Episode 17

Oliver Schantin from Basenode on Crypto Payments & Invoicing for Freelancers

Oliver Schantin from Basenode on Crypto Payments & Invoicing for Freelancers

What We Discuss WIth Oliver Schantin

Freelancing , remote working and crypto have already disrupted the way we work, and I believe in the future, these 3 combinations will become the rule rather than the exception.

One startup that caught my eye and that I’ve been following for a while now is Basenode, as in their words, Basenode’s mission is to empower freelancers to embrace crypto payments.

Based in Berlin and backed by the venture capital firm Blockchain Founders Group, Basenode has recently launched its beta version, and together with Oliver, we discuss how the platform they are building can empower freelancers to switch to the emerging token economy.

In this episode, we will discuss;

  • Why freelancers should consider switching from fiat invoicing to crypto invoicing;
  • Challenges faced by crypto freelancers;
  • The practical steps to switching from fiat to crypto;
  • How smart contracts can improve the invoicing process;
  • Challenges for adoption and much more.
Connect with
Oliver
Oliver Schantin
CEO & Co-Founder @ basenode.io

[00:00:00] Umar: Welcome to the Accountant Quits, brought to you by AuditChain, the world’s first decentralized continuous audit, and real-time reporting protocol. On this podcast, we discuss how blockchain will impact the accounting profession and how accountants should prepare themselves for the future of work. My name’s Umar, your host, and even if some might refer to me as the accountant gone rogue, my job is to provide you with the blockchain knowledge you need, that will be relevant for the accounting industry as a whole.

[00:00:31] Umar: Welcome to Episode 17. Freelancing, remote working, crypto have already disrupted the way we work. And I believe in the future, these three combinations will become the rule rather than the exception.

[00:00:44] Umar: For more than a year now, I’ve been working as a freelancer, not as an accountant, since you know I’ve quit, The Accountants Quits right? And one start up that caught my eye and that I’ve been following for a while now is Basenode, as in their words, Basenode’s mission is to empower freelancers to embrace crypto payment.

[00:01:04] Umar: Based in Berlin and backed by the venture capital firm Blockchain Founders Group, Basenode has recently launched its beta version. And in order to learn more about how the platform can empower freelancers, today I have the pleasure to speak to its CEO and Co-founder Oliver Schantin.

[00:01:22] Umar: In this episode, we’ll discuss why freelancers should consider switching from Fiat invoicing to crypto invoicing, the challenges faced by crypto freelancers, the practical steps to switching from fiat to crypto, how smart contracts can improve the invoicing process, challenges for adoption and much more.

[00:01:42] Umar: Oliver, welcome to the show. I’m really looking forward to our discussion and speaking about two of my favorite topics, crypto and freelancing.

[00:01:51] Oliver: Hey, I’m super happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:56] Umar: I always like to start the episode by asking my guests how they got into blockchain. Everyone has quite a unique story and I’d love it if you could share yours.

[00:02:08] Oliver: Yeah, so I’m not like a typical IT guy. I didn’t study some IT related stuff. I studied engineering in the university of Hamburg.

[00:02:19] Oliver: That’s where I spent the last 10 years. And yeah, I first heard about Bitcoin back in 2013, 14, very early. But at this time I thought it was a scam and I didn’t invest anything. And, yeah, of course, like I think the first touch point with such a technology is always a little bit scary and you’re very skeptical and it’s healthy, right. And then a few years later I checked back on Bitcoin, it was 2016, 17 around that time. And I was like, damn, this thing, like, it really took off. And then I was like, maybe there’s something to it. Right. So, and I started going down the rabbit hole, spent hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours. I think learning about the blockchain technology and yeah.

[00:03:00] Oliver: At the same time, finishing my studies and then, yeah, in 2019, I finished my master’s degree and I was ready to get into the startup world. And I, my dream was always to work in the blockchain space. At first I got a job at a university. They did, yeah, distributed ledger technologies research center.

[00:03:21] Oliver: So I was like a PhD candidate there and it was a good time we developed some IOT devices and, tried to connect them with some kind of Oracle to the blockchain, and so on. So really interesting stuff. And at some point I just realized that this academic way was not for me. So I quit this job. My mom almost killed me. She was like, this is like the most secure job you can have. Right. Working in like in a public university. But I was like, no, it’s not, it’s not for me. And like, I need to work full-time in the crypto space and I need to like do my own thing, right. Like go my own path and not have something predetermined for, for my future.

[00:04:00] Oliver: And then I just quit that job. And I started my first startup back in 2019. That was about e-learning and bringing blockchain knowledge to banks, but it turns out most banks don’t really, you know, they give you a pat on the shoulder be like, oh yeah, this is a really important topic. Right. But no, thanks. We’re not going to spend money for it.

[00:04:19] Oliver: So that didn’t really take off. And now, yeah, this year I started Basenode. Yeah. You already introduced it a little bit and I think we can talk about it later a little bit more in detail, but that’s basically my story.

[00:04:33] Umar: All right. If we start the discussion with the whole invoicing, I’ve been a freelancer now for little bit more than a year.

[00:04:42] Umar: Why would you say freelancers need to, or have to consider switching from fiat invoicing to crypto invoicing? Why should they now be embracing this new token economy we are in?

[00:04:57] Oliver: Yeah. So there are different target groups. If we talking about the freelancer market globally, there are more than 1 billion freelancers.

[00:05:05] Oliver: So, right. So they vary vastly in their, in the field of, of profession right? You have like designers, you have developers, you have musicians or the different professions, and then you also have them scattered all around the globe. So geographically you have like, it’s a very heterogeneous market, right, the freelancer market.

[00:05:22] Oliver: Using crypto is not the best solution for every single freelancer right now, because if you live, let’s say you live in Germany or in Western Europe, then your banking system is probably working quite well. And you can just use fiat for your invoicing and it’s more regulated and probably a good solution,right.

[00:05:42] Oliver: But if you are located in another country, Let’s say you are located in India or in Philippines and you have a client in Germany or in France and they send you money across borders. Then it’s a whole different story, right? Because then you have to pay a lot of fees, right? For international bank transfers.

[00:05:57] Oliver: And yeah, you, you will face different problems because the fiat currency system is not, so first of all, it’s not permissionless, so you have to go to a bank and register, do KYC, and then maybe they allow you to have a bank account. And then also they can withhold your funds. Right? So I talked to this Indian freelancer because we conducted a lot of interviews and he told me that every time he gets more than a thousand dollars from a foreign source, like from his clients, then the bank will just freeze his account and send him a survey, and he has to like, answer a couple of questions, like where does the money come from and so on. And then maybe after a couple of days, they allow them to spend their own money. And that’s just, in my opinion, it’s just wrong. This is a real pain point that I think millions of freelancers around the world. And we are trying to solve that for them.

[00:06:50] Umar: Like I mentioned in the introduction Basenode’s mission is to empower freelancers to embrace crypto. Now, speaking of COVID, COVID has been this unexpected predicament, we are, we’re still don’t know when it’s going to end. One of the silver linings of COVID has been a shift in the way we work. And I feel the rise of freelancing, the rise of remote working of course. Now, Basenode has opted to choose this market, this growing movement of freelancing, which of course makes sense.

[00:07:25] Umar: So when it comes to freelancers, what are some of the challenges that they face that you’ve gathered so far in terms of crypto payments?

[00:07:35] Oliver: Yeah. And so, as I said before, we conducted a lot of interviews to identify the pain points because when you’re building a startup, so the challenge is to build something that people actually want to use, right. Usually you cannot ask people, what kind of product do you want? Usually you have to ask what kind of pain do you have? And then you as an entrepreneur have to come up with a solution. Right. So, and that’s what we did. And, we found out that, so we have very basic, stuff that is currently lacking.

[00:08:04] Oliver: A lot of freelancers, just use an Excel sheet to match the public keys with the names of their clients. Right. So, and that’s, that’s a very simple feature, but I mean, it’s so helpful if you have an overview of who is actually sending you money, right? So we built that so you can connect your wallet to Basenode. You can have an address book and you can label your, your connections and your, your clients, and then just see who is sending you money and who you’re paying, right.

[00:08:32] Oliver: Another thing is the invoicing, right? You maybe you just want to create an invoice that is denominated in US dollar coin instead of US dollar in a traditional legacy banking system. Right. Then you have to specify what network do you want to use it on, right. Ethereum, Binance chain, or maybe something else.

[00:08:51] Oliver: So this is also a thing that we integrated in Basenode, and you can use it right now. And so the, the beta is open. And so what, what we actually do is just, it’s a transaction aggregator and we have basic accounting features built on top of it. So far, we think we built a pretty useful product for global freelancers.

[00:09:11] Umar: I’ve actually used the the beta version that you currently launched. So I’ve tried to issue an invoice and I can say it was very easy, very simple to use. I really like the user interface of it. So what’s the Basenode about? so it’s about invoicing, you said transaction aggregating.

[00:09:28] what is really transaction aggregating though? What does that mean?

[00:09:33] Oliver: Yeah, I mean, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a freelancer that wants to build their business on crypto, right? So what are you need? You need basically a wallet, right? And then you need an address book to match all the public keys with your clients.

[00:09:48] Oliver: You need some kind of invoicing software, so you can send invoices. You also want to create income statements or some kind of tax reports. Basically have an overview of your documents and your spendings and your, your earnings. And that’s exactly what we built. So Basenode is not a wallet provider. We just, so you can connect your existing wallets, we support, yeah, most of the popular wallets.

[00:10:14] Oliver: So what we do is we look at the blockchain, we look at the data that is available publicly, right? So all your transactions, and then we just aggregate them and like put them in a nice user interface, very simple user interface that you can interact with. And, yeah, we provide you all the information about your transactions, about your clients and so on.

[00:10:35] Umar: Could you for example, walk us through the invoicing process from the moment. So you connect to your metamask and how do you invoice it and send it to a client, or how does that work?

[00:10:46] Oliver: So, yeah, so you can just log into Basenode with your Metamask.

[00:10:50] Oliver: I think it’s a very important feature because if you log in with your Metamask account, you don’t have to give us an email address, right? So you can remain a little bit, you can keep a little bit more of privacy. Of course we have no KYC because we don’t handle any funds. Right. We’re just an aggregator.

[00:11:06] Oliver: And then you can just log in with your Metamask. You click on create invoice and you can type the kinds of services that you charge. You would select your desired token that you want to receive. And you select the network that you want to receive it on. Right. And then, you can download it as a PDF and just send it to your client as usual.

[00:11:26] Oliver: So we didn’t want to reinvent the workflow of sending an invoice, right? So we were just, you just download it, you have a PDF, you send it to your client just as you used to. And then there is like your client, he will receive this PDF. There’s a payment link. You can just click on the payment link and then he will be redirected to a landing page specifically for your payment. He will see the amount he can check, what is like, what is the desired currency, the wallet. And then he can just, if he has, for example, a browser wallet or Metamask, he can just directly pay your invoice. Right. And of course he can also use other wallets to pay.

[00:12:05] Oliver: We try to keep the user experience very simple. And that’s the whole process.

[00:12:10] Umar: What if now these freelances have to somehow prepare their accounts and they’re using some accounting softwares. How would they be exporting those transactions, let’s say from Basenode to those accounting softwares? Are you integrating maybe with some of the popular ones out there, like Quickbooks?

[00:12:32] Oliver: That’s that’s a really good question.

[00:12:33] Oliver: So right now you cannot directly connect to a legacy accounting software for like a traditional accounting aoftware. But we are aware that this might be necessary. And so right now we are crypto only, right? So Basenode is only for crypto accounting and, yeah, nothing more because we want to focus on like this very specific target group, but yeah, in the future, we will definitely integrate, traditional accounting software.

[00:13:00] It’s not that hard. You can use API connections for that, right now it’s not possible. What you can do, of course is export your transactions and your income statements in the form of a CSV file. And re-upload it to your accounting software, right. That is already possible. But yeah, I’m aware that’s not the best user experience. So we will work on that too.

[00:13:21] Umar: Let’s say there’s someone listening. There’s a freelancer listening who wants to make use of Basenode. In terms of like the steps to follow, what should they do to get onto Basenode? You already explained the invoicing process, but maybe some of the prerequisites, they already need to have to start using Basenode of course, like a metamask wallet.

[00:13:45] Umar: And how, how do you advise them, like arranging with a client because maybe not every client will be able to pay them in these crypto funds.

[00:13:56] Oliver: Yes. So this is a really important point that, that you just talked about? I mean, so our meta mission at Basenode is to drive crypto adoption. Right? And I mean, this is already done by, by building some product on top of the token economy, what we’re doing, but a real, really big issue is that what you just explained. You, you want to receive, let’s say you want to receive US Dollar Coin right on Ethereum, but your client might not have crypto, right. He might only be able to pay in, in like, with his credit card or with PayPal or something. Right. Then what you need is really a fiat to crypto invoicing service.

[00:14:35] Oliver: Right. And we are right now working on that feature because this will really drive crypto adoption forward. So on a technical level, it’s actually not that difficult to implement. On a regulatory level, it’s actually quite complicated. We don’t want to become a fiat on ramp, right? So this is a risk for us. If we become some kind of exchange or fiat on ramp, then we will be KYC. We will have to do KYC on our clients and we want to avoid this at any cost. I think privacy is, is a really important feature, especially when you build something on top of a token economy like we do.

[00:15:15] Oliver: So that’s why you don’t need a login to use Basenode, right? You don’t, you don’t have to give us any of your information, not your name, not your email address. And certainly you don’t have to upload a passport or something because that would really kill the user experience. So right now we are talking to some companies in Switzerland, which have very crypto friendly laws when it comes to fiat on-ramping and so on. But right now we cannot offer this feature, but we plan to implement it in the first half of next year. And it’s, it’s looking good, but, yeah, right now, not, not yet possible.

[00:15:47] Umar: The other thing is how to convert those crypto to fiat. So at the moment, a lot of vendors are not accepting crypto payments.

[00:15:57] Umar: So as a freelancer, if I’m receiving my revenue in crypto, I still have my monthly running costs, which cannot be paid in crypto, but in fiat. Since you’re in this business, what should the freelancer know about converting those crypto to fiat?

[00:16:14] Umar: And one of the questions I have is are these freelancers being paid on their exchange or they using their metamask wallet to receive these funds.

[00:16:27] Oliver: Um, so you can connect any wallet to Basenode right now where we are not supporting centralized exchanges, but we are in a couple of weeks, the feature will be there.

[00:16:38] Oliver: So you can also connect your exchange account, right? Right now you can connect, all kinds of like hardware wallets, browser wallets, or any self hosted wallet, right. And, so about the exchange. and I mean, this is a, this is a big point. I mean, crypto, so the value of, of crypto, I think it’s also dependent on, can I use it in a real world?

[00:17:00] Oliver: Right? Can I buy a coffee with it? And there are some services that provide the exchange in the moment that you spend the money, right? So some crypto credit cards, for example. I personally never, never used them because I’m a hodler. So my philosophy is I spend the bad money first. And then if I’m out of that, I spend a good money, right.

[00:17:22] Oliver: So I know it might be a personal opinion, but my Satoshis are the last thing I’m going to buy a coffee with. Right. I will always spend my fiat for that. And so I don’t really have this problem, but of course, if you’re a freelancer and you have your monthly expenses and bills that you need to pay, correct.

[00:17:42] Oliver: And then you have to do it. Right.

[00:17:44] Umar: let’s say, yeah, you’re not, I’m not billing in Bitcoin. I would build in stable coins. So I feel it’s easier to be spending in stable coins. What are you seeing right now? With Ethereum, so for example, to save on transaction costs, what’s like the practice of, saving on transaction costs at the moment that you are seeing?

[00:18:06] Oliver: Yeah. So we conducted a lot of interviews, as I said, and to my surprise, the most commonly used network among those freelancers was not Ethereum, it was not Bitcoin. It was Binance chain actually. So an Ethereum fork that is more centralized than Ethereum and therefore has a lot lower transaction fees, right.

[00:18:28] Oliver: So I think on Binance chain, you can transact for a couple of cents. That’s the last time I checked, it was like that. And then they use just a stable coin. Like US Dollar coin or even like Binance dollar like BUSD, right. They also have their own stable coin. You can use this and then you can send, a thousand dollars across borders for like 20 cents or something.

[00:18:49] Oliver: So it’s really, really amazing. And I think ethereum has right now, they ran into, into scaling issues and, it’s hard to solve that on the first layer. I think a lot of cryptocurrencies will run into the same issue when they arrive at the point where Ethereum is right now, because there’s so many products built on Ethereum, right?

[00:19:10] Oliver: It’s not that they are like that Ethereum is a bad blockchain or that they did something wrong. No, it’s just like the amount of products built on top of it. It’s like so overwhelming that you run into scalability issues. Right. So, yeah, but maybe that’s, that’s a different topic.

[00:19:24] Umar: I want to move on to speak a little bit more about the technology and the promise of blockchain wants to shift the balance of power back to its users. How do you see this being applied to the accounting industry? It’s quite a general question maybe too, in terms of moving from the centralized to decentralized world for the accounting industry, how do you see this playing out?

[00:19:56] Oliver: Yeah, that’s, that’s a good question. And it’s quite a complex field, because, so I believe that digital assets and digital funds that you hold should be stored decentrally, right? So yeah, in, in a network that is fairly decentralized and on the other end, you have the software, right. You have the accounting software, the tools, the web app that is built on top of it.

[00:20:18] Oliver: And for this it’s. So this is a different story. Does software really need to be decentralized? Does it need to be a DAO. Maybe right. Maybe not. So you always have the trade off between decentralization, which is a benefit in security maybe and in data ownership and so on, but it has its drawbacks when it comes to transaction speed and costs, right?

[00:20:41] Oliver: So in my opinion, it makes perfect sense to decentralize the ownership of digital assets. It makes not so much sense yet maybe to decentralize the software for accounting itself, right? Because you run into all kinds of different problems. There are some competitors that actually use, a blockchain for like the accounting software for it to store the user data, for example, Request Network. And the blockchain is forever, right? So there’s like a history of transactions that happened and that data is stored in there. And you cannot delete it. Right. So if I want to delete my user data and it’s stored decentrally in the blockchain, that’s pretty difficult, right. Or almost impossible maybe. And, those are issues that you might not think of, directly, because it sounds good to decentralize everything, but maybe, maybe it’s better to have some like software centralized for like to make it cheaper and to have easy usability.

[00:21:41] Oliver: And it’s a trade-off right. So of course, if you enter something into Basenode, we store your data. I mean, we store them securely, of course, but in the sense of data ownership, maybe in the future, we can move towards a DAO. I mean, I was thinking about that, and I just don’t know if it’s the time yet to do it.

[00:21:59] Oliver: Right. So yeah, quite a, quite a complex topic

[00:22:03] Umar: For people to make a simple analogy. Is Basenode like a PayPal on blockchain. Would that analogy fit or it’s not correct?

[00:22:14] Oliver: I think it’s not really correct because we don’t, we don’t hold any funds. Right. We are like, we don’t have any wallets or something. we only connect wallets, that the user enter.

[00:22:27] Oliver: So if you enter your public key in the Basenode software, then we will, like scan all the transactions that you have, and provide you with a nice user interface, but so PayPal, I think they are more, they’re closer to like a bank or payment provider, which we are not right now at this point.

[00:22:45] Umar: Before we continue, we’ll take a quick commercial break from our sponsor.

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[00:23:56] Umar: How do you see smart contracts as a technology improving the process of invoicing? One of the examples I could think of is maybe now with a smart contract, you can program the invoice in such a way that if there’s a late payment, there’s an automatic notification that is sent to the vendor. How do you see smart contracts playing out in the whole invoicing field?

[00:24:22] Oliver: So when, when do you need a blockchain? When do you need a smart contract? Usually, if you have two parties that don’t really trust each other. Right. So that’s, that’s the main use case because it’s a trustless system and you can like rely on the math or the code that is behind it and you don’t have to trust the other person, right.

[00:24:41] Oliver: So is this the case for sending invoices, right. That’s the next question. And the answer is probably sometimes yes. Do we need an automated message to freelancers? Like if they don’t pay your invoice or can this easier be done centrally. Because so a smart contract is not always the right solution in my opinion. You have some risks. This is code that is deployed to a system which cannot be stopped, right? So if there is a bug in it, then the bug will be executed, right? There’s no way to stop that. And it’s not so easy to update a smart contract either.

[00:25:16] Oliver: So you have, you have this trade-off right? Some stuff like sending a notification, I think it’s better done centrally, like from just one from a software, not from a, from a smartcontract. But if you really have the situation that, for example, you don’t trust the other party and let’s say you, you’re not sure if they can pay right. Then I think a smart contract might be, might be a good option.

[00:25:37] Oliver: Then you can just lock your funds in an escrow, right? And then you have like a mediator or third party, which decides if the job was done correctly, or you have an Oracle to decide or something like that. Then the funds are released. So I think this is a good use case. And we’ve been thinking about this idea too.

[00:25:55] Oliver: So on the longterm Basenode can actually become a platform for crypto freelancers. And we can offer like this escrow service to like improve the security of payments and so on, and it can be done to decentrally. Yeah, I think that that might be a use case for it.

[00:26:13] Umar: And now with the, all those Defi tools at our disposal, how does, how could that affect the invoicing and payment future?

[00:26:22] Umar: Let’s say, for example, as a freelancer, My funds are not going in the bank now, it’s in my wallet. How can this be incorporated, maybe in invoicing platforms and how can invoicing platforms make use of these Defi tools such as staking and all?

[00:26:39] Oliver: Yeah, Defi is such a powerful part of the crypto space and it’s, it’s just amazing that you can take some coins, some, some liquidity that you do not need right now, right. And put it somewhere and let it work. I would say, just release it out in the, in the metaverse. Right. And then your coins do something useful for, for other people and you get rewarded, right. So you can stake them and secure some network, or you can lend them out without even trusting the other party.

[00:27:13] Oliver: And it’s, it’s really amazing. So I think in the future, the freelancer or a typical crypto freelancer will all, it makes sense to just lend out or stake all the, all the excess liquidity that you have in order to generate a passive income. Why would I have coins lying around if I can, without trusting another party, just lend them out and get some cashflow out of it.

[00:27:38] Oliver: That makes perfect sense to me and Basenode will integrate those features. So you will be able to just stake your coins, like convert them into a stable coins and then stake them in a smart contract. I mean, we will not, provide our own smart contracts for that. We will just use the ones that are there, the big protocols.

[00:27:56] Oliver: It’s a no brainer that to, to do this right. If you’re a freelancer, just generate more income.

[00:28:04] Umar: Yeah, I completely agree. Why would you leave your money at the bank? It’s like you said, it’s a no brainer. At the moment, what are, I know, and you’ve just recently launched your Beta version, but still, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face right now for adoption?

[00:28:23] Umar: Could be anything from communication, educating people. Crypto is in itself, I mean, it requires, a whole new lingo of words that you have to be aware of, like even wallet, like if someone is not familiar with crypto, they would not really understand what a wallet is in the crypto world.

[00:28:45] Oliver: Yeah. I like to compare crypto today to like the internet in like late nineties, something like that.

[00:28:53] Oliver: So, I mean, the user experience is. Most of the time, it’s really horrible actually. Right. So you have to interact with like, you have to be savvy about the space and because you can get, like, you can get wrecked really easily if you make a mistake. Right. I mean, just like, just forget one letter or one number in your, in your address when you send funds and it’s like gone, right?

[00:29:15] Oliver: So it’s like not very user friendly. That was the case for the internet back then, like 20 years ago right. So I think we have a long way to go. And the crucial thing is to make the user experience very simple and very easy to use. Right. And I think we come to a point where people who use crypto don’t even have to understand what is going on in the backend.

[00:29:37] Oliver: Right. So if let’s say, if my mom uses TikTok right. Which she does actually. So if she uses TikTok, she doesn’t know about the TCP IP protocol. She doesn’t know about like image format and video formats and like all that is in the backend. She doesn’t know about the OSI layer model, none of those things. Right. And it just works.

[00:29:58] Oliver: So in the future, I think we will just use blockchains without even knowing it. Using a blockchain should not be part of your product, right. It should just be in the back, maybe even invisible. And the product itself should be very simple, right. Just look at Uniswap. I love the Uniswap interface because there’s just like two little buttons, just like enter and just like swap and you enter what you want.

[00:30:23] Oliver: And it’s like, you can’t go wrong with that. Like it’s like Google. One button, one field to enter information and that’s it. And we are, we’re not there yet when it comes to crypto. And I think that’s, that’s the biggest challenge.

[00:30:37] Umar: Germany is, or has been one of the key front runners in Europe to drive blockchain and crypto adoption.

[00:30:46] Umar: You’re deep into this startup scene. What in your experience have you seen Germany been doing well and what, can perhaps other countries learn from?

[00:31:00] Oliver: So, yeah, I think Germany is not a horrible place to have a crypto startup, but it’s also definitely not the best place because, so what kills a market, right?

[00:31:12] Oliver: What kills a new industry? It’s uncertainty, right? Yeah. Entrepreneurs hate that. Like, I don’t mean like market uncertainty. We can deal with that, we are risk takers, but regulatory uncertainty it’s, it’s like the unknown unknown, right? Because you don’t know what they come up with next in a year or so right.

[00:31:32] Oliver: And it’s, it really hurts the growth of this very young branch in my opinion. So Germany is quite crypto friendly in a way, because for a long time, they don’t, they didn’t really care about it. Now, there that came out, some, some regulations. So I think it’s okay. For example, if you, if you’re in Germany and you hold a coin and you don’t sell it for a year, you don’t change it to another crypto for a year then it’s tax-free, which is nice.

[00:32:00] Oliver: Right. But on the other hand, you have a lot of areas like staking, liquidity mining, or more complex stuff, right, where there is a regulatory gray zone? And you don’t really. Like you can argue for like in front of your, tax authority that it is one way or the other, like staking rewards should be tax-free or maybe they are taxed.

[00:32:23] Oliver: So it’s not really clear. Right. And I think that’s, that’s the biggest issue. So I would love to have clear regulatory framework and, other countries I think are, are doing it better. Like, Netherlands is very clear on cryptocurrencies. Yeah. And then some countries in Southeast Asia, they’re making good progress.

[00:32:44] Oliver: And, well, the big danger is to like, suffocate this very young branch right now because, it’s easy to do that in your country and capital will just move to another country. Right. So, and I’m not fully aware if our regulators know that, that it’s so easy to scare capital away and to scare a new technology away from your country.

[00:33:05] Oliver: You might be left behind and it’s super hard to, to calculate this risk appropriately. And, I don’t think they do it, but yeah. So, still some challenges.

[00:33:17] Umar: Yeah. This is the most, common answers that I get for the barriers that are, that we need to drive adoption. Yeah. It’s regulation. But innovation always of course goes way faster than regulation.

[00:33:35] Umar: Yeah. So speaking about innovation, are there some blockchain use cases in accounting that you’ve recently come across that you find fascinating? And could you share why Not necessarily being accounting can be in anything, anything about blockchain you’ve learned recently and that you’d like to share?

[00:33:55] Oliver: Uh, okay. Yeah. So in accounting it’s, I think accounting is made for like the technology of the blockchain is very compatible with accounting in general, because accounting is just keeping track of what happened. Right. And the blockchain is a great tool to do that, right. So there’s my take on that, but then, in general, yeah, so I’m very involved in the Defi space, which I already explained.

[00:34:19] Oliver: I find fascinating, but then also the NFT space. I discovered that too like one or two years ago. And it’s insane what implications are there, especially for gaming, you know, Recently got into gaming NFTs and it’s, it’s insane that like you, you can basically own an asset. Like let’s say I own a sword in World of Warcraft or something of an item, and then I can prove this ownership, completely independent of the game, right.

[00:34:46] Oliver: And I can have this and just someone else can build a game around this item again, because it’s public data. It’s on the blockchain. So we have another, we have like on a meta level, we have competitions between game developers to build the best games around the digital assets that the player base owns, which is like completely, that was jus mind blowing when I realize that, right. You can build meta games with like all kinds of, of assets. Like I can have a sword of World of Warcraft and I can have a gun from Counter Strike. And like, let’s put that all together in one in one game and it’s definitely possible. Right. So I think we are, we’re just seeing the beginning of this.

[00:35:27] Umar: Gaming is something fascinating. So when I think about it as a child, I played a lot of video games, right? So the thing with blockchain now is so all these times, spent by all these gamers in these games, they do not own anything, right. All their achievements, basically, if somehow you stop playing the game or, somehow it gets deleted, it’s gone forever. So all of these hours spent are just gone. And now, because we have the blockchain, it can stay there forever. And like you said, maybe some items that you’re winning, you can trade them and it’s interoperable with other games. And that is just, it’s really infinite then the possibility.

[00:36:16] Oliver: Yeah, it’s insane. So for me, like another example, so I recently, so I invested in like Axie infinity, like a year or a year and a half ago. And I bought some of those. So Axie Infinity is a blockchain game for those who don’t know it. And it’s comparable to Pokemon, like you have these little monsters and you can like have them fight and they have different attacks and so on, you can breed them.

[00:36:38] Oliver: So I bought a couple of those little axies, of those little monsters and played a little bit around. So I think owning an NFT is like owning a moment in time. Like you can prove that I’ve been there for this moment. Like if I own an NFT Top Shot or like a basketball match, then I can prove that this is like, this is the moment I own, right. It’s a little bit like that.

[00:37:00] Oliver: And it’s the same for gaming NFTs because I realized that all these axies, if new axies are created, they get a number. And the number is just like increasing every, every time your axie is there. Right now, we have a couple of millions and if your axies is older, like if it has a lower number, it’s actually more valuable because you can prove that you’ve been playing this game for longer, which is crazy.

[00:37:23] Oliver: So for the first time in history, you can prove to someone that you are the real OJ in this game. Like you’ve been playing this for like a couple of years or for 10 years. Right. And, this is actually something valuable. Yeah. It makes perfect sense right. But it’s beautiful to see that.

[00:37:39] Umar: I saw this recently, NFT has been voted as the word of the year for 2021.

[00:37:46] I don’t know what 2022 will hold, what will be the 2022 word of the year? Maybe DAOs?

[00:37:54] Oliver: Maybe, maybe DAOs. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we’ll see maybe, maybe Bitcoin, because I think especially Bitcoin is like, it’s, it’s like the number one coin for, for me personally.

[00:38:08] Oliver: Right. I mean, I’m not against owning alt coins or anything, but, the ultimate goal for me is to get more Satoshis in the end. And yeah, we’re just seeing like the beginning of this, of this adoption with, with what’s happening in El Salvador, they’re building a whole city. That that would be totally crazy.

[00:38:26] Oliver: I’m looking forward to that.

[00:38:29] Umar: Coming back to Basenode, what are some of the upcoming features and milestones that you have?

[00:38:36] Oliver: Yeah. So we are still, as I said, in the, in the beta phase, and there are still some bugs that happen sometimes that we know about. So a large part will be just fixing bugs, making the user experience, more smooth performance issues that we have sometimes. For example, if you query a lot of wallets, if you connect like 5 or 10 wallets, then it gets a little bit slow of course. And we can fix that too. And then we will come up with new features, like connecting centralized exchanges, right. Fiat to crypto invoicing, which I described before. Support for NFTs, for gaming NFTs, and also support for Defi and staking.

[00:39:15] Oliver: And, yeah, there’s a lot of stuff to do and we will figure out more on the way, because we are constantly talking to our target group. Yeah. there’s a, there’s a lot of, a lot of stuff to do so on a very long time horizon, I think, it might be useful to move towards a DAO organization of the company, but I’m not quite sure if it’s, if it’s really a good idea. So, but this is something on the horizon maybe.

[00:39:41] Umar: And can anyone join the beta version right now? Yeah. So it’s an open beta. And so all you need to do is just go to basenode.io and start, start using the software and then please join our Discord, you will find it on the website.

[00:40:01] Oliver: And tell us what are your experiences. We’re actively looking for feedback. And you can, of course, if you give us valuable feedback, you will be able to get some premium access later for free and also decide to a certain degree. What are the, for example, what token should we implement next? Right? Which, or which network do we want, or what feature do you want?

[00:40:22] Oliver: Like, we are very, we have an open ear and we are very agile and small teams so we can adapt pretty quickly

[00:40:29] Umar: Alright, perfect. Oliver, we’re nearing the end of the podcast. What last message do you have for freelancers or anyone else listening to join this new token economy and shift from fiat currencies to crypto?

[00:40:44] Oliver: I think just, so I don’t have like a certain phrase or something to say, but I think it’s a good advice to be brave and don’t, don’t be fearful of new technology and just try to embrace it as good as you can.

[00:40:57] Oliver: And amazing things will happen. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:41:03] Umar: And I also like to ask this question to my guests. Is there a quote or Maxim that you live by?

[00:41:11] A quote or maxim that I live by? Well, I just try to, you know, it’s not a quote or a Maxim, but it’s something I do on a regular basis. I only compare myself to my past self, like who I was yesterday, right.

[00:41:28] Oliver: And I don’t, I try not to compare me to other people which takes a lot of the pressure of like who you are and what you want to build. Right. Just, just focus on yourself and, yeah, don’t, don’t get distracted. That’s, that’s something I live by.

[00:41:43] Umar: I think that’s the best advice. You’ll be miserable if you compare yourself to other people.

[00:41:49] Oliver: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it’s also that they are living like they are on their own mission. Right. And you, you have, you, you are on your mission and it’s, it’s no one else’s and you have to keep that in mind.

[00:42:01] Umar: Before we go, could you share with the listeners, where can people find you on social media, for example?

[00:42:09] Oliver: Yeah, so we are on Twitter, on LinkedIn. We have a Discord channel. You will find all that, if you just go to basenode.io, And, we have a blog on our website where we post updates, but if you really want to engage with the community, just go to Discord. Oh, and we also have a podcast, if you are a freelancer in crypto, you can just, contact us. So the best way is Discord, and, we might, interview you in our podcast. Perfect. And the name of the podcast is 21 squared right?

[00:42:41] Oliver: It’s 12 squared. Yeah.

[00:42:43] Umar: 12 squared. Alright, my bad. I will include the links to the Shownotes, all the links. Okay, perfect. Yeah. Can, can I ask you why 12 squared?

[00:42:57] Oliver: It’s a very nerdy thing.

[00:42:58] Oliver: So, 12 squared is 144, right. So, and that’s the number of Bitcoin blocks in a day. So that’s, that’s a reason. Yeah, I mean, it’s supposed to be catchy right, and nerdy.

[00:43:16] Umar: It is. All right. Thanks a lot for your time Oliver. I’ll be following the progress of Basenode. Now I’m a user of Basenode, so I’ll be glad to share my feedback with you on Discord as well.

[00:43:29] Oliver: Amazing. Yeah. Looking forward to it.

[00:43:31] Umar: All right. Perfect. So we’ll speak soon.

[00:43:34] Oliver: Thank you.

[00:43:35] Umar: I would like to thank everyone for listening to this episode, you will find all the links of the episode, Shownotes and transcripts on the website of The Accountant Quits at theaccountantquits.com. Please note that this content is for general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

[00:43:55] Umar: If you do know anyone who could benefit from the episode and you care about them, please do share the episode. All the episodes are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. And by leaving us a review and rating, you will support the channel and all your fellow accountants.

[00:44:13] Umar: In order to be notified each time we release a new episode, do follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn. We hope to have you with us next time. Bye for now.

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