Sazmining Podcast Episode 14: Ethan Vera on scaling blockchain technologies infrastructure

Synopsis: In this episode of The Sazmining Podcast, Will speaks with Ethan Vera, CFO and Co-founder of Luxor Tech. They discuss how blockchain infrastructure can scale, decentralized finance, mining pools, and more.

Will Szamosszegi (00:00:04):

Welcome to the SA mining podcast at SA mining, we are bringing you into conversations with today's industry leaders and blockchain and cryptocurrency. Our goal with this podcast is to improve the understanding and adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency by giving you an insider's look at what's being built and inform predictions on what the future holds.

Will Szamosszegi (00:00:30):

Today's guest is an alum of Queens university, where he received his bachelor's degree from the Smith school of business prior to his current position, he spent some time as a portfolio manager at limestone capital and in investment banking with Goldman Sachs today, he is the CFO and co-founder of Luxer technologies, which has built a range of solutions for scaling blockchain infrastructure, including a globally distributed mining pool, a hash rate network switching engine, and a wide variety of blockchain software ranging from blockchain explorers to an ASIC management platform. All that said I'd like to welcome you. You can bear it to the podcast.

Ethan Vera (00:01:08):

Thanks for having me on the show, excited to be here and talk mining

Will Szamosszegi (00:01:11):

Of course. Well, kick things off. Can you talk about how you went about starting Luxer tech?

Ethan Vera (00:01:20):

Yeah, uh, it was about three years ago now. Uh, I was in college, uh, and, and one of my, uh, classmates was working on the software project. Uh, it was right at kind of the run up of the, the 20, 20 17, uh, price movement. So obviously a lot of hype in the space. I had started to get really interested in Bitcoin at the time and wanted to get involved and the right opportunity kind of presented itself. So he asked me to come join the team. Um, and then like a month later, we, we launched our first product. Uh, so looking at the space, what we were really excited about about Bitcoin was that there's no longer essentially planned fed anyone with an ASIC electricity and internet can take part in that Mindy process. And that's pretty sweet. So we're like let's build a product around that. And we built exactly that, which was a mining pool where we take raw computational power, uh, secure and verify transactions on the network and get paid as a result. And so since then, we've just continued to build that out.

Will Szamosszegi (00:02:18):

Yeah. And mine pools are one of those things that are absolutely essential to the space. You hear miners talking about them, but many times when you talk with someone who's just on the edge of crypto or starting to get involved, they don't understand exactly what a mining pool does or what it entails. Can you just talk about what a mining pool is? And we can start from there.

Ethan Vera (00:02:38):

Yeah. I mean, you're exactly right though. It's like a huge black box and even minors who have been in this space for a year still don't really understand what's going on. So, um, I, I definitely think that's true. Uh, mining pool started in around 2013, uh, by, by slush pool, basically as a way to, uh, more quickly and more consistently find blocks. Because if you, as an individual minor, want to go and mine yourself, you're gonna end up taking a longer time to find blocks than if say you and I joined forces and we mine together and just split reward based on how much we contributed. So in 2013, uh, basically these pools were formed. Minors would come together and just mine together. And as soon as they find a block, they divvy up the reward based on how much they contributed now that that model shifted quite a bit.

Ethan Vera (00:03:25):

Mining pools have shifted to what's called a pay per share method where instead of paying out on the actual value of what the, the miners find on the network, they, they pay out on the expected value. So they really take the, the luck variant out of mining, uh, for, for people who actually own the Asics. And so about 95% of the industry operates on, on that type of method now. And what it really does is allows you as an ASIC, uh, owner and a minor to not have to deal with the variability of mining. And you don't have to look at, you know, the luck factor. You can consistently generate hash and get paid, uh, uh, reward right away for it. So that's kind of what the mining pool system is today. Um, it's definitely, it's talked about in very many different ways, but it's most basic level mining pools are buyers of hash rate. They buy hash rate from minors at around 98% of the expected value.

Will Szamosszegi (00:04:19):

Yeah. And going off of that, starting up a mining pool, you're going to have to go and find many other mining companies to go and join forces with. So you can actually begin to make up a percentage of the total hash power on the network. So you can consistently drive those types of payouts to your minors. How do you go about getting that initial hash power to start up your own mining pool?

Ethan Vera (00:04:42):

That's one of the hardest parts right there. You identified it because really minors wanna join a pool that's already established, uh, that, you know, seems to be validated. Uh, they typically don't want to join a pool that, you know, just started and has no hash rate. So kind of getting that initial hash rate is like the most important part to scaling up a mining pool. I think the biggest things is like involving yourself in the communities. So we started in a lot of all coins. Uh, we, our first pool was for C coin and DCR, and we just really involved ourselves in the community and, uh, made sure that we were helping it out where possible, so that people, uh, you know, trusted us as a mining pool operator and would join our pool. Um, once you've achieved a certain threshold of hash rate, let's call it like a few percentage of the network.

Ethan Vera (00:05:26):

Then it starts to come in where naturally like, uh, you no longer need to do outbound sales. Like inbounds will come in and people will just join your pool because you're, you know, listed on a website or, uh, they've heard about you from a friend. So that's kind of like the process, I think since starting the pool in late 2017, uh, to now the, the sales strategy has changed a lot at the beginning. It was very much so a marketing based game, whereas like branding getting your name out there, but as the markets become more institutionalized and there's no longer, you know, 80% of the network made up of like small minors, it's very much so sales focused. So establishing relationships with large mining firms, uh, and making sure that you're tailor your offering to offering them a good service. So it's a lot more relationship based than it once was now, especially in Bitcoin,

Will Szamosszegi (00:06:13):

There are many minors who are listening right now who listen to this podcast. And let's say that they're going out and trying to establish the right relationship with a mining pool. What are the things that they should be talking about in these discussions and paying attention to when they're going and trying to negotiate with a mining pool and find the best deal and best mining part mining pool partner to work with

Ethan Vera (00:06:36):

What they look for will definitely vary across minors. But from what I've seen, the number one, uh, concern always is profitability. Mins are profit driven. It's a capitalist industry. And I think that's what makes proof of work so beautiful. So at the end of the day, you need to go to a mining pool where you can get the most Bitcoin per hash as, as possible. And so, um, I think just doing it, the, the rounds talking to a very like a, a select group of mining pools and making sure you're not just talking to one, uh, in that selection process is important. Uh, also if you have a certain amount of hash rate, you can usually negotiate a special fee, uh, mining pools charge a public fee. It usually ranges from like 2.5 to 4% of mining revenue. If you have, um, you know, over a say, let's say like 10, 20 PETHA, you can start to negotiate those fees down.

Ethan Vera (00:07:24):

So, um, if you're at that scale, then definitely start having those conversations with your pool operators, uh, beyond profit. Um, I think one of the really important parts is like data and statistics. Uh, so you as a mining operator, especially if you're based in the us, I mean, you would definitely, uh, you know, attest to this too, like having that like strong data is very important, uh, knowing exactly how you're getting paid out when you're getting paid out for how much hash rate and having that in digestible way. So make sure your platform can offer that. Um, and then I think just like a relationship with a pool operator, it's very much so a services business now where if you're a large minor and you go to a pool operator, they should be willing to like bend over backwards for you and they should be willing to go help you. If you need help with, uh, equipment procurement, uh, you need to find a new hosting site. You need to just talk if, Hey, does this minor goodbye, uh, that pool operator should always be available, uh, to bounce ideas off of and, and, you know, be a support for you. Um, so finding a relationship like that, I think is pretty important.

Will Szamosszegi (00:08:25):

Yeah, definitely. So it boiling that down. It really seems like profitability, obviously extremely important. You want to get that percentage cut down as much as possible if you have that negotiation power from, uh, at least starting point 10 Petta hash, and then you also wanna make sure that the mining pool you do decide to work with has those relationships that can help you grow and scale your mind as profitably as possible, helping you procure equipment, helping you find sites. And co-locations, I think that that is all phenomenal advice.

Ethan Vera (00:08:57):

Yeah. I think as we, uh, head into an era of, uh, profit switching, like that's definitely gonna be, it's gonna, it's gonna hit on that 0.1, you know, in an extreme way in today's world, like everyone minds to Bitcoin mining pools. But I think if you look like in six to 12 months, it's all gonna be profit switching algorithms. And then so like beyond what the, the fee negotiation we're talking about, now, you need to go and look at like historical performance of the profit switching algorithm. It's kind of like a hedge fund where if you want to give money to a hedge fund as a high net worth individual, you're gonna ask for their track record. You're gonna be like, you know, how much, how much have you beat the S and P 500 every year, the same, thing's gonna be done with profit switching, where you're gonna go to say Luxer or pullin, and you're gonna be like, how much have you be beat Bitcoin's base, uh, rate, you know, over the past year, or is Z Cash's base rate or whatever the base chain is. And so I think that's gonna be in the next six to 12 months, you're gonna start to see that transition. Then that's gonna be in a really important factor to look at.

Will Szamosszegi (00:09:54):

Yeah. And that's, that's extremely fascinating, cuz this is really what's happening on the next frontier from a mining pool standpoint. I mean, many people let's say that they're a cryptocurrency minor, they're mining Bitcoin. They have predictions for what's going to happen with the Bitcoin hash rate, with the equipment long-term macro performance factors within the actual price of Bitcoin. But then you're taking it in even, uh, like one layer deeper where you're talking about from a mining pool perspective, all of these different things that mining pools have to do, and you're comparing them essentially to a hedge fund. So is this a switch going back to what you said, the profit switching and potentially increasing those profits and seeing different performance in mining pools? Is that something that is well known in the industry right now and that minors that you're talking to are considering when they're speaking to these different mining pools or is this something that we're really gonna start to see much more of in the future?

Ethan Vera (00:10:51):

Right now, these switching algorithms are pretty rudimentary, but almost every major pool has them. I think as they get more sophisticated, the differentiation between a good switching algorithm and a bad switching algorithm will really start to stand out. So I think we're at the cusp of it, but it hasn't taken a hold yet. I think it'll be another six months before every, let's say 90% of minors are on, on it. They'll be like the tribalistic minors who just one of mine, Bitcoin, and they don't wanna touch other coins or even have their hash rate mine, other coins. But I think 90% of minors definitely are, are profit driven. So that's gonna be, uh, probably the way the industry heads, uh, forward. And historically this will change also the revenue model. So historically mind have taken like a base fee, you know, will take 2% of my revenue. And, um, I, I think as we head into like a, an era of profit switching, you'll start to see that transition to more of a hedge fund model where they say, maybe we'll take 20 basis points, but we'll take 20% of the uplift and it'll be more of a performance based, uh, fee than, than purely, like just for, you know, operating a service. So I'm excited to see how this, uh, you know, the pool of space transforms. Definitely.

Will Szamosszegi (00:12:02):

Yeah, that's fascinating. Cuz I know that some of the people that we've had conversations with, they're looking at these different types of structures where some might say, okay, we're going to take a base percentage. Others are saying, well, we can beat the traditional, uh, return by this much. So we want 50% of the excess. And then that was really fascinating to say, you think it might even take a sort of structure similar to what a hedge fund's doing, like certain number of basis points and then some sort of, uh, performance fee. So that, that's really interesting from, from that perspective, to hear that mining pools are thinking that the industry might be moving in this type of way. You guys are also working on things outside of just your mining pool. Can you elaborate a little bit on some of those other products that you guys are working on?

Ethan Vera (00:12:49):

Yeah. So we'll, we'll profit switching is one of them. Um, and the last thing I'll say there too, cuz I, I know we've gone deep down the rabbit hole here, but it may actually make sense that you wanna join a smaller pool than a bigger pool. And the reason is much like a hedge fund. Like if you're too big, you're not nimble enough. You can't take advantage of high like chances of like arbitrage or you know, just inefficiencies in the market. Similarly, if you're jumping between like shot 2 56 chains, you may not want that much hatch rate on your pool because you want to take advantage of a time that digit is 10% more profitable to mine than Bitcoin. So it, it may actually be that mins are looking for more nimble pools rather than just like the largest pool like they do today. Um, that's great. Sorry. We should, you're gonna have to cut me off on this profit switching. I could, uh, talk about it all day

Will Szamosszegi (00:13:35):

Here. Well a actually while we're on it, uh, because it seems like out of all people I've, I've personally talked to, it seems like you, you really are deep in, in this area. You understand the profit switching, you have predictions for what's happening in the future. Are there any, I guess core beliefs that you have about mining pools, either where they're going or the way that people are approaching this profit switching that you hold to be true, but most people might not even be aware of.

Ethan Vera (00:14:04):

I think we're one of the only peoples that people that are actually pushing the fact that minors generate hash rate and not Bitcoin, like at the end, they, if you have a bit me an S 19, what it's doing is it's running through the shot 2 56 algorithm and running through that hash, uh, function. So we, we take the stance that these machines are producing hash rate. And when you start to like take a step back and look at it at that angle, you can get more creative on how you build traditional marketplaces for it and also financial derivatives. So you can start to think that, okay, hash rate itself has a value, you know, right now it's worth like about 10.10 cents a tear hash per day. And you can start to build like interesting financial instruments based on the value of hash rate itself. So I'm looking forward to the industry, seeing it more in that light. And I think we're gonna start to create way better products when we started actually moving in that direction.

Will Szamosszegi (00:14:53):

Yeah. And when you're going and developing the best model to allocate hash, I mean, what are the, of course they're the huge upsides, right? Of you, you going, you outperforming how that hash would've been directed towards the Bitcoin of the shot 2 56 algorithm, but what are the risks that a minor might be associating with if they decide to go down that profit switching approach, and then let's say the coin or the, the protocol that's being mined, isn't doing as well or performing as well as Bitcoin. How do you balance those two risks when you're trying to direct the hash in the most profitable way possible?

Ethan Vera (00:15:35):

So there's some profit switching algorithms out there that will pay a minor out in multiple coins. So I think maybe Ann, pool's an example of this, where they mine, Bitcoin and PCH, and they'll pay, you need both a Bitcoin cash and a Bitcoin wallet. And then obviously you, as a minor are now exposed to the price of Bitcoin cash. And I, I would say probably a lot of people that are listening to this podcast. Aren't the biggest fans of Bitcoin cash. And don't wanna hold onto it are may, maybe some are. Um, but that's definitely a risk that you need to take into consideration. But I think the more sophisticated profit switching algorithms are all priced in Bitcoin and all, and only Payed in Bitcoin. So our Equihash profit switching algorithm jumps between, uh, Z cash horizon pirate. And Kamodo some of those you probably have never even heard of.

Ethan Vera (00:16:19):

Um, but we, we decide, which is the most profitable to mine on a Bitcoin basis. So considering in market liquidity, potential slippage, and then we pay out in Bitcoin so that they don't have to handle, you know, some, some random Bitcoin, uh, they can just get paid right away in Bitcoin. Um, and so really there's, there's no long term risk to this type of strategy. If pirate chain goes to zero, which it, it may, uh, it'll just be the case that we don't mind it anymore. We mine on five minute interval. So we're only exposed to like a five minute interval price movement. So, uh, I think at its base, like if you structure the profit switching algorithm correctly, you'll never be worse off. So like for the shock to five, six example at its base, you'll always be mining Bitcoin and you'll get paid what you are now, but at best, you'll be ti you'll exposed to these times where another blockchain's paying a little bit more and you're exposed to that uplift. So I think in the future, like there's gonna be no downside of doing profit switching from an, from a financial perspective.

Will Szamosszegi (00:17:17):

Got it. And so there's really, if I heard you correctly, only a five minute window where you're really being exposed to that other coin before it gets transitioned back into Bitcoin.

Ethan Vera (00:17:30):

Yeah. And actually like us as the pool operator take that risk. So even the minors on our platform, uh, aren't exposed to that. Uh, we kind of say, okay, here's the current price considering the market conditions, we're gonna as a pull to take that five minute, uh, risk. If the price shoots up, we benefit. If the price shoots down, we lose, but you know, over the long run, we're hoping that, uh, we can deal with that variance. Our profit switching algorithm, I think moves a bit faster than most people's. Um, I, I think a lot of people like do it every hour or two, but we try and act more nimble and, and get in and out and, you know, quicker opportunities. The Equa hash like is very different than shot 2 56 algorithm because every single, uh, chain adjusts difficulty every block. Whereas, you know, Bitcoin is every 2016 block. So there's not like wide spikes in, in profitability, as we see with a chain like Zcash. And so we've been able to generate like five, 6% uplift in Equihash over the base chain because of, you know, how variable those, uh, profitability levels are.

Will Szamosszegi (00:18:33):

That's fascinating. And you actually answered my next question. I was gonna say, ask you from a, I would say like a conservative approach, not just averaging it out, but a very conservative approach. What would you say if a minor, rather than just going and mining Bitcoin decides to go and utilize this type profit switching type of algorithm or approach, how do you, what percentage gains do you think that they're going to be seeing versus just mining straight Bitcoin with, with a normal mining pool,

Ethan Vera (00:19:03):

From what I've seen so far on some of our kind of global competitors, like pool in, uh, via BTC, it's usually in the range of like one to 2% at most right now. Uh, I think at the upper end, we'll probably see like three to four in the future. It's definitely not, you know, five plus, uh, on a ongoing basis, but I think you could get a few extra percentage. And as you know, like mining, industry's tough right now, margins are low. So if you can add like a few percentage points that directly go to your, you know, your bottom line.

Will Szamosszegi (00:19:37):

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean that, that's just direct additional revenue in the end to your bottom line. So that few percent ends up being much greater part of the operations profitability.

Ethan Vera (00:19:52):

Yeah. There's no additional cost that comes with generating this extra revenue, right. It's not like firmware where you have to take into consideration that you're now burning up extra electricity by overclocking like you get those few percent, no additional cost. They flow straight to your, to your net income.

Will Szamosszegi (00:20:08):

Yeah. And so if you, if you're taking a minor's point of view, understanding where the mining pools are heading and, uh, everything that we just talked about from the profit switching algorithm, what would you recommend miners do today to try and maximize their output? Uh, understanding the landscape from a mining pool operator's perspective

Ethan Vera (00:20:35):

From a revenue standpoint, most minors think that it's like set. It's just based on how many machines you have, but we're starting to see that that's not the case. Um, so profit switching is one example, obviously. So sure you're monitoring that space, but also things like firmware. So if there are ways that you can, uh, install custom firmware on your machine and that exists for a lot of the shot, 2 56 machines definitely explore it and try it out. I'd say, um, I think historically people have been quite shy around customized firmware because there's concerns. If the machine like, you know, has an issue, you may not be able to get warranty from it. They're also done by like pretty sketchy developers that are hanging on in telegram chats that you've never met in person. And you don't necessarily wanna give them control of your machine.

Ethan Vera (00:21:18):

But I think, uh, we're starting to head into an era where it's gonna be required that you at least try it out in your operations, because if you're not doing it, there's other people that are, and they're getting an advantage over you. And mining is a competitive game. So if say everyone in China now is, is putting on custom firmware, that's gonna add a lot of hash rate to the network, increased difficulty level, and you're gonna be worse off. So you wanna make sure that you're at least following suit and that you're looking at this area.

Will Szamosszegi (00:21:45):

Yeah. And you, you touched on a very, very good point that you don't want to just go and start implementing some firmware from some sketchy person on telegram. You want a reputable firm and you want to be confident that no one's taking advantage of your operations. How would you recommend a minor go about finding the right firmware to use, to maximize their profitability?

Ethan Vera (00:22:09):

I don't have a great answer for this because unfortunately the industry is not that developed, uh, in my opinion, there's only one, uh, like reputable player in the space, which is brains, um, brains OS plus they have for more for S nine S uh, there's two common for more players as six here and Vene. And they've obviously built a, a reputation in, in the mining communities. And there are people who trust them. Um, so I would experiment probably with their too, but I think you have to, you know, do your own due diligence and factor in the risk reward of, of going with that. Um, it is definitely a concern anytime you're, you're installing custom from where, whether it's from a 60 or VE or brain. So just make sure you're, you're weighing that in correctly, there are ways to audit, like how much they're actually charging you. So you can see like how much of the day they're actually spent mining on their own pool versus yours. It should match up with that. Say like 2% of the quote you, or if they do hash rate splitting, you should measure that too. But it's definitely a big consideration and that's why not everyone does it, right. Is because it's not the easiest process.

Will Szamosszegi (00:23:14):

Yeah. And you mentioned a very important thing that if you do do it, you wanna make sure that you're performing that audit to make sure that, uh, that you're not getting taken advantage of going into some of your guys' other products, uh, what you have an ASIC management software that you provide your clients

Ethan Vera (00:23:34):

That's, um, still in progress. It really, we used to run a 2.5 megawatt farm down in Kansas city. And this was like early 2018. And when we had to like either update a machine, uh, you know, reconfigure it, we had to do it all manually. So we're like we should really build a program to do this. And at the time there was really only like a couple options out there, like hive where they cost like $5 per rig, uh, per month, and to tackle on another $5 for an S nine at that time, like made no sense. So we're like, Hey, we should build this. But since then, there's been quite a few good products that have come out. So we've actually kind of put it on the back burner a bit. And the project we've been working on outside of like the mining pool and hash rate liquidation is a new mining data site called hash rate index. So we launched it about a month and a half ago. Basically our view was that there's still a lot of room to grow for transparency in the space and education. So why not build a data website where we consolidate some of the key mining statistics, um, and, and can show that. And hopefully that allows like investors new to the industry to get more comfortable with it and start putting more money, especially in north America where we really wanna see the industry grow.

Will Szamosszegi (00:24:42):

Yeah. And going off of that with, uh, where you think the industry's heading talking to different minors in the past many times, you saw a lot of the mining, uh, being focused in some of these other countries, not being as focused on north America. And then more recently, we've seen a lot of players, a lot more investment happening in north America. Do you have any opinions on why you think that shift has been happening?

Ethan Vera (00:25:08):

It's, it's definitely hard to measure too. Um, there's been a few studies out. I think Beda came out with a report recently that said around 50% of hash rate is in China. And, and that was, you know, significantly lower than coin shares, which came out six months before that, which put it at 65. So it's really hard to pinpoint exactly if a shift is actually happening and how much hash rate is moving. But I would say there's like quite a few positive developments in north America. And you're hearing a lot of like positive press. Uh, maybe it's the case that we have a press bias where we only hear like public mining companies that are all based in us and Canada. And we're not hearing about like tions of the world, which, uh, you know, are, are getting massive amounts of hash rate, but obviously not publishing it in coin desk.

Ethan Vera (00:25:52):

Um, so it's really hard to say, I would say, uh, overall, but I think the, the stages being set for a movement of hash rate to the us specifically, there's superior energy infrastructure here. And we're starting to see that now in like places like Texas with unregulated energy markets, as well as people chasing like flared gas in like the Dakotas, uh, we're seeing build out everywhere, Nebraska, um, like Georgia, uh, upstate New York. So I think the energy infrastructure here is good, but it just was like, it had a slow start compared to Seche province. And so I think we're gonna start to see a lot of mining firms take advantage of that. The other thing really is like the prof professionalization of the industry. Historically, mining's been like an absolute mess where you put in money in, you have to put like a pre-order in with a manufacturer that you don't trust.

Ethan Vera (00:26:40):

You don't know if those machines are gonna show up. You don't know, know how they price their machines. You don't know if there's warranty on them. Uh, then you get the machines, you have to blindly trust the mining pool. You don't know if they're stealing from you. It was just a black box. And I think north American investors are, are typically very hesitant when it comes to that type of industry. Whereas Chinese investors are a little bit less risk adverse and they're willing to like, kind of deal with that uncertainty. And so historically I think China's been willing to put in more money, but now that the industry's becoming more professionalized, especially at the manufacturer level, I think we'll start to see more us based, uh, institutional investors getting in. We saw that with the announcement of like horizon kinetics, uh, coming in with core scientific. I think there's, there's quite a few examples like that where you're starting to see people more comfortable with the space.

Will Szamosszegi (00:27:27):

Yeah. And that that's very true. I mean, this is a very capital intensive business, especially mine. There's a lot of risks, many times people think just because there's hard assets, that it's a type of investment where the MIS risk is mitigated, but they're, there definitely is. For many of the reasons you just mentioned, uh, things that have to be considered when you're trying to build out a large scale mining operation, when you're, when you're looking at it from a regulatory perspective, do you think that regulatory risks are something that minors are true minors and investors are truly considering when they're deciding whether or not to start an operation? Or do you think that it's given more weight than, uh, than, than it should be given in some of these decisions?

Ethan Vera (00:28:16):

I think from an outsider's perspective, you look at it at like a federal regulation perspective, but in reality, like most of the bad, um, you know, things that have happened in the past in Washington state or Quebec or Missoula they've happened at very local levels. So having strong relationships with your local jurisdiction where you're actually setting up your mining operation, I think is way more important than having like a state level or, or federal level connection. And so tho those connections I think, are vital to the success of long term mining and Washington state is the perfect, uh, case study of this, where, yeah, that was like the early crypto boom. Right. And everybody rushed there. Uh, it was a bunch of like maniac, crypto miners who like had no regard for local government and, uh, you know, did didn't put their best foot forward and ended up getting slapped by the regulators there. And now look at it. It's like, you know, not even in the top 10 states to, to do mining today. So I think that regulation is important at a localized level, for sure.

Will Szamosszegi (00:29:16):

Yeah. And, uh, going off of going off of the regulation front, when you're looking at all these different minors who are deciding whether or not they should be going public or staying private, it's one of those things where there's a certain level of transparency with a public mining company and a private mining company might not have to adhere to those standards of showing that, I guess, behind the curtain view of how their mining operations are operating, moving forward, how do you think the landscape is going to look from these mining companies, either deciding to go public or stay private as they scale up their operations?

Ethan Vera (00:29:56):

I would split it between manufacturers and then mining farms. I think manufacturers are still like, they're still itch NIGO public. So obviously Canon EBA went, I think Bitman and micro BT will wanna go public eventually because public markets are great financing tools for those types of manufacturers and historical industries, and they can get better valuation multiples, and they would be able to in the private markets, uh, but you know, moving on to the second group, which is mining farms, I don't foresee any large mining farms going public in the near term because, uh, most of the mining farms that exist today, which are, you know, hu bit farms, Northern data riot, Argo, DMG, um, uh, I'm sure missing a few others. They all went public like a couple years ago when the market conditions were a lot better than they are today. Valuation multiples definitely in the Canadian exchanges are, are pretty bad right now.

Ethan Vera (00:30:48):

You can see that with bid farms, uh, they run, uh, I think somewhere like 700, 800 Petta hash and, uh, their market cap. Isn't what you'd expect it to be. Um, so I, I definitely don't think it's, you know, a great, uh, avenue for financing. And then you get into this area where now you block yourself all from a certain group of investors. Like if you're had eight, you can't go to the same investors you could go to, if you're a private mining corporation, you need to now go to public investors like fidelity Canada that bought their, their latest round. And so you're, you're definitely limiting yourself, I guess, a bit by going public in today's market. Yeah. I'm kind of dancing around your question here and I don't have like a great answer for it, but I wouldn't go public if I was a mining farm. I, what do you think like yeah. Do you think it's better for capital markets?

Will Szamosszegi (00:31:36):

Yeah. I, I actually am of a similar view of what you just laid out that from a hardware manufacturing point of view, I think that you're going to see a lot more of those companies wanting to go public. It's a great avenue to raise capital on the valuation, multiple that you brought up with some of these other publicly traded companies and with the amount of minors that they're actually running versus the actual valuation on the market. It doesn't seem like the, the route of the route of going and taking a mining company. That's purely focused on buying minors and running those minors. It doesn't seem like it would make the most sense to take a company like that public. And so I'm of a similar view. And I think that another very important consideration that is really at the backbone of when you're trying to scale a mining company, is how you're going to go about raising capital and who you're going to associate with how you're going to find those funding partners.

Will Szamosszegi (00:32:30):

And that's something that is extremely important if you're trying to scale up and build those relationships, because it's still a very nascent industry. I, I was just talking with someone the other day and we were talking about how there are certain times where mining a mining company based on the pure fundamentals of what's on their balance sheet, how much they're generating in terms of cash flow and all the fundamentals of raising capital, they would be able to access much more capital than you. You're seeing a lot of the mining companies today being able to access just because it's such a nascent and new industry. So that's one of the reasons why I want to get your opinion as well. Cuz it's always interesting to hear the perspective of someone else in the industry and how they view the capital and expansion phases of growing a mining company.

Will Szamosszegi (00:33:19):

And everyone has their own experience. I mean, you look at someone like, uh, like Andrew from HUD eight, who was in investment banking for over 20 years and had great relationships capitalized on the need for institutional investors to want to be able to get into Bitcoin, get exposure to Bitcoin while also being able to trade in and out on a publicly traded company, he executed a reverse takeover of a company on the Canadian stock exchange and he serviced that need. But I think the financing environment today is, is a little bit different and things are always changing. And uh, we definitely want to keep everyone listening up to date with our views on, on how that's going to progress.

Ethan Vera (00:34:04):

Yeah, no, that was well put and, and today's financing is starting to get more diverse. So not only can you do like debt or equity financing, now there's a lot more equipment financing becoming available. Um, you know, historically that's just been with collateralized Bitcoin, but there are some companies now that are doing stuff like collateralized ASIC. So I'm excited to see how companies can leverage all these different things, whether it's debt equity or collateral, you know, equipment. I think there there's a wide range of ways that you can get more capital. Another one is like hash rate forward contracts. Like it's very common for commodity producers to sell forward some of the commodity in which they're producing. So if we can start creating like offtake agreements for hash rate, that could be used as another funding mechanism for, you know, mining farms. So it's exciting developments,

Will Szamosszegi (00:34:49):

Man. Yeah. And actually on, on that particular topic, this is something that on the podcast, I haven't, uh, gone into much detail yet, but you, you brought up, uh, the, the hash rate, um, the hash rate contracts and how minors could utilize that for financing. Can you speak a little bit in more depth to, uh, how that mechanism functions and why it's beneficial for minors?

Ethan Vera (00:35:14):

Yeah. So at its basis, a hash rate forward contracts exceeded by two parties, one being the seller of hash rate, which is the minor and then one being a buyer. And usually that buyer wants like a discount on the value of hash rate. So say the value of hash rate right now is like 10 cents a tear hash per day. They're gonna buy up, you know, 12 to 18 months of your hash rate for let's say like 8 cents or 9 cents. Uh, but what they're gonna do is they're also gonna provide you all that money in advance. So you get that, that large sum where you otherwise wouldn't have got it until, you know, uh, you know, periodically throughout that 18 months, you would've got it right away and then you can go and buy equipment to finance your operations. So it allows you as a minor to do two things, one, uh, finance, and then two also had your risk.

Ethan Vera (00:35:57):

You've locked in now the future value of your hash rate. So that if say, uh, the hash rate goes down to 6 cents. Now you're, you're hedged because you've already sold it at eight, but it also means you're limited on the upside where it goes to 12 here, you've sold it at eight. So I think that's a risk that minors, uh, you know, need to, to weigh, um, whether they want hedge forward some of their, their hash rate, but I'm pretty bullish on those types of contracts. Generally. I think we've seen a few come out to market. Uh, they've been pretty great. I think we have a lot of room to grow though on, on these products right now, there's not a lot of buyer interest in hash rate forward contracts, which means that it ends up becoming a really expensive hedge from my understanding a lot of these products out there, you have to sell your hash rate for it at like 40 to 50% discount, you know, over a 12 month period. And for me personally, I'd rather roll a dice and be like, I I'll see what happens. That's too expensive of a hedge. So I think as an industry, we need to work on getting more interest from outside of the mining circles, into like traders and, and crop trading firms, high net worth individuals, and get them excited about hash rate as an asset class. And then we'll start to develop like really strong products for minors to both finance and hedge their operations.

Will Szamosszegi (00:37:07):

Yeah. And on, on the hash rate forward contracts, what are some of the providers where a minor can go and begin? I, I know that you and I, we probably wouldn't wanna move forward with that just because we're very bullish on the future of this industry, but, uh, what are some of those options that a minor could go to if they're looking to get involved with that type of financing?

Ethan Vera (00:37:30):

Yeah. Well, the very first example of this, um, and maybe this is controversial, but was cloud mining. So somebody like Genesis mining, they are a minor themselves. They build mining farms, you know, and Mo mostly started in north and Europe and they sell forward their hash to, to retail. Now I don't necessarily agree with how they did it and how most cloud mining companies do it, but that was at its basis. Like the most fundamental Ford contract where they get paid up front for hash rate, they lock in a certain price and now they can go buy, uh, you know, more GPS to start mining Ethereum or whatever they were selling at the time. Um, it's developed a bit more since then. Uh, so there's players like bit UDA, which will help broker transactions between a mining farm and a buyer. So they made news, uh, a couple times this year, executing transactions for people like Greenwich in upstate New York, as well as grid.

Ethan Vera (00:38:19):

And they allow those miners to sell for some of their hash rate, um, you know, to a high net worth individual. So I think if you're, um, you know, sizable, uh, you could go to them. Um, I, there's still somewhat limited opportunities out there. So I would say like, it's not an ideal situation where we're at now, but I think in the next 18 months, there's gonna be significantly more products out there that will help minors, uh, with these types of, uh, you know, problems, financing and hedging. So I'm, I'm hopeful. It's just, it's, we're not there yet.

Will Szamosszegi (00:38:51):

Yeah. And we're really in an industry where we're looking at digital assets in a new way and how they might potentially disrupt the way that value creation and value transfer functions within society. I mean, mining aside, this is a type of technology that could disrupt, uh, many of the traditional areas of the financial sector that are dominant today. So that said, how do you think that the future of finance will look given the evolutions that we're seeing within our particular industry?

Ethan Vera (00:39:30):

To be honest, I have no idea how long that will take I'm I'm obviously in this industry and I'm sure you are too, because we think it will be eventually the case where, uh, Bitcoin and, and crypto plays a large role in, in the future economy. So I definitely like bullish long term. I just don't know how long it'll take. Yeah. I suspect it'll take a while because the governments obviously don't want this to happen. Um, but in an era where there's no longer essentially planned fed, I think there's just gonna be a more capitalistic system where money gets allocated, uh, properly versus, you know, in today's world where we look at like COVID situation and what's going on with the fed, the government's basically picking winners and losers, like who have the winners been in the past eight months? It's been the Jeff Bezos's of the world, right. And, and the losers have been small businesses. So that's like a decision that the government's made over the past, like six months in, in a world where our financial system is decentralized and money is allocated very different than special interest. Uh, I think that entire system will, will look drastically different. So I think it'll ultimately lead to a more fair and just system that I'm excited to, you know, play a role in supporting, uh, over the next few years.

Will Szamosszegi (00:40:42):

Yeah. And I definitely wanna unpack that a little bit, uh, in the sense of how the, the government went and picked the winners and losers. So everyone's been reading news about how there's been an enormous amount of stimulus and then certain industries being bailed out, companies being bailed out. Can you unpack how the companies like Amazon or other big businesses might have been the winners, whereas the small businesses were the losers.

Ethan Vera (00:41:08):

Yeah. And that's kind of a blanket statement, obviously, uh, specific, there may be large corporates that were also losers and there may be small businesses that were winners, but kind of that generalization, um, obviously it's, it's like the most basic level anything to do with like bailing out large companies is an easy target. And probably the most simple to understand is that the government often bails out large corporates that have special, special interest groups in Washington and lobby to them. Whereas like, uh, you know, a company like mine or yours, like I don't have a guy working in Washington trying to get, uh, us extra packages. So, uh, we are unfairly, uh, you know, treated and then in the idea of like the, the government printing unlimited money, it's like, where does that money actually flow to? Um, and in it, like for Amazon's example, like all of that money is basically flowing like on straight to like large corporates like Amazon.

Ethan Vera (00:42:00):

So I think it's a mix of both like physical policy and monetary policy. And it's a very complex system that will benefit, like those that are, have closer ties to the people that are making decisions. It's really impossible to get money outta politics, uh, in places like Canada, there's no super PACS where anyone can at maximum donate 5k. And even then there is special interest in the government, whether it's for like, you know, a company that has a lot of jobs or, you know, a lot of votes to give to a political party, it's just really hard to separate, uh, state and business. And I think that's what Bitcoin helps solve is that, um, we can separate that special interest and that, you know, there, there is no centrally planned, uh, government that's choosing winners and losers. So kind of answered on your question there a bit, but, uh, I think, I think,

Will Szamosszegi (00:42:50):

I think you touched on it in, in a great way. And thi this is one of the reasons why I wanted to dive down that is because I think a great example, we take a step back and we look at how this stimulus or this approach got applied to one particular case, and we can look at the airlines, right? So I believe, uh, I, uh, was it, it was American airlines that received an enormous amount of, of essentially like grant money, uh, for, uh, keeping operations open. They've put together a specialized contract where as long as they kept a certain amount of the employees on payroll, till a certain date in the future, then they would receive a certain amount of money. The airlines had been doing buybacks, which had inflated their stock price over many, many years. And then as soon as COVID hit and they were in trouble, any other company like a small business, or even, uh, a more, any type of SMEs would have to go and raise capital from the private markets, they would have to go on either race capital through equity or debt to try and be able to cover their operations.

Will Szamosszegi (00:44:01):

And they would be working with much different terms than receiving an enormous amount of money in terms of grants, as well as receiving, uh, the type of equity financing options that the offers. And so it's just kind of, it's kind of crazy when you see that the government can go and offer these types of these types of financing options to a really large company, whereas a smaller company that doesn't have those ties wouldn't be offered anywhere near the types of terms that American airlines receive.

Ethan Vera (00:44:37):

I, I feel those the same way as you do. I mean, obviously like the, the banks during the financial crisis was like the first like mainstream example of it, but we continue to see it. There's so much outrage over that, but like, it's been 12 years since the financial crisis. And like this type of policy continues to happen, you know, in, in various industries, whether it's airlines or, uh, some manufacturing or, you know, banks.

Will Szamosszegi (00:45:00):

Yeah. And they, they took a play right out of the 2008 financial crisis playbook and they, they ran it again in 2020. And I mean, it really puts into question, uh, how the us dollar is going to perform in the long run. I mean, they basically did the ultimate short term gain, sacrificing long term potential with the us dollar, whereas the, the fed and the us, the us dollar. I don't think that you can necessarily look at that as the global reserve currency anymore. It's kind of crazy to, to believe that that's going to be the acting reserve currency, if the Fed's willing to drop rates down to zero and print and expand the balance sheet by 75% in a single year.

Ethan Vera (00:45:44):

Yeah. I think we'll see almost every asset appreciate to the us dollar maybe except for other currencies, which us government federal bank is not alone in this, right? Yes. The Japanese bank's obviously been doing it for a while, the EU Canada. So I'm not sure how the currency pairs will perform, but I definitely think this is setting the stage for a run for Bitcoin, for sure. Which, uh, the value prop of it being a scarce form of money and being a hedge to inflation is just gonna continue to resonate with people who are looking for alternatives to holding their money in USD. So I think that story is gonna really, uh, start to come out in the next like six to 12 months.

Will Szamosszegi (00:46:20):

Yeah. And as that story continues to play out, we're both on the mining side. So we understand the funnel fundamentals that are in part driving the baseline price floor for Bitcoin, from a production standpoint. Do you have any predictions on where you think the price of Bitcoin will go within the next year? Not to put you on the spot here, but <laugh> be interested to, to hear your prediction

Ethan Vera (00:46:48):

<laugh> I mean, every podcast needs it. Um, so I actually, uh, I'd push back on the cost of production a little bit. I, I, I don't love that metric because it's changing every second. So like from the time you said it to the time now, uh, it's probably changed, uh, given transaction fees. Um, so I, I like to look at it on a, on a hash price basis, which is like a dollars per tear, hash, and really measure like, okay, for every tear hash, you, you generate in hash rate, how much revenue can you get and, and look at it from that angle. Um, and I think from there, you can start to derive more sophisticated views on like the mining economics. Um, and so hash price, the value of hash rate is something I look at very often. I kind of, I I'm like a modeling nerd, like at Goldman, like I, I love building models, so <laugh>, this sounds terrible, but in my like spare time, I'll build like prediction models for the value of how rate moving forward. Um, and so that's kind of the metric I look at, uh, and on how rate index, we also have a historical tracker of like the value of this over time, uh, looking forward. I think, uh, as we head into this economic uncertainty, I think we will see some Bitcoin appreciation. Um, maybe for the, the sake of this podcast. I think that we could hit like 20 cave by, you know, end of 2021, which I probably is not that bold of a prediction. Um, but what I think will be really

Will Szamosszegi (00:48:07):

So much higher ones. <laugh>

Ethan Vera (00:48:09):

What I think will be really interesting from a mining perspective is that we haven't been in a period where there's been a price run up without hash rate catching up really quickly in a long time. The last time was, uh, 2017. And so if we get into that type of environment again, where we see a large run up in price and Bitmain still like, you know, how's their drama going on? What's minor is that full capacity. We're gonna see a time where mining economics, uh, you know, make like two to three X, they're gonna two to three X, like their, their value per hash rate. So I'm excited for that to happen. I really wanna see an era where mins are making more and where we can go into another run where you're not no longer a commodity producer and commodity cell margins where mins are making outsize returns. And I, I think we we're on the edge of that. Um, it's a mix between the perfect stage being set for Bitcoin price and also manufacturers like not getting their shit together. So I'm bullish on that.

Will Szamosszegi (00:49:04):

Yeah. And on the manufacturer front, what, what are you seeing today, how they're in terms of the demand for that equipment and how they're able to satisfy their, their demand?

Ethan Vera (00:49:19):

Yeah. Um, it's, it's changing every day. So, uh, there's obviously like the ongoing drama at Bitmain, um, that company's basically split into Ghan, owns the chipped relationship with TSMC, uh, which he just got on the list for their new five nanometer chip, uh, which is great for him, but he also doesn't own their manufacturing lines in Shez Zen that they've historically operated. So, um, that's owned by the McCree side. So they're basically both having to go and rebuild the whole company or, you know, fill in the missing parts and, and start filling orders. Uh, we've obviously seen a delay there. Uh, they stated like two to three months delay on most of their machines. Uh, they're Newgen, uh, micro BT is pretty much all booked up. Uh, there's large corporates, uh, in the space, um, that are basically buying up all the capacity for the next few months.

Ethan Vera (00:50:09):

So it's really hard to get your hands on Newgen, uh, what's mine, our, our Bitmain machines canons obviously still like lagging a bit. They just released the 11, uh, 66, uh, yesterday, the Avalon it's at like 42 jewels per Terra. So, you know, not terrible for Canon, but I guess we'll wait to see like the, the CapEx spend. So, um, I think there's the, like, this industry's rapidly changing and like every day there's a new announcement from a manufacturer, but overall sourcing equipment's harder than ever, I think. And that's really a barriers to entry. So mining operators that experience like yourself that are like, have done this for a while, you're gonna have an advantage over somebody that's new that wants to run and then start doing it right away because you know, the, you know, how the like manufacturers do business, you have that relationship built and you just have better overall machine procurement, uh, you know, experience.

Will Szamosszegi (00:50:57):

Yeah. And actually one of the reasons why I want to ask that question was cuz earlier today I had, I kind of went down this rabbit hole with, uh, one of my contacts in the space and we were talking about both Bitmain and, and uh, the, and what's minor as well and, and the different options that were out there. And one of the things that he mentioned was what you actually just echoed in terms of uh, availability and how difficult it is to procure equipment from certain companies today. So, very interesting.

Ethan Vera (00:51:26):

We're seeing almost like a cartel forum, uh, especially for like the deliveries in north America where there's quite a few large mining firms and they've, they've made news quite a few times in the past few months. And if you're not one of those companies, it's really hard to get in the queue for those new machines. You either have to play ball with them, you know, host through them or finance with them, or you can't get like large quantities of new gen machines, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Will Szamosszegi (00:51:51):

Yeah. And, uh, I guess moving on to a non crypto part of the podcast, I always like to ask my guests what their favorite book is.

Ethan Vera (00:52:04):

Favorite book, uh, is probably like made in America about Sam Walton and the founding of Walmart. Uh, I've always kind of been interested. It's really a startup book because it it's like his first 15 years, uh, building Walmart, just like little things like going into every meeting with intellectual curiosity and writing down everything, he'd basically go into his competitor's office and be like, how do you like source like different like, uh, products or like, how did you expand your team? Or how do you hire? And generally his competitors were really open with him. They just tell him like, Hey, this is how we did it. These are the lessons we learned and you go with like a notepad and write it all down. And I think that can teach you a lot of lessons on how to do business, but also how to treat life, like treat it as a student, you know, learn as much as you can. And usually people are willing to help you. Uh, if you, you know, show them some respect.

Will Szamosszegi (00:52:56):

Yeah. That's fascinating. So he would just go into his competitor's offices, just walk up. They knew who he was and he would just ask them exactly what it is that they're doing.

Ethan Vera (00:53:08):

Yeah. They'd give him all the secret sauce. He'd be like, Hey, I'm operating a similar store to you. And like two, three towns over, like I'm having troubles with X, Y, Z. Like, have you ever gone through something like that? And they, they tell 'em and need to figure it out.

Will Szamosszegi (00:53:22):

Wow, that's fascinating. And cuz I actually thinking about it now, that's kind of the ethos that, uh, that we see a lot within the crypto space because we're all building, uh, to help create a more, I guess, digital decentralized future and creating a, an entire new way that these, that we can approach these different types of problems and industries by applying blockchain. And so even though I'm a minor, I'll talk with people who are building something in defi or building some other blockchain protocol that is completely different than what I'm necessarily doing and has a different business model, but will try and share what it is that we're seeing that's successful. And then I think that even with those conversations, we take a similar type of approach on the, on the mining side too. I've been conversations that I have with other mining firms or other mining executives. I kind of tell 'em what it is that we're working on. Some of them have, have known about the podcast prior to us launching, um, publicly. But it's just something where I think everyone's kind of in it together to try and build a better future for this industry. It's fascinating.

Ethan Vera (00:54:31):

Yeah. I mean, we all love Bitcoin. We wanna see succeed. So I love that camaraderie. And then also like you as a young entrepreneur and CEO in this space, like life's long, you know, it's easy to get sucked into like a view that, you know, I'm only looking one year out or two years out, but like considering how like young, you and I are running companies, like who knows what the space is gonna look like in 10 years. So if you can build strong relationships now, um, that are based on like, you know, strong, personal relationships, I that'll never be a bad thing. And so helping out each other where possible, I think is like vital to, to building long term business success.

Will Szamosszegi (00:55:06):

Yeah. And I, I completely agree with that. I mean, in, I think it's so important to, to recognize kind of where we are in the cycle of everything and how this isn't a 1, 2, 5, 10 year play. This is really, uh, a multi decade, multi decade play. That's going to be happening here. And then aside from that, I mean, thinking even more grand, I mean, how are the things that we're building and how society is progressing? How is that going to look and affect the future a hundred, 200, 300 years in the future? It's just kind of hard because you have very concentrated number of data points. So you're definitely not, not working with perfect data when you're trying to make those long term predictions.

Ethan Vera (00:55:50):

Yeah. You're looking at the nest, like difficulty EPAC coming up in six days, but, um, even if you looked at the mining market like three years ago, like it was completely different. I have predictions of where mining will or what mining will look like in 2023 or 2024, but I could be completely wrong. I'll most likely be wrong because, uh, I wouldn't have been able to predict where we are today. Yeah. So I think like, it, it is just best to like build with integrity and, you know, work, uh, with people as much as possible.

Will Szamosszegi (00:56:21):

Yeah. I mean, if I think of anyone in the world gave a price prediction of where Bitcoin is today, 10 years ago, people actually would look at that person. Like they were insane. Like probably would not speak to that person seriously about investments or price movement or anything for any asset. Because I mean, what was Bitcoin 10 years ago? I, in two, in 2010,

Ethan Vera (00:56:43):

I, I, don't less than a hundred bucks probably. I, I don't know. I wish I was in that early.

Will Szamosszegi (00:56:48):

Yeah. I mean, you're, you're doing pretty well if you're in that early, I mean, even in any part of the industry and I think that all companies in the industry, if you're you're building or you're involved, you're, you're going to really benefit a lot from all the massive growth that's happening in other parts of the industry, more capital flowing in more things, being built better resources for minors, which is, I mean, one of the things that, that your company is really working on and, and moving forward, I think that all the companies really gonna benefit from this and, and help each other grow.

Ethan Vera (00:57:19):

Yeah. No, I definitely think so. We're, we're moving in good space. So we just gotta keep it

Will Szamosszegi (00:57:24):

Up. Yeah. A actually one thing I do want to ask is, so previously you had, you have experienced at Goldman Sachs and you would, you had the opportunity to be in that work environment for a certain period of time. And now you're in, um, the crypto blockchain world. Wh why did you decide to make that switch and go into the stuff that you're doing now and, and leave the traditional investment banking sector

Ethan Vera (00:57:52):

Really twofold. One, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with mining. Uh, crypto mining was just so fascinating for me. I think there was some huge industry trends here that are going on, uh, that I really wanted to be a part of and capitalize on, uh, specifically like sophistication of mining and people actually wanting mining based like derivatives and financial instruments. And then second the movement of pass rate to north America. So like those two, uh, I think were, you know, key like tailwinds that I wanted to capture. And then the second was like, I was working as like, you know, lower down in the bank, the banks very hierarchical. Um, I'm so much happier now. And I think I'm learning a lot more in a more unstructured environment where I don't have a direct like boss. That's giving me marching orders every morning. Like a lot of my work is like self-driven and I get to go decide like, okay, what should I work on today? And it's, that's not like for everyone, some people want a more structured environment where they can learn from mentors, uh, and learn from their experience. But for me at the time, I really wanted to just go out there, uh, build some things, break some things and learn from it.

Will Szamosszegi (00:58:55):

Yeah. That's awesome. Cuz I mean the investment banking world, I mean that's a very, very structured approach, extremely a lot of modeling, especially in, in the earlier days when you're, when you're lower down on the rung. And I mean, going as an entrepreneur is the flip where it's really you driving, whatever you wanna spend time on what you wanna work on and what you think's gonna build the firm as quickly as possible and, and in the best way possible.

Ethan Vera (00:59:23):

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I'm, I'm happy. I got my time at Goldman. Uh, you learn a lot while you're there, but I would say like overall, I'm just, uh, extremely excited about what luxury's building, uh, working in this industry. I'd never get sick of it. I spend like 90% of my working hours a week, just like only focused on mining, um, which is a considerable amount of hours right now. And I, I never get tired of it. I love every aspect of it. So I'm looking forward to continuing to like build product here. I think that's the coolest part too, of like startups is just building product and shipping it and getting customer feedback. Nothing's better than like building a real product that people use. That's like the biggest joy in my life right now.

Will Szamosszegi (01:00:03):

Yeah. That's awesome. Well, you're doing an incredible job. If this has been an awesome conversation, it's been really, uh, a lot of fun to talk through a lot of these concepts. I mean, you're, you're deep in this mining space, you understand more than, than most people out there in mining. So I think that this was really informative for everyone listening before we wrap up. Are there any places online that you spend a lot of your time or where anyone who's listening connect with can connect with you or the company?

Ethan Vera (01:00:32):

Yeah. You can, uh, message me on Twitter, Ethan underscore Vera or on telegram, just Ethan Vera. Um, and then if you have a chance, definitely check out hashtag trade index.com. Uh, we basically built this mining data site so that we could add more transparency. All the visualizations are free. So go around, play around with the data. If there's anything you wanna see, just like feel free to ping me and we'll build it. We just wanna build cool things that miners want. So, uh, yeah, hit me up, uh, on Twitter or telegram and uh, we'll continue the conversation there.

Will Szamosszegi (01:01:01):

Awesome.

Ethan Vera (01:01:03):

It's been great. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, this has been awesome.

Will Szamosszegi (01:01:06):

Thanks for coming.

Will Szamosszegi (01:01:08):

Thank you for listening to this episode of the SaaS mining podcast. Be sure to follow us on social media and YouTube for the latest updates and previews of upcoming episodes, full episodes and transcripts can be found on SaaS mining.com every Thursday. If you want to hear us interview a particular guest on a future episode, please reach out to us@podcastsamining.com.

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