Yeehaw Lifters! Get your stirrups ready because we have a rodeo of an interview today with early Bitcoiner, Cowboy.
Chris and cowboy originally crossed paths in the Basis Gold discord when Chris was trying to get an issue resolved. Cowboy was kind enough to help & invite Chris to his group. In today’s interview Cowboy will discuss his ideas on the gamification of DeFi, philanthropy, and how blockchain can improve the human experience.
Cowboy got into Crypto when Wikileaks donations were blocked by PayPal forcing supporters to find another avenue which was Bitcoin. Despite being a kid without much money, Cowboy saw great potential in crypto. His father used to say, “If someone had just invested $100 in Microsoft in the 80’s they would be a millionaire by now.” Taking his fathers words to heart he invested a very small amount early in BTC. Looking back now he laughs, as he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Overtime he learned to manage his money well and has successfully become his own bank. Cowboy is passionate about mass adoption and seeks to help others find financial freedom.
Cowboy doesn’t associate himself with any particular project on the blockchain. Projects that have a wide distribution is what he is really interested in. He is more into supporting projects he is excited about and willing to help them raise awareness. Very passionate about the educational side of things, he focuses on showing friends how they can earn. Most people are chasing the 100x, but he believes that there is more importance for the average person who can earn 20% on a very low risk USD position. Educating people who are not so familiar with the space and how to do it well, is where his passion lies.
Now for a few Q&A’s from the interview:
Chris: Are you familiar with Rabbithole?
Cowboy: Yes, Rabbithole is a great example of how to bring crypto to the masses. They have a learn-and-earn model which is really nice. At the very least they at least make your gas fees back which is a safe way to explore new projects.
Chris: From a gamification perspective, what have you seen?
Cowboy: That’s a really interesting question. Gamification has been a part of it from the very beginning. Blockchain is built around game theory and maybe there’s a distinction between gamification and game theory. But I’d say they’re related, yes. With blockchain mining and how the security protocols are designed, it’s essential to get all of the incentives aligned. So at the very core of the security of the protocol is this game, this mining game. A lot of DeFi projects like to build their DeFi security with some gamification in mind. There are a lot of users who have been around crypto for a long time. As you start to dabble in crypto ,especially if you get into DeFi, there are people who are just doing crazy things so that you can just see what they’re doing on the block chain. These are the people who understand game theory so well and have been practicing, working with blockchain and game theory for 10 years.
Chris: I love the idea of mining as a gaming aspect. I hadn’t really considered that. The way that they just structured how we collect tokens initially is part of the game process now. So this is spot on. How about other examples not on the block chain, but in the way that channels handle their discords or run their telegram groups.
Cowboy: I’ve seen some really interesting tipping protocols pop up over the years and they’ve been getting better. One that comes to mind is the District 0x discord. They have a tip bot where someone can just throw out an airdrop that is set on a timer. For example “Over the next half hour, anybody who clicks the button underneath this airdrop will get their share of one hundred of whatever token”. This is just like a really simple way to keep people hovering around the discord, but also rewarding their behavior from participating in the community.
Chris: Gamification also has a gambling nature behind it, right? That’s when the government steps in where if you get someone too addicted and it burns through people’s life savings, that’s when you become trouble. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Cowboy: The blockchain regulation is there, but its power is limited. So it’s nothing new to crypto for these types of games to happen. I mean there have been so many ponzis in crypto and they all kind of work on this sort of ‘too good to be true’ mentality. You’ve got to learn to protect yourself. I don’t know how to protect other people exactly, except through education. But there’s definitely a dark side to gamification. I see crypto as I see any kind of tool that can be used for good or bad.
Chris: I think that you know the magic word in there and it’s ponzi, right? Have you followed the conversations that indicate, at the end of the day, the US dollar is a ponzi scheme? As soon as the sentiment changes on the US dollar, it can go to zero. Not unlike any one of these cryptocurrency it’s just at a different scale. Reaction to that?
Cowboy: Well, I think it really depends on the mechanics of your protocol. I mean, there can be mechanics that are built in that make it very unlikely to collapse.
Chris: How do you decide to throw in while it’s in that Genesis and early entry phase when they don’t have that defined next to use case?
Cowboy: With Klondike they do have the backstop of the stability fund. I think that is something that starts to take it out of the realm of being a ponzi. In the end, the KLONX token could hold the value of the stability fund which in a sense, is the community key to the stability fund. That’s not totally true right now with KLONX, the developers still have quite a lot of power in that and that’s still a very young project. That is their main backstop that kind of starts to make the protocol useful in a substantial way. So Lift Kitchen is starting off with that right from the beginning. And I believe that you’re using the stability fund, once it gets big enough, to reinvest that and make interest. Then it starts to live on its own and the ponzi element is not as big of a part of it.
Chris: That is exactly why we created the tokenomics the way we did. It is bootstrapping to get to product building and revenue creation. Not just bootstrapping to do more bootstrapping. I think about those other projects and that’s where I think they’ve got to have that pivot moment to have secondary use cases. Even with the stabilization fund, if your sentiment dries up you’ve got nothing else to stand on
Chris: Let’s move into the next topic around philanthropy. I believe when crypto truly gets taxed is when we will start to see a significant flow of crypto winnings go into philanthropic and to tax deductions. Until then, it’ll just kind of be an afterthought.
Cowboy: I think that’s true. What’s really wrong with a lot of philanthropy is when you have CEOs or executive directors of these nonprofits that are making millions of dollars a year and maybe some of them deserve it, but maybe some of them have this nonprofit as a way to just syphon money through the organization. There’s lots of corruption in the nonprofit sector. One thing I do is video work. I am a filmmaker and I am working with a big non-profit in the US. There was a big uproar around their executive director and how much money he was making. I think that a possible solution to that is seen, is the DAO structure behind that.
Chris: As a founding team we have talked through setting aside a minimum dollar amount every month that we can distribute out to charities. What we’re trying to find is charities that run on the blockchain, so that we can watch the dispersion of funds and we understand how they’re getting used without just making a donation to the United Way’s wallet and they convert it to cash and hide it in their big treasure trove. But somebody that is trying to leverage the transparent nature of the ledger to do that distribution of funds would be our ideal target for funding.
Cowboy: I think that’s really cool. I think that the transparency of block chain is something that can really be leveraged by the people for charity and making sure that the funds are being used in the way that they’re saying they’re being used. Also taxation in the government. There’s so much opaqueness in how funds are used in governments and that’s something that I think that the transparency factor could be really useful to make sure funds are being used in the right way. I think that’s a great idea because we make capital useful in so many ways.
Chris: You should check out the Submit Ideas Forum in our Discord. It is a pre-programmed emergency response where you have all the contracts already set up so that if a hurricane hits, people could put money into that contract and it starts to disperse out to the right places. So, if you need one hundred thousand cases of water with this shipping contract, with this last mile delivery, to show up at this location in Grenada two days later and you need (x) type of medical supplies purchased and put on a boat. You could pre-assume a lot of those variables and how those funds get used so that they don’t get wasted. Then as an individual who doesn’t want to watch 20% of it go to that CEO salary, you feel much more comfortable contributing. I thought that was a compelling idea.
Cowboy: I think that’s really cool. One thing on that, which I think will be interesting as the space evolves is governance in DAOs is the efficiency there. How much will DAOs trend back towards traditional business structures? Or again with gamification, at what point does something like this take care of emergency situations? That’s definitely always a part of the security concern of making sure things are distributed.
Chris: This last topic kind of plays into the previous ones. Based on your understanding of blockchain technology and the ledger and Web3 how do we use this technology to improve everybody’s life?
Cowboy: I think it’s already happening. I’m someone who does worry about authoritarianism quite a bit, I think it’s on the rise in this world. Crypto and blockchain tech has a very fringe element to it. The flip side of it is like I said before, as many have said before, that it’s a tool and it can be used for good or bad. Cryptography could be used to usher in an even more controlled world which is something to watch out for. The blockchain space, as it’s evolved, has come from a pretty anti-authoritarian place. So I really like the freedom aspect of controlling your funds and not having middlemen. One problem with the traditional finance space is an efficiency aspect where there can be a lot of rent seekers between you and your money.
Chris: So you look at the role that the Internet played and it was the elimination of the broker. Middlemen and middlewomen taking out all of those things from a real estate perspective, from a banking perspective, from a transaction perspective. It just eliminated parts of the supply chain to make things more efficient. Blockchain has the ability to take that even a couple of steps further. Where a manufacturer can directly sell assets through a smart contract and never have to deal with any humans. Whether that’s good for us or bad for us, it is one of those use cases that accelerates what the Internet started.
What do you want to close this out with?
What’s the final passionate spiel you would give any of those newbies out there that are looking for education or those experienced folks?
What or where do we need to be taking a look at?
Cowboy: Well, as we were talking about earlier with ponzis, I think it’s really important if you’re new to the space to learn about risk management and take that really seriously. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the crazy gains, it’s really easy to escape into Dogecoin when it hits a dollar and then lose all your money. So, I just say for new people in crypto that there’s lots of fun to be had and there’s lots of opportunities to lose all your money. But there’s also lots of opportunities to amplify your savings in life changing ways.
How to contact Cowboy:
https://discord.gg/pWyXR5wMfW — Cowboy calls his discord a low shill, no ape community resource for both new and experienced crypto users.