Earn Free Bitcoin with Lolli Links
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Intro: You’re listening to the DYOR podcast where your host Tom Buonincontri helps simplify blockchain and cryptocurrency for investors and crypto enthusiasts. If you’re looking to learn about blockchain, bitcoin and cryptocurrency without all the hype, you’re in the right place. All opinions expressed by Tom or his guests on this podcast are their own and do not reflect the opinions of any organization they are associated with. This podcast is for informational purposes only and is not investment, legal or tax advice. Remember to always do your own research. Now here’s your host, Tom Buonincontri.
TB: What’s going on guys? Welcome to episode five of DYOR. I’m your host Tom Buonincontri and in this episode I chat with Alex Adelman, the Co-founder of Lolly. If you haven’t heard of them yet. They’re essentially the crypto equivalent of ebates where you can earn free bitcoin just by purchasing whatever online purchases that you normally would using their desktop, internet, browser extension. So it’s really easy to use. And Alex is a seasoned entrepreneur, so he was able to share some insights from some of the previous companies that he founded. And just share his thoughts regarding what he thinks the crypto market’s gonna do and the future of cryptocurrencies in general. So I learned a lot out of this episode. I think you guys will as well. So let me know what you think after you listened to it, hit me up on Twitter, let me know and yeah, let’s get into the episode.
TB: All right guys, today I’m here with Alex Adelman, the CEO and cofounder of lolli.com Alex, what’s going on?
Alex: Hey Tom, how are you?
TB: Thank you so much for taking the time today to just be on the show and talk to the audience a little bit about what you’re working on.
Alex: Yeah, it’s going to be here to share what we’re working on and get more people into bitcoins. I think we’re all on the same page and love what you do with the show.
TB: Definitely. So let’s start in the beginning and why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and what you were doing before you got into crypto?
Alex: So I was born, born and raised in North Carolina and grew up in Charlotte. Ended up starting to like build software when I was about 12.
Alex: And then later, uh, just sort of started like started mainly out in like games, building video games, realize I could make money building websites and software for, for other people. Dabbled in like advertising tech for a little bit, building software there and doing some stuff on the creative side. And later I studied economics at Chapel Hill and really becoming fascinated with this, this concept of micro finance and democratization of commerce. So giving everyone in the world the ability to buy and sell everywhere and giving people access to products and services to sell so that we could connect the entire world through commerce. So I ended up having like a lot of early ideas around connected currency. How do we all connect the world through commerce? Looked at history of war, time and peace when two countries, two people are connected and almost financially incentivize to be connected. Things typically turn out better than when they’re not. So, yeah, really I started to like study that and had early thoughts around sort of like digital cash or connected connected currency. I ended up starting a company called cosmic and we created a universal shopping cart too. Further democratize commerce, give everyone in the world the ability to buy and sell anywhere on the same platform. We ended up selling primarily to fortune 1000 merchants that could sell their products in different channels. And we were really one of the early creators in the buy button and uh, built that over about five years. And he ended up getting acquired by our biggest customer pop sugar to come in power 1.2 billion in retail revenue on shopstyle.
Alex : Um, after those days of shop style of a, we grew about 10 expo post acquisition and a beer company called ebates came along, biggest cashback company in the U S and they ended up buying us away from pop sugar. So we, we were there for about a year, uh, the CEO left during that time. I think they changed direction, but I learned a lot about like the cashbox space. And I saw it as a really interesting opportunity to distribute bitcoin, which I had learned about, I guess at the time, four years previous to that and my team and I had always been fascinated with bitcoin and its alignment with the values and the mission of cosmic. And we never, it never really made sense to like implement it or anything like that, but we were all personally, uh, interested in and some of us invested in it. So when we parted ways with ebates and we started to think about what we wanted to do next, oh, we kept coming back to this idea, um, how do you, what’s the biggest problem in Bitcoin?
Alex : Was it probably the biggest problem in crypto and how do you distribute bitcoin? What we ultimately came to is like, how do you distribute bitcoin to more people and how do you get more people involved and educate people? And I sort of traced back my roots to it and I just remember getting like one Vic line early on and it didn’t have to be a lot. It just kept, it gave me skin in the game. So I kept thinking about like that idea of just having skin in the game and it was sort of like run up right under our nose the whole time. So might my team and I at the same team, same dream went out and it started basically the ebates for bitcoin with lolly and a, yeah, we launched about eight months ago and it’s gone really well so far. We have over 750 merchants on the platform and yet people are earning free bitcoin every day when they buy their everyday purchases from Walmart, jet, Priceline, Hilton, I really shop. We, we uh, we try to have some sort of opportunity for them to earn bitcoin. All right. So there’s a lot that I want to get into there. How old are you Alex?
Alex : I just turned 30
TB: So you just turned 30 and you’re a seasoned entrepreneur at this point in your life? So, I mean that’s pretty crazy to think that like you had this phone company, you blew it up and then you’re like, all right, now where do we pivot from here after you’ve had massive success with it and it seems like you took all of this skills and you know, lessons that you learned from your first company and you’re being able to apply them into the blockchain and crypto space right now, which is really cool.
Alex : Thank you. Yeah, that, that’s, that’s my story. If anything good at pattern recognition and seeing things at work. Some of it really interesting insights about ebates and people just love it. It’s just, it’s a, it’s a rabid community. People love earning cash back [inaudible] direct store shopping. Like people will shop and jet or Walmart or Priceline because they know that they’re going to get cash back. And I think that if you really look into like the psychology behind like bitcoin or cash, if you went to middle America or if you went back home and you know where I’m from, North Carolina and you said it really in most places in the world and you gave them $5 in cash or you give them $5 a bitcoin, as long as they’re not thinking about that $5 is like having to live every day on that $5. A lot of people I think are open to the opportunity and think a lot about hope and the hope of something more.
Alex : And, and so if that $5 could be $25 or $100 or whatever, it really attracts a bitcoin attracts a lot of people, whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, it attracts people because of the price. And then I think it, it brings people in and it converts people because of the principals. And I’m guilty of that. Uh, I saw it, I thought it, oh, it could be a cool way to make a little money. It sounds interesting. And then once I actually had it, I was like, why? Why are so many people into it and what is this doing? And then I started to read more about it and I started to like, you know, I got really into just reading the white paper over again and like try to better understand it. And I just started to understand it for the principals and I really, I mean, I’ve clearly believe in it and I think that everybody should have at least a little bit coin just to learn about it and see if it matters to you.
TB: So you mentioned that you heard about it and you know, while you were working on your first business, what was that instance where you first started learning about it and what was the moment where you’re kind of like clicked and you kind of fell down that bitcoin rabbit hole?
Alex : Yeah. Uh, so I was building my last company. I was, I think I was paying myself probably 30 k a year at the time and I was just crashing on couches in New York. I think I was living in Omaha or Minneapolis at the time. We hopped around a lot for my last company. We had to do like On-prem integrations. So we all over the Midwest for a good part of the company that was crashing on couches in New York. I went out two drinks with a friend and I ended up beating a Ryan Shea, uh, founder of block stack and early really bitcoin. We ended up having a great conversation over drinks. And he talked to me about that coin for like two or three hours. And he had just gone down the rabbit hole, I think. So he was just super pumped for it and it was really cool to see.
Alex : And a lot of the stuff that we were working on with cosmic, like I said, are the things that I had studied in school and really cared about. He was explaining to me that a lot of these things were native to the currency. And I started to like see that. So I’d never really seen a currency where everyone in the world could potentially own it. We were, you know, we’re, we’re divided by nation’s bye currencies and I think there it would be an interesting world if we could all communicate seamlessly, not just through the Internet but also through commerce. And so I, it was just like immediately fascinated with it. I think it took probably a few months to a year to actually buy my first Bitcoin, I believe it was on Coinbase at the time. And Yeah, just bought one bitcoin and sorta like held onto it and was just like, this is interesting to me.
Alex : I started to read more about it and I think as time went on, the interesting thing about price, like going back to it, you’d see it in the news, you’d see it go up and down and you, you, it would matter to you because you had at least a little bit. So it just, it was important. And every single time I would, I would like go back and I would, I would check point base or I would like do a little bit more research or I would try to find why the price was going up. And early days, I felt like nobody knew why the price was going up and down. It was really not a lot of people building in the space and yeah, and and like I think that the bitcoin core team following them over the years is just like fascinating. I think bitcoin is like one of the most incredible technologies that I’ve ever seen.
Alex : And to think that it’s all been built by a bunch of people that have all contributed over the years too. It is just a amazing work of art and technology in my opinion. So yeah, that’s like what kind of got me down the rabbit hole. And then I think just professionally having built my last company, I was always looking for opportunities to differentiate us or to give us a competitive advantage. So there was a few times where we, we sort of took a step back and wondered if we could apply that coin to our technology. Then just since I’ve been like, Gosh, building professionally software professionally since I was 16 I’ve always had an issue with, with payment companies, I feel like I’ve gotten kicked off. They would let me on for one reason or another. They charged an absurd amount and I just, as a naturally curious person, I was went down the rabbit hole there and I’m sort of the payments geek.
Alex : I just, I love like Payment compliance and learning more about um, how payments work and further down the rabbit hole you get into the payments and you ultimately find out what money is. Then you find out who controls it. And the further it goes do the more you realize how many people are taking a cut of everything that you’re doing. Just as a technologist, as you see new technology come out that’s better than previous technology, it gets really exciting because it’s an opportunity for you are sort of myself save money in, in building a business. Then also it’s a competitive advantage for you to offer a different merchants, different individuals, different people. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a business opportunity as well. So, yeah, I would say that that’s sort of like where I first got interested in, in cap state, interested in, was incentivized to be interested over the years, year.
Alex : So it was 2013, I believe, 2015 um, something around there.
TB: And did you happen to notice like the rest of the team already known about it or were you someone who kind of like introduced it to them or were they learning about it around the same time as you were?
Alex : So I, I think I started the like slack channel that was like the bitcoins, like channel on or with our last company. I bet that started, like to communicate it or, or whatever it was. But so one of our, one of our employees with cosmic and lolly, he ended up, um, he worked with Jameson Lop and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but he’s the CTO of Casa, one of the, I think they’re one of the best bitcoin companies in the space. So at his previous company he worked with Jameson and Jameson Wood, talk about Bitcoin at the office and try to introduce people to, to bitcoin. And so I think he might’ve actually been before me cause he just heard Jamison talking about it at the office all the time. And then I also think everybody, we were very mission driven company with cosmic and with Lawley as well.
Alex : And I think everybody was just also very fascinated with the message and the mission behind bitcoin. So everyone just sort of like same touch. I just remember people like hearing articles, why it’s going up, why it’s going down or ah, interesting things in the space. I think we all read like digital gold when it came out and then yeah, uh, we just all sort of like kept each other in space and asked each other questions and I thought about different things. So kept each other in check. It’s just a bunch of like curious people who I want to build a better world.
TB: All right, very cool. Yeah. Um, so Jameson was actually my second interview, um, for the podcast itself. He’s a really intelligent guy. He definitely knows what he’s talking about. So I was really grateful to be able to speak with him a little bit and just pick his brain as far as what he thought about bitcoin and just lightning network in general.
Alex : Yeah. He’s, I mean he’s incredible and has been such a leader in the, in the space on both core and in building costs. So yeah, it’s been really cool to just follow him over the years. And Yeah, I think we’re, I don’t know, I don’t think it would give up his op sac or anything like that. But yeah, he got it start in North Carolina and our, our whole team is from North Carolina. So it’s a strange connection. I, I kind of wonder a lot about why North Carolina, cause I just find that there’s a lot of people in the space from it. And maybe this was because my perception, uh, where I’m from, but it seems to be like a lot of people come from North Carolina and my thesis is that a lot of us had family that worked at the bank and had probably saw some sort of, was it affected in some way by, by like the banks there. There’s just a lot of banking, a lot of finance. And I kind of wonder if that’s why New York is sort of the hub and then why North Carolina is also sort of a hub.
TB:That would be my best guess. Um, I know North Carolina has a ton of banks down there, so that makes sense.
Alex : Yeah.
TB: All right, cool. So the team is talking about bitcoin and this is all it’s going back to like 2014, 2015. So at what point did everyone have the sign off? Like come to consensus?
Alex : So we were all, um, doing sort of like a sabbatical and some of us, um, I think like some of the team took jobs at other, other places. And I wasn’t sure what I was going to build like right after. And I think the best advice that I got from other founders in the space and not in the space too, just like mentors over the years, people just said like take time off. So I think time is certainly a luxury on that. I’m very appreciative of and I didn’t really, you know, have, I think before I was sort of just like always like trying to figure it out and rushing and, and, and uh, working really hard. And I think the nice thing about the acquisition and I haven’t built a company previously, was that we just had like time to think and build what exactly what needed to be built.
Alex : So we took, we took a good nine months. I think the, the advice would just like do nothing and just, just take time was really valuable. I think I almost kind of came up with like, and we started like 10 really bad businesses. Either they would have been bad, but they just wouldn’t have been like to the scale and as big as I think La Lawley is and can be. So Matt was building and you shouldn’t have Matt on a show at some point. He has a very interesting story. He was kind of playing around and solidity and trying to, you know, building like smart contracts and, and checking out some blockchain development and he was really interested in healthcare and trying to get people, uh, how do you incentivize people to, to work out and he was building some interesting technology there. Yeah, we just sort of like hacking around and figuring it out.
Alex : And then I just, all these ideas, I just kept coming back to the ebates model and I think a lot of the things that I learned with my last company, we had success in the, in the later days, but it was such a slog in the first three, four years. And we were, I was like 22 when I’m starting it. We quickly pivoted from consumer to enterprise and I was just this like 23 year old kid that was going around knocking on fortune 1000 merchants and asking them to trust us with payments, with their API APIs, with every, you know, sensitive data. And uh, it was a really difficult company to build and we ended up making it work, but it was, it was a two sided market. We needed merchants and publishers on each side. Those are two to enterprise sales cycles and then we needed to like work in, in tandem.
Alex : So I kind of just, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and learn a lot but I definitely didn’t want to do, I just sort like realized I should probably start something that I’m like uniquely great at and I had got to know all these merchants over the last seven years. Aye. I built some really strong relationships, really good friends in the space. I, I know the cashback model, I know like the retail, like what retailers are optimizing for. And so yeah, it just kind of came back to we, we all wanted to build together again, the whole team. It was a huge opportunity to build, I think the ebates for Bitcoin to give people access to bitcoin and get more people involved outside of investing in mining. And yeah, it just made so much sense. It almost made too much sense that I kind of, in the early days it was a little tough to convince Matt and then I think he built like a prototype and in two weeks we had like people wanting to invest in people wanting to use it and all that stuff. So I think once he saw the demand he was like, oh my God, this is, this is it. And it got really exciting. And then, then we just went all in on it.
TB: And how long ago was this?
Alex : That was a year and three months ago.
TB: Okay. So you guys Kinda got the, um, validity that you’re looking for as far as demand goes and the team was like, all right, let’s do it.
Alex : Yeah. So I started to like run a few landing pages and just sort of like test this idea and a few other ideas and this idea, just people wanted it and it just made sense to a lot of people both in bitcoin and outside of it. Um, I went back home to North Carolina and I talk to the potential customers. I went to Omaha, Minneapolis and, and talked with uh, friends from back there and, and just really like trying to understand what, what are the things that are missing of how do you bring Bitcoin to the masses and make it accessible everybody. And I think you have to take something that people understand. Did you get, you know, give them a car that lets them earn Bitcoin, give them an incentive to, to get into the space. And then it’s our mission and also it’s up to us. It’s really been more of our responsibility to teach people about bitcoin. So we have, we just launched our blog for instance, we’re doing a whole education series, launching a lot of content that explains why bitcoin and why it’s important for the individual and the world.
TB: And everything’s at lolli.com.
Alex : Yeah. lolly.com l o l l i.com. And then the blogs, blog.lolli.com.
TB: All right. Awesome. So on the about page for Lolli, you have like a unique, like little story on that. So can you kind of tell the listeners about that?
Alex : Oh, with, with a mile apart?
TB: As far as you know, your inspiration as far as like why you called it lolly and like the vision behind it?
Alex : Yeah, so, so my, my dad would always take my sister and I to the bank, uh, growing up. And is this sort of like a, I mean, now I look back and I have fond memories of it, but I think at the time I always hated it. It was just something I like didn’t want to do. And is this a very dull place? But I do remember the one nice thing about it was that these like green lollipops at the end that you got to, you have if you were good and, and uh, and so I, I just remember there being of a bad experience as a kid. Uh, but the lollipop made it all worth it. And so, um, when we were coming up with ideas for what we should call this next company, Aye, I think part of my frustration and criticism of the bitcoin space is that, is this difficult to understand? It’s not, it’s not very inviting. Um, most people are never gonna mind. Um, most people are never going to invest, but how do you make it more enjoyable and how do you make it sort of that treat at the end? And so just kind of kind of came down to that like, yeah, if bitcoin is the bank of the future, which I believe it is, then it needs a lollipop. And so we got the domain lolly.com and it, it all sort of worked out like that. So it was a no,
TB: That’s hilarious. All right, cool. So now let’s fast forward to today and you guys finally have the product down and it’s with huge success. So can you kind of just like walk us through how it works and you know how the audience can go about using it?
Alex : For sure. We work with top merchants who pay us in US dollars when our users shop their sites. So let’s say Walmart for instance, they pay us 5%, uh, for every order. If a lot of user shops on Walmart, a Walmart pays us, and then we send and share that commission with our users, sending bitcoin to their Lawley wallets. Uh, they can then do whatever they want with those wallets. I think after $15 is our threshold. After $15, you can withdraw it. You can take it to your, a, your own wallets, bring your own address. It even goes back to to Fiat if you really want it to. We do a transfer with ACH if that’s important to people. I think it’s getting, having ownership of, of money as part of probably our first education piece, like teaching people about what money is and that money is theirs. Um, so we want people to learn about addresses. We want, we want people to ultimately like trust us with their, with their bitcoin. But we understand that trust takes time. So yeah. Right now. You can log on a lolly shop at your favorite merchants, earn bitcoin back, and then you can do whatever you want with that bitcoin. It’s up to you.
TB: All right, cool. And it’s super simple. I actually used it myself last night. I wanted to make sure I tested it out before I had you on. So you just go on lolli.com and you download the extension for whichever browser that you’re using. And as soon as you log on to one of the merchants that actually uses all the, in my case, I was using SeatGeek to buy a bunch of football tickets on the right hand corner. You’ll see the Lolli extension thing. It’ll turn from purple to green, letting you know that the activation is actually, it’s activated and when you make the purchase everything’s going to go through fine and you just make your purchases, um, normal as possible as you usually would and essentially get free bitcoin from that. Is that the gist of everything?
Alex : Yeah. That’s it!
TB: So how long does it take from the time that you actually make the purchase on the merchant’s website to you actually perceive the bitcoin in your Lolli wallet?
Alex : Yeah, it’s a great question. And in a common question, we aren’t able to give at this point able, we aren’t able to give immediate responses back, but as long as you used lolly, you shouldn’t have any issues with getting it back. And we’re really relying on merchants to tell us when the sale went through so it can take 10 minutes. Um, in, in rare cases it can take like over a day, but if you did it right, just like kind of rest assured that you’re going to get your bitcoin, it really just depends on when the merchant can notify us of the sales. Like we get a lot of customer support tickets or people are like, hey, where’s my bitcoin? And then 10 minutes later they get their bitcoin and then they, their problem solve. So, and if it doesn’t come through, we’re building an incredible support team and we’ve worked really hard to like train them.
Alex : And we have some really experienced people on that front that I can help you. They’re super nice, like they want that. I think what a lot of people will like be angry because they didn’t get their bitcoin yet and, or they’d haven’t heard from the merchant. And then our, our teams just like, we want to help you get your bitcoin. We’re on, we’re on the consumer advocate side. So we, we talked with emergence were like, hey, why didn’t you notify us like Sarah Bot, uh, from this site? Like, let’s, let’s do it. So almost always we can get the bitcoin back for it for our users. We just need to know that you didn’t get it or you did get it and didn’t get the right amount or whatever it is. So I’m always happy to help people and it’s this part of the process.
TB: Yeah. Unfortunately, you know, you’re going to experience a few hiccups along the way, but no, that’s awesome that you guys are really dedicated to the consumer and advocating for them to make sure that they actually are getting their bitcoins.
Alex : Totally.
TB: All right, cool. So, um, one question I had was I noticed that across the different merchants, it varies as far as, you know, what percentages you get back as far as the big one goes. So when I go on any of these merchants, it usually says up to, you know, three and a half percent or whatnot. Does that mean that any purchase that I make on that website is eligible for the cash back or are there like limitations that apply to that?
Alex : We have exclusions for certain merchants and it’s not really up to us. It’s more up to them. Some merchants just don’t want to incentivize purchasing for, let’s say like groceries at Walmart. Like right now we’re in negotiations with them to try to get them to include it, but they don’t do groceries. Um, they, I think they just think that if you’re shopping at Walmart for groceries, you’re already gonna shop there. And so they didn’t want to incentivize it. So they just don’t give us any bitcoin back for our users there. That’s why I really encourage people to like for their first time, like reach out to us and let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll find we know the best places we have like sort of the cheat codes in the background cause we know where all the exclusions and everything, we make that transparent. But it’s just kind of Nice for people not to have to go through each merchant and to be able to shop at each one and know that they’re going to get bitcoin back. So like jet.com for or brandless are both incredible for, for groceries. And that’s where I would send people that previously would have shopped at Walmart. You can see the exclusions in the, in the browser extension, it drops down and it says all the exclusions for all of our top merchants.
TB: So the product’s been out about eight months now. You guys have over 300 merchants on board
Alex : Over 750.
TB: Over 750. Wow. That’s pretty crazy. Congrats man.
Alex : Thank you so much. It’s been a lot of hard work, um, in and, and also just like a lot of favors calling into people I’ve known for the last seven years said thank you for recognizing that.
TB: Cool. So you have over 750 on now. You guys are crushing it on social media. I see you’re going on all these different podcasts, you know, advocating, I’m trying to educate people on Molly. So what’s next for you and the team?
Alex : A few things. So we were, uh, revamping search to make it really easy for people to uh, search and find things based on specific a items or categories or sort by percent back. And right now our average percent back is 7%, so you can earn some serious, um, that coin back on, on these purchases. It goes all the way up to, I think 45% is our highest at this point. We want people to be able to sort by by percent back. We want people to search for grocery and find which merchants support grocery. And then also we just started to work on a, on a mobile app that’s going to give people the ability to shop in store and earn bitcoin back on their everyday purchases in store, not just online. I think it’s going to be really important for bitcoin adoption and building rituals around bitcoin that are not just about price. If everyday you go get your coffee and you earn some Sotoshi is back, like that’s going to be a really good experience that I think a lot of people would really enjoy and would keep them interested in bitcoin because they’d be earning a little bit and they’d see it go up. They’d say go down and they’d be attracted to it and then they’d learn more about it.
TB: Out of curiosity, do you know that if you know the comparison between you guys and Ebates, would a user receive a higher percentage back if they opt to choose lolly and receive bitcoin than they would in Fiat? If they were to use ebates?
Alex : We have very similar rates. Um, I think, you know, I know a lot of the same people that ebates knows w you know, we, they clearly like a bigger team, but it’s more about the quality of the relationships and the opportunity. Well, the thing that I think a lot of merchants like about us is that we have a new customer segment that they can’t reach. And it’s not really does that really, like the bitcoin audience, myself included, doesn’t really want to be advertised to, uh, we want to make the decisions and we will, we’re, we want transparency. And so Lolli isn’t really about the advertising to people. It’s about people be incentivized to shop at different places based on the merchants that align with their values. We have a bunch of merchants that are bitcoin friendly merchants. So with the Bitcoin maximalists in the bitcoin space, um, I think that they have seen how long it’s taken for bitcoin adoption through payments.
Alex : And I have some criticisms there, but I think that the next wave of adoption is going to come through earnings. And so giving people the ability to get involved and giving merchants the ability to get involved by just choosing where they shop. If you’re going to go buy bananas online, like why not earn bitcoin back for them and choose a merchant that supports you in your, your mission, which is, you know, bitcoin adoption. I think that’s really interesting. Um, you know, a lot of people they keep talking about mass adoption is going to happen when all these financial institutions come in. Whereas you kind of think that it’s going to be when people start earning more in Bitcoin, which I don’t think that gets a lot of publicity, I guess you would say. Or it’s not really talked about a lot online, which is interesting.
Alex : Well, yeah, cause it’s, that’s not where the money is. Like everybody’s, not everybody. There’s a lot of people that are chasing the institution side, but it’s not like read the bitcoin white paper, you know, for these, I think every part matters. Um, I’m not, I’m not like, I hate her by any means. I think the institution, uh, money has to come in and it should come in and it’s gonna make bitcoin go up and down and it’s going to drive attention to the space. But the bitcoin white paper was not eye to eye institution to institution a transferring of money. We didn’t want to reinvent finance. Um, and that’s what I think a lot of people have built towards cause that’s where the money is going back to time. And My, my team and I like we, we have a longer time preference. We, we built a successful company, we know the space.
Alex : We are confident we can raise money and build, continue to build and build a real business here. Because we’ve seen, we’ve seen, we were literally under the hood of the best version of this business. And so I really think like if you want people to adopt something, it has to makes sense for them and you have to put it in their hands and you have to take something that they already do. Hundreds of millions of people shop online a and, and shop in store, uh, like billions of people transact and commerce all around the world. So our unique positioning that I don’t think a lot of people realize is that we’re right in between the consumer and the merchant. And in order for people to pay each other and to pay these companies and to reduce fees and to not need all these middlemen, you should be able to pay anybody and then that person that’s like over the counter or the person that your friend should be, it should be so easy and you should just need the bitcoin network to fulfill this transaction from one person to another.
Alex : And what lolly really does is it gives people that connection between these two parties in a different way than I think people thought. The paper model just like doesn’t work. Paypal like to a certain extent is good. Like Stripe and Adyen and all these payment companies are really good there. Their fees are trying to drive to zero. The fees are still really, but they do the job and they’re secure and they detect fraud. So there’s very little incentive for a retailer to accept bitcoin. There’s probably less of an incentive for the consumer to pay with bitcoin because a lot of bitcoiners, uh, and people, just people who have it want to hold onto it because they’ve either made money through it or they’re interested in it and they, they believe in it. So I actually take a very different approach where I don’t, I think elements of the previous, uh, Fiat world will replicate, but I don’t think that payments are going to be the first thing too.
Alex : It really reach mass adoption. I personally think that earning and cash back is going to give it to the individual and not going to be centered around the institution. So the individual are in the bitcoin. And then over time we were doing with our long game is as we’ve built all these relationships with all of these merchants, and we’ve built this really strong leverage. And we’re on track where if I go to Walmart in a couple of years and I say, Hey, we, we’ve driven $50 million in sales or $100 million in sales to walmart.com, I think you guys should start to accept bitcoin and reduce that 2% or 1.5% fees that you’re paying to the banks. Uh, let’s try to reduce that to zero by using bitcoin. I think we can be a huge force for bitcoin adoption because we both have the consumers that shop at Walmart and we have them holding their bitcoin in their wallet as well as we have the relationship with Walmart that we built over the years. And we’ve driven traffic and sales too. So it’s really understanding and having sort of leverage on both sides to encourage, uh, mass bitcoin adoption. Oh, through earning and spending.
TB: Have you noticed your users, are a lot of people using the bitcoin that they’re earning or are they just kind of keeping it in their wallet? They transferring out to a cold storage wallet or something like that? Um, you know, doing the ACH transfer back to Fiat or you don’t really have those numbers yet.
Alex : 99% of people have just kept it in their lolli wallet. They wanted to just hold it. And I think that they trust us. I mean our, our last company, it was arguably more technically complex in security compliant are had to be security and compliance to meet the standards of the fortune 100 merchants. We worked with payment API APIs, we work with lots of consumer data and we had to be PCI level one compliant even in the early days. And one of our claims to fame was like surviving the target breach. We were like a three person company and target had the biggest credit card breach of all time when we were doing an on prem integration. And so we are, our team is very, uh, I guess let’s say I’m really into privacy and security and that’s our, our bread and butter. And that’s what we really made a name for ourselves with merchants over the last seven years with proving to them and winning the merchants trust.
Alex : So I think that if people know our story, uh, they, they understand how much we care about privacy and, and because they know that story or if they know that story, a lot of people I think trust keeping their $15 or $30 or lot of cases, a hundred plus dollars in bitcoin with, with us. Right. Well, I mean, good for you guys. I mean, you know, knowing that people trust you just to keep their funds like that. It’s just interesting that people aren’t using it. In my opinion. He just keeps going back to more of like a store of value use case for now. But we launched eight months ago. Um, I think that you have to play the long game. If we launched payments now, merchants wouldn’t adopt it. They wouldn’t, they’re not ready to adopt it. You have to give both sides. You have to understand what both sides are optimizing for and you have to have leverage on both sides.
Alex : So we have to play a long game and I don’t think it’s going to be in the first couple of years, uh, that we launch a payment solution to get people to use it. And I also don’t think that the world, it just, aside from lolly, like you know, I, I hope that we are one of the leaders in the space and we continue to be, but even just on like a a world scale, like you can’t make people pay with bitcoin and I don’t think you can force forced people to take away the store of value. It has to be a store of value until it’s more stable. And like when it plateaus or when it, yeah, it sort of evens out. Like there’s going to be a lot of chaos and it can’t really be a medium of exchange until it sort of had some sort of stability relative to other currencies.
Alex : And especially in the U s we are so lucky to have the stable coin. Like the u s dollar is the stable coin of the world and so we don’t really want or we don’t really need, there’s nothing really that can be US dollar right now. We’re probably even over the next five years if we’re being truly honest and realistic with the situation I, I really think it’s going to come from like other places where people adopt bitcoin as a medium of exchange before here. But in the u s the primary use case is a store of value because it’s, it is an investment.
TB: It’s really refreshing to hear like you talk about this stuff and you know, just seeing like the insight as far as how much thought you put into this and how you’re playing the long game and thinking the interesting through levelheaded the blockchain week, I just met so many people and so many of them were pitching me their ideas and it just didn’t make any type of sense. So to see that you have the team behind you that has this skillset and the experience that you guys already done this before and you guys are coming from this from a very intelligent angle, being longterm view about it and everything. Hats off to you guys.
Alex: Thank you very much. I appreciate you having me on. And, and also just like recognizing that yeah, we’re working really hard. Yeah. The thing, the thing that we ask, like one of the only things we ask is just like share, share with your friends and talk about it. Uh, we, we created the easiest way for people to share it with their mom, their sisters, their a friends from back home, a brothers, dad’s everything. I, we, we just had a user introduces his grandma to hit the other day like, Aye. I think that it’s so important, like we built this intentionally so that people could share it.
Alex : Um, and, and in sharing lolli, you’re sharing bitcoin, it’s really difficult. I don’t, I’m sure you’ve had many experiences trying to explain bitcoin to, um, people who are new to it. It’s really tough to explain. And if you can just send them a link and do something that they’re already going to do and that you can, like our, our, our early users, we started using it that never had bitcoin before. I have only seen bitcoin double, almost triple would they? They all got in at 3,500 and they’ve seen it go up. So those are some of our most loyal users because they’re pumped for the next run. Uh, they, they’re really excited to, to earn more and uh, accumulate more bitcoin. And we taught a lot of people that have bought bitcoin after it. So I think that like we’re, we’re positioning ourselves intentionally as being the start to adoption.
Alex : Uh, and that what, what that really needs is people to like share it on Facebook, share it on Twitter, share it on Reddit, like just share this thing. We made it really easy to share bitcoin with people and, and hope that people will help us.
TB: All right, we’r running out of time here so let’s wrap this thing up. Last question for you, and I’m pretty sure I have your answer on this one already, but what’s one piece of advice that you’d give to people who are just starting out looking to get invested in Bitcoin and Crypto?
Alex: Read the White Paper, I think it’s not as hard as it seems. Uh, you went eight pages, took me a few times, really get into it. But I think it’s just incredibly important to understand where this all came from. What is the genesis of this all so, and then I think there’s some really good books if people get more involved.
Alex : I mean, first I think it’s important to have skin in the game. So either buy bitcoin or earn Bitcoin, but I never recommend I’m first cause I think it’s like financial advice that I uh, I think you should only put in money that you are okay with losing if we’re being completely honest. It is a volatile asset. It’s a risky investment, but it’s something that once you read the white paper, once you understand, I think like international economics, I think that the world is going in this direction. And if it’s not bitcoin, it’s going to be something else. People want to be connected. It’s very human in this world is connected by the Internet and we need a stronger connection. We need a monetary connection, a financial connection. And right now we’re just sort of constrained by these arbitrary borders. But then we have the internet with no borders, but then we still sort of have borders and it’s just, it’s just not like the best product.
It’s a risky investment, but it’s something that once you read the white paper, once you understand, I think like international economics, I think that the world is going in this direction. And if it’s not bitcoin, it’s going to be something else. People want to be connected. It’s, it’s, it’s very human in this world is connected by the Internet and we need a stronger connection. We need a monetary connection, a financial connection. And right now we’re just sort of constrained by these arbitrary borders. But then we have the internet with no borders, but then we still sort of have borders and it’s just, it’s just not like the best product.
And if it’s not bitcoin, it’s going to be something else. People want to be connected. It’s, it’s, it’s very human in this world is connected by the Internet and we need a stronger connection. We need a monetary connection, a financial connection. And right now we’re just sort of constrained by these arbitrary borders. But then we have the internet with no borders, but then we still sort of have borders and it’s just, it’s just not like the best product.
Alex : And the best story always wins. And the best story is not a currency that’s limited to a nation. Let me do a border. Like we work with people from all over the world. We’re connected with people from all over the world. Why should we be limited with who we trade with? Why should it be so difficult? So a better currency will win. The best currency will win and it’ll connect us all. And I encourage everyone to read, read, uh, like learn about it and get involved in some way and it doesn’t have to be overnight for me, it was not. It took me years and here I am.
TB: All right man. So if the audience wants to learn a little bit more about if they want to get in touch with you and ask the team some questions, how could they do so?
Alex : Yeah, you can follow us on Twitter or TryLolli. Our DMS are always open. You can reach out with a message. Our support channel is always open email@example.com and yeah, check us out at lolli.com.
TB: All right, that’s going to do it for this episode. Alex, thanks again for taking the time to be on the show.
Alex: Thanks for having me.
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