Thought I would share this chat I had with James Lovejoy last night. Super generous of him to provide this much access and time answering questions. I was already a HODL'er, but this solidified it.
beerfinger [1:28 AM] Just read through the entire rebranding thread in the Vertcoin subreddit. Earlier today I also watched some of Crypto Hedge's interview of James Lovejoy from last August on YouTube. I understand both sides of the rebranding argument and have tried to play devil's advocate. Right now I do believe that the argument against rebranding is stronger. Full disclosure: I've worked in marketing/advertising my whole career and just recently got into cryptos. With that said, there are two questions that keeps nagging on me:
[1:28] 1. this coin has been around since 2014, so nearly 4 years. James seems like an incredibly smart and capable chap, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume the he hasn't always been the Lead Dev while he was in high school. Presumably there was someone before him and, after he graduates and moves on to whatever it is he's going to do with his life, there will be someone after him. Yes? So, with all due respect to James, as an investor in VTC, what assurances are there that this isn't merely an interesting side-project for a brilliant MIT student with little interest/incentive in its value as an investment portfolio? If the value of this coin to James is that of a college project, that is something I as an investor would like to know.
jamesl22 [1:32 AM] Hey!
[1:33] I've been the lead dev since Nov 2014
[1:33] (while I was in high school)
[1:33] And I've kept at it through college, I certainly don't intend to go anywhere
[1:33] Plus, there are more who work on this project that just me
beerfinger [1:33 AM] 2. I've read complaints about Vertcoin from people who poopoo its usefulness. Decrying it as "just another coin trying to be Bitcoin with not much differentiating it." People don't seem to view the ASIC thing as a big enough differentiator to make VTC stand out. There seems to be a kernel of truth to that as part of the argument against rebranding seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that it should not occur until a major change in the development is launched. So my question again stems back to James' motivations and incentives here. Is this a convenient use case for some college thesis? Or is the team really working on coming up with a major change in development?
[1:34] hey James! wow, thanks so much for your quick response
[1:34] great to actually communicate with you. and I stand corrected. very impressive that you started on this so young. I can see why MIT accepted you :slightly_smiling_face:
[1:36] my questions still stand though: I'm not trying to insult you so I hope you don't take it that way, but as someone who considers VTC part of my investment portfolio, I am very curious to hear about your incentives. You clearly have noble intentions. But what is your ultimate goal? What's the end game? Is it the same as Satoshi's was? (assuming he was really one person who existed)
[1:37] Or is there something else?
jamesl22 [1:37 AM] I think it's the same as Satoshi's
[1:37] To recreate the financial system in a fairer, more distributed way
[1:37] My research at MIT is totally separate to my work on VTC, though the two are complimentary (both are in cryptocurrency)
[1:38] In my ideal world everyone runs a VTC miner and full node in their home, banks become narrow banks and clearing houses/stock exchanges are a thing of the past
[1:39] The rewards of the financial system (in the form of transaction fees) will be distributed to the people, rather than siphoned off by banks or ASIC manufacturers as happens now (edited)
goodminer [1:40 AM] :thumbsup:
beerfinger [1:40 AM] I see. That is compelling. So, being that's the case, that sounds to me like something worthy of a brand, no?
[1:41] Unless you think there are other coins on the market with the same goals. In which case, what will differentiate VTC?
jamesl22 [1:42 AM] I don't think there are any on the market with as strong of an ideology as us
[1:42] Or any that can demonstrate that it follows through on its commitments
[1:42] The way I see it, VTC went from being worth $0.01 last year to 100x that now
[1:43] I don't see how a rebrand can possible accelerate already parabolic growth
[1:43] Bear in mind, that until a few months ago we had 0 marketing, that is where our focus should be now
beerfinger [1:44 AM] Fair. I'm curious, what do you think it SHOULD be worth?
[1:44] I mean right now, at this moment.
jamesl22 [1:44 AM] I don't think I should say, the SEC might be watching us
beerfinger [1:44 AM] Not in the future.
[1:44] Can you say if you feel it is undervalued?
[1:44] or overvalued
jamesl22 [1:45 AM] I will say with confidence that 95% of the top 100 is severely overvalued
beerfinger [1:45 AM] coins you mean
jamesl22 [1:45 AM] Yes
[1:45] On coinmarketcap
[1:45] If you visit most of their websites, there is no code at all
[1:45] Yet it's worth many times what VTC is worth
[1:46] Where VTC has been established for nearly 4 years, bug free and features well demonstrated
[1:46] VTC also had LN and SegWit on main net before LTC or BTC (edited)
beerfinger [1:46 AM] Yes I mean your statement doesn't surprise me. It's a nacent market. Lots of snake oil, clearly.
[1:47] I guess to steer this back towards the branding/marketing of your coin though, you clearly feel strongly about it and have a clear vision. Do you feel that as it stands the branding conveys that sentiment?
jamesl22 [1:47 AM] When you say branding, I assume you mean "vertcoin" and the logo?
beerfinger [1:48 AM] yes. logo, color scheme, etc...
[1:48] name even
[1:49] also to clarify one point, when I say that you clearly feel strongly about it, the "it" refers to your coin (not the marketing of it)
jamesl22 [1:49 AM] I think it's largely arbitrary
beerfinger [1:49 AM] why is that
jamesl22 [1:49 AM] Most coin names have no meaning whatsoever
[1:49] Google, the largest tech company in the world has a silly name
[1:50] Litecoin (whose name ought to imply it has fewer features) is #4
beerfinger [1:51 AM] I wouldn't underestimate the amount of strategy that went into branding Google (and continues to this day)
jamesl22 [1:51 AM] What's most important is the pitch, how can you convince someone who knows nothing about the technicals behind cryptocurrency, that ASIC resistance and decentralisation is important?
[1:51] Yes, but the original branding was arbitrary and haphazard
[1:52] Yet the technology spoke for itself
[1:52] Now it's in the dictionary
[1:53] Spending lots of time and money on a new name/logo, trying to get community consensus on that and then redesigning the website/subreddit/wallets/other services to reflect the changes is not where I think we should focus our small resources
[1:54] My goal over the next year or two is to take VTC from speculative value to real-world value
[1:54] So point of sale, ease of use, that's the focus now
[1:55] I aim to over time provide complete solutions for merchants to implement VTC at point of sale, for laymen to set up nodes and miners in their homes
[1:55] As well as potentially enterprise support if we get big enough
beerfinger [1:55 AM] It sounds like this is your intended career path then, yes?
jamesl22 [1:55 AM] In some shape or form, yes
beerfinger [1:55 AM] Wonderful
[1:55] When do you graduate, James?
[1:55] If you don't mind me asking
slackbot Custom Response [1:55 AM] I AM talking to you aren't I !
jamesl22 [1:56 AM] Charlie Lee worked at Coinbase for several years before returning to LTC a month or two ago
beerfinger [1:56 AM] So you're a Sophomore? Or are you in graduate school?
jamesl22 [1:57 AM] Junior
chuymgzz [1:58 AM] @beerfinger can you imagine when people first heard the word "dollar" like WTF is a dollar where did it actually came from. It actually comes from Czech joachimsthaler, which became shortened in common usage to thaler or taler. Don't pay much attention to the name Vertcoin, just take a look at the tech. If you buy into this coin's ideology, you will actually start to like the name.
jin [1:58 AM] Hey guys :slightly_smiling_face:
[1:59] @chuymgzz but not everyone looks purely at the tech, if we look at the top 100 coins, you would know whats going on :stuck_out_tongue:
beerfinger [1:59 AM] Cool well thanks for indulging me, James. I really appreciate it. Hopefully this conversation continues in the future. While your probably right that right now is probably not the right time, that doesn't mean at some point in the future it won't be. In the meantime, I'll take comfort in the knowledge that I've invested in a worthy cause.
chuymgzz [1:59 AM] Longer term only the functional ones and the ones that deliver will survive and a whole ecosystem will be built around it
jin [1:59 AM] buzz and hype is unfortunately a large part of it
beerfinger [2:00 AM] *you're
jin [2:00 AM] that is true, but without marketing to draw in attention (which leads to usage and so on etc) it will be difficult for a functional one to survive even
beerfinger [2:07 AM] @james122 One more thing: how do you feel about regulation? Pro or con? Do you feel that the idea of nation states like the US and China (ergo the ICO ban) taking it upon themselves to place restrictions on the market to try and make them safer is anathema to the idea of decentralization? Are you a full on libertarian in that respect? Or do you welcome regulation because it'll separate the wheat from the chaff?
jamesl22 [2:07 AM] I think we need a sane amount of regulation
[2:08] ICOs are clearly illegal imo
[2:08] Unless they are performed under the same rules as an IPO
[2:09] Plus I don't want to create a safe harbour for child pornographers, people traffickers and terrorists to store their money
[2:09] However I do think the state has no right to spy on you without a warrant (edited)
beerfinger [2:09 AM] You mean you don't want to be Monero? :slightly_smiling_face:
jamesl22 [2:09 AM] No
[2:10] I will pursue privacy features that make the pseudoanonymity provided by the blockchain easier for people to use effectively
[2:11] That way, it is not obvious to anyone your holdings or transactions publicly (edited)
[2:11] But things like sting operations would still be theoretically possible
beerfinger [2:13 AM] Love it. I still feel the branding thing will need to be revisited at some point. I don't know what that means, exactly. Whether its as small as a font change to something bigger like a new color scheme, logo or even name, I'm not sure of. The ideology is strong, but as it stands Vertcoin doesn't have a clear differentiator in the market. I'm not sure that matters so much yet at this time, but it will.
[2:15] You clearly have a strong vision, I'm just not sure it's being communicated effectively yet. Hence, haters who say Vertcoin is just trying to be another Bitcoin.
workstation [2:15 AM] beerfinger might be a huge whale sniffing out Vertcoin before a huge loadup. Not that, that's a bad thing :stuck_out_tongue:
beerfinger [2:15 AM] haha... I wish
jamesl22 [2:16 AM] Vertcoin is
trying to be another Bitcoin lol
[2:16] It's picking up where Bitcoin left off
[2:16] If people want a decentralised cryptocurrency, they should use Vertcoin
[2:17] Bitcoin just isn't one anymore
[2:17] Neither is Litecoin (edited)
beerfinger [2:20 AM] Semantics really, but if that's the case then that means Vertcoin isn't trying to be another Bitcoin. Bitcoin is already Bitcoin, which is a coin that did not fulfill it's promises. Vertcoin, on the other hand, like you said picks up where Bitcoin left off. I'm not sure that's being communicated by the brand (yet). Doing so may have nothing to do with rebranding (unless rebranding generates a bigger social following who then helps you communicate that).
workstation [2:20 AM] You've continued on a great coin James and no doubt Vertcoin has great features vs other coins, however without widespread use and adoption, Vertcoin might just become another coin without much use. The marketing side is sometimes even more important than the development side. Just need to look at history for that. E.g. Early version of Windows was buggy, bluescreen of death plagued it. But with heaps of $$ and marketing, Windows is pretty rock solid these days.
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jamesl22 [2:22 AM] Yes, agreed to both statements
[2:22] We're working on it, but it takes time and money
[2:23] But really, adoption is pointless until point of sale works properly
[2:23] When you can get it into people's physical wallets, or phone and they can spend it in a store, that's when it takes off (edited)
[2:23] Walmart, Target, all the big retailers hate
Visa and Mastercard
workstation [2:24 AM] Thats a long way off... Even Apple and Samsung are struggling in that area
jamesl22 [2:24 AM] They would love a solution that opted them out of having to pay their fees
beerfinger [2:25 AM] @workstation To play devil's advocate for one sec, most successful people in the world don't achieve success because they tried to achieve success. Success is merely a byproduct of their passion. I do believe that James' commitment to the ideology can be sufficient. But it is true that the branding should communicate his vision. That is a constant conversation, too.
workstation [2:25 AM] yes, true
jamesl22 [2:26 AM] What we really need is talented content creators to make compelling media that explains the vision in a layman friendly way
[2:26] Thus far the message has been far too technical
[2:26] But in the past, the space was mostly populated by technical people so that is understandable
[2:26] It is only in the last 6 months that the general public has started to get involved
[2:27] Sadly "ASIC resistance" doesn't speak to them
beerfinger [2:27 AM] @james122 While it's true that universal adoption is key, you can say that about ANY coin. Even dogecoin would suddenly become a real coin if everyone up and decided to start using it one day. What's your strategy for making VTC that
jamesl22 [2:27 AM] Whereas I think taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling
workstation [2:27 AM] We take Visa and Mastercard at our stores. We only do it because it boosts sales. People these days are all borrowing on credit because they don't have enough.... Paying on their CC# lets them buy things now (instant gratification) and slowly pay later. They managed to get banks on board because they make so much money on the interest. There is a clear reason why those cards satisfy a demand. We get charged about 1.5% by VISA/MC. To be honest, it's not a real deal breaker.
beerfinger [2:27 AM] haha, well, james you're talking to the right guy :slightly_smiling_face:
[2:28] My career is content creation
[2:28] I have nearly 20 years producing commercials and (lately) social content for global brands
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beerfinger [2:29 AM] I would be happy to consult and provide any assistance I can
[2:29] "taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling" - that's your modus operandi
[2:29] you can definitely tell that story in a compelling way
[2:30] Question: have any crypto's ever created any sort of ad before? Even just for social content? (sorry, I'm new to this space)
jamesl22 [2:30 AM] Well we'd obviously be grateful for your assistance
[2:31] I'd imagine so, though I don't follow many other coins' social media very much
goodminer [2:31 AM] @beerfinger lets chat :smile: We've been working on a lot of initiatives over the last few weeks
jamesl22 [2:31 AM] @workstation 1.5% to a huge retailer is a large sum of money though
workstation [2:35 AM] I don't see any coin being widely used to be honest. They fluctuate way too much. Say a typical consumer whose after tax salary is $1000/week.. He buys groceries at the store for $1/Liter. This is simple maths for him, he knows it's going to cost $1 each week, inflation may make it rise to $1.10 next year, but he understands that. With coins, the price of his milk is too hard to calculate.
[2:37] Why would Bob switch to using coins, when Visa/MC give him so much more? He doesnt pay the processing fee (1.5%), he gets free credit (these days, banks will easily approve 10k credits). Why would he switch to Vertcoin?
jamesl22 [2:37 AM] @workstation, volatility is high because market volume is low
[2:38] I think it will take another financial crisis or two though before people start to abandon fractional reserve banking (edited)
workstation [2:42 AM] As long as bob gets his paycheck, he's not going to care what happens at the fed
jamesl22 [2:43 AM] Bob ain't gunna get his paycheck one day though
[2:44] Because the credit ponzi scheme economy will have collapsed
workstation [2:48 AM] yes, the fed can print whatever it wants out of thin air... But its backed by US tax payers to the tune of 2+ trillion/year with most banks adhering to loan capital requirements. E.g. they need a certain amount of money deposited before they can loan more money out. What is Bitcoin/alt coins backed by? Seems like its somewhat of a ponzi scheme now, with everyone piling in thinking it will go up forever. I get that BTC is backed by real energy usage/capital requirements to mine it (asic equipment, datacenters, etc), so its more "real" than $1 USD, but they both service a purpose.
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workstation [2:51 AM] but whats the end goal because it seems they all become ponzi schemes. The only true coin will be one that will not allow any fiats be converted to to coin.
[2:51] the only way to earn a coin, would be to mine it, wouldn't you think that that would be the truest coin?
[2:52] right now people are just moving wads of fiat money into coins/alt coins, thereby skewing everything.
beerfinger [2:54 AM] just jumping in here with one last comment before I go to sleep: money, whether we're talking salt, precious metals, fiat currency, or cryptos, is just something that we all agree to prescribe a value to. That being the case, how are you going to stop someone from trading that value for something they want? If someone wants to trade their cryptos for chickens, a latte, USD or anything else, they're going to do it. No point in trying to regulate what people spend their money on or how they do it. Seems the antithesis of the whole decentralization thing anyway
workstation [2:57 AM] true
aegisker [3:02 AM] I belive when crypto matures, has fast and easy payments solutions, volume will rise and price will be more stable. Current price is speculation due to news and new development. I dont belive that after 10 years we will be seeing such swings.
beerfinger [3:04 AM] sorry keep thinking of new stuff... @jamesl22 your point about POS is salient. What's your perspective on coins like TenX that try to address that with payment platforms and cards?
[3:05] is that what you mean? nuts & bolts, how would Vertcoin become a POS option?
aegisker [3:06 AM] How is usdt keeping its price around usd?
beerfinger [3:07 AM] don't they just keep up with USD inflation by making sure there's an equal amount of tokens to USD in the market at any given point?
jamesl22 [3:07 AM] Integration of LN and AS is key
[3:07] Then providing some hardware or software solution to integrate with payment processors
[3:07] I haven't looked at tenx
beerfinger [3:07 AM] so Vertcoin IS actively pursuing this then
[3:09] perhaps there's some way to leverage things like ApplePay
jamesl22 [3:09 AM] I doubt it
[3:09] ApplePay's design is fundamentally different
beerfinger [3:09 AM] I mean it doesn't have to be ApplePay itself. Can be a separate app
lucky [3:09 AM] Having bitcoin or altcoins tied to your debit card isn't unbelievable
jamesl22 [3:10 AM] Of course not
[3:10] But it is suboptimal
beerfinger [3:10 AM] yeah sort of kills the whole decentralization thing
lucky [3:10 AM] in fact if we are going the whole hog and saying fiat collapsed. You'd be silly to think the banks would standby and let crypto take over without them
beerfinger [3:10 AM] now we're relying on banks again
lucky [3:11 AM] At the first sign of crypto succeeding fiat. Banks will take over
[3:11] Because they can trade their fiat to coin
[3:11] Government too
aegisker [3:12 AM] Well, banks issues debt, whole market is built around debt. Crypto would take that away
[3:12] This will be hardest transition
jamesl22 [3:12 AM] If the crypto market ever gets to say $1tril, the banks will use their lobbyist army to squash it as best they can
lucky [3:13 AM] Is it not possible crypto gets immediately regulated into the banking system as soon as it passed fiat in some way
jamesl22 [3:13 AM] They don't care right now because the space is tiny compared to their own equity
lucky [3:13 AM] Yes exactly James
beerfinger [3:13 AM] i like the idea of leveraging NFC tech as a way to introduce crypto to POS purchases... everyone already has a smart phone so no need to reinvent the wheel... it's basically just an app
lucky [3:13 AM] If finance is going to change politics needs to too
[3:14] Nfc seems like the way. Yeag
[3:14] Lots of the android wallets leverage it
aegisker [3:14 AM] No need for nfc, nfc was kinda overhyped. Qr codes can work equally good
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] @beerfinger I think LN will allow us to achieve that
lucky [3:14 AM] Lol qr
[3:14] Who has ever scanned a qr....
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] We just need a hardware implementation for the reader
beerfinger [3:14 AM] sorry james, what's LN?
lucky [3:14 AM] Apple made sure qr never worked
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] Lightning Network
beerfinger [3:14 AM] ah
aegisker [3:15 AM] If u use your phone, why complicate with nfc, is there a security benefit?
beerfinger [3:15 AM] the infrastructure is there... most readers i come across these days are already NFC compliant
jamesl22 [3:15 AM] QR can work, but requires a high res display in the POS device
[3:15] Which would increase costs
[3:15] NFC is cheap af
lucky [3:16 AM] Yep. Qr is extremely requirement heavy
aegisker [3:16 AM] For example, pub: you get check with qr. U pay with your phone. Waiter sees on his computer that its payed.
lucky [3:16 AM] Look at Asia and south America
[3:16] Nobody can read qr
aegisker [3:17 AM] I europe all checks already have qrs for tax checking
lucky [3:17 AM] I work in global marketing. Qr is completely unadopted in the real world
[3:17] Yes in no public scenario qr is used
aegisker [3:17 AM] Where you from?
lucky [3:17 AM] Uk
[3:19] A decade in marketing I can tell you for sure Joe public doesn't scan qr codes
[3:19] James is right. We need an alternative hardware solution
[3:19] And I think I unique piece of tech in public would drive massive interest
aegisker [3:20 AM] In slovenia, croatia, austria(i tjink) there is law that all transactions in coffeeshops or shops(everything with fiat transaction) is sent to tax authority as soon as check is printed. U get qr code on your check, so you can check if tax s paid for your service. This is to prevent black markets and unauthorized sellers. Works pretty well. If you frequently scan qrs you can get some bonuses..
[3:21] Public got used to this pretty fast.
lucky [3:21 AM] So there's an incentive
aegisker [3:21 AM] So also you could print qr shop wallet addr.
lucky [3:21 AM] Kind of skews the ease of adoption stat we are looking for
aegisker [3:22 AM] Costz nothing
lucky [3:22 AM] Costs a smartphone with a quick camera
[3:22] How about in a dark club
beerfinger [3:23 AM] I came tonight with many questions about Vertcoin. Namely the incentives of the Devs and how it differentiated itself in the marketplace. All of those questions have been answered as best as I could have hoped. The only
thing left is figuring out a way to tell that story. @jamesl22, all of the things you've said tonight are reassuring and exciting. They provide great promise for the future of this coin and even more - your goals, if realized, are truly category shifting. This is such
a compelling story. TELL IT!
lucky [3:23 AM] Asking every transaction to require an in focus photo capability is insane, imo
aegisker [3:23 AM] uploaded and commented on this image: IMG_20170908_092307.jpg 1 Comment Thats how it looks
lucky [3:23 AM] We need something similar to a contactless debit card
[3:24] Good luck scanning that in the dark with a £100 smartphone. Though.
aegisker [3:24 AM] For starters this is easiest solution for early adoption (edited)
workstation [3:25 AM] why not something short like vCoin. Then u could make it go off V=Vendetta, sort of has a nice mystery, anti establishment
aegisker [3:25 AM] You just need plugin for your pos software that checks your crypto wallet for received funds
[3:26] Imo this is easiest way to implement first public purchases of beer or coffee
beerfinger [3:26 AM] by the way, less is more when it comes to branding
[3:26] look at apple
[3:26] i love this example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUXnJraKM3k
YouTube Brant Walsh Microsoft Re-Designs the iPod Packaging
[3:31] and there's always something to be said for ad wars... apple's david vs goliath attack ads vs microsoft is what put them back on the map
[3:31] that could be a great angle for Vertcoin... go after Bitcoin
[3:31] make fun of it the way Jobs poked at Gates
[3:32] that's just my 2 Vertcoins
Looking for online definition of ASIC or what ASIC stands for? ASIC is listed in the World's largest and most authoritative dictionary database of abbreviations and acronyms ASIC is listed in the World's largest and most authoritative dictionary database of abbreviations and acronyms ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) Pronounced "A sik," an ASIC is a chip that is custom designed for a specific purpose.Although CPUs and microcontrollers (MCUs) are also custom designed, they fall under the "general purpose" processor category. See CPU and microcontroller. An ASIC if often used by the company that created it to provide the electronics for its own products. There are many different brands of Bitcoin miners available, which can range in price from $20 to $5,000 depending on their power and complexity; and you may purchase Bitcoin ASIC miners in ... 36. ASIC Miner: An application ... Dictionary of Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Terms” G. Gopal. January 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm. Well explained Sudhir. This write up was very much wanted by me.So also other new investors Thanks. Reply. R. Rajeesh. January 10, 2018 at 11:35 am. Nice Explanation. Thanks for putting all the info in a single place. Way to Go! Reply. A. Ali Hidayat. January 21, 2018 at 8 ... Definition: ASIC is an acronym for Application Specific Integrated Circuit.An ASIC miner is a computing unit comprised of specially designed chips, motherboards, and power supplies built for the sole purpose of mining cryptocurrencies. ASICs are capable of attaining significantly higher hash rates and, thus, earn more than conventional computers.
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