Let the Crypto Market Open, Transparent & Free to Everyone | Luke Stokes, Managing Director of FIO (FTC ep 25)
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 25
In this episode, Blockchain Wayne interviews Luke Stokes, Managing Director of FIO. Through the story on his journey to El Salvador and his work at FIO and previous projects, Luke Stokes has expressed his belief in the blockchain & crypto industry, as they can be a mechanism for global non-violent consensus.
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 everyone, welcome back and thanks for watching. Today we are joined by Luke Stokes. Now Luke is the Managing Director of FIO but don’t let that fool you. He’s got a ton of experience in the space, a lot of things that are happening, so excited to have Luke on today. Luke, thanks for joining us today.
LUKE STOKES: Wayne, thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to have a conversation with you.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome man, yeah so let’s… let’s get right into it, man. I’m excited to find out you’ve had a lot going on lately. And we’re gonna want to know more about that, but first and foremost, tell me a little bit about your background like what… what got you to where you are today? What led you to down this road in the cryptocurrency space and what you’re currently doing?
LUKE STOKES: Yeah it’s a little bit a long story so I’ll try to compact it a bit, but I majored in Computer Science at a good university. I was very interested in the payment space. I started… eventually started a company with a good friend of mine called FoxyCart. It’s an e-commerce shopping cart platform. And so we did that for about 10 years with a… I got a programmer background with computer science degree and kind of got really familiar with the payment card space like… you know, the acquirers, the payment gateways, the merge account providers, the banks, all the way down to the credit card companies, and everything in between, and recognizing like this is a really fundamentally broken system… you know, learning about central banking, learning about how the whole fiat currency world works. And it was around 2013 actually in January when I bought my first Bitcoin. I spent I think was 50 bucks and I got two and a half Bitcoin. And I really was just like at first 2011, 2012, I saw this and I was like fake internet money you mind on your computer that’s never gonna work. But as I saw and got a little deeper, I think I saw an anonymous Twitter handle I had a Bitcoin address on it, and I was like wait, what these guys may be crazy, but they’re not stupid… like they… if they’re using this as money, there’s something to it. So I got more and more involved from 2013 on… I got my company involved actually I was doing presentations in 2013 and started a meetup in Nashville Tennessee about Bitcoin, just talking about it’s going to be more disruptive than the internet. And there’s… there’s actually still a Bitcoin wiki entry for FoxyCart, because we were an early e-commerce platform that was encouraging people to accept Bitcoin. I kind of got a little disillusioned with the whole block size debate… you know, the lack of governance on chain, and just kind of… just with the bear market, my first bear market in 2014, watching that all happen and seeing the community disperse… you know. And I got then kind of re-energized a bit, when I got involved with the Steem blockchain, now… now I consider the Hive blockchain, and so more than five years ago, joined that group, got interested in delegated proof of stake as an alternative to proof of work. So I just kind of expanded my perspective that maybe maybe there are other blockchains besides just Bitcoin that can add value to the world. Previously I hadn’t thought that was a possibility. So I got involved in… in that space, the… the governance side of it, the kind of ease of use of the human readable addresses that the Hive blockchain has where everyday people can blog and make… make cryptocurrency, that way I kind of got recruited from there to help launch the EOS network with EOS DAC, which is a decentralized autonomous community, enabler and provider DAC and DAO’s very passionate about on-chain governance and tools for global non-violent consensus ways that we can come together. And so through that process, eventually around 2018, I sold my company back to my business partner, so I could focus full-time on consulting and advising, eventually got brought in as part-time consultant with the company that launched the first version of the FIO protocol, and went from a part-time consultant to eventually the Chief Decentralization Officer to eventually the Managing Director for the Cayman nonprofit that promotes the Foundation for Interwallet operability. So we could talk a little bit more about that later, but basically my focus has been completely on making crypto easy to understand, easy to use and accessible to everyone in the world, because I really do believe blockchains are a mechanism for global non-violent consensus. And this is something that our species has never had before, where we get to have the control of our own stores of value and that… that to me just gets me all excited and passionate. Those are things I get involved in eventually. After that I moved to Puerto Rico with my wife and three kids and later met up with Brock Pierce, worked with him on some stuff related to the EOS foundation, DAO. And it’s just been an amazing wild ride. It’s incredible space to be in, there’s nothing else that I’d rather be doing with my time that I think is going to be more beneficial and influential for the world.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Absolutely man. That’s… that’s an awesome story. I’m sure we could probably talk for hours about all of that. But I did want to touch on… before we jump in, I do want to find out more about FIO and some of what you’re doing now. I mean I think everything you’ve mentioned so far is… is really things people should look into that, even people watching may not be aware of like the Hive system, to where they can… you know, they can earn crypto and there’s so many different things out there other than just… just Bitcoin. There’s a lot of things that… that can change the world, revolutionize it. But I want to talk about Bitcoin for a second. You recently had a trip down to El Salvador with a group of people, right? Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
LUKE STOKES: That was amazing and like I mentioned just moving here to Puerto Rico. Actually a lot of people end up moving here because of Brock Pierce. I actually met him after I moved here which is kind of funny. And we just became friends and got to connect. We have a similar passions for DACs and DAOs and just blockchain & crypto and freedom in general. And through that he… he saw a tweet that I tweeted at the president. It’s one of those kind of interesting stories. We just kind of boldly say hey Mr. President, well how cool would it be to have a human readable crypto handle for all of the El Salvador like every citizen could have their own FIO crypto wallet handle. and I sent it along to some people to say hey check out this tweet, what do you think of this idea, and one of them was someone that works with Brock’s team and… and does different projects. So he created a group on Whatsapp and said hey check out this idea David Namdar and Brock and some others in that group are like… this is great, let’s do this. The next thing I knew I was in a group on Whatsapp of people that are hopping on a jet and so we did. We… a week later, I’m in El Salvador, meeting with the president or not, actually not the president but a bunch of his advisors. So we originally thought we’re gonna meet the president, but we met with a whole bunch of different secretaries from different departments including the central bank and… and just amazing surreal experience two days of… you know, incredible discussions that they had with us as far as what they’ve been doing in that country, so that we could take them very seriously. I was… I was really really impressed and all of us were really… especially those who worked with governments in the past that they… they didn’t come across like a government. They really acted as if they were entrepreneurs and they were given this responsibility of a treasury to implement a goal. And they used as an example which I thought was really interesting, highlighting their Covid response, how they built this incredible facility for mass vaccinations. They built this incredible hospital, remote medicine facility. And they had us tour these facilities. And they made it very clear. We did this in a very short amount of time. We had a 97% approval rating of how we rolled this out. And we are the team that are implementing the Bitcoin law. And it was really impressive we all kind of felt like they were pitching to VCs saying hey believe in us, back us, come with your support, come with your help and then meeting the different people on the ground there at Bitcoin beach, people that have been laying the groundwork for this for in some cases for many years. It was really really exciting to see that this country and the people here they’re ready for this. They’re very excited for this and to them, this is… you know, not some theoretical experimental thing that might happen or might not. It’s they’re like… we’re on day 82, we’re on day 81. Like they’re counting down the 90 days referenced in the law, so they were very excited, very passionate, very serious. And I think it’s a pivotal moment. I think the game theory dominoes of countries that recognize when they back themselves by what has historically been over the last 10 years, the strongest investment, the strongest story value, even if you look at the yearly lows, I think it’s going to create a domino effect that’s just going to change the world.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah absolutely, and I think I’ve read some of the things that you’ve written about it. And you… you touched on it briefly. It changed your perception of… of how governments operate. Not all of them are like some of the ones that you and I have dealt with in the past.
LUKE STOKES: I mean I gotta unpack that a little bit. I mean I’ve definitely been labeled a volunteerist, an anarchist. And when I say anarchy, I just mean without rulers, it’s a mechanism that all human interactions should be as voluntary as possible so many people we call status… you know, people who support government action would agree with the definition that a… a nation state is a monopoly on the initiation of in some cases violence essentially in a geographic region. They also have a monopoly on currency creation, on law, on justice and things of this nature. And so I’ve always kind of been against that. I’ve been looking for like the buckminster fuller route don’t fight the existing system but… you know, create a new one that out innovates it, makes it irrelevant right? And so it was… it was an amazing experience to recognize as someone who’s been labeled a volunteers that they’re a group of people here that really want to help their people. They talked about how they changed the crime statistics. They gave a whole phenomenal presentation on that. They talked about their surfing community and how they’re helping with tourism and things. And it was just… it was really encouraging to know that there’s a mechanism for hierarchy that can be beneficial to humans. And that’s something I’ve more recently been opening myself up to. My hope is that we can shift it to… you know, non-violent hierarchy… you know, voluntary hierarchy. And I think that’s what these technologies enable.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah, so yeah, non-violent and and people have the freedom to make a choice. And I think that’s what Bitcoin is doing for El Salvador. It’s given them a choice when they’ve really been… you know, the last 20 years, they’ve just been kind of stuck… you know, kind of not been able to do much. And I think they see this as an opportunity for their people to… to have more freedom.
LUKE STOKES: And there’s been a little controversy as far as like some people say, hey it should all be voluntary. We don’t like that the law mandates that vendors and… you know, government facilities have to accept Bitcoin. And I see that, I understand that agreement or that… that… you know, concern, but I also think that there… there has to be come, it hasn’t come a time where there’s some strong leadership. And… and I think this is important for adoption. If it’s optional, it’s kind of like we might get through, it might not. And people just kind of… people fear change. They fear making adjustments to their systems so just kind of go along and do what they’ve always done. And there’s… there’s two parts to the law that I think kind of make this not as big of a deal. One is that you don’t have to use it as a citizen. It’s an option for you. If you’re a vendor or you work with the government to receive payments, then you do have to accept it, but you don’t have to keep it. So if you don’t want to deal with the volatility there as part of the law, they have it, we can immediately convert as you receive it into the exact… so if you… if you want ten dollars and you get ten dollars in Bitcoin, you’re going to get ten dollars in usd if that’s what you choose. So I do like that they’ve structured this in a way that I think will lead us towards a direction that is more voluntary. And once this opens the door for other opportunities, one of the things that I… one of the key points of maybe disagreement that I have with some of the more intense kind of Bitcoin maximalists as they’re convinced there’s only ever going to be one currency to rule the world. And… and they might be right I get gresham’s law and all that kind of stuff. But I also recognize that like the central bankers, the reason why they have so much power is they can create money out of nothing. This is a power that essentially every human has where it’s shared storytelling that creates value and you get a community together that creates their own stories of value. Then it’s possible that can be real. And so I think there should at least be the opportunity for communities to do that. And it shouldn’t… it should be voluntary.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah yeah I also agree. I mean it’s… I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game, where it’s going to be Bitcoin or nothing. I mean there’s… if you do that, you exclude so much great tech now don’t get me wrong. There’s… there’s a bunch of crap, there’s a bunch of crap out there. There you know…
LUKE STOKES: I now agree most of it is not even worth giving a second look to. And to that I applaud the maximalists who are protecting the industry, protecting what they value. They’re doing a great service from that perspective. But I agree with you it’s just like the internet has multiple layers of technology. It’s not going to just be one stack and I agree with the lightning and layer two solutions. I think those are very fascinating and interesting, but I think it’s like also the concern of… we don’t want to be a monoculture, right? A monoculture only has one way to do something and only that one way. And that introduces systemic riskiness in my perspective like we need multiple approaches.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah absolutely absolutely, man. So all right, so moving on from there, I mean that’s some great stuff with El Salvador. Are there any future trips planned to… to revisit or…?
LUKE STOKES: There are… there’s a… there’s talk of a Latin american conference that’s coming up. There are other discussions with other world leaders and other different groups. So it’s… it’s I’m just kind of in the whirlwind at the moment, deciding… you know, how much I can add value, how relevant it is for me to participate. I’m just very excited to be among an incredible group of people that are passionate about adoption. So we’ll see where it goes. It’s going to be an interesting ride for sure.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome awesome. And you mentioned so kind of the segue into being included in that trip was a tweet about FIO, so tell us a little bit about what FIO is and… and what… what is the purpose and drive of FIO?
LUKE STOKES: Excellent I’d love to the reason. I got involved the reason. I think this is important. It’s very similar to in the early stages of the internet… you know, there’s… all these different technologies that kind of didn’t… you know, come together very easily. They’re difficult to use and then something called the hypertext transfer protocol comes out. So when you go to your web browser and you type in http, that’s what that means hypertext transfer protocol and that’s where you get the world wide web. You get web browsers. You get like links and forms and things you can interact with. It’s a basically a user experience layer to the world to the internet that created the world wide web. And when I think about crypto and blockchain. It’s in a very similar place. You got these confusing long public addresses that just get people freaked out, because like… wait a minute if I don’t do it exactly right, I can lose my funds forever, if I copy and paste the wrong thing, if there’s a man in the middle attack, if that QR code that’s unencrypted was for the wrong thing, my money is gone forever. And it’s very very stressful for people. There’s not having a joyful experience with traditionally how crypto is done. And on top of that most financial interactions don’t start with… money just showing up in your bank account. Like you don’t… because that doesn’t happen, you go… wait where did this come from. It always starts with a request whether it’s an invoice, you’re… you’re submitting your… your to get paid. You know, there’s always… there’s always a mechanism like order cars something like that. And so there’s the features that are needed to make crypto easier to use. And that’s what FIO brings. So the FIO protocol is a decentralized open source protocol. We call it a basically usability layer for all blockchains and all tokens. It doesn’t interact with a specific blockchain but actually sits above them in the user experience layer. So this would be wallets, exchanges, any crypto enabled endpoint that has a user sending or receiving tokens. And the three main features that come with that are human readable like crypto wallet handles. So in this case, it would be luke@stokes as an example. That is my crypto handle, and you can send me any crypto you want to luke@stokes. In addition the second feature would be you can also request funds from luke@stokes so you can do a request for payment in a decentralized encrypted way between the two parties. And in that request, this is the third feature you can add data so memo or some context about the transaction, and so this enables your situation with your FIO interactions to be similar to like your bank statement. You can see transactions to human readable addresses, so you know what it’s about and you have that memo for context and all that information is encrypted between the two parties. So it’s really kind of a usability layer for the whole crypto space. And it’s done in such a way that it’s not a private company extracting you know rent fees or anything. It’s really a decentralized business model, so everyone who participates, those who secure the network, those who vote for the block producers with our staking rewards that are coming in this summer hopefully as well as those who integrate the protocol and the foundation itself, which continues developing the protocol, doing marketing business development and integrating more partners. So it’s kind of this model where everyone who adds value gets to receive value.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome! I mean that’s exciting to hear because I mean I agree the one thing I’ve told people over the years. Two things that’s going to drive crypto adoption is going to be education and these these protocols that are going to make it easier to use. And I always use the email example. I mean I like your example with http. I think probably 99% of the people watching this probably didn’t know what http stand for… you know, stood for. They… they’re used to typing it right, so but having these… these interfaces that make it easier. And I give the example of a grandmother sending the email on an ipad with a swipe of a finger. And you know, it’s… it’s really it’s evolved whereas if email would have stayed like it was in 95, people… we wouldn’t… we would not be sending as much… you know, email as we are now. So it’s important to have those layers that make it easier for everybody to use that’s really what it’s like…
LUKE STOKES: I absolutely agree. And I… I started building websites in 1996. And I was like involved in the internet as it was… you know, evolving and through the dot-com boom and all that. And even earlier than that… you know, there’s a protocol, another protocol for some jargon out there, smtp that was the protocol for sending and receiving emails. And you literally in some cases have to type the commands to be able to do that and then along comes things like hotmail and gmail and AOL to just make that whole experience so much easier. And you’re exactly right like once you make it easier, you’re not going to have a situation where CEOs are like, hey secretary print out my emails because it’s too complicated for me to be involved, I need to see it as a piece of paper. Now it’s like everyone has email. It’s like we’ve almost gone past email with all our real-time chat systems like Whatsapp and Telegram, things like that. So it’s just a matter of making these systems easier to use for everybody.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah absolutely absolutely. So now FIO, I’ve seen some mentioning of FIO especially on Cointelegraph recently in terms of NFTs. Now non-fungible tokens have been a hot topic as of late so how is FIO contributing to the NFT space?
LUKE STOKES: This is something we’re very excited about. And again as a the FIO stands for the foundation for interwallet operability, so we are kind of this usability layer across for the whole space. And what’s interesting about that is that we transcend the tribalistic boundaries you normally see where it’s like I’m just in my one wallet, or I just use my one exchange, or in just about my one blockchain or token. We kind of work with all of them. So one of the ideas we had as we’re kind of evolving the protocol is recognizing, hey we already have these really nice human readable addresses, which are kind of similar to what an artist would use. If they were to sign their name on a painting what if we had a cryptographically secure way for an artist to sign their NFT with a human readable address that you can verify on chain. And what that also adds the ability to say hey that image… because famously a while back there was an artist who rug pulled everyone where they literally all of his NFTs he swapped him out with pictures of rugs, and it was a way to kind of wake up the industry to say, hey you guys here all you’re paying for is this bit of data that’s hashed on a chain that points to a url somewhere, but that image could be anywhere, it could be anything and if you don’t think about it carefully, it could be swapped out for anything else. And so we’ve got a couple different ways that we’re adding value to the space by saying you can sign your NFT with a human readable address with your FIO address in addition and that’ll be the actual token ID so right now you map a few address to a chain code and a token code. With this improvement that’s going to be coming out this summer, you can also map it to a specific token ID which would be the NFT itself and in addition you can take a hash which is basically another cryptographic signature of the data at the moment it was signed. So that way the artist can say this image, the exact image that you’re looking at is the same image I intended when I created, this… it also prevents someone from coming in and saying, hey I’m going to be… people I’m going to take a… you know, copy paste of a jpeg, put it on a different Ethereum smart contract and pretend that it’s a real thing and then basically sell it off as a scammer. And the idea being because that signature from either the kind of art gallery or it could be the artists themselves will reference not only the chain code and the token code, but also the contract as well, so you’ll be able to know like this definitely is the valid contract minted by the original artist. And we think that’s really really important. Art is just one example of how non-fungible tokens are going to be used. Many in this space believe it’s going to basically take over the world pretty much anything from tokenized real estate to rental property to… I mean rental contracts with cars and scooters and everything you can imagine is going to essentially be tokenized at some point. And we need to know that this industry can survive its infant stages where there’s a lot of fraud, there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot it’s just the wild west. And by implementing something like this and again something that works on any… any blockchain, so it can work with ethereum NFTs, it can work with EOS and wax NFTs, it can work with Cardano NFTs, that are coming out work with Binance Smart Chain and it it’s the same experience across all of them. A nice human readable experience that I think is important. So yeah we’re pretty excited about that project. We already have an MOU with an NFT platform that is going to be implementing the protocol as we develop it and roll it out to our community. I just even had another conversation today with someone who’s interested in landing up a meeting, so there’s a lot of excitement there. I think people get it that we have to protect this industry especially in its early days.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah I mean that’s right. If we want to see it continue to progress and move forward and you’ve gotta… you gotta have those protections cause it’s true. I mean I can take a jpeg of just about anything and pretend to be somebody else and create an NFT. And you know, so yeah that’s… that’s really important. And I don’t think people understand that. I was… I was watching… I just saw the other day, I can’t think of the name… the name… you know, the guy… the skate… the longboard… skateboarder. That’s skateboarding while he’s drinking the… the cranberry juice… (LUKE STOKES: oh yeah the yeah the juice guys…) Dog face, yeah he goes by dog face. Well anyway he created an NFT of that and he ended up having to scrap it and redo it, because of some issues with… he wasn’t he wasn’t allowed to show the ocean spray bottle on the NFT, and then the song as well. So you know, I definitely see some overlap to where making sure that when you’re buying an NFT from someone that they have… that they’re the actual creator and they have the rights to… to do that, now I think NFTs in general are going to give more people more ownership to… to their work and to… instead of having to rely on some third party to manage it for them which basically holds all the rights. But yeah the the ability for anybody to create a profile, create a wallet, upload an NFT from something that’s not even their own is it’s dangerous if that gets too out of hand.
LUKE STOKES: And we’ve already seen multiple reports even mainstream media is reporting on this saying, hey what’s up with this NFT craze, look at all this fraud going on. So I think it’s important for the providers of NFT marketplaces to recognize like I’ve got to protect my users, how do I do this without having to KYC everyone. That’s another challenge. It’s like, oh man we don’t want to destroy privacy and your self-sovereign rights that you get from a blockchain by implementing these draconian solutions when there’s better solutions to say, hey build on reputation when I when I tweet out hey I’m luke at stokes and it’s on my twitter profile if you trust my presence… you know, that I’ve had online for more than a decade. You can have some level of confidence in that and if I sign an NFT with Luke Stokes well then… you know, it’s real and it’s that simple. Just let people, let the artists who are creating the work and they don’t have to be… they can be fully pseudo-anonymous as well. They can create whatever identity of trust that they want… you know, like you know people or whatever the acronym you want to use… you can.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah so I like that, yeah because I mean most… most people try to always gravitate towards KYC and that that’s not the best way to do it. That’s just more of just another invasion of privacy really when there’s other ways to verify identity. So that’s great…
LUKE STOKES: I think that’s an important… important point about FIO as well like it does. I gave the example of luke@stokes but you could just as easily be… you know, satoshi@huddle. You know, you could be whatever you want to be and… and that could be your crypto handle as long as the people you interact with know that… that’s you, then you’ve accomplished the goal.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: I wonder if anybody snagged that one yet, Satoshi… All right so a lot of things happening there, man. And FIO I guess really next, man, I just want to find out more what do you see is down the road as far as with what… what FIO is doing any integrations. You… you can announce I know there’s… it’s available I’ve seen it in quite a few wallets before. I’d really dove deep into what FIO was. I had seen in some of the wallets that I use. So what other integrations can people look forward to maybe potentially come? I know there’s some things you can’t really talk about yet until it’s down the road and available to talk about.
LUKE STOKES: Yeah yeah no, there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on. And as you mentioned if you go to fioprotocol.io/ecosystem, I think we have more than a dozen wallets and exchanges. I think it’s up to around 15 16 17 18, something somewhere around there with wallets and exchanges that have integrated the protocol. There’s one that I probably can announce. It’s technically in production and live but although it’s only been kind of soft launched. If you check out ulti.com, I’m very… very excited about this one. This is a Telegram and Whatsapp based bot that is… it is a custodial bot so just… you know, be careful with that… you know, obviously not your keys, not your coins is definitely rule number one, but sometimes when you want something easy for your spending cash, it makes sense is to… they did a field integration and I think it’s one of the most exciting ways to onboard people to crypto that I’ve ever seen. And this is… you know, more than eight and a half years speaking here where if they already have a Whatsapp account, they already have a Telegram account, they literally just message the bot with /onboard and then they can do /FIO and it sets them up with a wallet handle does all their mappings and now they can start saying, hey I’m just… you know, Luke@ alti for example. And I’ll go right to my… my phone and I can then pay for stuff right away. And so it’s really really exciting those type of integrations that really get the importance of usability. They’re already thinking about onboarding people that are new to crypto. One of the other points that I wanted to make here that I think is important a lot of people look at the crypto space as being this kind of like wow look at all these people. It’s… you know, trillion dollar industry. It’s really tiny. It’s actually like two percent of the world like we’re not even close to where we can be. And when you look at the adoption of the internet as an example… you know, it really didn’t take off until about where we’re at now like it was you know 10 plus years, it was just kind of struggling along. And then all sudden and this is what happens again and again with the doublings and a lot of people don’t have in their mind a perspective for exponential growth is this idea that once you this doubling starts going you get to 2 4 8 16. It takes off so quickly. It catches everybody off guard and the fascinating thing about the adoption of Bitcoin as an example. The curve is sharper than it was with the internet and where the internet was today compared to adoption of the Bitcoin today. They’re about seven and a half years to a billion users where we’re at today they’re… I’ve seen estimates to say it’s not going to take seven and a half years from where we are today at that same place it’s going to be more like four years which is just incredibly mind-blowing and just shocking to think we’re gonna have so many people onboard it so quickly. And I think a big part of that is gonna be things like FIO protocol and this ulti integration just super simple integrations where you can be onboarded in less than a minute. You’re up and running and you can receive your first crypto. You can actually start using it. I’m really really excited about that so thinking about not only that super awesome integrations like that… that make crypto more useful, but also to thinking about the governance layers for all of these. I have a little project on the side I was playing around with. You know, as I mentioned I’ve been very passionate about DACs and DAOs, decentralized autonomous communities consortias, companies, corporations and also DAOs, decentralized autonomous organizations and thinking about how you can use a FIO domain, the… the second part like the stokes part and the full FIO address, the luke@stokes part to act as an identity within a DAC or a DAO. and there’s some really interesting ideas of how FIO could be used for governance to say, hey if you have an address at this domain that’s a private domain that only the members of that domain can issue that address then you kind of have membership to an exclusive community. So there’s some really interesting things I think a lot of media companies, a lot of celebrities, a lot of different corporations that want to operate in a more decentralized way are going to be exploring DAC and DAO technology over the next coming years. And I think FIO could have a major role to play in that… that’s interoperable with every single chain. So it won’t matter which chain your DAC or DAO is on, you have this kind of human readable experience for interacting with it.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Nice now I do have a question about this. This is something I was curious about so… like we see with domain names where people would just go and grab however many domains, as they can just as kind of like a… with the intention to sell it down the road, are you seeing that maybe happen, I mean is it kind of similar to where someone can treat it as basically as an NFT where each hand has that can be sold?
LUKE STOKES: It is certainly an NFT and it definitely the kind of domain squatters is certainly a long going conversation we’ve had as a community to say how do we… you know, we don’t necessarily want to incentivize that. And at the same time and this has been a reminder that it’s been made to me numerous times that a lot of that speculation and innovation drove kind of the internet that… you know, buying up domain names and people and willing to invest in the future is a really interesting example. So early on before the mainnet launch last year in March, we did have an auction so we did have an opportunity for anyone who wanted to speculate and say, hey I want to… you know, auction off these different domains, so we had kind of these exclusive domains we figured would be in high demand that people were able to auction. Once mainnet launched it was free for all whoever wants to purchase domains can. And we do have a project I’m excited about that is hopefully nearing completion which is a domain marketplace with built-in escrow, so you can have a fully… you know, trust. You don’t have to trust anyone involved and you can have a system where a trustless system to buy and sell domains in the FIO ecosystem. So I think that’s going to be really interesting as well. Let the market decide as far as what these things are worth and the value that are attributed to them and also… you know, recognizing that… you know, we as a decentralized model, we’re not attaching ourselves to any specific jurisdiction or any specific legal context. So within each situation where if a brand for example has a trademark on a domain, and then they can go to the owner and say, hey we feel we have a right to this and that can be worked out by them without us being involved. The foundation’s not involved. We’re not like the ICANN organization. We’re not going to be doing dispute resolution between these situations. That’s going to be a jurisdictional issue based on the laws of the area you’re operating in. And ultimately I think that’s the way it should be. Let the market decide. Let it be open, transparent, free to everyone to connect with and interact with there’s no restrictions to it. It’s an open source protocol and it’s… you know, completely, voluntary for whoever wants to participate. So it’s gonna be interesting to see how that goes. I think there’s a potential for squatters, but also I like that. There’s a lot of creativity like if your domain is not available for your wallet for example, you could always do your domain wallet… you know, and there you go. And now everyone knows that’s the official one. And the other one’s worthless now, so there’s a lot of different approaches that can be taken.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome awesome, so you mentioned the FIO website, where else can people maybe follow more? Where else can they connect with FIO and where else can they connect with you if they want to see more about… you know, what you’re into?
LUKE STOKES: Absolutely love to chat with people and have conversation. You can follow, join FIO, that’s join FIO on Twitter. You can also do fioprotocol.io/chat and join our Discord. We have an active community of worker proposals people that are participating directly in the DAC & DAO adding value in that Discord server. As for me personally, I’m @lukestokes on Twitter. I’m also @lukestokes in Telegram and on Hive and a number other… other places. I’m happy to chat with you and talk about all things crypto and blockchain, governance, all these things. There’s amazing stuff going on in this space. It’s an incredible time to be involved and if you’re not involved, I would encourage anyone that’s in the fintech space, that’s kind of watching this curious about blockchain and crypto kind of wondering, okay where do I fit. I want to encourage all of you that you have a place to play in this emerging ecosystem. It’s like someone just told you about the internet about to blow up. And you have an opportunity to participate and doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic designer, a programmer, a marketer, a business dev person, whatever skills you have that are needed in a normal corporation, they’re needed within these projects in the blockchain space. And in a lot of them you have an opportunity for ownership with DACs and DAOs and equity tokens and things of that nature. So I would encourage you to look at the space, figure out where you can add value because it’s going to get really exciting really quickly.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Awesome, Luke, man, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, definitely appreciate you coming on to share all your knowledge with them and… and you know really that also the eight plus years you’ve been involved in the space, it definitely shows in the way you talk. And I think more people need to see that to realize this is more than just a speculative investment in a cryptocurrency, there’s so many things that can come from this space, so thanks again, man. I definitely appreciate you coming on. It’s been a pleasure as well.
LUKE STOKES: My pleasure, thanks for having me. It’s an exciting time again to be part of this space, so anyone watching get involved, definitely check out FIO protocol, if you can get a… get a wallet, part of our community and so we have that great experience, and let us know what you think, tell us how we can improve, we’d definitely love to hear from you. And thanks again for the opportunity, really appreciate it.
BLOCKCHAIN WAYNE: Yeah absolutely, all right everyone, thanks for watching and we will see you on the next episode.
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About Luke Stokes
Luke Stokes is the Managing Director for the Foundation for Interwallet Operability. As a co-founder and builder of FoxyCart, he’s been in the payment space for more than a decade and in cryptocurrency since January 2013. Passionate about usability and governance through DACs/DAOs, he wants to help teams build tools which create a world we all want to live in.
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.
You can learn more on his website: https://www.blockchainwayne.com/