that giving up equity, income is much, much easier than equity. So anyway, yeah, inspiration is the ISA and crypto isn’t too starty sometimes. Crypto is like open source people idealists  and  didn’t really know about the ISA world and I’m the one who bridged the two.

And so that’s why I think it got interesting  in the mainstream press, because people knew about investing in young people, but they also knew about crypto. And so I mixed both topics and that was really new.

Ben: [00:40:37] So the token  holders get 15% of your income. And it sounds like basically this is just backed by your reputation and trust that you will be actually paying 15% of any income and actually including all of your income.

Are you only including like, Ethereum based income. So it’s provable or ultimately they just have to trust you that you’re tracking all of it and paying out a proportion.

Alex: [00:41:03] Right.  So no, it’s, it’s all of my income. Well, that’s what I say. So , people have to trust me, but it’s all of my income. right now I collected the funds on a transparent address.

Which still,  owns most of the money. so it’s Masmej.ETH, which is like my last name in French, the dot ether. So people can check it out and they can look it up. and yes, so I made some, income in the past three months and so quarterly, I will give it out. and then we’ll probably publish it, I will do it, this month, which is the first ever time. I am dispersing my income, and yet I made some income just might as well share some of them. Some of it was those people that supported me. And, so it’s all my income.

I’m not even counting taxes. It’s  gross. I just thought, yeah, I want to give out as much as possible to people who supported me. And, and for me like this, this, this of course, man, it’s going to be not even like five or 10% of the total amount anyway, so.  it’s very great because the next three years it’s they probably will make a profit.

I kept it at a hundred thousand dollars, which is like enormous. Anyway, I’m not sure I’m going to have 5x my Loan in three years with 15%, but just in case I kept it. so it’s a sweet spot between philanthropy because they’re not getting venture capital returns . , They’re not doing 100x on me.

But, it’s a mix of philanthropy  and venture capital returns. It’s like in between, like they have being me, they’ll go and make a bit of money and, it’s a fun experience for everyone. And, yeah, I think, yeah. Fair terms. it was kind of decided randomly to be honest, but yeah,

Ben: [00:42:42] So that 20K just curious , treasury management, is it held in ETH, since this is public, I assume it’s okay to disclose. Is it held in ETH partially in DAI? Is it lent out on compound to earn a little interest? what’s  the thought process there.

Alex: [00:42:57] So, I am a very risk taking person, and so I found the sweet spot between getting exposed to maybe an ETH Bull market. And, of course crushing all my, a savings is that I bought a token sets with the $20,000. That is, I think it’s called RSI 60/40 ETH. So it’s an indicator of how bullish it is and yeah, if it’s trending bearish it resells, but somatically to cUSDC on compound.

So worst case scenario, I’m earning a yield on compound best case scenario it is held in ETH and that Itself for the $20,000 is insured on And fortunately it’s actually very cheap to insure Because it’s a smart contract that’s been battle tested, it’s been there for awhile.

There was no hacks, there was great audits and things. And so I think it cost me something like $60 to ensure this and the upside is enormous. So right now I’m still at $20,000 because I’m pretty much like the market didn’t really move in any good direction. Like Ether is pretty low, but I am, I can. I think feel a bull market because Ethereum has been, completely crazy the past month in growth, and I’m sure that the ETH price will catch up and it’s going to be really interesting to see.

And so, yeah, I’m also willing to benefit and  people have asked me, , are you going to give out some money from the profit you make from the $20,000 speculation-wise? And I guess yeah, up to a certain cap. If that can help me feel more comfortable, giving out more funds to them as a thank you for believing in me.

And, yeah,  that’s likely, so I’m also going to give out maybe portions, at least,  I don’t know, like the first $5,000 of profit of those 20K I’ll for sure give it out to those  

Ben: [00:44:54] Nice. And I’ll definitely link to those token sets  that you’re using. That’s very interesting.

Talking about  the actual sale itself, you raised $20,000. there were a few people, one of which is in this call that sent his money a little too late and didn’t get any $ALEX tokens.

Alex: [00:45:11] Yeah, I remember that.

Ben: [00:45:13] I missed by one block.

Alex: [00:45:15] This is such a crazy story. Yeah. , there’s like three people, including you, that sent slightly too late.

And I thought, should I take them? Like this was more money. So I was like, well, that’s great. Right. Why would you refuse money? It’s because it would either Dilute  more everyone or I didn’t feel comfortable. I was like, well, that’s over now? yeah. Sorry about this.

Ben: [00:45:36] Yeah, you said 20 K and you collected 20 K and I was over that limit. So, that’s what I, that’s what I get for trying to contribute $21,000. Okay. So, these token holders, there’s a distinction between the tokens that were initially purchased in this initial $ALEX offering and the tokens that are now tradable on Uniswap.Exchange? So if you  could just talk to me a little bit more about the token , where it is trading, what the market cap is, how it’s performed since the initial $ALEX offering and the difference between the tokens that I can buy on And that were available in the initial $ALEX offering.

Alex: [00:46:15] That’s  an excellent  question.

And that’s a question that , I surprised myself because I really thought this was straightforward. I didn’t re-think about the consequences of doing the sale, but then I realized, damn, like I did a use case with 10% of the supply, but then one token, has some income claims and 90% of it doesn’t so it’s a bit of a weird situation and maybe I should have gone in retrospect a special token. So like maybe like $ALEX income or whatever, like another token. so that it’s more clear, but yeah, basically percent of the supply. So there are 10 million $ALEX in total. I reserved a million tokens for that use case, and so they were sort of at a premium, 2 cents each, I think right now.

So right now, so funny enough, because , I’m getting more popular and I did like control my life and other experiments,  the token, the price actually went up that valuation, but at the time it wasn’t big premium. I was valuing myself, I think at 200K, which made sense because I raised 20K.

So like, I don’t know. I just rule of thumb. It’s like  10X. yeah. I just thought it was like a reasonable,  so those tokens get the income claim. And I told the people before I dispersed my income claim. If I see on your address that you exited $ALEX tokens. So that you sold on the market or that, you know, you use that to pay for one of my services.

So you sent $ALEX to my address so that I can put form of service, like it tweets, or like voting on whatever thing or getting office hours with me or whatever use case we have, Together. If you did exit your income claims in any way, you will get a pro rata or less  income share. So that means that maybe in the next few years, my 15% claim will slightly diminish.

If people spend it by then. so, and it’s also a great way for them to exit, like if they want to, they can exit this experiment and get some money back and maybe more money back if the utility $ALEX, so 90% of the supply on uniswap goes super off and they’re like, well, the income claims might never reach that.

So might as well exit today. that’s that’s, that’s fine too. so yeah, the $ALEX that you buy on Uniswap today, so like the free market, $ALEX, Is not eligible for any income claim. And this was like slightly confusing. . So long story short, the income sharing $ALEX is a one way bridge to the utility, $ALEX. And today by $ALEX and Uniswap will not give you any income claims because I want to give my income to people who gave me the money directly.

When you buy $ALEX on uniswap, I am indirectly benefiting , but not entirely. It’s mostly the market makers that are benefiting. And I’m wondering your market maker of like 5% of all $ALEX at most like its, its role, its other holders and things. So, yeah. So long story short, there’s now two different kinds of $ALEX with the same ticker and symbol, but it’s fine. I managed to keep the two like, experiments and people around it separate. So it’s okay. So far.

Ben: [00:49:31] Yeah. And that’s the benefits of being on a blockchain, such as ETH, right?  all of this is public transparent and  permanent. So you can trace the entire time. See if they’ve held at, see how long they’ve held it.  See the original wallet. So it’s got a lot of benefits. the entire supply that 10 million $ALEX tokens are all tradable, or did you hold any yourself , any treasury that you kept for yourself or they’re all trading now?

Alex: [00:49:57] Right. So the token economics of my personal token was mostly decided by Roll because I decided to go through Roll.

Roll has a vesting mechanism, meaning that I don’t get the 10 million $ALEX straight away. So every month giving me 200,000 $ALEX, which is big because, right now I think there’s only 800,000, $ALEX liquid on uniswap. So that are like in market makers. Currently on uniswap v1 and on uniswap V2 and even recently on balancer, which is another decentralized exchange.

and so these, so yeah, 200,000 and dollars dispersed monthly to my wallet from a Roll Cold wallet where they keep like millions of the remaining $ALEX. so, so far there is 3.4 Million circulating $ALEX. and yet it’s going to be a bit more every month, but I basically never sold any, I don’t want to, it would feel like I’m shorting myself if I were selling $ALEX.

So I don’t want to do that.  I’m going to do an experiment very soon. I’m not sure if I should talk. Yeah. Well it actually, maybe because this podcast will be released by then.  I’m going to try to do some liquidity mining, like compound has done with my token because the $ALEX token right now is liquid.

There’s like $20,000 worth of floating $ALEX, but it’s not that much. If you want to buy or sell the price is very volatile. And so for better prices discovery, I want to make it so that I want to incentivize people. To supply $ALEX to uniswap as like a market maker. I think this will be very interesting because we would actually see what the community values my token.

And I just want to incentivize it and try to see if people, and if people do it, so I have no clue right now of whether it’s going to be successful or not, but I’m going to unveil this very soon.

Ben: [00:51:45] Nice jump on the liquidity mining band bandwagon. So this is, this is being recorded July 16th and it’s very hot right now .

The market makers that are supplying liquidity to Uniswap already are earning the fees, right? So they’re already incentivized to create a liquid market for this $ALEX token. So you’re going to , and if you haven’t plotted this whole thing out,  we don’t have to talk about it, but the idea is to incentivize those liquidity  providers with additional $ALEX tokens for growing the liquid of the $ALEX token.

Gotcha. Yes. So, I mean, it sounds like Roll is basically fulfilling the role of being a smart contract. So they took that $20,000. They’re emitting these, 200,000 $ALEX to  you the initial 1 million was circulating, but these people are incentivized not to sell because you know, they get a portion of your income.

So it had a very low actual circulating supply from the very get go, right?

Alex: [00:52:48] Yes. so Roll, the way Roll makes money or will make money is that they own 12% of all $ALEX. So that’s their fee and make people shout it at me saying, wow, this is crazy. Like this is such a high fee. And to be honest, I am very fine, with that fee, at least for now.

And I’m sure I will in the future because they are not planning to sell. They, they are, I am one of the first use cases and anyone who’s hearing this podcast and wants to their own personal token. So again, let me, let me tell you, like they are not going to sell your 12%. So if anything, like they are. willing to help you.

They are going to be skin in the game. They’re going to put ETH on uniswap liquidity. they, even for my $20,000 sale like they, they actually gave me 12% of that sale. So they are skinning the game more than anything. And so that’s how they help. Yeah, of course. It’s like, it’s of course the role of the smart contract, as well.

So yeah, the Roll team is great.

Ben: [00:53:44] Can you give our listeners a little overview of what the process looks like for role? you go in and you just say, I want a personal token or , will you have needed to think through some of these things, , is it a utility token? Is it income share agreement?

what does this mean? Will I use Austin’s control my life dashboard? , through the kind of higher level process there.

Alex: [00:54:06] Right. So I think so there’s multiple philosophies. So first I am not a Roll user because I am a power user of Ethereum and I’m well connected to the space. And I did this awesome Griffith’s personal token voting thing.

I did a, the personal chat room with a bridge where people signed to get into a next week, Alex chatroom. So I’ve done X for myself, but role isn’t, like didn’t do anything for . So what role does is. First of all, they select people. So they, Roll acts as a credential. Like I don’t think they opened it to the public.

So for now, people who goes through Roll, like Roll did some due diligence on like, should we trust this person? Like, is this like a good enough person? Like, we don’t want to, have scams, you know, so they, so they act as a credential almost that’s their value. And then for people who are not in crypto roll is a great way to buy. into a community so that you create QR codes and things like this that you can give out to your fans and then, or your community and people can exchange it and buy it only through my guests. but the tooling isn’t quite there yet. On Roll side . So you can go on, on uniswap to, to trade it.

So, yeah. Did you don’t think about the ISA use case for, for roll the use cases? I’m an artist. I’m a creator, I’m a YouTuber I’m a streamer. I will give free tokens to my community and see how they react with it and, and try out some experiments like, Oh, if you own some out, if you own some $ALEX tokens, maybe, you know, like my arts will be discounted 20% to you or things like this.

So they don’t really, you don’t have to come with an intentions whatsoever. When I created my token last year. Sure. Like 10 months ago, they told me. Yeah, let’s, let’s just try it out. Let’s say an hour of your time to start off and we’ll see how the community reacts. And they’re very flexible because they all know everyone has a different community, vision, et cetera.

So they really want to be agnostic of whatever vision th tooken holder is. And they just want to facilitate selling, giving away and things like this. And that’s it. It’s more like a protocol rather than a product. They don’t have an opinion. It’s like investing in someone’s community pretty much. That’s what they call it.

Ben: [00:56:19] Yeah.  I’m bullish on this space in general. I think somehow investing in these creators before they are the super popular creator on the internet, is a fascinating idea.  Patreon capital just announced a few months ago that that’s basically what they’re doing.

Right. They can see the subscriber count. They can see the number of people. They can see the growing, Interest in this creator and they say, okay, well what would you do with another 50,000 bucks? would it increase your subscriber count and catapult you to the next level? If so, we’re interested in investing in you, the creator,  you might not have access to bank loans or whatever.

So , yeah, I think it’s a fascinating space.  Overall with personal tokens.  are you bullish in this space? What is in your opinion, the best use case or  the ideal customer avatar person looking to create a personal token for themselves?

Alex: [00:57:11] so yeah, I have very bullish, on this space.

I think there are two ways. And so I’ve quite like searched a lot in this area in the past two months or three months. I think there’s two main ways. This is going to go the first one. And you touched on it. You just see as the future of Kickstarter, which is, you know, you want you to sell a product. and that product will be a token in itself.

so that, you know, it’s not a security, it’s not something that has income and direct money value. You it’s like a product that you could use out of it yourself. And then maybe like the sum of your products will amount to some personal, token some source, but in this way, you kind of avoidthislegislation around it.

And this is what Zora and foundation have done, which I think is really genius. Which is you tokenize not the person, but you tokenize, like a pair of shoes. You tokenize, a tee shirt, you tokenize a piece of art. And so for creators, it’s a way to benefit from the market-making innovation of Ethereum and crypto.

And so it’s not personal tokens yet, but it’s, you know, art or like product tokens of creators. So Kickstarter is like, I think in the same range of ideas, that’s really going to be huge. and the second one is maybe going full into security and basically say, the new Y Combinator okay. This is a security token. This is like investing in someone’s future,  ISA or the new seed round, and let’s go full on for it. And they’re kind of like the coinlist of personal tokens, which is we are going to select exceptional young people with, very high income potential, and we are going to trade them and investor’s gonna form like a personal boards of directors to help them during that future. So it’s kind of like incentivized mentors.

And so I think these are the two use cases. So I thought you go the fully regulated route with security and like do coinlist for personal tokens. And you invest in a new startup, almost like seed round thing, or you go to, okay, let’s create tokens of someone’s product and services. and so that way it’s the product that’s being sold. So it’s not a legal issue. And, it’s, it’s, it’s perfect that way. So I think these are the two main things I am most bullish on in the personal token space.

Ben: [00:59:26] That’s awesome. I love what you said about incentivized mentorship.  what an awesome idea. you’ve written about this before, right? That you  basically have your own personal board of directors. That’s helping you with your life decisions. It’s what everybody’s looking for in mentorship. And if you can find a way to incentivize them because people’s time is not free, which these personal tokens have  this potential

you touched briefly on. the legality of these personal tokens. I would imagine this is a very gray, legal area. I’ll caveat this I’m not a lawyer. I don’t think that you’re a lawyer, but I’m his Roll  helping you, think through some of these things or, , it’s gray, it’s new. it’s, it’s kind of one of these things that we’ll figure out later.

Alex: [01:00:12] Yeah, for sure. So, for Roll it’s, it’s clear that this is not a security and I’m sure they consulted some lawyers and they are convinced. Buy it, but roll did not really anticipate my use case that I did pretty much without the permission, which was the income sharing agreement. And so this one , I did this without any legal. enforcement, not even crypto enforcement. so yeah, for sure, like it’s, it’s up for debate.  it’s a very, very brand new topic. No one has ever done this ever in the world. Mike Merrill, I don’t even know his situation, but it was different because he wasn’t crypto and that’s totally changed.

. I think I was extremely reasonable with the amounts. And, this is not something you know, that regulators care about, but of course, this is something if I wanted to do like the same ISA at scale, like critical platform, of course, I would look at it, things like, regulations and what can I do about it?

But there’s like the jobs act, there’s a income-based royalty crowd funding, which is  another gray area that I could perhaps fit into. But  the thing is  we don’t know, role tells. people like me that we should only tokenize our community. And so there is no income claims whatsoever. And so that’s  straightforward.

This is not, this is a commodity, like everyone can trade that, et cetera. So, yeah, it’s a, it’s a gray area, but I think me and Kerman, we were very reasonable by raising very small amounts.  of course the elephant in the room is that, of course I will repay people.

And so if no one is upset, I don’t think there’s going to be, you know, any, any whatsoever. So yeah. you know, it’s a gray area on an extremely small scale, so there will be no problem for me. I’m not even located in the United States during this experiment because of COVID. So I’m really, really safe, but of course, If you want to do income claims at scale, on the more serious, business side.

yes. This is probably recommended to consult a lawyer. I have consulted informally, some lawyers that told me like, it is, it has some security elements through the ISA, but like the more I talk about it, the, yeah, it’s like, What can I do? It’s, it’s a very small scale. I don’t, I don’t want to, you spend like, half the fees of that race in like lawyers preparation of some paperwork.

I think it’s, it’s all reasonable amounts and it’s fine. Yeah. And there are way bigger fish to fry, but yeah, for sure. we’ll see how it goes. I think this is what I just said. You know, you, my previous answer is that either you go to a regulated route and you say this is a new way to invest in people.

Oh, you go the product route where it’s like, well, you buy a product that has some utility. The price might be dynamically priced by the market. Okay. But it’s a product, it’s a utility. So yeah, there’s both ways to go around it. And, mites are going to some kind of both. So who knows really? But what I know what I know with that, I’m fine.

Ben: [01:03:08] Well,  you said it correctly, right? You raised $20,000 to do this thing correctly, set up a legal entity, get legal opinions and the legal team, , you’re looking at $50,000 and it’s like, what?

So kudos to you for doing it. It’s it’s awesome.  I am curious on these tokens that are circulating trading on uniswap and this voting platform.

All tokens have the same voting rights or this initial 1 million that were sold in the initial $ALEX offering have different voting rights versus the circulating supply.

Alex: [01:03:44] So they, they do, the whole,h vea some votes. And the reason why is because, so I, as I said previously, I want the people who have my income claims to not fail the $ALEX.

This is more like a share of my future, but. Distinct from the free market, $ALEX, the reason why everyone can vote on, control my life, experiment is because it is just signing, proving that you on the token. So the token do not move whatsoever, which makes it easier for everyone. So for sure, like if you, yeah, for $20,000, 1 million, like if you have a  Alex, Because you gave out $2,000 to that sale, then you can just sign it and improve your own them.

So this is a very lightweight experiment that is free because it just involves signing a transaction on your existing tokens. And this is the reason why everyone can do it.

Ben: [01:04:37] And it’s, it’s fine until roll with 12% of your supply starts voting. Cause they can swing that vote pretty easily.

I would think so.

Alex: [01:04:44] Yeah.

Ben: [01:04:46] If there’s any listeners looking to do an initial personal token offering, let me know. I missed $ALEX’s so , I’m still hungry for them obviously. I’m surprised actually, we haven’t seen. And investment DAO that’s only investing in initial personal token offerings, , basically pooling the money and just investing in these initial  personal token offerings.

it’d be kind of the similar process. somebody would have to do due diligence on each of these, but,  it’d  be a pretty cool, interesting new investment vehicle that’s for sure. So let me know if you hear of any of those

Alex: [01:05:22] for sure. For sure.  

Ben: [01:05:24] going forward, it seems like a lot of people are looking at personal tokens.

what sort of advice would you give them? Would you say, go to roll. Think about either the regulated or the utility route?  what kind of advice would you offer them?

Alex: [01:05:38] so there are multiple platforms. They can see whether they are creator, like if they would a podcast or newsletter or something.

they could probably, either create their own token or they can go through role or they can go through rally or they could even go through, Zora or foundation if they are like artists with a decent sized following. So it depends on your use case. I think the more crypto native your urgency is the easier it is to do some experiments, because for me, like this was the easiest use case because the people, my network, in ethereum, they all know Ethereum, they all know how to use metamask.

And so this was much easier to pull it off. And so if you’re more like an artist and you’re not really into crypto, maybe look into some things like roll, Zora, foundation, Rally, which are the current platforms for those who don’t really, it’s not that you, it’s not like the people who look like themselves should not know about etheruem, but it’s a different audience.

Like you might know if they’re in, but if your audience does it, then better goes through some platforms that facilitate it. So, and make it easy to create one. So I would say, yeah, yeah, there’s a few platforms or you can try them out. It’s going to be a huge space in the future. It’s just a very start.

Ben: [01:06:52] So you hinted that perhaps some liquidity mining, but what excites you for $ALEX token holders? Kind of in the near term?

Alex: [01:07:01] So near term, I am excited to first disperse my income. This is going to happen in the next 10, 15 days. So I’m speaking in mid July right now. this is going to be exciting.

liquidity mining is gonna be exciting as well. I’m going to see like what the new liquidity, like is this going to work? Are people gonna like it? And if I get more people invested in myself because of this experiment. What new advice, what new help, what new leverage will be able to pull off that?

and then, yeah, excited to move to San Francisco, doing a startup raise funds and, and excited to see how the market reacts to my future self. That’s going to be super interesting. I know that Kerman, which is, someone who did a special ticket just after me. he got hired by Zora, which is a great company, inthepersonal took in space or like kind of like a similar space.

And I think his price went up dramatically since then, because it’s like, wow, it’s a proof that he gets a tier one startup role. So that’s really awesome. So , I’m excited to see how the market reacts. And I’m also excited of course, and anyone listening to the podcast who wants to do apersonaltoken, can reach out to me.

And he said, buy the new ones. Like. It’s just, you know, at most five people that I know who did their own and take it seriously. So I’m really excited to see, other people do it.

Ben: [01:08:20] you have a knack for finding yourself in these niche, smaller corners of the crypto sphere, crypto in general,  what areas within this. Ethereum crypto ecosystem excites you the most from more of an investment standpoint,  this could be the next big thing in your opinion.

Alex: [01:08:39] Well, to be honest, when I look at the crypto space for me, it’s, Defi, DAO NFT  personal tokens for me are the four primitives and it feels like I’ve done all of them.

and so now what’s excites me the most, which is kind of ironic, is , Going out of these small niches,  what can normal consumers use out of this four primitives , maybe a mix of some of those together. now it’s like, let’s forget about the 200,000 people who are crypto natives, and we’re pretty much nerds.

Right? And let’s, that’s going to be the big thing. I’ve explored everything this year. I’d explored every single primitive. Now I’m going to try to make it so that. the actual market of 99.9999% of people in the world care about this. this is , my next big thing. And that’s why I wanted to do a start up.

And I really hope I will find something, but yeah, like these use cases are awesome and I, Oh, and every time we discussed it on the podcast and you know, we say, yeah, I’m bullish on the future. I’m bullish on the future. Well, now let’s build a future. That’s what I’m most excited about.

Ben: [01:09:43] Absolutely. And I think these, personal tokens, especially right now,  people are looking for good investment opportunities and on the receiving end people, could use this extra funding to give them a little boost career wise that they might need. So it’s an interesting time for this to pop up for sure.

Well, Alex, I really appreciate you taking the time. I know it’s super late where you are right now and you’re in Paris, right? Yeah. So, just lastly , , how can people get in touch, find out more  follow what you’re working on?

Alex: [01:10:14] Sure, sure. I guess a good point is a good shiling point for me is Twitter.

So at Alex  M E S M E J. And, yeah, that’s, that’s a great place to start. I’m pretty active on there. And, yeah, like if anyone wants to DM me, it’s the same  for telegram. So feel free to message me directly as well there.

Ben: [01:10:33] Thank you so much, Alex. Really appreciate it. And I think our listeners are really going to enjoy this conversation.

Alex: [01:10:38] Thank you so much, Ben. That was really interesting.

Ben Lakoff is an entrepreneur and finance professional. He has developed strong global finance experience through 10 years of international assignments in the US, Brazil, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Czech Republic and through the award of his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.