Untold Stories: Taylor's Evolution of Cryptocurrency

This episode of Untold Stories delves into MyCrypto.com and coming features with founder Taylor Monahan. We cover a lot of ground on tech, privacy, crypto corporate culture and other topics you won’t want to miss, like Taylor’s take no prisoners approach to life, why your Uber driver might be a CEO, the true measure of success…and failure, Taylor’s dream job, and Charlie’s all time favorite job.

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Charlie
Really special guest today, Taylor Monahan, the founder of MyCrypto.com. It's very interesting because with the way crypto works, everything happens very quickly and so and that's okay. And so you'll have one company that exists and that'll launch and it'll fill a need, but eventually, and they're the first ones through the door, but eventually down the road, even like in like six months, a better version of it will come out and people will use it. We've seen a few companies be different from that, not follow that same curve. For example, Coinbase, Coinbase has just been around and it's still has that market share. It does. And interestingly enough, well, Taylor had founded MyEtherWallet and now if forked off into MyCrypto or I don't know how she explains it, although I personally use MyCrypto now, even though I use myether wallet before. And I know most people do the same. But it's still there. It's still using it. There are still people using it and love it, loyal followers. And, and is it just because it hasn't broken yet, Taylor? Is that why? Why do you think,?

Taylor
Yeah, I mean people are scared of change, right?

Charlie
True. But still like, there have been amazing apps that have come out on your phone about, on your computer web app with great security that offers very similar things. Maybe a little bit easier to use in some aspects like being able to add tokens or buy and sell and trade and do all these different things. but like, and I'm asking for myself because I, I am one of, you know, it's, I go to my browser, I type the m y and MyCrypto is the first thing that comes up. And it's like, it's a reflex. I don't even think about using something else with my trezor or my ledger.

Taylor
Right. And I think that, you know, we talk about like internally we to research and stuff and we talk about like competitive advantages and we talk about the features and what we should build next. And we go so deep into these things. But if I zoom out and I say, what made us successful, what makes people use us?Iit's like the trust and it's the familiarity and it's everything that's not the features. Interestingly enough. So, you know, I think when people initially, maybe you start using us, you know, they're looking to solve a problem or they tried to do something with ledger live and it didn't work and someone said, use MyCrypto. And it worked. But after awhile it's just, yeah, it's that habit. It's the fact that you know what's going to happen, you trust it. And I think that's a really big thing in the crypto space.

Charlie
Stability and crypto is something that gets a lot of points. So when you sit there and you rate different companies for all these different things, stability and always on and always working and you know, are not really synonyms that you associate with crypto. They're not really terms that you associate with it because you know, crypto so new, it's, you know, Bitcoin, Ethereum, they're all still science experiments. Things break, things happen. And so when you say, this is the wallet that just works, it's stable, it's relatively easy to use once you know how to use it. I think people are excited about that.

Taylor
Yeah, exactly. And I, I love how you say, relatively easy to use once you know how to use it. Because so many people come at me and they're like, oh, it's so easy and it's perfect. And I'm like, uh, we're, no, we're not there yet. I know that.

Charlie
I think, I think you know what, you can go to united.com and have book flights. You can go to united.com and click expert mode. It's like expert mode. But it's really not complicated to use expert mode once you know how to use it. It's just I feel like there could be a lot of things that could be hidden or, or not hidden, but features that people may not want, not all the masses may want to use. And then so the simple features like looking at your balance, sending, receiving just could be the ones that are shown and people can turn all the other stuff on. But I like all the other stuff. I like all the options. I like to see what I can do with it. I like to play around and get involved in ens or you know, sign, look at contracts and all these different things. I, I like that.

Taylor
I think that you are sort of one of our, at this point, like the quote and quote perfect user for our product. Because we do have so many of these like weird advanced features or things that we felt indirect response to some problem that people were having. The ens is one the contracts page is one, just even like being able to edit your nones on a transaction, I think we added that in direct response to the crypto kitties phenomena where people were trying to send their crypto kitties around and they, you know, the network was overflowing and they couldn't like replace the transaction or they couldn't get their crypto kitty on stock, it would just in this pending state forever. And so like we wrote this whole guide on, you know, how you can change the nones manually to replace the transaction, to get it to go through so that you can send other kitties around or whatever the hell it was. Those features or things that, you know, you're, you're a new user or your average person's never going to need, but when you do need them, they are there. And I don't think there's any other products that do that.

Charlie
Does anyone complained to you that they feel it's overwhelming when you go to the site and there's just so much coming at you at one shot?

Taylor
Yeah, yeah, they don't necessarily come at us like that, but what they do is, you know, they'll ask questions like they'll email support and instead of asking a very specific question, they'll just be like, hi, I think I know what I'm I need to do. Can you like just check my thinking or something like that. And they'll literally just kind of check in with us and say, I'm going to go here and I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that and then I'm going to press send and everything's going to be fine. Right.

Charlie
Well what about doing like a toggle switch? Like that idea of, of having it where someone new comes on and everything is just there on one page that's really simple. And then if you want to add, you could toggle on and off expert mode and if you're not doing expert mode, you could potentially, just have all the default stuff. Well you kind of do that already with like calculating fees. So I always change, I always do with ethereum cause I'm scared. I've gotten so many transactions stuck, especially these like some of these tokens that I don't even know what they do, but I have to change like the gas to like 150,000 in the Gui to like 99 and then I don't touch the nones, but now I know what it's for. I could do that.

Taylor
Yeah. And we started to do that and we have a big redesign coming up that is going to, really simplify the process a bit more. And then, you know, obviously we'll still have the advanced functionality in that like advanced dropdown or whatever you want to call it.

Charlie
Could you do me a huge favor. Could you, could you maintain like legacy.MyCrypto.com? Jut the old version of it?

Taylor
Of course.

Charlie
So many companies I asked them and they never want to do it. The only person that actually did it was Mt. Gox interestingly enough, when Mt Gox did a redesign, so everyone has this image in their head of Mt. Gox of what it looked like. It was like the blue and yellow logo with the colors on their website. That wasn't the original Mt. Gox was actually, it was a white page with box yellow like boxes and then black words. The logo was like not even a logo or just said like it literally said, like times new Roman, Mt. Gox and it was literally probably written in a text edit. There was, it was all on the backend, but there was no front end Ui. It was just, you gotta go look at pictures of it and then, but it worked, it was stable and now we're talking about Mt. Gox being stable. But it worked and was never loading time. It didn't have to load anything. The cache, the graphics, it was just basic html. You clicked a button, it loaded in two seconds and it works. And I love that. And then when he launched the new mountain, Mt. Gox will all this fanfare and was all excited about all these new features. But mark, like it was literally all the same features. There was nothing new and, and it just had all new graphics. But the problem is when you're redesigning a site and you know this, when you're redesigning a site, like a whole brand and the site and you're trying to fit all the old features in the new site, it doesn't work. It's like wonky. Yeah. And like how everything is displayed.

Taylor
Yeah, exactly. So one of the things, so let me tell you a little bit about the redesign because we could've done a redesign when we kind of forked from MyEtherWallet and we chose,

Charlie
Is that a proper way to describe it? Fork?

Taylor
Yeah, that's how I describe it. It's perfect.

Charlie (not clear - 9:52)
People understand, oh, you did all right I get it...

Taylor
You know, but we chose not to because again, like that stability and, and everything. And so we had a new code base, but the new code base, literally it was like, you know, we made some minor UI improvements, but that was it. But we've been really working hard on, it's more than a redesign. It's like rethinking sort of our product a bit. And what it does is that right now when you go to our site, you're basically like thrown into like, you know, here, go on, lock your wallet and then take whatever action you want to take, whether that's sending a transaction or interacting with a contract or you know, even people just like checking their balance and instead what we're going to do is we're going to have a dashboard that basically has all of your accounts that you've interacted with and it'll show you like your balance across all of those accounts and your tokens across all of those accounts. And then from there you can like, you know, by Eth with your credit card or you can send a transaction or you can interact with contracts or whatever. And so the send page actually gets quite interesting because, you know, we want to make sure the user knows where they're sending from, right? If they have like four accounts or 10 accounts or 50 accounts, we want to make sure they know exactly where they're sending from. And then it gets even more interesting because with ethereum and you have all of these tokens, you have like thousands of tokens and how do you show thousands of token balances across multiple accounts efficiently.

Charlie
I like that you have that new scan feature that and especially I liked that and that was a really, you know, when you use the trezor to log on and you see your 15 addresses or however many you have. You can then click the token balances cause you forget it's confirmed.

Taylor
Oh it's so confusing. And so what this is like, I literally when our designer presented this to us. I was like, Huh, you're crazy. Like this is so on its head. This doesn't make sense. What you do now is you actually select the asset that you want to send first. And it feels so weird until you've done it once and then it just makes sense. So you want to send your weird random token that you bought in some ICO or that was air dropped or whatever, and then it'll show you all of your addresses and that the balance with that.

Charlie
Oh it scans all the addresses and everything.

Taylor
Right. So if you have 10 addresses, it'll like the drop down with like update so that it'll...

Charlie
Can it aggregate?

Taylor
Yeah. Yeah. It'll show you're like, like this is just on the send page. Say I want to send Eth, I select eth and then it'll show and it'll sort, my addresses by like most to least eth and then I select which address I want to send from. And then I select like I just say how much I want to send and that's pretty much it and who I want to send to, you know, and then everything else is hidden under the advanced features. But he gets, it feels really weird because the first question you're pretty much asked is like, what do you want to send? And no interface really does this, but it makes sense. Like it really, it works. It just works. It doesn't make sense when you think about it, but when you use it once it like it really works.

Charlie
So, you know, usually on the show, we focus more on the person who you are and why you were able to do what you did. And I want to get to that in a second. Usually we save the stuff about what you're working on until later, even though it's all intertwined. But I feel like, I feel like MyCrypto is like a person in and of itself, you know? And that's an interesting topic to cover. Kind of like they say you start a corporation, a corporation is its own person, you know, for tax purposes or whatever it is. And it's kind of how I feel about this. But I wanted to ask you, I always feel like with tokens, if someone would have looked at the concept of, of tokenizing something and said, okay, this is what it'll look like in 10 years. And then there's like the show various steps of how it got there. And I feel like where we're at with tokens now is like, not even on the first step. Like if we go back, if someone from 10 years from now goes back in time and looks at us and how we're acting and reacting and doing things with tokens or just, you know, having smart contracts on the blockchain, they'll laugh at us and say, you guys are wasting your time with what, you know, ICO is and airdrops than just these stupid things. Yeah, they're fun and we're all capitalists and we make money, but not to get screwed over two and there's a lot of scams, but this is what it is going to be. This is, this is the real killer application. Do you feel like you're building now for that?

Taylor
No and I'm just starting to see, I mean, I want to obviously, but right now we're just,, I mean we just show a fricking tokenless. That's not, you know, that's not where we're going to be. And I think we're just starting to see the tokens sort of evolve and people realize that, oh, these tokens aren't just like, you know, tied to like a white paper or a company or an ICO or it's not something that you just like hold and then you can speculate on it's something way more. And so we've seen two really interesting in like the last two months we've seen two interests in use cases. The first is ENS, so now the ENS names themselves are actually sort of these non fungible tokens, these nfts and so you can like, instead of having a custom interaction with the NS contract every time you want to like send or sell a domain name, it's just like this standard and it's just, yeah, it's like a token. So the name itself...

Charlie
And this is the theory of naming system?

Taylor
Yeah, exactly. So like, let's say I buy Monahan.eth And then I want to sell it to my cousin or something. You know, I don't have to do some whole custom setup. I can literally just like send them this token that represents the ownership of the name.

Charlie
I feel like though I feel like we missed why ENS was so important and it was almost glossed over. So to give you a little bit of background, even the people around Satoshi and to some extent Satoshi himself, we all complained about Bitcoin addresses we did. You go back to the early forum post, we complained and it's still complicated today. Even account numbers are shorter, but Bitcoin addresses are long. They're case sensitive and it's annoying a little bit of annoying to have to send someone your Bitcoin address. And so the idea was very, very, very going back even 2012 or 11 was we need some sort of naming system, but the only system that we could think of would always rely on centralized parties on companies, on top of it. The only way we can do that was to rely on those companies on top of it. And it didn't work because it goes against everything. With crypto, you have man in the middle attacks. If you rely on a company, you're then you're basically giving up your Bitcoin address and the whole reason for privacy goes away. You don't want to tell someone, okay, you can send it to Charlie Shrem, but the company that propagates Charlie Shrem to a Bitcoin address now knows that Charlie Shrem owns this Bitcoin address. So the community was very against that. But with ENS, the ability to have naming on top of like built into the blockchain, I feel like it was such a big deal to be able to get rid of ethereum addresses all together and just do naming. Why hasn't that taken off? Why, why are we still all using addresses?

Taylor
So the first one is integrations and like we're a bit at fault as well, but like it should be, everyone should just like have it a name assigned to them basically. And then if they want to pay for their Super Special CharlieShrem.e if they can do so. The second is like, it has to be everywhere. So every exchange, every wallet, every dap like just has to have, you know, ENS name sort of like by default rather than these addresses. And then I think like there's a little bit of hesitance just because you know, everyone's been in crypto or everyone who cares about,

Charlie
They're so used to it.

Taylor
Yeah. You're used to the addresses and it's also, it feels like, like I'm sure in the early days of the Internet there were like these dudes that would only navigate via IP address because they could like trust it or something. And I feel like we're still there with Bitcoin addresses are ether addresses.

Charlie
So all the reasons that you just gave me are the same reasons that when I asked you why are people using my crypto and mass when there are other newer apps that make things a little more simpler. And it's the same reason that you just gave me over what, although I wouldn't agree that that's the best comparison because, you know what using ens names are like 10 times better than using addresses, but I still believe that MyCrypto is in the top. You know, of all the apps to use. So it made me thought the best example, but you see my point.

Taylor
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think that we'll get there. I also think that like the timing of the ENS launch kind of was a shame. Like it was great because, so basically they launched May 4th, 2017 which was like middle of or beginning middle of like th ICO hype. And so even though it wasn't an ICO, it was the same sort of like speculation landgrab esque thing. And so, so many people bought names, but they weren't necessarily by names for use.

Charlie
There own purposes. They were buying names to basically someone bought Charlie Shrem like on day one.

Taylor
Yeah. We don't have, we didn't get myether wallet. Someone paid a boatload for it same with MyCrypto, like, yeah. And they're not using them. It's, it's speculative, right? It's like landgrab. It's like I expect this name to be worth more tomorrow than it is today. Therefore I will buy it.

Charlie
The market will resolve itself though.

Taylor
Oh yeah. Yeah. And I think that, um, I think that the market has like the names are valuable to use but they're not super valuable to sell, like we haven't seen a second layer market that's super successful. We haven't seen these, you know, the dudes that bought up thousands and thousands of names make any money. So I think it is resolving itself. But I think that that hype around the ens was just a bit misguided because people were more excited about the potential value of the names rather than like actually using the name.

Charlie
That's very interesting. And I, I agree with you. But it's just the perfect, a lot of people are saying, well they should make a system where if your name is Charlie Shrem or your name, your company name and you have a registered, then you should be able to get it, you know, that goes against the whole point of we're doing here. If ethereum and built something in that did that in the protocol itself, we should just all pack up and go home because ethereum has its critics and I feel like people that love crypto are more critical. So I take myself for an example. I'm extremely critical of ethereum, and I'll go out and say things to Vitalik or de Vlad whatever, because they're my good friends and I've known them and I can but it's not out of hate. It's out of love. But some people are very, you know, will be very trolling and be out of hate.

Taylor
Yeah. I I actually like had a conversation on, we have an all hands call every week with everyone at the company. And we just kind of shoot the shit and talk about whatever's relevant. But we had a whole all hands call about exactly what you're talking about. Where when we're talking to each other or when we are providing feedback or when we're having a conversation, it's not a good thing if we're all in agreement. And like, we don't want a culture in our company or in the crypto ecosystem of like, I don't know, some big giant Kumbaya circle but

Charlie
Echo chamber.

Taylor
Yeah. We, we want, you know, critical thinking. We want people to disagree because that's how thoughts get fully flushed out and you know, they kind of go to that next level. But again, like it has to come from, I call it like a place of positivity. So even if you strongly vehemently disagree with someone else, you should also like let it be known that your voicing your concern or you're starting this conversation because you want the greater ecosystem to succeed.

Charlie
But Taylor, know that like, I wish that too, but you have to, you know that the combined social skills score of everyone in crypto is like super low.

Taylor
Oh yeah. Well, and it's like way more fun to just like yell on the Internet,

Charlie
We're all a bunch of nerds and geeks or from our parents' basements and garages and half of us are on the spectrum. That's the way, that's who we are. That's why we love us.

Taylor
Yeah. Yeah. Uh, it has worked pretty well, like within our company though, but there's only, there's only like 20 of us, so we're...

Charlie
I feel like that's a perfect number for company though.

Taylor
I don't really, I don't want it. I don't think I want to get any bigger.

Charlie
Well, so you grew up in California, in Manhattan beach. Very laid back lifestyle. And you went to New York for school. So you learned to New York or how long did you live in New York for?

Taylor
I was in New York for almost four years.

Charlie
Okay. So the kind of the given is that if you live in New York, somebody 10 some say three. I feel like if you live in New York for three years, you could call yourself a New Yorker because most people would give up in the second year. I know people who've moved and then moved back. Yeah. So you became a New Yorker and you learned to New Yorker ways, which are basically how to figure out what's bullshit and how to work a little bit faster than, than they do in California or even here in Florida. Was that a big thing for you?

Taylor
Yeah, New York was very different. When it's cold, it has seasons. It's a huge city. I was living in West village. You walk everywhere, you take the subway, which is not something you do in LA ever. Yeah, you have like an itty bitty apartment where you like live on top of a Sushi place and you have neighbors on you and around you and under you everything. Yeah, it was, I loved it though. I loved the change and I had a choice. I basically, I wanted to go to school for film and so I had a choice between USC and NYU, which are the 2 best film schools because that's how I roll. I want the best of everything. And the reason that I chose NYU was because it wasn't USC. Because I felt like if I went to USC, I'm never going to grow. I'm never going to get a different experience. I'm just going to stay in LA. You know, and probably like, you know, hang out with the same circle of friends and be the same person at the end of...

Charlie
But you went back.

Taylor
I did come back, I need to come back. I got so sick of the snow.

Charlie
I hate, that's why I moved to Florida. My wife and I were like done no more shoveling snow.

Taylor
Yeah, exactly. I just, I couldn't, so it's funny. So I went to school for two years and then I, I left school, I took a leave of absence. Technically I didn't just like drop out.

Charlie
I hate that term dropout.

Taylor
I did it responsibly. I could've gone back and they still email me every year and they're like, hey, come back, or donate or whatever. But yeah, I basically, I kind of overloaded myself. I had all the school stuff, which, NYU is liberal arts. So you have your core film classes, then you have your like, science classes where you're actually like with the science majors. And then you have like outside projects that you just want to work on for fun. And I overloaded myself and I basically had to make a choice and I chose to just fully dedicate myself to sort of the movies I was working on. I was working on some senior thesis films, etc. And so I did that and I just continued to work there for a couple of years. And then what happened? Yeah. And then it was winter again and I couldn't do another winter and I was kinda lost. I was kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I didn't really want to work in the industry. Like I loved telling stories and making movies, but I didn't, so many of my friends, you know, had moved to LA to work in the industry and it just, that wasn't what I wanted to do. So I think I had like $1,000 in my bank account and then I got my thousand dollars security deposit back cause I cleaned my apartment before moving out. So I have two grand and I packed up everything in like one bag and I flew, I bought a round trip ticket to Sydney, like on New Year's Eve because it was cheap. I could get there for like a grand or something. And I lived in Australia for summer, their summer, our winter, until I was out of money. And then I, called my mom and said I need to come home.

Charlie
I have a question. Yeah. Not to sound weird, but being a filmmaker is not one of those jobs that you can just like move anywhere and start making money instantly.

Charlie
No, it's not. Okay. I just wanted to let, maybe you didn't know that at the time.

Taylor
No, no. I moved to Sydney because I'm, so I had a couple of friends there and they said that I could live in there. They had like, it was technically a three bedroom apartment, but the third bedroom was like, I don't know, like six by six feet or something. It was a closet. They said I could stay there. And it was summer, like it was summer in Australia. I was so done with the snow and the cold. That was it.

Charlie
Did the snow affect you that much? Like do you have an experience?

Taylor
Oh my God! I'm a total, it's not, yeah, I get really cold. So then I have to put on like layers and layers and layers. And I hate that, New York is the worst because you have the slush, like the dirt slush, which I hated.

Charlie
It's like brown and disgusting.

Taylor
It's so gross and like you step on something that you think is like half an inch deep and it's like, I don't know, a foot or two. And then it was mostly, so the thing I hate about cold is that, okay, so you, you bundle up, you put on all these layers, you walk outside and then you go into the subway and you have to strip down because it's freaking hot down there. And then you come back up, you have to put all their clothes back on and then you walk into your building wherever you're going and you have to take off all your clothes again.

Charlie
You can't do anything because you can't even walk around. I have very bad memories growing up because we lived in Brooklyn and when it would snow, my father would call me up from work and say, make sure you shovel or wake up early in the morning cause he had to go to work and I had to shovel. But my dad would offer like me to shovel all the neighbors for free. So I'm shoveling the whole block and it sucked because it would take hours and hours and it was exhausting and yeah, I know it was, you know, moral fiber building or whatever you want to call it. But I hated shoveling and it made me hate snow with a passion that I would just avoid it at all costs. And the best part of moving out of my parents' house and moving into a building was that I didn't have to shovel anymore. But yeah, once, when I, I remember, I'll put you in the zone. I was a few months before my release from prison and I'm sitting in my case manager's office. And he said, all right, you know, where it looks like according to our paperwork, you're going to be released back to New York and you'll be sent to a halfway house in New York and good luck on life. And I was like, whoa hold on. Have I have a choice of where I want to go? Right. And he said, yeah. I said, all right, well I actually want, I don't want to go back to New York. I Hate New York. I said, release me to Pennsylvania. He was like, well, what do you know in Pennsylvania? I said, well, my girlfriend, my wife now. She lives there with her mom and I'll figure out a job. I don't want to go back to New York. So went to, got released to Pennsylvania and then I dealt with winter there, which was the worst, which is worse than New York. But the day my six month, halfway house was over, the day was over. We were on a plane to Florida that next day, as soon as I could legally get on a plane, we got on a plane and left and we never looked back. I said, I need to get out of here. I hate the north. It's too much snow. Too many demons, too much, just negativity. Heading down to Florida and I didn't know anyone here. Without anything else. It was me and my wife, my mother in law. We all moved down here together and we're sharing an apartment for a year because we couldn't really afford to have our own places yet. When I got released from jail, I maybe like 20 grand to my name. And so bull market hadn't come yet, which was great. I timed that perfectly. Like even in jail, the ultimate hold. And I actually remember and so we moved out to Florida and I'll tell you, I know this is supposed to be untold stories of our guests...But I, I remember, I, oh my God, it was so funny. I was in, I got a job as a dishwasher. So when you get out of jail, you have to maintain a real job. And I'm like a what? Like a w two job where you can't know anyone in advance. They don't want you to like go back to what you did before so you can't work in an office, you can't work a white collar job. You can't work a tech job, you can't, you got to get it like a real job. I want a real job. Like my wife worked at a winery, that's a great job. They didn't let me work at a winery. So they told me, well there's a restaurant attached to it next door, so I'll be a dishwasher at the restaurant. And I was like, awesome. Like, all right, whatever. Just side note. I love that job.

Taylor
Why did you like this last week?

Charlie
Well, because it was super, super, physically engaging, have to work really, really hard. I worked 11 hours a day, four days a week and I got paid crap, but it doesn't matter. I worked really, really hard. I didn't have to think about any thing in my brain. It just, I put the headphones on and I'll wash dishes.

Taylor
So that's why, I was on a podcast, I don't know, maybe six months ago or a year ago, I don't even remember. But he asked me like, you know, like he asked me some question and I said, I don't know, I think that I might want to go on like scoop ice cream or something. And he looked at me like, I was like a freaking like, what? Who the hell are you? Like you have this amazing company, you're doing those amazing stuff, blah blah blah.

Charlie
I know a lot of crypto people that you and I both know that drive Uber. Yeah.they are CEOs of high power. I know one guy, he's a CEO of a company that raised $20 million in this space, VC money and on his free time he hops in his Audi r8, which is like over a hundred thousand dollar car and drives Uber.

Taylor
There's something about it that like, I don't know, I just figure like with scooping ice cream, like,

Charlie
Everyone is happy.

Taylor
Everyone would be happy. I can make people's days with like a little thing, but also like if I fucked something up, it's fucking ice cream. You know what I mean? Like you okay, I'll do better the next ice cream ice scoop. You know what I mean? Like it's so a short term that, okay, I'll make you a new cup. You know what I mean? Where in my life right now? Yeah. Like, there's so many things that raised through my head. Like if I screw something up and there are so many things and there's so many unknowns, it's very overwhelming at times. And I'm like, I don't want to be able to screw anything up long term anymore. Like I don't want, I don't want a choice that I make today, you know, to come bite me in the ass a year from now or two years from now or 10 years from now.

Charlie
But what people don't understand, and hopefully they understand by listening to this, is that that's a real fear that, that you have. And I'm happy that you have that fear. You take it seriously because what you do is so important to the crypto community. It's important that you take that seriously.

Taylor
Yeah. Well and I joke around, but it's, when I, when I first started hiring people, when we were myether wallet and like, you know, the market was picking up, all the sudden I couldn't do everything by myself. Like we needed help. I started hiring people because everyone's had like, okay, you need help. Like you need, you can't answer all the support tickets yourself anymore. You can't do all of this, you know, by yourself. You're, you know, there's only so many hours in the day, blah, blah, blah. And sorry, I really started hiring people because that's what you do when you have a growing, you know, product or a growing company. And it wasn't until later that I realized, like when you hire people, you're now sort of responsible for their, their wellbeing and like, whether that's their families or their, you know, their tuition or their mortgage or whatever. You know, if you screw something up on your end in terms of the company, or if you run out of money or if you make bad choices or whatever, that affects everyone. Everyone that you hire like, and I have no problems hiring someone for performance, let's just put it that way. But I don't ever want to be in a position where I have to like, you know, hey guys, sorry, I we couldn't make this work, bye.

Charlie
My grandfather taught me very early on that you are nothing without your team. And he did, he owned an electronic store in New York and he didn't even like using the word employees he called them my team. And I like that you say that. Well, you know, you have your team stand up and everything, but I've had some really bad experiences too at BitInstant. I had to fire five people in one day. And it was a terrible, terrible, terrible thing. I think it, it goes in a list, top five traumatic things. I've had to go through prison and being one of them, but firing five people in one day, because we were, if not the first, BitInstant was one of the first crypto companies to actually offer health insurance to our employees. And I really think we were the first, and if I'm wrong, someone tell me, cause I don't know if anyone else have it.

Taylor
The Internet will tell you Charlie.

Charlie
But I'm pretty sure we were, if not the first to offer matching 401k's health insurance and actually an HR person in our, in our company, who is not a dude, which was, which was great. Even with this podcast, I always try to make sure that I have the most diverse group of guests as I can, but that's really important in my grandfather taught me that.

Taylor
Yeah. It's, your team is like, I think that's probably one of the most rewarding things about like with all the fears and everything else that comes with hiring people. And now having a team and in a company on all of that, like there's days where I wake up and I like catch up because we're a distributed team. So Europe is like when I wake up, Europe's been like crankin' up for four hours. And I catch up on like what everyone's been doing and I'm like, holy crap. Like everyone is doing all the things that I used to do except better and more diligently and with like their own unique take. And they're coming up with their own ideas on how to do things. And like all, it's just like, I don't even know how to say it. It's remarkable.

Charlie
The best feeling in the world.

Taylor
Yeah. I just like sit back sometimes and I'm like, how the hell did I get here? How did I get so lucky to have like all, like this team, all of these individuals, you know, cause they're all, I mean there are crypto fanatics, but they're also like insanely talented and they know their stuff and, and they do things differently than me. Like that's valuable. They're not little mini mes, even though...I joke around, I'm like, I wish I had clone of myself, but I don't because it's the, it's that diversity. It's the uniqueness. It's like they don't look at the world the same way I do. They don't, approach problems the same way I do. That's what makes it so valuable that they're not me.

Charlie
One of the most pro social behaviors as human beings. We can have, to contribute back to the earth. Yes. There are so many important things in life that we need to do protest, environmental issues. Yeah, whatever. But job creation, how many jobs have you created in your lifetime? That number I feel like is really what makes human being above the fold. And so how many jobs you've created. I feel like that's something that is not talked about enough and I feel like that's something that should be worn with a badge of honor.

Taylor
Absolutely. Absolutely. And like how many? Like I don't know. Because when I think about our team members and what, like I think about like what they get out of this experience because I don't expect them to be, you know, with us forever, you know, this is just, especially these days, like this is just a blip on their, their longer journey. And so I talked to them a lot about how do they make their experience like the best can possibly be and how can they grow so that it's not like, okay, I went to this job and I did this job and then I left this job, you know, like they should come in and then be a completely different person when they leave. And I think we've done a good job at that. But it's like, even if you're not creating jobs per se, you can have that effect on people around you. Whether it's like via mentorship, whether it's like in the US, we have like the boys and girls club types programs. But then also just like literally like random people around you

Charlie
It's being prosocial.

Taylor
Yeah. You can make people's days and you can, you can do really little things to like make people smile or...

Charlie
Serving ice cream.

Taylor
Serving ice cream exactly.

Charlie
Well, serving ice cream would be a great job, but you'd have downtime if feel like, what you don't want to have. If you ever seriously want to do like some sort of side thing as a stress relief? Become a food runner at a very busy restaurant. That's also a fantastic job. I love being a food runner because it's, there's no thinking involved at all. there's no critical thinking. You have food, you run it to the tables, you put it at the right seats and you come back and it's balancing act and it's doing it as best as you can with grace, but would also speed and agility and it's a great job. But the best job, you know, I was promoted very quickly. So as a humbling experience, like you talk about life changing moments. Being a prison was one was humility training for sure. But having to work in this restaurant for six months, I think changed my life for the better because before I went in, I was this Bitcoin millionaire, I was on top of the world, I was the king, and now I have to start at this hundred employee restaurant at the bottom. And I can't use any of my past to my, to my benefit. I have to start at the bottom and prove myself and earn the respect of the other staff, which was very, very, very hard to do because I was already starting with a crutch. And they didn't know anything about me, who I am. All they knew was I was this felon coming out of jail, working at the restaurant. So when I would walk by, they would all hold their pockets, like I'm going to rob them or something. Yeah, they thought I was like drug dealer. No one knew. They didn't really Google or anything. So I had to prove myself and it was very difficult. But eventually I was promoted to my favorite job of all time. I was the expediter. Are you familiar with the expediter role in a restaurant?

Taylor
No.

Charlie
Okay. The expediter is the most single, most important role in a restaurant and it's only restaurants that are really busy have them. So you look at a restaurant that's serving, a few hundred people, a few hundred tables, in a dinner lunch session. So the restaurant I worked at had about 60 tables. And what the order expediter does is the order expediter is the conductor who communicates to the line what food needs to be made when exactly the right time. So when a ticket is printed at a restaurant, when it's, when you're, you have a table of six and the waitress walks up to you or the waiter walks up to you and he takes your order and you have drinks, you have appetizers, you have main, main courses and dessert. And sometimes even more than than two courses, the expediter has to know how long it takes to cook out everything, how long it takes for you to eat on average, that thing. And to make sure that everyone who gets their appetizers at the same time, will also get all their main courses at the same time. All the food comes out hot and no one has to wait more than 15 minutes to get food at any given time. And then, at the line you also have, you have one person that's doing different things. So you have the salad guy, you have the, there's the fryer and the grill. You have the pasta person who's, who's in the, you know, doing a on the grills and on the ovens. So a busy kitchen, a busy line. And this is not even the back part of the kitchen. A busy line can have five or six people that you need to now conduct. Not only that, but you have at any given time, 15-20 tickets, 20 tables that have given time and that is the hardest job at a restaurant, but as one of the most fulfilling jobs you could possibly have.

Taylor
Yeah. That's like, that's insane. I didn't, I've never really thought about it.

Charlie
Whenever, if there's, if you're in a busy restaurant and your order gets screwed up, something happens, whatever it is more often than not, it's the expediters responsibility. Because it's the expediters responsibility to read the tickets and understand exactly what's written on the ticket and then tell because the people,

Taylor
So you coordinate everything It's not like you have one ticket you have like all the tickets...

Charlie
When the ticket gets printed the kitchen doesn't read them. So when an order gets put in by your waiter, no one in the line is actually reading that ticket. The expediter is telling them what to make. The expediter needs to know, you need to have five burgers on, you need to have steaks, pasta, shellfish, seafood, salad, dessert, all being done in concert. So I would work four days a week and I did the breakfast, lunch and dinner session. And then in between those sessions when there was, I had a break, I have like a two hour break because you burn out so quickly.

Taylor
Yeah. Duh. I mean, that's not, it sounds physically demanding, but also sounds like the mental,

Charlie
Yeah. That one wasn't as physically demanding as it was mentally because you basically stand up. You're standing for your five hours the whole time. Yeah. But mentally demanding. It is exhausting. But I liked that better because it didn't give me time to think. My brain was completely busy during those 11 hours every day. I couldn't have to think about anything. My phone was off completely and it was the best job ever.

Taylor
Yeah. Did you like the, do you like that because you couldn't think about anything else or did you like dish washing because you could like just think about things and like let the thoughts finish themselves or whatever.

Charlie
When I first got out of jail, I started working about four days later, so everything was very new to me. I remember walking into cvs pharmacy for the first time and I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited. I was walking around the shelves interacting with other human beings that aren't inmates like you. It was just like an eye opening experience. And then my wife took me to a Walmart and I was freaking out. I was like, honey, I need to get back in the car. This is way too much. People are talking to me. I don't know what's going on is way too overwhelming. And then I went to a Barnes and noble. I got very overwhelmed by how many books there were and I just, I got sick. I had to go back in the car as well. So there's, there's definitely that.

Taylor
That's so interesting. So my parents, my dad's been involved in like boats for forever. But before I was born, my parents say all from Florida across the Atlantic, they stopped in the Azores. I don't even know where they ended up, but they were in the Azores for awhile delivering about, and that trip from Florida to the Azores is 76 weeks. So they're at sea for 17 days and my dad said, so there's four of them and you have to do like shifts, right? Because you're at sea for 17 days. There's nothing like...someone is up and you have to keep the course and you have to make sure you don't hit anything. But it's, you know, it's not, you basically just sit there like 99% of the time. And when the shifts overlap, then you maybe have a conversation with someone, right? Or like if if you catch dinner with someone else or whatever, but a majority of your time is sitting there in the middle of the ocean alone. And my dad said for the first time in his life, thoughts when his sort of like all of these thoughts, all these little strings that had, you know, over the years, like the thought had started in his head but it hadn't ever like finished because it had been taken over by something else. He's like, that was the first time in his life where he like, was able to, all of the thoughts, all these separate strings, like finished, any, he talks about like really just like thinking through his first marriage, you know, his companies, everything that he's done. And that I think when he first told me the story, I was probably like a middle school and I didn't really understand what, like, why I never really got it. You know, because you, when you're in middle school, you don't have, you're like 13, like, you know, boys and draw my nails and whatever. But now that is so attractive to me, but I get it because that's what, you know, I feel like in my head all the time, there's these things that start and they never finish and I never properly like deal with them or I never properly, fully think them out. And whether it's like work or whether it's like some random thought about, you know, whatever. It's really interesting. It's really, really interesting. I think that's why, that's why I asked you about the dishwasher is cause there's wonder if like that allowed you to, I dunno, like process things, and like especially grapple of your time in prison and stuff.

Charlie
It definitely did. I had two jobs in prison and one of them was, I worked in education for a few weeks or few months and I basically taught tutored students for their GED. So if you're in prison and you don't have a GED, is that one good rule that the Department of Justice has is that they won't release you until you get your GED or at least you have to make like a conscious effort. So they have other inmates teach and tutor the inmates that don't have their high school equivalency to get it, which is I think very important. So I would be like tutoring kids in there and we all use like nicknames had one guy, his name was Detroit and another guy, his name was murder. These are their names, like, you know, but that job was okay. It was kind of fulfilling, even though the kids, the students didn't really want to actually learn or take it seriously. But the better job I had was I worked in... So I quickly realized that I had way too much time on my hands. And I applied for a job working in landscaping at another prison, which was great, I got to go on a little like a bus everyday. There and back and it's like 20 minutes away. But I got to like see the world outside of my compound everyday. And that was a huge thing for me. But I got trained on, you know, how much we hate snow uni. I got trained on a snow plow. That was my job. I drove a snowplow.

Taylor
How was that?

Charlie
It was one of those, it was a Ventrac. So during the winter, it was a snowplow, but then during the summer, it's other, other things like street sweep. So I was like, so basically I'm on like 5,000 acres and I'm driving around all day by myself, just plowing snow and driving a street sweeper. And that was the best job. It's called Ventrac. took me like three days to learn how to use it in a parking lot. And it was funny training because they're training at a parking lot, which was very small and the guards were like, all right, Charlie, here's your training. If you crashed, you get sent to solitary confinement pending an investigation. Like, what do you mean? Yeah, you're right here. You see everything. That's what they did. Like I have three friends. Yeah. I had three friends who were driving a truck and they drove into a ditch and they got sent to solitary confinement for like two months pending an investigation. Even though they just drove into a ditch. It wasn't their fault, but that's just the way it worked in there. You couldn't complain. But yeah, it's interesting because jobs are really important. So I feel like being able to work in crypto is so self fulfilling in it of itself that we should just appreciate that we could even work in this space.

Taylor
Oh yeah. Well, and, and like one of the reasons I didn't want to do, like I wasn't attracted to the film industry was because it's so... There's a formula. You follow the formula, you make a successful show, everyone has their job, everyone does their job, you go home. You know, the things that attracted me to making movies originally was like, you know, telling stories, sharing things, communicating, whatever it was, you know, that's new, that are, you know, and with Crypto, I think one of the things that we don't talk about enough, it's like this stuff is all new and we all have the ability to shape the direction that it goes in. And we have the ability to really either keep sort of the philosophy alive or let it die. We have like the, literally anything we can do anything and that is really, really, really unique. I don't think that there's many industries like that.

Charlie
Crypto was still very much a social experiment, it's a science experiment. We're not at version one yet. And everyone involved today has the ability to shape its future, but also don't treat us like we're some, you know, industry been around for a hundred years, so we don't have our shit together just because we don't really know what we're doing.

Taylor
Right, exactly. And, and that's what, you know, when I talk to people I want to, like I love talking to people outside the industry because I want to learn what other industries or other people or other things, what are they doing really, really well or what historically has worked really, really well. And how can we take those things and either like apply it to whether it's like my personal life or my company or Crypto as a whole, you know, how can we sort of take the best and learn from the worst and make sure that the future that we're building is actually, you know, something that we want.

Charlie
What have you found?

Taylor
So there's a lot of pessimists, in general, there's a lot of like, people compare crypto to like early Internet a lot.

Charlie
I don't like that comparison.

Taylor
Yeah. I kind of get it. I've watched a couple documentaries, and like read stuff. I get it and the one thing that I will say is that very early like Internet hackers, cypherpunks, like they were very philosophical as well, like very similar to Crypto,

Charlie
But they weren't running, starting and running the companies. They didn't have to invent an industry. Right. I mean, there are a few outliers like apple and Microsoft, but I don't even, you know, apple. Yeah. but they didn't have to invent an industry because computers were adopted and grown by these large mega corporations, which the cypherpunks were against, which is what their whole thing was.

Taylor
Right. But that's what kind of worries me because you know, as the rumors fly about Facebook and stuff, you know, is history, you're going to show sort of the same tale where we are. We're just these early hackers who had the philosophy and we're, you know, puttering around and building what we thought it should be built, you know, and then x corporations zooms in and this is how the world works now. You know, again, like how do we, how do we keep the philosophy alive? How do we keep the things that matter alive? Because honestly, if we, if crypto ends up being like just another centralized payment layer, have we really done?

Charlie
No, we failed. We failed. And as happy some people get anything gets bullish that Facebook's launching their global coin, which sounds so bad. Global Coin. You couldn't come up with a better name for it.

Taylor
Oh, I didn't even know that was the name.

Charlie
So if that's, if that's the best we do then we failed. Yeah. Because, but the market feels like the market feels like it still needs the big boys to take over. And, and I don't like that because as much as I love the market, I think that we have some really great companies and products and it takes time. But the problem is, and there's this old quote says like, markets are efficient, but then they end, the quote doesn't end there. Markets are efficient when we allow them to be and that's like our whole lives work, you know, we don't allow the market to resolve itself. The government comes in and does what they ever do with, with, with their currency. And and that's the way it works. We all want instant gratification. So when something is not working, we instantly want a solution. But if we had let the problem and the solution kind of work itself out, we could have gotten somewhere better. So with crypto, luckily now it's like we've had so far, almost 10 years to work this out and it's getting better and we make a lot of mistakes, but you need to make those mistakes. The whole ICO world that happened, a lot of scams and a lot of whatever they were maybe 5% of good that came out of that. But that 5% is very important. That 5% that we got out of that is going to be the next wave of where we go. Well, we needed that 95% other crap. There's a good way to describe it. There's a, I forgot, it's a nuclear fusion or is there's some chemical reaction that when you put in all the elements, 95% of what comes out of it as a byproduct and the other 5% is like the good stuff, but that good stuff is so important that it's worth that other 90 other 95% of crap that we, that we get. That's how I kind of see this space. Yeah. We, we need to make those mistakes.

Taylor
Yeah. Well and like with ICO is, I mean I was who I screamed and stomp my feet about them, you know, while, while it was happening and I tried to protect people against the scams and agreed and yelled at the top of my lungs. And yeah, like you, you have to fight against that shit, all the shit and try to help people, but you can't deny that ICO in the long run, there is good that's going to come from it. Right? Yes. Some people are going to lose their money. Yes. Some people are going to take the money and run. Um, but overall it created a, I think it proved that crypto can be used for like capital allocation really efficiently too efficiently. But it also drove a, a huge amount of excitement and not all of it was good. Some of it was just like, oh my God, I'm so rich. But some of it was really good because it empowered people to take risks that they wouldn't otherwise take or build things that they wouldn't otherwise build, or get excited about things that, you know, they wouldn't otherwise get excited about. And I think that we'll see that especially because it's crypto and it's money and you know, speculation, drive stuff. We'll see more of these sort of hype cycles where something new fangled comes out that is going to get people rich and it's gonna it's going to come along with a lot of shit, you know, but in the long run it, that's sort of like how we, how we grow and how we find our place in how we find, you know, this systems that you know, in the traditional world aren't working, aren't working as well as they should be.

Charlie
And I really hope what you say comes true. Because if it was up to a lot of people, they don't want us to have that ability anymore. They want us to have much of a more of a straighter line. But we need to make those mistakes and we need to kind of figure this the whole thing out, like you said. I think, I think we don't give our government enough credit. And I'm like the last person you would think would say that. But I think, you know, it's being warmed up. So last night got invited to dinner at someone's house and, it was my friend, and his mom, his mother is like she's a socialite, but she's also very powerful woman. She runs one of the largest companies here in Florida. And we always know that when we get invited to dinner at their house, it's, you know, I have to wear pants. It's a legit, you don't know who's going to be there. It's a nice dining room table. So we expect greatness. So we were there and, and there was no one really, so she's from the south, my friend's mom, so she's from the South and, you have a great group of powerful southern woman who are awesome and great stories and great conversations and if, you know, some of them are billionaires and they've done some crazy things. There was another couple there that I didn't know and they sat right across from me and they were holding the conversation the whole time and they were asking me about crypto. They were like really drilling. I kept trying to change the conversation, but they told my 60 minutes piece and they were very into crypto. And I get into my whole tirade, I'm like, you know, like, crypto is amazing and it's,the ability to not have to trust governments and all these different things and um, and after, and I didn't even give those people the ability to like let me know who they were. But after it was over, I had found out that she is a former congressman and he owns the largest bank, one of largest banks in the country. Oh. So I was like, yeah, like you know, like, let me know who these people are sometimes before I start saying how bad bankers are and how bad the government is. But they actually, why I'm bringing this up is that they actually are super libertarian and they love crypto and they said that there's a lot of people in the government that love crypto too.

Taylor
I mean, if, if the government wanted to shut crypto down, they would have shut it the fuck down. Like, you know what I mean? And yes, they're giving their guidance and yes, they're coming after some people and yes, you know, but overall like really, I mean the Dow, I think the dow thing was the first one where I was like, okay, there are there something's going on? Because when they gave their, whatever it's called, their guidance or their statement on the Dow, they let it be known. You know, what rules people should be playing by. And then they were like, yeah, and okay, cool. You know what I mean? And it's, they could have, I mean, they could have taken everyone involved and thrown them away.

Charlie
True story. So that's why I say that we have to give credit because they are letting us, still resolve this out. And that's really important. So that was to do with within certain boundaries. But you know what, we live in this country, we do have to follow laws.

Taylor
Right. And, and the thing is that, it's not..., Like having rules that people follow, it's not just rules by default aren't bad. But we do, you know, and this is why crypto is valuable. It's like we have to question the established rules. We have to question the way things are done and why they're done. So that we can do them better. But it doesn't mean that we have to redo every single thing. You know, just because you want to disrupt one thing or make something more efficient doesn't mean that, you have to disrupt literally everything. And one of the reasons why when I set up MyCrypto, I set it up as like a very traditional Delaware C-Corp Company. Instead of doing some fancy co op or ICO or Dow or you know.

Charlie
You wanted to follow these certain rules and regulations.

Taylor
Well, not even that, I just was like, okay, well let's just do it the traditional way so that it's like a no brainer. I can hire anyone and they can handle the company and the legal stuff and I can focus on building a product. Yeah. I can focus on my team and my product, make those remarkable, figure out how we make the space more accessible, make this space better. Because yeah, if we had, I mean, we could have set up like some fancy, some crazy fancy Switzerland thing, you know, but then how much of my time or my team's time or our resources would be spent on that. And I do think that some people in the space forgot and they do just want to like change everything. And it's not necessarily the most efficient or the best way to go about it because now you're just changing everything to change it and you're not actually, you know, diving deep into the problem or solving the problem or whatever.

Charlie
Taylor, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it, that's the best way to end right there.