Sazmining Podcast Episode 1: Peter Wall on the Cryptocurrency Industry
In Episode 1 of the Sazmining Podcast, Will speaks with Peter Wall, CEO of Argo Blockchain. They discuss the philosophy of blockchain, how to be an effective CEO, Argo's value in this ecosystem, how miners can scale up their operations, and much more.
Will Szamosszegi (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 (00:25):
William Simi is the CEO and founder of SA mining, Inc. All opinions expressed by William or his Gus on this podcast are solely their opinions and do not reflect the opinions of SA mining. You should not treat any opinion expressed by William as a specific recommendation to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of his opinion, this podcast is for informational purposes. Only
Will Szamosszegi (00:53):
Today's episode is sponsored by block by and cogent law group. Our listeners can visit block by.com/sa mining for an exclusive offer for cryptocurrency management and check out cogent law group for all your legal needs. Our guest today has had a career of firsts, the CEO of the first cryptocurrency mining company to be listed on the London stock exchange co-founder of the first non-urban co-working space in the world. And one of the first video journalists at the Canadian broadcasting corporation in early 2018, he changed his focus to blockchain and cryptocurrency. And today is the CEO of Argo blockchain with all that said welcome to the podcast, Peter,
Peter Wall (01:39):
Walt, thanks. We great to be here.
Will Szamosszegi (01:41):
Glad to have you. Well, that is quite the background with all of that, that you've done in your career. What landed you working in blockchain and cryptocurrency?
Peter Wall (01:52):
Yeah, it's kind of like, you know, my career has been one of, a lot of serendipity, you know, I've been very fortunate that I've never particularly tried to plan out like one job or one, um, project. They've just kind of come to me and I've been in the right place in the right time. And it was, it was similar with, with this blockchain project with, with Argo. Uh, I mean I spent the first 10 years of my career really focused on storytelling and communications with, with CBC, you know, being a, a video journalist making short films. Then I, I moved to Balis. You mentioned in my bio and I spent a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people who were highly, um, interested in cryptocurrency, it was still kind of early days for crypto 20 13, 20 14, 20 15. We took Bitcoin as a payment because there was a really healthy, mostly American like group of, of crypto nerds who you'd hang out at our coworking space.
Peter Wall (02:49):
And they had like a weekly meetup and they were like, oh, you guys should get to Bitcoin ATM. We actually had a Bitcoin ATM for a while. <laugh> um, so that, so I kind of got exposed to both cryptocurrency, blockchain and entrepreneurship through my, my time there. And then, and then came back to Canada and did a couple crazy projects including this one where we sailed an icebreaker, you know, from coast to coast to coast, through the Arctic in, in 2017, that was a bit of a sidetrack, but, and the totally amazing fun, interesting sidetrack. Um, there was some, there was a couple people who were interested in blockchain on the ship, but for the most part, it wasn't any huge connections to, um, to what was happening through, you know, the, the crazy year that was 2017 in, in, in cryptocurrency. Um, and then in early, uh, 2018, like literally Christmas 2017, uh, got a call from a contact who said, I'm launching this project called Argo.
Peter Wall (03:45):
And we need someone who who's a good problem solver who can help us, you know, get things down on the ground in, in, in Canada. Do you wanna, do you wanna jump on board? And I said, sure. And I thought it would be three months or six months or however, what it was. And two and a half years now, later, I'm now the CEO. And, you know, we've got, uh, what 18,000 mining rigs, uh, roughly 35 megawatts at a bunch of different facilities, um, in north America. And, uh, you know, we're publicly traded on the London stock exchange and it's, it's, it's been, it's been great, but it, I can't say it's something that I, I planned, you know, from, from when I graduated with a degree in philosophy, you know, like over 20 years ago to where I am now, it's, I've just been, this, it's been this incredible path. That's had a lot of diversity, a lot of serendipity, um, and a lot of variety.
Will Szamosszegi (04:37):
Yeah. You're the first person that I've spoken with that has that background educationally in philosophy. And who's also deeply involved as an executive at a blockchain company, uh, particularly a cryptocurrency mining firm. So from that perspective, are there any lessons that you took from your time in schools and in studying philosophy that you think apply directly to blockchain and some of the work that you're doing today?
Peter Wall (05:04):
Well, I think that, um, you know, the, the thing about studying philosophy is that you learn how to think critically and you learn how to kind of like be wrong, you know, listen to other people's arguments. Um, it's a lot of, it's a lot of kind of trial and error learning, um, and a lot of discussion based learning. And, and, and that has, I think, good entrepreneurship, you know, involves those, those traits as well. Um, you know, problem solving comes from being able to think critically kind of looking at, at issues and figuring out how to, how to solve them. So I think the philosophy degree, um, was interesting for me because it was a time that allowed me to really, yeah. Just kind of like explore ideas for ideas sake. And then, and then it's, you know, being kind of involved in entrepreneurship over the last 10 years, it's really taken me into. Okay. How do you think critically on a very practical level? So you're kind of moving from the air to the ground, I would say, has, has been my movement. Um, and it's not actually that unusual, like there there's quite a few people when you kind of dig deep enough who have degrees in law or finance or, or whatever it may be. There's a famous Canadian prime minister who had an undergraduate in philosophy. Um, so yeah, it's, it's an interesting kind of base level education to start with.
Will Szamosszegi (06:26):
Yeah, definitely. And that you touched on a good point there, that's really interesting on how blockchain really does apply to so, and bring in so many different disciplines. I mean, you have obviously technology, but you have to have an understanding of, uh, finance many times understanding of philosophy as well. I think ties into a lot of these products being created, uh, in the work that you're doing today as the CEO of a cryptocurrency mining firm. What are some of the main objectives that you're taking into account when you're evaluating, where you want to lead the company?
Peter Wall (07:04):
Um, it's a good question. I mean, I, I think for us, you know, the, the kind of things that we get excited about in terms of where, how we fit into, let, let me, let's, let's take a step back for a minute and let, let me kind of tell you my philosophy about, about blockchain and what excites me about blockchain. So what I kind of think of blockchain as like the four DS, right? It's distributed, it's decentralized, it's different and it's disruptive. And to me, uh, that there's almost kind of a hierarchy of those four. I think, you know, the most interesting is that it really is disruptive. Um, and so as a company, we, you know, obviously we're a mining company, our, you know, base like everyday existence is making sure our machines are running efficiently and making sure that we're returning value to our shareholders and making sure that we're, you know, managing the operations in a really practical way.
Peter Wall (08:02):
But at the same time, we always wanna keep in mind that kind of last goal, which is be to be disruptive. And I think you become disruptive by innovating and by looking at like, kind of trying to predict the future, um, and find opportunities in the future. So for us at Argo, um, it's really about kind of having those two, like pieces moving at the same time, the practical level of being like running efficiently, running things, um, like any company, but particularly a public company needs to do in a, like a really transparent, solid way. And then also kind of keeping an eye on the future, making sure that we build into our, our days and our weeks and our months time to think about innovation, cuz it does it doesn't happen on its own. Um, so we try to make sure that, you know, that that balance is there.
Will Szamosszegi (08:51):
Yeah, definitely. And as you mentioned, you guys are a publicly traded company and very, very few mining companies out there really have that level of transparency showing that they're a public facing company the other day, I just spoke with, uh, the, the interim CEO at hu eight mining. And they're also a publicly listed company on the Canadian stock exchange. Yeah. So diving into what it means to be a public versus a private company, what do you think are the most important things to understand when you're deciding, okay, I'm going to take a company public or be a public company versus keeping a company private and continuing to grow and raise capital through that type of method.
Peter Wall (09:33):
Yeah. I mean, it's about being a publicly traded company. You're, you're adding another layer of work onto your, you know, your plate. So because there's a lot of regulatory requirements because you have shareholders that you need to listen to and there's, there's more stakeholders involved. And so, um, it's just more work and, and I don't mean that in, in a, in a bad way, but it's just like, you have to be prepared to be able to handle those regulatory pieces, whether they, whether that's like making sure you're connecting with your lawyers more often or that your, you know, your results are coming out on a obviously there's requirements about how often your results come out and all of those pieces, which I don't think a lot of people realize when they initially think about, oh, I'm gonna do an IPO and it's gonna be, you know, super easy.
Peter Wall (10:18):
And all of that, the thing that I think is different about us compared to other publicly traded companies, because there's requirements as publicly traded companies to disclose, you know, X, Y, Z is that I think like particularly since January, since I've taken over CEO, we've made like a real commitment to be super consistent and transparent with our, uh, our disclosures. And we do, we go above and beyond what is regulatory re what is required by regulation. So if you look at, um, like the last six months, every month, we put out a monthly operational update, no other publicly trading minors joined that. We just put one out, you know, a couple days ago, um, that basically was our July results. Other publicly traded companies. You're hearing about the results like 4, 5, 6 months or longer ago. Um, and, and, and in the kind of like the fast moving world that we live in, I just don't think that's good enough.
Peter Wall (11:15):
Like, I, I, we look at as a challenge to really keep our shareholders, you know, informed and up to date. Um, so, so we've, you know, good, bad and ugly. We've put out our results. Obviously post having, um, things were, were, you know, not as good, like it was, it was a hit, right. Um, but we chose to, through the having period through it all just every month, like clockwork to put out the updates. And I think if you look at our share price recently, I think like we're being rewarded for that kind of transparency and that kind of honesty and that kind of like, um, consistency, because we really believe in blockchain, we believe in, in mining, we think this thing is like just getting started. Um, and so we don't wanna be involved with any kind of, you know, um, like we just wanna make sure that, that everything is as clean and transparent, always as possible. And that's, that's the value of being a public traded company is that you have to be, um, but you can even go beyond that, which is, which is kind of cool.
Will Szamosszegi (12:21):
Yeah. That's, that's really great to hear. And I think that that's a very different approach in terms of transparency that your company's taking versus many other mining companies, both, uh, many of which are private, but also, uh, publicly traded companies. I mean, you're really seems like you're going one step further to
Peter Wall (12:38):
Reach because it doesn't, it doesn't work, right? Like if you just, if you try to people aren't stupid. Like, I think our shareholders are really smart. Like I listen to them, I value their feedback. And like when you try to hide stuff or it might work in the short term, like it, my, your stock might go up or whatever it is, you, you, there might be some short term value in, you know, hiding things, but in the long term people aren't stupid. They're gonna figure out what's going on. Um, and it'll catch up with you. So it's not, it's not rocket science, it's pretty straightforward, you know? Yeah. Um, just be transparent and, and call things as they are. And, and hopefully you'll be rewarded for that.
Will Szamosszegi (13:14):
Yeah. And when you're voicing your vision for the future of Argo and putting that in context of the actual mining industry, so you, you just mentioned a, a large event that happened to having in may where the amount of Bitcoin being paid out to the miners, uh, the block size got cut in half from 12.5 Bitcoin, roughly every 10 minutes to 6.25 Bitcoin, roughly every 10 minutes. And now you're trying to position Argo to continue to be able to be transparent with, with your shareholders, but also, uh, frame the conversation properly, uh, within the context of the mining industry, knowing that they're continuous, havings every four years, what is your outlook on the mining industry between now and the next having, and how do you communicate the value of Argo within that sort of a lens?
Peter Wall (14:08):
So I think that, um, you know, we're all, obviously, like we wouldn't be in this game if we weren't bullish on crypto, if we didn't think Bitcoin was like, and, and you can pick whichever, you know, narrative you wanna, you wanna, uh, pick, I, I like the store of value narrative. I think Bitcoin's digital gold. I think it's gonna, it is behaving a lot like gold right now. It, you know, I think, I think it makes sense. I think there's lots of other cryptocurrencies that are gonna be, you know, have much more practical applications and we're seeing those come out and there's all kinds of interesting innovations going on there. Um, so I think personally I'm bullish, but I can't run the company just on a feeling of bullishness and like optimism or hopium as, as people say, you know, it, we also have to run the company on fundamentals.
Peter Wall (14:56):
So we're trying, we build scenarios, you know, like any other organization we build scenarios for, for various, you know, um, outlooks. And we make sure that we have enough, uh, mining capacity and we have enough, um, hash power to make sure that even if Bitcoin, you know, stays neutral or goes down, the company is viable and profitable. Um, so it's about kind of looking at our projections and balancing the amount of risk we can take on the amount of machines. We, the amount of capital we can spend at any one time. Um, and, and trying to, you know, look into the future with, and it's, it sounds it's cliche, but like, you know, making sure you, you hit the upsides, get the upsides while protecting the downsides. Yeah. It's, it's, it's kind of that straightforward.
Will Szamosszegi (15:49):
And do you have a particular type of methodology that you use within the firm to make calculated decisions there? Or are you just taking in all the different variables that are happening on a day to day basis and then making, uh, I guess more short term decisions based on the sentiment of the crowd?
Peter Wall (16:09):
No, I think we, we think, we don't think on a day to day, um, basis at all, we, we were really looking kind of more quarterly, like what's gonna happen this quarter. What's gonna happen the next quarter. Um, and we have, you know, like our, our, our cash crypto management systems built on the trends that we see, you know, over longer periods of time. Um, if we we've tried to do anything daily or weekly, it's just, it's so volatile, you know, like you don't, you just can't, can't rely on, on short term thinking in this business, you really have to kind of try to think long term. So, um, so yeah, we've got, uh, you know, various, um, spreadsheets, various like projection formulas that we look at, and then we base our decisions off of that.
Will Szamosszegi (16:55):
Yeah. W what do you think if you were to give a piece of advice to, let's say, a minor out there, or potentially, uh, someone who knows about Bitcoin is invested, but trying to make the most out of their returns. Is there any piece of advice or thing that this trader or minor should keep in mind when dealing with this enormous volatility that we see in this industry?
Peter Wall (17:20):
Yeah. I mean, the one thing that we have found is like, just a dollar cost average your way through, like, you're never going recently in like a Forbes article. It was, it was kind lucky because it was this long article about people predicting the price of Bitcoin. And then they asked for a quote from us. And I, I didn't know I was gonna be quoted last, but I was like, you know, predicting the price of Bitcoin in the future is a fool's err <laugh>. So I kind, I had the last word in the article because it is, I mean, you just don't know. So, so what we try to do is just dollar cost to average our way, um, into whether we're buying machines, whether we're trading Bitcoin, um, we look at the bigger trends and then we say right on any particular day or any particular week. So we're gonna dollar cost to average over a longer period of time. And that, that seems to be, you know, work well for us.
Will Szamosszegi (18:08):
Yeah, definitely. And this is one of those really interesting things about this particular asset class, because in many other types of industries and stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, there is a much longer history to, uh, to look back at and try and make calculated predictions about the future. And in our industry, we don't necessarily have that history to look on. So when you're talking about some of these trends and planning for the future and thinking more big picture and not day to day, not week to week, but on a more macro level, how do you consolidate your thoughts with such a limited level of history behind this industry?
Peter Wall (18:50):
Yeah. And it's funny too, like when you talk about time in crypto, it's like a year in crypto years is like five or 10 years in any other industry. Right? I mean, think back to 2018, that was two years ago, the landscape unbelievable, completely different. The machines were D like everything was different, you know, like the amount of like financial products, RS, whatever it is, that's like built around crypto now, compared to two years, even compared to a year ago is massive. So things are moving so quickly. And, and so, um, you know, like, yeah, like it's like everything's on fast forward, uh, or like, you know, everything's like on double, triple, quadruple time. So it is, it's really hard to look back at the, the 2016 having and the 2012 having when the world was so different when the crypto world was so different and say, okay, the factors that affected, you know, the 20, you can see some trends, but it's very hard to, to extrapolate that information, that data forward four years and say, okay, this is what happened in 2020.
Peter Wall (19:54):
So I think there was a little bit that happened with this last having, cause there were so many other factors and then you throw COVID in there and it's just like, it's just like the wild west again. Um, so like I said, it's just so hard to predict, you know, what's gonna happen on a, on a really short term basis that we try to think long term and how can we kind of build for, for, for the long term. Uh, the one thing that we are confident in is that crypto is moving in the right direction. It's going up, um, it's, it's strengthening, there's more, there's more users there's like, and you see that happening in the last month, especially, you know?
Will Szamosszegi (20:33):
Yeah. And one of the things that I think we agree on very strongly is that we're both very bullish on the future of, uh, Bitcoin in particular, but also blockchain technology and this industry, the different products that are being built around that, with that said when you're the reason why you're, uh, very bullish on Bitcoin, are there a couple of key trends that you've noticed or a couple of key statistics that are supporting that viewpoint of being a big Bitcoin bull?
Peter Wall (21:06):
Um, well going back to, you know, what I said earlier is like, I, I look at all of the, like in, in, in the sort of the last six months, my, one of the reasons I'm so bullish is, is just kind of these macroeconomic factors that are happening in the world. And we see governments just pumping, you know, cash, you know, left right. And center printing Fiat, like it's going out at, you know, like crazy. Um, and so I, I, I see with all of that quantitative easing going on, uh, anything that's a hard asset, um, is, is gonna become more valuable and is, is going be, you know, going to gonna be a, a hedge against inflation. So I dunno if you've heard the term quantitative hardening, but with, with Bitcoin, you know, becoming harder and harder to mine, um, I think that the quantitative hardening that's gonna happen around, uh, around Bitcoin and around the production of Bitcoin, we see it happening. We just happened with the ha um, and we see it with the new technology constantly coming out or coming out very frequently. Um, that's one of the reasons that, you know, I'm, I'm super bullish on, on Bitcoin.
Will Szamosszegi (22:22):
Yeah. And you touched on two really important concepts there that tie to this particular asset class, uh, quantitative easing, which is what's currently happening in the world today and quantitative hardening. So could you start by defining quantitative easing and then going and defining quantitative hardening?
Peter Wall (22:42):
Sure. Yeah. My favorite quantitative easing, um, definition was there's these, and you can Google this there's these Australian comedians who I don't think they're around anymore, but, um, they have this, this, um, comic show like this comedic show and they were joined a sketch where they were pretending they were like two, like, um, economic experts talking about quantitative easing and one guy's like, you know, in the Australian accent. Well, Mike, can you explain, you know, what, what quant a is? And, and the other guy's like, he's like, well, basically you, you take the truck and you back it up next to, to the mint and you, you go to the printer and you hit print and then the money just goes like this into the truck, and then you take that out and give it to the bank. So, um, that's basically what quantitative is.
Peter Wall (23:33):
It's just printing cash, right. Just trying to, um, you know, support the economy by putting more cash into it. Ative hardening is the opposite. You're making it harder to create that asset. So, you know, whether it's gold, uh, or whether it's Bitcoin. I mean, with Bitcoin, we know it gets harder and harder to mine every four years, and it gets harder and harder to mine with difficulty going up, um, all, you know, not in a straight line, but in, in trend, it trends up, you know, difficult is gonna adjust in a few days. We know it's gonna probably go up another one, two, 3% or more. Um, so that's quantity of Harding. It's the opposite of printing cash. It's holding back a resource. So that resource becomes more valuable. Yeah. Not necessarily. So that resource, but the effect is that the resource becomes more value.
Will Szamosszegi (24:26):
Yeah. And that's, that's one of the key things that both, uh, both our companies are a part of in the mining process. We're participating in. What I like to call is Bitcoin is the most transparent monetary sub uh, policy of any currency that's ever been created in a sense, because rather than the ability to just go and print a lot of dollars and put that into circulation, which governments have the ability to do through quantitative easing, uh, in Bitcoin, you know, exactly when the next having is going to occur, you know, how much Bitcoin is going to be distributed. And that supply in that regard is known to the people who are buying into the network. And yeah, I think that going back to your point earlier, it's, it's very valuable to have that transparent monetary policy for everyone. Who's thinking about getting involved in Bitcoin. It's, it's really a revolutionary piece of technology.
Peter Wall (25:26):
No, I agree. And I, and I think it's like, what is it now August? You know, I think we haven't really seen the effects of the quantitative easing yet. I mean, that's another reason I'm bull. It's just like, it's still very early in the, uh, you know, in the cycle of, of where we are. So, you know, three months from now, six months from now a year from now, a lot of the effects of the decisions that have been made in the last six months are gonna start coming home, um, to roost. And, uh, and it's gonna be interesting to see what happens when that happens.
Will Szamosszegi (26:00):
Yeah. Well, there are a lot of, a lot of predictions out there of what this is going to mean for not only the us economy, but the global economy and in particular, what it's going to mean for the us dollar. If the, the balance sheet just in a single year can be expanded by around 75%, that's clearly something that's not sustainable. So with that said, do you have any sort of, uh, opinion on the future of the ramifications of this level of money, money printing by the fed?
Peter Wall (26:32):
I mean, not really more than what I've already said, which is, I think that people are gonna move to, you know, more scarce re assets. I mean, what silver is up like has doubled in the last, you know, few months, uh, Bitcoin, uh, gold is now well over $2,000. And so, you know, the question for us as, you know, blockchain people, uh, is, are we gonna see the same trends in, uh, in digital assets? And I think it's clear that we've, we're already seen them.
Will Szamosszegi (27:04):
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. We've, we've seen an enormous run up really since that initial liquidity crisis in March, when I believe Bitcoin fell by over 50% in a single day. And that was a same day where stocks
Peter Wall (27:18):
Took it was, it was a scary day. It was a scary day.
Will Szamosszegi (27:21):
Yeah. Even for the, some of the people I talked to, even the biggest Bitcoin bulls, they were looking at the price and they, they were sweating, but, uh, then,
Peter Wall (27:29):
But you know what, to me that, that day, like my takeaway from that day, cuz I remember it so well and it was just like, okay, this thing bent, but it didn't break, you know? Yeah. And, and that was, I think it, if, if at any time everything would've gone off the rails, it would've been then people would, if people had completely lost faith that would've been the time to lose faith and it didn't, it didn't happen. So here we are, you know, whatever it is, four or five months later. And we're, you know, we're what today touching 12. So who knows
Will Szamosszegi (28:05):
That, that's a very, very great point. And it's one of the things that you talk with people who've been in the industry since very, very, very early on like 20 11, 20 12, 20 13, and getting their perspective on how the industry's evolved, where in those early days there were many or much fewer signals pointing towards the success of this thing, uh, reaching mass adoption or, um, the probability of the entire Bitcoin, uh, price going to zero was actually a very, very valid concern that these people were worried about and where we are today. You, you brought up a great point where it, it bent, it definitely bent a lot, but it didn't break. And now we're at a point where we're seeing all these announcements further adoption, the OCC, uh, changing, uh, essentially OCC being headed by, uh, a Bitcoin, someone who used to work at Coinbase. It's a bit interesting future that's being laid in terms of the infrastructure, uh, within our industry right now. So with all that said, uh, where do you see the future of mining going within the next 10 years? And I know that that's
Peter Wall (29:19):
10 years. Okay. 10 years, 10 years hard, hard to predict. I thought you were gonna say two years. Yeah. Um, so I think that future of mining is gonna be, we're gonna see some, uh, I mean already it's happened. It's, it's very, become very institutionalized, very centralized, very large, um, and much more efficient. All of which I think is good. I think you're always gonna have, you know, your basement minors who are mining alt coins and who are kind of like part of the, the, the, in the infrastructure and part of the furniture. And I think that's great. Um, you know, that's how a lot of people started, uh, mining, even a lot of the big guys, you know, our, our CTO used to mine in his basement and that's how he learned a lot of his, you know, technology skills because it is such a new industry. Like no one. Yeah. If someone says they were mining 10 years ago, <laugh> <laugh> then, then, uh, they're either, you know, a liar or, uh, a very, very, very rare person
Will Szamosszegi (30:19):
Peter Wall (30:20):
<laugh>. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Um, so I think we're gonna see, you know, more centralization, more institutional institutionalization of mining. Um, we'll probably see some, some merger mergers between various players. Um, I'd like to say that there's gonna be more mining in north America. Certainly I see lots of infrastructure being built and lots of, um, companies that are, you know, committed to having hash power, not just in other parts of the world, but also in north America. Um, and prices are, you know, are relatively competitive com compared to, um, lots of other places and, you know, governments are stable and like there's lots of reasons to mine in, in north America, lots of good, you know, different types of access to power. Um, I think that the evolution in mining technology is gonna slow down a little bit. I think we're already, you know, like the chip size or a already like 7, 7 65, like it's, it's gonna be hard to get smaller than that.
Peter Wall (31:25):
So I don't, we're gonna get there, but I think it's gonna take longer to get there. Um, because it's just harder. It's just like really, it's getting really hard already to get those super, super small chips. And there's so much demand for other, um, from, from other types of technologies that need, you know, need chips, whether it's phones or whatever. Um, and then I, I also think that there's gonna be a movement towards proof of stake. I mean, obviously Ethereum is gonna make the jump soon. And I think that some minors are gonna be looking to, um, get in on that game and see how they can, uh, you know, just diversify away from just proof of work. Um, and that's, that's cool. I mean, I'm, I, I think proof of stake is super interesting and obviously, you know, has, has doesn't need the kind of power requirements, um, that, that, uh, shot 2 56 and other algorithms, you know, mining algorithms do needs. Um, so yeah, I, I, I I'd say is I don't, is that enough predictions
Will Szamosszegi (32:30):
<laugh> yeah, that, that is plenty, plenty predictions. Uh <laugh> so I, I have one last mind question before we go into some other topics, uh, okay. Possibly outside of, uh, blockchain and Bitcoin, but for any minor who's listening and let's say they have their own operation, they're looking to scale their operations and potentially go out and handle all parts of the life cycle. Be it securing cheap power, building up a more large scale facility, maybe in the ballpark of five to 10 megawatts. What, what is it that you recommend that they try and do when they're trying to scale up their mining operations and reach that next level where they're going, and they're actually communicating directly with these different, uh, power providers.
Peter Wall (33:16):
I think the one thing that people don't realize when they're building or, you know, getting into large scale mining, um, is the importance of cooling. Like if you're not blowing a lot of air through your machines, you're gonna have problems they're
Will Szamosszegi (33:34):
Peter Wall (33:34):
<laugh>. Yeah. And if you're not, if you don't set up your facilities to, you know, be able to move a lot of air through, 'em, you're gonna have a hard time. So, so I think cooling, like the importance of cooling. That's why we love mining in Canada, you know, cuz nine months of the year, it's, it's pretty cold. And so it's, uh, it's you bringing in, you're already starting at an advantage because you've got a lot of cool air running through running through your rigs. I, I think cooling's important. Um, and then I would say, um, you have to think beyond just, you know, plug and pre, um, like you've, you've gotta be able to monitor and optimize your machines as much as possible because there are days where it's hot and you might, you know, need to, to make some settings change. There, there are days where, um, you know, your margins might get thin if, if, if Bitcoin goes, you know, at drops or, or whatever difficulty goes up. So I think you need to be able to, you know, just like you wouldn't drive a car at one speed all of the time. I think you need to be able to think, you need to think about your machines being able to drive at different speeds depending on, on the conditions, uh, of, of the market.
Will Szamosszegi (34:48):
Will Szamosszegi (34:50):
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Will Szamosszegi (36:08):
Is your favorite book that you've ever read.
Peter Wall (36:12):
So, um, I would say like the book I go back to the most often is a book called, uh, Mandela's way. And it was written by Richard STLE who was actually, uh, a journalist who became a diplomat. He worked for Obama for a while. He was the editor of time magazine. He wrote Mandela's autobiography with him, the autobiography of, of Nelson Mandela. And the book is like divided into, I don't know, like 10 chapters or 12 chapters. And each chapter has like a character trait of Nelson Mandela, and then it kind of breaks down. Um, why, you know, like one of them is like lead from the front and ha and it's kind of, it, it's an, a series of examples of how Nelson Mandela, you know, led from the front. And then I think the next chapters lead from the back and it talks about, you know, the importance of having your, your colleagues and teammates and, um, family members being able to be empowered and be out in front and, and it, and is filled with these anecdotes of Richard STLE who spent time with Nelson Mandela during the writing of the, uh, autobiography of Nelson Mandela.
Peter Wall (37:24):
Um, so it's great. I love that book. I have it on my phone. I go back to it. Um, you know, whenever I kind of need some inspiration.
Will Szamosszegi (37:32):
Yeah. That sounds like a great book, especially it, for someone who's leading a, a company, uh, CEO of a public publicly traded company. I'm sure that there are a lot of valuable insights that you can look back on and, uh, and take from, from one of the greatest leaders of all time.
Peter Wall (37:48):
Yeah, no, it is. It's, he's an amazing man. And, uh, it's, it's good to be inspired by, you know, amazing dudes.
Will Szamosszegi (37:56):
Yeah, definitely. What was one of the, uh, one of the pieces that you took outta that book that you constantly refer back to to try and improve upon?
Peter Wall (38:09):
Um, so there's a, um, an anecdote in the book where Nelson Mandela is on an airplane. And, um, he, and I think this chapter is called like, look the part. And it like talks about how Mandela kind of always had this air of like, kind of confidence about him and this air of like, he'd like dressed well. And he was always kind of kept his composure. And so <laugh>, there's this story where Mandela's in the airplane, just hammering a security guard, flying into remote airport to do some kind of event. And there's journalists waiting on the ground. And one of the propellers on the airplane goes off, goes out. And, um, the, uh, Mandela's sitting there reading the newspaper and he turns to the security guard and he said, can you go tell the pilot that, uh, the, uh, one of the engines has, has gone out <laugh> and the security guard who is like already a nervous flyer is like, oh my God.
Peter Wall (39:03):
And he like goes and tells the pilot and the pilot, and he comes back. He's like, oh yeah, the pilot's already new. And yeah, this in this terrible. And, and, uh, Mandela just sits there reading his newspaper, like nothing's wrong at all. And they come in and there's a, firer at the, you know, air airport, and they land, it's fine. They were able to land with, with one engine and, um, they get out of the plane and Stangle, who's the, the rider, um, you know, gets into the car with Mandela. And he's like, oh, that wast the, what happened, you know? And, uh, and, uh, Mandela turns to and said, yeah, we lost an air. We lost a, uh, uh, an engine and I was terrified <laugh>. And, and the point is, is, you know, he was completely terrified, but he was able to keep his composure and keep, you know, keep like this certain kind of, um, yeah, certain way of being through all of that.
Peter Wall (40:02):
And I think that's important, you know, as a leader, to be able to kind of keep your composure, um, you know, another, you know, politician who I'm a fan of, or world leaders, Obama, and they, and I knew a couple people that worked for him, um, through my previous career. And, you know, they used to call him no B no drama Obama, because the guy was just like solid all the time. And, uh, and I think that's cool. I, I kind of aspire to, to be like that. Not always with my, my kids <laugh> so that's all other, that's another challenge, but I think as a leader, it's, it's the more, um, the calmer you can be, you know, in times of crisis better.
Will Szamosszegi (40:41):
Yeah. And another part of your background is that you're very into meditation. Uh, how, I guess, do you want to just talk a little bit about why you, you see the benefits of meditation as something that, uh, that you practice and potentially why someone else might want to begin starting meditation if they're not already doing so?
Peter Wall (41:04):
Uh, yeah. Look, um, meditation is something I've been interested in probably since my early twenties. Um, and I found it to be something that has, um, you know, when I meditate, I'm just calmer, I'm more focused, I'm more gathered, um, less anxious. Um, it just, it, it's an, it's a grounding practice that I think is, you know, works well for me, I'm not saying everyone should be meditating, but there's certainly lots of research out there that espouses the benefits of meditation and, um, and lots of technologies, you know, whether they be apps or whether they be books or whether they be classes that people can take, um, if they're interested, but I, yeah, I think it's, um, it's an ancient technology that we often, you know, forget about.
Will Szamosszegi (41:59):
Yeah. And it's one of those things too, that at least when I first, uh, was confronted about potentially, uh, meditating myself and, uh, people were recommending it to me. I kind of had this view of it in my mind. That was so different than, uh, what I think it really is in practice. I thought that it was something that maybe only very, very religious people are amongst practice. Right. But it's something that a lot of extremely high performers also just let him die by it. I mean, one of the ones that really comes to mind is, uh, Ray Dahlia and right. He's someone who has obviously reached all levels of success has given back, uh, plenty. And he said that the most valuable piece of, uh, of advice that he can give as well as the, the most value that he's gotten from in his life, isn't something that money can buy, but it's actually just the practice of meditation. And so hearing people from all these other types of backgrounds as well, spousing the benefits of this of meditation really made, made me want to start getting involved and cool. It, it was one of those things that also getting started, uh, can seem very daunting and very difficult. Yeah. You have a particular type of method that you use or that you used prior when you were starting meditation, that just helped you build up that routine initially to get involved.
Peter Wall (43:25):
So I, I like the guided meditations, like with headphones, you know, and I have a bunch of different apps on my phone, um, that I use to, to kind of help guide me, um, through the meditations. Um, and then generally once I start Medica meditating, uh, medicate <laugh>, um, I just focus on like the breath through my nose. Like that's my kind of go to focus.
Will Szamosszegi (43:50):
Yeah. Just thinking about and focusing on the breathing.
Peter Wall (43:53):
Will Szamosszegi (43:54):
Got it. Yeah.
Peter Wall (43:56):
So are you, are you meditating regularly then?
Will Szamosszegi (43:59):
I've been using the app, uh, Headspace.
Peter Wall (44:01):
Will Szamosszegi (44:01):
Headspace is great. Yeah. There are many different types of meditations that you can do. Like if you're trying to release stress or improve creativity or, uh, just whatever, trying to reach more success, they, they have different types of meditations that you can do. And a day by day, uh, I guess, course progression that you can take. And so I've been doing that sometimes, but it's also one of those things where when I get in the routine, it's it. I love it. And I think it's great. And I, I can't stop talking about it, but then once I fall out of the routine, it's, it's hard to get back in if that makes sense. Yeah. It's almost like working out when you're working out every day. You can't wait to get to the gym. Yeah. If you go a week without working out that first day back, you, there are excuses being made in your head to not wanna actually step out and
Peter Wall (44:50):
Get no, the like the habits, you know, the habits are, are super important to be. Um, there's a book I, I read a while ago about like how to develop healthy habits and, um, and you're right. It's like, once you're, it is, you know, once you've created them, it's easy to stay in them, but it, the trick is to be able to create them.
Will Szamosszegi (45:09):
Yeah. Yeah. Do you have any tips that you use when you're trying to build some of those habits? Like be,
Peter Wall (45:15):
I mean, I think, yeah. I think it's just do the same thing at the same time, as much as possible every day, you know, whether it's six o'clock in the morning or eight o'clock or before you go to bed or like, just do it at that time.
Will Szamosszegi (45:27):
Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Get getting into that routine and having that structure around you. So you start going on autopilot and just yeah. Start doing it.
Peter Wall (45:37):
Will Szamosszegi (45:38):
Yeah. Very interesting. So one of the other things that, uh, about your background that also just caught my eyes, that you've worked in so many different types of industries. Uh, obviously right now, you're in blockchain, but outside of blockchain and what you're doing now with cryptocurrency mining, what was the most rewarding experience that you had had in your career prior to what you're doing today?
Peter Wall (46:04):
Um, so I mentioned in 2017, I did this, um, this expedition called Canada C3, where we sailed, uh, kind of coast coast coast in Canada. And that was pretty, that was pretty amazing. We were on a icebreaker that had about 50 people on it, an old icebreaker built in the 1950s and a good portion of the expedition was through the, the Arctic. And it's really hard to get to the Arctic, like, you know, even though in Canada, you know, we're, we're halfway there. It's like, it's only, you know, Southern Canada is I can fly from Ottawa where I am now three hours and I'm in, you know, callit, which is the capital of Nunavut in the north. Um, but it's expensive. It, it, it, you know, the, a flight up north at any time of year can, can run you three, four, $5,000. You, you can, it's cheaper to fly to Asia, Asia, you know, two, two or three times over than it is to fly to the north.
Peter Wall (46:59):
So it's hard to get up there. Um, and it's also hard to get around when you're up there, spaces are big. So to be able to go through the Arctic on a ship, um, to celebrate Canada's, you know, a hundred 50th, uh, can, you know, anniversary of Confederation was, was a real privilege. And, um, and then to be able to tell stories, and, you know, I, I, I think of myself basically as having, you know, three main skill sets, one of them is problem solving. One of them is leading and then one of them is, is communicating storytelling. And pretty much every job I've done has, has had two of those three, the rare one is had had three. Well, problem solving comes. I, I, I think of entrepreneurship as, as problem solving primarily, that's what it is. And I think about, you know, being a CEO you're leading and problem solving, like those are your two main skill sets.
Peter Wall (47:52):
Whereas with this expedition, I was telling stories and, and leading cuz I led the, the communications team. Um, and that was, it was just super fun. We were, we had a partnerships with a hundred different partners, including Facebook, and we had a huge satellite on the ship. And so we were doing like, you know, live Facebook lives from the, like the, we went as high as the 75th, um, parallel. So, you know, right now I'm around the 45th, you're in South Carolina, you're probably around 35th of 38th or something. Um, so we were, we were up there. We were well beyond the Arctic circle. That was pretty awesome.
Will Szamosszegi (48:32):
Yeah. That's incredible. I mean, how did you, how did you get involved with that in the first place?
Peter Wall (48:39):
Uh, it was just through a connection, a friend of a friend. Uh, I happened to move to, you know, Ottawa at the time where, um, they were looking for someone and we went out for dinner and just got connected and they said, oh, we need, yeah. We need someone to run our communications team and we're doing this. And I, it was a perfect fit for me cuz I had all the skills. Um, and uh, yeah, it was great.
Will Szamosszegi (49:02):
Yeah. Do, do you have any, any, uh, very interesting or crazy stories from that trip that you you'd be open to sharing?
Peter Wall (49:09):
Um, sure. We <laugh>. We went to a town in Southern Newfoundland called SWA, which, uh, they actually pronounced it Fran sway, but it's spelt like the French word SWA, like the name and it was a community. I think there's a hundred people that live there. Um, like only it's a small outpour, the only way you can get there by boat. And we went there and it was a really extraordinary day. We got there like nine o'clock in the morning, ex sailed into this little, uh, through this, this channel and then there's no cars there. You'd get around by quad. So it's like everyone there's boardwalk and these little houses and everyone's super welcoming. Everyone came out and met us. And um, and then <laugh>, there was a party that night at like the local community center. And there was this one man band who the guy was from there and he played everything and he sung everything and he was like, <laugh> literally playing the piano and the, and the accordion and singing and the whole town came out and there was like this huge dance party.
Peter Wall (50:12):
And at the same time, my team were flying a drone, um, around the corner and they crashed it into the side of a mountain and we lost it. And then there was this girl who was like 17, who we just one of those days where, who, who I met, who turns out, she had just graduated from high school from France, from the local school where there was only 11 kids that went to the school and she was the only graduate. And then, um, she, like, we all friended her on Facebook and she had like her graduation picture and it was just her on the Wharf in like a dress cause she was by herself. <laugh> so it was, it was just like a place you would never ever think of going or be able to go without, you know, arriving on this ice. We sailed this icebreaker into the, into the valley, you know, into this like channel. It was crazy.
Will Szamosszegi (51:01):
Peter Wall (51:02):
So a lot of days like that, like just crazy places that you would never expect.
Will Szamosszegi (51:06):
Yeah. I, I think that you're in a very small group of people that could ever say that you've had all of those types of experiences back to back where you just show up <laugh> and then go to the party at night. And it's a one guy doing all the different instruments at once.
Peter Wall (51:19):
Yeah. Yeah, no, I've been lucky. I've been very lucky, um, for sure. And you know, I, and I think that, um, what I find interesting about blockchain is, is because it's such a new industry it's full of interesting characters and interesting people who have great stories who are all trying to like move this thing forward in one direction.
Will Szamosszegi (51:40):
Peter Wall (51:40):
And, and sure, there's lots of people who, you know, are trying to, you know, use it for wealth generation, but there's also lots of people who are joined to build community and to like share ideas. And it it's, it's, it's, it's a pretty unique space.
Will Szamosszegi (51:56):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, very, I feel very blessed to, to be in this space as well and uh, really glad that we had the chance to top on and have this, uh, amazing conversation before we sign off. Uh, are there any places online where everyone who's listening can connect with you or the company?
Peter Wall (52:14):
Yeah, so Argos, uh, we have a fairly active Twitter feed, so you can check out our, our Twitter feed, just Google, Argo, blockchain, Twitter, um, and that's about it. We're, we're, you know, a publicly traded company. So we have to be careful about, about, about what information we put out, you know, uh, how and when, um, so we do put out, uh, releases through the regulatory news service in the UK and, you know, you can go on to our website and sign up for if you're interested in, when we do put out news, cuz it all goes through the, what they call the RS system in, in the UK similar to, you know, the, I forget what the, the, what it's called for managed by the sec, but, but similar. Um, so yeah, that's how you get in contact with us.
Will Szamosszegi (52:57):
Great. Well, thanks again for coming on. This was a lot of fun.
Peter Wall (53:01):
Yeah. Thanks William. It was great. Great to meet you.
Will Szamosszegi (53:03):
Thank you for listening to this episode of the SAS 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 SA mining.com every Thursday. If you want to hear us interview a particular guest on a future episode, please reach out to email@example.com.
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