Nick Spanos Discusses Blockchain Technologies Corp
Blockchain Technologies Corp is a Bitcoin and blockchain incubator based in New York City. The incubator is closely aligned with Nick Spanos' other ventures ...
What's up, party people. Chris DeRose here, Community Director of the Counterparty Foundation. I'm here with Nick Spanos, who is Bitcoin extraordinaire, Mr. New York Bitcoin. All kinds of stuff, we'll get into it. We're closing up the inside Bitcoin's conference here.
He's been pretty much the mayor of this entire time, for lack of a better description. So I finally got some time with him as everything is shutting down, to have a conversation with us about just the New York Bitcoin scene and who he is and where things are going. Welcome to the show, and why don't you introduce yourself? What's a quick rundown of the types of stuff you're working on right now? Hey, how's it going? Well, we have this incubator, it's Blockchain Technologies Corp. We're incubating these companies over here. All that stuff on there. We got the Blockchain Apparatus.
We got cryptos.com. We have Livery Cab, which is the first decentralized uber app. We built that in '08 but we didn't come out with it. Now we're making it decentralized. It wasn't as decentralized as we're making it now.
We're all looking at it. Look at you, right? What else do we have here? We got DAVE. We have a bunch of ATM machines. Digital Asset Vending Equipment. It's a mistype over there. It's not Enterprise.
Bitcoinption.com, it's not on there. Yes, the Bitcoinoption.com, and a bunch of stuff. I don't know. We're incubating those things, and maybe within the next two weeks, we're doing a reverse merger.
I don't know if I'm allowed to say that but I think we're going to be public soon, somehow. Oh, wow! Let's see. I got a bunch of questions but let's talk about going public. Are you going to go public on the Crypto exchanges, a la what overstock is doing? Are you going through a more conventional setup, or is that TBD at the moment? Conventionally, yes. We did all our paperwork and everything, and we'll be over in the stock exchange over there. Tell me about how the program works there? Do you do a more traditional incubator setup, where the guys are perhaps in a specific room and office building and housing is provided, or do you mostly set them up with offices and attach the venture some capital? Tell me a little bit about what your strategy is as an investor.
I'm in the real estate business, too. So I got a bunch of apartments. There are a bunch of people living in a bunch of apartments. We have office space and we have the center, to launch the stuff. So it's working pretty well. We get other investors too.
It's working out. Let's talk about the Bitcoin center. I think everybody who's seen this show has seen that in some way or another. You've been on countless documentaries. I don't know how many specials I've seen with your center in the background but how's it running? Is it operating the way that you thought it would? Is it still a learning experience for you? Tell us a bit about what you've learned and what you'd like to see coming out of the center in the future. We have a little issue that there are three swimming pools.
Well, two swimming pools and an ornamental pool above us. Sometimes we get water coming in at least once, twice, five times a week, sometimes. So we can't finish our renovation. We can't put the floors in. We can't build stages. It's a little in limbo until we get that fixed.
What happened was they built these pools with the pipes in the concrete, so they'd have to jackhammer everything, and we have a gripe with the landlord. He also put the scaffold up and blocked us in, three days after we moved in, and we had a big video billboard. Guy was going to give us at least two guys. One was at 20,000 a month and the other one was at a 30-something thousand, because our rent is like 37,500 a month. It's a big nut. Yes.
So what's with the reception in the business community? Do you think there's a lot of Wall Streeters who kind of come by? Do you think they're a little scared to be associated with the radical Bitcoin movement? How has that attitude change overtime, or has it not changed? Everyone walked through there. Federal Reserve, all these different federal agencies walked in. Attorney General's office walked in. Everyone walks in there. Stock brokers. What's the reception in there? Venture capitalists.
They're there to bust you and close down your anarchic organization, or do you think they are really like kind of wanting to learn what you guys are doing there? Yes. They pretty much probably, at first, want to shut it down. We don't really do anything in there that is illegal. We don't do anything. In fact, we could..
we don't have an exchange really. It's peer to peer. So people trade with each other. We don't make any money. As a matter of fact, we buy the booze and the food and stuff. It's difficult to run a business when laws and stuff jamming you up from actually doing something that you plan to do.
Statists going to state. That's what they do. Tell me a little bit too, about what you see in the dev community here in New York. I've traveled a bit. I've gone to San Francisco. I've gone to Buenos Aires.
Certainly, I live in Miami. I see development in various forms. Have you traveled as well, to some of these locations that are kind of known for being a Bitcoin-friendly location? How do think that the New York culture differs from these places, in terms of what projects are being assembled? There's a bunch of devs down here. Few years ago it was different. Last year was different. Now, they're more sought after.
People are coming in and snatching them up. Either going to San Francisco mostly, or you people staying in town? Many of them are staying. With our incubator, it's very easy. Someone who doesn't know what they're doing we already have something that they can jump in to, and get shares. There's going to be shares of a public company that the shares of the smaller companies trade into. It's pretty cool, I think.
It looks very promising that there's already a value to the shares. You get shares of a private company, they can do anything they want. But if it's a public company, the bosses really can't do anything. They have all kinds of rules and regulations, so they can't really dilute you. They can't do this. Unless it's written, the way it's written.
I think it's a very interesting model. I think it's the future. You have to wait for someone to, you know? The other way, you get an angel investor or vc investor, they are very beholding on the one person, and they're understanding or their expectations and stuff. If you go into the incubator that's public, and you get traded public shares for it, you already have the money from the shares. Your sum or whatever you can build your venture. You don't have a big monster standing on top of you.
I've been in the technology business since 1978. Oh, wow! Tell us about that. What is your history in IT business? Is that something you can sum up quickly or does that require a Wikipedia entry to go through? You're right. I should put one up. I try to stay out of the public eye. In '78, I built a computer.
You couldn't really buy any parts because no one was selling any parts. So I had to etch my own circuit board. I wrote a pretty simple operating system that drew a circle. You got to start somewhere. It went this way. Everything else was top down.
But mine went this way, and I used 2 Pi R. It was good. I was a member of the Homebrews. Somebody had to do it first. I'm just saying. Sounds like a trivial thing now.
But I'm sure back then, you have to program it with little screws and stuff, I'm guessing. Oh yes. I didn't have a long-term memory storage device at all. That's when I upgraded. I got a Heathkit H8 which was a computer but you had to sort it out together too. Everything, every component.
Everything had to sort together. That worked a lot better. But I didn't have a long-term memory storage device, so I was dumpster diving. I was 13 years old. I had to steal my mother's car. Hey, Jimmy.
That's my brother over there. Okay. He had to help me push the car up the driveway one night. Because I had a big, weighing 50 meg hard drive that was bigger than the refrigerator. That was a score. My long-term memory storage device, my first one, was reel-to-reel paper punch hole tape reader.
I emulated the keystrokes, so I would turn it manually by hand. The little one would go faster, and the bigger one goes slower. Then you'd see the keystrokes pop-up on the screen there, which was pretty good and pretty cool. That was my long-term memory storage device. Later, I got a cassette deck. I built a modem, the modulator-demodulator-- Yes.
--with some guy with a mailing list. The Homebrews was a mailing list. We pay 30-something bucks, 38 bucks or something. People would collaborate on code and different hardware and software and stuff. How did you find about Bitcoin? Let's zoom ahead a little bit. What was your Bitcoin discovery moment? I'm always in technology.
I had a Getaroom.com. I sold that. It was an internet company. Those were the first Airbnb and NoMoreHotels and Tiempos Cortos. In many different languages, we did it.
It was vacation rentals. Now it's branded as Airbnb and stuff. But we did that in the early '90s, mid '90s. I got one of my guys over there. Should bring him over here. You want to hear a story? It's open mic here at the NW Bitcoins.
Bitcoin, was it introduced to you by somebody, or you found it yourself? I did the data for Ron Paul. Okay. Put it together, the phone banks and stuff, and crunched his number because in the late '70s, early '80s, I'd sell labels to politicians. So I'd get the voter registration file and call out different demographics. No one had a computer but you'd sell them labels of Catholics over 60 and so I was in politics, involved in politics. Ron Paul and Bitcoin came hand in hand and I think we sold a Ron Paul domain name for 10,000.
What was it? Ten thousand eight hundred Bitcoin. Nice score. It was a great score especially if you knew what a computer was. That was a little early. We had Max Keiser in our headquarters over there. Let's talk a little bit about the Bit License.
The Bit License obviously is what everybody has been talking about here. What is your opinion? Do you think that having regulatory clarity is going to help you attract more investment or do you think that it's going to hinder investment and people are going to start businesses elsewhere? Well, it's happening already. People saying that they are not going to do anything with New Yorkers or Americans in general. So our IP addresses are blocked already. In this wonderful world I remember in the early 90s there was some Congressman who made a bill to create the internet license. I was buying up domain names and stuff, generic names, no one knew.
I didn't buy Coca-Cola. I could have but I didn't buy cocacola.com. Some other kid did but I bought about 12,000 domain names and everyone thought I was crazy you know. But I knew what was going to happen and they were coming out with the license and I said, "screw them, they can't do anything." So I kept buying them but yes, you know it's a trade-off.
How gutsy are you? I mean me, I'm a Libertarian and rather die on my feet than live on my knees. What are you going to do? It's my nature. There you go. I don't think you can close the interview any better than that. So we'll leave it at that and Nick thank you so much for being on the show. Is there anything else you want to promote? Is there any place that the audience should go to find out more about you right now? Well, I think everyone should use Bitcoin in an open and notorious fashion.
Don't be afraid of anybody or anything. We are free people, free humans and the more we use it..I mean this is the first time in creation and the first time in human history that there is actually a weapon against our-- I don't want to say overlords so I'm not going to, but there is actually a weapon that you can use instead of yelling at a building in a protest or go yell at the Federal Reserve or go yell at some building thinking you did something when they're inside laughing at you because I was on both sides. Use the Bitcoin, make people use the Bitcoin, explain the Bitcoin and that's that. Usually in politics you've got a great candidate with great issues but after the election's over no one hears from him again if he doesn't win because the media went after him.
Bitcoin's here to stay so the more we talk about it and spread the knowledge the freer we will become and it's up to you. That's Nick Spanos everyone. If you liked this video and you want to see some more interviews from here at the inside Bitcoin's conference, explore the channel. Check it out. I've got all kinds of talks we've done. I really explore the conference.
I try to bring a good feel for you guys so hopefully you appreciate the content and if you do subscribe to the channel. I'd love the have you around. Later party people.