Anticipation for the Blockchain Industry in 2021 | Mark Anstead, Co-Founder of Numio (FTC 11)

Categories: InterviewsPublished On: January 4th, 202121.4 min read

Anticipation for the Blockchain Industry in 2021 | Mark Anstead, Co-Founder of Numio (FTC 11)

FinTech Chat (FTC) is a series of educational & informative interviews with world professionals in the FinTech / Crypto / Blockchain communities. We aim to provide content that is digestible in multiple mediums such as video, audio (podcast), and written (blog) form!


FTC Episode 11 – In this episode, the very first episode of the new year 2021, let’s meet Mark Anstead. He is the co-founder of Numio, whose solutions are to help its users securely store, send, and receive crypto payments with Numio’s identity-based blockchain technology. He also shares with us his anticipation for the blockchain industry in 2021 and how it will overcome the challenges and barriers that existed in 2020.

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos and grammatical errors may be present.


Intro: Interviews on Crypto, Blockchain with your host, Blockchain Wayne on FTC.


BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Hey welcome and thanks for watching. I’m your host, Blockchain Wayne. Today we’re joined by Business Development… I guess it’s manager, what’s your title Mark with Numio? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Well I’m the director of Business Development. I’m also one of the Co-founders of Numio. 


BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: All right, awesome. Well appreciate you joining us today for this talk on Fintech Chat. We always look forward to learning about what’s out there, what’s available for people in the fintech space, cryptocurrency space that can really help them, man. But before we dive too much into that, tell us a little bit about your… your history, man. What… what got you to where you are today and… you know, with Numio and in the cryptocurrency space? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Sure so my cryptocurrency journey began, I guess, back in 2014 when I first, I guess bought my first bitcoin, didn’t really get my hands dirty until about 2017-2018. My first position was with an organization called cryptocurrency investing and I ran all the business, business development and sales for them. They’re one of the largest social media networking platforms or I guess social platforms on Facebook and across different types of, I guess, social platforms online. And from there I wanted to get my hands… I guess, a little bit more dirty in the industry, actually working directly on a project. I started working with an organization called Hydro. I helped to start up a company called Hydro Labs, that sort of dwindled down and ended up starting up a new company now called Numio and over the last, I bet I guess two years now, I’ve been working with an organization that sort of spun out from cryptocurrency investing network which is called Uptrennd. And I’ve been helping them out with business development and more recently for sqa on their mobile app. But my main focus on my… on my day to day is on Numio.



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Okay nice yeah, very familiar with those platforms. I’ve used Uptrennd, I’ve been in that… that social media group so a lot of activity there around the cryptocurrency space. So Numio where we are today, man, tell me you guys have had… you know, kind of a hectic last month or a couple of months I should say or probably more than that just what I’m familiar with so… tell us a little bit about Numio and the journey to where you are now with the company? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Sure, so we’ve been, it’s been an interesting journey since we started off the company. I guess from… from the beginning, we built a… an application that was ready to launch about last August. It was a… a smart wallet focused application, so what is a smart wallet? A smart wallet allows you to deploy a smart contract inside of a wallet and you can have all different kinds of special functionalities within it. One of those big things is a meta transaction. So meta transaction allows you to interact with the Ethereum network without necessarily having to hold Ether in your wallet. So obviously this is a big benefit specifically for user experience or ux. And you’re able to do this through something called a relayer API. So if you want to make a transaction, you are using your smart wallet, you ping the relayer API, relayer API sends a transaction to the Ethereum network and essentially on your behalf and you’re good to go. But the big problem with that is they are unbelievably expensive so we are a bootstrapped company and during the… the DeFi summer which obviously we were getting ready to launch our product, literally right as DeFi summer kicked off, the cost for generating one smart wallet was between fifteen and twenty dollars. And that was back when ETH was a fraction of the price of what it is now, so that means that generating those types of wallets is just not sustainable, especially in the long run, especially as ether goes up in price as way goes up and skyrockets as it is today, where it’s like 400 wei. It’s a massive problem, so before we actually ended up launching, we said all right, we’ve been working on this layer 2 scaling solution in this implement… implementation for a while, we’ve been doing a lot of research and development as a team over the last 12 to 18 months, so we were like, all right, we got to jump on this, we gotta… we gotta… we gotta start moving on this because we just can’t have this type of functionality right now, because we… we would literally go bankrupt. So we pivoted and had to begin working on this implementation for what is called a ZK roll up. And getting ourselves ready for this layer two mobile application which was the end goal initially, but we just had to scrap the… I guess, the smart wallet functionality which ran on layer one. And so we got rolling on that and definitely had some… some hurdles along the way and finally we have been able to push the mobile app out onto Google Play, going to be shortly, removing it from open beta to our global launch. So I don’t know when this is actually going to be posted but to date without really doing any type of public announcements or anything around that we’ve gotten about a thousand downloads, so it’s really just been the community wanting to use this type of solution, so I’m really excited about what we’re going to be able to bring not only to people who have been following us and following our journey, but to the ethereum ecosystem as a whole and to… to people everywhere around the world, so it’s been… it’s been a wild journey but we’re… we’re finally there. 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice nice, and… and so I was browsing through the site and saw a lot of good benefits from it. So let’s say somebody that’s fairly new to crypto, why would they want to jump into the Numio ecosystem? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Well right now, if you’re… if you’re a new user going into crypto, one of the… the big hurdles that you’re obviously going to face initially is the issues of the ethereum mainnet right now, that is not something that you can really… I guess, get around because there aren’t any direct gateways on to the layer 2. That is a fairly easy solution is and is going to be something available this year, so right now if you want to move on to the layer 2 which has instant transactions and gas prices are a fraction of what they are on the ethereum maintenance, which is incredible and right now you have to have ether or just an asset in your layer 1 wallet and do a deposit or an internal transfer into your layer 2 wallet or as we call it, your Numio wallet. And right now as it is, that is just something that you can’t necessarily get around just yet, some of the… the workarounds for that are to allow a… or have a liquidity pool both on the layer one and layer two, so when you want to go and deposit onto the layer two, you send money to a contract into like an address on layer one, and allows for funds to be released on the layer two, so you don’t have to directly interact with the smart contract. Because when you’re interacting with smart contracts on ethereum, it leads to significantly higher computation costs and you see that like with Uniswap transactions right now, they’re incredibly expensive and the same would be for depositing or doing an internal transfer into the zk sync smart contract or frankly any type of roll-up smart contract. So that’s one of the the big things… I guess, to… to look for with regards to that, the big benefit that you see with some of these solutions is right now you’re saving an insane amount of money interacting on the layer two. It takes like four, maybe five transactions to actually end up saving more money including the… the deposit cost to go into layer two, which is really good, so I think that sort of answers the question I was going on a little bit of a ramble there. 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah, so it basically just… just getting into the ecosystem is really the… the biggest fee and outside of that, it can ramp it down, you and I were talking offline right before we started recording about the ungodly fees on Uniswap and other… other platforms right now, which it has to be solved for… you know, for ethereum to continue to grow and prosper and really for DeFi in general. Is there any integration with DeFi on your layer 2 protocol? 


MARK ANSTEAD: So right now, no. So right now with… and this is how the zk sync, so we are working with the matter labs team who have built out the zk zk-sync smart contract. And with regards to that specific smart contract, it is not able to port Solidity smart contracts just yet, so they have built out a solution called zync, which allows you to build smart contracts and deploy them on their rollup right now that requires to write these contracts in a coding language called Rust. That’s a big problem because all of these developers in the ethereum ecosystem, they all know Solidity. (BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah) Now they have to go to this new solution, and they have to know Rust. But the good thing is… is they have built out and are building out a solution that allows you to directly port Solidity smart contracts into their roll-up, so you don’t have to do any types of modifications to your Solid… Solidity smart contract. So they already have some big name projects who are going to be migrating to their rollup. Some of which are Curve Balancer, and a couple others that they’re also talking to. So they’re expecting about two billion dollars worth of assets under management that are going to be moving directly into this roll-up. And when I refer to two billion dollars, I’m referring to TVL, which is total value locked, so these are the assets if I’m holding a hundred dollars in each, and it’s just sitting around in my wallet that’s just sitting in my wallet doesn’t count towards a total value being locked. And when I have a smart contract here, let’s say it’s like Curve Balancer Uniswap, I take this 100$ and I go and I deposit it into the smart contract. This smart contract now holds a hundred dollars more in each, so that means that there’s whatever… there were whatever… there was beforehand plus 100 in total value locked, and this allows for people to make trades, make loans, deposits directly with these ethereum based protocols. And the goal essentially is to take these assets under management within these protocols and move them directly into ethereum scaling solutions whether they be ck roll-ups, optimistic roll-ups or whatever it is that they choose and take that burden and computation cost off of the ethereum mainnet, because it just… it won’t survive like this. 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Okay all right, yeah so I’ll… so a lot of potential in the future is what you’re saying for sure. Definitely I mean… definitely a solution that’s needed coming from… you know, those of us that have… have worked on the current… the current platforms that are out there, it’s… it’s definitely needed. Back to Numio, so what are… I mentioned earlier, I had kind of been looking at the site, looking at what Numio has to offer, another thing that kind of caught my attention was Numio Vault, is there anything you tell me about that? I’m always a big believer in teaching people about custody and crypto and there was some comparison between hardware and software while it’s in… in Numio Vault. 


MARK ANSTEAD: Sure so you can think of Numio Vault essentially as a… a web app to interact with your… your DeFi assets. It is not a hardware wallet, I just want to sort of be clear about that it’s similar to a software wallet, but in the sense of if you want to interact with it, first off, it doesn’t require Metamask, so it doesn’t have to require you to “connect with a web3 browser” The main form of connecting with it initially will be directly through your Numio mobile application, so we have built out an authentication solution in our mobile app that would allow you to directly interact with it. So unless you are that specific user on the end interacting with it, you would not be able to access any of those… any of those funds, withdraw any of those transactions or anything like that. So you can think of vaults as essentially just the… the web app version of the… the mobile app. 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Gotcha, gotcha, all right so in terms of Numio, what’s what do people need to do if they want to keep up with what’s going on in the Numio ecosystem, and I mean obviously this is not just your launch in one product, it seems there’s more to come and more features and benefits, so how can people keep up with what’s going on at Numio? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Sure, so we’re… we’re available on different types of social outlets. We’re on… we’re on Twitter, we’re on facebook, Linkedin, Telegram. On Twitter, you can find us at @GetNumio; Facebook, just search Numio and you’ll find us; and then on Telegram, you can find our channel, it’s… just type in Numio and we’ll pop up there. We do have a mobile app that is already live on Google Play. Go on Google Play and search Numio and download the app, get yourself rolling and start feeling, I guess, the experiencing the… the future of finance, because that’s essentially what we are building and looking to… to take that and make it available to anyone, anywhere around the world. We do have iOS already in development. We’ve had a lot of people asking us about the availability for that. I am an Apple user, so I do feel your struggles and looking to be getting that out the door ASAP, so yeah… 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah coming from someone who’s launched apps before, I can tell you getting something launched and approved on Apple is a little bit more tedious than Google Play for sure. 


MARK ANSTEAD: Yes and that… that is an understatement, so we’ve been very hesitant to give any types of… any types of launch dates before we are completely approved, everything’s ready to rock and roll, because Apple more… a lot more so than… than Google is, very stringent, especially when it comes to anything specifically to crypto. So yeah, we’re… we’re very excited about it and… What the… the future is that we’re… that we’re building and look forward to having… having you and your viewers be a part of it. 


BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome, awesome, looking forward to trying it out now that the… you know, the platform is… you know, is… is active, I’ve got a Google phone, so I can download the app now. What anything else about Numio that that you’d like for people to know or… or anything we may have left out. I know we kind of went through talking and we jumped around across different topics, anything else about you, your team, or the project? 


MARK ANSTEAD: Sure, so we… so as I like as part of our slogan, our focus is giving you more control over… over your identity and your money, we haven’t really touched much on what we do around our identity and a lot of that comes to, I guess… a… this, I guess, relationship that we have with a open source blockchain project called Phoenix DAO. And what we’re doing with our… our identity solution that we have built, so we enable for people to become KYC verified. Obviously using the app does not require any type of identity verification whatsoever, it’s literally just an email and we allow for you to become identity… have your identity become verified or kyc approved, and we don’t have access to any of that information. So we are the verifier but we don’t have access to any of that data when you are uploading this information, you are becoming essentially tagging into different types of third-party APIs that data becomes encrypted and gets sent to your own personal Numio cloud. So Numio cloud is a solution that we’ve developed that we use for a whole bunch of things within the application that allows you to have multiple layers of encryption. So data that gets sent there is already encrypted and then once it’s arrived, it gets encrypted again, and the only way to decrypt that information is with your biometrics, so there’s no backdoor access, we don’t have access to any of that information and no other user or organization does. It’s all permission based by you, the end user, so if you want to go and get instantly verified and approved onto a platform, you’re able to do so and if that organization doesn’t actually require to have a copy of that information on hand, you don’t have to give up any of that information, so obviously with regards to regulations and things like that some organizations require themselves to… to have a copy, but for others, they just want to know that people who are using their platform are legitimate people, and that they’re unique and and that’s the important part because we’re able to use zero knowledge proofs and allow for these people to be onboarded and verified without having to give up any type of personal identifiable information which is huge, especially in this… in a digital privacy industry. And so that’s something that we have… have built and is actually live within the application. So you can go in there and get verified. It’s super easy. The whole process takes maybe two minutes. You don’t actually have to type any type of information in, all of the information essentially gets scraped off of whether it’s your face, you take a 3d image of your face, and it compares it to the image that is on your… your document that you’re uploading, whether it’s like your driver’s license or your passport and make sure that’s legitimate. Then it makes sure that the document that you’re actually uploading is legitimate and that it’s not fake. And then in addition to that, it runs your personal information through every single sanctions list around the world to make sure that you’re not essentially breaking any types of KYC AML, or I guess, any AML rules. And yeah, so it’s… it’s a pretty awesome solution, it is… it is UX focused. Pretty much everything that we are building is focused around the user experience and making that as simple as possible, so I’m pretty excited about what that will do. We have some organizations who have already said they’re going to be using it. We have some who were talking to some who are already lined up to announce and pretty excited about what that will enable for people to do to just essentially have more control over their identity, when they’re… when they’re interacting online and for an organization who is looking to verify people and onboard them. It makes the onboarding process seamless and I should say, we aren’t trying to replace other types of verifiers, so like for a cryptocurrency exchange, they’re already working, they already have contracts with certain platforms or organizations, we aren’t looking to be the type of company to come in and completely replace them and have to uproot their current verification process. We are looking to essentially be an additional option for people, so when they’re going through this verification process, they can become verified with Numio and prove their verification that way rather than have to go through and re-upload and go through this verification process all over again each and every time, because it’s pain in the body. And yeah, so that’s… that’s one of the other solutions that we have built in there, I guess, we didn’t really talk much about alongside our authentication solution. Our authentication solution is pretty much right hand in hand with our identity verification feature where it’s just essentially scanning a QR code, passes different types of private… I shouldn’t say private information but verifying yourself through different types of web2 or even web3 platforms. And the flow of that operates in a very similar manner as does the identity verification, so I guess… yeah that’s pretty much all I have to share for you now. For the viewers, thank you for listening. Hopefully I was… I’ve been able to teach you guys something new about whether it be, what we’re building or what’s going on in the ethereum ecosystem. The… this coming year is going to be the year of layer two, so follow us, start getting used to how a layer two solution works, and we’re looking to bring you guys, the viewers, and the people the best user experience possible for interacting on layer 2. And really excited to be able to bring trades, swaps and all different kinds of DeFi protocols to layer two, and yeah that’s that’s pretty much all I have to share for you. You have any other questions or thoughts that you want to share? 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: No Mark, hey I appreciate all the info and I’m sure our viewers will as well. I can’t wait to get in, test out the platform, again I had mentioned to you prior to… to recording this that user interface is important. And it’s… it’s great that you guys are not only focusing on solutions that are needed but also that the user interface, user experience because sometimes you can have great products and if that user interface and experience is kind of clunky, it can… it can slow down adoption of it. So it looks like from what I see, y’all are working on… on a… you’re working on a total solution for that, so I appreciate the time today, appreciate all the info. Anyone that’s watching, make sure to follow them, go to the website, follow them on social media. If you have a Google phone, do like myself like I’m going to do as soon as I finish this recording, download the app, check it out because obviously having users get in and test it out on a bigger scale helps… helps your team as well, right, Mark? 


MARK ANSTEAD: For sure… for sure, and yeah, definitely download it. If you guys want to reach out directly to me, my email is We… love any kind of feedback that you guys can provide. We want to have… we want to build this out to be the perfect application. Feel free to be ruthless if you want to. I like constructive criticism. I live by it and we value all of that, so look forward to hearing some feedback. 



BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah, absolutely, I always tell people, especially from my app development… you know history that it’s kind of like plumbing. You can… you can put the pipes in place, but you don’t really know how it’s going to work to you to… you push the water through right? Find those leaks and you’ve got to fine tune it, so that… that’s why I always like to mention people, hey when these apps come out, try them out and yeah that feedback’s important to make sure to give… if you have any issues, make sure to report them as… you know, so Mark and his team can continue to develop a great product. So Mark, again thanks for joining today. Everybody, want to thanks for watching and we’ll see you all in the next episode.




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About Blockchain Wayne (Host)

Wayne has been managing, teaching, and coaching high performing teams for over 20 years. He has a passion for helping and teaching people and a passion for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects. He has created various coaching programs and partnerships with select education platforms and cryptocurrency program tools.


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