Guest AMA with Taylor Monahan & Jordan Spence of MyCrypto

by Jun 27, 2019AMA, Community

Welcome to the twenty first post in our series of BAT Community-run AMAs.

The ongoing AMA series on Reddit features various guests from the Brave and BAT teams, and, as of recently, guests from projects that Brave partners or works with. 

The most recent AMA took place on June 25th, and featured guests Taylor Monahan (Founder and CEO) and Jordan Spence (CMO) of MyCrypto. Taylor and Jordan fielded both pre-submitted and live questions from Redditors concerning a variety of topics, including MyCrypto’s experience with the Brave Ads platform as an advertiser, the exciting projects they’re currently working on, and the company’s long-term goals. The pair also addressed numerous questions from curious participants regarding the differences between MyCrypto and MyEtherWallet, which include a MyCrypto Desktop App for increased security, and a focus on supplying educational resources about crypto and how to manage it for anyone wishing to learn or get involved.

Highlights can be found below, with a link to the full AMA at the bottom of this post.

The next AMA will take place on Wednesday, July 25th, and will feature Alex Wilson and Patrick Duffy, Founders of The Giving Block.

For the list of upcoming BAT Community AMAs through September 2019, see below

abcoathup: MyCrypto is heavily into community education (especially security). What took you down that road or was it just the time that was 2017?

Jordan: insomniasexx may give you a better answer to this later, but I think that it was just a super necessary thing to become heavily involved in education and security best practices.

We (Taylor) were really in the trenches dealing with hundreds of support tickets a day, hearing about people losing their funds, etc, and it was pretty heavy to know that improper education and security was a major factor in people losing those funds.

As a result, we just kinda made education and security into little moons that revolve around MyCrypto at all times and factor into everything we do. This includes posting articles/blogs, keeping people informed of the latest breaches/attacks, and helps inform all of our product and design decisions.

Taylor: Yeah, Jordan pretty much captured it but everything we did in the early days was really in direct response to issues people were having and things we were seeing. It wasn't just the ICO stuff, it was the phishing sites that started cropping up in 2016, the people who couldn't access their presale wallets, people who hand-typed addresses, etc.

It was also due to our limited resources. A lot of deep product improvements require development effort which is our limited resource. I however could always write articles, answer support tickets, make UI improvements, add warnings, etc. and so I did, usually in direct response to a person or multiple people losing money in one way or another.

tripper21: What type of success are you seeing with your advertising campaigns, does it compare favorable to other mediums? Since mycrypto is BAT verified do you see a steady stream of BAT being sent to you (I sent BAT last week!).

Jordan: Heya tripper21, great question.

The MyCrypto Brave ads are in fact the *only* advertising campaign we've done thus far! In the past I have really wanted to try out ads on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc, but all of those platforms reject our attempts. It's unfortunate but also not that bad and really forces you to be creative with the platforms you *can* utilize for marketing.

So in terms of that, I'd say that the Brave advertising campaign is definitely favorable. It's hard to give real numbers or comparisons since it's our only ad campaign thus far, but we've had a great experience.

Also, we have in fact seen a steady stream of BAT being sent to MyCrypto as a verified publisher. It's a small stream, but a stream nonetheless and we're very thankful for those who have tipped us, like yourself.

IamMeeoh: I have been using myEtherWallet for years. It's a great product and I trust it. I discovered the existence of MyCrypto from the Brave ads. At first I thought it was a scammy clone, but then, reading a bit here and there I discovered it's a serious product. Could you please tell us where MyCrypto is (going to be) different from myEtherWallet? The key aspects. And why you think people like me should move to MyCrypto. Thanks.

Jordan: Hey IamMeeoh, thanks for the question. I'm glad to hear that you learned about MyCrypto thanks to our Brave ads.

When we first split off from MyEtherWallet and started MyCrypto, the two products were very similar (read: almost identical). It's been almost 18 months since that split though, and over time our two products have started to go in unique directions. Still similar, but the differences are showing a lot more.

At MyCrypto we've opted to do things low and slow like a good pulled pork. We've made updates here and there to our designs, flows, etc, but are really taking our time on releasing major updates because we're doing things like user research, testing, etc. You can see a sneak peek of what we're working on here.

One of the big things we've done is launching a fully-fledged desktop app. The MyCrypto Desktop App is basically the entire MyCrypto experience but away from the browser and in a much safer environment.

When it comes down to it, a lot of the offerings are still similar between our platform and MEW, but over time you're going to see more and more differentiating factors coming out.

On our end, I hope that MyCrypto ends up being:

  1. the *place* to go to manage your cryptocurrency life (Ethereum for the mid-term future, but we're actively exploring adding support for other chains)
  2. the most secure place to manage your cryptocurrency
  3. the place you go to have proper onboarding and education and can share with your friends and family because you KNOW that we do it right 😉

pm_me_the_tendies: What is the value add of MyCrypto.com over MyEtherWallet?

Jordan: Current value-add:

  • MyCrypto Desktop App (manage your crypto away from the browser—arguably much safer)
  • Friendlier UX/flows
  • High emphasis on education and security that informs our designs
  • Fully-fledged mobile wallet (not just a signing app) with Ambo
  • Future value-add:
  • Multi-account management (one place to manage your ledger/metamask/paper wallets/etc. all at once)
  • Dapp Integrations (Compound, ENS, and a whole lot of others that I can't commit to right now)
  • Better UX/flows 😉

Scoobytwo: First off, thank you so much Taylor for all the work you've done. A true pioneer in the Ethsphere! My question: Given what we've all witnessed in the past couple of years, what are your thoughts on utility tokens?

Taylor: Hey! Thanks for the question.

So I tend to be turned off by the word "utility token" because of everything that happened with ICO-mania, etc. There were so many projects touting around a "utility token" when there wasn't even a token in existence yet...and if there was it was def a security.

That said, true utility tokens and NFTs are super exciting, especially in the long term. I think in 5-10 years, looking back at where we are now in terms of tokens and how we are utilizing them (lol) will be such a tiny blip on the radar. Tokens are so much more than something to speculate on, buy, sell, etc. They have the ability to represent real-world assets, ownership, and who knows what else. The experience of giving, receiving, obtaining, selling, tokens will be invisible in some cases and "just happen". Or, in other cases, transferring a token will take a lot of work and effort and checks before it can happen (especially if the token represents ownership of a real-world asset.)

I think where we are right now is similar to where we were in the early 90's with cell phones. Back then, you could sorta see the potential of having a mobile phone instead of being tied to a landline, but people were stuck in that mentality and context. No one could imagine that in <20 years, cell phones would be so ubiquitous, enable you to connect and chat with anyone in the world, and have applications that allowed you to buy things, sell things, manage every aspect of your life, get a job, get fired from your job, etc.

tl;dr: we can't yet imagine what the future of tokens holds because we are currently viewing them in our current context. The next years are going to be very exciting as tokens evolve and become a fundamental part of this ecosystem and the larger world.

Streetride: Exchanges now have to comply with KYC/AML laws. Do you or have you seen any challenges that Mycrypto.com could face in regards to regulatory compliance?

Jordan: Heya streetride! That's a great question. KYC/AML laws seem to be an inevitability for a LOT of organizations in this space, but thus far and into the foreseeable future I don't see that being something that MyCrypto needs to be concerned about. (edit: That being said, you never know what the future holds in this space...)

Thanks to the fact that we only assist users in storing/managing their own funds and we don't actually touch any of those funds, we haven't been bit by the regulatory bug. There's compliance to be mindful of in normal terms (privacy policies, disclaimers, etc.), but other organizations who actually transmit/hold users information/assets have a lot more liability.

ethacct: Given the shill-y nature of crypto and all communication surrounding it, I've found it difficult to phrase this question in a way that avoids all of that, but I'm gonna try: With your unique position in the space, what aspect of crypto do you think most folks are sleeping on and is going to make a significant impact in, say, the next 365 days? I don't mean "which project is going to the moon and what tokens should I buy???" but more like, what do you see coming down the pipeline that will make a big splash that most people don't realize is almost here?

Taylor: Recently, I've been really obsessing about Non-Fungible Tokens. Not NFTs for like random digital art or things like that, but NFT's that enable something within a larger piece of the ecosystem.

For example, holding an NFT that represents a loan or other position you have or can take. This enables another layer, where you can not only hedge yourself or take/give a loan, but then you can sell that loan on a secondary market. Options. Futures. Etc. Right now, most of the things I am imagining surround DeFi/speculation, and it also gets scarily close to how mortgages were packaged up and sold and then crashed our economy, but you get my point (I hope) and again, it can be so much more.

I think this is one area we will see immense growth and surprising creations come from in the short/medium term.

pm_me_the_tendies: Any plans to support a Web3 browser on mobile? Would love to see better dApp representation on my iPhone.

Taylor: Not at this time. There are a few products trying to conquer that and a risky road to go down due to Apple's policies AND insane security / sandboxing issues. It's not impossible to do, but I believe the winning dapp browser will have to focus solely on being a dapp browser rather than anything else. It can't also be a wallet or an interface or hold personal information—it has to just be a connector layer and focus on keeping the user educated and safe about what they are doing. It won't hold people's funds or even give people access to their funds directly.

In the same vein, I think we need to see the dapps themselves removing reliance on a user's personal information (address, etc.) or integrating their own wallets into the dapp.

If you think about the current system you have apps that have access to your credit card number or paypal info or whatever. That's all they get. Then you have your bank that has all your information. You don't give Uber your entire transaction history and you don't ask your bank to call you a car. The crypto-future will probably operate similarly in order to reduce the amount of information any single party has and keep people's information, and assets, safe.

Basically I imagine a future might look like…

Dapps—just the dapp

Dapp browser—access the dapps, send necessary info to the wallet and send necessary info to the dapp

Wallet—final check on what the user is actually doing, holder of money

Where we fit into this...f**** if I know.

DaveSchweinsteiger: Do you believe in the success of Libra? 😉

Jordan: Only time will tell where and if Libra shines and where and if it fails. Anything has the potential to succeed or add value, but it takes a lot more than a bunch of money, or even experience in a related space (see: Google Plus 😉)

Razzashi: What is the most exciting thing you are currently working towards achieving with MyCrypto?

Jordan: Hey Razzashi, thanks for asking. There are a LOT of exciting things going on with MyCrypto and the overarching blockchain space right now.

For the last 6 months or so (or what feels like forever), we've been heads down on a massive update to MyCrypto that includes multi-wallet management, balance overviews, and better designs/UX/flows/etc.

There's a lot of goals / milestones we are achieving / hope to achieve with this update.

  1. It's a big next step for the MyCrypto product in terms of the features and functions we offer.
  2. It's a next step for what the industry needs, in our opinion—considering how easy it is to make wallets, there's no reason not to have multiple wallets for various uses—and now one place to manage all of them.
  3. We're also updating a lot of our UX / onboarding / messaging so things overall are just less scary and confusing for new users, and more comfortable for existing users. This will be something we constantly iterate and reiterate on to make it better over time, and we feel like we're helping forge a path through the forest of confusion in this space.

abcoathup: Was it a conscious decision to have a Twitter account with real personality? The tweets were my intro to MyCrypto.

Jordan: Great question, abcoathup. When I joined Taylor at MEW back in early 2017, she was the only one tweeting from the account. I think I joined when the Twitter account was at less than 10,000 followers and already had Taylor's personality behind it, and while there was no other marketing presence, the Twitter *was* the marketing presence.

I started tweeting more and more and taking that responsibility off Taylor's plate and felt like we should retain her voice and personality because people had gotten used to it and it was working pretty well.

As we grew further into MEW and eventually split off into MyCrypto, it felt natural to keep the Twitter personality. It's one of the core aspects of our messaging voice and I don't see that changing, aside from me toning down the language sometimes. 🙂

Taylor: Just a little addition...when I started tweeting as MyEtherWallet I had been on Twitter for a while but hadn't been active since maybe 2010 or so. I didn't want to start up my own Twitter again AND do MyEtherWallet (that’s work) so...I just used @MyEtherWallet as both the company account, my personal interactions with people in the ecosystem, providing support, and to stay abreast of news. There was no separation between Taylor and MyEtherWallet on Twitter. One small example: whenever there was one of those "women on crypto twitter list" people would shout out the MyEtherWallet account.

I never sat there with some grand marketing plan to "have personality". I just did my thing and there was no one around to tell me that it may not be a good idea to make the identities so intertwined and brand accounts probably should rant and rave and curse about ICOs. 😂

Read the full AMA here

Follow the BAT Community’s Updates here: https://www.reddit.com/r/BATProject/

Upcoming BAT Community AMAs:

July 2019
Adam Knuckey, VP and Co-Founder of Dolomite
Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer of The Human Rights Foundation

August 2019
Jeremy Epstein (Founder) and Donny Dvorin (GM), Never Stop Marketing Research

September 2019
Catherine Corre, Head of Communications at Brave

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