Episode 7: Mark Eckerle and Joey Ryan, CFO of TrustSwap

In this episode, Mark Eckerle and Joey Ryan, CFO of TrustSwap, a provider of blockchain-related, multi-chain DeFi tools and services to both corporate and retail customers, discuss the Company’s various product lines and service offerings. They also examine the state of centralized exchanges, tokenomics of vesting schedules, exciting potential products and Swappable, TrustSwap’s NFT service line.

Transcript:

This podcast was transcribed through a third-party application. Please disregard any misrepresentations.

Mark Eckerle:

Hello, listeners, welcome to this episode of Cryptonomix. Before we jump into today’s discussion, please keep in mind this recording is for general education and is not intended to constitute investment advice. Any opinions expressed are those of the participants and do not necessarily represent those of Withum. Hello everyone, and welcome back to Cryptonomix, brought to you by, Withum. I’m your host, Mark Eckerle. And today our guest is Joey Ryan, who is the CFO at TrustSwap. TrustSwap provides blockchain related multi-chain DeFi tools and services to both corporate as well as retail customers. They have four main products, which will take a deeper dive into on today’s episode. But first, welcome to today’s show, Joe.

Joey Ryan:

Thanks, Mark. Good to be here. Good to see you again. Mark and I go way back in the crypto space. I think when you’re past 2018, it makes you a crypto dinosaur, so it’s good to be
here and good to reconnect

Mark Eckerle:

One year in this space. Puts a lot of gray hairs on your head and it’s like 10 years in any other business, right?

Joey Ryan:

Absolutely. I got the gray hairs to show it for sure.

Mark Eckerle:

So do I. I gotta keep the long hair so it kind of hides them a little bit better.

Joey Ryan:

I hear you. Yeah, I’m trying to do the same.

Mark Eckerle:

But let’s kick things off first with kind of your crypto journey, right? Because I know you’ve been in this space for quite some time, like you said, 2018 back then, it’s been a while since where we were and where the market has evolved to since then, but talk to us about your crypto journey really quickly. How you got into this space, what made you fall down the rabbit hole, and then ultimately how you ended up at a TrustSwap?

Joey Ryan:

Yeah, so my journey begins probably 2017, and I’ll drag this out for fun. Actually, it may have even been 2015. I was working at EY at the time, so I’m a CPA. Started out in public accounting, was working at RSM and I’ve also worked at EY. So I was working at EY at the time. It was a late night, you know, trying to wrap up an audit and a partner. I was there with my team. We’re the only ones in the office. This was, again, I believe it was 2015, a partner came barging into the office again, eight o’clock at night, nine o’clock at night and started just screaming nonsense about Bitcoin. Have you heard about Bitcoin? You know, blockchain, it’s gonna change things. And you know, me and the five of my other team members like, looked at this guy, like he was off his, you know, get outta here.

Joey Ryan:

Crazy old man, like crazy old man. Yeah, we’re trying to wrap up an audit on some client, I don’t even remember the client. And this guy’s trying to talk about Bitcoin at nine o’clock at night during busy season. So like, get outta here. I have no idea what you’re talking about. But that was the first time I ever heard of it. And I do remember the next, not the next day, but I wanna say after we busy season kind of calmed down or maybe after we filed the client, I think we were getting close to filing then. So maybe it was a week later in my head I was like, huh, I wonder what he was talking about. And I remember kind of googling Bitcoin at the time.

Joey Ryan:

I don’t remember if Google was it was a thing back then. The short results back then when you’re trying to figure out, I remember trying to figure out how to buy it. I was like, maybe I can buy like 20 bucks of it or something. And back then it was like paper wallets. Like I remember, I had no development experience at all, like, had no idea like anything about coding or anything. And it was all like underground Reddit threads on creating paper wallets and sending money to some like random wallet address, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, what is this like shady, am I gonna get like hunted down by the feds here? Like, no way, right? So I, I kind of pushed it to the side and it rerose again. So that was kind of my first like, Hey, what is Bitcoin?

Joey Ryan:

It rerose again to me in late 2017, 2018. This was when the AICPA really started pushing out a lot of their, if you wanna say propaganda around how Web3 and blockchain was really going to revolutionize accounting. So I started going down the rabbit hole from the accounting angle back then. That’s where I really understood what blockchain was, what Bitcoin was, how it works, the decentralized nature, all that fun stuff when we all kind of have our own, if you wanna say enlightenment period on how blockchain and crypto works. So when I came out the other side in 2018, I realized that, hey, I either, at the time again, I was still in public accounting, I was like, Hey, I should either kind of become an industry leader in crypto and blockchain as it relates to accounting within my CPA firm.

Joey Ryan:

Or, you know, better yet, let’s, let’s create my own or work on creating my own kind of crypto accounting solution. If we see that payments through the blockchain and accounting, utilizing the blockchain, utilizing cryptocurrency is kind of where the future is heading. Nobody’s touching this right now. And this could be a significant problem that you’re solving in the space that a lot of corporations are gonna have issues with going forward. So ended up saying F it, let’s take the dive into starting my own company and at the time and let’s say not starting my own company, but was definitely doing research on crypto accounting and where I could take it. And at the time met Gil, who had an idea around Gilded, or had, I guess just started Gilded at the time as kind of an invoice, crypto invoice payment solution, integrating invoices, payments with accounting.

Joey Ryan:

We kind of had the initial idea and met Gil and kind of our other co-founders, Ken and Rena. And we co-founded Gilded at that time in 2018 around the idea of kind of crypto, like I said, crypto accounting, crypto invoicing being that integrated tool that companies, businesses, freelancers need in order to track and perform their kind of crypto accounting operations. Right? So, kind of took off from there. Went down the crypto, really down the crypto accounting rabbit hole. From there we got into Techstars in 2019, which is a sort of accelerated program very similar to Y Combinator. And that’s where we ended up making obviously a lot of connections in the space connections to Mark and Withum, plenty of other CPA firms that were at the cutting edge at the time, either doing audits or bookkeeping work, or if you wanna say consulting work for crypto companies and projects that were kind of entering in the space during crypto winter of 2018, 2019.

Joey Ryan:

So that’s really where my journey kind of started at Gilded. We grew the company and ended up raising an initial seed round. I was definitely part of the build structure and the growth, initial growth of the company, ended up last year, last summer, getting a offer from TrustSwap to come on as CFO at TrustSwap. And kind of after doing my due diligence on the company and seeing the massive opportunity that TrustSwap has kind of made the decision to move on over to TrustSwap. And that’s kind of how I got to where I am today.

Mark Eckerle:

So going from a Co-Founder to a CFO, have you discovered any transition? I mean, I’m sure you were the CFO both essentially, right? So you’ve been wearing the, I’m sure many hats in startup companies, so it’s not just CFO, right? You’re kind of running the whole finance team, the accounting team working with strategy and ops. So it’s, you’re kind of being pulled in 30 different directions. I’ll try to juggle one thing. So how has the transition been to TrustSwap and what have you liked most about it so far? Kind of what, what’s been the most exciting part after the first year?

Joey Ryan:

Yeah, so good question. There’s a lot when you’re starting from scratch or kind of coming into an area that you maybe had one person kind of doing some accounting function, you get to start with a blank canvas, right? Which is a great opportunity. So you can kind of build your finance and accounting department how you see fit. So I’d say there was an initial, you know, a pretty steep learning curve in regards to understanding the ins and outs of all the products we were offering, kind of our, all of our revenue streams, getting our arms around kind of the strategy and growth product map or roadmap I should say, that we had when I first started. So, you know, the learning curve around just understanding the business and the roadmap going forward, but also the learning curve around kind of building your own finance department.

Joey Ryan:

You know, I had that opportunity to guild it as well. However, we were still obviously super small as a startup, so the finance and accounting department needed basically me and maybe one other person for some outsourced help. But here it’s kind of bringing on a full team of, if you wanna say, outsource bookkeepers as well as some other consultants to help with kind of strategy and roadmap for control structures around the finance team. So as we’re growing and scaling, that will get built out more and more. And that’s kind of fun to be along the ride of, to see kind of what you envision starting to take shape and seeing the benefits of getting the right processes in place wherein it becomes a well oiled machine on the kind of finance and accounting and Op upside going forward.

Mark Eckerle:

Yeah, so jumping specifically into some of the operations at TrustSwap, right? Some of their offerings that customers can use because it kind of runs the gamut, right? There’s a lot of different avenues. It’s almost a one stop shop for a lot of users where they can buy, trade, create, ultimately store their digital asset, right? So like, what does that, I mean, gimme a quick rundown on all of ’em cause I’m sure we could talk here for hours on each one almost, but gimme a high level like executive summary on the, the four major product lines that you guys have.

Joey Ryan:

Yeah, so we’re a company with, as you mentioned, four product lines. So the first product line and kind of ethos that TrustSwap was founded on was, let’s say a smart contract escrow solution. So Jeff, our CEO kind of found the company on a question that he posed in a, in a cryptocurrency group, asking if there was a smart contract escrow solution wherein he could kind of do P2P fund sending or trades or being able to send funds P2P through a locking mechanism, right? Without kind of getting rugged per se. Like, hey, we have a contract, you’re gonna provide these services, I’ll put the funds in escrow and make it delivered to you as specific period of time once the contract has been fulfilled, right? So when he posed that question, he kind of assumed that there’s this problem had already been solved and it hadn’t.

Joey Ryan:

So that was the initial company ethos was kind of a P2P escrow smart contract escrow platform. And that grew to what we now have as team finance. So team finance is our first product line. It’s a line that basically provides token locks, liquidity locks, vesting as a service and token minting. And basically what those four kind of high level if you wanna say products within team finance too, is it allows any crypto project that is starting up, creating a token, you can mint a token on our website with a few clicks of a button, no development experience needed. The token that gets minted is fully smart contract audited, so it’s a fully audited minted token. You can then create a vesting schedule of your token. So if you’re, again, you’re a project founder, you’re gonna be giving tokens to co-founders, you can have those vests over a certain period of time, you’re gonna be giving tokens to advisors, maybe some pre-sale if you’re doing an ICO, you can have set vesting schedules for kind of all of those initial token sales that you do as a fundraising round, as well as, you know, tokens that you’re giving to advisors, co-founders etc.

Joey Ryan:

So we have kind of the smart contract locking platform to set those vesting schedules and have those tokens kind of released along those vesting schedules, liquidity locks. So again, you’re creating a token if you’re gonna provide liquidity on a DeFi exchange, Uniswap, um, QuickSwap for Polygon, PancakeSwap, etc. Any project can provide liquidity on those DeFi exchanges but they can obviously rug that liquidity if they want to. So within Team Finance, you have the ability to basically lock the liquidity that gets provided on those platforms. So a user or somebody that’s looking to potentially buy those token knows that, hey, the liquidity can’t get rugged because it’s locked on Team Finance. Similarly with just general token locks as we talked about having, tokens that you’re distributing to founders, if you want them locked up for a certain period of time, you can do that.

Joey Ryan:

So it’s kind of the all in one, if you want to say security platform. It inspires the most amount of trust and confidence in a crypto project that if they’ve gone through all the locking mechanisms and kind of launched their project through Team Finance, you can trust that they can’t go back and kind of rug pull you if they’ve locked everything correctly. So it’s providing a lot of value in the DeFi space in terms of all projects that are utilizing this. Again, it gives trust to the, if you wanna say third party token holder that it won’t be a rug pull, right? So we’re actually trying to expand these services to make Team Finance kind of the standard for all crypto projects to utilize going forward. Hopefully providing something like a security score for tokens that you could see when you’re browsing tokens like on CoinGecko or CoinMarketCap or something.

Joey Ryan:

And that security score would be a score based on, you know, do these, does these project have token locks locked in Team Finance or other lock platforms? Is liquidity locked? Is it a safe project? Is it something you can like trust that you’re not gonna get rug pulled. So that at a high level is Team Finance. The other three products we have are a little easier to talk about. The second one we have is a launchpad service. So we help companies that are looking to ICO, obviously outside the US can’t do that in the US or offer the participation to US investors. So it’s a non-US investors have the opportunity to basically invest in ICOs. So we will help these companies with tokenomics website design, any sort of like product roadmap, initial implications or initial kind of renderings or design on some of these startups and just kind of help them with their initial raise.

Joey Ryan:

So if a company/project wants to come to us, raise a million dollars, we have a community of potential investors that are interested in participating in what we’re calling like an ICO or pre-sale ICO. So we’ve helped around 40 projects launch their token, helped them raise over $45 million total between those projects. So you’re looking at roughly a million dollars or so per project. Some of these projects that we’ve launched have so far been successful in terms of executing on their roadmap and strategy. Again, these are early stage startups, and when you’re launching an early stage startup, especially since we’ve only been doing this for about a year, year and a half, these companies are super early stage, so a lot of them are still developing or continuing along their roadmap to hopefully build out the products that can help into the DeFi ecosystem going forward.

Joey Ryan:

So that’s launchpads. The third product line is what you mentioned before, The Crypto App. So The Crypto App right now is a portfolio tracking app that a user can utilize to track crypto prices, get crypto news, they can input their, if you wanna say exchange read only credentials. So if you have all your assets on Coinbase or you have some assets on Coinbase and Gemini, you can kind of input your credentials and we can track your portfolio that you’re holding all together across all your different platforms. If you have tokens just on MetaMass, you can input like your MetaMask, wallet address, etc. So we have those tracking mechanisms within The Crypto App for the kind of end user Trader Joe user to be able to kind of track their portfolio monitor crypto news, etc. And the last piece of vertical that we have is kind of an NFT services platform. We help companies that are looking to launch NFTs or kind of create an NFT strategy. We can kind of consult with them and help them either create NFTs, launch NFTs, or get kind of into the NFT space.

Mark Eckerle:

So, so definitely a lot to unpack there. Well, I’ll pick it apart in pieces a little bit. The first one is on The Crypto App. I just want a little bit more understanding there. So just to clarify to, to our listeners, you’re not transferring your assets, right? It’s not that TrustSwap is taking title and they’re being held like a common exchange or custodian. It’s just simply read only. It’s a portfolio viewer, portfolio management tool. I think that’s a clear distinction with where we are in the current market, right? You don’t want to be transferring your assets to an exchange if you’re in the self custody business. Obviously you said that if you’re buying and selling and trading, you owe asset somewhere, but I just like to make that clear for some of our users or for some of our listeners, because with where the market’s been over the last two months, you’re seeing a lot of liquidity that’s pulled off exchanges.

Mark Eckerle:

So you’re kind of losing some of that user-friendly tools that a Coinbase or Gemini or some of those changes have built in as long as you’re holding your assets there. So as you start to transfer funds, while it’s from one wallet to the other, or from an exchange self custody or whatever it may be, having tools like that The Crypto App are critical and crucial to understanding your portfolio as a whole, understanding your finances, your investment strategy, and your tax compliance at the end of the year. Now that, that’s obviously a required question to be answered on your 1040. So I just wanna make sure that everyone understands that the importance of what your app offers.

Joey Ryan:

And currently we have zero, if you wanna say custody or trade function enabled on the app. Right now, again, like you said, it’s just a portfolio tracker. So it’s just kind of read only reading your asset balances and being able to determine your current balances, be able to track again, your portfolio as a whole, so you don’t have to kind of open up multiple sites to see kind of where things stand today. And it provides all the kind of news and updates that are most prominent going on in the space today or hourly per se, across the globe, right? Not just in the US but, but across all kind of market sentiments globally. Now, ultimately we do kind of envision the app to be greater than it is today.

Joey Ryan:

Enabling that kind of trading functionality, custody functionality with other, if you wanna say earn functions potentially, etc., going forward, also being able to track and trade NFTs, kind of, we envision it down the road as being kind of the all in one app for all of your crypto needs going forward, but having that functionality where it can just be a portfolio tracker if you’re kind of in the self custody business or self custody mindset. But, it can also be your exchange if you’re utilizing centralized exchanges now. I think, yeah, as you know, we sit here today in, just for those listening, it is August of 2022, so you kind of understand where the market is at during this time period. I think as you said, a lot of people are kind of pulling off exchanges and holding through the self custodys function. I think centralized exchanges are not going away. I think there’s you know, if you wanna say it’s a recapitulation maybe right now of centralized exchanges in the space where maybe new regulatory guidance or proper frameworks or kind of lessons learned are gonna be coming out of it. So that, I think centralized exchanges as well as, even if you wanna say, interest bearing exchanges like BlockFi we obviously know what happened before during Celsius, but I think those kind of interest earning platforms are going to come back as well and be just as popular. I believe, you know, regardless of what people say now if anybody can earn 5% by partnering their funds somewhere, they’re gonna take the risk. I think we had a recap, like I said, a recapitulation event where I think some of those platforms were obviously over leveraged, over risk, trying to extend too much.

Joey Ryan:

I think there’s a happy medium where you can earn 5%, you can offer 5% return in a relatively safe model that if the market collapses doesn’t result in kind of the downfall that we’ve seen. So I think there’s a way around ways around offering that. I think the two crucial things going forward will be like transparency for the users so the users really understand where their deposits are going in platforms like that as well as, like I said the risk management obviously and regulatory I think there’ll be some kind of regulatory framework that will make kind of risk management and risk compliance more tight and also I think there’s methods where maybe you can provide that through a self custody provider with maybe providing insurance or something. I think there’s just gonna be something that’s gonna come out of it where again, I don’t think those models are dead at all, because people will chase interests where they can. And right now the DeFi platforms are not the most user friendly for new users to be able to utilize and use to earn interest and farm, etc. So I think those centralized models are still gonna be around, especially capturing kind of the new users or the beginners or the people that are not living, breathing crypto every day.

Mark Eckerle:

Yeah, I almost like to think of it as if you think of just a financial institution, your standard financial institution where it’s like a run on the bank almost, right? Just testing the liquidity, see if the assets there, the reserves and that’s basically what happened in the crypto space. Like you mentioned there were some that just were over leveraged and some that had the assets and obviously the transparency is key because like we’re seeing, we do a lot of work in the, the stable coin space, so obviously having some monthly attestations or something even more frequent than that just provides the trust to your users that the reserve assets are in existence and they’re not sitting in x, y, z account being used for other activities outside of supporting that one-to-one peg for a stable coin. I totally agree, essential exchanges aren’t going anywhere. There’s always gonna be a need there. I don’t know if they’re gonna be holding as many assets. And then when you think of what the interest bearing accounts are, I mean that’s, it’s an alternative and there’s definitely gonna be a use case for them in this space. I know some offered interest rates much higher than others, which is probably the appeal and maybe which drove some other, negative causes and the reasons for some of the negative outlook.

Joey Ryan:

Like I said, 5% or even you’re getting, any of those people will chase that and those percentages, I believe there’s very reasonable low risk ways that those percentages can be earned for customers or users of those platforms going forward. So that’s why I’m saying I think it’s kind of gonna be a mainstay going forward and, and I think every kind of new industry or new niche within an industry has that kind of reckoning and that’s probably what happened here, kind of the over leverage and high risk takers got I guess and now you come back kind of more with the right mindset going forward and stronger overall for the industry going forward.

Mark Eckerle:

Yeah, no I agree. Now, I wanted to kind of, as we’re looking into some of these offerings, I wanted to take a deeper dive into the first one you explained, which has a basket of services kind of underlying the general name of Team Finance and looking into the liquidity management piece of specifically the vesting, right? Because we’re coming across a lot of our clients that have token warrants for a token that hasn’t been created yet. So it’s like the idea and some investors want a piece of that, of what that could look like in the future as well as just vesting contracts for tokens that are created, right? So I kind of think of it almost like restricted stock awards kind of, but not similar kind of without the stock somewhat where the vesting schedule it unlocks, it’s time based over x amount of months. But can you talk a little bit further about just what that is as a whole, like tokenomics behind that.

Joey Ryan:

Yeah, absolutely. So it’s super critcal for any project that kind of launches and starts providing liquidity or starts having liquidity on DeFi exchanges or if they strike a deal to be able to get listed on some initial centralized exchanges. Obviously, when you create your project and your token gets listed there’s a lot of initial holders of the tokens, again, not just the founding team, potential early team members, advisors, if you wanna say pre-sale investors, if you kind of did an ICO round, right? That similar to when you’re IPOing, right? You have investors that invest in a seed round or seed stage and a Series A, right? So very similarly you have the same kind of series of raises that occur where investors get in earlier than a public list price, right? So when companies, or when these token projects list, you can, let’s just say for all intents and purposes, the process at a very high level is very similar to like IPOing, right?

Joey Ryan:

It gets listed, the public now has access to buy, sell, trade, that token anywhere in the world, right? Let’s just take aside all the regulatory aspects. It’s just like, it’s a similar thing that occurs, right? So you, again, you have those, those presale early investors, etc. So it’s a lot of initial people that have token or initial investors, initial team members, initial people that are driven by the success or highly invested in the success of the project that have tokens that come in that quote an early price, right? So it’s important that those people that are in at an early price have a specific vesting schedule so that when the token starts listing on exchanges and now public has access, let’s just theoretically say your buy pressure goes up because now you have access to kind of the globe that can now purchase it.

Joey Ryan:

So if buy pressure goes up, if everybody that already on the supply side that was holding the token, if they have the ability to basically dump all of their holdings right away that’s where you see those initial spikes and then all of a sudden it dumps like crazy, right? What’s happening is those early investors and founders are just dumping basically on the public’s head. You see that all the time in the regular stock market, right? Where companies list their listing price day of or within a few days is super hot. It goes sky high as kind of Trader Joe, buys his $500 worth of shares of whatever hot stock that just got listed and all those early investors seed round stage, Series A stage, they all start dumping on the public, etc. So it’s very similar to traditional markets in that way.

Joey Ryan:

So it’s super critical to have smart contract investing set up for those early stage investors so that again, they can’t dump a hundred percent of their tokens that they own immediately upon listing, right? And the tokenomics around it is that you want to be able to have the token get listed and for it to slowly kind of rise in price as the team is creating more utility for the token, creating more value for the token, creating more utility for their project, etc. And that ultimately if the company and project goes well, token price goes up, everybody makes a little bit of money along the way, right? So that’s kind of ultimately at a very high level what you’re trying to do with creating these, right, these tokenomics investing schedules is that, hey, as an early investor, I only can sell, you know, 2% or 5% of the tokens that I own upon listing, and then my tokens invest daily or weekly or monthly in this smart contract platform.

Joey Ryan:

And I have access to be able to claim those tokens and then do what with them what they may. I think a lot of projects are seeing that kind of the, almost the hourly vesting of a very small amount over the course of once the tokens become unlocked and just kind of either vesting, hourly or daily along that very quick schedule creates actually the best equilibrium amongst token holders. Because if you’re vesting and you’re kind of manually airdropping those tokens to everybody once a month on the 15th of the month, you’re gonna have kind of those swings where those investors get their allotment on the 15th and then they’re all gonna dump, or there’s gonna be a big price fluctuation on that specific day. So a lot of these projects have now realized that the best way to go about to keep that kind of price volatility at a low point so that it can consistently build up and rise, is to create that kind of hourly or daily investing where the early investor or the team member then kind of can go in whenever they want to claim the tokens, claim their allotment that they’re owed at that point in time, sell it on their own.

Joey Ryan:

So it kind of creates that equilibrium schedule of selling versus getting them all at once over like a month, right? Where it’s one day a month that they could release everybody. So by creating that equilibrium, it bodes the best for the investor as well as for the team as well as for the public. Having those smart contract investing schedules is kind of the only way that you’re guaranteed that these pre-sale investors and team members that receive tokens didn’t receive a hundred percent of the lobby and don’t have the ability to basically dump on the public’s head and crash the price down immediately. So it’s super critical if you’re looking to buy a new token, Hey, I heard about this project, they have a token, here’s the utility. It seems like it’s has some functionality, it seems like it could be something interesting. It’s super important to understand the tokenomics and the supply, if you wanna say the token supply that was issued to pre-sale and founders along with the token supply, understanding the ratios there, what they’re vesting and locking schedules look like, etc, and kind of taking all that information before I’d say making your investment into that token.

Mark Eckerle:

Yeah. It’s all part of the due diligence process when you’re making your investment, right? And understanding the unlocking from the company’s standard, right? And they will provide from what I’ve seen, most will provide like that transparency, right? It helps provide trust for their users and helps support the token as a whole. And I agree, right where you said it kind of provides that even keel of not just, um, the on the release schedule, but also like the transaction volume, right? So it’s not just, it only trades on this one day because everyone’s dumping when they get their unlock. It’s exactly, it’s a smooth transition do throughout the day to help create that volume, help create that market and then it’s a great use case when you think of this release schedule for what smart contracts can do, right?

Mark Eckerle:

Because if you’re doing that once a month or once a quarter, whatever it may be, that can be a manual process with definitely some human error involved. Not to say that when you’re writing code for a smart contract, there’s not the human error aspect of it, but it becomes very automated, right? You know, you’re gonna get X amount over this time at this hour or this day, whatever it may be and it helps continue to get that trust because that’s all public knowledge, right? You can, I can go and decode a smart contract and understand the mechanics, right? It’s behind what’s going on.

Joey Ryan:

That’s part of the full transparency we’re delivering to if you wanna say the crypto world, the DeFi world going forward. And that’s kind of the purpose and the value, a lot of the value that Team Finance brings with these token lots, liquidity lots and investing schedules.

Mark Eckerle:

So, so let me ask you, after talking about a couple of these a little bit more, what are you most excited about with your four service offerings? Not to be like bias or one obviously provides more revenue for the company than others or something like that, being the CFO, what are you most excited about from almost a user standpoint?And then is there anything that is currently in development or maybe a brand new service offer?

Joey Ryan:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So we have a lot of irons in the fire just like everybody else currently. We see all our services as four separate product lines, but I think in a perfect world
are kind of where we see the end game of what we can provide is a full service suite that’s fully integrated kind of within, if you wanna say one app, right? So it can be B2B, potentially institutional product offerings through Team Finance and The Crypto App, or you’re offering, if you wanna say like liquidity, potentially like liquidity management solutions or certain corporate account mechanisms through Team Finance in The Crypto App through those two platforms, right? There’s, there’s definitely an avenue there. We also see being able to offer like a full service, if you wanna say potentially like a startup out of the box service through Team Finance and launch pads where hey you have an idea, you wanna launch a token, etc.

Joey Ryan:

We already have those, those kind of the main legs or Lego blocks in place to kind of create that launch of token through launch pad services and then kind of the locking mechanisms through Team Finance, but kind of creating an out-of-the-box solution of like Team Finance provides all the smart contract locking the mint thing, potentially any sort of business or legal initial documentation you need for incorporating your business. Cap table structuring, there’s a lot of different avenues we could go down, right? So we’re, we’re kind of kicking around these ideas internally as we’re seeing where we’re seeing the initial growth factors come in, but definitely in Team Finance and Crypto App with a integration of launch pads and I think ICOs are gonna be more and more regulated over the next few years, which is great.

Joey Ryan:

You know, having the right regulatory clarity can really help you understand, okay we have to have these licenses operate in these jurisdictions and as we all know, like startups, there’s always startups that need funding. So offering a full service suite of products to startups for them to be able to launch their own token is definitely an interesting path that we potentially see. And again, offering kind of that full service solution through The Crypto App to not just your everyday crypto users, but also as I said, like corporates and institutions that are looking for potential liquidity management solutions or product solutions that integrate token locking, vesting, minting and token etc., through a combination of products that could be created within The Crypto App where you have kind of your all in one dashboard for liquidity management of any cryptos that a corporate’s involved in or different, different products that could be offered through there.

Joey Ryan:

So we see definitely a lot of growth possibilities in those areas going forward. As for NFTs, I didn’t really touch on that with Swappable our NFT service arm. If you look right now, I believe in the NFT trading volume is at like an all-time low. I don’t know if it’s ever been as low as it has since NFTs like first started. So I think the entire T space, I think it’s gonna be the biggest part of blockchain and Web3 going forward. If you think about just what an NFT is, it’s being able to basically tokenize an object on the blockchain. So you’re able to, if you want to say like ratify or secure or legally verify an object on the blockchain, so we started with like cartoon pictures and you know, bored apes and all of that, but I think in the hands, everything like, or a lot of the physical assets in the world are going to be tokenized through NFTs and it’s gonna be like the internet where you don’t say like, oh, I work in the internet.

Joey Ryan:

So you’re not gonna say like, oh, I work in NFTs. It just becomes embedded into every other service and asset product line going forward. It’s a matter of creating that jump. And again, we started with profile pictures and fun art because that’s just how like innovation typically works. When something new and cool is out there, it’s like, use it for weird or if you wanna say like, not not stupid but like whatever fun use cases, right?

Mark Eckerle:

The use case behind, I was talking to someone a couple months ago and they just had a picture of an Apple had no use case behind it. And I think you’re, you really hit the nail on the head where it’s like, yeah, we started off with these pictures, these JPEGs that I could go get a Google image of.I don’t think that’s nearly, we’ve barely glimpsed the surface of the NFT ecosystem and I think when you look at NFTs, right? It really gonna be integrated, right? I almost view it as like when I go buy a good, right, let’s call it a I don’t know, clothes or something, a handbag for my wife, whatever, it’s gonna be like a digital receipt. Like I, that ownership is gonna be on the blockchain, whether it’s a picture of that handbag or not, I don’t know, but I’m gonna have ownership and then I go and sell it to someone else or transfer it, I just transfer it on the blockchain so you can see that ownership and that bag or watch is one of fifty.

Joey Ryan:

I think, you know, real estate land. Imagine. And now I’ve heard arguments against why you can’t take real estate titles and put them on the blockchain. I don’t know if it’s right now just the functionality of the current processes in place, but you would think that should be something. And I think real estate on the blockchain, like so many people have been like, oh, real estate on the blockchain like that’s just been like a hot, if you want to say buzzword topic for the last five years, there has to be a reason why it hasn’t gained so much traction yet because that seems like a very, if you wanna say simple or very winnable use case. But I think ultimately it will get there at some point and that makes the most sense, especially again, take your mind outside the US where you have all these countries where there’s titles to land that are disputed all over the place and being able to have a full undisputed claim of title on land or real estate or property, etc.

Joey Ryan:

I mean, that’s gonna cause immense benefits globally going forward. Also, I think the, if you wanna say decentralization of specific and I’m using real estate as another example. So imagine somebody owns a strip mall or a company owns a strip mall with, 19 different lots. Now that person can kind of NFT it and be able to sell portions of that strip mall to investors that want to invest, even if it’s a hundred bucks, right? Hey, I got a hundred bucks in this strip mall in this area and I get $5 return every month based on X, Y, and Z. So I think there’s, there’s a lot of use cases around, and again, I’m just using strip malls as an example, but you can use a million other different larger assets that can produce that kind of same ability. So I think in the end game, however long it’s gonna take us to get there, that’s where things are gonna kind of end up being go in the, in the future.

Mark Eckerle:

Yeah, real estate does seem to be the easy kind of use case for examples most of the time, but if there’s a reason, like you said, it’s gonna take time, I think most markets are gonna be disrupted somehow some way for for good or for better. I mean, we’re gonna find out which one ultimately made sense, but no, that’s, I mean it’s NFTs we can open up a whole other can of worms just going down that and then how that parlays into the metaverse, especially with the strip mall example you just gave.

Joey Ryan:

Exactly. The metaverse. Yep. Yeah. And you can’t have the metaverse without crypto or NFTs. So if we are and I think the metaverse with Meta or Facebook, whatever, and, and the metaverse like the, the V1 versions of the Metaverses we have, which are already pretty interesting, and I think regardless of what people say, the metaverse is coming and it is gonna be a space where a lot of people are interacting, a lot of future interactions will occur, etc., etc., but you cannot, you physically cannot have the metaverse without blockchain and without having a digitally native currency for the metaverse which is crypto.

Mark Eckerle:

It’s basically access to get in. I need a special token at an amusement park to get on the ride.

Joey Ryan:

NFT, right? Exactly. Yep, exactly. So it’s the, yep. So again, those will be here. I’m not gonna try to predict the future, but it just seems the very logical time, it’s a matter of time where we’re heading with things and that’s why crypto just doesn’t die because the use cases of blockchain technology will, as you say, should disrupt most, if not all services and products and industries in the world.

Mark Eckerle:

So just kind of put a bow on this conversation. We covered a bunch of topics today and I think on most of ’em, only glimpse the surface, so would definitely love to have you come back at some point the next couple months. We could talk further about this, but where I guess for users really to learn more, how would they find your app so they could download it, learn more, and then kind of start integrating with some of the services that you guys offer?

Joey Ryan:

Yep. So, you can check us out. We are on iOS and Android. Website is the crypto.app. We’re only a mobile app right now for The Crypto App. Again, portfolio tracker. Great to get all your news, get great shack market prices, you can set alerts, all that fun stuff. Be able to get those nice price alerts at 3:00 AM when Asia’s going nuts and things are going crazy good.

Mark Eckerle:

I was just thinking you, when you roll outta bed, before you even go bed, you check your phone and you just pop over the app and you’re like, okay, this is where I’m starting my day. Perfect.

Joey Ryan:

Exactly. Exactly. So definitely download, check it out, leave us feedback, etc. As we said, we will have a lot of growth initiatives within the apps, initiatives within the app that we’re looking at to add in more products, more functionality for the user going forward. So check us out there and for Team Finance, you can check us out at team.finance. If you’re interested in kind of launching a token, playing around with some of the features or utilizing the features for your own project, definitely check us out there and you can check out TrustSwap at trustswap.com and kind of see all the other products and services we offer going forward.

Mark Eckerle:

Perfect. Perfect. Well, Joe, I appreciate you joining me today. It was an honor and great conversation. We talked about a ton of stuff, so thanks for joining me on today’s episode.

Joey Ryan:

Yep, thanks Mark. Happy to be here and thanks for having me.

Mark Eckerle:

All views expressed in this podcast by Mark Eckerle or his guests are solely their opinions and do not reflect the opinion of Withum. This podcast is for informational purposes only.