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Ariel Ling, co-founder and COO of BitMax, has shared her thoughts on the current state of digital assets and what to expect in the next years, what retail investor should take into account when buying any cryptocurrencie and the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin.submitted by BitMax_Support to BitMax [link] [comments]
Ariel Ling, BitMax COO
Why, when and how have you started your crypto journey?
I started my crypto journey at the beginning of 2018 when my long-time friend, the co-founder and CEO of BitMax.io, Dr. George Cao “pulled” me out of the traditional Wall Street and asked me to join him in launching this exciting venture. Three main drivers are 1) to learn more about blockchain technology and its transformational applications in different industries; 2) to leverage in-depth traditional finance expertise to improve overall crypto trading and exchange market structure for better efficiency and transparency; 3) to have a chance to work with a talented and driven team who share similar vision, passion and conviction to build a top global digital asset trading platform as well as a wonderful organization from good to great!
If your friend will ask you: should I consider cryptocurrencies as investment opportunity? What will be your answer? Will you recommend any specific digital asset?
Coming from traditional finance perspective, I would explain my thoughts process from three angles — 1) types of crypto or digital assets as the foundation for understanding; 2) whether they, are more for short-term trading or mid-term investment 2) what are elements for investment valuation and decision-making so our friends can assess and make decision for themselves.
First, in general there are three types of digital assets:
Second: is digital asset good for trading or investment? due to the nascent nature and very short history of market development with most of retail investors’ participation and lack of proper regulatory framework globally, there are quite some market manipulation, speculation and fraud activities in the current market, causing significant volatility and investors loss across all types within very short period of time. This made it very hard for any investors to assess the real valuation and momentum drivers behind those large swings. So at this point, I would think with its high volatility and risk, digital asset in general is more of very short-term trading product than investment vehicle. From liquidity perspective, major currency/coin-type will have more market depth across exchanges, hence more suitable for short-term trading-focused strategies.
Third, from traditional investment perspective, it is critical to assess digital asset investing from valuation and fundamental perspectives, such as business model, future growth, economic return vs. person’s risk tolerance and investment objectives. For major coins, especially Bitcoin itself with its longest history among all the digital assets, have started to provide certain payment function similar to fiat currencies in certain countries. Hence, there are more interesting dynamics to the Bitcoin investing based on one’s view of Bitcoin usage over mid-term horizon and the relative valuation vs its production (mining cost) especially with the price down to 3,500–3,650 USD. For security-type or utility tokens, the performance over short-to-medium term really comes down to combination of intrinsic value of underlying blockchain projects and token economics. Similar to Internet in 1990s, blockchain technology projects are still at the early stage of development and looking for meaningful and applicable use cases to bring real economic benefit from the economics and business model perspective, so it becomes very difficult to apply traditional finance valuation and assess the real intrinsic value of those projects. Recent market crash has brought many of those tokens down to near zero value. So the investment in those tokens are extremely high risk and everyone should be really careful and prudent in the evaluation of any specific projects for the decision-making and risk protection.
What is the story behind BitMax? Who are the foundefounders? When it was founded?
Q1 2018, Dr. George Cao and I founded Global Digital Mercantile (GDM), global operator of digital asset platforms, including BitMax.io based on Singapore for overseas markets and North America’s trading platform aiming for the first half of 2019. BitMax.io started public beta testing mid July, 2018, and was officially launched later mid August. On November 18th , we launched our mining mechanism, the industry very first transaction-mining & reverse-mining mechanism, which has made us the industry leading third-generation cryptocurrency exchange — after first generation of traditional exchanges like Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, etc. and 2nd generation of transaction-mining ones like FCoin, Bitthumb, etc.
Just a quick introduction of my partner. Dr. Cao studied Computer Science in the University of Science and Technology of China, and earned his PhD degree from the University of Chicago. Dr. Cao was the Founder and the Chief Investment Officer of Delpha Capital Management, LLC., New York, specializing in trading equity, ETFs and commodity future products in all major exchanges across the globe. He is also the founder and managing partner of Whitestone Investment Group, a New York based venture fund that invests in a large variety of startup companies that are in the high tech, fintech, big data and medical area. Before founding Delpha Capital, Mr. Cao worked at the Equity Division of Barclays Capital in both the New York and London offices. During that period, he oversaw equity electronic trading in the U.S., European and Asian markets. Prior to Barclays, he researched and traded U.S. equity as a Portfolio Manager at Knight Capital Group.
For me, I have built more than 18-year extensive experience in strategic planning, business development, financial risk management and regulatory implementation across major trading asset classes (Equity, FX, and Fixed Income) at several top global banks. Previous to jumping into digital asset trading, I ran USD liquidity and investment product for top financial institutions and corporate clients at tier-one global investment bank. Before that, I ran US Broker Dealer as COO and head of Business Development for Germany 2nd largest bank. Earlier from 2007 to 2012, I was global equity trading COO across Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, building out trading franchise and market making businesses globally. I have four degrees — graduated top of class from Nankai University with two Bachelor degrees in Finance and English Literature and got my MBA from NYU and Master of Mass Communication from University of Georgia.
Where is Bitmax located? Are you a distributed team or do you have an office to work together? How many people work for Bitmax?
Our global team of 50 members are based off two main location — New York with 20 members, including all the founding members, and Beijing with 30 members.
Would you be so kind to introduce briefly the core team members?
Both George and I are very proud of our 10-member founding team. Similar to us, they are all from Wall Street top firms like Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, and top high-frequency hedge funds with deep experience in the fields of financial engineering research and development of large-scale quant trading infrastructure. Our educational background span across multiple prestigious institutions including Columbia University, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, and New York University in the United States, as well as Peking University and Tsinghua University in China. So one special thing about BitMax.io is that very few exchanges in the crypto trading space are built by solid team like ours with strong traditional finance mindset and trading background.
You’ve started BitMax during market downtrend in pretty competitive environment. What is your value proposition? Why traders should switch to BitMax?
I think BitMax.io is actually very special in this market, and our team is very proud of what we have built in the short period of six months. There are at least three reasons I think traders should chooseBitMax.io:
Second, our quant-driven tech platform. Our development members were all from high frequency and quantitative systematic trading shops. They definitely make sure the platform was resilient and it can actually handle billions of volume during the design and build. The platform resilience and scalability were fully being tested when we launched the transaction mining and reverse-mining. The first day, we actually had, within the first 24 hours, the trading volume of 1.6 billion in notional; and our system didn’t flinch, didn’t slow down, and didn’t shut down. This is very rare in any of today’s exchanges where you can frequently see the slowdown, the crash, and very slow user responses, especially with transaction mining exchanges.
Third, what we are extremely proud of and all the users can see, is our 24/7 customer services built upon the core Wall Street client-centric concept. Besides our customer support team who never sleep, George actually stands behind the platform almost 24/7 answering questions from the customers, seeking solutions for their issues, and providing the most responsive customer service for the entire crypto trading space.
BitMax CEO, George Cao, is often seen in official Telegram group answering different questions.
We constantly remind our team: customer first. When we design a product, when we launch a system, and when we look at user needs, we all look from customers’ perspective, from how we can protect the users. When we look at primary listing, we only select the high-quality projects because we want our users to have the best investment and trading experience on BitMax.io.
Are you satisfied with the current results of BitMax? Is transaction mining model giving expected volume? What is the % of traders using this model?
We are very pleased with current business development and delivery results from client acquisition and trading perspectives.
On the business development side, we completed the global setup for both 50-member team organization and comprehensive legal entity structure from Asia to North Americas in 2018, which laid down foundation and paved way for 2019 business expansion especially with US.
Since our platform launch in mid Aug, we successfully started Industry FIRST transaction mining and reverse-mining exchange and built out the most active global communities and users within four months in the bear market, with registered users more than 95k; average daily active traders more than quadrupled since the start of transaction mining; average daily trading volume of $465mm through the month of January and February in 2019. Those are extremely promising under this tough market condition.
From the composition of trading volumes, there are two parts — transaction mining which grows exponentially; second is organic, the regular trading which has experienced healthy increase as well because of all the listing activities and all the incentives we have. The regular trading takes about 5% of total trading volume, which is very good for an exchange which was launched in August and running right into the bear market.
What are the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin?
From traditional finance /investment view token economics is really a balance act between business / economic model and exchange market force, driven by three factors: intrinsic value and sustainability, supply and demand, and liquidity and depth.
First, from a traditional finance perspective, we need to look at the intrinsic value, the economic valuation behind a project. How does this project make money? Do they really have fundamentals? Do they really have a viable business model? Do they really have a solid user base for future growth? For example, our exchange business model is very simple. We are exchange; People trade on our platform. The more they trade, the more transaction fee the exchange collect — the revenue source. The exchange will last when people keep trading on the platform and the transaction revenue generated covers the operating cost of running an exchange.
Second, it is the supply and demand of token on the market — who will buy and for what purpose; who will sell and under what scenarios. For major currency coins like Bitcoin, people might buy and sell for potential investment or use in actual payment processing. For other types of token, it is more driven by short-term trading pattern and profit taking. So it is extremely important to set up certain token mechanism to support the equilibrium of supply and demand like how Central Banks manage the supply of currency in circulation through monetary policies.
Third, when the market force comes in, it comes down to the liquidity and depth. Exchange is about liquidity and market depth. That means there has to be enough of trading volumes at each pricing level for each token. For BitMax.io, we have very sophisticated market making model that is similar to Designated Market Maker model of New York Stock Exchange. We focus on providing liquidity and maintaining a fair and orderly market for those token listings who agree to engage our market making services.
Every exchange is looking for good projects in order to become a premiere market for this new asset. Can you name some projects that impressed you recently (even if you are not discussing possible listing with them)?
BitMax.io has strict listing requirements in order to identify high-quality projects for our users. Very proud that we have listed five industry star projects in the last several weeks, with more in the pipeline. All of them have the following attributes that made them successful — viable and profitable business model, growing user bases, strong community support, and comprehensive funding sources.
One of the shining examples is European project named LTO Network listed mid Jan. Its price has been steadily rising since then, as more and more people get to know their business model and more project support comes into the market place to buy the tokens — It uses blockchain technology to streamline a lot of legal processing for one of EU governments, which is very easy to understand its economic value from a revenue perspective. This is simply what people need to see eventually, clean and clear from business economic model perspective.
Let’s imagine a crypto market in 5 or 10 years. Can you make any prediction what the market will look like? What customers will expect from exchange in 5–10 years?
Based off my long-time experience in traditional trading, especially how equity market evolved last twenty years, I would imagine maturing market structure and entrance of institutional investors are key mandatory and healthy development of digital asset market.
First, As the market develops and expands globally, traditional institution participation is a must, in order to upgrade and strengthen the overall market structure and maturity, making it more transparent and resilient, and most importantly enabling the real broad-base adoption of digital assets. Most institutional investors, such as mutual fund, pension fund and other financial institutions, hold the majority of world investment assets, not individual retail investors. Only when those big guys join the market, will there be real revolutionary improvement and expansion of the digital asset just like any other financial markets.
Second, I would expect the market to become more structured with major building blocks for transparent trade life cycle processing and separate risk analytics supporting services. Current crypto trading market is very fragmented with exchanges taking on different roles of trading, wallet management, custodian, etc. Also the lack of clear and consistence regulation on market structure has led to many aspects of market inefficiency — inconsistent liquidity and depth, wide spread, high transaction cost, high volatility, speculation, etc. This definitely hampers the broader adoption of digital assets from institutional investors.
Forward looking, multi-tier structure under some level of regulatory framework with clear guidance is required for future maturing market. Similar to security market, there should be at least three layers of different and independent roles: the role of broker dealer to handle the client relationship with good KYC/ AML processes, retail clients, other financial institutions, blockchain players and to take client order as agent or dealer; the role of exchange to focus on listing and trading — liquidity provision and order matching; the role of clearing house to provide clearing and settlement and custodian on custody of assets with proper control and independence. It is very clean and clear with good check and balance in place.
What are the key challenges for 2019?
During our 2018 business planning, we clearly view 2019 to continue being full of challenges with market uncertainty from both asset price and valuation as well as regulatory development globally. In prep for that and further growth of our platform, we have laid out the following four main strategic objectives and they are all well underway:
With current market crash or correction, there are two possibilities from trading perspective — recovery depending on whether this is a V down or U curve. The U curve occurs when the market collapses, it takes a longer time for market to find the bottom and struggle to rise up. The V down is like a quick collapse — dropping down very fast and reaching the bottom, and then, with some catalyst event, either catalyst from market structure, or catalyst from the market expansion itself, suddenly it gives a boost and bounces right back up.
For market recovery, besides all the investment and economics elements I’ve discussed above, I believe one critical factor is the regulatory development especially clear guidance from key regulatory bodies of those major financial markets such as US, UK, EU, etc. on those key building blocks I mentioned in the maturing market structure. Once those in place, more traditional institutional investors will be ready to get in and hence boost the liquidity and valuation of the digital assets. That is the new beginning of digital assets being accepted as part of Main Street investment globally.
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|I've been thinking about getting into law after school, and with first round Uni-placements just a couple of moths away, I must commend you on your excellent timing. When you first thought about getting into law, was this line of work exactly what you had in mind? I.e, A lot of people are going to get into undergrad law with the vague idea that they may become a Human Rights, Criminal Law Barrister like some bastard Geoffrey Robertson/Atticus Finch hybrid, only to realize what a limited aperture on their prospective career that is. Was this the case for you?||First, I realize from the terminology and syntax you used in your question that you are from the UK. Let me preface by saying that I am not from the UK (I am American), and I cannot attest to the legal education process / career prospects for a UK licensed attorney. That said, I had no idea that I would end up doing what I do. In fact, it was not until my second year of law school (three years post-graduate in America) that I fell in love with the tax laws, primarily because they are so complex, and I viewed them as an unconquerable puzzle. I went to law school because every successful person I met my entire life was a lawyer, although none of them practiced law. I met countless people when I was young (family friends, friends' parents) who all owned their own businesses (none of them involving the practice of law), but they all held J.D.s (American law degrees). I realized from a young age that there was something very different about those people, and it wasn't until recently (with the benefit of hindsight) that I realized what made them different and gave them the ability to succeed. Law school trains you to think in a way nobody but another lawyer can relate to. Just as a musician may view the world-at-large in terms of rhythm and measures, or just as a mathematician may recognize patterns and formulas in society that are unrecognizable to the layperson, lawyers are trained to view the world with cold, refined logic. Although, at first glance, that may sound unappealing, the practical effect is that we are trained to look at a mountain of information, immediately slice through and filter out everything that is bullshit, and analyze the relevant facts in order to determine what the most logical, efficient, and best course of action to pursue is in any given situation. We are trained at all times to look at a situation and think "what is the best and most-likely-to-work course of action to pursue." That is why, in my opinion, a legal education is invaluable, and that is why a legal education allows you to out-think the next guy without a law degree, even if you are not practicing law.|
|Seems very similar to the outlook of engineers, mathematicians and physicists (my degree) develop over the course of their academic life with regards to logic and cutting through mountains of data. Would you say that the logic that very analytic sciences provide are one of the reasons why those individuals score so highly on the LSAT? Also a question for myself as a current student. What do you think the prospects are of a scientist (specifically physicist) who is very interested in law becoming a lawyer or attending a highly regarded law school. Are most law schools heavily biased when it comes to their applicants' academic backgrounds?||If you have any type of hard science / mathematics background, you will have a MAJOR advantage in getting into law school, and a MAJOR advantage in terms of job prospects upon job graduation. The scientists / engineer lawyers are always the first ones employed.|
|Most interesting thing about your job? Also, most interesting story in dealing with rich people.||Most interesting part about my job is seeing the absolutely crazy things completely anonymous people can make millions of dollars doing. You don't need to be famous or be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company to be filthy rich. For example, you know those "door handles" that you commonly see in elementary schools...the ones that are long metal bars that run across the middle of the door that you push in? Yeah, they're called "crash bars." I did an estate plan for a guy last week who owns the patent on one of the designs of that product. Worth millions upon millions.|
|Just remember, every time you open those little plastic packages that contain a fork, spoon, knife, and napkin...some dude owns the company that makes those...and he's a multi-millionaire.|
|Also interesting is seeing how screwed up the kids of the ultra-wealthy become.|
|Can you see that coming? I know a guy who grew up as the son of an ultra-wealthy real estate developer (he inherited north of 100 million) and he's got a healthy relationship with his money and is passing that knowledge onto his kids.||Funny you say that. Your anecdote seems to be 100% on point.|
|From your unique perspective, does it seem like money buys happiness for these people? Or is it more like mo money, mo problems?||It completely depends upon the person, and I don't think having money is the "cause" of any problems. I'm a very big proponent of nurture over nature to begin with, so, like I said, it depends upon the individual. I don't mean to say I discredit valid physical disabilities with my previous comment, but, if you were raised by scumbags, you're going to be a scumbag. If your parents were cutthroat scumbags and you come into money one day, you're going to act like a cutthroat scumbag yourself. If, however, I came into millions of dollars (my parents were kind, awesome people!) I would be super humble, and I meet people on a daily basis who are just that way.|
|Overall, the humble outnumber the scumbags 100 to 1. Even in the millionaires realm.|
|How did you get into the industry?||I went to a prestigious undergraduate institution, I attended a well-ranked law school, and after law school I pursued an LL.M. (Masters of Law (master's degree for lawyers)) in tax law from a top 5 program.|
|I received almost no scholarship along the way, paid for the entire thing in loans, worked my tits off (I'm a guy) finished close to the top of my class, and landed my dream job doing exactly what I desired to do.|
|I have approximately $150,000 in student debt.|
|The American Dream is very much still alive if you ask me.|
|Were you a guy before you worked your tits off?||Clever!|
|I guess student loans are worth it if you're confident they can be paid back, while still profiting for yourself. Good luck in your future career!||Thank you very much. I genuinely appreciate your kind words. However (I should've said stated this before) (i) the cost of education in this country is absolutely out of control and (ii) I got extremely lucky. Even with good degrees, great grades, and a voracious work ethic, I was lucky to have landed a job doing what I actually studied in school to be able to do. I know more than a handful of spectacularly intelligent law graduates who found nothing for themselves after school, which is why every day I remind myself of how lucky I am.|
|Holy shit, I had no idea that there was a law degree other than a JD. Holy shit. I need to go reevaluate my life plans.||Lol. Well, maybe I didn't express myself clearly, but an LL.M. is a "graduate" law degree in America. In Europe, if I'm correct, one may practice law after obtaining an LL.M. only. In the United States, in order to practice law, one must first obtain a J.D. degree. After obtaining a J.D. , the next highest law degree is an LL.M. The LL.M. is typically only pursued by American lawyers if they desire to practice in a specialized or complex area of the law, like tax. After the LL.M. there comes the S.JD., which is the highest law degree, is equivalent to a PhD in law, and is typically only pursued by career academics.|
|I'm curious, what did you study for your undergraduate degree before pursuing your LL.M.?||I studied business and finance.|
|150k seems like a low number for the quality of education you received.||I may not have been clear, but I had partial undergraduate scholarship. My debt is almost all from law school.|
|Are you still friends with any of the millionaires you worked with?||I am. The proper term for my practice area is "trusts and estates." I am an estate planning attorney apt to handle particularly complex estates (ie. those of extremely wealthy people). As an estate planning attorney, you must understand all aspects of an entire family, inside and out, and all of their assets and business holdings. That inevitably leads to an extremely personal and trust-filled attorney-client relationship, often lasting decades.|
|Thanks for doing this. Interested in how your day-to-day work looks like. How many hours do you spend every day in the office? How many of those hours are with clients? How many hours do you spend drafting or reading legal documents?||I will answer your questions in the reverse order from which you asked them because I think that is the most logical way to answer.|
|Estate planning is a "civilized" practice in terms of practicing law. By that, I mean the hours are less than, say, a litigator (someone who goes to court and sues people) and the practice is, for the most part, non-contentions (because, well, I'm not suing people!). That said, I spend upwards of 11 hours a day at the office; no less than 10, no more than 12, and 80% of that time (8-10 hours daily) is spent reading or drafting legal documents.|
|As I am the youngest associate, I spend less time with clients than the partners, but, since I work in a small firm, I have a healthy amount of client contact most attorneys my age would not otherwise have. I meet with clients approximately 1 hour a day. A partner would be meeting with clients / speaking with clients on the phone upwards of 5 hours per day.|
|I handle the Firm's entire practice. Whether or not I meet face-to-face with a new client, I am tasked, largely unsupervised, with choosing how to craft his or her estate plan. I draft all of the trusts, powers of attorney, special provisions for managing business interests after his or her death, ect. I also spend a large portion of my day handling complex "death tax" issues for very wealthy clients who are subject to the Death Tax (net worth of more than $10,500,000 for a husband and wife). Also, a large portion of the service I provide is "estate administration." After someone dies, all the testamentary provisions of their documents must be implemented. When someone during their lifetime directs that, upon their death, trust funds are to be created and funded for his or her children, I implement that plan after the client's death.|
|Thanks for the detailed answer! 11 hours a day is hard work. I hope you're enjoying it.||Our Firm is, in the legal world, what is called a true "boutique." We are a group of four attorneys (one Principal and three associates) and we service a core group of approximately 250 families. However, "boutique", in the legal world, does not simply mean "small firm." Boutique means a specialized law firm that holds itself out as being an absolute expert in only one area of the law.|
|What do you mean by "I handle the Firm's entire practice. "? You are the primary person responsible for drafting all of your clients' work? How big is your firm? And how many clients do you guys have?||When I say I handle the Firm's entire practice, I mean that I handle all aspects of it :) One of the more senior associates will always review my work, and our Firm's sole Partner will always put his final touch on my documents before they are presented to the client, but, often times, I am the first attorney to craft a client's estate plan, and, in doing so, I am given free reign to draft the documents in any way I believe is best for the client and most efficiently effectuates his or her intentions.|
|I'll be the one to ask. How much money do you make in a year?||I am very young. I am 26 years old. I have a specialized degree (called an LL.M., which is a master's degree for lawyers) that enables me to practice in a particularly complex area of the law. As a first year lawyer, I make approximately $120,000.|
|One of the many careers my guidance counselor never told me about.||My guidance counselor suggested I apply to community college and discouraged me from applying to prestigious private schools because it would be "a waste of money for the application fee."|
|Moral of the story: Don't listen to guidance counselors. You're likely smarter than they are.|
|1st year associate in a four person firm making 120K? that seems like a lot.||Indeed it is. Which is why, like I said, I realize how lucky I am.|
|Has anyone ever offered to pay your student debt? If not, would you accept if someone offered?||Nobody has offered to pay my student debt. Although I (technically) could accept such an offer, personal dealing between an attorney and his or her client quickly becomes a very "hairy" subject under the "rules of professional responsibility" governing lawyers. Instead of having a loyal client leave me something under his or her will and having to deal with his or her children contesting the bequest down the road (because, honestly, what type of person leaves their lawyer money in their will without the lawyer coercing them or being un-ethical in some way), it's better to just stay away from those types of situations altogether.|
|Would you take on Walter White as a client?||I'm such a scumbag, and I hate admitting this, but I have never watched Breaking Bad. The only reason I know who Walter White is is because, believe it or not, I'm actually a living / breathing human on planet Earth in the year 2013.|
|That said, probably. I don't need to know how / where you got your monies! Lol.|
|I don't blame you after seeing your hours. Jeez man, hopefully you'll have some time to relax soon.||Thank you for your kind concern. Luckily, however, I very much enjoy what I do!|
|I'm heading in the direction of law school, but am unsure of exactly what to do/where to go with it. How did you determine this specialization was for you? And how competitive is that relative section of law?||I first determined that I wanted to pursue an LL.M. in taxation. Only after completing my LL.M. in taxation was I even able to consider a trusts & estates position as almost all opening for this area of the law require a tax LL.M. That said, it is still a very niche area of the law in which to practice. I went to quite a large law school (approximately 300 students in my J.D. class) and I'm the only one in a true "boutique" trusts and estates practice from my class. A few others are in small firms that do estate planning, but none that are capable of planning at the level my firm does.|
|Anyone we might know?||Likely not considering more people than you can possibly imagine have millions of dollars. Some clients own things you certainly know of, however, such as large ownership interests in Major League Baseball teams or American corporations.|
|In one of your responses, you indicate that you are a first year attorney and only 26 years old.||Absolutely not. Primarily because, if I am attending a meeting with a client with a taxable estate, my boss is sitting beside me. I will not venture into one of those situations alone. However, after the initial client meeting, the client will often communicate with me directly.|
|Have you encountered any issues with current or potential high net worth clients (such as those above estate tax exemption levels thus requiring more advanced planning) who have reservations about having such a new attorney handle their estate?||All in all, they come to us because our reputation precedes us. They know how capable we before they walk in the door.|
|Thanks for the quality responses in this AMA. Fellow attorney, roughly same age but I'm in a slightly different firm environment and only a portion of my practice is dedicated to T&E.||This is a tough topic for me to give advice on. I had a very unique situation. I was already in a J.D. program that had a top LL.M. program at the school. I completed my J.D. and LL.M. in three years (plus some summer courses) as a dual degree student in a seven-semester program. That saved me a boatload of time and money.|
|Apologies for tacking on another question here, but thoughts on getting the Tax LLM? It seems to be a hot topic for debate - in your estimation, has it been worth the investment of time/money for you?||As far as tax LL.M.s go, an LL.M. from NYU, Georgetown, or University of Florida (top 3) are almost always worth it. But, in reality, it's NYU and "all the rest" in the tax LL.M. realm. But NYU is always a go.|
|You are not being fair to Georgetown.||Georgetown is excellent, but it really is NYU and "all the rest"!|
|I don't know if you have specified this but do you do any overseas/offshore trusts for your clients? Dealing with that much money, I'm sure some of them have pushed for you to take it out the country to save them some tax. Also, what are the biggest and smallest amount of money have you dealt with?||I have expertise in international tax and trust planning. I do not use those skills on a daily basis because it is not something my Firm does often, but I studied planning using offshore trusts extensively in my LL.M. program. If you are looking for an attorney specializing in that area, I suggest seeking out firms in South Florida, as there are entire firms down there that do nothing but that. I mentioned this briefly before, but some clients own large interests in major league sports teams and others hold patents to products. Also, a lot of people with significant amounts of wealth got in on the ground floor of chemical and manufacturing companies decades ago. Personally, I find most fascinating this "emerging" group of 26-32 year olds who are stock traders and simply trade for themselves. I did a plan last week for a 30 year old kid, still in school (Ivy League MBA) who has accumulated $4.5 million trading on his own.|
|That said, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Any Joe Shmoe Lawyer can quote you $10,000 for an estate plan, and that doesn't mean it's a quality plan. *It should be easy, however, to seek out a trusts and estates boutique firm like my firm*** Bolded for emphasis. Oftentimes when legal work is required you hear "get a good lawyer". As someone with no knowledge of law how do I know who is a good lawyer? Price would seem to be a reasonable indicator but like you said some schmoe lawyer could set his price high to create an illusion of skill. Likewise I could look at years of experience like you said, but how do I judge the quality of years of experience? Or even the different law categories? Let's say I needed a lawyer to setup my finances, I am probably just as likely to go for some "Financial Lawyer" with 30 years experience setting up small businesses vs. an "Estate Planning Lawyer" which is probably more appropriate by turning to the yellow pages and choosing the one with the biggest ad or some equally stupid metric. My fear is I go with the made up financial lawyer. So I guess my question is how do I go about finding a "good" lawyer in the field I am interested in getting representation/advice for? How can I as a layman objectively determine they are better than any other lawyer?||You can never objectively determine for certain if someone is a "good lawyer." What constitutes a "good lawyer" is highly subjective and, furthermore, since lawyers are simply human beings, even the most experienced attorney can be a prick. That said, you can make a "best educated guess" when choosing a lawyer, and that will likely lead you in the right direction...especially in the estate planning realm. Remember that most estate planning attorneys WILL meet with you for an initial consultation, so you can shop around. For estate planning, you want to find someone who is knowledgeable, kind, and compassionate. As far as knowledge goes, it's obviously once again subjective, but you can make a good educated guess by looking at the attorney's past experience. Lawyers are not allowed to lie about their credentials, so look for someone who has spent their entire career, or a substantial part of their career, in "estate planning, " trusts and estates" or "wealth preservation and planning." Stay away from the guys who push "asset protection" as their skill. A good lawyer should have asset protection planning skills, but it shouldn't be a selling point. That's just shady. So, once you find a lawyer who looks ok from the yellow pages, look him up online. Today, every reputable lawyer will have a website, and that website should clearly outline the lawyer's experience. From there, like I said, shop around. I can assure you that there are hundreds of excellent estate planning attorneys who meet the criteria I described above. So, to recap, look for extreme depth of expertise and someone who is kind, compassionate, and smart. You should be good from there. The kindness and compassion is a must in estate planning because of the extremely personal, sensitive, and often-times emotional nature of the practice.|
|At what point is a trust fund necessary/ a good idea ? I'm meeting a tax guy on friday. I just finished fellowship a bit ago and all of a sudden i'm making what would have seemed like an obscene amount of money. When do i need to start talking to wealth management people? trust fund and financial advisers?||Wealth management is a separate area of expertise, and you should certainly meet with a financial advisor who you trust so that you can begin making your money productive.|
|So far i've done it all myself, but i can see this quickly being a bad idea.||See my comment (somewhere in here) regarding the non-tax reasons for having a proper estate plan. Having millions is far from the only reason to create a revocable trust and ensure that assets are left in trust to your beneficiaries at your death.|
|Me and my 2 bothers now all make good money, if we wanted to build up a kind of familial wealth fund, who would we talk to? Is there such a thing? could we aggregate out incomes/savings /investments into a kind of super-estate so that everyone and everyones kids have something for a generation or two ?||The "pot trust" you create could have all of your descendants, spouses, and the spouses of your descendants as the beneficiaries, and distributions could be purely discretionary. This means that the Trustee (whomever you choose to name, and it can be, say, the two surviving brothers during their lifetimes after the first brother dies, and then successors of your joint choosing after all of you die) can choose who to distribute income and principal to for each beneficiaries' "best interests." This is actually quite efficient from an income tax standpoint, as the Trustee has discretion to "spray" the trust's income to the beneficiaries in a lower individual income tax bracket before then making distributions to beneficiaries in a higher bracket.|
|is each branch of the family basically on it's own after we all die?||First, you would want to speak to an estate planning attorney. A likely course of action would be to create a stand-alone irrevocable trust (think of it as an empty box) to receive all three of your respective assets upon your eventual deaths. You would each then create your own revocable trusts (the equivalent of a will) which would direct that, upon each of your deaths, your assets will simply "pour" into the stand alone "pot trust" the three of you created together during your joint lifetimes. Ultimately, the "pot trust" you would all create would contain all of the governing provisions regarding how the assets are to be managed after each of your deaths, how distributions should be made, and how assets should be distributed among the last of your deaths.|
|How difficult would it be to leave someone 9,720,000 dollars of drug money in the form of an irrevocable trust?||Very difficult. First, upon funding the trust, you would be required to file IRS Form 709, which is a United States Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax return (feel to ask about those taxes at any point, anyone!) The return would require you provide the IRS with your SSN, which would immediately notify them that you have that much money and that you likely never paid income tax on it. If you did report all of the money when you earned it, however, on your Form 1040, then things should match up.|
|The second problem would be, upon funding, there would be a massive gift tax. Each individual only has a lifetime gift tax exclusion amount of $5,250,000, so the approximately $4.5 million you would transfer in excess of the exclusion amount would be taxed at roughly 45%, resulting in almost $2,000,000 in transfer tax.|
|Assuming you found an attorney to draft the trust, you transferred title to, say, a checking account holding the money discreetly into the trust and reported none of it, the second the trust makes distributions the IRS will once again be put on notice because the trust becomes it's own "taxpaying entity" that has its own reporting obligations.|
|Next, a trust must have a valid "trust purpose" which means it cannot be used for any illegal purpose. This is a maxim of most states' trust codes.|
|The bottom line is I could go on and on, but its probably impossible to do :)|
|Excellent answer. I kind of made that comment with tongue-in-cheek, but you actually broke that down quite well. Thanks!||No problem!|
|I'm a 3L planning on getting into estate planning. I'm also planning on taking the CPA exam after I graduate (I've completed all the requirements). Which do you think is more beneficial, CPA or Tax LLM? Do you think there would be much of a marginal benefit of pursuing a Tax LLM in addition to the CPA?||This is an interesting question that I too have pondered from time to time since I also meet the CPA requirements. However, I think the answer should be to go with the LL.M.|
|First, J.D., LL.M, CPAs are individuals who usually practice in very, very narrow and specialized areas of the tax laws like tax-exempt entities only or working in-house for something like a REIT (a "Real Estate Investment Trust"). If you want to be a lawyer, and you are interested in tax and estate planning, you absolutely do not need to be a CPA and it will not help you in any way. In fact, I have never seen an estate planning associate job seeking a candidate with a CPA; it's always LL.M. only. However, if you want to practice something such as corporate M&A tax or some forms of international tax, a CPA would be valuable.|
|In addition, from a business standpoint, being a CPA estate planner may hurt you in the sense that you "don't bite the hand that feeds you." Estate planning attorneys' core referral base is from CPAs and financial advisors, and we don't step on the CPAs toes cause its bad for business.|
|Finally, I'll leave you with an anecdote. It's a little different from the situation at hand, but I think it applies here. When I was a 2L, I was deciding whether to do the JD/MBA or JD/LLM program. I was leaning towards the MBA. My dad set me straight. He said, "don't be an idiot. Anybody can get an MBA. Only a lawyer can get an LL.M." The same applies to your situation.|
|If you want to practice law, an LL.M. is much more valuable, but it must be from the "right" program. A bottom-tier LL.M. will get you nowhere.|
|ALSO, I forgot to mention that most states' CPA licensing boards have a 1-3 year apprenticeship requirement,. Even if you pass all four parts of the CPA exam, you will not be able to hold yourself out as a licensed CPA unless you practice under another CPA for the requisite number of years. As an attorney, that is very hard to do (unless there is a JD/CPA in your firm who, if there was, obviously wouldn't be allowed to practice accounting but could sign off on your apprenticeship forms). I knew I'd never meet that requirement.|
|How do I get rich?||Trade stocks. That's how it always seems to happen. Some of these 25-35 year stock-trader kids I see are millionaires!|
|Can you give an opinion on Bitcoin?||Unfortunately I cannot. I have not used it nor do I know much about it. However, it appears to be a fiat currency without any underlying institution to legitimize or rationalize the faith-in-buying-power expressed by those who demand it. That, in my opinion, makes Bitcoin completely unique.|
|Bitcoin is not a fiat currency. Fiat is a declaration by a government or issuer - not individual people "who say it's money" - otherwise you might as well call gold fiat. Using the term this way makes it useless.||I was under the impression that a fiat currency is any currency the value of which is not derived from anything tangible (ie. gold) but instead from any other non-tangible, often institutional (government) organization which is the true "trustee" of the investors' faith. If my analysis is true, the "people at large" substitute as the institutional underpinning of Bitcoin's value. Also, with any form of valueless paper issued by a government, isn't it always the people "who say it's money?" We decide when it has worth based on our faith in the stability of the issuer...|
|Something I've been curious of, how are the rates your firm charges created and whom(in title) is responsible for the rates?||Partner sets the rates. Among the "high-end", complex "boutique" tax and estate planning firms, we are among the cheapest. Partner is $400 / hr, associates $295, support staff $120. That said, you can get a very high quality estate plan for a husband and wife, with powers of attorney, for approximately $3,500. For less complex estates, there are firms that will do it cheaper (around $2,000), but I would have serious reservations about the quality of their documents.|
|What kind of reservations do you have about possibly lesser quality firms? To add to that, would you say price is a good measure of quality?||Trusts and estates may appear simple at first glance, but it is anything but a simple practice area. There are certain things you entrust to an expert, and estate planning is one of them. There are lots of firms around that throw up a smorgasbord of services they claim to offer, estate planning being one of them. I can tell you, however, from a multitude of experience (even though I'm young) I call straight up bullshit. Unless, as an attorney, you "grew up" inside a true trusts and estates practice group or boutique, there's no way you can properly understand the trust laws, tax laws, and drafting techniques required to draft a proper estate plan. Maybe I'm biased, but I think you'd want to trust the person who is hand-crafting your testamentary plan and creating the documents that will dispose of all your life's spoils.|
|That said, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Any Joe Shmoe Lawyer can quote you $10,000 for an estate plan, and that doesn't mean it's a quality plan. It should be easy, however, to seek out a trusts and estates boutique firm like mine. If you can't, and you choose a firm that practices many types of law (except for the huge multinational firms, which are always a safe bet but expensive and often times provide poor customer service) make sure at least one of the partners has extensive trusts and estates experience.|
|As someone who creates content, do you think there's a solution for middle class content creators? It seems that they're the most hurt by piracy, yet free-culture proponents almost exclusively focus on large corporations. Kickstarter, Indie Go-Go, and their brethren aren't picking up that slack- tales of success seem to be the outliers, and many of the poster-children (Radiohead, Amanda Palmer, etc.) rely on past success and marketing dollars. So, will this pick up, and will there be a middle class of creators? Or are we now living in a world of (sometimes skilled, but still) amateurs?||This is a smart question and demands a much longer answer than i can give here. but the short of it in my opinion is that it's a misunderstanding to assume it's harder for 'middle class artists' in this climate. it's always been very very hard. there have always been obstacles and gatekeepers. the digital landscape has opened many many doors and closed some doors. it's in many ways easier, but you still need that magic combo of talent, tenacity and luck.|
|Man I'm sorry but I've gotta ask...what happened to you man? Why did Keanu make it out and why did you disappear into obscurity?||Haha. not an offensive question at all. I quit acting professionally in 94, after Freaked to focus on writing and directing. I'd been acting professionally since I was 10 years old and I wanted out of the public eye. It's really only been in the last couple of years that i've intentionally been slipping back in front of the camera. But I think it's important for child actors to spend time away from constant exposure. I tell a lot of kids this in that field.|
|Be honest…has Keanu admitted his immortality to you?||I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you. And then he would drink your blood and live for another millenia...|
|Did you buy any Bitcoins before they blew up in value recently?||Haha, I did not. The Winklevoss twins got them all :)|
|Since George Carlin has died, will there be some new character coming in to replace Rufus in helping the Wyld Stallyns?||We've spent a lot of time and thought on making this work. all i can say right now :)|
|On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that B&T 3 will be financed and actually get made?||I'd say 10 but it's Hollywood... so 9.9?|
|Did you ever use the SR before it went down?||I honestly did not. I am a dull family man and most of what i need to purchase online can be found in the toddler section of Amazon :)|
|Your stepmom is cute. Remember when she was a senior and you were a freshman? Do You get BnT references constantly and do they annoy you?||No, thankfully I like the movies a lot. I have some friends who acted in movies that they can't shake that they hated. that is an existential nightmare from which one can never awaken!|
|Thanks for doing this AMA, and for being part of one of my all-time favorite films. You've been quoted as saying "[Bill and Ted] was a happy accident. No one thought it would ever see the light of day." Could you expand on that?||Both BnT movies were made independently. The first one was really low budget and kind of under the radar when we made it. then it sat on a shelf for a year after being made, when the producing company went belly up. So we kind of gave up on it. Then it was bought up and released and was a big hit :)|
|What was it like working with Mr. T? Is his public persona accurate as to who he really is?||It is! Exactly! He's a really great person, into community outreach and helping people. A wonderful guy.|
|When will we have a new Bill and Ted to watch any plot details You can share? What got You so interested in Bitcoin? Also, Thank You for being so Excellent! Party On!||I first got interested in Bitcoin in '09, when it magically appeared out of the ether. Much like Napster appeared out of nowhere 10 years prior. I recognized that Bitcoin felt like the next big thing to come out of peer-to-peer.|
|What can I do to get into the Bitcoin World. I don't know much about it.||Start at blockchain.info. that will lead the way.|
|Do you think the Tor network is forever tainted due to the Silk Road takedown, or does it still remain a viable method of obtaining true anonymity on the Internet?||Absolutely not. SR accounts for a tiny fraction of TOR use and is not going to impact Bitcoin much either in the long run. As Wozniak so perfectly put it, you don't shut down the whole highway when one car is speeding.|
|What was the funnest thing about making The Lost Boys?||Having dirt kicked into my eyes by the two Coreys in my death scene. Actually it wasn't funny at the time; i had full eye contacts in and my cornea got scratched. had to go the hospital. Loved those guys tho...|
|Any cool memorabilia you kept from Bill and Ted?||I had my evil robot head from BnT 2, but it eventually rotted. I used it as a doorstep. My kids loved it :)|
|What motivated you to be one of the first films to educate those about the online blackmarket? why exactly do you need the funding from the kickstarter?||Because, like the Napster story, there is a lot of noise but not a lot of context. I think we need some context and our film will be one form of providing that. We are using Kickstarter for some of the funding in order to begin to build our community for the film. We want people's input, the changes occurring through the Web are part of a global movement.|
|Are you actually going to provide any information we don't already know from all that's been written about this? Is this just a movie version of a bunch of news articles?||Our doc is an expansive examination of a movement that began decades ago and is now hitting a peak of global impact. we are interviewing the core players in this story. It's not the kind of thing news articles do in any capacity. join our kickstarter, be part of the process and of the movie's community :)|
|How did you do research for the script? How did you get a script just a few weeks after SR was busted?||It's a documentary :)|
|Alex, as someone who studied Napster so much for Downloaded, what would Bill & Ted have thought of it: Most Excellent or Non-Triumphant?||They would have said 'huh???'|
|Is a melvin a synonym for wedgie, or a completely different maneuver executed from the front?||You answered your own question :))|
|Is there any fond memory that stands out from making The Lost Boys?||Honestly the most fun i ever had 'working'. Joel Schumacher knows how to create an amazing environment to work in. It's one of my fondest memories of my crazy youth! :)|
|On the kickstarter page, under the "Silk Road" header, the phrase "trading mostly in drugs and weapons" is used. Don't you feel that claiming that weapon sales were a large part of the silk road's operations is misleading? especially since weapon sales were specifically banned from the site shortly after its creation? Certainly the part about mostly trading in drugs is spot on, but also weapons? Come on, that's just untrue.||Sorry if that seems misleading. As the Armory only lasted a year. But SR was built for that purpose wherever it ultimately landed.|
|I don't know if you remember me, but I went to school with your son in LA, me and my brother stayed at your house a few times. Kinda funny how I never got to thank you for being so excellent in Bill and Ted back then, so I figured I'd do it now!||Hey Dante! Hope you guys are well!|
|I suppose I should ask a question, so what drew you to the idea of the deep web? What made you want to make this movie?||The Deep Web lies at the heart of the digital revolution, that has impacted every corner of our lives. There are huge changes that have occurred in the last decade, and many more around the corner. Examining the Deep Web in detail allows us to closely examine this revolution and its implications.|
|Do you think that the high prices that bitcoins are experiencing right now is actually a bad sign, since it indicates instability? Where do you think the value of Bitcoins will ultimately fall once the bubble bursts?||No one knows where it will settle. It's not unlike gold in this regard. But once it's been around a bit longer and more people are taking it, the value will increase within that framework but not in such a wild manner. this form of currency is here to stay, of that there is no question.|
|How did people find silk road online? That always boggled my mind, because I assume it wasn't as easy as googling it haha Did you have to like, "know" someone in the business to gain membership?||It's not hard to find these sites, it's just dangerous. don't go hunting for scorpions unless you are prepared to get stung.|
|So Deep Web... Do you have a script already? Are you dealing with the actual events, or fictionalizing them? If the former, are you worried about having to pay folks for rights? If you have a script, how does it toe the line between being too simplified to please the target demo/actually tell the story and too esoteric for the mass market?||It's a feature documentary. please join our kickstarter :)|
|I don't think the story is too esoteric at all, just as the details of the Napster story weren't. These are universal stories about global communities.|
|How much about the deep web did you investigate? I have done some looking into it recently and there is some pretty disgusting stuff out there. To be honest I kind of wish I never heard about it. Silk road is only the tip of the iceberg and to me doesnt seem like that big of a deal compared to some of the other stuff out there like the hitmen websites and human dolls for sale etc. What is your take on the rest of it outside of silk road?||There is a lot of dark and horrible stuff in the Dark Web. The Deep Web is a much broader world, and in my view needs to be understood as separate from the much smaller Dark Web, and in need of protection.|
|When did you get into directing? I realize I could easily find this out on IMDB but it's just cooler to ask the source!||Hah, thanks for asking! I actually went to NYU film school to study directing before I acted in all the movies. It's always been one of my passions. I started directing professionally in about 86. Shooting music videos and commercials and then our show on MTV, The Idiot Box.|
|So I'm guessing MTV/Viacom or somesuch own the DVD rights to The Idiot Box? There was a fair amount of comedy from that era of MTV that I'd love to be able to watch again…||MTV owns it... why no DVD... yet...|
|What was it like working with a big star like Larry "bud" Melman?||He was awesome of course. RIP.|
|Wait, does Satoshi = Stations???||Ahhh you cracked the code!!!|
|Excellent job on Downloaded! I enjoyed remembering a time in the not so distant past when 'regular people' could not envision a world in which their music lived on a computer. Today, regular people cannot envision a world in which their money lives on a computer. I was also surprised to learn about your early connection with the world of MP3s. Could you elaborate on what you think we can learn about Bitcoin based on your experiences with Napster and the MP3 scene in the late 90's?||The world is responding to Bitcoin and a new awareness of the Deep Web much like they responded to Napster, with fear and demonizing. Our film aims to put these things in some context.|
|What made you want to do this documentary? I've been following the story myself and it's certainly one worth following but how did you yourself first get interested in the topic?||I have been interested in global web-based communities and emerging technologies since the mid 80's. There is a revolution occurring in global culture at the moment, that will change everything. and it's only just beginning. what's not interesting about that?? :)|
|I don't have a question but Excellent Adventure made me who I am today. Thank you. Fuck it, uh. Do you agree that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is hands down the best cereal?||My kids do. it's evil.|
|off, I want to thank you for posting my Rasta Eyeball with a machine gun tattoo on your blog. It made getting it completely worth it. I just want to know which of the characters from Freaked is your favourite?||Stuey Gluck!!|
|And your tat is amazing!|
|Hello there, thanks for doing this! I just wanted to ask if by making a movie that sheds light on the dark web/bitcoins etc. It will shed more light on an area of the web that generally dislikes the attention. In other words could it create a misaprehension of the mission and possible positive effects the darkweb community tries to provide?||I think the current media spin has that effect; in that it tends to paint the entire deep web and bitcoins and cryptography with a negative brush. this is both inaccurate and destructive. Our movie does not paint dark things in a positive light, it gives context to the entire arena.|
|Will the Silk Road be back? Also, can you say hi to my smokin hot babe Sherry?||It is back.|
|Hey Alex, A quick glance at your wikipedia page has made me realise you directed Knock Me Down by RHCP! Did you have much contact with the band? How was it working with them? Thanks for the AMA; Looking forward to B&T3!||I love the chili's and have known them for decades. they are still great, but in the mid 80's when I had the fortune of doing some work with them, it is hard to quantify how amazing they were. the best live act on the road, by far!!|
|So when are you planning to bless the world with Bill & Ted 3?||Soon as we get it up and running!|
|If you could star in any movie from any time, what movie would it be and what role would you have and why?||Buster Keaton in anything probably. No one in the movies ever had a better time.|
|So what is the "untold" story of Bitcoin/Silk road? Isn't most of it public knowledge by now? Or we'll we have to wait and see the movie?||You don't have to wait if you join our Kickstarter and become part of the making of the movie! It is hardly public knowledge as no one has framed this story up yet in one film, and the story itself is unfolding every day. :)|
|What was the most surprising thing you found out about the Silk Road?||That's in the movie :)|
|Hey Alex, What will Deep Web be like? Sort of a CNN special or does it have a bigger ambition, i.e. are you making it on a scale for wide distribution in movie theaters? If the latter, what documentaries would you compare it to in terms of style and storytelling?||Our doc has a broader ambition than reportage. We are making a film about a technological revolution that has been brewing for decades.|
|Hm, don't know you but this does sound interesting. When can we expect this movie to come out? Anything interesting about these topics you learned?||Every day I learn something new and fascinating. We hope to finish within the next year. Join our kickstarter and be part of our community :)|
|What ''good'' is there in the deep web? I only hear stories about horrific things like drugs, black market stuff, assassins, etc. Also, were you fortunate enough to had invested in bitcoin in it's early stages?||The Deep Web is being demonized somewhat in the press, which is a misunderstanding of what it is. DW represents all content on the web that is not indexed. this doesn't mean people are doing bad things. it means they are unseen. the Dark Web is a term that has come to characterize people who use the web for illicit means. the dark web represents a fraction of the Deep Web.|
|On your Kickstarter campaign, you say, "Bitcoin has the potential to create a level of global disruption that will make Napster look like child's play." Can you expand on that?||BitCoin is a peer to peer crypto-currency. Like any peer to peer technology it is decentralized and operated by a wide user base spread across the net. As such it is here to stay, and being an unregulated currency that exists outside the control of banks and governments, it is poised to have a massive impact on the world. That's what I mean :)|
|Why are you focusing on the darker side of the deep web instead of the good side? Its virtues clearly outweigh the illegal stuff. As someone who appreciates the privacy benefits of Bitcoin, TOR and the Deep Web, I am concerned about the public's disproportionate focus on its negative and illegal uses. Do you plan to address this bias at all?||Question 1: I am absolutely not only focusing on the dark side of the Deep Web. In fact one of my key points is that the Deep Web is misrepresented, and inaccurately represented. It is mostly just a reference to all the content on the web that is not indexed. Most of which is not dark and a lot of which is frankly boring private data :)|
|Are you accepting Bitcoin for the financing of this film? If not, why not? Again, thanks for doing this, but I am concerned that your focus on the negative side of TOR will continue to twist the public's perception in the wrong direction.||2: We will absolutely be accepting BTC for the movie. But Kickstarter does not accept BTC so we are doing that separately. Stay tuned!|
|3: Yes the bias is a big problem and we will debunk the myths, just as I did with Downloaded. People like to hold onto their preconceptions tho, so I have no illusions about turning the world around :) A lot of people loved my Napster movie, but there were many in the mainstream press who were outraged that I didn't spend more time castigating the Napster architects for being thieves who created piracy software, when clearly that is not the truth, just the well-spun myth. but myths die hard.|
|How concerned are you with getting all the details right? You plan to talk about things happening in the more obscure and less legal parts of the Internet. The people who use those parts of the Internet are often pretty knowledgeable about the fine technical details, and are annoyed when people get them wrong. Even the term "Deep Web" has a whiff of "Information Superhighway" or "Series of Tubes" about it. Aside from just wanting to get the details right for the sake of having an informative and accurate documentary, are you concerned at all with upsetting the wrong kinds of people by doing this? After all, the guy behind Silk Road is rumoured to have tried(?) to have people killed.||Our film isn't a Silk Road movie but an exploration of the history and evolution of the Deep Web, as told by its architects. That is the story that I believe matters most :)|
|Are you covering other crypto currencies? Also, I didn't think porn hid on the internet.||I am yes. This movie is largely about the crypto-revolution.|
|What are your thoughts on the rather dubious "hired a hitman" charges against DPR (Ross Ulbricht)? Do you think law enforcement used parallel construction to identify the SR server or otherwise make the case against SDPR? Looking forward to this documentary, and I'm a huge fan of Bill and Ted!||It's a really fascinating case that is unfolding and changing constantly. No one knows the full story at the moment outside of the Feds, and I'm sure they're chasing some crazy leads trying to iron it all out!|
|Hey Alex I was just wondering if you used Silk Road for movie research and what the movie is gonna be about? The site used to pride themselves on anonymity so is it a lot of speculation about what goes on behind the curtain or were you able to actually talk to and interview the people behind the scenes of the website?||I didn't use SR for research but am in contact with many people close to the world and story.|
|Can I donate to the Deep Web movie via Bitcoin? I loved the Napster doc, and am super excited for this one, since judging by your prior work I think it will be very high quality. There was no bitcoin address listed on the kickstarter page!||Yes Kickstarter does not allow BitCoin pledges. We will have a BitCoin option soon!|
|Bitcoin is seen as a "dirty" term by the media as it usually relates to illicit activities, what could make it a more clean and friendly method of payment to Joe Smith who runs a small florist in a mid size town in Washington?||Time. people need to get used to crypto-currency. it's here to stay and perfectly legitimate unto itself.|
|I've always been a fan of Bill and Ted, however this question does not related to your career. You actually grew up next to my Dad (His name is Nick) in St. Louis/Clayton. He said your family loved television, and that he always joked your television might blow up one day. As ridiculous as that sounds apparently it actually happened to you guys one day. So did this actually happen? Is my father a liar? How much television does it take before it explodes?||Wow that is some ancient history! Yes when I was five my brother and I got into a fight and someone hit the tv with their body, hard (such is the way of fraternal skirmishes, my bro and I have actually always been super close). We didn't know we had blown some of the electricals inside the TV and the next time it was turned on it exploded into flames (for real!) and burned the whole house down (totally true story!!)|
|What are your thoughts on other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin?||I think it is early days for crypto-currency and eventually one will rule the roost. Whichever proves to be the most stable, trustworthy and provides the best ease of use.|
|I just hope that it's objective and that it doesn't needlessly throw BitCoin into dis-appeal. I mean, there have been other digital currencies which had been used for drugs, hitmen, child porn, whatever else. Sigh. Just don't slander it, k? <3||I totally agree with you, that's the movie :)|
|Are you worried about how Deep Web will portray bitcoin? Us bitcoin folks are already rather irritated about how much people make the point that bitcoin is used for illegal things, without pointing out that cash is used for the same thing.||Oh we are making very very clear all the legitimate uses for Bitcoin.|
|Alex, do you think that Satoshi Nakamoto has any sort of link or relationship to Ross Ulbricht?||Yes some people have been saying that. There are other people believed to have created Bitcoin that we are talking to.|
|What are your personal thoughts on the deep web and how it operates? Do you think the bit coin business model is the future of personal commerce?||I do yes.|
|Don't you think it is a little early to start writing a story before the truth is completely released? I've been following the take down since day one and there are still so many things that haven't been answered.||Absolutely. Our movie is about the Deep Web, it's not a Silk Road movie.|
|What do you think about Silk Road 2.0 being open?||Inevitable.|
|Have you been able to get any key actors in Bitcoin, Silk Road etc to go on the record unanonymously? BTW...San Dimas HS football rules!||Yes we have :)|
|I live in San Dimas. Do you know what you've done to me any time I meet people from out of town?||Sorry. truly. We didn't shoot there, we shot it in Phoenix, so I never thought about San Dimas one way or the other. Until many years later I made the mistake of taking my kids to the water park there without thinking about it. Very very very VERY big mistake for "Bill" to waltz into a water park in San Dimas...|
|What do you think George Carlin would have said about Bitcoin and Silk Road?||Link to www.youtube.com|
|Can you please make sure that bitcoin ends up not getting the image of "crack dollars"? I'd like if people didn't associate bitcoins with just silk road.||Agree!!|
|Bill& Ted 3: elaborate please!||We have the script and our producing team on board, in finance mode now... :)|
|What is socrates like in real life.||A windbag.|
|New Idiot Box sketches on YouTube please. Burrowing Bishop, If I Had My Way, etc.etc.||I think everything we shot has made its way up there :)|
|I have yet to ever have a question answered in an AMA, not a question but a simple acknowledgment of my existence would be fantastic. Love BnT BTW.||You exist!!!|
|We demand a sequel to Freaked. That is all.||Me too! One day... many many eons from now... it will happen...|
|Can you give me 3 words that will best describe the movie to me.||Join our Kickstarter! :)|