Episode 470: Jack Vinijtrongjit, Co-Founder and CEO at AAG

In this episode, Mike Townsend speaks with Jack Vinijtrongjit the Co-Founder and CEO at AAG. Jack is a serial entrepreneur, avid investor, and advisor to global Web2 & Web3 tech start-ups. Tech enthusiast with an extensive background in enterprise software architecture and development. He created platforms for scalable applications in omnichannel retail (XY Retail), content management (TOOVIA), and real estate (CozyBid). Jack is a TIBCO alumnus.

Host: Mike Townsend

Guests: Jack Vinijtrongjit

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Episode Transcript

Mike: Thanks for tuning to another episode of Around The Coin. Today's guest, Jack Vinijtrongjit, is the CEO and co-founder of AAG. AAG has raised over 20 million with over 70 employees building out infrastructure for Web3 and metaverse adoption. Jack is a serial entrepreneur having started four companies before this.

He's a avid investor and advisor to other Web3 projects, and he's deeply familiar with the current landscape. So we talked about that. We talked about how is Web3 doing, what's actually happening in the metaverse, or what will the Metaverse actually look like when it does happen? We dove into different projects.

We talked about AAG. And we also discussed just generally the market climate and the adoption across the world for crypto Web3. We talked about Japan being from Tokyo or in Tokyo. Jack is interesting to hear his perspective because Japan, unlike other countries, pulls people in to Web3 and the metaverse, the government will actively encourage people to utilize technology more so than any other country that I know of.

They. Utilizing middle schools in Web3, like VR middle schools, and we talked about all sorts of things that Japan is doing, which is an interesting kind of case study. Hope you enjoy this conversation. Here is Jack, co-founder, CEO of AAG.

Mike: All right, Jack, thanks for joining Around, The Coin podcast. I know you've been involved in multiple things in crypto and Web3 and blockchain. you're now running AAG. Why don't we start off there?  

Could you give me the brief explainer of what AAG is and what part of the blockchain Web3 landscape you find yourself most interested in nowadays?

Jack: Yeah, sure. So I mean, so like a short version is AAG is essentially trying. to Make things easier for both consumer and businesses to come into Web3, right. Because when, when we, we started off actually on the game flight side, we had one of the largest gear in the world working with a lot of different people in different demographics and our user from all the place, only 18 to 75 years old.

And as we keep expanding to education and middle now, our users die from six years old. So we see a lot of gaps in the whole. I mean work three, is to begin with. So technology kind of geared towards, early adopters, right? So because of that, our user was struggling and that's why we had to kinda instead solving something like more interesting like business use cases.

We had to go back to the basic and, from even starting working on a wildlife, for example. So yeah, so we've been working mainly on with infrastructure so that for the past year, And now I think we kind of get there and I think we are gonna start working on more like solving use cases and working with different companies and or actually different sectors to see like what they can do with versus,  

Mike: so do you think of it as still in the early prototyping and design phases where you're figuring out product market fit? Or give me a sense of how long and at what scale the AAG ventures is.  

Jack: I mean, I would say so I, I, I had full startups, right? This is my full startup now. I would say we pretty much ready to go to market. So we just give access to our partners to for our wallet, for example, right? So I think we start from there and, and we keep, continue to build.

So as part of building the M one wallet, we also end up building our own search engine because there wasn't anything that like up to par available to. And then middle One model itself also is essentially like, it is basically composing of seven to eight different products and you can actually sell each of those off separately as well to enterprise users, right?

So I think we're ready to go. We just trying to figure out right now whether we can scale and I think within two to three weeks we pretty much gonna open them up to the public and all these different businesses.  

Mike: Okay.  

Tell me a little bit about your previous startups. Which of these had, I imagine as startups, do they have different trajectories?

Mm-hmm. Which of those stand out to you as being one of the startups that you learned the most from?  

Jack: I, I mean, they all, I, I, I don't, I would say every experience I learn from, right. Whether it is big or small or like, whether. Had an exit or not? When I first got into startup, I mean, I came from the corporate consulting side, right?

I used to do technical consulting. So when I first got into startup, I had to really quickly figure out how to work with very, very small team, right? Where everyone's do everything right? I, I remember I had a super intern that was doing pretty much everything, hr, accounting, research marketing, and she was like, , right?

Mm-hmm. . And now she's actually exited with DoorDash and a few other companies. So I mean, in, in Start it is really all about like how fast you can adapt, how fast you can learn, and how much willing to listen and learn from other people, right? And where the ideas are free flowing. So I learned that very quickly.

And then the interesting thing is, I mean, the idea that you have from the beginning might not be the right one. Like you said, with the product market, when we came, the first start I was working with in Silicon Valley, when we came out with the application platform, people didn't actually know what we are doing because mm-hmm.

it was a little bit too early. Right? So what we ended up end up doing was we had to build application on top. So that bill was like, oh, so you can actually build application on top of this platform and for like travel for using, in fashion, running businesses and all this, right. And then as, as we keep moving, then once you have an example, if you understand, I remember we, so we used to run one of the largest lifestyle I guess, content platform out there.

And that actually end up transition us to the next startup because one of the luxury Italian luxury brand saw it and they're like, Hey, can you build something like this for us as well? Right? Can we use your platform? They're like, oh, by the way, we also will open a our flagship store in Beverly Hills.

And because of that, and they didn't have, they were figuring out how to open the store. They didn't have the solve effort. So it's like, Hey, can you also build a point of sale for us? So we ended up building the point of sales and that become the next startup, which really is going on right, call XY retail.

Mike: Wow. Interesting. And so you were building the content platform, so this would be like a WordPress host. So sort of like brand,  

Jack: it's a little more than that. It's much more complex. We had like billions and billions of pages. Right. But it would, so we built a platform where I think we had over a thousand writers at one point, right?

So we're paying them for the content that they write, and then we would. I also use the content that syndicated from all these different network, a lot of time from through RSS feed, from Pinterest, Facebook, Google. I would say at one point we have like any page on Google or Facebook, we also find on our website, right?

And we bring all this content because that, that was we were very, very early content marketing, right? So what we are doing is that, was that we allow people to curate content and also make money. Right. They also get paid per view because they help drive the traffic to our website and, and that that platform that we built, we actually still use the same kind of architecture even in AAG as well.

Right? Because like we learn how we build. I mean, I was part of probably six or seven different platforms that we built so far in the past, I mean, from since I graduated. So a lot of the things I learned. Apply to AAG so that we don't make the same mistakes, essentially.  

Mike: Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about that.  

So you're gonna start up a new platform. So for people listening that may be wanting to start up a new platform and set it up correctly, what are what, what's the general like architecture that you would follow in building, building a new, I mean, when you say platform, do you mean just website or is a specific definition of platform?

Jack: So I mean, Fundamentally, the way I think how we can see in terms of development is that we need to allow third party to also develop, right? Mm-hmm. . And at the same time, even for our own team, we need to make it as simple as possible. For example, if they want to launch a new API for like one of our partners, which we did recently, right?

So one of our API is actually our wallet and our APIs coupled together give this unique feature where you can. So you have access to entity across wallet and cross chains without actually having to connect to all different wallets. So you connect to one wallet. Let's say you have your salt on Salina, your helmet on Ethereum, and your boot on.

Even if you connect to just Ether Wallet, you actually have the access to all. , right? And that it only took me about five to 10 minutes to expose to our partner because we have, when we first started a, we first build this platform where it's so easy to build this microservices. It could take like five to 10 minutes and then you can expose it, right?

And because of the app productivity goes up significantly. You say, Hey, what problem do you need to solve? Then you only solve that problem having to, to worry about security, scalability, or extensibility, because those are all taken care of by the platform. If that makes sense. Got it.  


Mike: So, so just by analogy, so you, you had a custom-built like PHP website that was a, that, that a brand was posting.

Billions of page views from thousands of writers. So it was like seo. And so you are mm-hmm. you at the time you were running a company that was building the technology for this yeah. Clothing brand and, and very popular one. And they wanted to open up a store. You built the point of sales system when you've built multiple startups since then.

Mm-hmm. , you said you used the same architecture or the same like structure, that that's a successful structure. Is that, like, are you utilizing a lot of, like, content writers and having SEO be a big part of the strategy, or what did you mean by that?  

Jack: I mean, SEO is always the big part of the strategy. So since then, I mean that platform is no longer exists, right?

And what we learn is that we can actually aggregate a lot of content from everywhere, and then we provide additional feature. For example we haven't launched this new feature yet, but in the near future, even AAG website, we have all the news from around the world, which will actually give away for people to react to it, right?

So from the EEO SEO's perspective, I mean, there's all these news that don't, we don't actually generate, right? So we can, for example, listen to RSS feed coming in and we give away for people to react. Right. For example, do people think this is fake, this is real. Is it useful? Is it not useful? They can comment on it.

And that by itself for each piece of new become one page, right to seo our block, our blockchain explorer as well. Because we doing a lot cross chain work. I mean, I think in the near future will have like 10 billion pages because each of the transaction, each of the event wallet, all this all become pages.

Mm-hmm. , right? Yeah. So learning from the past experience, we are able to cut the cost down significantly instead of spending money on ads, right? We have all this content out there that if people search for any game or any decentralized application, we'll put most, like will be on page one, for example. Right? That helps save us a lot of money. So Google, Google search engine traffic is a big part of the acquisition strategy. Yes, definitely.  

Mike: And so you guys have raised 13 million, is that right? About there?  

Jack: So 12.5 in the private round and then Yeah. Yeah. Total about 23. 23. Some some, yeah. 23 or 24 million.

Mike: Okay. And there's about 70 people in the company now. Does that sound right?  

Jack: We, I think, think as of today we have 77.  

Mike: And when you describe the different operations or the different parts of what the company does, is the company divided across multiple different objectives. You mentioned the wallet, you mentioned some other things.

Or do you sort of see this as like one overarching mission and North Star, and if so, what? What is that overarching, how do you describe what that overarching mission is?

Jack: I mean, our mission is to, if you take a look right, our mission is to basically enable economic opportunity for people through the Metaverse economy.

Mm-hmm. . Right? So what does that mean? I mean, we know Metaverse is coming, we know web3 is coming. Right? How do we make it so that it's easy for people to come in, it's safe for people to come in so that they can participate in this new, new economy without getting left behind. Right? So that's the idea. Now in terms of how we break down people in our team, everyone's kind of wearing multiple hats.

I mean, 77. Peoples might sound a lot, and I think about 64 people are directly involved in the product, with the product in some way, whether the engineering product, team design or content team. Right. But so, like for example, even though I'm a ceo, I'm still involved with all the product. I still write code, right?

So I, I work on a wallet, I work on a search engine. I typically do all the work on the content side. So basically I do a lot of automation, internal operation. I also do the automat. Right. And then like Nick, for example, who's our VP of engineering he's take care of the core platform, so the platform that I, I mean to about scalability and security and all that stuff.

And at the same time, he also help work on certain application behind asset discovery and many other things, security framework.  

Mike: Got it.  

And, and so how, when you say Web3 is coming, metaverse is coming, not a lot of people would disagree with that, but a lot of people would disagree with and are just generally unclear about what it looks like.

Mm-hmm. , how do you articulate the, the, the most confident trajectory of the next safe? Few years, you know what, what we can expect within five years as to how this sort of shapes out today. It's like ICOs, NFTs. Mm-hmm. , you know, certainly we're in like a depression now with FTX collapsing around centralized exchanges.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of. Like unanimous or consensus around the optimistic short-term future, do you see this as being inevitable long term? And if so, what is the, what can we first expect when we say the metaverse economy and. And the Web3 economy, what does that mean to you in like practical terms?

Jack: Sure. So let me first separate out, so for me, Web3 and metaverse can run separately, right? Even though they kind of intervene in some way, or for like Sandbox case, they basically say it's the same thing, right? So on the Web3 side, I think the next big thing really gonna be adoption. So what we, we've done a little bit of study and we are predicting that by 2024 there'll be a lot of mainstream user coming in. Right? And these are the one that will never use metamask. They will never use hardware, wallet, multi wallet. And that's why we built our wallet out for those type users that aren't just coming in, the one that used to security create, that the bank provide, for example.

Right? And, and what they are seeking is actually something useful to do outside DeFi and even game fire, right? Even game fire right now is basically a form of DeFi so without going beyond this, like what we are doing right now, people will be like, then why do you have to come in? Right? Because when you have innovation, it has to bring two things or one of the two things, at least one, it has to basically allow you to do something new that you can't do before.

Second, it has to at least make it, if it more efficient. Right. So if either one of these does not exist in your thesis, then why bring it at all? And we still at that point now, especially in D five, cuz now the interested, interested start coming back up. Right? My friends bank in Hong Kong now is giving you 6%, right?

Which is also much safer than going to D DeFi. And like our right now you probably get like 2% with scc, right? With the risk of DeFi. So now what is a selling point now for def? , right? Because banks are safer. This, I'm not almost exchange, I'm talking about just let's say, cause DBS also now giving 4.8100000000000005%, right?

So then that's, let's say option now. So the DeFi, I don't think is the what gonna bring in people, what can bring in people into Web3 certain cases. Like, actually, let me give one example, right. Sneaker trading. Like  

how, how much do you know about sneaker trading?  

Mike: I know about it. I don't actively participate.

Jack: Okay, so the way it works is that you have the buyer, the seller, and the authenticator, right? Mm-hmm. . So typically this cycle takes about seven to nine days. I used to help build a platform that do this as part of the other company go, right? And like the only one I know. Yeah. So, so let's say take the case of.

Right. So now the, the, the seller, when they send the item to be authenticated, right? So let's say that take three days and then authenticated might take another three days, right? Or sometimes there's a long, like we take over a week. So that's how, and then when you send it to the buyer, that takes in three days.

Now what if you turn it to be NFT, right? So the seller authentical, they issue energy for it and then keep it the vault somewhere. So they, they actually not preserve the quality of the sneaker as well. Instead of it just being out there with add in the wind water or whatever, right? So because of that, now once it's issue, it gets sent to the bio in seconds.

Right now after that, the, the buyer can go turn around and go and sell it. To the next buyer, right? Yeah. So all the sudden, instead you taking seven to nine days, you can trade even a hundred times a day, right?  

Mike: Imagine when, so the idea is not, it's not that the validator is is, is checking that the shoe is in good condition.

I mean, the shoe might be destroyed and you're still trading that NFT.  

Jack: They, it, it, they have to check that is real, right? Real. So this two things. So some ID number is real. and then also the quality, because sometimes people might even buy this raw quality if it's won by, let's say, Kobe Bryant when he died.


Mike: Right. Okay. So they can't check, obviously the NFTs can't verify the, the status of the actual physical item.  

Jack: No, it has to, it has to be, there has to be human intervention there. Right? So for this particular use kit is interesting because it's actually benefit three parties. So from the, from the consumer side, they can trade faster, right?

So they. Basically don't have to wait as long they have. And let's say when Kobe Bryan died, his Pepsi went 200 to $6,000, right? Mm-hmm. . So now it's the second case. So the second side here is the brand is happy because they get 10% revenue fee, for example. Right. So now instead of producing a pair of shoes for a hundred dollars, say 200, so margins a hundred dollars, right?

On that day alone when it went to 200 to 6,000, right? If you get 10% of $600, all of a sudden you margin that pair of shoes is $700. Right? And it thought it could, and then because it could be traded multiple times a day, I mean, that day Nike probably could make like thousands of percent from that single pair shoes.

Wow. And of course doctors is happy because they have the platform and they allow you to do this. So whenever you have the technology and you can have a win, win, win scenario, I mean it's a no brainer. And this kind of scenario, this kind of use case, I think will start popping up more and more as people understand Web3 and how to actually use it.

So these are not just for, I mean it's still collectable, but these are not digital collectible, like the bald and all those things, right? These are like the practical thing that kind of peck against a real world. .  

Mike: Right. Well, I would argue that the shoes. In the same sense that a Bored Ape is not functional, the shoes are not, you're not buying these shoes to wear 'em, you're buying them.

Correct. They're not what's collectable.  


Jack: Collectables do not care. Yeah. Right, right, right. So if when in the world where the collectors only buy to trade, then it does not matter. Now if, if the final buyer want to redeem it, then it will come up on the wall. You burn the energy and you get the item. Right, right.

So now if you go even further, so let's say, you can say the environment also, because if the whole point is to just trade, then I never can, no one actually can ever wear them. Then why produce them at all? So then you can say the cost of the material, the shipping, all those things, and then you only mean them when someone actually want them.

Right? . I mean, it can go on and on and on. So this is one of the use cases that I think is, is already real. I mean, it's been like on stock for a year now, I think. Mm-hmm. and, and it really help people think like what could come next?  

Mike: Right? I put this, so I think about things generally in classifications, and then put the classification in a relative.

Stack ranking in life. So the, the, the classification this would be is like numerically identified, right? They're not a commodity. It's like, this is item number 4, 8, 5 8, and then that is in the collectibles, meaning that they don't serve any practical function by default. You could put shoes on if you needed to, but by default, Bored Apes and Kobe's shoes are still in this classification of Like finite, numbered, fungible not fungible, collectable items, which probably are pretty fringe, right?

Most people don't collect anything. And then for those who do collect, they're very passionate about the thing and it matters a lot, but it's still. It, it still to me seems like where, so then let's continue this.  

So Metaverse Web3 meta the company formally Facebook clearly going in this direction, strongly investing billions, and their proposition seems to be more around the visual and interactive replacement to the two dimensional screen and the, and the mouse and the keyboard.

Mm-hmm. so different, you know, really, really different. And, and in many ways, to me, seems. Broadly applicable because we're communicating on a 2D screen. How much better would it be if Jack and I could just throw on our, our just glasses and we're like, in the same room or in the jungle or something like way more interesting.

Is that not what gets you excited? What you think about when you think of the metaverse and what's in the short term uh, rollout? I mean, Oculus is on version three. What happens when they hit version six, seven? Does everyone start using it?  

Jack: Mm-hmm. . , that is actually not the part that excite me because, I mean, it depends, right?

Because there's definition, different definition for Metaverse. So for, for me, of course, it's all about social media, social interactions, all this, right? But at at the same time, they also start pointing out now with education. I think education is the part that's gonna take off first because first of all, you do not have to have like some.

I mean, even if you have realistic graphics, you can already do because you have very limited number of student in the same class or maybe just by themself. Right? So what, so for me, metaphors has, the definition is a little bit different. For me, it's about how the data get to the user, right? So there's four mediums.

So there's basically like screen, like you said, there's VR and censor, right? And then the other part is actually the velocity that the data get. So let's say you wear, where are glasses and you take a look, let's say this piece art behind me, right? So typically what you have to do, you pull your phone out and you basically try to Google it.

Maybe you take, use Google lens and basically trying to see if it shows up, right? But now with AI glass, you take a look at it, it should already tell you, right, okay, who actually painted it? Where can you buy? And all those things. So the velocity is different now from, from the main perspective. They focus a lot on the, on the beyond side.

I mean, because they bought Oculus and, and, and they, a lot of people kind of a little bit brainwashed by snow grass and also like ready play one, right? Mm-hmm. ready play one. What? People don't  

Mike: brainwash. What about inspired ?  

Jack: I mean, yes, it's no, when I say brainwash is because people don't, I mean, it's a dystopia scenario, right?

Where people no longer want to be in the real world, so they want. Right. So, but we are not there yet, right? So, so because of that, whatever you can do in real world, you would not actually want to go and do in the Metaverse. First of all, it's much more difficult. It's cumbersome. Like for example, you would never want to go to a bank in the middle, right?

Because in the real world, you pull out your phone, take 20 seconds to transfer money. If you go to the bank in the middle birth, you go away in. , you have to walk, you don't even know where to go sometime. And then you spend time with the teller and maybe it takes like 10 minutes. It doesn't make sense.

Mike: It's like taking your electric car to a gas station, just it doesn't complete, why would you, you know?  

Jack: Yeah.  

But what vi give you, at least let's say first from the education perspective, is that it remove the physical limitation. Mm-hmm. , right? So there's a reason that we don't learn physics and chemistry until high school typically.

Right, because it's dangerous if you mix around chemical, it blows up and it can hurt you, right? Mm-hmm. . So in a matter words, you can actually inspire kids by allow them to learn all these things when they're like five or six, right? They can do all these experiment without harming themself, right? Or let's say a teacher want to go take their student to the moon and learn about basically gravity.

Like they can go jump around the moon. They can do that. I mean, technically the public can do something real well. It's just gonna cost like a few billion. Right. So it's not practical, but in the matter words, they can take them there and I mean, kids can be inspired very easily, right? They, they, and they actually enjoy because learning through experience is actually much better than just reading books, studying about it and talk about it, right?

So that's why I think education will take off first.

And if you take a look at example, in Japan. In Japan, I dunno if you know this, but all the largest metaverses are in. Right. Virtual sh has the Guine Guin world record right now with half a million kilo show up at the same time for Halloween party 2019.

Right. So this is produced by k i and, and then they, now that's, so that's a digital club of sh are now expand to different area of Tokyo.  

Mike: And so when that happened in 2019, was this people in their apartments putting on a Oculus and diving into the same party or like  

Jack: some use vr, some just use their screen and they all just show up to the same party?

Yeah. They had concert, they had events, they have different activities going on.  

Mike: Okay. Side note, why is this happening in Japan? Why do you think Japan seem, I mean, when you said it, it's like, it seems obvious, but why? What is, why? Why do I feel like that's obvious? Why is Japan? I

Jack: mean in the, the culture itself with anime and with gaming, I mean it's that Japan is a given, right?

But at the same time, it's because the government actually promoting Metaverse since actually pretty actively, like I live in Tokyo actually. Right? So every week they would have a TV program talking about metaphors and what it can do for businesses, for people. Right. Then every, every week they give different use cases and sometimes they even talk about how certain game will produce and how does it affect your emotion, all those things.

Right. Interestingly, . They also talk about metaverses that created, produced by outside of Japan. Like for example, I think three or four weeks ago, they would talk about the metaverse produced by the Department of Defense in the us right? It's actually one of those, one that they use for, to train their soldier before they go to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example.

If you go that directly, There'll be a few things that that could essentially harm them. Like that could be a sandstorm, there could be ambush, there could be many, many things going through a land mine. All right. And having a chance to actually get trained in their own matter kind of help I guess get their social to be ready and be prepared.

So they didn't like freak out when they, when that happened. Totally training. So there's all these ones that actually people know about in Japan, but when they ask people in the, they're like, oh, never heard about this.  

Mike: Hmm. Right. So in a sense like Japan leans into the future where maybe the, yeah. The west kind of reluctantly falls into it.

Like the mess the, the press and the media kind of are, are very skeptical, often critical of technological advancement. Whereas in Japan, they're like, Hey, let's, let's, let's, the government's pulling people in this direction, Hey, sign up faster. Yeah, move faster. Which is interesting cuz Japan historically had been the.

I think the last major civilization to be integrated into the global economy and trade. They were, you know, they,  

Jack: they were basically self isolated.  

Mike: And now look at that. Now they're like advancing the, the rate of progress of,

Jack: I mean, they know, right? That information is king. And if you live in Japan and you watch TV data, you'll see that there are probably more documentary.

TV dramas and all this constantly, this, you can learn about something every day, all day in so many different channels. Right?  

Mike: Yeah.  

I don't get to talk to people who live in Japan all that frequently, especially people working in Web3 and Metaverse. What do you think the, what do you think both, maybe the culture of Japan more softly or explicitly the government is, is seeing, are they saying, Hey, this is our chance to. improve the way that we live? Or, or what do you think the narrative is that's playing out for people in the culture or the government?  

Jack: Yeah, actually, anyone really thought that much about that. So I, I think the narrative that is that, first of all, I think they want people, that people to be ready because I mean, like you said, they've been behind before?.

Right. So they want to get ahead. They, again, they don't know whether it is, I mean, I think they all believe it's like me. It is gonna be the next big thing, right? I mean, it's definitely coming. Mm-hmm. And they don't want people to be behind. Right? So at least they, they know, they heard about, they, they know a little bit about it.

They know what, how it's gonna impact them. Mm-hmm. . Right. So that, that, that people are ready now this, they even go further. There's a few, there's a university now, university high school and junior high are now exclusively in the middle also in Japan. Right. Wow. They go that far, so they experimenting to see how effective is it to like teach in the s Right.

Interesting. Again, there's no physical limitation. It's much more interac. It's also much more interesting to kid because it's almost like video game in some way.  

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I wonder if that's a function of the density. I mean, Tokyo is, I think, the most dense or most populated, at least city in the world.

Least one. Yes. And it seems like the technological adoption from the government is incredibly strong. I mean, South Korea comes to mind, but there's not too many places that rival. Technological advancement adoption that Tokyo does. I almost think of maybe the metaverse technology as. I don't think of Japan as being the place where it's being built, but I think of it as the place where it's being used.

So maybe it's built in other countries, but it's being like Japan is like early adopters. They're like, Hey, we'll we'll use it for everyone. And there seems to be maybe like not the same level of critic criticism of it, you know, if you were to launch, for instance, a middle school VR. In the US people, it would be a lot of backlash, a lot of political pushback.

Oh, this is bad for kids. This is, we shouldn't do this. But Japan, you're not getting that. Is that right?  

Jack: I'm pretty sure they get that as well, but at least people who are willing to like, go for it. Mm-hmm. in a way, and, and Covid does help, right? Because in Covid no one could go to class and all that thing.

So I think because they already used to go to classes. So why not take a step further and actually be more interactive in the Metaverse? That's how I kind of see it.  

Mike: Yeah

interesting. All right, so metaverse may be a little bit more vague. You mentioned the classroom setting, but ultimately when you think of Metaverse, do you think of the glasses and the ar vr experience? Is that the core?  

Jack: Yeah, that, that's only one part of it. So it's glasses, ar, vr, but at the same time, so metaverse to me is, is gamification as well, right? Mm-hmm. . So I mean, if, if you live in, actually, well, you live in Singapore before, so you, you know that some people actually would go to a restaurant just because they credit card keep them 3% off, right?

Mm-hmm. , so, I mean, people, people used to be gameified the real world already. I think Metaverse itself without gamification. It, it won't take off. So, so now it's just a matter of like, what else can you do to push people? Right? So one example I give to a government in Asia a few months ago is, let's say there's a region in the country where it's heavily affected by C right?

And they also rely heavily on tourism. Now, one way to help revive that region is to send a bunch of people up there, right? But how would you. So let's say you can, in the Capitals city, you can organize, let's say a government sponsored science fair. And the only way for your kids to actually enter is for your kid.

So the parents to drive their kids up to that region, learn about the culture, about the history, and earn ant, which will basically become the, the access key to enter that competition in the city, right? Mm-hmm. . So now is that far Fish? Probably not because I mean people willing to do so many random. Right for that kids.

And, and now I think it's gonna be the part where we are gonna start experimenting on like, how far can we really push people to certain benefit? And I think that has to be part of the narrative of Metaverse as well. Hmm. Interesting. And, and because of that Metaverse work, three kind of join force, right?

Because work three is nothing but crm. It's really how you like, basically manage your yeah, manage your users and. Providing benefits and all that.  

Mike: Now, is it fair to make the analogy that the metaverse would be the like proprioception layer, so this is the layer of which you see, you hear mm-hmm. , maybe you feel with hap haptic feedback.

Yeah. But, but that, that's primarily what I think of as meta is building Apple is probably developing. Mm-hmm. , it seems to me the most obvious. Form function, you know, beyond the iPhone. It's like, it's 2D screens are not gonna be here forever. Like, just way more compelling to have a three dimensional interactive experience.

And then Web3 is the, it's like the cognitive layer or the infrastructure layer behind it. It allows you to, through blockchain technology buy, trade, sell, move things around without having any centralization or a centralized organizer of that. Is that a fair. You yang to it.  

Jack: Yeah, I, I, I would say that's fair. Yeah.  

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. And so with all that being said  

there's so much to build. How do you think about, with, with your limited resources, your team, how do you sort of prioritize what's, what do we do today? What's, what's next to build ?

Jack: The way we, I mean, at least the way I think is that if I'm gonna solve a single problem, right?

I need to see. I see the whole thing holistically. Like our wallet is that example. The reason is basically seven or eight different products combined together is because, I mean, when people give you a wallet to use and they don't like, think about all these different other things, like for example, I mean blockchain security itself, like even managing C faces pass faces and privacy and all that, right?

That is just the basic, that is literally just blockchain. Right. Our wallet has like basically what we call seven layer of security on top, because I mean, like even someone who'd been in the industry for a while, right? I mean, I,

I stopped playing around with Bitcoin since 2011. I still make mistakes a few months ago on Solana because I did not know that wallet address is case sensitive, right?

Mm-hmm. and my, my. My keyboard was, was fault. When whenever copy and paste, the last character get deleted. Ah. Right. So I said, and I knew that, so I said, okay, what is the last character? It's Capital E by type. In lower case I lost $2,000. Oh, that should never happen to anyone anymore. Where did,  

Mike: wait, where does that go?

Where, I mean, does that just  

Jack: go, its go into the black hole and when someone get lucky and basically matched up that wallet, they.  

Mike: But it's unavailable to anyone. Like why can't you get it? Someone, you know, the mistake you made.  

Jack: I mean, I, I can't get it because no one actually owned that wallet. Mm. Because of just that one case.

Right. And it, it is, yeah. Silly things like that, it should never happen. Like, and a lot of our users, right, because on the game side, like I said, I mean, our user demographic is so wide. A lot of them, they don't understand basic finance. They don't understand te. Right. So we can't expect them to like think about this kind of stuff.

Or even like a lot of people got scammed because they went on on Twitter and then they see this same one bdc, you get one by BTC back, right? So many of our team got scammed actually. Mm-hmm. . So even all that we trying to prevent as well. So we essentially track all these wallet addresses on the, on social.

And let's say if you're trying to go and send it, we'll be like, basically be like, Hey, by the way, did you find that on Twitter? Because if you did, you probably don't wanna send it. Right? So we trying to go as far as possible. Also like the the, because we have to deal with kids right then. So people be like, Hey, why don't you just give them $10?

Like what's the harm? But the problem in crypto is $10. You know, it can turn to $200,000 the next day sometimes, right? So when that happened, If you're a parent, your nightmare, your kid go and basically buy a truckload of candy that show up in front of your house and you be like, there you go. Your college tuition is gone, right?

Mm-hmm. . So you may want to put in some kind of pan control, so you control that your kid can only spend $10 a day. They didn't have, spend more that you can approve it. Mm-hmm. . So why is that only available in an enterprise vault? Right? Why is it not available for consumer? So basically we are trying to bring all these enterprise.

Features to consumer and at the same time make it easier to use as well. Otherwise, there will never be a Web3 adoption. Yeah. Because when people make a mistake, they will just go away and say, I, I'm trying to send money back to my mom in, in, let's say the Philippines, right? And then I just lost $2,000 and there's no one can help me revert it.

Then you're done. That is. Yeah. Right. So, so that, so that, that's why I said when we try to solve the problem, it's not like blockchain security is pretty much the so problem. Mm-hmm. , right? Whether it's easy to use, not easy to use, but it's other things that a lot of you don't focus on. And the problem in web is everyone building so modular, That they be like, Hey, okay, so there are eight different gaps out there.

Why don't someone go and put them all together? Mm-hmm. , which is the wrong approach. Mm-hmm. , right? Yeah. And, and you will never earn trust from web to user that way. You have to and say, Hey, we thought about this, this, this, and this, and this, so that when you come in, you'll feel safe. And then at the same time, we also allow them to discover new use cases, right?

That's why we build our app store as well. So first of all, they can discover new things we can do. Second, they will never go to the wrong. Because it's so easy to go on my contract and website these days. You can launch Uniswap B for in like two hours. Mm-hmm. . So yeah, it is a lot of thing that that we, we think about when we build product and that's why a lot of time hero thing were crazy.

Like I, I remember back in October when we launched our dev store and our AAG economy and a few other things, people are like, why are you building all this? Right? So people see all this product like horizon. So I, what I did was I draw this diagram and I turned it this way. So blockchain security at the bottom, and then all these layers are now additional security for our users.

Right now the picture is complete. And then once we have this foundation, then we can extend to build all these other applications like privacy, focus features so that you don't have to review your wallet to even spend all these things, right? But without this foundation, it will never work.

Mike: Mm.

And so what do you think of as we stand here now, December 1st, 2022?

Mm-hmm. , we're in a, a significant depressing depressive period. What, what is, what is happening? I mean, do you think the, there, do you think there's a, a realization that. Hey, we've been working on this stuff for years. It hasn't taken off. We're somehow misdirected as a society as to the, the potential for the technology.

Do you view this as maybe a psychological ups and downs as like, how do you sort of digest or make sense of the wild up and downs? Cause intuitively I would. You know, as technology develops, like without any other technology, it kind of gradually goes v1, v2, v3, V4 V five, it, it gets early adopters on v1 v2 but doesn't hit market critical mass by like V4 V five.

There's like kind of like real use cases happening. It doesn't seem to me that there's real use cases happening in like where is it happening in and how do you sort of make sense of the broad landscape.  

Jack: There are actually quite. It's just that they, they don't get mentioned because they're not exciting and, and it's not something you can speculate on.

Right. And that's why, I mean, you keep hearing about crypto and energy because people making money or losing money on it every day on Twitter or stocked with, on all these side, you basically see people screaming, yelling, or say, Hey, I just make money, or I just lose money. Right. And or even on the news, they focus more on the price and that's why you don't hear about the actual innovation.

The sneaker trading certification. I mean, people using in agriculture now also, Right. Or like, supply chain has been around, I mean, COVID vaccine get transferred from Europe into Asia. That's also on blockchain. Mm-hmm. , right. So and also, I mean, there, there's so many different use cases that I think we'll start surfacing because now there's a lot more enterprise company, a lot of si like Accenture, Deloitte, and all those guys now.

Thinking about what their client might want and what kind of tool will they build so that they can enable their client to provide these services to their customers. Right? So when these bigger guy now start coming in, then people start getting more serious about the actual application rather than basically speculation.

Mm-hmm. , right? So I don't, I mean, The market's gonna be bad. Like we don't even know how far the far are gonna be with, with ftx, right? Mm-hmm. I think it's gonna, I mean, I know one VC that lost over a million dollars on just serum, so yeah, just serum alone. Hundred million dollars, right? So, I mean, I think that that will probably last for another, like six months or one year.

And then there'll be more and more for with centralized exchanges, different platform, different project running up.  

Mike: Yeah. So what, and what, what is happening there? Is it that, like, say take another, like finance, right? Do you think finance is just insolvent in that it's just a matter of time before people withdraw the money and then finance says, Hey, we don't have it?

Is that what's happening now? When you say,  

Jack: I, I actually don't think so. For, for finance. Right. So one thing that is interesting, I actually posed a comment on one of the YouTube channel this morning. What, what's happening with Binance is that, I can't tell you the source of information I got, but back in May, they already start liquidating all these risky assets, right?

Mm-hmm. , and if you take a look, even back, even back then, if they might give you, let's say 5%, you, but it would be only for like the first $200 mm-hmm. , right? And even you've had million dollars on that. You only get like 0.1% interest rate. They all, they, they, they probably do quite a bit of blending, but at the same time, they generate shit loads of money, right?

So IBA, there was one day that I located the volume. On that day, if I calculate the fee on average to be 0.1%, they will make hundred 50 million in profit that day alone. Mm-hmm. . Right. And we had quite a bit of a bull run from, I mean, 2019 to like basically towards end of 2021. Right. So in that time, they could have accumulated all these cash.

And even today, I, I don't know what, I haven't checked the volume yet, but I think they probably still make close to. 10 million a day, right? So they're actually able to pay out onto this deposit. Now another thing is when people say, okay, there's a lot of deposit, there's people staking, right? But how much are people actually staking versus just keeping that wallet?

So with having the full picture, you just cannot tell. Mm-hmm. . And that's why people are saying, right? I mean, prove reserve doesn't mean anything unless you know about the liability, right? You know about the number of people who deposit and then you know how many people actually staking, earning the.

Right. And then how, what's the percentage of, what's the average fee? Because let's say if you have referral, I dunno how many people have referral, then you then 40% of that fee also will go through the referral. Right? So if you have this proof picture, and I hope they will release it, then we have a clear picture whether they're insolvent or not.

My guess right now is that they're okay.  

Mike: Really? Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, I would imagine that is probably not put out there for a reason. Right? I would think that if I'm cz and I'm at Binance and executive, I'm like, and we're in good shape financially, I'm thinking, put that shit out there like today.

Just say, Hey, here's exactly what our debts are. Here's what our cash on hand is. Here's the portfolio of balances we have. The fact that it's not happening is a little, little sus, right?  

Jack: So I have a theory. Yeah. So I think Binance US is, I mean, remember there was a spec that was attempting to take Binance, US public, right?

Mm-hmm. . So potentially they could be in talk or there could be in Quieted period. And then I think all this number will come out. I think they're probably just gonna go IPO by themself, right? But now the market crash, so they may wait. But the moment they're trying to go ipo, they will have to expose all this number.

Mm-hmm. . So that's when we see the moment of truth.  

Mike: Well, I would imagine that they're probably in good shape when the market is good, but when the market crashes, that's when the value that they may have on hand decreases while their debts remain consistent. So, mm-hmm. , but either way it does, it is a trying time, Yeah. So we talked about Web3, we talked about what the metaverse and Web3 look like together, and we discussed a little bit about the landscape, talked about AAG and kind of what you guys are doing. Are there any other things that come to mind as important ideas to get across or things that you think about on a regular basis that you wanna elucidate communicate?

Jack: Yeah, I think that, I think on a regular basis and I talk to, so my thing is, I really want to figure out different use cases for different sector. Mm-hmm. . So I mean like driving around, talk to, I mean, I talk to banks, I talk to supermarket, I talk to flower shop, I talk to every business. Right. Because, like I said, I really believe that Web S are coming mm-hmm.

but to, without helping these different sectors to realize what they can do. Adoption would be slow. Mm-hmm. , right? Because if you take a look back in during the.com time, right? I mean then people didn't quite understand, A lot of people didn't even want to use email, right? Because they didn't see the benefit.

They was like, oh, you can already do this. It's like arguing. When the car came, I was like, because you have a horse, you're not gonna want a car. Right. And, and I think really focusing on helping businesses understand what they can do, help the consumer understand what they can do. I think that's the key to adoption.

Mm-hmm. , I mean, if, if you have a clear cut, that's why there's actually quite a few company that put out the report, right? Mm-hmm. what this s mean for, I mean this is, I think I think Binance, Accenture, ibm, I think all this guy upload a report and it's actually very interesting. Some of them very long, like hundred 50.

Right. So when people start reading those, they're going like, oh, okay. So if you do do this in this sector, maybe we can also apply here. Mm-hmm. , those, I think what we should be focusing on right now, especially when it's downtown, you might as well have go instead trading, go spend time with these pages about what you do.

Right. And then maybe you even have the good ideas, like, okay. So if you already do this, I think can do it better. And you go and do your own startup. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . I mean, I believe there's still a lot of money. I mean, take a look at market, right? They're trying to raise 2 billion for the minimum fund. It, it, the money is, it's plenty out there.

I mean, of course it's funded, affected by Fdx and all that, right? In the tunes of hundreds of minutes, or maybe even billions. But there's always money out there that's parking there, waiting to find the next founders that come up with a good. So I don't think everything is there. If anything, it really this fair scope essentially remove the non-believers from the market.

From the equation. Yeah. Right. So then, I mean they probably were not gonna make it anyway, this accelerate and basically all, even force them to go out. I mean, I, I, I invest quite a bit as well and I have seen founders send an email say, Hey, we no longer believe in what we are doing, even though they still have 90%.

The money they raise. Yeah. They just don't believe in it because they were focusing on the decent market and trying to serve those oil, which no longer exists when the price is like this.  

Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a good realization. I mean, in some ways you kind of see the. The emotional pendulum swing. So it's like people who are way optimistic, way visionary are also the people who get bit sometimes because you can be wrong, you're not always right.

And when you're right, you're right big. When you're wrong, you can be wrong big. And it then you start to be more conservative. Like you say, you start to build, you start to read the white paper, get more thorough. You tend, people tend to work harder. They tend to go back and get jobs where they wouldn't have other.

Creativity tends to decline in down markets as people focus on like lower level Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Like, Hey, I'm gonna build like a food infrastructure or like labor laws. Mm-hmm. , or like, I'm gonna build housing or like more critical infrastructure like banking and finance as opposed to board eight.

Yep. Club like, you know, that, that, that stuff is not critical to survival, so it. That's kind of a natural part of the evolutionary process of civilization in my view, and I kind of view this as the time where it tightens up, where people say, okay, let's now focus on the things that matter the most. Give those proper attention, decrease our relative attention from like far out distant future things, and focus on the things that drive value today.

And it also attracts people in the market that were on the sidelines. Previously, maybe I managed a hedge fund and I was like, eh, crypto still seems, even though it's exploding, it still seems too risky. I don't understand it. Now, those discipline investors come into space. At the time probably, you know, I don't know.

Who knows the market looks like, but maybe whenever it does pick back up, the companies who are still around and driving growth are gonna be pretty strong fundamental businesses. I think the idea of, and this is probably where I. The Realism in me comes out where I think the idea that I put Board eight Yacht Club as kind of the categorical investment class for highly speculative, non-necessary critical functions, those things are gonna be pushed way out.

Like if you're pitching that today, you're probably coming up short. But if you're pitching something that's the more practical and pragmatic like, and it utilizes technology in crypto Web3, blockchain. Yeah. It's like.  

Jack: Yeah, it's, it's interesting, right? Because yeah, once you kind of get yourself away from speculation, it's just technology.

Mm-hmm. , I, I talked to a few government, and I mean, even this past week, I, I just flew back to Bangkok from another country, which I can't mention, but I went to talk to the government, right? And so typically when you walk in, they be like, Hey, I know what you're gonna say. But what regulation do we have to change?

That's usually, typically the first one or two question, right? And then I, my answer always is, if you use blockchain energy and technology, why the hell you have to change any regulation? This is technology. They just like internet or this, just like computer, right? So if you, when you're trying to solve a problem, you don't think.

How, I mean, web, Web3, because the, the way they is incentivized people with economy, it kind of still have to be that, right? The sense of community and when there's no incentive, there's no community. Right? Right, right. So that is always in people's mind. But at the same time, if you solve it properly and.

You really can get you don't need to change any law in a way. Yeah. At all.  

Mike: I mean, I'm with you. Where are you learning the most? Are you on Twitter? Are you on Reddit? Are you reading books, white papers? And are there a few people maybe or blogs that stand out to you as places where you've learned a considerable amount or come back to from time to time?

Jack: Well, I, what I tend to do is I just tend to go back to like some of the books, right? And my, my goal right now is actually help my team kind of get up to speed and think what I think sometimes, because not all the meeting style before, right? So I even give them like the Peter Thiel book, the Zero To One, for example.

You will. Okay. So that help, right? Help them think a little bit. , when we start working metals, I get them the metal ball the metals book, for example. So they at least have some understanding on what we are working on. Because my, my idea of running a startup is that, I mean, I get hit by a bus at any time, right?

I want to make sure that I grow my team so that they all can become a leader. I really don't care if they're just, just an intern, right? I mean, if they have a great idea, they can become the product owner and they can. do, and basically we can build a team around them. So I'm trying to provide as much knowledge as possible to the team, get them involved in the product every, every Friday we have basically the five star share inside the company for everyone to just discuss about anything.

So, yeah. And, and in terms of online I'm subscribed to so many channels and actually I, what I find the most useful and typically is a good aggregator, is actually I see a Drop Telegram channel. Hmm, okay. That's a good one. I actually find that very helpful, but at the same time, I would say every day I spend at least 15% of the day talking to people.

Mike: And are you talking on Twitter on, on online forms?  

Jack: No. Mostly, mostly on Telegram and WhatsApp. I'm connected to quite a bit of people as I travel around, collect new friends and, and yeah, ideas and sometimes just get on a random call and just chat about ideas. Awesome. So awesome because you have to Right?

And you don't know. And not everyone know everything. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And sometime you feel like you have the solutions of something and you not show each car with your friend who like, done something similar before I was like, Hey, if I have this idea, like do you think it's gonna po, is it possible will really get adoption?

Yeah. Yeah. Right. And then they can tell you straight, like yes or no sometimes. Yeah. Which is great. Yeah. Or sometimes you debate for like two hours, which is also fine because then you really know that you not just like, Imagine it's, you know, it once you build it mm-hmm. .  

Mike: Yeah. You want that honest feedback from people that you yeah.

That, you know, are also knowledgeable about it. Cool. And are you actively on Twitter, anywhere online that you want to throw out as far as your personal,  

Jack: yeah. I'm, I'm I on social media, I, yeah, I think I'm most active on Twitter, but it's, I've never been on Twitter before. Web3. Mm-hmm. , so yeah. My follow is pretty small right now.

Yeah, and, and this day I do quite a bit of speaking engagement as well. I, yeah, because I'm usually, I'm, I'm more on the more practical side thing than that's why good I get invited to, to like be on a panel or talk about I mean cuz the focus is really the adoption, right? Mm-hmm. and, and I talk a lot about adoption and what it really means and what do we really have to do, bring in Web two, which are the majority of the people right now to bring to Web3.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Well, congrats on all the progress, man. It sounds like you guys are pointed in the right direction and clearly have a good traction so far. Hope to have you back on one day, Jack, and thanks for sharing your time and your ideas. I appreciate you.

Jack: Yeah, for sure. Thanks, Mike.

Mike: All right. Take it easy.

Jack: All right.