Sazmining Podcast Episode 10: Laura Vidiella on Crypto Myths and Crypto Technologies
In Episode 10 of The Sazmining Podcast, Will speaks with Laura Vidiella, Operations Manager at LedgerX. They discuss future trends of crypto miners, myths around the crypto industry, crypto regulations across the world, and 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 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 guarded her career as an ethical information analyst at ethical quote, and has become a broker at STX services, as well as a consultant at ECSI consultant. Now she's working at ledger X, a us regulated Bitcoin options exchange dedicated to helping individual traders and institutions do more with Bitcoin. So with all that said, we'd like to welcome you Laura to the podcast.
Laura Vidiella (01:13):
Thanks will thank you very much. It's uh, great to be here. I'm very excited for this conversation.
Will Szamosszegi (01:18):
Yeah, same here. Well, after going through that background, my first question is how did you end up at your current role in ledger,
Laura Vidiella (01:26):
Right? Uh, no, I mean, you can see there's like a lot of different things in the past. I think sometimes it takes a while to realize what you wanna do. There's always like more or less a path towards, you know, your values or your principles. And then you end up, uh, in sooner or later where you wanna be. But yeah, so my, I started like my studies I wanted to be in finance, wanted to invest in banker or something like that, something related. And then my interest then like switched towards like international organization. At some point, my dream was to be like, I'm Spain. So my dream was to be like a Spanish ambassadors that right. And, uh, yeah. And then just like you realize all the problems around, especially when you're involved with like international organizations and you start thinking about how, what are the best ways to solve this?
Laura Vidiella (02:17):
And I've always been really into technology. Right? I think blockchain is like one of technologies that solves a lot of thes that we have, uh, in the world, particularly coming from a country that has a lot of corruption cases, right? Like I personally see, uh, lots of like blockchain applications that could solve some of the issues that we currently have, especially like just funding that is not, uh, sent to the right, uh, projects system mean a lot of things we can get into it later, but yeah, so that's a little bit how my interest started. So actually very interesting how I got more into Bitcoin, cuz that was actually during business school, back in 2013, I was walking around campus getting into one of our restaurants there and I saw an ATM machine and I was gonna withdraw euros cuz I, I needed some cash and the only the restroom was like, no, this is you can't withdraw euros here.
Laura Vidiella (03:08):
This is a bit doing ATM machine. And I had snow going back now was just like, what are you talking about? What's what's what's bit going. Right. And uh, he was just like, yeah, some sort of like bare 12 currency, something like that. And back then I was like, what, like how does this work? What's what's the price of this currency said, I think it's like something like $300, 300 euros right now. And I mean, as a student now I can barely make it like allow one to allow ones monthly. Right. I was like, wow. 300 euros, especially in Spain. Right. I was like, that's, that's a lot of money. So my first reaction was like, nobody's gonna buy this. Right. I guess the first reaction for a lot of people and uh, yeah. And just like years pass by and you start to hear more about, not bit.
Laura Vidiella (03:52):
Right. But also like blockchain. And we actually, like, I, uh, had like few courses about it, uh, in, um, business school. So no started like picking some interest. And uh, then finally when I moved to Boston for my master's degree, it's when I started like joining meetups and going to events and you know, Boston has a very, very nice crypto scene. Um, we all know each other. It's pretty small, but you know, it's really strong and uh, very convincing and you know, they also have Thema tip between expo and all this great event that happened that you slowly start getting into it until you finally, uh, you know, joined the, the industry. And uh, I ideally wanted to join earlier, but I always had this feeling that I never knew enough. Right. And I had to learn more before joining cuz I was just scared. And then after a year in consulting, after I graduated from my master's, I was just like, I, I need to do this. Like it's better to learn once during the industry. And there's no better way to learn that just like making mistakes by being in the industry or just, you know, going in with it. So that's when I decided to pull the trigger.
Will Szamosszegi (04:59):
That's crazy how you came across it in 2013 because of a Bitcoin ATM for this industry is actually pretty early. And then you went on, you stuck with it. And now you're at ledger X, which for everyone in the crypto industry knows of your company, uh, very, very well known firm that you hear a lot of talk about and is seen by many people as one of these companies, that's pushing the institutionalization of this industry. So I guess real quick, just to kick things off, can you explain what ledger X at its core actually provides as a service?
Laura Vidiella (05:36):
Right? Yeah. So from one side we have the, the product side, right? So we have, we, uh, users can buy and sell, uh, Bitcoin options and Bitcoin swaps. And then from the service side we have the retail service and also the institutional service. There's not that much difference in between the two of them. Like currently there's two separate platforms, but our, uh, team is working on creating just one platform for, uh, both, uh, sites. Right. They both share the same order book, no matter what, but yeah, the main difference for institutional is that they have like a negotiated, uh, desk right. Where they can do OTC trading. There's what we call the pit, which, uh, it's a messaging board where they get like matches each other, uh, to settle and trades. And so, and uh, and then, yeah, and then from the <inaudible> side, so right now we're going through all this, uh, very beautiful new interface that we started already releasing two, three weeks ago.
Laura Vidiella (06:32):
And it's slowly gonna add all these new features that we've been like listening from our users that they wanna see. And then eventually both sides would be together in one platform would make this difference of the negotiated trading, which institutional are allowed to do because of their status. Right. And uh, yeah. So this is our offering, uh, currently and current right now we only have, uh, B Bitcoin options in swaps, but we are definitely exploring other, uh, products out there, right. Especially now with like the defi market taking over a little bit and growing a lot. Uh, it's really interesting what's happening right now. So there's really cool projects.
Will Szamosszegi (07:09):
There's a lot happening. There are certain options that are available today to minors, that if you backtrack five years, they didn't have the opportunity to try and hedge their risk by using these different types of options. Is this something that you're seeing a lot more today and a continued growing interest in among the minors? Or do you think that it's still very early where you don't see a lot of minors on the platform actually utilizing these products?
Laura Vidiella (07:36):
We do see slowly more, uh, mining companies joining LEADx and, uh, which is really good for us as well. Right. Cause it also brings liquidity for swaps or like, you know, not only for sales, but also for the, for options. And, uh, it's good to see it. I think that one thing that we're working on right now is we are trying to, uh, expand and put lot of effort into our marketing, um, services. Right. And we want people to know about led direct. So if you're really in the industry, you know about it, but you know, we're still, we still need to make more noise and, and tell people about it. Right. So, uh, there's like this part that we are currently working on anything as we are, as we're successful with our marketing efforts, we're gonna see even more, uh, mining American mining companies on the platform.
Laura Vidiella (08:24):
And I think that also with mining, it's interesting, cuz I, I look back into mining, uh, to two years ago and it actually gets really expensive in the us. Right. So it's hard to find American mining companies just because price of electricity is a lot higher than it could be somewhere else. And not only that, but you need to have your minors somewhere cooler cuz you know, it gets really hot. We were running one in apartment and uh, this is Boston in winter. I think that need to turn on the heater <laugh> cause that thing was already like heating up the whole entire living room. Right. So it gets really, really hot and uh, yeah, I think there's, uh, it's hard. It's not hard, but it's like, I think it's a little bit more complicated to find American mining companies unless they have, they said their company here and they have the operations offshore, which could definitely happen.
Will Szamosszegi (09:18):
Yeah. The mining landscape is one of those that definitely ties into how many companies are utilizing your platform and are well capitalized enough where it makes sense to take these calculated bets or hedge their risk at some point in the future, by for example, buying a put option, there's a cost associated with buying that level of risk where going back to that example earlier, if you're a minor and you're trying to lock in, I'm not sure what the market's at today, but let's say six months down the line, you're trying to lock in a sale price of $11,000. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it costs money to buy that lock in. So if the price shoots up, then that's a loss. If it goes down, you're still locking in that price. Right? So that leads to the question, how are these contracts normally priced? If I'm trying to lock in a price of whatever the sell price, let's say $11,000 per Bitcoin at some point in the future, how much am I paying today to lock in that sale price?
Laura Vidiella (10:18):
Right. Uh, that's a really good question. I mean the price of the option, there's tons of models out there, right? I think number one model that probably most market makers use is, uh, black shields, which is number one, explain model in any business school as well. Right? Besides of the other like top three. But if you look generally at like options pricing in general, you can see that the closer you are to expiration the, you know, the cheaper it gets gets you, it's getting closer to the actual price and you can see how the market is doing. So it's, you know, it's, uh, it's not as profitable for the <inaudible> in the premium. Uh, it might be profitable for the one paying for the premium cuz then if for some reason, like last week things like ask, you know, they ask it a little bit, then they make a good, uh, profit permit.
Laura Vidiella (11:11):
But yeah, but then on the, on the other hand you pay like a high premium for far, uh, had options, right? So for instance, right now our December 31st, uh, 2021 options, I think the $10,000 drive price at we could, this is all public. So, uh, we can look into it. Uh, but I believe last time I check, uh, the premium was around $4,000, right? So it's a great way to generate income if you, if you are a truly victim believer and you think that Bitcoin will, you know, be, I don't know, maybe like a hundred thousand by December next year, that's, that's a great deal. You're, you know, four time law experience. They're actually pretty good. And, and we see that also a lot on the pop lately. Um, and more and more as people learn more about options, cuz sometimes you have users that join and they're still like newbies, but you know, they start reading and then they do better strategies, but you see a lot of, uh, users that they user pick going to generate income, monthly income. And uh, and that's, that's, that's good. That's especially if the market like starts sort of like stabilizing a little bit and maturing, right. Once you see a lot of, uh, like, like the volume of financial on Bitcoin has been increasing a lot, uh, during the last two years and you have all these big institutional customers also like coming in right now, this brings a lot of stability in adopts point to the market. So that helps understand the movements better or like what to expect. Right?
Will Szamosszegi (12:43):
Yeah. How is how's the volume looked within these, these past, I guess couple weeks with the, with the bull bull run, but just the past in, in 2020 really? Um, yeah. How has that looked compared to, uh, I guess previously, uh, on your platform as things were continuing to pick up?
Laura Vidiella (13:04):
Right. So lead drive is an interesting case because we, so the company bonded like around seven years ago and then it took a little bit to get the licenses, uh, just, you know, YouTube tech and stock. So it takes a little bit, but then in 2017, once we got them, we launched the institutional platform. So for two years we were only institutional. And then last year, 2019, we got the license for retail and we launched the retail platform in, uh, in July. So it's like, it's been really cool to see both in parallel and how they both grow together. Right. And especially now starting January, we started, uh, doing a lot of marketing and retail is really just, it's super nice doing really well, uh, similar to traditional there's again, like there's a lot of interest coming from everywhere. They learn more about not only like direct, but the fact there are that there are Bitcoin options cuz you know, there's definitely many users there that didn't know about it yet.
Laura Vidiella (14:02):
But yeah, so the volumes for their retail side it's been increasing, but just because our user base it's, you know, it's growing every month. So that's why you see an increase in that sense, but it would be good to kind of look at it relatively. Right. And then for institutional institutional thing with institutional investors, the way I see it, right. Especially now this is a good question, cuz I've been, uh, putting together a six months review that we will soon publish with like all with volumes and uh, for both like options and swaps, but institutional really move around what's happening in the market. Right? So especially this month of July, all these defi projects that are, that are launching right now, you have many of them that were like, okay, big thing. Hasn't really moved for the past month to months. So I'm gonna move money into defi right now, cuz I'm saying like 80% returns.
Laura Vidiella (14:53):
Right. And then suddenly you have Bitcoin for like a week just like going up like crazy. So whoop, they go back, you know, so it's because they have, they can do this. They can go back and forth. No problem. Cuz they have the capital right for retail is a little bit different. And it's also really hard for like an individual to keep track of all these different projects, right. Or institutional like big teams, very smart people that they, uh, they're able to just analyze uh, all the different assets and all the different projects out there. So you see when, whenever there's a lot of like volatility, volumes are amazing. Like they probably go 2, 3, 4 X, uh, higher than they generally are in average. Wow. So in general we do our volume is between 15,000 and like 20,000, um, contracts daily. And uh, I don't know.
Laura Vidiella (15:51):
They, I think Friday, like yeah, Friday we, it went up to like 40,000 like that or like 50,000. Like it really, it goes up, there's a big difference from like, uh, yeah. They said there's awfully days that they're not, I know that last Monday was a very, not stressful, but like a lot of work for institutional investors cuz you know, it went from all July part of June Bitcoin prize was like volatility was like obviously like inexistent and then suddenly it went all the way out to like a hundred, 120. Right. So they were all just like, oh my God, let's go back into it. So yeah. It's cool though. It's very interesting to, to see it.
Will Szamosszegi (16:31):
Yeah. That's so funny that all, that's actually the first time I've heard that statistic where the trading volume will spike that much when there's that much volatility. Right. It's great that we're having the chance to talk about this and you're the one putting together this report on, on these types of items, which is really helpful to see.
Laura Vidiella (16:49):
Yeah. I mean another time I think that the week was the highest, there were two weeks, this uh, year that had like crazy volume one was March when everything just crashed <laugh> and uh, and then the other one was uh, last week of June, cuz you had June expiration. Right? So June and December expiration are generally big ex expiration months. And yeah, that was, I think for after expiration though, like all the users that were like buying new contracts. Right. And uh, for our December TW December, 2021, I think we sold in total 6 million of emotional volume in two days, which was a lot for us. And uh, yeah. And it's just, it's it's good. I mean it's good cuz especially days that there's a lot volatility, there's a lot more interest into just creating an account. So it's uh, it's good. It's definitely good.
Will Szamosszegi (17:52):
Yeah. So I think that's a, a good segue into, obviously you're an expert in the sector, you're reading about it every day you're working in it. So you have a particular type of view on how things might play out over the future. Uh, right now, if you were to summarize the biggest challenges that, uh, not only ledger X, but all these different companies who are trying to build these types of financial products, the challenges that you guys are going through today, what would be on the top of the list for all of these companies who are trying to offer these services?
Laura Vidiella (18:30):
So I think that the main challenge, and this is a big challenge in the crypto space in general it's education, right? Cause especially for companies like glad you, don't only, you do not only have the problem of like explain what cryptocurrency is, but you also have the issue of like what's a financial derivative, right? So you have two things that are pretty complicated to learn itself and now you're combining it and kind of combining them together. And then just like a little side note, there's also a difference between stock options and Bitcoin options. Right. We get a lot of questions about wait, but am I committing to a hundred Bitcoin? Right. Cause like when you buy or sell, um, um, stock options, you commit to like a hundred stocks, right. So you have like all this, uh, complexity or like, um, confusion, uh, with users and yeah.
Laura Vidiella (19:26):
So from one side there's a educational side from like what, and the other one is the financial, uh, derivatives, uh, explanation by, and we're actually, uh, working on creating like videos to very nice videos to explain it in a very easy way. Definitely better than how I explained it. But yeah, you know, just making it more interactive with like, uh, better, um, not only like explaining it, what it is from fundamental, but also what strategies can you build and how can you mitigate your risk of like buying call options, right? How can you, uh, make sure that you're not only losing and even if you lose, you know, you get just like hedge your risks, uh, buying other options and make sure that I don't know, you know, just make sure that our users are not just making one trade, losing all their money and being okay.
Laura Vidiella (20:15):
I'm out <laugh> <laugh> which can happen. So yeah, I think that's like the biggest, uh, challenge. And besides that as Bitcoin price increases, cuz fundamentally right. If you look at what Bitcoin is, technically it should go up, um, yeah, you'll have, it's gonna be less accessible for users. Cause there's, for instance, there's some exchanges that their minimum contract size is five Bitcoin or like one Bitcoin. Right. And that's, that's big, like five Bitcoin right now is what like $55,000 or almost 60 of today, something like that. Um, and that's for a retail user, that's almost impossible. And if you lose, lose a lot. So, um, that's definitely, that's gonna be, uh, a challenge as, um, the prize continues to grow. And in our case, right now we have our contract size is actually called it minis and our contract size is a hundred of a Bitcoin.
Laura Vidiella (21:16):
So you go as little as, uh, the other day we had like this user that pay only 50 cents for, for the premium, right. Because it's only one, 100 of Bitcoin. So, uh, you can reduce the price by a lot more than, you know, one full Bitcoin or like three or five Bitcoin. So that's gonna be, I think another challenge about how, and, and also with volatility, right? Like we don't know if the day that Bitcoin hates a hundred thousand, we didn't know if it's gonna certainly go down to like 50,000. Right. And then, you know, just like fluctuate as much as it's sort of like fluctuating right now. And how do you, um, basically combine this with the contract side as well? Yeah. I think these are probably the two main, uh, challenges that, uh, the options exchanges will face.
Will Szamosszegi (22:05):
Yeah. What about from the regulatory perspective? I know that there are companies who are being built here, uh, that have to abide by us regulation. Whereas some other companies that are operating different in different jurisdictions might not have the same regulatory hurdles. So I guess I'll leave it pretty open ended, but just ask what are some of the important points that, uh, that you should know when trying to analyze the regulatory approach of the us versus some of these other countries,
Laura Vidiella (22:39):
Right. I'm not that involved with the regulatory side. Um, but yeah, I mean the only issue and like now is live drives is looking, we're looking at expanding to jurisdictions. We recently, uh, opening Cameron islands and uh, soon Hong Kong and then we're of course looking to into other countries. But yeah, I mean it's for some, and I don't, again, I'm not that involved, but like with some countries probably gonna be about, um, explaining the regulators, what, you know, what is, or what are you trying to do and also like bring the tech and, uh, you actually, I'm guessing like for like being, bringing a business model to explain how is it gonna work and how you are not actually how you, like, how you're also trying to protect the city signs of that country and not trying to like, you know, lose, make them lose all their money by, uh, treating options.
Laura Vidiella (23:36):
Right. And, uh, I guess that's one side, I mean the other side is, and this is the added value of being regulated. Right. You're gonna have some users that they don't wanna deal with regulation because it's bad Bitcoin. And you know, like all this, uh, all this story around, but the good thing is that as a regulated platform, you have to go through, uh, financial audits and cyber security audits. Right. So you are sort of like ensuring, Hey, listening, we are following the rules and we are, you know, like we have all these like background checks or like our own background check. And, uh, yeah, I mean, that's, I think this is like, sort of like a challenge, uh, and you know, it hasn't cross any cons across like bringing more, um, trust with the users, but then in terms of like radiators for the ones that don't know that much about the asset or how it works, it's just, you need to explain to them.
Laura Vidiella (24:31):
And, uh, this is, this is what I imagine from my previous experience at STX. Right. Um, they're we were actually turning environmental commodities, which are completely different, but yeah, I mean, one of my, part of my job there was to be in contact with like, uh, in my case was Spanish regulators cuz I was, uh, uh, head of the Spanish desk and uh, yeah. And to just be really in touch with them and uh, just try to explain what you're trying to do or try to convince them about, you know, different things. Uh, yeah. So I guess it's the same thing, but again, I'm not really involved with, uh, regulation side. That's more of a compliance officer and uh, yeah,
Will Szamosszegi (25:12):
Yeah, yeah. Cuz I know that, especially if you're not in that world a hundred percent of the time, it can get very, very complex, very, very quickly
Laura Vidiella (25:19):
<laugh> yeah. It's it's complex and yeah, it's complex. It's a new technology, right? Uh, just like any technology like currently, right. They try to convince the government to allow, uh, self-driving cars. It's not a fun day thing. <laugh> there's a lot around it. It's just technology is evolving too fast for what we can actually assume or like, um, assimilate. Right. So it's, it's a process.
Will Szamosszegi (25:48):
Yeah. Yeah. It's funny to think about. And the, the other thing is tying this all back to crypto and Bitcoin with all of this stuff happening around, it just seems logical that the way that a currency could continue to progress or just technology surrounding money, why would we stick to the existing system and the traditional Fiat system that we have today? It's incredible. What's been built, but there's so much more that can be created
Laura Vidiella (26:16):
Will Szamosszegi (26:17):
Laura Vidiella (26:18):
Yeah, no, that's, uh, that's a good, that was actually one of the arguments that bought me into like, you know, like the living in crypto, like sort of being really interesting in the crypto space. Cuz at first I was like, okay, but you know, there has to be a central bank, typical argument that affect the, the currency and whatever, but then you realize that whatever number you have in your bank account, that's a digital number. That's really nothing else. And just a digital number. So it doesn't mean anything. Whereas if you look at Bitcoin, it actually means something. Right. Cause there's a limited supply and there's more to it and, and you can, you, you can't just like, I don't know, just there's some things that I personally find a little bit like sketchy the way they're done and like the field world. Right. And like just, I don't know, just uh, how the fact that you're able to trace facts, uh, cuz that's one of the things with Bitcoin, right.
Laura Vidiella (27:12):
When people say that it's uh, oh, it's a sketchy technology because it's, uh, they use it for like drug dealing and uh, stuff like that. Andre like, well it's everything is public in the leg. So you can, you can see where everything is like spent sort of course not the exact item, but you know, it's almost like better than fee where with cash, you can just put it's whatever it is and you know, you can't trace it back that, uh, at all. Right. So that, that's one of the arguments that actually bought me more into ins. It was just like, it's really what I have in the bank account. It's just a number and it is actually a lot more transparent than anything else. Right. Like I don't depend on the central system to tell me where the money is going. Right. And you have cases like this is the Spanish case.
Laura Vidiella (27:56):
Right. But like there was the, the government of the south of Spain, they stole 800 million from the taxpayers, which is a lot of money. They literally took it for, for themselves. Right. So you could potentially avoid those things. Um, by having a system that runs through a cryptocurrency, um, of course there's still a lot of, uh, research to do. It's really a lot of things that need to be built, but it's a, it's been a very young industry, right? Like what is it now? 11 years that there's still a lot more to 11 years technically since Bitcoin. Right. But again, digital money has been there for a lot longer. So it's not that much of a difference. We're just trying to make it better. <laugh>
Will Szamosszegi (28:36):
Yeah. And you, you just touched on a really interesting point, which is that common criticism that Bitcoin is only used for drug dealers and a criminal activity. And I think that that is one of the myths that if I can just dispel for anyone watching, that's the one that I, I do want to dispel because that's something that is just not true in terms of, if you're trying to actually get away with the crime, it's, there's a public ledger where you can see all the transactions between different wallets. So if you're a criminal and you actually try and use Bitcoin, you will get caught if, uh, if you ever make that transition back to a fi currency because that is linked to an identity and then they can just trace it back through all the different transactions with a timestamp, knowing when that transaction occurred and he was involved and I actually read, I think it was, it might have been this year, but I, it could have been last year, but I just remember reading, uh, this article about how there was this huge, uh, drug, I think criminal ring that was busted.
Will Szamosszegi (29:42):
I think it was for, um, child, child pornography, actually a whole drug ring that was busted because they were transacting in Bitcoin. And then they could just trace all the transactions around to catch everyone who was involved. And I think that that's something that is gonna be very useful in the future to catch other criminals who try and use Bitcoin. I mean the currency of choice, if you're a criminal, is the us dollar because there is much less traceability than if you're, if you're using Bitcoin, you don't want your hands on a keyboard if you're doing something illegal because it's always gonna be there.
Laura Vidiella (30:17):
No, look at the teenager that, uh, hacked into the tier accounts to yeah. Yeah. He's been caught now this, uh, thing. It was a, uh, teenager from Florida. Uh, yeah. Like it's, everything is traceable on the internet. So anything you do, it's a digital fingerprint. Just you can trace it.
Will Szamosszegi (30:37):
Yeah, definitely. Well, I'm glad we busted the myth about, uh, about Bitcoin only being used for criminal activity. But if there's a myth that you would say is, uh, perpetuated around, it could be anything related to crypto blockchain. What's one myth that you would like to dispel and, uh, that you'd like to debunk right now.
Laura Vidiella (31:01):
So another myth and like just, you know, uh, self mining, mining company, right. And Bitcoin, I think another myth myth and like more related to mining. And I would also love to hear your thoughts here, but it's just how, especially with Bitcoin, how, uh, people complain about the energy efficiency of mining Bitcoin. But I think that it needs to be put into perspective, right? Like, yes, mining can be expensive, but is the product worth it? And it, if it, if the product is worth it, what are other alternatives that we could build to make that more efficient and not that energy com uh, you know, uh, energy efficient and just, you know, just, uh, users not being happy about it. But if you go into perspective and you think about cruises and nothing against like cruises, but like this boat, they take, I think it's 88,000 gallons a day, which if you compare it to vehicles, I think that one day on a cruise is equal to, um, something like 327 million cars, uh, running for a day, which is more cars than America currently has.
Laura Vidiella (32:12):
Right. So really? Yeah. Wow. So I think right. Has like 200 something million forgot what was the number, but if you put things into perspective, right. Instead of like, like, cause I see, I mean probably they see something scary and they just attack it somehow this way. Oh. But you it's so inefficient. Well, yeah, you got cruise last week and uh, you diluted a lot more than basical Bitcoin will in, uh, you know, in a, in a while. So yeah. So I think that's one of the myth that that's not really a myth it's like true, but at the same time you can fix that. Right. There's a new, like, there's definitely a lot of people looking into ways of making it more efficient and there's a tons of renewable energy out there that could be used. Right. So, yeah. That's maybe one of the arguments that I don't buy when people complain about it.
Will Szamosszegi (33:04):
Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's a, a very interesting topic too, because there's so many different pieces to that. And you, you mentioned a very important piece where, where you're saying, okay, is this product worth it? And is, and is this something where we're talking about a zero sum game or is there, uh, are there other variables involved then? I mean, with Bitcoin you're the product in this case is providing something that a lot of the central banking system commits many, many resources to, uh, supporting the traditional Fiat system. And I'm not saying we're gonna overtake the traditional system or, uh, the, the traditional Fiat central banking system isn't going to exist after Bitcoin expands. I, I don't believe that at all, but yeah, it it's an important part to improving an existing system. And many times a lot of the media attention on Bitcoin mining and the energy consumption is framed in a very negative light.
Will Szamosszegi (34:03):
And one of the, I actually got into a conversation about this topic the other day with, with, uh, CERI from easy blockchain. But when we're going into communities, many times we're looking at using excess energy or excess power capacity that is currently not being utilized, uh, or just being curtailed from, uh, from a, a renewable energy company. And so just quick overview power curtailment. That's when there's excess energy, that's not necessarily being utilized, um, from new renewables or on the grid and it's being just unused and, and being wasted. And so what we're looking to do is we'll go into these different areas and we'll contribute capital and investment into a particular area. And these are tax dollars. They're infrastructure for the community. They're supporting the actual energy company that's operating there, that wasn't able to use all their power resources, and it's really beneficial for the community and development. And that's one area that unfortunately many times is overlooked. They're just looking at this one variable where now there's more power consumption happening because of this mining company, but there's a lot of value being created in many different areas. And so I would agree with, uh, <laugh> with your, your point that you made there, that it's, it's a very complicated issue. And there are many benefits that aren't necessarily always brought to the forefront there.
Laura Vidiella (35:34):
That is really good to know actually now know that that's, uh, super interesting. Um, do you happen to know any sense what's the breakdown between renewables versus fossil tools in the us, or is that
Will Szamosszegi (35:48):
Well that's, that's one of the, there have been some reports that have come out on, on this topic, but many times I, I believe coin shares posted a report and there was one other, I believe one other one that was, that did an analysis of the exact breakdown. And I don't remember the exact percentages. Uh, maybe we can get someone to look it up and post them on screen or something like that, but it, it is also one of those areas. That's very difficult to exactly measure and making sure everything's being reported and knowing about all the operations that are actively operating. So I haven't gone and fact checked the data there, but when I read the data, it was, I think it was posted with, uh, with a view where there's a lot more renewable energy. That's powering the Bitcoin network than people think. And it makes sense when you think about all of the excess energy that's being curtailed out in the world today, that there could be an economic incentive to just bring in cryptocurrency or Bitcoin mining and start generating more value and many areas within the us. Uh, not to go on a long mining rent here, but no
Laura Vidiella (37:00):
Will Szamosszegi (37:01):
With stranded power or excess energy. Many times these companies are writing these assets off as a loss, and they're not generating any money. They've already put up the initial investment to build out the power infrastructure, right? But now there's a lack of demand or there's no way for them to actually drive cash flow off of that power infrastructure. And so a mining company can come in and operate a cryptocurrency mine on site. And all of a sudden, now they have a buyer for that power and they're actually making some money off of this power capacity rather than making $0. And it's a very sustainable way to continue to grow Bitcoin's vision and grow the network without, uh, without necessarily hurting any of the surrounding parties involved actually only benefiting and helping the parties involved. So, right. That's one area there that I see a lot of growth in the future with cryptocurrency mining,
Laura Vidiella (37:57):
Right. Is, uh, is Derek is, uh, I know that sometimes with renewable energy, you lose a lot of energy. Cause you know, there's either the adequate technology is not being used or there's still some research to do into it. And development. Is there a lot of like, uh, energy loss when using, uh, renewable energy for mining Bitcoin? Or would you say it's more or less the same, uh, compared to fossil fuels
Will Szamosszegi (38:24):
By energy lost? Are you talking about energy from the power producer's point of view? Yes. Um, like, okay. So the, the power producer, if they're getting their power from renewable energy, they're in a position where they have a certain amount of energy being created, depending on what type of renewable. And there's a certain amount during the day where the wind might not be blowing or the sun might not be shining and they're gonna have to cut down their load. And so when that load is, is cut down and they're not producing as much power, then, then there's technically a lost opportunity there. Uh, if they have excess power in those times when it's, when the light's shining or the wind's blowing and they have to properly allocate their resources to make sure that they're making as much money as possible from all the power that they're generating.
Will Szamosszegi (39:16):
And so right, they have different types of strategic ways internally that they try and allocate that power and allocate their resources. But many are looking at mining as a way to actually improve their bottom line. Just because mining is so flexible in many regards, for example, a mine can be shut off on a dime and they can put that power towards the grid when the grid's really profitable. Whereas other times when they're entering into some sort of energy contract, they might not be able to just shut off the power to this customer on a dime because that CU it could have serious repercussions, many customers aren't okay with saying you can't shut me off at it. Like with five minutes notice and for however many hours, whereas a minor we can say, yeah, as long as you're not shutting us off for over 2% of the year or over 3% of the year, then that's fine. So that's another added benefit of mining versus many other types of customers. These energy companies might run into,
Laura Vidiella (40:16):
Right? This is all fantastic knowledge for anyone who's listening. So we might have to do every first podcast example <laugh>
Will Szamosszegi (40:23):
Yeah. Well, that's one of the reasons why I, I love these podcasts cuz you get into conversations with other very, um, intelligent and interesting people who are working in the space and you have the, the trading side you're working at ledger X and building amazing products and our background we're we're from the mining side and that's, that's where our focus is. <laugh>
Laura Vidiella (40:43):
Right. Yeah, no it's uh, I agree. I mean flag Rex and any mining company, we are good friends. So <laugh>
Will Szamosszegi (40:50):
Yeah, definitely. I'd like to thank block five for sponsoring today's episode block five provides wealth management products for crypto investors. I personally hold my crypto with block five because they pay me up to 6.2% interest annually on all of my crypto holdings at SA mining. We've hooked up all of our listeners with a special signup bonus. All you have to do is go to block, buy.com/sa mining and sign up again. Visit block by.com/sa mining for an exclusive bonus offer. It's a no brainer to earn additional interest with block by today's episode is also made possible by cogent law group, finding reliable legal representation in blockchain is one of the biggest challenges. When building a business, you need to make sure that you work with a law firm that understands the legal frameworks that apply to the industry and has the ability to strategically help you grow your business. When researching law firms for SA mining, I found that cogent law group checked all of the boxes. Not only do their lawyers have expert level experience, but they also understand the blockchain industry, cogent law group gives you access to high end lawyers without breaking the bank
Will Szamosszegi (42:08):
To kick it off. What's your favorite book?
Laura Vidiella (42:11):
Favorite book? Uh, that's a good question. Um, this it's always tough, right? I think because there's always like more than one book that you really live or that made an impact in your life. I think most recently the last book that I've read that, um, made a change kind of is this book called chanam. I don't know if you heard about it, but uh, it's a pretty long book. Something like a thousand pages, but it narrat the story in a, it's a real story about this guy. Uh, this, a Australian guy that in the eighties, I think he was, he escaped from the highest security jail in Australia. Wow. And he took a plane. The way he gave is, is also amazing. Like he escaped at like daylight 12:00 PM is amazing. Uh, very interesting. But anyways, he took a plane and he flew to India and then he spent the next 10 years in India and uh, yeah.
Laura Vidiella (43:08):
And he just like speaks about, of course he's not proud of anything he did and I'm not, I'm not like justifying, I think he it, but it's just, it's uh, very cool to see how he's giving himself a second chance in life and how he's realizing about everything that he did wrong. And it's more of a self discovery book, but at the same time, you go together with his experience in India and you just learn a lot about India as well, that I had no clue. And it just, you know, I see it as such a beautiful country right now. And I, you know, I would love to visit <laugh>, but yeah, it's uh, a great book. I, I generally don't read this kind of books. I'm always more focused on like high performance books or things that are gonna make me learn, you know?
Laura Vidiella (43:47):
And at some point you just need to like relax. And it was during Christmas, I call a friend, Hey, what books should I read? He told me about this book. And at first I was skeptical cuz you know, I was just like, yeah, this is a story. I don't never like this. And no, when I started reading, it's like it's super well written. Uh, the author, the author is actually the guy who escape from jail himself. Wow. So he wrote the book, he wrote the book because this story is that after 10 years in India, he flew to Frankfurt. And then at the airport, he was taught and sent back to jail for five or six years. And then while in jail he wrote the book and the guards burned the manuscript, I think two or three times. And then, oh my God, the last manuscript was the one he managed to write, uh, the last month of like being in jail then being released. And uh, yeah, so he was the one who wrote the book. Um, and he was already like writing all his stories, uh, through his time in India. So it's, it's good. I, I recommend it to everyone who wants a different kind of, uh, read.
Will Szamosszegi (44:45):
Yeah. That's interesting. What was the most interesting thing that you learned about India in the book?
Laura Vidiella (44:52):
Uh, for me, it's just, okay, so there this guy, at some point he decides to live in Islam of uh, of wherever he is, which I forgot right now, but it's just everyone. Uh, the people in India, they are also any, they treat everyone like a family, really like a family and it's, uh, they will help you out if you prove that, uh, you care about them. And this is, uh, a guy I think Indians call, um, like for, they call them Goda or something like that. I might be like really wrong about this, but yeah. So for like, apparently for people in India, they were like, oh, there's this go? That is actually even learning our language. Like he went as far as like learning, uh, the local language and uh, so they really appreciated that. And they, and like, I don't know he was, uh, it, it is very beautiful, right.
Laura Vidiella (45:43):
To see that and just learn about the different, uh, like parties that they have. And like also like living in the Islams, like apparently Islams are very legal, but you know, like it's just government doesn't do really anything about it, cuz there's a lot of people that unfortunately live in poverty there. So, um, during the rainy season, the whole Islam always gets like completely messed in 25% of Islam gets like wipe out. Right. But everyone from like young people to old people, male, female, everyone works 24 hours nonstop during the rainy season to make sure that everyone is safe and everyone has food. So it's just, it really makes you appreciate also what you have. And, and this guy is actually interesting as when he, after being released from jail, he went back to India to think either to build a school for like kids or to, to help like a community of kids in, uh, in the area. So yeah. I just, it it's nice. It's uh, that's, I don't know. It makes you feel loved and like he puts you into perspective with the rest of the world.
Will Szamosszegi (46:49):
Sounds like a great book. I'm gonna have to add that to the list.
Laura Vidiella (46:53):
Yeah. Good. It
Will Szamosszegi (46:53):
<laugh> I've been asking this question in every single one of these podcasts and every single time I'm thinking, oh, well there's another book that I'm gonna have to, you know, make sure that I get, get around to reading.
Laura Vidiella (47:05):
<laugh> right. There's a, yeah. There's tons of good brains out there. There was, I remember, I think it was Naval. I was listening to a podcast with Naval and uh, he says that it's impossible to read all the read. You wanna all the books you wanna read in your life. So he mentioned like, you need to select the top 20, 30, maybe 40 max. Right. And just reread them and learn them and like learn from it and just scroll with the book. Right. Which, yeah, I don't even think I could just stop 30 <laugh> but yeah, there's really good, uh, rates out there.
Will Szamosszegi (47:37):
Yeah, definitely. So, uh, before I ask the last question, uh, is, are you on social media? Uh, are you active on social media where people can connect with you and listen to you
Laura Vidiella (47:48):
Trying to be active? I'm failing at the Twitter game. I tried it, but I just tweets don't come out of my mind. Just like most people in the crypto are industry out there that I see tweeting all the time, but yeah, I'm on Twitter. Uh, you can find me as like ad VLA, Laura, which is my last name and first name. And, um, also open on telegram actually like, uh, yeah, my telegram is open to any like <inaudible> user, anyone who has any questions about Bitcoin or Bitcoin options. Uh, and my telegram handle is first name and last name, Laura VI. But if you type Laura ledger, probably gonna show up there.
Will Szamosszegi (48:27):
All right, perfect. So the last question is, as we know, there's a lot that's being built. There's a lot that's happening and we've touched on not only things within blockchain, but also just technology outside of crypto. But if we were to narrow it down to blockchain technology crypto, and in particular, some of the things that you're seeing with your work at ledger X, what is the one piece of knowledge or advice that you would give to everyone listening?
Laura Vidiella (49:00):
Um, I mean, besides straight at your own risk. Cause I, uh, I have to say that <laugh> um, yeah, if anyone wants to get into the space, if anyone is looking at like investing, just go and, and if you're new into it and you're not sure what to do, Bitcoin is always the safest bed in my opinion. But again, like everyone to make their own, uh, um, like research and like just like knowledge into it. But yeah, I think that's like the safest bed, uh, not only from like, uh, trading perspective, but it's just, uh, it's a great asset that hopefully will help us build a better world out there. Uh, so that's my little piece of advice or my super anyone that's trying to, uh, or like learning more into the industry. And before you decide to buy anything, just read a lot and ask a lot of questions.
Laura Vidiella (49:52):
Like there's, uh, nothing but a bad position or I, I always compared to like going to a restaurant and paying for a meal that you don't like in the end. Right. And, uh, it's on you to ask a wait, what's the best thing on the menu. So, uh, same thing here. Just make sure you understand particularly actually know, say, make sure you understand the technology before you buy into any token out there, right. Understanding technology and see if there's any value to that technology. Or if you think that that technology could eventually develop like great value for society.
Will Szamosszegi (50:25):
Great. I think that that, that piece of advice is going to age very well. <laugh> when people look back <laugh> all right. Well, Laura, thanks again for, for coming on the podcast. This was a lot of fun. We'll have to do it again soon.
Laura Vidiella (50:40):
Yeah. Thanks. Will I really enjoyed this? And thank you guys for having me on board. This was super fun.
Will Szamosszegi (50:45):
Thank you for listening to this episode of the SA 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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