Guest AMA with Daniel Gouldman and Ian Kane of Ternio

by | Jun 14, 2019 | AMA, Community

Welcome to the nineteenth 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 latest AMA took place on June 12th and featured Daniel Gouldman (CEO), and Ian Kane (COO), Founders and Co-owners of Ternio, one of Brave’s advertising partners for Brave Ads. Daniel and Ian fielded both pre-submitted and live questions from Redditors about Ternio and its products, namely BlockCard, a crypto debit card enabling cardholders to spend their cryptocurrency anywhere VISA is accepted, and Lexicon, a high-speed blockchain framework capable of exceeding 1 million on-chain transactions per second. The pair spoke of their near and long-term plans for the recently released BlockCard,of Dennis and Natasha, the advanced AI bots they’ve created to help run their Telegram group, and even of Daniel’s time being homeless and what the experience taught him.

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, June 19th, and will feature Marshall Rose, Principal Engineer at Brave.

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

LegitLaz: What was the most beautiful moment for you regarding Ternio?

Daniel and Ian: There are so many. One of the first was doing our initial AMA where we had the opportunity to introduce Ternio to the world and answer everyone’s questions live. From there it was getting audited at 1M TPS and demonstrating our tech to clients. Then it was getting BlockCard live, Amazon AWS designation, etc. Every little win is special because it's a "first" for Ternio. Overall, it’s been a roller coaster of wins and some losses. Ultimately, we’re continuing to make progress and every new milestone is special to us. This 2018 Year In Review highlights some of our highlights last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=l26tuVVIp08 I look forward to doing another video for 2019!

jeu154:

  • What's the use for Ternio? What are the benefits of working with Brave? How likely will you guys keep on buying ads from brave? Did you guys pay your ads with bat? What's the best thing that you guys like about the crypto space? Does your project really needs crypto to be successful or exist?
  • What, according to you, is the best project in crypto other than yours and why?
  • What is the biggest problem encountered by Ternio? What's the regulatory framework like for Ternio? Any issue with regulators? How did Gouldman became homeless? How was the homeless life? What makes you proud about Ternio? What's your biggest expectation about the success of Ternio?

Daniel: The TERN token is well suited for payments first of all—being a Stellar token—TERN transactions are much faster and cheaper (1/1000 of a penny for a transaction). This helps minimize costs for consumers and allows us to not charge transaction fees.

We have some ideas about how Brave and Ternio can work together which we highlighted below. I think our companies are perfectly symbiotic in many ways. We're a big fan of Brave and we think they've done a great job with their ad platform and solution. Cryptocurrency has so many advantages and will continue to evolve; so yes—we feel cryptocurrencies ultimately will lead to cheaper costs, more convenience for consumers.

Best project other than Ternio? Brave! We've filed a Reg-D exemption with the SEC and are compliant with SEC expectations/rules as far as we can say. I became homeless because I'm a very stubborn person and have been since I was much younger than 17. Homeless life taught me that no matter what I go through ... it's all going to be ok.

We're very proud of Ternio because we have a great team, a great community and we feel we're one of the few companies to demonstrate we are able to deliver real products for customers. My biggest expectation is to see us innovate and change the world in ways that others presently aren't.

xcommit: Now that the virtual BlockCard has been released to all US residents (congrats!), can you share any upcoming milestones for the project that we should be looking forward to? What are your plans for growing the Tern ecosystem?

Daniel and Ian: We are very excited that BlockCard is now live for all US users. Register at https://getblockcard.com/ if you haven't already!

We're going to be sending physical cards soon and adding many features that will completely change and dominate the way card programs operate and how people interact with digital assets. Outside of some really cool features—we also are going to be looking to expand outside of US borders.

currywm: Hi, could you discuss more about the specific implementation of the BlockCard? I know you all are partnering with Visa, but who is providing the KYC services and physical card?

Daniel and Ian: We partnered with not only VISA, but also a card issuance partner (with 20+ years in the space), payment processor, and domestic bank. Each one plays a role in the overall BlockCard experience and we tend not to share how our proprietary process works (no need to educate potential competitors 👀). As we expand internationally, we will continue to onboard more banks and partners that have expertise in specific geographic areas. Deploying a card program is a very intense process and doing it the right way takes time. We want to partner with the leaders, because that ultimately delivers the best customer experience.

bananablocks: From my understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong), every transaction where you’re trading one crypto for another or when you sell crypto for fiat, it’s a taxable event (in the United States). How does this play into your BlockCard product as it would not be ideal to have to think about tax complications for everyday purchases. What are the ways forward with tax implications from crypto in the US from your POV?

Daniel and Ian: Great question and one I have fielded a few months back. You can listen to my response here: https://youtu.be/tlucq8LGRCc?t=1081 The tax laws in the US are evolving and being evaluated by a lot of smart people. At Ternio, we don’t know where they will end up. Ultimately, we want to make the accounting process as easy as we can for BlockCard users which is why we have the “transactions” page in the account dashboard. This way users are able to accurately track their spending and any tax implications. We will continue to improve on this as new regulations and guidelines come out. We want to give our customers the best experience possible.

In my opinion, it would be great to see all cryptocurrencies treated as currency, however this is a very complex issue. I think Switzerland has done a good job in trying to classify and understand the difference between payment tokens, utility tokens, and asset tokens. More details on that here: https://www.finma.ch/en/news/2018/02/20180216-mm-ico-wegleitung/

Dk_weekinmemes: My question is for Ian. How does BlockCard deal with volatility in price? To give some context, Visa merchant partners, would be expecting their payments to be received in USD or some fiat currency. Let's say I use my card and the price of the cryptocurrency fluctuates wildly (like 5-10% in a day at times), the merchant and I would both like to have some assurance that we won't lose money. At the same time, BlockCard would also not like to take on the liability.

Ian: There are already FIAT options, including the debit card you have your wallet now. One of the value props of BlockCard is that users get all the upward or downward price pressure of crypto. We found that most crypto users want to stay in crypto, not FIAT. The user is not converting to FIAT until they “swipe” their card - which is what the merchant receives. To help protect Ternio from any significant swings in price and mitigate the risk, we require the user to keep an added $100 in their account. So if you deposit $250, then you have $150 worth of spending power. The BlockCard user can always withdraw the full $250 from their account. The $100 just acts as a safety net.

LegitLaz: So, the roll-out in the USA has been smooth sailing so far and went pretty straight forward. Initial release to 150 beta testers or the leaderboard, opening up to an additional 1000 users and now targeting the entirety of the USA. When can we expect this for Europe or (SE) Asia? And will it be in a similar matter? Will this process have priority over fixing and sending out physical cards or will physical cards come first for the USA?

Daniel and Ian: Thank you for the kind words. BlockCard is now open to anyone in the United States. Anyone who hasn't registered can do so at https://getblockcard.com/ Virtual cards are provided instantly (after passing KYC) and physical cards will be made available in the coming weeks. I always like to remind people that Ternio is still a small startup and we’re moving as fast as we can.

We are already engaged with partners in Europe, APAC, GCC, and HK. We envision BlockCard as being a global solution, but doing things correctly takes time. Ideally, we want to have another 1-2 countries live before the end of this year (which may be ambitious). However, large companies move at their own pace and often times we are beholden to speed at which our larger partners move. Ultimately, we are working to make the BlockCard rollout in other countries as smooth as it was for our US customers! Also, physical cards vs international roll out is not an either/or scenario. Both are happening in parallel.

bananablocks: Why did you guys decide to build on Hyperledger Fabric & Stellar as opposed to other options?

Daniel and Ian: HLF & Stellar were an ideal foundation to start with for Ternio’s product suite (both BlockCard and Lexicon). HLF is great because it enables blockchain to be deployed in a permissioned environment—enabling organizations to fully “decentralize” without fully “democratizing”. Companies have concerns about blockchain becoming a competitive intelligence tool, so HLF gives them the benefits of blockchain without opening up sensitive company data. Stellar is designed for low cost microtransactions and made it an ideal choice for not only Lexicon, but also BlockCard. Other blockchain options were either too expensive in terms of transaction verification or were not setup to be permissioned based.

DigitalAssetLaw: Ternio is an advanced Amazon Advanced Technology Partner. Can you please discuss the significance of that designation?

Daniel and Ian: Being an Amazon AWS Advanced Tech Partner is a great validator for what Ternio has built with Lexicon. It required a thorough review process by the Amazon team to verify how Ternio scales our blockchain and how it would benefit the AWS ecosystem. If AWS clients are interested in using blockchain, then Amazon can direct them to Ternio or a handful of other approved blockchain tech partners. Ternio’s profile is here: https://aws.amazon.com/partners/find/partnerdetails/?n=Ternio&id=0010L00001v27t2QAA&t=psf-overview

bananablocks: Do you foresee one blockchain to rule them all or is it not as much of a zero sum game here as people might think? For example IOTA for IoT, HLF/Ethereum for banking, etc. Thanks for this AMA, I appreciate it!

Daniel and Ian: Precisely! Blockchain is not a zero-sum game much like (in my opinion) there will not be a single cryptocurrency to rule them all. What makes this space so exciting is that there are a ton of smart people solving real problems in niche areas.

Natashamilosevic: Where did you find Dennis and Natasha?

Daniel and Ian: Dennis and Natasha are actually advanced AI bots that Ternio developed. We have given them very human centric mannerisms so most people can't tell they’re just advanced artificial intelligence..... 🙂 🤖🖥

LegitLaz: How can we help you guys?

Daniel and Ian: Keep spreading the word about Ternio (TERN) and the cool products we’re building. Community support is so important. We’re grateful that the Brave team gave us this opportunity and platform to take your questions and help educate those that may be unfamiliar with what Ternio is doing.

Read the full AMA here.

See our latest AMA with Jimmy Secretan, Brave’s VP of Services & Operations, from June 5th, 2019, here.

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

Upcoming BAT Community AMAs:

June 2019
Jordan Spence, CMO of MyCrypto

July 2019
Alex Wilson and Patrick Duffy, Founders of The Giving Block
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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