04 September 2021 · 40 min read

Crypto Marketing, VR & Akoin w/ Erhan Korhaliller

In this episode of Cryptonews Podcast, our host Matt Zahab interviews Erhan Korhaliller, CEO & Founder of EAK Digital, BlockDown Conference and Istanbul Blockchain Week. They talk about challanges of launching a crypto VR conference, Akoin, his journey into crypto, and much more.

They touch on the following topics:

0:00 Intro
1:49 Journey into crypto
8:50 Crazy crypto party stories
12:59 BlockDown 2020
22:00 Working with AKON
26:36 Hosting a VR event
31:15 BlockDown 2021
35:02 Favourite BlockDown moments
36:44 Outro

The episode premiered on April 13, 2021.

Listen to the Cryptonews Podcast on more platforms here or find the latest episodes of our podcast here.

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Episode transcript:

Matt Zahab: 0:07

Ladies and gentlemen, I am absolutely fired up for this one. Today's guest is a public relations and marketing magician. Before he jumped into the blockchain and crypto space, he managed large scale project teams for brands like Rolls Royce and Vodafone. He's won multiple advertising awards, including the Platinum award from campaign magazine and has hosted the Austria, ANON blockchain summit in Vienna. In his spare time, he guest lectures at the University of Huddersfield Business School, giving back to the people present day. He's the founder and CEO of EAK digital paper global blockchain PR agency. He's also the founder of the Istanbul blockchain week and BlockDown, the world's premier virtual blockchain conference. I'm pleased to welcome to the crypto news podcast, Erhan Korhaliller. Erhan, welcome to the show.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 1:04

Thank you. Thank you so much for the introduction, it made me blush.

Matt Zahab:

 1:08

It is great to finally have you on board. As of the date we're recording, it is Tuesday, the 13th of April and we had quite the day today. Bitcoin smashed through a new all time high of 63k first thing I do every morning when I wake up, check that phone, terrible habit and what happens? Woke up this morning, Bitcoin 63k, Ethereum is also buzzing, that always puts a huge smile on my face. Tell me I'm not the only one doing this every morning when I wake up.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 1:38

I mean, it's the standard BlockDown pump, you know? BlockDown announcements are coming. The markets are getting ready for it. It happens with every conference.

Matt Zahab:

 1:49

I love that. I assume, well, you know what before we get into BlockDown and that is the reason we're on today. It is an absolutely incredible conference, the virtual conference, you've incorporated VR, and a multitude of other really special features into it and the guest list, come on like that is the creme de la creme of the crypto agency on the guestlist. But before we jump into that, if you could just tell our guests a little bit about yourself and how you jumped into the blockchain and crypto industry.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 2:19

Yeah, sure. So I used to work at a creative agency, a creative advertising agency as a project manager, but it was a creative agency. So that was called AKQA which is part of the WPP group, which is you know, one of the world's famous advertising group of agencies. And, you know, I spent three years there, like working on some of the brands you mentioned, Rolls Royce, Vodafone, Nike, Barclaycard, and I'm working with some amazing teams, from amazing creators, some of the best in the world, they still win awards today, all the time, AKQA and that really kind of made me, that really gave me my first break into kind of, you know, creative and advertising and media. And I was instantly just inspired by the people around me, it was some of the world's best strategists, copywriters, creatives. And, you know, and working with brands th t large, obviously, you've got udgets that, I was a project anager, so working with budget of million pound plus, an managing, you know, pr ject teams of 12, to 20 peo le from Tech to creative to al kinds of different minds, reall opens your own minds, you know To delve into that many differ nt people's kind of inn r thoughts and to sit with them nd work out how to, you know, run a project and how that who e process goes. And honestly, on e you've done that, you know, 7 9 10 20 times, in my opinion, ou're ready to go to kind of pen your own business because you're kind of like working on a business within a business bec use you have such a large udget and a large team. And, ou know, I actually before I ctually got into AKQA I was w rking for AOL, you know, the old internet company in London I had an internship there, and they have a subsidiary called ion. And basically, it was li e a video delivery network. You emember, like, back in the ol internet days when you used to have like, pay per click, and t was like video advertising and these, like, NPU slots on the ebsite? Yeah, I used to manag like about 50,000 publishers. used to, like, onboard the and I used to, like do spon ored posts. So like Heineken, wo ld say, I want to get this any views in Turkey, this many views in, you know, wherever, n France and Germany. So then we would have to, like onboard t e publishers that can get thos views and then maybe they'll g ve a budget of like, 10k to ge like sponsored posts with tha . And I was basically in charge of that publisher system as an intern. I know how they're etting a good bang for their bu k. And then when I went to a AK A I kind of kept those relations ips with the media. And I kind of just was doing, you know, ome kind of like, you know, l ttle side hustle. We were making some money, at the beginning of just beer money, you know, xtra beer, nice Nike trainers you know? It kind of just kept growing and I started paying f r my holidays, and I thought wa pretty cool. And then it sta t getting serious, you know, we started getting, we actuall started working for other agenc es like and just being like, you know, we used to like, b sically they used to, you know, e used this white label our w rk to help them get publish d on like major outlets for heir clients. And then you know, it kind of got to the point, I think when I was like 26, going n 27 when I was progressing, hile AKQA, got promoted a few t mes, but then I realized tha I wanted to travel. I wanted to travel the world, I'm rea ly a big, big traveler. And ob iously, I actually got a cli nt, and this is, I had EAK I started that on the side whe I was at Akqa. And I got a clie t in the last bull run in beginn ng of 2018 and they said to me, oh, Erhan, you know, this is mazing. I think, I won't mentio ed that the guy's name, but I t ink he got into like the ant sha es ICO like, you know, so he ade an absolute fortune to hi like, what $180 or something. S he was like, Erhan, I need to get like, better press more c edibility back in the last ball and I think he was tryin to get into like more priva e sales and grow his fund. So y u know, we did a really smashing job, but we got him on like For es and entrepreneur and Busines Insider. And he was j st like, I couldn't belie e it. You know, like, everyone, lot of people in this industr , unfortunately, you know, like say they could do things and th y don't follow through, especi lly in marketing and PR. And we follow through. And at first, I as just like, hey, man, can yo just tell me what to buy? I t ink everyone does that the beg nning. They're like, oh, I ca 't get into this just tell me wh t to buy and I'm cool with it. nd then he just said, look, fly ut to San Francisco, we'll go o an event. They're called token Fest, and I'm gonna introd ce you to all my buddies, and ike, you're gonna love it. And I was just like, wow, okay, his is this sounds cool. So I literally hopped on the plane when San Francisco went hi place, he had this amazing a artment. And then we went to thi conference. And this is like, i the ICO days, you know, just a the beginning of 2018, you kn w, I just, you know, just ike you hear all the time, I jus caught the bug. And I reali ed how kind of groundbreaking technology is, and also how assionate everyone w s, when they were talking abo t it, it really felt like you're a part of a movement. And t at was something I've always ind of intrinsically wanted to b a part of something. And, you know, the more I've kept learni g about crypto and blockchain, I think a lot of us in thi space, I really love con inuous learning, like we really love to, like absorb content And because of the amazing, you know, tech and develope s in the space, there's alw ys new, you know, new evolu ions of blockchain. And I think hat kind of just kept me ooked. And then, and then also, then seeing the really bad PR a encies and bad marketing out the e. And then like some other c mpetitive agencies, awesome, g eat agencies, by the way, but t en also, and then seeing how d fficult it is for kind of devs nd tech to like, really get ac oss their point and get across l ke, essentially what their b siness does. I saw that as a big issue. And I thought th t was a role that I could fill. And, you know, here we are to ay, we're still here, still ighting and you actually go into that a bit later

Matt Zahab:

 8:02

And the rest is history. That was, well, what a story that's awesome. Especially I've heard so many incredible stories about people getting into crypto and really falling in love while also having that the pleasure of traveling the

Erhan Korhaliller:

 8:13

So I did three years of that, about two world like and I'm sure you can attest to this as you own a world class public relations nd marketing firm but there are ike I'm speaking to people in H ng Kong in Vancouver in San Fra , you know, New York, Paris, it' just all over the world. It' crazy. and a half years if I'm being honest with you. I was living in London in my apartment and I just you know, as soon as I made enough money with AKQA I quit. nd then I decided to go okay, ell, I'm going to be a digital omad and I'm going to mix usiness and pleasure. So I'm asically going to go to Paris

Matt Zahab:

 8:50

So you spoke and touched upon the importance of lockchain week to Korea lockchain week to delta summit o Malta blockchain summit to an Francisco blockchain week a d I'm going to use that as my m p to go around the world. And o viously, if I like the place, a d there's no big conference, I m just going to stay there for a while, meet people enjoy my l fe. You know, luckily, I was s ngle at the time and, you k ow, I literally traveled the w rld for two and a half years. I fact I was doing it until p ndemic still, just going from b g conference to big conference a d as a public relations, you k ow, agency. I mean, your n twork is really, and it's very c eesy to say, but your network i your net worth. And building m relationships like that was s cond to none. And then what I a so did is I launched a YouTube c annel and not one of these c annels, I guess, hundreds of 1 00s of views but so basically, e ents we hired out like a c mera crew and I used to i terview like some of the top s eakers. So I interviewed like C Charles Hoskinson, whatever. A d, you know, that was really e citing and a bunch more s eakers and that really helped m kind of speak to, you know, s me of the big biggest fish r ght at the beginning of my c ypto journey. And then we e ded up signing Neo that way b ck in like 2018 as a client, b lieve it or not, which is f nny because that was how the fi st guy got me into crypto and al o was a significant back of min at the time. So that was weird. But like, yeah, and then we've ot them and then the kind of res was history, right? Becaus there was a lot of respec with working for Neo and then i kind of kind of snowba led from there. traveling and, man, the party's like, I'm born and raised in Toronto, I've been to a couple blockchain and crypto events in Toronto and even the after parties there. And mind you, Toronto is a great city don't get me wrong, but it's no Paris or London. Now, it's tough. If you can disclose as much good, as many good details as possible, tell me some good party stories if you have any.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 10:43

Which of them are in a above board to say on a podcast? Honestly, I mean, some of the best parties I've had. I mean, I've been to some really weird parties as well. Like, I mean, I was in Singapore for block show, I guess it was in 2019 now. It was one of the last big conferences we went to before the kind of COVID hit in March 2020. And we got taken to an unused kind of apartment, or like it was really Ding gingy. And there was the it was a really, it was kind of very cultish. I don't know if anyone's come across this kind of weird area of crypto where people were shouting people's names, prominent figures, names in the space, and then doing almost like a weird, kind of Voodoo dance. And there was a DJ. And there was like laser lights and like, you know, there was some really dodgy people there. But also people that were very well known in the industry. And then everyone was doing like, you know, like how, like the kind of New Zealand rugby team does like that. I don't know what it's called. But they do that kind of dance before they start a game.

Matt Zahab:

 11:49

Yep.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 11:49

They were all like following a trance almost and like, banging their chest. I didn't know what was going on. Honestly, it kind of freaked me out. So I didn't stay there long. But there's definitely some weird undertone at some of these parties. Apart from that one, which was very strange, you know, Malta is always a great party, especially when they first started getting the license, you know, to actually get like legal... open up your business legally there for crypto. Malta blockchain summit was really, really fun. You know, they used to have like these dancing like robots, you know, like throwing lasers and on the roof and then there was all the kind of ICO personalities there at the time. I mean, that, yeah, there's kind of all, there's so many different party stories going on, I probably need to sit here and think about it. But like, yeah, there's definitely some amazing parties. Although having said that, you know, we did go through a three year bear market and I was traveling throughout the conferences during that time. So I've heard of some crazy parties, before I even got into it at the peak of the last bull run that, you know, unfortunately, it's been robbed from us now, because of the pandemic. And I'm really gutted about that, because I wanted one of my events to be, you know, one of those very big parties. But there you go.

Matt Zahab:

 12:59

That's, well, one can only dream. Heck, we're gonna have to have you on for round two. And it'll just be a party tell session, but we'll not include names. And this is a kid friendly show. So as PG 13 is possible. I'd love to jump right into BlockDown. Now, you did something that was almost unheard of up until about march of 2020 when COVID really became a shit show and and took the world by storm. You created the BlockDown conference, which I guess was established in spring of 2020 and you had the goal in mind of bringing the whole blockchain and crypto community together from all corners of the globe. And this was obviously during an extremely challenging time. You did things that people never heard of, like virtual 3D experiences during lockdown, number one, the first conference. You did live streaming in three different languages for the second iteration. You had a Halloween spectacular for 3.0. And there was just so much flavor and so much pizzazz that was brought to each one of these events. If you could give us a very high level rundown of what exactly BlockDown is and just sort of, you know, tee our listeners off for what they can expect for BlockDown 2021 which starts in two days on Thursday, the 15th of April.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 14:30

BlockDown is an open conference for everyone to go to and enjoy, and take their mind off the terrible pandemic that the world has been in for the last year or so. And it's a way of basically me, kind of personally trying my best to focus away from all of that stuff and give myself something to focus on and manage during the whole lockdown. Like in the UK, I think we've had some of the harshest lockdowns in the world. You know, I think I've seen honestly, I think I've seen my friends about four times in the last year. So, I mean, it really, really gave me personally like a really great creative outlet to focus on. And that is really come to pass with all the different things that you've mentioned there. I think that creative side of me from Akqa, as I mentioned earlier in the podcast really came to pass because virtually, you know, the only limit is your imagination, right? So, like, you know, especially in a virtual world, I mean, you can build things, you know, if you have the right tools and the right people. So, you know, we really tried to kind of push the needle as to what was expected. But I really want to just go a little bit back from that, because just before that I was putting together Istanbul blockchain week. And that was a really big throw of the dice for me as an entrepreneur, like, I had never, you know, put on a conference with that standard, like in real life. It was the first time I was going to do that. I'm half Turkish half British, and that's why I did that, by the way. And, you know, we booked out the nicest Hotel in Istanbul is one of the new Hilton Hotels. We had some amazing speakers lined up, you know, we had CZ we had, we had Da Hong Fei we had a bunch of other huge speakers. We also had like Turkish Government coming in, we had the Turkish soccer teams coming, it was gonna be a huge event. And then, obviously COVID hit, and it was really tough for me as an entrepreneur, like I had put a lot of my money into that. And obviously, I'm a hodler, right, so I don't sell my crypto all my money was in crypto already by that point. So I used like, Nexo and to take out crypto loans, and then I paid you know, the hotel. And maybe there's been too much information. But it's really interesting because I then we had the Black Swan event, right? So we had the 54% drop 53 I think maybe in one day, which actually and then the Hilton Hotel was holding on to our money because they're worried about where their money is going to come from with this pandemic. So they actually left me, like, you know, I felt like naked in between two parties. And I actually liquidated most of my crypto in March 2020, which is only a year ago now. And that they obviously kind of destroyed me because the conference got cancelled that I was trying to create for six months. Nexo liquidated us in like an instant and I was just like, Oh, my God, like what has just happened? You know, that was the biggest roll the dice I'd ever made. I really, I don't have any backers or any investors behind the EAK, it's just me. And that was tough. Yeah, that was a tough few days. I realized Istanbul blockchain week wasn't going to go ahead ao I thought, well, what am I going to do? Am I gonna sit here in sulk? Or am I going to, you know, sit down and, you know, take the bull by the horns and like channel that negativity into a positive outlet? And that's kind of where I came up with BlockDown. I thought, well, okay. Well, I know consensus is in May. You know, we were supposed to do our event in April, the Istanbul blockchain week one. So actually, we ended up doing BlockDown just one week after the original Istanbul blockchain week was planned. So we dropped the Turkish element, we kept some of the International figures and we made it even more international, by bringing in some of the top names in crypto that by utilizing my network to bring in. And then we kind of went the whole hog. Like so within five and a half weeks of literally coming up with a BlockDown name. We came up with, as you mentioned, the whole 3D software, we're using the virtual reality we had like a sponsored nightclub by some of our sponsors, after the event, we had like a 3D virtual world with booze and auditorium and everything like that was probably the hardest five weeks I've ever worked. Like, after that you had to peel me up off the floor. You know, I sat in a dark room for like the whole weekend. But like just getting that off the ground in that time. And also, as EAK one of our clients that won't might be saying is $AKOIN and Akon. So he was always going to commit to Istanbul blockchain week so he was going to commit to BlockDown and that really gave me the kind of drive to go okay, let's do this. You know, let's make it happen. For the first one to have somebody of his stature obviously gives it you know, respect from the beginning. And then yeah, now and BlockDown has evolved you know? We really want BlockDown to be a fun conference to listen to. There's so many different conferences out there that bore me to tears. Even though the contents good, it's just too much, like just talking constantly. So we try and make it funny, you know, we try I mean, our host Chris Dawe is amazing. He is one of the highlights of the show is the CEO of effect.ai. Actually he's living another life, he should definitely be in show business. But like, yeah, you know, we try and make it really fun. We come up with new content ideas, all of the time, we always try to kind of stretch the imagination of what's possible in a virtual conference. And I know I'm kind of going a little bit long here. So I'll just kind of quickly wind up but like, I think that this event, particularly is our first anniversary event, and we're making a big celebration so there's you know, make sure that you tune in because there's going to be a bunch of surprises. We've got a new mascot now called Brian the bull which we released for this one and he's he might be making an appearance. And yeah, you know, I think personally for me, somebody that works in PR I'm always working with content and influencers and you know, it's actually nice to actually be able to put together content that I find interesting and then actually be able to see it, you know, myself on the stage. And then usually we're always asking editors, you know, to kind of write about our clients. So it's nice to have the kind of shoe on the other foot this time, but yeah, highly recommend people watch out, watch it, I think is something they want to experience before.

Matt Zahab:

 20:23

I will definitely be attending and we'll be checking that out. This episode is brought to you by our dear friend at PrimeXBT. These guys have been partners of crypto news.com for years and we are always excited about the products they have to offer. I've been using PrimeXBT for the last couple of months, and I absolutely love it. PrimeXBTt offers a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders that demand highly reliable market data and performance. Traders of all experience levels can easily design and customized layouts and widgets to best fit their trading style. PrimeXBT is always offering innovative products and professional trading conditions to all customers. PrimeXBT is running an exclusive promotion for listeners of this podcast. After making your first deposit 50% of that first deposit will be credited to your account as a bonus that can be used as an additional collateral to open positions. This promotion is available for a month after activation, and will be the boost you need to get the hang of trading quickly and efficiently. use promo code cryptonews50 to take advantage of this offer. Again, that is cryptonews five zero to receive 50% of your first deposit credited to your trading account. And now back to the show. You brought up tons of good points there we can take that conversation and go to so many different directions. Firstly, you spoke with your host what's his name Chris

Erhan Korhaliller:

 21:57

Chris Dawe. D A W E.

Matt Zahab:

 22:00

We need him on the pod. Chris, if you're listening, we'd love to have you on. Come on, tell some stories, we'd love the energy and you would be a treat to have on the podcast. Another thing you brought up and this is bananas. When I first read this when I was doing some research and going over the show notes. I was like Akon, $AKOIN. I remember hearing that last year. You got to give us the whole 360 degree story here. How did you become an advisor for $AKOIN, which is spelled a k o i n and then coin with a K? And how did you get on with Akon and yes, this is Akon the famous rapper and r&b singer. You know, Akon, the goat? How did you get on board with that man? How do you make this happen?

Erhan Korhaliller:

 22:43

Yeah, so I mean, again, it's down to traveling again. You know, it's down to meeting people and being at conferences. So I was at blockshow, again, in Singapore that we discussed earlier. And I met a lady there called Amanda. And you know, we kind of hit it off. We were introduced by a kind of third party. And she had met Akon the team at Malta blockchain summit, I think it was the first conference he'd ever kind of been as a crypto speaker. And, you know, she knew they were looking for, you know, PR agency. So she, I'm still thankful for today that she did that, you know, she put us in touch. You know, I had a call with jon and Lynn cofounders of a $AKOIN and we kind of instantly clicked. I actually spend quite a lot of time in LA, like as a digital nomad, LA and Bali are kinf of the two spots and very particularly fond off, unsurprisingly. And that's kind of that's where Akon and jon and Lynn are based. So, you know, they said, you know, they set up a meeting, you know, like, get to know each other see if, like, you know, we want to work together. And then, you know, we were sat there in West Hollywood, I think it was in a bar and I met jon Lynn, and Lynn is, you know, amazing, really upbeat lady who can make the whole cafe as uplifting with the smiling and then jon is kinda like the businessman, you know, like, is quite serious, but like, clearly don't want to deal so Jon's Akon's business partner for his whole last 20 years for music and entertainment and obviously, he's somebody who, you know, talk to very much. Anyway, you know, they they liked what I was saying about EAK and then, you know, the next day they said, you know, Akon's having an interview, with I think it was the real leaders business magazine, which on YouTube at the moment. You know, you should come to the house, you know. It wasn't a house, it was a mansion. And, you know, meet Akon and watch the interview. And it was kind of surreal, right? Because I'm, I'm 29 right. So when I was at uni, I was dancing to Akon in all those clubs in North of England, you know, thinking Wow, this is awesome. So it was definitely a surreal experience to meet Akon and start working with him. But, you know, I think I think, you know, instantly people start thinking oh its a celebrity, you know, are they really into it? And that was kind of always on my mind, you know, as somebody who really loves the space, but instantly, it wasn't instantly but like after a you know, a few weeks, months, it really became clear that Akon was really passionate about making a difference in Africa, first and foremost. And he really wanted to like, he really like was, actually made the effort to learn about the technology and that was something which separates him way from like the kind of 2017 you know, superstars. And I instantly, you know, took to that because I really related to his vision. I think blockchain technology as a whole, you know, it has a lot of good lines about banking the unbanked and helping, you know, people in the world in where they really need it. But I still don't necessarily think that's happening as much as it should yet. I think it's getting there, but it's not quite there. So I was really on board with that. And then, and then yeah, you know, we kind of continued our working relationship, you know, they really appreciated kind of my advice about you know, who to align themselves with in the industry, because that's really important, you know, right as like, even right now, right? I mean, who's coming into the industry is super famous? Gary Vee, you know, like, Vee kind of takes like the wrong intent. I'm speaking from a PR professional point of view, if he takes the interview with the wrong people, if it gets aligned with certain people in the space he's gonna get instant, you know, potential, you know, image issues.

Matt Zahab:

 26:09

For sure. Yeah, Paris Hilton. She just went head over heels into crypto and NFTs.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 26:13

Yeah and do you know what, like, I think is a great thing, because it's just gonna get more eyes into the space. I know, she's followed a bunch of the influences we work with, and they were super happy about it. So yeah, fair play to her. She's gonna sit on there, I think she's out on like CNBC with a Bitcoin t shirt on. I think I saw it the other day. So props to her. Hopefully, she can, like actually, you know, be a good advocate for Bitcoin for the kind of, you know, mainstream audience

Matt Zahab:

 26:36

100% a couple more things about BlockDown, when you gave your original spiel about BlockDown and touched on the success of the October 2020 and June 2020 speakers, I guess, April 2020, as well. You guys tied in, your whole team tied in VR to the experience, which again, was almost unheard of, at that point. Present day, you have VR opportunities to collab with brands like the sandbox from Animoca, you have opportunities to collab with Decentraland. And how do you see? Well, I guess, before we jump into that, how did you actually make that happen? Like, walk me through the whole story in the whole process of your team finally deciding we are going to tie a VR aspect into this? And how did it come to an idea all the way to a legitimate thing for BlockDown.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 27:32

So during those insane five weeks, for the first couple of weeks, we were like, the thing is, you have to remember that there wasn't any virtual events before ours, right? Like, at least in the blockchain space that I was aware of. There was this one guys that did one, and I spoke to them. And this is a true story. I spoke to them the whole virtual conference, it was two podcasts. This was completely pre recorded back to back and I told them about what I wanted to achieve. I said, I wanted to achieve a live, you know, conference, by the way, like 99% of lockdown speeches are live, every off one is pre recorded. And I wanted to create a live experience that allow people to ask questions, I want to put together 100 speakers, I want it to be you know, like, like a virtual 3d world. And honestly, their advice at the end of it was, you're crazy. You're going to make a fool out of yourself in front of the whole industry. Don't do it. And honestly, for a day or two, I was like, Oh, my God, like, I've announced it. Now I can't go back. But like, the natural entrepreneur inside of me was like, well, now that they've said, I can't do it, I'm gonna work like five times as hard to prove that I can. Not just to prove to them, but just to prove to myself that I can do it. So I decided to shun their advice, and just go for it. And then sorry, just back to your question. So, you know, we were outreaching to like, every platform, you know, like, virtual conference platform, you know, honestly, like, there wasn't many that had been made, that were able to, like, take on a virtual conference, you know. We spoke to all of the hoppins, and, you know, all of the brellers of the world. And none of them were even ready to do a virtual conference. And then we started to explore they kind of 3d kind of aspect to it. And we were reaching out to all kinds of 3d, VR, kind of, you know, platforms and we stumbled over someone who was one called sinespace. And, you know, those guys were really collaborative in terms of like, they kind of really saw the vision of what we wanted to do. But also they really saw the opportunity for them to have, you know, a VR conference, including Akon and bigger names in the industry. So it was kind of like a collaboration with them of what was possible and within a couple of weeks, we'd built this kind of 3d, you know, like you said, virtual conference and our I guess our imagination just kept running wild, you know, it's like, oh, well, if we can do that, then why can't we do a boat party? Maybe we can do a boat party, then why can't we do you know, a cinema you know, a secret cinema and you know, it just kind of kept going on and on like that and it was a nice way for us to, like I said, experiment in those areas I'm super interested in. You know I bought Oculus quest I play with my friends all the time. As somebody who like is really into emerging technologies as a whole, obviously blockchain is at the forefront. Like it was a really great experience to explore the forefront of that space and actually partake in it. So yeah, I mean, look, I would love to collaborate with a Decentraland, like you mentioned, or a Sandbox or a somnium space. And actually true to our, you know, true to our roots, the first talk of this block down is an epic talk, like don't miss it. Its first talk, and it's done by Artur Sychov I think his name is, the founder and CEO of somnium space. He's doing half an hour talk and he's doing it completely in VR. So like, it's live, and he's doing it from somnium space, he's walking around, you know, he's wearing his his VR costume, which is an NFT. And it's really blows your mind, like, it's kind of the future of, you know, communicating in the long term. So I really want people to enjoy that. And I thought it was important to have a really kind of high tech, kind of, you know, talk to kick off, the whole conference and set the scene for the rest of the event.

Matt Zahab:

 31:15

I'm really looking forward to it, especially his talk as well. A couple of highlights about this year's BlockDown 2021 conference that begins on again, Thursday, April 15th. The topics include, obviously, everything here is involved to blockchain and crypto, but we have investment, social impact gaming, trading, DeFi, security, privacy, and enterprise. And last year, throughout the three or 4 2020 BlockDown conferences, there were 20,000 plus viewers, 250 plus speakers, six live streams on media sites, and four different languages. This year, there are three different tiers of tickets, you can get your GA, general admission tickets for free, there are VIP passes, which go for 49 bucks a pop, and special VIP passes that go for $99. Can you please give our listeners a very quick explanation of the different tiering prices for the tickets? And what that gets you?

Erhan Korhaliller:

 32:20

Yeah, for sure. So first and foremost, like, we want to make a conference that's free and accessible to everyone, as blockchain technology should be. So we highly recommend that regardless of your budget, you come along and you watch the event and you enjoy yourself. In terms of the different kinds of tickets that we have the $49 tickets, so we actually have a BlockDown clubhouse agenda at the same time, it's a secret agenda. So I can drop some nuggets as to like what that is. But it's basically on the first two days. Sorry the two days, we have, like I work in PR, right? So I'm all about storytelling. And I think really learning about people's kind of crypto life stories is super interesting how, just as you asked me how they go into the space, how they can inspire others to get in the space. So five hours a day, we've got to clubhouse events to help with the networking as well. And we have like data dash, we have crypto Wendy, we have Lisa Edwards, who's a famous crypto trader and personality, and they're all going to sit on clubhouse for half an hour and give their story and their kind of peaks and troughs of how they got to go into crypto and then half an hour Q&A with anyone that wants to come in as a VIP ticket. So that's gonna be really exciting. We also have a women in crypto event there as well, which is super important to continue to promote in the space. And that's the sense in the $49 ticket. And the $99 ticket, you get to like guaranteed questions. So like on clubhouse or even during the event, we have guaranteed questions for people. So if you really want to ask, you know Erik Voorhees, a question or a comment question, grab yourself a special asset access VIP ticket. And you also have some really special roundtable events that we're sending to VIP ticket holders, where they're like really, really exlusive. So if you don't know what those are, like, feel free to drop us an email and I'm happy to share more. But either way, honestly, what I would say is the content is really epic. We've got two debates. One of them is like you know, the who's like the top youtuber now like I mean, in my opinion, like Elio trades has kind of gone from zero to hero in amazing way with superfarm. He's doing a debate right now, NFT debate tomorrow night, sorry, on Thursday with Edmond Schuster, who's a professor from the London School of Economics, I believe. An NFT bull and bear they're both super passionate in this space can be very exciting. And then one other debate, Francis Coppola, who people might know is a famous Bitcoin bear against Jimmy song with a future of money debate, those two probably gonna get pretty heated. So it's really important for us every BlockDown we bring the best content and we bring debates that people can really get behind. So I'm really you know, we're gonna send out the agenda tomorrow which so when people hear this I really think people should put that in the calendars.

Matt Zahab:

 35:02

What a treat that is going to be so much fun. I'm definitely gonna be tuning into that. Quick question. And when I reached out to our audience, this is one of the points that they really wanted to ask. And that was, what was your favorite speech and or guest and or moment of the previous BlockDown conferences?

Erhan Korhaliller:

 35:22

I think that that's a really great question. Michael Casey, obviously very famous journalist in the space for coin desk. He did a really amazing fireside chat with CZ, I think that was BlockDown two and I actually went wild behind the scenes because our production team cut them. Like at the right time, it was 45 minutes, but I really want them to go longer so I was texting him saying keep them on, keep them on and they cut them and I was literally pulling my hair out like, no. That was a really amazing fireside chat, even now you can go to YouTube and catch that. I also would like to say my other favorite one would be I mean, there's so many, you know, moments where I really enjoyed. But I would say that my fireside chat with Toby Wan. She's quite a rare gem in the space in terms of she really understands China and the west and the east, you know, of what's going on in crypto. Some of the things she told me was kind of really mind bending. I did a fireside chat with her for the October edition that's also on YouTube to watch. And, you know, she had some really good knowledge bombs there that I'd never even considered before. And you know, it was a real honor to host her. So those two are definitely but honestly, there's so many that I couldn't list them all out. So you can check out our YouTube channel BlockDown TV, you can go through the catalog. And yeah, there's lots of content there to get your teeth into.

Matt Zahab:

 36:44

Well, this has been absolutely incredible. I know how busy you are. You have the conference launching in t minus heck, I guess t minus 36 hours now. And we're all extremely, we're all very extremely excited for that.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 36:57

Thanks for reminding me.

Matt Zahab:

 36:59

Before I let you go, yeah, get a couple more coffees in you over the next couple of days. Before I let you go, could you please tell all of our listeners where they can find you BlockDown and EAK digital on all socials?

Erhan Korhaliller:

 37:12

Absolutely. So our website is BlockDown.com. And that's also our Twitter handle BlockDowncom and Instagram is all those all consistent. EAKDigital.com. EAK

Matt Zahab:

 37:20

100% and all of this, all of your socials will is my initials so easy for me to remember, should be easy for everyone. And then myself on Twitter, I'm ekorhaliller. A little bit harder with my surname. Somebody told me I should probably change that. Haven't got around to doing that yet. But yeah, you know, I'm probably the only person in this space with this name so it should be pretty easy to find if you can get get the spelling right on Twitter and yeah, I honestly I actually still keep a pretty low profile on Twitter. I don't know how these founders spend all day on Twitter as they do. It's quite incredible. I'm usually working really hard behind the scenes. But no, without a doubt, you know, people, everyone wants to reach out to me. If anyone would like to help out with a conference in any way, I'd love to hear from them and you know, any feedback positive or negative is 100%, you know, accepted, we'd love to hear it. We always want to make the conferences, better experiences for our guests. So yeah, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you. be included in the show notes on our podcast links on www.cryptonews.com. Our daily newsletter and all of our socials as well. So look no further not and we will hook you up with those socials. Last question before you go. Bitcoin 100k by the end of the year, is it going to happen? Yes or no?

Erhan Korhaliller:

 38:43

Absolutely. Well before the end of the year, I mean, I'm expecting that in September, you know, around fall. This is not financial advice.

Matt Zahab:

 38:55

You heard it here first, folks. EK, this was an absolute pleasure. I really appreciate you coming on. Best of luck with BlockDown 2021. Cryptonews will be there as one of your media partners. We are cheering for you. We love this event. Folks, definitely check it out and thanks again for coming on. It was an absolute treat speaking with you.

Erhan Korhaliller:

 39:12

Thanks for having me.

Matt Zahab:

 39:14

All right, all the best!