Crypto Events & Ethereum - Tracy Leparulo
In this episode of Cryptonews Podcast, Matt Zahab interviews Tracy Leparulo, Founder of Untraceable and Head of Marketing at Zytara.
They talk about Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum, the business of Untraceable and Zytara, the future of NFTs, and much more.
1:04 Being friends with Vitalik Buterin
9:40 The past, present and future of organizing crypto events 17:59 Floyd Mayweather NFTs
20:09 Miami Bitcoin conference
21:29 Poker and sports gambling
23:09 The future of Zytara
27:12 East Waterloo hackathon
31:38 The future of NFTs
38:16 Rapid fire questions
The episode premiered on May 31, 2021.
Matt Zahab: 0:08
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very excited to have today's guest on the show. She is a blockchain futurist with years of experience in the FinTech industry cryptocurrency industry and NFT platforms. This woman has been at the forefront of building communities for leading blockchain projects, including Ethereum, Bitcoin and polymath ever heard of them? Present day she's the head of marketing at Zytara, and founder of Untraceable. I'm very pleased to welcome to the crypto news podcast Tracy Leparulo. Tracy, welcome to the show.
Tracy Leparulo: 0:42
Hi, welcome. Thanks so much for having me.
Matt Zahab: 0:44
We're very fired up to have you here today. And you are Canadian number three and torontonian number two, which always puts a big smile on my face. You're in Toronto right now. Right?
Tracy Leparulo: 0:57
I'm in Toronto here, birthplace of Ethereum. And it's not so excited to be here during COVID. But a great place to be in the blockchain space.
Matt Zahab: 1:04
Very well said now, birthplace of Ethereum. Very little known fact, but a very important fact. Vitalic has some crazy ties to Ethereum. I believe you're boys too. So is that true?
Tracy Leparulo: 1:18
Yeah. We know each other for years now. Yeah, Ethereum started in Toronto. So it started in a place called decentral. This was the downtown Toronto and that's where I first got interested in crypto. So back in the day, I went to Kenya, I started a microfinance program. And when I came back, I started learning more about Bitcoin and decided to join a company called crypto kit. And so at the time crypto kit, it was myself Vitalik Anthony Diorio who founded it and one of the co founders, Steve dock and a few others. And at the same time, we were also developing Ethereum. So vitalik was writing for Bitcoin magazine. He was part of the crypto kit team and he's also invented Ethereum along with Anthony Diorio. And so I was very, very fortunate to be beside them along the way for that. I helped manage and operate decentral as the cohort there and it's just been an exciting ride ever since. So, never thought we'd be here today. Thinking about how scrappy we all were like very, very early startup days. But yeah, it's just been a ride.
Matt Zahab: 2:16
So you must have some crazy vitalik stories for us. Give me a hot one that's gonna go front page.
Tracy Leparulo: 2:23
No, I love Vitalik I can't you know, there's a few other people in this space. that there's a lot of hot stories on. Vitalik's been great. So Vitalik, he was very young when I first met him, we were both quite young at the time. Ethereum really started with this large group of men and it was just amazing to see him kind of emerge from that space. So he's traveled a lot of the world, we've been to a lot of places together and so I have high respect for Vitalik. And it's just so amazing to see what he's done.
Matt Zahab: 2:51
Would you put him in like top 10 of the smartest people in the world kind of thing? He's up there no?
Tracy Leparulo: 2:55
Totally right. Like he's, uh, yeah. 100% like the fact that he did it so young, when he was in Waterloo, they gave him a grant to actually leave school. They gave him $100,000 to say, leave school and go keep building stuff because that's how smart you are. Yeah, so that's really cool. I speak tons of different languages like when he's with a girlfriend, he speaks Chinese and it's really, he blows my mind every time we're together so
Matt Zahab: 3:20
You got to give me something. Did you have any stories like going to gracies or going to like Maddie or any crazy bars Toronto?
Tracy Leparulo: 3:27
Right. So no, the crypto bars in Toronto, those are for another tale. No, not necessarily Vitalik, but definitely the other guys in crypto for sure. You know, it's interesting Bitcoin at the time we got in it was $300, maybe even less than that. And so when Bitcoin hit $1,000, like people were going crazy, like, champagne was popping everywhere, like parties were going. And people never thought that this, I got in at that time it was late at $300. They got in, you know, at pennies. And so there were definitely stories. I remember when I hit first $1,000 that it was just like remarkable. And the parties were just lit and then thinking back I'm sure anyone who sold it 1000 bucks back then are just kicking themselves now but yeah.
Matt Zahab: 4:12
That is awesome. Well, next time on the pod, I'll get those juicy stories out of you.
Tracy Leparulo: 4:17
Oh I'm sure it will come up across as we're
Matt Zahab: 4:19
I love that. So, to begin, you mentioned briefly how talking here. you got into the space. Present day you are the founder of Untraceable and you're also Head of Marketing at Zytara. Am I pronouncing that right? Zytara?
Tracy Leparulo: 4:32
Matt Zahab: 4:34
Zytara okay, let's start with untraceable. Tell us a little bit about untraceable and why you decided to found that company?
Tracy Leparulo: 4:41
Definitely. So I started back in 2013, it naturally happened. My original company was actually called traceable where I did events in just kind of the traditional world, the non blockchain world and then decided to go down that rabbit hole in 2013. So I started help with all the Toronto meetups, the Bitcoin meetups in Toronto. I then ran the first Bitcoin Expo in Toronto as well as First Ethereum hackathon. And so from there was a proof of concept of Ethereum. And then from there, I launched the first $ETH Global series. So $ETH Waterloo, as well as done events all around the world, from Australia to Chicago to Bahamas, Barbados, and so just been really excited to lead these really mainstream events.
Matt Zahab: 5:24
And you've throw in some big ones, you throw on some massive events. And speaking of events, I hope to run into you at the Bitcoin conference in two weeks, I guess, down the road from now. Yeah, that is coming up very quickly. You are speaking at that event, which we will get into shortly. But walk me through, like the whole planning process. I've only planned and, you know, ran events from sort of idea to actual execution a couple times my life. Heck, I have organized golf tournaments with friends and even that's a little bit of a nightmare.
Tracy Leparulo: 5:57
It's not for everybody.
Matt Zahab: 5:59
It is not for everyone, through the process of how you actually come up with the idea to, you know.
Tracy Leparulo: 6:06
Sure. So let's talk about the biggest one, the biggest one in Canada, one of the largest in the world is called futures conference. We do it in a mega entertainment complex in Toronto called rebel that has a massive cabana area and it is a very immersive experience. What's exciting about it, so when people think events, initially think of your wedding planner, oh, you go do birthday parties, but it's like, so far different than that. Because what an event does that connects people and brings people together. And so it's everything and that's how I got catapulted into space. So when I ran the first event are all mine, I get to know all the speakers in the space, which means I get to understand all the topics, and what's really current on that day. I also get to know all the sponsors of the event. So who has money? Who's launching what are their ROI wise? What are they trying to target? And then I get to, you know, ensure partnerships happen and collaboration happens as well as you know, the branding and what's really exciting about futures conference, specifically, is we bring the tech on site. So last two years I did it, we actually had helicopter rides that you could buy with cryptocurrency. Everything on the entire event was almost like a festival, you could purchase up to 50 cryptocurrencies. So anything from popcorn to cotton candy to food trucks, we had a full marketplace, I actually went and tracked all of our produce at the conference on the blockchain. So you were able to scan an apple or peach. And you can see where it came from farm to table at the conference. So I was excited. It was cool except a few days before, like me literally being in a farm. Like I got things to do, why are we tracking everything? But it's good, like, it's a great ecosystem. It's like, if you want to bring blockchain to the world, you got to bring it to an event first because an event is everything, it has the people as the connections it has, you know, everything hyper focus that say in a few days, and so that's what I love, I love pushing the boundaries of this isn't just an event, just for the sake of throwing an event like we're trying to create a new world here. And let's test it out at a conference so that if things messed up, we could all learn from it and then it allows all of our sponsors and our partners to showcase their technology on site and talk about it so it's exciting. It's been a ride for sure.
Matt Zahab: 8:07
Do you have any horror stories of a huge guest dropping out last minute or a mic being faulty or anything?
Tracy Leparulo: 8:12
Mic being faulty? No. You know, I have backup backup backup plans. But you know what happened last conference? Some random guy walked on stage, there was like an empty seat on one of the panels. Some random guy just walks right on stage and just starts talking and we don't know who he was and he had a very thick accent too. So I had to go and kick him off. What are some other things? Bitcoin, you know, the first Ethereum... so it's 2014. We flew the original Et ereum team down. So this one harles Hoskinson was still CEO of Ethereum, Gavin wood was here, like the full Ethereum team and so it was a house tha we had, a three floor house. was obviously one of the only females, probably was the only f male in the space. So I wa k in one day. I'm like, hey, like, let me go check out what hese guys are doing, make sure we're all good here. It's a lat night. I realize I don't have t ilet paper for anybody? I' like, what is this house doing? I'm like, okay, let's go, thi is like fixing the internet c nnection, fixing this fixin this. And it's just crazy. I r member we had Ethan Buckm n from Cosmos we had Vitalik, obviously we had Vlad. And it's like every single person a this hackathon back in 201 , we were all scrappy. This is efore Ethereum went to ICO. No ody was these mega billionair s or millionaires no , and it's just funny to see th t you know how far they've grow . So yeah, I remember 2014 was a struggle. It was like, we idn't have the budgets we had no Bitcoin and Ethereum wasn' at the price it was now, so it as up to the toilet paper, that' how scrapped we were.
Matt Zahab: 9:40
That's a great line. How did you go about, obviously now you say hey, I'm, you know, I'm throwing a crypto conference and everyone and their cousins are gonna sign up. But back in the early days when you're like, hey, come to my Ethereum and conference and people looked at you like you had nine eyeballs like yeah, walk me through that. How do you get people to go to your events?
Tracy Leparulo: 9:58
Totally. You know what, it starts grassroots. Yeah, back in the day, it was much harder. They thought I was like a drug dealer, money launderer, they said what are you talking about. So I had to explain to them. So there definitely was a learning curve. A lot of these come through our community partners. So individuals like yourself that have podcasts and you know, people blogs, a lot of groups, I helped started an organization called crypto chicks. And so these organizations reach out to their network. So I'd find my core crew of, let's say, 100 200 people and say, if everyone brings five people, then we get to 500. And then that grew, and that grew. And then also putting good quality events on like, most people in the crypto space don't come from an event background. And so although the events, you know, everyone gets there, then doesn't have food and son organized, we really put a lot of time and energy into making it a very flawless experience. For the other thing that I make sure I do at every one of my events, they have a Bitcoin 101 and a blockchain for beginners. And so it really attract new people to the space. And that's how we keep growing. Because what I've noticed in a lot of these events, it's like the same people that keep showing up, like it's great we all know each other but that's not the point of these. We're going to bring new people in. And so we always have an Ask an Expert booth that people could just ask random questions, how do we get a wallet? How do we do this? Because I think people always forget how intimidating the space is for anybody. I've been here for a long time and still have questions. So I, you know, try and make it a mandate in the conference to feel free to ask questions but more importantly, if you're smart to answer them go answer people's questions, because a lot of people have them that aren't saying it. So yeah, it's a mix between community partners and bringing new people on board.
Matt Zahab: 11:37
Interesting. Very interesting. That would just be so tough. And now present day, walk me through the present day event where I'm assuming you're selling out, like, quicker than want to. I mean, the 2019 days, after the 2017 Bull Run. I used to be in currency, I was a currency broker and even you know, our whole team was going to crypto events in Toronto as well, because every crypto company had such large exposure. And again, you know, the banks, there's almost a monopoly, and you can't really do anything about it, they will not take you on as a client. And you're just network network network. Walk me through the present day, and how much fun it must be to throw these huge events.
Tracy Leparulo: 12:20
So much fun. It's definitely nice to have people calling you than you call them as much. I think a lot of our events that I did before were very siloed, too. So I did the first security token conference in Bahamas. And so that brought Wall Street and security tokens, that was in 2018. I did a blockchain and loyalty conference and so when you figure out these target groups, it becomes a lot more easier to market to them. Futures is like the Super Bowl of crypto events. It's like almost an amusement park. So that one is more, just kind of get the word out because it's a large facility as well. But it's important, I say, now the scary part is making sure the speakers and the sponsors are very legitimate companies. Because a lot of people are now trusting me to make sure that we give them accurate information. And so I think we spent a lot more time, as much time as we can to say, what are you saying on stage, it can't be promoting something they shouldn't be promoting? You can't be saying something that they lead in wrong misinformation. And so that's changed over the years even more, to make sure that what's being said on stages is appropriate for new beginners.
Matt Zahab: 13:28
And yeah, talk to about COVID and virtual events. Now we had Erhan Korhaliller on and he ran some incredible events as well. He pivoted from massive events over in Europe, brought them all online and has had, you know, crazy success online. I know you've done the same. How does that work? Like what are the biggest differences that you know, the average Joe wouldn't think of besides that no shit, one's in person and one's online.
Tracy Leparulo: 14:00
Yeah, exactly. Right. Like it's been exciting to go virtual. I love the metaverse. So I do a lot of stuff in decentraland to try and make it go above and beyond. I find with virtual, you still are competing, in some sense with great podcasts like yourself, right? Like there's podcasts and there's like YouTube channels and like online content, like it's a different kind of game than physical events, I would say. So it's been exciting because we had way over 10,000 people to virtual event, which, so it's like you get more people you get more eyeballs, you could track a bit better. But do you make those meaningful connections? Did a sale get made? And I know for a fact, I know tons and tons of deals have been made at my conferences. I actually really, it's one of the biggest metrics we're proud of. Some of the largest deals in crypto have been made at the conference and private dinners at the conference. And so that part you can track right and that part just doesn't happen. The networking, the meaningful connections and that's why we say all these events, the same people, but we're all growing together all connecting together, we're also all realizing who's a scam together and who not to work with and who to work with. And so I don't think events will ever lose its luster. I think there's a spot for virtual events. And I think hybrids the future, it always has been, I've always streamed, pre COVID I always stream my events anyways, so people around the world to still have access to it. But I'm really excited to get back in person. I think we
Matt Zahab: 15:23
100% I and all of us cannot wait to get back into you all are know, real world and I know vaccines and everything else is really helping that and hopefully we can keep the positive ball rolling. You touched on decentraland we had DCL blogger Matty, he was episode number two. You know, Matty?,
Tracy Leparulo: 15:42
I love Matty.
Matt Zahab: 15:43
So Matty crushed it and taught me so much about decentraland and everything else. You sound like a guru, a little bit of a guru yourself.
Tracy Leparulo: 15:52
I learned from Matty
Matt Zahab: 15:54
You learned from Matty as well. Shout out Matty, we'd love to have you on again. And he was super early in the space, he has quite a lot of land. But tell me how you go about throwing a like a virtual event and decentraland. And also before you do that, for our listeners who are not familiar with decentraland, please give a quick explanation of that before you get into the whole virtual event throwing.
Tracy Leparulo: 16:19
Yeah, sure. So decentraland is something called the metaverse. It's almost like a virtual reality, or digital land that you can go online. And so basically, you get your avatar you can walk around this digital land but the difference between decentraland is that it's all built on the blockchain so people could own land that's verified that if they're collectible, it's all based around somebody like a non fungible token space. And so what I do with events is people can actually go with their avatar go into the metaverse go into decentralland and actually watch the event there. And so I work with people like Matty as well as Steve Juan and quite a few others that are really known in the space, Michael Gordon from GTA. And so what we do is we create these really cool events online. So decentraland's making it easier and easier. You post an event, people kind of go there. There's still a long way away. But you know, if you look at the timeline of where it's going, like it's for sure the future. In COVID, it like at least gave a nice experience that you could actually meet people. We have two really exciting NFT drops that we're going to be doing in decentraland coming up. So Floyd Mayweather will be one and the other one is ozuna. So it's gonna be coming up next week. I don't think anyone knows that yet. So the first time you'll hear it on the show. So that's going to be in the bitbuzz gallery. And so people can go there, they can like check out the art and then they can actually likely get a proof of attendance token for actually going there. And then we're going to be going and it'll be linking out to Rarible where both of those auctions will be on. So yeah, it's exciting. We also have streamed clubhouses in there. So it just gives another outlet for people to hang out on. I just think the more more people that get onto it, the more exciting there'll be.
Matt Zahab: 17:59
Floyd Mayweather ever heard of him? Just only you know, perfect record 50-0 or maybe 51-0, will be 52-0 after he bounces Logan's head off the canvas. I don't know if he'll do that. Maybe he'll just dance for you know, the whole hour that the fight is just because he is a showman and probably wouldn't want to end it after a round anyway. But that is a story for another day. Tell me more about the Floyd or I guess the better question is tell me as much as you can tell me about the Floyd Mayweather NFT?
Tracy Leparulo: 18:27
Sure. So this is where my position as Zytara becomes really important. So I'm head of marketing at Zytara. What we do is we bridge the gap between, we're building a digital financial institution of tomorrow, we're bridging the gap between big brands and blockchain really. And so what we're doing is we are helping facilitate the NFT drop for Floyd Mayweather Jr. And we announced that a few days ago, the first piece will be dropping on May 26. And then we have some exciting things coming out for the fight. And yeah, so that's why I'm actually going to Miami. I'm going to Miami to get on stage with Floyd Mayweather, also first time heard this talk right now no one knows. Yeah, it's good practice.
Matt Zahab: 19:08
Wow, not bad. Are you going to the fight too?
Tracy Leparulo: 19:11
I will be going to the fight I have a box of the fight yeah.
Matt Zahab: 19:14
You got room for a plus uno?
Tracy Leparulo: 19:15
Yeah, right. So I said you're in Miami.
Matt Zahab: 19:18
If you got room for the plus one I might join that flight back to Canada.
Tracy Leparulo: 19:25
I think It'll be exciting. There will be a lot of buzz for sure, a lot of people are talking about the fight in the Bitcoin space. And yeah, I think there's a really nice story to be said like it's been interesting trying to understand Floyd's vision with the NFT because he's known as Floyd Money Mayweather but at the same time, he wants this to be a piece for everybody and so he's come from an actually very rough background. He really started from the bottom and I think a lot of you in crypto can resonate with that. And so he actually doesn't want it to be too flashy. He really wants this to talk about his legacy continuing on and that's been a little bit humbling experience because you know, the persona of him is you know, money and things like that. But I think there's some really raw stories behind it. So we're excited to bring that to light.
Matt Zahab: 20:09
That's so cool. That's gonna be crazy. I think this is gonna make a great segue into the Bitcoin conference in Miami. What are you speaking about there? And what are your expectations of the whole conference?
Tracy Leparulo: 20:23
I'm so excited for the conference. I love Bitcoin magazine and BTC media. I think they've done such a great job. I've known them for years and so very excited for them to have us. I'll be speaking with Floyd Mayweather. We're going to talk about his legacy. I guess you'll have to find out on stage then. But yeah, I'm excited for the whole thing. There's also something called NFT Basil's its an art gallery, they will be dropping our piece there, we'll be doing something in the Bitcoin auction, with Floyd and yeah, so I'm going with the company called Zytara. If you guys haven't heard of Zytara yet its because they've been in stealth mode for marketing, but they have quite a large, extensive developer team building a banking platform, really focused on eSports. And now really more traditional sports and entertainment. And the NFT space has just exploded and brought big brands the blockchain more than we've ever seen it. And then ties as Zytara is actually a company that I've advised for years called Digital bits. And so they're really sophisticated team and I'm excited to continue to advise digital bits while heading marketing for Zytara.
Matt Zahab: 21:29
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Tracy Leparulo: 22:38
You know, I've done poker. I've planned poker tournaments. So I do know extensively about it. We actually planned a big one in Bahamas, which is exciting for one of the conferences. So yeah, you know what? My first company that we worked with, the founders, the one with crypto kit, actually one of the founders of Ethereum. And that was his first project was in the gambling space in crypto. And so it's exciting to see these new companies come about and I think it's a it's a good outlet for people to find online.
Matt Zahab: 23:09
That's really cool. I want to go back to Zytara for a second, sorry, my apologies on this. What did you say the slogan was, again, something digital?
Tracy Leparulo: 23:17
Digital institution of the future
Matt Zahab: 23:19
Digital institution of the future. I got that.
Tracy Leparulo: 23:22
That's my slogan for them.
Matt Zahab: 23:25
The Tracy slogan, you better charge them for that. Tell me what the future plan of that looks like. Because again, that's a pretty ballsy slogan. You know, like, you gotta have a pretty good plan to back that up.
Tracy Leparulo: 23:35
Totally. So we have a team of over almost 30 developers that are focused on a FinTech app. So at the core, we are a FinTech company that bridges the gap between traditional finance and digital assets. And so it's a pretty extensive company that has like so much experience with like MasterCard visa payments, FinTech, just the whole realm of a digital platform. And so people are able to, they'll eventually be able to top up kind of their their mobile app, they'll have a physical and digital prepaid debit card, so anywhere, any merchant that accepts it will be able to use it anywhere. The other part about why we focus on gaming is because in gaming, there's a big need in that space, especially for teenagers, because they're asking their parents for their credit card. And kids are asking their parents for their credit card to buy jewels and to buy skins to buy these different things. And so they're building specifically a FinTech app that focuses right now on gamers, so people can actually use it within game and just really at all merchants. In addition, though, from just having your, you know, your Fiat or your cash, you'll be able to actually include digital assets NFTs cryptocurrencies and kind of everything else in the wallet. So it's an exciting space because of the people that are not in the blockchain space that are on the team. That's what gets me excited cuz I've been in tons of blockchain projects like you name them, but it's actually the FinTech employees on the team that get me really excited because they're like, this is how we do it. And if you can think of a PayPal or Venmo, like this is how you traditionally do it. So we'll be able to go to stores and top up and just bringing the traditional side to it. But because we're building it from the ground up, it's not archaic, like these ones right now. So to go and include cryptocurrency, and like I would say, an app is currently live, it's probably a lot harder than rebuilding it. And so it's exciting, we're going to be launching quite soon. So we're excited for it.
Matt Zahab: 25:27
Really cool. That sounds like an absolutely incredible project. If you don't mind me asking why sort of the incognito approach up until now?
Tracy Leparulo: 25:35
I guess they want to build product and tech first, you know, and I agree with that. Like there's so many projects in blockchain that just come up with a slide deck. And a really showy, we have this massive telegram group, but then you realize it's like two developers and a white paper. So they took the other approach. They said let's make these partnerships, they're also really legitimate partnerships with traditional financial institutions, so they have to be very careful with how they say things in the press, because there's a lot of approvals and stuff. So they went stealth they're building the tech, and it's almost there. And then you know, then we make a splash. That's why they bring me on board.
Matt Zahab: 26:09
Not bad at all.
Tracy Leparulo: 26:12
I only joined teams that have a tech. That was the main reason why I got there. I don't like joining teams that don't have it. And so it was important to me to see the tech and see what they were building in order for me to join to market.
Matt Zahab: 26:23
Yeah of course. It passed the Tracy test. And that's all you need. Tell me the name. Why the names Zytara. Again, my last name is Zahab. Tomato tomahto. I don't get offended by people who pronounce it. But anytime there's the Z in the last name, I always love it. So why the name?
Tracy Leparulo: 26:41
I think that's it. I think it's the Z, right? So they have a stable coin Z USD. So a lot of this is based around a stable coin, especially the in app payments. That's something for our founder to answer. I keep kind of poking him for it, he just likes the name Zytara.
Matt Zahab: 26:54
Not bad. Would he jump on the pod?
Tracy Leparulo: 26:57
Yeah, for sure he'd jump on the pod.
Matt Zahab: 26:59
Okay, we'll have to get him on.
Tracy Leparulo: 27:00
Yes. Ask him a question for me as well.
Matt Zahab: 27:02
I will. Yeah, you might get the whip out because you didn't know the answer to that. Sorry for putting you on the spot.
Tracy Leparulo: 27:09
No no I've asked him.
Matt Zahab: 27:12
I want to go back to, I want to say it was an East Waterloo hackathon. And I believe this was where crypto kitties was launched, probably the project and the NFT space that really started the boom, I could be wrong with that. But to my understanding you were at that event, you were one of the ones that made that happen. You saw the rise and saw the crash. I'd love to get any crazy stories you have from that.
Tracy Leparulo: 27:40
Yeah, so East Waterloo was a ride in itself. They did launch at our events. So they were the most fun group ever. They showed up in tie dye t shirts. And they showed up It was 1000 bucks a pop. Did you know at the time, full with these kitten cat balloons, like helium balloons. And we had over 400 of the top Ethereum developers in the world, including a lot of the original Ethereum team come there and they stood out. And you know what, I think it kind of rattled some people, because even after when they ended up winning, one of the, there was like tier two or one, we had to go ahead and do conflict resolution. Go to people and be like, oh, well, they had a product before this and things like that. And, you know, it was like, they were so good and they were so bright and they were so amazing that it shook the space up. And it didn't surprise and they were so successful because ultimately they had a great idea and then the cats are cute, but it was a team that was really amazing. And you could tell they were bold and bright and it was a fun experience with them. I think it's like the clogging of that network freaked me out though, because then it was like you now, as a few months later came ut and it was on coin desk. I as like $ETH Waterloo, you now, project I'm like, oh shit, hy am I getting all these oogle Alerts? And then we wer talking about Ethereum, righ . And so it was like it was a first time I think our spa e really witnessed how the netwo k can be used exponentially a d how gas prices will actually e a problem. And so that toda , gas prices are low, b t yesterd disclosure, like did you have any clue that it was gonna be this big, crypto kitties? Honestly, I did. Because like I said, when they walked into that room, and they had the bright colored t shirts, and they come up with balloons, and there was just, there was this energy around it. You knew this was something real. And you know, people were excited when they left the conference about it. The other thing about these hackathons, when we first started that first one, especially is I really brought a lot of big thought leaders into the space. You know, Joseph blue who was there to talk, like everybody was there. And so when you get all those eyeballs on a project, something magical happens. And that's why in person events are so important. Like I remember that event we did is like, the point of it we were playing at was like we need top talent. We're not leaving this hackathon without really good smart contracts coming out of it. And so we're like, how do we design the event for this to happen? So while half of the people 12 o'clock hit, maybe they went to bed, I stayed up all night for two nights straight to make sure like, how do we make the developers who are staying up all night, stay up all night so we can get the best one. So we're like, hey, 50% of the people at 12 are gone. Let's not worry about them. One o'clock comes around. Alright guys, what can we get? Okay, guys, smoothies, already two o'clock comes around, okay, what do we need guys just have like a yoga like, let's keep going. And then slowly, slowly, you saw by the end and I'd always, my favorite time at hackathons is like three in the morning. I go to every project, like I hang out with them, make sure they're good, see what they have. And like, so when the event got smaller, you know, this is the crew so I can see firsthand like these 20 groups here are the ones that are gonna win because they care the most about it. They're asking questions or talking to me about things. And crypto kitties was one of them. And so it was like I kind of knew I'm like this is gonna be big. And that's like the first hackathon I did for Ethereum. It was the CEO of cosmos. Ethan Buckman, like was just a dev became CEO of cosmos, you know, Charles Hoskinson, just, you know, part of the Ethereum team, became cardano. And it was all because of these hackathons that they really cared about that, you know, you fast forward a year later and then they're biggest thing ever so I was used to it at these hackathons that I'm like whoever is really putting time here, there's a real opportunity and then once they actually win a piece, you know that they have real tech behind it. So yeah, I wasn't surprised at all crypto kitties did so well.
Matt Zahab: 31:25
Did you snag one or doesn't?
Tracy Leparulo: 31:26
Yeah, dozens of sticker the teachers and plus, like I they come to my events a few times. We teach people how to get crypto kitty. Yeah we got some crypto kitties.
Matt Zahab: 31:38
That's awesome. That's a great story. That must have been really cool seeing that. You are very bullish on NFTs. You and I have worked for NFTs, we dropped a Dole ad read for a really cool NFT that came out a couple of weeks ago. That was awesome. And I have a lot of fun doing that as well. You were a bit of an NFT guru. You got into it super early. A lot of guests don't like when I call them gurus but you are a guru. Tell me about the future of NFTs and what applications they can have to become more bulletproof moving forward.
Tracy Leparulo: 32:12
Definitely. I think everything in blockchain, they always start off like very simple so people can grasp the concept. I never thought the word non fungible token would be so common, I always thought it was like a very hard term so the fact that that has gone so mainstream, like I would think digital collectible but like it just shows me how far it can go. I think the future of NFTs is obviously past collectability and just art and more about access and functionality of it. I think there's gonna be a lot of boring stuff coming out that are NFTs that maybe won't make the headlines, but everything from documents to even tracking things like supply chain management to pretty much anything online. So I think right now it's getting a lot of buzz because musics going on it and arts going on it and you know, pieces, videos are going on it but there's a lot of boring things that NFTs can get on that are probably going to be a lot bigger than what's going on right now.
Matt Zahab: 33:09
Speaking of NFTs, gas fees. You just touched on those. Such a problem yesterday. I think we had $1,000 gas fees, and you know, hour long wait times for a transactional network. That is unscalable. That is not going to work, that is a capital no bueno. And that would scare away any rookie into the space. What do you see as the solution for the super high gas fees?
Tracy Leparulo: 33:34
Yeah, it's a obviously a significant problem and specific NFTs it makes it almost like unattainable now like why would I buy $200 NFT if it's $1,000 gas? It just devalues everything. So the obvious options are huge, new blockchains. Right, they're actually going to come out to do it. That's why I'm pretty excited about digital bits because it isn't that much gas fees. And they're really planning something off for NFTs. It's going to be allowed to be a lot faster, a lot cheaper, a lot easier for big brands, specifically. I think there's a very missed opportunity when it comes to promotional items and NFTs because of the gas fees, it just makes it completely unrealistic. So even if you want to pay the gas fees and give them something free, they'll be able to move it out. And so definitely new blockchains for it. And then when it comes to Ethereum, I always make the comparison of like dial up internet. Like at one point dial up internet and no one thought a video could ever go online and YouTube would never work out and then we figured it out. And so I think we'll end up figuring all this out. I don't know what the actual solution will be for Ethereum, obviously Matic seems like a really good solution a lot of layer two solutions. But I do think there's a lot more exciting blockchains coming out overall. What I like about our founder of digital bits and like the CEOs at Zytara, I've worked with him for quite a few years now is he actually was around in the internet days and like I love hanging around these like old guys or girls who around in the internet days to compare the two spaces because I love like learning from the past. And and when you compare where we are today, the internet, I just read recently is like we're at the exact amount of people that are in Bitcoin that was on the internet in 2017. So now we're like trying to compare okay, what companies came out in 20? Oh, sorry, sorry. 2007. So right now we're at 2007 with the internet. So it's likely what companies came out in 2007. Well, you know, what funds were funding companies. And so, you know, when did Amazon come out? When did Google come out? When does Shopify come out you know? So I think we're gonna see a lot of them. Like, I know a lot of guys that were NFTs that just didn't make it to this time. It's so sad. It's like, oh, man, like, they were so early. They just, they couldn't make it to this this moment. And so it's which crypto companies can hang on till their moment happens because everyone's moments happen. Fan tokens are coming up very quickly, social tokens are coming up really quickly. Stable coins, I think of just the iceberg of what it is, loyalty points, they sound boring, but they're the future, you know. So all those are gonna eventually come up. So who can actually hang on and then what companies are going to come in and just do a better?
Matt Zahab: 36:13
Very well said there? You have a couple more questions, Tracy, and this has been a treat, thank you. You've literally dedicated your career to sort of bringing blockchain technology to the mainstream audience. I know that is your MO, like if you had a billboard anywhere, that's probably what it would say. Or, you know, what would it say to bring that but I'm not going to, that's a Tim Ferriss question. I'm not gonna steal his question. But what do you think needs to happen? And I know, this is such a tough question, but like, what can the crypto community do and the blockchain community do to sort of increase and lengthen that bridge? Or I guess, shorten that bridge rather, from crypto to mainstream people?
Tracy Leparulo: 36:56
Yeah I guess what I like to always say is I got involved in cryptocurrency and I wasn't a developer and I wasn't in financial markets and I was a girl in a very male dominated space like bright pink hair. And I was able to make my mark and like figure it out. And so I think people get very intimidated by cryptocurrency and blockchain they get overwhelmed with it. And they think that this is not for me and this is somebody else but that couldn't be more wrong. The space is very inclusive to everybody. It does take a bit of time to really understand everything but once you do try, make your mark in whatever way it is. For me, it was community building and events and marketing for you might be something else but just whoever you are, try and make that mark and more importantly once you are in the space and you found a place here, be very open to answer questions that other people have you know, so it's like I said, it's important to ask questions, but I think it's more important for people in our position to answer those questions. And so overall come to an event you know, come to my events go to any events whether there go to virtual events, I think they're important part of the industry. I think their main reason why crypto has been where it is today is just people coming together and building it and don't forget that the new guy that comes in. You were there once, we all were there one so it's important to remember
Matt Zahab: 38:16
Party stories. I need one before you go. Give me a crazy party story from a crypto event.
Tracy Leparulo: 38:22
Oh my gosh, party stories. What if I told you I couldn't remember them all kidding. No, I guess the craziest party stories every time crypto hits a milestone so like I said $1,000 champagne was popping everywhere in Toronto and nightclubs were going on. Happened again at 10k right happened again a 30. Party stories? I'm trying to think, I know after this I'll be like, oh, I had the greatest one but.
Matt Zahab: 38:52
We'll get you on for round two
Tracy Leparulo: 38:54
Let me think, yeah. I'll text you a good party story. Or, come out to Miami. The only place open up in the world right now and we'll have a party story together.
Matt Zahab: 39:01
Yes, there you go. So Tracy is on the block. Miami she'll be releasing a couple hot party stories couple hot takes here now. Bitcoin 100k. We know it's not an if because it's going to happen. When? Give me a Tracy hot take here. When is it going to go down?
Tracy Leparulo: 39:18
We're in may 20 2021 right now. I'm going to say by November 10 2021.
Matt Zahab: 39:26
You heard it. Novermber 10, 2021 mega bullish except to don't use leverage kids be good to yourself.
Tracy Leparulo: 39:32
Yeah this is not financial advice at all. Actually. I'm just being optimistic on this podcast. I think everyone needs to be very careful how they invest.
Matt Zahab: 39:41
Yes, neither of us are financial advisors. One of us is a professional event planner and so take advice in regards to that and that is about it. One of the questions that I usually ask that is sort of gone now is Ethereum at 5k or Bitcoin at 100k. What will happen first? Do you think there's any chance Bitcoin takes that or is that a no bueno?
Tracy Leparulo: 40:02
Oh, no Ethereum's gonna take that.
Matt Zahab: 40:04
Who is Satoshi?
Tracy Leparulo: 40:06
Matt Zahab: 40:08
You've probably heard some good rumors.
Tracy Leparulo: 40:10
I've heard lots of good rumors. I had a Netflix documentary come to an event that I put up with Vitalik and it was about who is Satoshi, and I gave them best lines. I said, whoever Satoshi is, you got to look at the event list in 2013 and 2012 right? Because he probably went to some of these events just wanting to like, so I'm like we have to go find all the event lists as soon as it, ummmm.... I don't know. I don't know who it is.
Matt Zahab: 40:35
You just said it's, uh, I know you know who it is.
Tracy Leparulo: 40:39
I guess Finnney?
Matt Zahab: 40:42
Tracy Leparulo: 40:42
Hal Finney, yeah. It's obviously Hal Finney. It has to be. Like how can it not be? Like he literally got the first transaction that's literally on the blockchain. Plus, he's unfortunately passed away. So that's why he hasn't moved it, and he lived a block from Dorian Nakamoto. And it's got to be him. I hope it's him.
Matt Zahab: 41:05
Cool. No, that's probably the best bet. Favorite crypto city in the world.
Tracy Leparulo: 41:12
Toronto. Come to Toronto.
Matt Zahab: 41:16
I agree, biased, on both of us though. Number two?
Tracy Leparulo: 41:20
Oh my gosh, New York. You know what I really like the Caribbean islands. Barbados is a great island for cryptos, a lot of people in Barbados are crypto. What are yours? What's yours?
Matt Zahab: 41:29
Probably Toronto, Miami.
Tracy Leparulo: 41:30
Miami. Yeah, maybe after this weekend I'll say Miami. Yeah, I guess like Barbados, you go there and you say you're crypto and you'll just find a group of like 50 people that kind of come around you. Yeah, because they're really friendly to crypto as well.
Matt Zahab: 41:46
I've never been to Malta Dubai or Singapore but I'm sure those three...
Tracy Leparulo: 41:50
I love Dubai. Malta super sketchy. So not a fan. I've never been there but I've just heard stories, like you want to be in a place that's very accepting of it. And you know, back in the day Montreal actually in Canada you have a lot, like I remember poutine places accepting it. I hate thinking all the stories because I regret everything I bought with Bitcoin back in the day. I've like probably the world's most expensive like Panini maker right now. And like spice rack.
Matt Zahab: 42:17
Was it purchased with Bitcoin?
Tracy Leparulo: 42:19
Yeah, I purchased on newegg.com and stuff. So it's like, but yeah, Toronto is honestly great. New York's a really good one, consensus does a great job there. And then the Caribbean islands. And that's not thinking about actually I went to Australia for edcon and that was quite interesting. A lot of people in Ethereum and blockchain there too.
Matt Zahab: 42:39
When's the next Toronto event going to go down? I know it's completely locked down.
Tracy Leparulo: 42:42
As soon as we're allowed to have one.
Matt Zahab: 42:44
You're going to throw a banger?
Tracy Leparulo: 42:45
We're gonna throw a banger. I think we're just gonna go at it. I think with crypto honestly, with our tickets, no one really plans until the month before. So I've done this now rinse and repeat. The second we can open up the doors that we could have a successful event. We're rocking one here.
Matt Zahab: 42:58
Well, count me in on that. Tracy, this has been awesome. I had a really good time and I learned a lot. Appreciate it. Hope you had a blast.
Tracy Leparulo: 43:08
Thank you so much. Obviously in Toronto, you could be speaker. Come see Matt in person one day.
Matt Zahab: 43:16
Love that. That is awesome. Thanks again. Appreciate it. And we'll keep in touch 100% and I will see you in two weeks. I will see you speaking and I will be your plus uno at the Floyd Mayweather got room for the box.
Tracy Leparulo: 43:31
All right let' do it. Sounds good.
Matt Zahab: 43:32
I'm not too big. I'm about six feet 175, 180 on a bad day. So I don't take up too much room. So I'll squeeze in. But, Tracy thanks again. Appreciate it.
Tracy Leparulo: 43:42
Thank you so much. Take care.
Matt Zahab: 43:44
Folks, this wa Tracy Leparulo from untracea le and Zytara. Hope you had blast listening to her. I ce tainly did and I learned a lo from this episode. You can fi d her on socials. I will post ll of these to the show note . But since I forgot and I ne er do Tracy, who's still on the line with us. So Tracy whe e can our guests find you Zy ara and untraceable on socials?
Tracy Leparulo: 44:09
Yeah so my Tw tter is Tracy Leparulo. You ca get me at untraceable Inc. Or zytara HQ on Twitter. So tha ks so much
Matt Zahab: 44:19
You heard it there folks. If you enjoyed this episo e, and I hope you did, please su scribe to the podcast, that is the crypto news podcast. You can find us on Apple, Spotify Stitcher, overcast Google Amazo , you name it, we are there. nd you can learn more abou us cryptonews.com and @crypton ws on all socials. As lways appreciate you love you an hope you have an amazing rest f the day. Have a good one.