Untold Stories: Diary Of A Made Man From Uganda To Crypto Big Time

Crypto giant Ian Balina is one generation away from a Ugandan village. Hear how he and his family worked their way from remote village to amazing success on this week’s Untold Stories, along with:

  • How death threats changed his point of view, why you should “burn your ships,”

  • Why low self-esteem creates the best salespeople

  • How taking responsibility and educating yourself is the surest path to freedom

  • How hard times separate your friends from the fakers

  • Why it’s important to be “psychologically unemployable,”

  • The craziest pitches he heard during the 2017 ICO stampede

  • His “I made it” moment

  • How he stayed free for a week at a 5-star NY hotel

  • How to live a decentralized life without getting burned out

  • The number one red flag for a crypto project.

Untold Stories Ian Balina

Charlie Shrem
Hi, everyone, this is Charlie Shrem, and you're listening to Untold Stories. This is a show where we dive deep into the lives and personal histories of some of crypto's most influential leaders and find out how the crypto movement truly came to be. Let's dive in.

This episode of Untold Stories is sponsored by Scott Offord, the creator of crypto mining. Scott's a broker of ASIC mining gear, and helps people buy and sell their miners. He created a bitcoin mining profitability calculator and an interactive ASIC Hardware Comparison Chart that you can find at cryptomining.tools. It's the only free online tool for calculating profitability and days to ROI. That includes the impact of the Bitcoin block reward halving. The calculator lets you put in your estimated uptime to give you a more realistic profit projection. So check it out and find Scott at Telegram and Twitter at O-F-F-O-R-D-S-C-O-T-T. That's O-F-F-O-R-D-S-C-O-T-T. Links are in the show notes.

This episode of Untold Stories is sponsored by eToro, the smartest crypto trading platform and one of the largest in the world with over $1 trillion in trading volume per year. US customers can trade the most popular crypto assets with low and transparent fees. And if you're not ready to trade yet, practice building your crypto portfolio with the eToro $100,000 virtual trading feature. Best of all, you can connect with 11 million other eToro traders around the world, myself included, to discuss trading, charts, and all things crypto. Create an account at etoro.com, links in the show notes, and build your crypto portfolio the smart way.

Untold Stories is powered by BlockWorks Group, the only events and podcast production company I trust. For access to the premiere, digital asset conferences and in-depth podcast content, visit them at blockworksgroup.io. That's blockworksgroup.io. I promise you will not be disappointed.

"The past is not dead. It's not even past." This quote has been in my head all weekend since I watched the documentary about Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. She says it a lot, and I didn't really understand what it meant. I spent the weekend playing it over in my head and doing some research. It just rung a tone with me that I wanted to understand how this quote applies to crypto: "The past is not dead. It's not even past."

The way I took that quote is that we're constantly making memories, and we're constantly growing and building and learning. And there's no such thing as the present or the past. It just is. For example, the fact that I'm even talking to you right now, that's already in the past. So if we're talking one year, five years, 10 years, it doesn't really matter in the longer scheme of things.

The reason I bring this up now is because the industry of crypto is always growing, and it's building and it's evolving. And yes, sure, there are early adopters who got involved in 2011/2012, but my listeners, you guys know that I interview from 2015 and I interview people who got involved in the space even six months ago. It's very important because these are people that really put an impression like stamping on metal in the future of crypto. And we have to remember at the same time that markets are efficient when we allow them to be. And when we allow our own market and our own industry to grow and to create its own fate, that allows us to really become who we want to be.

My next guest, Ian Balina, is very important in this space because he got involved not in the early days, but only a few years ago. But that attitude that he brought, the hustler attitude, the "We're going to do whatever we need to get done and to build and to grow, to create content and to bring on the next wave of crypto enthusiasts and lovers in the space" is something that I think will be remembered for a very long time. Ian, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Ian Balina
It's a pleasure, Charlie. I'm so honored to be here.

Charlie Shrem
So we've spent the weekend together, and we played some poker last night. It was a lot of fun. I got to know you a little bit, and I'm excited to get to know you more. What was interesting... I remember our conversation sitting down and waiting for a table for brunch yesterday. We were chatting and I asked you, "What are some pivotal moments of your life that you remember that really made you who you are?" These moments are something that you remember every single day when someone asks you this same question. Do you remember some of those moments?

Ian Balina
Yes, so many things come to mind. I would say the first one was January 2018. I was on vacation in Tokyo, Japan. It was me and my good friend…who's now my business partner, with 100X Advisors and my coworker from IBM, Andrew. This was my first time in Japan, first time in Asia.

As a kid I grew up watching anime, playing video games, Dragon Ball Z, all that stuff. So for me to finally travel to Japan on my own as an adult, I was like, "You know what? I made it." I was in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. This was probably 60 floors up. My entire wall was clear glass screen, and I had the skyline of Tokyo in front of me.

Charlie Shrem
Take a deep breath.

Ian Balina
Yes. So I would just breathe that in. I was like, "Well, I'm here. I'm really here." At that time I was about 27/28. I was making almost half a million dollars working at IBM. I felt like I was on top of the world.

Charlie Shrem
Oh, so this wasn't even crypto yet.

Ian Balina
Yeah, before crypto. Before crypto.

Charlie Shrem
I'm thinking this is the crypto thing.

Ian Balina
Prior to crypto. And I said, "You know what? So many millennials would just savor this moment and want to be here."

Charlie Shrem
They would die to be there.

Ian Balina
Yeah, they would die to be there. But to me I realized despite having all this success, despite making so much money at a young age, I had to go back to America. I told myself, "My visa gives me 90 days to be here. Why do I have to go back?" That's when it dawned on me that it wasn't about making money anymore. It was about making my own money and taking back control of my time, because even though I was 28, making almost half a million, I still had somebody controlling where I went and what I did. That didn't really sit well on me.

So I went back to America, had a vacation, and I said, "You know what? By the end of the year, by December 2018, I'm going to quit my job at IBM and be self-employed, no matter what." I basically gave myself an ultimatum and said, "No matter what, I'm going to quit my job. Even if I have to be homeless and go back and stay with my parents, I'm still going to do it." I basically began burning the ships, like that famous explorer, Cortes. I told myself, "You know what? Let me downsize all my expenses and just focus on my side hustles." At that time I was doing things like Amazon FBA. I was making two to four grand a month just importing stuff from China and-

Charlie Shrem
What's a side hustle?

Ian Balina
A side hustle is something I would do on the side, like my weekends, outside the 9:00-5:00 hours, to make extra income. Right? To me, even though I was making good money at IBM, I wanted to make my own money. The goal for me was to make my own money on the side on the weekends to a point where it was close to what I was making at IBM, or at least over six figures annually, so that I could quit and be comfortable and still be able to do what I enjoyed doing.

I was doing the Amazon thing. I had a video production company I was doing on the side. I would do that every weekend, filming conferences, filming events. Even at one point I made more money one month from doing that than I did from working at IBM, about seven grand in one month.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
I also had a startup I was doing which was towards the tail end of its career. Wasn't really becoming that successful. It was a iPhone application. It was an on demand freelancer marketplace. So think like Fiverr or like Uber for freelancers.

Charlie Shrem
A gig…idea?

Ian Balina
Yeah. It was getting towards the gig economy.

Charlie Shrem
You wanted to be financially independent, but one would think that having a great job at IBM, one of the largest companies in the world, and making that much money is financial independence.

Ian Balina
Not really.

Charlie Shrem
What motivated you to continue doing side gigs?

Ian Balina
I would say my first three years at IBM were great. I was working as a sales engineer, working under IBM Analytics brand. But my last year, when I began making more money, I changed from being your typical sales engineer and became a sales executive. I had lots of Fortune 500 accounts that I was responsible for. I had to close a quota of over $2 million every six months in IBM software sales.

The sales world was so cut-throat, totally different from being an engineer, and something I wasn't really used to. Even though I did well, the stress it gave me wasn't really something I wanted to be in. I felt it was very toxic. It was so toxic that I thought if I stayed in this environment for five to 10 more years, I would start turning gray. I would start growing gray hair. I knew that this would kill me. I knew that I had to build the life that I wanted, that didn't really have as much stress as I had at IBM.

I was doing all that. I began doing Airbnb. Actually, sorry. I was doing that for a while, Airbnb for a while. And I was doing crypto. I said, "You know what? I have all these different side hustles I'm doing. I'm sure somebody can get value from this, so let me start making content." So I launched my channel, Diary of a Made Man, on YouTube, began putting out content. At that time I had a following of about 500 subscribers.

Charlie Shrem
Before you get to that point, I have two questions. Most people listening, they are good at something, and they want to be able to create content for that. But how do you get to the first step? I mean, how do you even get 500 subscribers? 500 subscribers is a lot. How do you even get to that point? Because once you get to 500 or a thousand, then you can hockey-stick up, and something can go viral. But how do you just jump to that point? If someone's good at, I don't know, knitting cap…or something and they want to make a YouTube video…

Ian Balina
Oh man, yeah. I mean, I would say it takes a long time, I'll be honest. And you have to just not care, right? You have to be almost delusional in a way initially.

Charlie Shrem
Isn't that how that works?

Ian Balina
Right.

Charlie Shrem
You care so much, but the more you pretend to not care, that's when it actually becomes successful.

Ian Balina
Yeah, because I would say the first 500 people were probably from my prior channel where I would just vlog, where I began just putting out vlogs on YouTube where I would travel to different places and make videos and add some music and stuff and maybe just do a short journal on it online. It began with just friends, maybe like 10 friends, then after a while it went to like a hundred, then 500 over like two years. Yeah, it took a long time. But after a while, I basically found my sweet spot, which was crypto. I did a video just explaining Bitcoin and Ethereum to beginners. It was about 40 minutes to an hour long, I believe.

Charlie Shrem
What type of video? Was it exciting and fun and kind of quirky?

Ian Balina
Yeah, it was a very in-depth video.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
I filmed it in a baseball field.

Charlie Shrem
In a baseball field?

Ian Balina
Yeah, a baseball field close to a place that I was staying at.

Charlie Shrem
With a camera?

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
Were you running the bases?

Ian Balina
No, no, I just put the camera on the home plate. I was basically by the pitching mound.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
I just began rambling for an hour. But I had done my research. I had some notes, right?

Charlie Shrem
And no one wanted to use the baseball field? No one wanted to play baseball on it?

Ian Balina
At that time, no. This was on a Wednesday at like 4:00 PM.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
Most kids were probably in school, people at work. One of the perks of having a job where you work at home.

Charlie Shrem
I just want to understand why a baseball field.

Ian Balina
Because I knew that changing the scenery in the background would keep people more engaged. It was something that was different, right?

Charlie Shrem
I want to start doing these podcasts on my boat.

Ian Balina
Yeah, that would be great, right? Boating with Charlie.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah. Balling with Balina.

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah, just filmed that. That was the most well received video I did with my audience.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
They said, "You know what? All this other side hustle stuff is good. We want to know more about Bitcoin and Ethereum." A friend of mine, who I'd known for a while from DC, he had built up a large following from YouTube. He had over a hundred thousand subscribers, teaching people how to rap. He told me, "When you get your first big video..." For me at that time, 5000 viewers or so was pretty good.

Charlie Shrem
I can rap.

Ian Balina
He said, "Make the same content double down." So I said, "Okay, cool." The next content was an ICO video. That one went viral. That ended up getting over 350,000 views. That helped put me in alignment to end up quitting my job by September 2018. So kind of fast-forwarding through my whole story.

The other point that was pretty big for me
I was in a hotel room in Boston. It was 4:00 AM in the hotel room. I was up on my computer working. At this point, I had built a pretty decent-sized community. I had about 2500 people or so in my Telegram group, and my YouTube channel was probably 5 to 10,000 at that time.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
My community was getting so big…people said, "You know what…"

Charlie Shrem
Very active group, too.

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah, I was very engaged. People said, "Hey, Ian, you know what? We want to have a private group. This group is getting too big. We want something more intimate, and we're willing to pay you for it." To me at that time, I didn't really want to have multiple groups. So I said, "You know what? Not right now."

Then people in my community began to fork off and create their own groups. Then they would start doing OTC deals and get scammed. Then they would all come back to me and complain.

Charlie Shrem
But your name was on it, where they forked from your group, so it's still your brand reputation.

Ian Balina
Yes. Yes, my brand was still tied to it indirectly. I said, "You know what? I'm tired of this. Let me just make the private group." So I spent up like one or two hours, launched a Patreon, a private Patreon group. I pushed Send to publish the page, and I sent out the alert to my community. I had probably five different tiers from private alerts to my spreadsheet to a private Telegram group, to a private video call group to a private one-on-one call group. And in about one to two hours, it sold out.

Charlie Shrem
Really?

Ian Balina
Yeah. So I pushed Send. I was planning to just go to sleep, but when I saw the subscriptions rolling in, I said, "Holy cow."

Charlie Shrem
How much money came in in that first 24 hours?

Ian Balina
Actually in the first three hours, it sold out. I basically had subscriptions for about 60 grand a month.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
I said, "Holy shit. I can quit my job."

Charlie Shrem
Where did you learn how to sell?

Ian Balina
I would say two ways. In college when I was an entrepreneur, launching my own companies. This wasn't my first foray entrepreneurship. So having to take an idea and sell it to the world and have people believe in you, go out there and pitch at business competitions, it really taught me to really break down an idea and make it easy for people to understand. Right? That's the first place I learned to sell, is just being an entrepreneur.

The other place I learned was with IBM. I worked there for four years. But the first one year in IBM, they take you through what's known as IBM Summit. It's basically global sales school.

Charlie Shrem
It's like a forum?

Ian Balina
Yeah. For one year, they pay you a full salary to just go through IBM College on how to sell. That really taught me a lot. To a point, I became very successful at it and ended up making the IBM 100% Sales Club, which is being one of the best sales engineers in the world.

Charlie Shrem
What do you get for that?

Ian Balina
They flew me to the Bahamas for a conference. They gave me a nice bonus that year.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
For me, that was pretty cool. So I mean IBM taught me a lot about how to sell large-value and high-priced items.

Charlie Shrem
Are you born with the ability to sell, or is it something that you learn over time?

Ian Balina
Learned.

Charlie Shrem
Okay. You have to be fearless, basically?

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
You have to not give a shit in order to be able to sell?

Ian Balina
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Charlie Shrem
But I have a question. I have a question. I have a lot of questions. This is my show. Tell me if I'm wrong. This is a true or false question. People that grow up in school and have low self-esteem, like myself, and low self-confidence going through school and having to create their own confidence, are better salesmen when they're adults.

Ian Balina
Yes. Absolutely. That, I believe so. I mean, myself as well. I was very introverted growing up. I was an engineer. Besides school and soccer, didn't really have much of a social life. I come from a very strict African family from Uganda. To them it was all about school and school. Everything else didn't really mean anything, right?

Charlie Shrem
So tell me. You moved here with your father from Uganda.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
How old were you?

Ian Balina
I was eight years old. Moved to Pennsylvania, to State College.

Charlie Shrem
This is interesting, because I know so many people that go to Pennsylvania when they move to this country. Why Pennsylvania?

Ian Balina
My dad was pursuing his doctorate at Penn State. He went there for four and a half years. Took the whole family with him.

Charlie Shrem
That's your first impression of America, is Pennsylvania?

Ian Balina
Yeah. I mean, because we thought we were going to New York or LA.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah, that's what everyone thinks.

Ian Balina
We thought we were going to Hollywood. We'd have gold in the streets-

Charlie Shrem
Beverley Hills, yeah.

Ian Balina
... skyscrapers, rich and famous people. And we landed in the middle of nowhere.

Charlie Shrem
And you're hanging out with the Amish people.

Ian Balina
Yeah. And we were like, "This is America?"

Charlie Shrem
I lived around there for two years. The breadbasket of the country. Great food, but nothing else really to do there.

Ian Balina
Yeah. But I mean, amazing people.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
Very friendly, very down to earth. It was definitely quite the experience. But I had lots of culture shock. Here I am, this kid from Uganda, coming here with an African accent, trying to fit in, different culture. It definitely took me a while to adjust. It definitely, I think, made me even more reserved than I was before.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
Right? Because-

Charlie Shrem
But now you're the complete opposite?

Ian Balina
Yeah, now. But it took me a while. As you said, it took me a while to really get out of my shell. I think that really happened when I went to college and really just had to take big risks and fail. I think because in college, I was there for undergrad and grad school-

Charlie Shrem
Yep.

Ian Balina
... those six years really taught me a lot about just self-belief. That's when I began reading all those self-help books. I read so many books. I was probably averaging a book a week, because unlike most people in college who were commuting... I mean, boarding on campus... I was there on a Merit Scholarship at George Washington in DC. My parents couldn't really afford everything, right? So to save money, I had to commute from school. This is something I don't think I've told anywhere else. That's why we have Untold Stories. Yeah.

Every single day, five to six days a week, I would take the Metro from Maryland to DC, one hour each way. So two hours a day. I would kill that time by just listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and I learned so much because it really became my educational time. I was going through so many different books that I really began to improve as a person. Imagine doing that for five to six times a week for six years.

Charlie Shrem
How long was the commute?

Ian Balina
An hour. It was abut 45 minutes to an hour each way.

Charlie Shrem
Alone?

Ian Balina
Alone. So from when I was 17 to like 22, 23.

Charlie Shrem
And you were going to a school where most kids are dropped off by chauffeurs or their parents?

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah, most kids were rich. That was an adjustment for me because people would pull up to the school in BMWs, with a coupe, with their top down. And here I was. I didn't even have a license yet.

Charlie Shrem
Got you.

Ian Balina
So I mean it definitely made me hungry.

Charlie Shrem
That's the key word. That's the key word, "hungry."

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
If there's any takeaway from this show, my listeners, is you have to want it. You have to be hungry. Ian didn't become successful, as we all know, because he had it. He wanted it because he didn't have it. He saw what other people had, and he said, "I want that. And the world doesn't owe me anything, and the world is not going to give it to me. I have to earn it my own way."

Ian Balina
Yeah, that's totally true. I feel like you have to take accountability to change your life. And I think that's probably one of the things that I value the most, because I never put blame on anybody for anything, even my own failures. Because I know the moment you blame somebody else, it takes away the power for you to change it. But if you take accountability for anything, even if it's somebody else's problem, if you take accountability yourself and say, "You know what? I'm going to fix it," or, "I won't let this happen again," that empowers you. That was basically me growing up, going through college and just really putting myself out there and failing and just trying to learn from that.

Anyway, back to Boston. That was the other big time in my life that's really changed everything for me after that. Because I was doing crypto, and I had some good money. But having that, having my investments in crypto and also having that extra income coming in from my Patreon at the time really told me, "You know what? I can quit." So at the end of the month I put in my resignation and left IBM, and I haven't looked back ever since then.

Then the other part that's really been big for me was last year. This was around December 2018. I'm traveling in Cairo, Egypt. This was part of our Africa Crypto World Tour. I'm in Cairo, Egypt, in a hotel room. I'm like, "Okay, I'm here in Egypt, my first time in Africa." The idea was to go back home to Uganda, right? I hadn't been home back in Uganda in over 21 years since I came to America. I'm there in my hotel room, and I get people messaging me on my Telegram group.

Charlie Shrem
You've a lot of epiphanies in hotel rooms.

Ian Balina
Yeah. I mean, I guess that's where lots of stuff happens for me. It's my alone time, because I basically live in a suitcase now. I travel a lot. I'm there in the hotel room, and I begin getting death threats from people online. It came to a point where I myself began to get scared. I'm like, "Are these people really coming after me?" Everywhere I was walking, I'm looking over my shoulder wondering is there a hitman trying to come after me.

That was the first time I really began to feel that. Because I was somebody who was used to adversity, especially with people online, on social media. So all the trolls, all the haters or whatever you want to call them, I was used to that. But when it began getting violent and people basically putting up images of my head, getting beheaded, things like that that were now getting graphic, it really dawned on me, because I was there in the hotel room talking to my mom and dad on the phone on a three-way call, as we were calling the FBI to file a report. And when I filed that report with my local police and with the FBI, that really told me, "You know what? Now you have to really question everything in terms of why am I doing this. Is this worth it?" I've always wanted to go out there, evangelize crypto, help people. And yes, I'm definitely not perfect, right? I definitely have my ups and downs and my mistakes.

Charlie Shrem
We all do.

Ian Balina
But when it comes to a point where I'm there with my mom and my dad and they're scared for me as we're talking to the FBI, that really made me become even more reserved and not really as open with my community, to a point where some of them say, "Hey, Ian, you're kind of missing in action. You aren't posting as much." Because I'm not really saying, "Okay, yes, people will love you when they're making money." But as I was talking to [inaudible 00
25
58] the other day, he's been several bull and bear markets too. This was my first bear market in crypto. At one point, people thought you were a crypto god.

Charlie Shrem
Oh yeah.

Ian Balina
But when the market comes crashing down, people think-

Charlie Shrem
They hate on you.

Ian Balina
... you made everything go down, right?

Charlie Shrem
Oh yeah. Been there, done that.

Ian Balina
People think I made Bitcoin go down.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah. Listen, just like you said. People are going to blame you for any... people are going to blame anyone else but themselves. So while the price is going up, you're a god, and the price is going down, it's your fault.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
That's just the way it is. You should've called me when things like this were going to happen. Because I would've told you the best way to do it is to take a step back.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
But why were people making death threats? I've had similar situations, you know.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
Someone stole my wife's phone number and texted me from it and threatened to kill me, and said, "[inaudible 00
26
51] dirty Bitcoin."

Ian Balina
Wow.

Charlie Shrem
Yes, some crazy stuff has happened to me. But I mean...

Ian Balina
Yeah, I mean, I would say people, when crypto came down, overnight 90% pulled back, they wanted somebody to blame. For me, I think I was a very easy target because I was out there, right?

Charlie Shrem
Yes.

Ian Balina
I posted in my Blockfolio every day for over a year. I would get very excited about crypto and whatever I was investing in to a point people would think, oh, I was a big shill. And they liked that when they were making money, but once either they didn't take profits or sell or they would hold all the way down or whatever, then they viewed me as the person responsible for that.

Charlie Shrem
And they almost wish you ill.

Ian Balina
Oh absolutely.

Charlie Shrem
Besides the death threats, I remember there was... You got hacked, right?

Ian Balina
Yes, I did. Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
There was an issue with that. I was so shocked. I said, "Is this my community?" when I was reading that, because people were being so negative and saying, "Yeah, you deserve it." No, no one deserves that.

Ian Balina
Yeah. I got hacked probably six months before the death threats. But yeah, that as well, so people in my community as well, people that I thought loved me and were there as long-term supporters flipped overnight, right?

Charlie Shrem
Yes, they do.

Ian Balina
Basically, at one of my lowest moments in crypto, people who I thought were going to be there for me abandoned me. That's when it really made me question everything as well. Because I said, "Okay, people are going to love you when things are good. But as soon as things get bad, not everyone is going to be there." But it also made me realize those people who stayed there with me, those are real friends. Even those people who I've never even met, who still support me no matter what, because they just see my journey and everything that's transpired. I can definitely empathize with them.

Charlie Shrem
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In the hard times is when you learn who your real friends are. In 2014 I got arrested at the height of the bull market. Preceding that, everyone was my best friend. Everyone loved me. Oh, everyone was making money. This was also on top of the world. I got arrested, and within one day my whole life came crashing down. I had to literally within one day move from living in my own apartment above a nightclub to living back with my parents with an ankle bracelet.

That experience really taught me who my real friends were, because there were so many people that I thought were my friends, that weren't, that just completely disappeared and left. But then there were other people who were not really good friends who stepped up to the plate and became my good friends. I think one of the guards in jail for those 18 months in prison joked to me, and he said that I had the most visitors that any inmate's ever had.

Ian Balina
Oh wow.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah, usually it's like an inmate has some similar friends and family. They come once a month, whatever it is. But every visiting, I'd have random people. I had one in a prison in Pennsylvania, right by State College. You have to show ID to visit someone in prison. I had one of the only people to actually use a passport to visit me in prison. He came from out of the country. He came from Austria.

Ian Balina
That's incredible.

Charlie Shrem
Flew to Philadelphia just to visit me in prison, just to hang out for a few hours and eat a microwave cheeseburger with me. And of course my wife was there every visit. She would have to do a little orientation for people, like, "Hey, this is what you can you expect," you know, like...

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
I think one person smelt like weed. She was like, "You can't come inside," because there are a lot of addicts in there, you know?

Ian Balina
Yeah, they'll smell that.

Charlie Shrem
But that's how you learn who your real friends are. I remember when I was living in my parents' house, people would show up with bottles of Scotch, just, "Hey, Charlie, we want to hang out." But then there were people that I thought were my real friends.

A perfect example is I'd founded the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012. The original board by that point wasn't the original board. All my founders left, and the idea for the Foundation was actually completely different than what it became. The idea for the Foundation was to basically pool our resources together and take out billboards and TV ads and have this common pro-Bitcoin message. It ended becoming this whole industry trade group that it wasn't meant to be.

But that's a side conversation. Most of the original founders left, and I was still there. I was being pushed out. The day I was arrested, instead of the board of the Foundation that had a lot of money at the time... they didn't care about me. The first call I got from the Foundation was, "Yeah, Charlie, you need to resign from your vice chairmanship."

I was like, "Guys, I'm at my lowest point, and that's all you care about, is the message of the Foundation right now?" That hurt a lot, because this was something that I had founded. You really learn who your real friends are.

Ian Balina
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Charlie Shrem
But you know what? It makes you a better person, because now here we are, about to go through another epic bull market. And those people who abandoned us are going to come back, and they're going to want to work with us. And I won't have any... and I'm sure you won't either. You won't have any ill will, and you won't have any anger towards these people. But at the same time, we're going to never forget. We're going to remember. We'll forgive.

Ian Balina
Right.

Charlie Shrem
But we're never going to forget.

Ian Balina
We're going to forgive, but we can't forget.

Charlie Shrem
And when it comes time for us to have to trust those people again, we're going to take a step back and say, "Why should I trust you when you weren't there during the hardest moments of my life? Where were you when I was getting death threats?"

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
That's what you're saying. "Where were you when people were coming after you? Where were you when I got hacked and I needed you to help me out?"

Ian Balina
Yeah, I mean, for me what comes to mind, even other YouTubers or influencers that I've helped mentor, and now they've grown to a point where they even have bigger followings than me on Twitter or wherever. But during my darkest moments, they didn't even mention anything about me. They didn't even stand up for me, whether it's the fake tax allegations from the hack or whatever, they just faded away. And now that we're getting back into a nice bull market, I've learned from everything, so now coming full circle, I'm more conscious.

So what I'm planning on is I want to empower people to make their own decisions for researching and investing in cryptocurrencies. I want to give them their own tools to empower themselves and step away from being in the spotlight as that hot token picker. I'm trying to get away from being Jim Cramer and trying to give people their own tools to empower themselves. So now I'm focused on building.

Charlie Shrem
You're giving away. You're giving away your tools, essentially.

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah, and basically, actually I'm building an even better tool. I'm going to give that away to people. I'm going back to being more of an entrepreneur and building as opposed to being a pundit, so to speak.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
Being out there online as a commentary and just analyzing or being an influencer. I want to go back to building, because that's really to me what makes me happy. I love building. I love getting something that's just an idea and bringing that into reality.

Charlie Shrem
So in a few years from now, we're going to be having another conversation. Hopefully, we'll have a lot of conversations between now and then, but we'll be having a conversation then. And we'll be talking about how successful your new company has been, and you built, and how many people you empowered, how many people were able to become financially independent. We'll be talking about that.

You know what I'm going to say to you? I'm going to say, "If you hadn't gone through that bull market in 2016/2017 and been through all that good and bad and positive and negative and all that shit, then you wouldn't have been able to have built what we will be talking about in a few years from now." And when we talk about markets being efficient, when we allow them to be, that's what we mean.

Ian Balina
That makes so much sense. I mean, my life has been that. I've come through the bull market, the top, the top of the top. And I've gone all the way down to the bottom. Then now having all of that now in me as experience has made me more aware in terms of, "Okay, so in the future, as I'm building this, I now have better perspective. I'm not just somebody who's only one-dimensional. I've seen everything in terms of the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows. And I know when the new people come into this space, I'm going to be optimistic, but also cautious and well mannered in terms of how I speak to them, how I create content for them, how I build this product for them."

Charlie Shrem
What would you say to people that are coming to the space right now?

Ian Balina
My catch phrase is, "What a time to be alive." This is definitely a very [crosstalk 00
37
01]-

Charlie Shrem
You have a lot of catch phrases, and you trademark them all.

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah, that's something I love to do, because I feel it's part of the sales process, right?

Charlie Shrem
It's assets. You've got to have assets.

Ian Balina
You have to give people something that communicates an idea very simply. I feel like "What a time to be alive" really captures that. Looking back, we're building the future. We're building a brand new Internet. Looking back 20 years from now, we'll say we were there on the ground floor making stuff happen. But despite that, they will also have to understand the risks involved, so similar to the dot-com era.

We had lots of companies. Dot-coms launched websites through IPOs, but only a few giants remain, right? Amazon, Google, eBay. So we have to put that in perspective. When I joined the space, I was just throwing money at anything that could walk. Anything that had a token on it, I thought could make money. Then eventually I began getting smarter. I began doing research, and my system began to work pretty well, to a point where I was outperforming the market. So in a time where most ICOs, you could say four out of five were scams, four out of five of my investments were getting a 5X or higher.

That was good, but no system is perfect. You have to really know that, "Okay, you know what? No matter how good things are, always be ready for the worst thing to happen." In my case, I've had lots of other investments that have totally crashed and bombed. That's happened to me publicly, to a point where everybody can see it. I basically have to be more stoic. So even other people, as they're coming into the space, be stoic. When times are good, don't think you're a genius.

Charlie Shrem
Diversify.

Ian Balina
Right. When times are bad, don't think you suck. So yeah, diversify. Just be stoic. This is a great time and great space to be in, but we have to be calm as we're going through this space. It's kind of like as we're riding the boat on the ocean, we have to be stoic and calm.

Charlie Shrem
I think of my guests and a lot of crypto people that I meet suffer from impostor syndrome. Are you familiar with that?

Ian Balina
Slightly. It's when you feel like-

Charlie Shrem
I didn't know what it was. The listeners are going to be googling it now. Impostor syndrome is a real... well, as real as it can get. But it's a psychologically accepted disorder where highly successful people like ourselves, the more successful we are, the less confident we become in ourselves, because we believe that we're impostors. We feel like the more successful we are, we shouldn't actually be successful. I may be describing it wrong. But it's essentially we think of ourselves as unsuccessful when we are successful.

When I read that, I was like, "Well, I actually understand this because I'm constantly thinking that I'm failing, but I'm succeeding." But I think it's not a disorder. I think it actually... it's a positive thing, because it's constantly giving you drive.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
You're not happy with your current success, and you want to constantly become more successful. I told you that personally I don't gauge success by how much money I make. I gauge success, me personally, by how many people I employ.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
Because I feel like it's a very... I sleep at night knowing when I'm empowering people, they work for me, I give them health insurance, all these different things. That's something that I believe it makes me a pro-social member of society. But completely off topic, different question than I actually had. I don't know why I went off on that tangent. But what were some of the craziest pitches that you heard? I'm just curious.

Ian Balina
Craziest pitches?

Charlie Shrem
Yeah, like companies with tokens or projects where you literally were like putting the company on mute and saying to yourself, "What the hell is this?"

Ian Balina
Oh man.

Charlie Shrem
Because I've heard some crazy ones.

Ian Balina
A few come to mind. One was in Dubai. Some company was doing a security token for gold or something, trying to raise 250-

Charlie Shrem
For goats?

Ian Balina
Gold.

Charlie Shrem
Oh, gold. Okay.

Ian Balina
Gold or something. Trying to raise $250 million. One was Bananacoin, some-

Charlie Shrem
Banana? What's Bananacoin?

Ian Balina
Someone was trying to tokenize bananas.

Charlie Shrem
I love bananas.

Ian Balina
I mean, they obviously didn't know me that well, because they'd know that that would be an instant hard pass for me because I'm trying to focus on the technology, not really token as in bananas.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
Outside of that, I mean, I've heard so many pitches that it's now become noise, from people just trying to raise money with nothing that they think is going to change the world. They have no experience, no product, no nothing. They think, well, aligning with me, that I'm going to publicly endorse them and help them achieve their goal.

But I think if I had to really pick one, there was a company that wanted to bring me on as an advisor. This was back in I think early 2018. They were building an exchange, and I knew a friend of mine who was working with a company. These guys had gone from owning a vitamin shop, basically.

Charlie Shrem
Wait, like an actual vitamin shop?

Ian Balina
Well, like a vitamin-

Charlie Shrem
Like, website or...?

Ian Balina
... website or whatever, to wanting to build an exchange the size of Coinbase. They seemed pretty successful. They had all the flashy stuff, right?

Charlie Shrem
Sure.

Ian Balina
They had some big names behind them as well, surprisingly. But they offered me to be an advisor. They offered me $3 million.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
That was a lot of money.

Charlie Shrem
Still is.

Ian Balina
But when I was speaking with them, they didn't really want to take any advice from me.

Charlie Shrem
They wanted your name?

Ian Balina
They just wanted my name.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
But what made me even more paranoid, they had the nerve to tell me, "Okay, you know what?" Because I asked them, right? Because before I join any project... I'm known as a token metrics guy.

Charlie Shrem
Sure.

Ian Balina
I have to know what's going on with a token and the team and the whole token sale. So when I asked them, "Okay, what was the largest bonus given out?" They told me the amount, and they told me, "But please don't tell anybody about this." There was like a secret seed round.

Charlie Shrem
That's the biggest red flat for me, when someone tells me don't tell anyone else.

Ian Balina
Yeah. I told them, "Do you know that I can get in trouble for this with the SAC if I don't disclose this?"

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
The fact that they wanted me to sign a contract with them and not disclose publicly that there was... publicly they had these different rounds, but there was a super secret seed round that they didn't tell anybody about, and they wanted me to keep that a secret. I told them, "You know what, guys? Thank you for the offer, but I cannot be a part of this. I'm out." I turned down $3 million, and now today that token is trading down 99%, I think almost to 100% on exchanges. And it was definitely a money grab, a cash grab.

Looking at things like that, now that I have a big name publicly, if I can help prevent things like that, I would love to keep on doing that. At times it means that I have to publicly go out and basically [inaudible 00
44
44] or just tell the entire world about what's going on. I'm actually doing that right now with a different project. We're now getting into basically a legal dispute, right?

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
So I'm going to let my lawyers handle that. But I know that that makes me look bad as well. If that project goes out and does that, and I just stay quiet and don't say anything, that also tarnishes my image as well.

Charlie Shrem
You can't put a value... there's no dollar amount for sleeping at night.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
Right? You want to be able to sleep at night knowing that you're okay and you did everything right. And to constantly look over your shoulder or worry about something and stay up late at night, it's not worth $3 million.

Ian Balina
Absolutely not. So that's what I've been going through with crypto. But I still think this is an amazing space. There definitely are lots of interesting and sometimes opportunistic characters, individuals, but I think overall as a space, though, this has been a great space in terms of people I've met. On my Crypto World Tour last year, we did 36 countries in about 12 months, did every single continent. To me, it was really about meeting people all over the world and hearing their stories on crypto.

Charlie Shrem
You traveled to 36 countries?

Ian Balina
Yes.

Charlie Shrem
And today you're living this decentralized life. You're not based out of anywhere.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
What's that like? I mean, it's like a dream, almost. It's cool, but at the same time, it just sounds exhausting. I'm tired. It sounds exhausting.

Ian Balina
Yeah, it definitely does sound exhausting. It is. But for me, I get re-energized every time I go to a new country, to a new place and meet my friends, the people there, meet new friends. That really keeps me going on.

Charlie Shrem
What are the logistics of living a decentralized life?

Ian Balina
I just live in a suitcase. I travel for about anywhere from one to three months, then I go-

Charlie Shrem
How many outfits do you have that you don't need to do laundry?

Ian Balina
Oh man, I mean, sometimes because I don't know when I'm coming back, because my base is in Washington, DC.

Charlie Shrem
Okay.

Ian Balina
But I may be gone for one month to three months. Sometimes I run out of clothes and I just keep on buying new clothes.

Charlie Shrem
You keep on buying new clothes?

Ian Balina
Because I'm very bad at doing laundry, and I'm lazy. So at times I just keep on buying new clothes. I say, "You know what? It just works out for me this way." But typically, we stay in Airbnbs or hotels. I'm a points guy, as I was telling you earlier.

Charlie Shrem
Sure.

Ian Balina
I'm a Hilton Diamond, Marriott's Ambassador, Platinum, all that. I have businesses I'm running globally. So if I can get points for my business and use that to even stay for free, that helps the travel even more.

Charlie Shrem
You had a crazy story that you stayed for free in a really nice hotel.

Ian Balina
Yes, so I had about 680,000 American Express points that I was able to transfer over to Hilton and get almost two million points, which let me stay in a five-star hotel in New York for a week, seven days, for free.

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
And I mean, things like that I love, because New York is a great city. I can be there for a week. We ended up investing in a company [inaudible 00
48
04] part of Tech Stars over there.

Charlie Shrem
I know it has nothing to do with crypto, but I need to get Brian Kelly, the points guy, on this show.

Ian Balina
Yeah. That guy, he's amazing.

Charlie Shrem
He is.

Ian Balina
I love his work. But for me, ever since I was a kid, I've always loved traveling. People don't know this about me, but my best subject in school was social studies. Not math, even though I'm an engineer. Not science. Social studies. So when I was a kid back in Uganda, my dad bought me an atlas that had lots of different maps and also a geography book. And I would read that book, and we would read it every single day, just learning about different cultures. They'd show us America, the maps of America, the different states. They'd also have the different foods, like in America, they like hamburgers and pizza and things like that, and just reading about other countries.

To me, that was my favorite subject, to a point where all throughout high school I always got As in social studies. It was so easy for me that I said, "You know what? Let me become an engineer," because I knew it was my favorite subject, but I also knew, "This probably won't make me much money," right?

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
Because liberal arts at that time wasn't really something that... and I loved computers as well. So after I'd done the whole engineer thing and become successful, my goal when I quit IBM was to travel the world, and I began doing that. If I can combine that with meeting people in the crypto space and blockchain space, even better.

Charlie Shrem
You remind me of a funny story. It's the Untold Stories of Charlie. I'm sitting in the prison library one day... Any story that starts with the prison library, because you said atlas.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
In jail, there aren't computers, right? There's no cell phones, internet. So I'm sitting in there, and I see five or six guys huddled over this big atlas. I'm saying, "That can't be good. Whatever they're talking about is not a good thing." And I know these guys. One guy was a high-powered immigration attorney. The other one was actually a former diplomat. The other two guys were... one guy was a very high executive at Walmart who was in there for bribery, and a bunch of other guys.

I walk over to them, and I say, "Hey, guys, what're you guys doing?" They looked at me very seriously, and they said, "We're planning on buying a large chunk of Russia and seceding from Russia and creating our own country."

Ian Balina
Wow.

Charlie Shrem
Yeah. I was like, "So what are they having in the cafeteria tonight?" And I walked away. So the scariest part is that these guys can actually probably pull that off.

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
That's the story that you reminded me of when you said atlas. I love geography, too. You're right, you can't make money. But you know what though? When you can make money doing something that you may not love, it empowers you to be able to do something that you do love.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
But when you could love what you're doing, it's not really work, right?

Ian Balina
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charlie Shrem
And we love what we're doing. I love doing this show. You love working in crypto, and we're all very fortunate. What if I say we're psychologically unemployable?

Ian Balina
Yes. Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
Suit and tie, nine to five office. Can't do it.

Ian Balina
I mean, I feel like you have to be, though, right? If you want to really... at least for us, to change the world and get our ideas out there. I'm known for being very difficult to work with, because I don't like to settle. I keep on raising the bar.

Charlie Shrem
Sure.

Ian Balina
I was talking to Diego the other day, my business partner. He's just surprised at how constantly I'm pushing the bar and I'm raising the bar. We'll go out there and do something, then we'll raise the bar 10 times. Then we'll do that, then we keep on raising the bar.

Charlie Shrem
It's exhausting.

Ian Balina
He says, "Wow, when do you stop?" And I say, "When you stop, that's when you stop at everything," right?

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
That's when you really lose a purpose to living. So to me, going back to talking about money, it's not about the money, because people hear me say, "Hey, I want to be a billionaire and buy a basketball team." But to me it's not really about the money. It's about the journey. And I feel once you become successful at something and you stop, you just kind of... I mean, what's there to do? Go on a beach and be there for 10 years?

Charlie Shrem
I live on the beach.

Ian Balina
But I feel like you have to make new journeys for you.

Charlie Shrem
You're right. It gets boring.

Ian Balina
It gets boring, right? So to me, it's about learning the process, learning the journey. That's why I even called myself Diary of a Made Man, because what really helped me the most was falling in love with the process of success. Now-

Charlie Shrem
Diary of a Made Man is very interesting because you're saying that, "I'm already made, and this is my diary. This is now what I'm doing." What else incentivizes you? What else gets you out of bed in the morning when you've already been successful? And what's the answer to that?

Ian Balina
Just make a brand new goal, something you want to do, and fall in love with that process going towards there. I'll tell you the story behind Diary of a Made Man. The whole story of becoming a Made Man comes from understanding the journey you had to get to where you are, and understanding the why, why it was worth it.

For me, the journey of coming as a kid from Uganda to America, going to school... I mean, my parents didn't really have much money. My parents were immigrants from Uganda. They were students. They had to work on a visa for almost 10 years until they could get a Green Card and become naturalized. So even though I had the grades in high school, I couldn't really get any financial aid because I was still an international student. Having to pay those kind of high tuition prices and seeing kids who weren't really as smart as me getting scholarships and federal aid and loans made it even tougher for me.

I recall I was basically eating Happy Meals through college... either Happy Meals, or I'd just pack myself a ham sandwich, just bread, ham and cheese every day. To go from that and to go through almost getting kicked out of school from losing my academic scholarship because I wasn't keeping on par with my grades, to then going to grad school and having to pay everything myself, and then graduating then to a point where... At one point, I thought I wouldn't graduate. I think I had to take two more classes to graduate. I think it might even have been a clerical error on one class. But I was there at graduation. A professor came to me and said, "Hey, oh wow, you graduated."

Charlie Shrem
Wow. That's really mean.

Ian Balina
I was there with my family and my friends in my cap and gown. And this guy had the nerve to come up and me and get [inaudible 00
55
07] and say, "Wow, you graduated."

Charlie Shrem
Well, that's why he's a college professor and not sitting in this chair.

Ian Balina
So having to go through all of that and going from eating Happy Meals basically every day, to then overnight getting my first job at [inaudible 00
55
23] Consulting as an IT consultant, then after that, didn't really have to worry about money ever since then. It really made me say, "Wow," like the success, when I got my first corporate job, it came overnight. Because unlike most kids, I've never had an allowance my entire life. Even when I would get gifts during birthdays or holidays, my parents would take the money.

Charlie Shrem
Really?

Ian Balina
Right? Because they would have to pay the bills, to buy food, to put bread on the table. So I never had an allowance my entire life. The only thing maybe I'll get is probably like a video game. But having to go through all of that, and then, "Boom," over night, never having to worry about money ever again, I was like, "Wow, I've made it." I was like, "Mom, I've made it."

It's at that instant when that moment happens that I say, "You know what? Now I know why this journey was so hard to get here. Now everything I've had to do, to sacrifice to do, now it makes sense." It's basically like going through a tunnel, and when you finally get at the end of the tunnel, you realize why this journey was very difficult. Because I had friends of mine, some of them were even smarter than me. But they didn't make it from high school. Either they got into the wrong things, got involved in drugs, got involved with girls or whatever. And now they're still at home either working as a bouncer at a club or just getting in trouble, basically.

So for me to now look back and see where I am, I'm now even more grateful with my mom and dad and how they instilled in me the discipline, and sometimes how they forced it on me. Because one slip-up, and I may not be where I am today. So now looking back on the journey, I can say, "Wow, I've made it." And that's where the whole concept of a Made Man comes from. The diary is documenting those small incremental steps where one small thing could've gone wrong, and you would not be where you are.

Charlie Shrem
And the past is not dead. It's not even past.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
You're constantly creating new memories. You're constantly growing and creating new ones. What do your parents think of all this?

Ian Balina
I mean, they're very proud of me. Definitely, they're more conservative than I was. So when I told them, "Hey, I'm going to quit my nice job and go out on crypto world," they were like, "Are you sure about this?" Even when I was going to change over from being an engineer to working in sales, they were also nervous. But they know I'm a risk taker, and they've always believed in me. I think also having them as my safety net has also helped me take big risks, for example, quitting my job at IBM. I knew worst case, if I had no home, I could go live in my parents' basement.

Charlie Shrem
And you've seen your parents, though... when you moved to this country, you lived your parents having to make it.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
Your parents wrote their own diaries of made men and women, right?

Ian Balina
Yeah. Yeah, I've learned so much from them. Even to this day, people say, "When I'll get a place," whatever, right? I mean, I love traveling. I love being decentralized. It's probably funny to some people. I'm a millionaire, but technically you could say I still live with my parents, right? Because I mean, yeah.

Charlie Shrem
…they do the laundry, though.

Ian Balina
Yeah. Right? I had my place about half an hour away from them.

Charlie Shrem
Sure.

Ian Balina
But I didn't want to keep the place as I'm traveling the world, so I just got out of... I broke the lease, put all my stuff in my parents' place, and I just travel the world. Then when I get tired, I come back to them for a week or two, and I go back to traveling the world.

Charlie Shrem
It's so funny, because the cosmopolitan world is like, "You know, you have to live by yourself, and you have to create this whole thing." I mean, I will make fun of that, but literally, myself, I literally went from living with my parents to living with my now current wife. I never actually lived alone either. I always need to have a woman take care of me.

Ian Balina
I mean I'm very thankful for them. They've definitely helped me a lot. They've helped me get to where I am. A person asked me the other day who inspires me the most. To me, it's really my dad, because he came from a village in Uganda. He came from a village, basically a village with no electricity.

Charlie Shrem
Like bamboo and thatched huts? I see, yeah.

Ian Balina
Yeah, like either huts or just houses with just cement, right?

Charlie Shrem
Yeah.

Ian Balina
No running water or power, for the most part. He came from there, and he was a valedictorian all through high school. Got a scholarship to go to college, was the best in his class, got a scholarship to go to the UK for grad school for two years in England, was the best in his class there, and got a scholarship to come to America at Penn State-

Charlie Shrem
Wow.

Ian Balina
...and brought the entire family here. Right? And now he's staying in a nice house in one of the best parts of DC. So looking at that journey to where we are now and where he came from, when I went back last year in December on my homecoming in Africa, to me it's incredible, because the only way he got out of there was through education. And that's why now I can really understand why to them it was nothing but education. Because when you're growing up in Africa, not every kid is going to go play for Barcelona or play soccer, or become the next musician or whatever, or Hollywood star. The best consistent way out from the villages in Africa was education.

That's why my parents were both professors, even to a point where it comes from... if you go back and look through my entire family line, my mom's great-grandfather, when the British came to Africa during colonialism, they took my mom's great-grandfather to England to study and come back and teach people in Uganda, in the villages. Ever since then, we've had that educational/teaching discipline in our family. Now, it's come full circle with me, where I'm trying to teach and empower people through education in the crypto space.

Charlie Shrem
What a crazy story. To think that your family came from a village, and you're the son of that. And here you are today.

Ian Balina
Yeah.

Charlie Shrem
That's such an insane story. I don't think anyone knew about this. So thank you for opening up on the show. Thank you for telling us your story, and hopefully inspire my listeners to be able to... I think the takeaway is to don't have the fear. The worst thing that can happen to you is you fail, and the worst thing that happens to you is you go down, and you start all over again. But when you start from the bottom, you know that you start from the bottom, and you're here, like that song, when you literally start from the bottom with nothing, and you have nothing to lose, that's when you have the most to gain.

Ian Balina
Yeah. It definitely puts everything in perspective.

Charlie Shrem
Ian Balina, thank you so much for coming on the show. How can people follow you?

Ian Balina
So find me at ianbalina.com. That's where I post most of my content. On Twitter and social media, I'm Diary of a Made Man, on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter. And thank you so much for having me on the show, Charlie. It's a pleasure, and I'm very humbled to be here.

Charlie Shrem
Hey everyone, thanks for listening. This episode of Untold Stories is sponsored by Scott Offord, the creator of crypto mining. Scott's a broker of ASIC mining gear, and helps people buy and sell their miners. He created a Bitcoin mining profitability calculator and an interactive ASIC hardware comparison chart that you can find at cryptomining.tools. It's the only free online tool for calculating profitability and days to ROI. That includes the impact of the Bitcoin block reward halving. The calculator lets you put in your estimated uptime to give you a more realistic profit projections. So check it out, and find Scott on Telegram and Twitter at O-F-F-O-R-D-S-C-O-T-T.

This episode of Untold Stories is sponsored by eToro, the smartest crypto trading platform and one of the largest in the world with over $1 trillion in trading volume per year. US customers can trade the most popular crypto assets with low and transparent fees. And if you're not ready to trade yet, practice building your crypto portfolio with the eToro $100,000 virtual trading feature.

Best of all, you can connect with 11 million other eToro traders around the world, myself included, to discuss trading, charts, and all things crypto. Create an account at etoro.com, links in the show notes, and build your crypto portfolio the smart way. New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7
00 AM EST. Links to our Apple and Spotify channels are in the show notes. You can also follow me on Twitter, Charlie Shrem, to continue the conversation. See you next week.