CoinGecko Podcast - Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Insights

Personal Token Revolution with Reuben Bramanathan - Ep. 7

March 11, 2020 Bobby Ong Season 1 Episode 7
CoinGecko Podcast - Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Insights
Personal Token Revolution with Reuben Bramanathan - Ep. 7
Chapters
CoinGecko Podcast - Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Insights
Personal Token Revolution with Reuben Bramanathan - Ep. 7
Mar 11, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Bobby Ong

In this episode, Bobby Ong, co-founder of CoinGecko is joined by Reuben Bramanathan, creator of the Counsel token. Bobby interviewed Reuben on the story behind Counsel, steps on creating personal tokens, benefits and risks of tokenizing oneself, as well as his plans for Counsel in 2020 and beyond. 

[00:00:02] Intro
[00:01:12] Reuben Bramanathan’s personal story
[00:02:39] Background on Counsel
[00:04:52] Steps for creating personal token
[00:10:19] Benefits for tokenizing oneself
[00:13:09] Thoughts on DAO
[00:17:30] Risks and challenges of tokenizing oneself
[00:20:47] Zora’s plan for 2020
[00:27:30] Idea for a gratitude token
[00:32:21] Thoughts on Unisocks token
[00:33:22] Plans for Counsel in 2020
[00:36:06] Where to follow Reuben Bramanathan and Counsel? 

Quotes from the episode 

"One hour of my time is now decided by the buyers and sellers and holders of Counsel. So it gives me an indication of how much my clients are willing to pay for my time." [00:10:45]

"If you are willing to take that hit to your personal brand, then you don't actually have to do the work (forced to work for someone)." [00:17:51]

"My objectives are to get more people buying and redeeming Counsel. I don't really care too much about the price." [00:33:33]

Links

The Personal Token Revolution - https://medium.com/@bramanathan/the-personal-token-revolution-754e3fe0987e
What I learned from tokenizing myself - https://medium.com/@bramanathan/what-i-learned-from-tokenizing-myself-bb222da07906
OpenLaw Personal Token Generator -https://lib.openlaw.io/web/default/template/Generate%20Personal%20Token
Zora - https://www.ourzora.com/
Saint Fame - https://www.saintfame.com/
Curve - https://www.curve.fi/
Balancer - https://balancer.finance/
Mike Merrill - https://kmikeym.com/
dApp Boi - https://dappboi.com/
Simon de la Rouviere - https://blog.simondlr.com/posts/personal-tokens-2020-social-reputation

Social Media

Twitter - https://twitter.com/bramanathan
Medium - https://medium.com/@bramanathan

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Bobby Ong, co-founder of CoinGecko is joined by Reuben Bramanathan, creator of the Counsel token. Bobby interviewed Reuben on the story behind Counsel, steps on creating personal tokens, benefits and risks of tokenizing oneself, as well as his plans for Counsel in 2020 and beyond. 

[00:00:02] Intro
[00:01:12] Reuben Bramanathan’s personal story
[00:02:39] Background on Counsel
[00:04:52] Steps for creating personal token
[00:10:19] Benefits for tokenizing oneself
[00:13:09] Thoughts on DAO
[00:17:30] Risks and challenges of tokenizing oneself
[00:20:47] Zora’s plan for 2020
[00:27:30] Idea for a gratitude token
[00:32:21] Thoughts on Unisocks token
[00:33:22] Plans for Counsel in 2020
[00:36:06] Where to follow Reuben Bramanathan and Counsel? 

Quotes from the episode 

"One hour of my time is now decided by the buyers and sellers and holders of Counsel. So it gives me an indication of how much my clients are willing to pay for my time." [00:10:45]

"If you are willing to take that hit to your personal brand, then you don't actually have to do the work (forced to work for someone)." [00:17:51]

"My objectives are to get more people buying and redeeming Counsel. I don't really care too much about the price." [00:33:33]

Links

The Personal Token Revolution - https://medium.com/@bramanathan/the-personal-token-revolution-754e3fe0987e
What I learned from tokenizing myself - https://medium.com/@bramanathan/what-i-learned-from-tokenizing-myself-bb222da07906
OpenLaw Personal Token Generator -https://lib.openlaw.io/web/default/template/Generate%20Personal%20Token
Zora - https://www.ourzora.com/
Saint Fame - https://www.saintfame.com/
Curve - https://www.curve.fi/
Balancer - https://balancer.finance/
Mike Merrill - https://kmikeym.com/
dApp Boi - https://dappboi.com/
Simon de la Rouviere - https://blog.simondlr.com/posts/personal-tokens-2020-social-reputation

Social Media

Twitter - https://twitter.com/bramanathan
Medium - https://medium.com/@bramanathan

Bobby Ong:   0:02
Welcome to the CoinGecko podcast. I'm your host Bobby Ong. Each week we will be interviewing someone from the blockchain industry to learn more about this fast moving crypto currency economy. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. The CoinGecko podcast is produced each week to help you stay ahead of the curve. Show notes can be found at podcast.coingecko.com. I highly encourage you to join our newsletter where we send out top news in the crypto industry every Monday to Friday. Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow us on Twitter and Telegram at CoinGecko. 

Bobby Ong:   0:00
Welcome to the CoinGecko Podcast. For today’s episode, we have the honour of welcoming Reuben Bramanathan. Reuben was previously a Product Counsel and Product Manager at Coinbase. He is a qualified lawyer and has been involved in crypto since 2013. I’ve known Reuben for several years now and have seen him achieved many things in crypto over the years. Reuben recently did something really interesting in the Personal Token space and started tokenizing himself. His token is called Counsel which is $CNSL and I thought it will be very interesting for us to hear Reuben’s thoughts on this upcoming personal token revolution. Welcome to the show Reuben.

Reuben Bramanathan:   0:00
Thanks Bobby. It's a pleasure to be here.

Bobby Ong:   1:15
For the first question, we want to know a little bit more about your personal story. When did you first hear about Bitcoin and what got you to move into this industry full-time?

Reuben Bramanathan:   1:25
Sure thing. I'll give you a quick background and I promise you I won't use the phrase "go down the rabbit hole" like almost everyone else does. I first found out about Bitcoin in 2012 through some friends. I was working as a lawyer in Australia and in 2013, I realized that I was so passionate about this that I had to do something about it. So I asked the partners of the big law firm that I worked at whether we could start investigating Bitcoin and researching and getting ready for the wave of clients that was coming, but they locked me out the door. So I left and I started a small law firm in Australia with two others and we were the first law firm in Australia focused on Bitcoin. It's called Adroit Lawyers. And after about a year there, Coinbase was recruiting. And so I came to San Francisco in 2015. I was the first product council at Coinbase. I worked on a lot of stuff there early on the exchange, the brokerage, um, some international efforts, things like margin trading. After a while, they asked me to create the index funds so I did that in 2018. Coinbase index was launched in 2018 and ended up being shut down later that year. I bounced around a little working on some other projects at Coinbase including the Paradex decentralized exchange after its acquisition, left Coinbase last year in 2019 and I've been consulting and working with a few different projects in this space since then.

Bobby Ong:   2:39
You recently tokenized yourself and called your token Counsel, $CNSL. What can someone with ownership of CNSL do with it?

Reuben Bramanathan:   2:48
So one, Counsel is redeemable for one hour of my time as a consultant. And that can be anything from looking into some product and regulatory issues in your company, thinking about the crypto landscape, general advice on you know, building and scaling a company. Anything that I have the expertise in and that's useful to you, uh, you can redeem for one hour of my time.

Bobby Ong:   3:08
And what inspired you to create Counsel?

Reuben Bramanathan:   3:13
So Counsel is definitely not the first personal token. It's actually quite a history of personal token experiments. I was inspired to create it because I'd seen some other interesting people in the space working on it. And I'd seen a project run by some friends of mine called Saint Fame, which was and is, the world's first internet-owned fashion brand. And we can talk more about that later. But the history of personal tokens is very interesting. If you go way back in before cryptocurrency and blockchain, there's a guy called Mike Merrill who sold, shares of himself in around 2008 and he has something like 900 investors currently owning his token, which is run in a centralized way. But owners of his token can vote on what he does with his life. Things like whether he should grow beard, where he should go on vacation, should he stop drinking coffee. So that was an interesting experiment. And then in 2014, Joe Weisenthal, a TV anchor from Bloomberg markets created Stalwart bucks, which was intended to be his personal token. He made a clone of Dogecoin, its own blockchain. And so you can see the progression from centralized to you know, decentralized but in a pretty clunky Dogecoin blockchain kind of way. And then in 2017, it came around in Ethereum, ERC20 tokens existed and all of a sudden you could create personal tokens in a much more efficient way. So a guy called Matt Vernon, that was a pioneer in this space and he issued tokens which were redeemable for one hour of his time as a designer. And so since then there's been a few other people in the space creating personal tokens. And every personal token right now is an experiment. We're all trying to tweak the variables, trying to figure out where the demand is, which models work. But yeah, these are some of the things that inspired me to create Counsel.

Bobby Ong:   4:53
And you launched Counsel about one month back. How has the response been since its launch? Maybe you can share some of the steps for your token so far.

Reuben Bramanathan:   5:01
Sure. Yeah. So it's been interesting. Uh, there was a great initial response. I think what was interesting is just that it's currently there's about 18 holders of Counsel in the first few days. 10 or 12 people bought Counsel very quickly. I've had five new clients directly through Counsel, people that have bought the token and then reached out to me to schedule time to chat for a consultation. So I found some new clients. That was probably the most, you know, for me the most rewarding part of the experience was just connecting with people all around the world, from Spain to Romania to the US, who wanted to reach out and try this as an experiment and to connect with me. So the steps I took to launch the personal token and these steps are getting easier almost by the day. There's a lot of good work going on with open law. There's announcement just today, recording this podcast on the 2nd of March, from the team Zora, which is the team behind Saint Fame and they're building a platform which is kind of focused, to begin with on limited edition goods. But that space is very adjacent to this space as well, tokenizing output. So personal tokens can represent just about anything. So anyway, the way I created my token was pretty straight forward just deploying a standard ERC20 contract to Ethereum mainnet. I made a bunch of tokens, I put them in a Uniswap pool along with some Ethereum and I set the price. Initially for the token, I set it around $150 roughly US dollars per token. But with the Ethereum price curve that rose over time, the more tokens people buy, the price rises and then the price of Ether was a little bit as well. So one challenge I had was actually managing the price so it didn't get too high.

Bobby Ong:   6:45
So you mentioned you deployed an ERC20 contract. Did you do it yourself or do you use a third party solution? Like say if I'm interested in creating a Bobby personal token, how should I go around doing it? I don't have any technical knowledge. What will be the step by step if it's even easy for me to do one this day?

Reuben Bramanathan:   7:05
Yeah, it's going to become much easier very quickly. If you use Open Law, they had an Open Law, a template to create your own personal token and deploy it on onto the Ethereum blockchain. And there's a bunch of companies including Zora working on automating this process as well. So even though it's a bit clunky now, I'd expect within one or two months it's going to be as easy as sending any transaction on Ethereum. If you can use MetaMask, you'd be able to deploy a personal token contract.

Bobby Ong:   7:30
All right, cool. Probably should get some guides from you to share in the footnotes later on, on the step by step to create some of these tokens later on. And it seems like for Counsel you created a bunch of tokens and then you put some liquidity on the Uniswap market. And then because it uses a bonding curve, it automatically sets minimum and maximum price for CNSL. So you try to aim it to have a Counsel price somewhere around $150. But how do you set a maximum price and how do you set a flow price for Counsel?

Reuben Bramanathan:   8:07
So Uniswap enables a dynamic price, uh, but it doesn't actually have a floor or ceiling price. Uniswap currently uses what's called a constant product model. So it means that the total value of the pool has to remain constant. So if you add Eth to the pool and you remove Counsel, then the price of Counsel relative to Eth is going to go up. And vice versa if you add Counsel to the pool and remove Eth. So basically it is a supply and demand driven curve. But the problem is that you can't enforce floor or ceiling price, and you can't set how steep you want that curve to be. So then there are other bonding curve models being developed by a few different projects in the space that will hopefully let people have some more flexibility to customize the pricing curve. What I do now, which is very manual, is that when the price goes above 250 US dollars per token, I add some more tokens to the pool to bring it down and if it would go beneath 150, I would add some more Eth to bring the price back up. So the other way to manage it might be to have a smart contract that automates this soft floor and ceiling model. But again, this is, yeah, this is part of the experimentation is working out these parts that aren't optimized and then finding solutions.

Bobby Ong:   9:18
On Uniswap it was a constant product model and the price is automatically determined. Meaning that whenever someone buys Counsel token, the price of Counsel goes up because there's less supply of Counsel in Uniswap. Do you see a way or another decentralized exchange where a different form of bonding curve can be put in place to set a minimum and maximum flow or some other bonding curve in place or to set a pricing for personal token?

Reuben Bramanathan:   9:46
Yeah, I understand. Uniswap themselves are actually working on this. Whether it comes out in v2 which is upcoming or sometime after that. There are also a couple of others working on this that I'm aware of. Curve and Balancer both working on different types of models for bonding curves and for these kinds of automated market maker pools. And Curve already has a stable coin swap product where the curve is much flatter. So there's a lot of liquidity rate very close to the current price, which is great for stable coins. So something like that or somewhere in the middle might be much more effective for personal token like mine.

Bobby Ong:   10:20
What do you see some of the benefits for someone tokenizing themselves?

Reuben Bramanathan:   10:24
Yeah. So for a personal token, that represents your time or a unit of your output, right? So maybe you're a creator who creates content or art or music or limited edition goods. Whatever your output is, there's a bunch of interesting benefits of tokenizing that output, right? So the most obvious one is that you get a dynamic market price for your output. So one hour of my time is now decided by the the buyers and sellers and holders of Counsel. So it gives me an indication of how much my clients are willing to pay for my time. It's a real time data point about my time. There is also some value arbitrage here, right? Because if I'm a regular consultant and I set a flat rate, my time might actually be much more valuable to one client than it is to another, depending on the type of work I'm doing. So this way I get a much clearer signal of what each client is willing to pay for my price rather than setting a flat rate. It also incentivizes me as a, as a consultant to deliver value because if I do a good job, then in theory the market price should rise as the demand for my services increase. And I can realize that upside very quickly, which is a little different to the traditional model where, okay, maybe I increase my hourly rate once a year or something like that. Now another benefit might be if you are thinking about leaving your job to start consulting or start creating or start producing some of your own output, then you might actually be able to pre-fund some of that or at least get a signal about how successful you might be by creating the token and seeing what the market does, seeing how the market values your time, you know, in addition to just things generally like the global phenomenon of crypto. Meaning you can have clients anywhere in the world and you can have clients that aren't even people. Right? So I'm talking about DAOs. We talk a lot about crypto banking beyond banks, which I think is an amazing and noble thing, but it's interesting to think about another type of unbanked being, another unbanked entity, which is a DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization. So we've seen a reemergence of DAOs in the last six months and I think that everyone's very excited by the potential for DAOs to actually commission work from people using personal tokens. And a great example of that is Saint Fame, which produced the T-shirt, which was designed by that boy who sold his time through personal tokens. So it was the first time that a group of unaffiliated people came together through a DAO, commissioned another unaffiliated person using a personal token to design and produce a T-shirt. So there's already use cases around personal tokens and the variety of clients that they open up.

Bobby Ong:   13:09
It's interesting that DAO has started, I mean getting more attention in the past six months. Why do you think DAO started getting more attention in the past few months, like it was attained like from a couple of years ago? I mean I think we had to be hack in Ethereum and people got scared over DAO and then, and now it's making a run on its back again. Why do you think so?

Reuben Bramanathan:   13:27
Yeah, it's interesting. It kind of almost always that hype cycle, where there is just so much initial interest in the thing before it's actually ready to fulfill that need. So the DAO is an example of that, the first DAO. I think now we're seeing some more infrastructure on the Ethereum blockchain, more templates, things like the Moloch DAO, which allows anyone to rage quit from the DAO and take their investment with them. And you know, there's a lot of good work being done by folks like Aragon. Again, Zora is doing a bunch of work in this space. Open Law, creating the LAO, so marrying a legal structure, the LOC with the DAO. So I'd say it's probably a combination of a lot of these different players and different approaches. Really finding some more tools to make this actually more functional than the original DAO.

Bobby Ong:   14:12
Say if I purchase Counsel and I want to redeem it from you but you went AWOL. What happens then?

Reuben Bramanathan:   14:24
That's a great question. Actually, one of the questions I get most often, you'd be surprised. is "Reuben what happens if you die?" and "What happens to Counsel holders when you die?". And it's interesting because if you zoom out a level. This is another way of securitizing an asset in the token. So tokenizing an asset. And if you think about tokenizing real load assets, it's something that people had been working on for a while. And you know, there's some early traction maybe in you know, things like real estate and securities and you know, gold and a boat, these kind of real world assets, it's actually really hard to tokenize them because the legal system is not designed to recognize kind of bearer assets in most of these asset classes. And interesting thing about personal tokens is, yes, there may be some legal recourse. You know, I've put out a terms of service so any Counsel holder can go to my website and look at the terms of service and they see what rights they have. In that terms of service, I commit to doing a bunch of things, including, you know, I'll, I'll look for any Counsel holder, you'd have to redeem it, et cetera. But in reality, it's really my personal brand that's backing the token. So if I go AWOL and I've done honour redemptions or I say to you, no, I don't like you, you can't redeem the token, then in theory that information should inform the market which should reduce the price of my token because I'm not really honoring my commitment. So personal tokens in this case are an interesting example of a token which is backed by a real world thing. Right? Like my time but not really truly backed by any legal obligation.

Bobby Ong:   16:01
Yeah. Following on from that, I got an interesting example. Say what happens if I'm an Iranian dictator or North Korean dictator and I purchase Counsel and I want to redeem me from you. Are you obliged or not obliged to,or do you not want to serve the work to one of these sanction countries?

Reuben Bramanathan:   16:19
Yeah. That's one of the things I've covered in my terms of service. So basically if it would be illegal for me to do work for you, including because of sanctions, then I won't be able to honour that redemption. So it's a very limited circumstance. If it would be illegal for me to work for you, then I can't do it. But other than that, if I don't like you, I will still work for you. Because that's the commitment I've made in my, in my terms of service. You know, it's interesting, this issue, it's kind of a thing that kind of overlays a lot of stuff in crypto and you know, I think Uniswap themselves are really amazing job for everyone when they actually, and they got a lot of hate for this, for actually blocking the OFAC sanction countries from the Uniswap website. Now that doesn't obviously stop anyone from using being the Uniswap contract. And also the Uniswap website is totally open source. Anyone can spin up their own mirror or replica of it, but Uniswap themselves blocked these countries. So it actually gives people like me who are creating the pools, some amount of protection, knowing that it is actually a little bit harder for anyone in these sanction countries to buy my token.

Bobby Ong:   17:23
True. But yeah, I guess I suppose I can still buy the token if I use one of the Uniswap mirrors, right? From all these sanction countries. 

Reuben Bramanathan:   17:35
Yeah.

Bobby Ong:   17:36
All right, cool. What do you see as some of the risks and challenges tokenizing yourself? 

Reuben Bramanathan:   17:36
Yeah, so some challenges that we've already talked about around, you know, the pricing and making sure that all works. In terms of risk, I think we've touched on them as well. The things like having to work to someone that I really don't want to work for. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet. I think it's a common question around personal tokens. I think the reality is that the idea that you would be forced to work for someone, at the end of the day and is your personal brand there and if you are willing to take that hit to your personal brand, then you don't actually have to do the work. Right. So it's again, that kind of nebulous area between a legal obligation and something that's just enforced by your reputation. And the other kind of question people ask is, well, what happens if someone buys up 10,000 hours of your time and you'll force to work for that person for the rest of your life? Um, you know, the nice thing about the Uniswap pool is, is to buy that amount of tokens, well, firstly, there's not that amount of tokens in the pool, but if even if they were, it would be a ridiculous amount of money and I would be a millionaire if someone bought that many tokens. So I think the kind of risks people have at the top of their mind are really things that happen at scale, maybe. They're not things that happen at this experimentation stage.

Bobby Ong:   18:45
How many Councel tokens did you mint and how many tokens that you put onto the Uniswap liquidity pool?

Reuben Bramanathan:   18:52
Yes. I've minted about 110 tokens to date. There was a max supply in the contract of a thousand and I've put 110 into the pool and people have bought 22, 23 and then sold a few and redeemed a few. So yeah, it's still a relatively small amount of tokens relative to the whole supply.

Bobby Ong:   19:11
So yeah, it's technically impossible to buy 10,000 of Councel tokens for me to hire you for 10,000 for the rest of your life, technically. Besides tokenizing time for work, we also touched upon like some of these Uni Socks and Saint Fame example where you're tokenizing like one unit of output, for example socks or t-shirts. What are the things do you see people tokenizing for their personal brand for example. We spoke briefly about this guy who tokenized himself and then, not tokenized himself, who made himself available and you can vote what should this guy eat for lunch, for example? What other example do you think someone would do in this personal token revolution?

Reuben Bramanathan:   19:53
It's definitely interesting to see the things people come up with. I mean, I think ultimately tokenizing one hour of your time is going to be the most vanilla kind of boring example. You know, we've seen folks like Tom Schmidt, that Dragonfly tokenizing memes, so you know, you can redeem one token for a meme that he'll create for you. I mean Solemani, he's tokenized likes and retweets, so you can redeem tokens to have him like or retweet your tweet. There's a few other examples that kind of novel ideas like that. I think what's really interesting is some of these creative outputs. So basically using tokens to represent limited edition goods, digital content, all this kind of stuff is really emerging quickly. And yeah, I mean I've mentioned a couple of times, the team at Zora are really working closely on some of these aspects. So go check that out. It's at the ourzora.com.

Bobby Ong:   20:48
I believe you use Zora in creating Councel. Are you affiliated with Zora? And if you are, maybe you can tell us a little bit more about what are Zora plans for the year and in the personal token space?

Reuben Bramanathan:   20:57
Yeah, I did work with the team at Zora to create my personal token. They're really focusing on a bunch of stuff in the limited edition goods space. And you can go check it out at their websites and you can see an interesting model, which is, what they call the easy problem, right? So when Kanye releases limited edition Yeezy's sneakers, they go for around $200 a pair and then immediately sell for up to $2,000 on the secondary markets. So this is an example where a creator has put out something that's very valuable, very desirable and in demand, but they're not able to actually realize the upside and these things they've created. So Zora's product that they've announced is a marketplace where creators can issue a token that represents their limited edition good and then have a dynamically priced distribution which lets them retain the upside. And it also lets the buyers participate in that upside, right? So early stage bias who believe in the creator and believe that the good is going to go up in value can actually buy early and kind of participate in that upside as well. So the community and the creator are connected in that way and it actually enables the creator to really realize the value of what they've created.

Bobby Ong:   22:15
And do you see any legal implications with launching a personal token? For example, do you see these breaching any securities law in the US or what are the things that you can or cannot do before you start breaching any securities in your opinion?

Reuben Bramanathan:   22:28
So it's always really hard to say with any certainty, what the law is and also very hard to say, well the regulators like the FCC will think about something like this. Having said that, I think personal tokens and things that are redeemable for some kind of tangible output, whether it's time or a physical product or a digital good or a meme, I think all these tokens have a much better argument that they're not securities than some of the ICO from 2017. And the reason is that when people buy these things, sure some of them may speculate in the upside but there's still a really good argument that people buy these things because they want the things . Right? So you know, people can by Councel, can buy my time with the expectation that it's going to go up. But in reality people are buying my time because they want to chat with me. They want my advice and people are going to buy sneakers, some of them at least because they want the sneakers. So you know, when you have this, without going too deep into the Howey test, we're looking at something that people buy without necessarily without an expectation of profit. They buy the thing because they want to use it.

Bobby Ong:   23:30
Yeah, sort of like a gift card I suppose.

Reuben Bramanathan:   23:34
Exactly. It's like a prepaid right? It's you know, pre-payment for services or down payment on goods.

Bobby Ong:   23:40
And recently we saw an example, Spencer Dinwiddie, an NBA all-star tokenizing his NBA contract and you quote such contract on your blog post income share agreement. There was a lot of pushback from the NBA when Spencer did this. Do you see this becoming more common in the future? This is a bit like a personal token, but seems more like a securities token in my opinion.

Reuben Bramanathan:   24:02
Yeah, that's an awesome example. I'm a huge fan of Spencer Dinwiddie and what he's pushed forward and you know, in spite of some, some resistance from the NBA, he's managed to actually to create the first version, which is kind of a flat return on his contract, which doesn't have the same equity upside that I think he wanted to create. But because of the NBA rules he wasn't able to do that. But I think, you know, over time we're going to see more and more people push these boundaries. And I think this is an example of what Chris Dixon calls outside in innovation versus inside out, so it's something that happens at the fringes. It's not something that's created by a big tech company or a big content producer. It's something that happens at a community level where people realize that they can actually have a better outcome for themselves by trying some of these innovative things. So I think we're not going to see the NBA turn around and say, okay, players can tokenize themselves. We're not going to see Google start to create templates for, you know, personal tokens or anything like that. But it's going to be at the fringes. It's going to be a community driven movement that actually pushes things forward.

Bobby Ong:   25:10
Yeah. I remember when I was studying university I was dead broke and I always thought like if there was a cool way for me to borrow some of my future income stream for me to spend on parties when I was in university that would be pretty cool. Like adding something like expenses income share agreement contract will be pretty cool for me to get some of these funds upfront to spend on university. But yeah, I mean they still pretty hard to do any of these things. A lot of them are touches on securities law, but yeah, I'm looking forward to the future when things get easier.

Reuben Bramanathan:   25:42
Totally. They're some examples and you know, things like Lambda School ISA, a model where students don't have to pay the cost of tuition until they earn a certain amount of income post graduating. So there are plenty of examples of larger organizations outside of crypto starting to do this. It exists in some universities as well. I think true ISA are really interesting and I say true in the sense that there is unlimited upside to the investors. Rather than, you know, it's repaying a loan. I think we're going to see some more of that. It gets interesting because personal tokens are a potential solution to the ISA enforceability problem, which means an income sharing agreement is great, except how do the investors know that the person that they invest in isn't going to go run off somewhere and basically never paid them back. But if the person who be invested in best in, that's to issue personal tokens for their output, then you can imagine a world where it's pretty simple to create a smart contract that returns the value of that token directly to the ISA investors. So let's say I issued an ISA token, a different token to my Counsel token, but the ISA token automatically gets 10% of any sales of Counsel. And I can make that enforceable through a smart contract directly. So there's some interesting things you can do there to enable ISA using personal tokens.

Bobby Ong:   27:06
Very interesting actually creating ISA on top of your content. So there's also this other company called Roll that's been creating tokens. They call this social money and even getting like community leaders, podcasters and all, to create a token. But they maybe use it as a way to drive engagement among the influencers, community members. What's your take about Roll's approach?

Reuben Bramanathan:   27:30
Totally. It's a slightly different approach to the individual personal token. But social money is, I think it's a really cool phenomenon where it represents, you know, ownership or membership on the community, right? And so you can participate in that community by engaging with this token. So I think it's a different approach to personal tokens, but it also is similar because it's a way that value systems, different value systems can be bridged. Different communities can have their own, you know, value systems and between the communities. If they can agree on something like community tokens, community money that enables them to collaborate and coordinate in different ways. So it's, another example of this is something that Simon de la Rouviere has been thinking about for a while and recently, you know, we were talking about the idea that a gratitude token might be another form of personal token. So it's a token that you give away instead of sell, but you give it away to someone who you recognize for a favor that they've done for you or something that you're grateful for. It could be used to signify your appreciation of what they've done to your right. Maybe someone's reviewed a blog post or told me how to take out a flash loan, something like that. And I can give them one of my gratitude tokens. And it's, maybe it doesn't cost me very much, but now that person has one of my gratitude tokens, which signifies that I recognize them as someone who has some value, some value to contribute and someone that I'm grateful for. So it's a way to actually show that anyone who has value to contribute can be recognized for that without actually economically paying them for that. But over time that person might build up a portfolio of gratitude tokens from different people, which will signify that, you know, either they've done a bunch of favors and they're a very kind person or they have got some, you know, special skills or some combination of those. So when you have gratitude tokens, then you might be able to build like a social graph and you might be able to establish a reputation system based on gratitude tokens. So there's a bunch interesting aspects of personal tokens other than just, you know, time or output token.

Bobby Ong:   29:45
This gratitude token, so what happens if, say you gave me one gratitude token, do you make this token transferable? Because technically I can send this to someone else who did not do any good deal to you at all. Maybe I sent it to one of your enemies for example, but, and then suddenly you have a gratitude token from you. And do you think it would be better to represent this token as NFT instead, since it doesn't really have any value, you can't redeem it for anything else?

Reuben Bramanathan:   30:13
Right? So there's a few different ways you could do it and one way is to have the gratitude token on the bonding curve. So it actually costs me something to mint the token. And you, the recipient can actually sell it back for the value that I minted for. So maybe the first token is very cheap and then over time it goes up and you as the recipient can then decide, "Okay, I want to cash this in or I want to keep it because it has some signaling value to me other than just the value of the token.". So you can imagine some ways there that would actually make that token kind of more sticky. You might also make token non-transferable or something like that to make sure that it really is something that adheres to that person's reputation.

Bobby Ong:   30:58
What about the idea of representing the credit token as NFT, non-fungible token? Then it sorts of becomes like a badge, like something that you get when you play games, you get all this different badges and all.

Reuben Bramanathan:   31:10
Yeah, absolutely. I think there's a bunch of interesting things you could do in this space, whether you have personal tokens, gratitude tokens that represent some collection and people you know that you appreciate, you can show that credit through different NFTs. You know, I think one interesting thing, the way I think about gratitude tokens is that they shouldn't have a large monetary value. And if it is truly gratitude or recognition, then you don't want to incentivize people to do something for you just so they can get a token. Right. It's more like, it's more organic. And I think the interesting aspect is that this might enable us to recognize value that isn't ordinarily recognize in the economy. People who make open source contributions. I mean there's an amazing project called SourceCred that's doing some very interesting work on this area. You can think about contributions among friends, domestic or family, like things that shouldn't have transactional element to them but they can be recognized. So there's some interesting things where we can show that there is gratitude or that a favor has been done without actually quantifying and trying to value that.

Bobby Ong:   32:21
What do you think about Unisocks token? Like the part where Unisocks team created 50 tokens are redeemable for socks. It seems really interesting as an experiment. It started out really cheap but after a certain price, it seems to get really expensive and following that there wasn't much liquidity once it reached a certain point. Do you think there was, do you think that the model works perfectly, there's some sort of fraud? What do you think can be improved from that point of view?

Reuben Bramanathan:   32:49
I think we'll look back on Unisocks as fundamental moment in the history and the evolution of cryptocurrency. Unisocks and Saint Fame, I think people will look back in years to come and realize that that kickstarted an entire industry. It enabled tokenization of real world assets in a way that was fun, it was immediately valuable and it actually created something, some value in an idea and value in something that didn't necessarily, you know, it created value from day one.

Bobby Ong:   33:22
What are some of your plans for Counsel in 2020 do you plan more features or use cases or just pretty much you have so far?

Reuben Bramanathan:   33:31
I'm still going to continue the experiments. My objectives are to get more people buying and redeeming Counsel. I don't really care too much about the price. I'm going to try some experiments to incentivize people to redeem it for a short call or what kind of work they need. That might include things like an airdrop. It might include kind of bonuses to people that buy and redeem versus holding. I'm going to try to solve the price floor and ceiling problem and I'm going to try to make it easier to redeem. So there's a bit of friction both at the creating and redeeming phase right now. So I think, I'm not sure that Counsel was going to be anything groundbreaking, but I think you know, if I can learn a few things and work out how to make it easier for everyone to issue a personal token, I think that'll be a great outcome. One thing I'm very focused on is how do we enable anyone to capture the value of the output that they create. So I was fortunate enough to get a bit of buzz and interest around the token and I've been in the space for awhile. But if personal tokens only enable people with an existing profile to participate, then that's not very useful. We need to create a system where anyone who has value to contribute, can bring that to the table and they can realize the upside of that value.

Bobby Ong:   34:48
Yeah. I believe as small people tokenize himself, eventually there will be a marketplace of personal tokens, curation, people creating personal tokens out there for people to hire you or these services and values. So I think it's just a matter of time before one of these marketplaces come out.

Reuben Bramanathan:   35:05
Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure that's something that's going to happen very soon.

Bobby Ong:   35:09
Are you worried about smart contract exploits? How do you minimize any of these risks when you create these personal tokens?

Reuben Bramanathan:   35:16
Yeah, it's one of the really amazing things about DeFi and it's also one of the things that is most troubling about DeFi is that with this composability, you know, the more you compose, you kind of exponentially increase the risks, right? You have to multiply the risk by each element that you use. Having a vulnerability. But I think having said that we can see over time the tried and true elements like the ERC20 contract being pretty stable. You know, Uniswap have a great product and that's working really well. So like anything else in crypto, it's kind of the idea that overtime we're going to see more robust systems and the ones that are more robust and going to win out and as each of these building blocks kind of hardens and becomes more robust, more people will be comfortable using them.

Bobby Ong:   36:05
Cool. Last question. If someone's interested to follow you and find out more about Counsel, how can they do so?

Reuben Bramanathan:   36:12
Yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at Brahmanathan or you can visit brahmanathan.com and there's some information there about Counsel, some of the token terms of service. I also open source that terms of service, which I can link to in the podcast notes, so anyone who's creating their own personal token can use that and modify it as they see fit.

Bobby Ong:   36:34
Cool. Thank you very much for taking the time to come on the CoinGecko podcast, Reuben. Really enjoy learning from you about personal token.

Reuben Bramanathan:   36:41
Thanks Bobby. It's been a real pleasure. Let me leave you with one quote. Well, one sound bite. Cryptocurrency lets you create a token that represents anything you can imagine. The only hard part is getting others to imagine it too.

Bobby Ong:   0:00
Wow. That's a really good sound bite, I would say.

Reuben Bramanathan:   0:00
Thanks Bobby.

Bobby Ong:   0:00
All right, that wraps up the show. Thank you for listening to the CoinGecko podcast with Bobby. If you like our show and want to know more, check out podcasts.coingecko.com or please leave us a review on iTunes. Do you have any feedback? Do drop us an email at hello@coingecko.com. Join us for more next week. See ya.

Bobby Ong:   37:52
This podcast is provided as part of the overall information on cryptocurrency content on our website is for your general information only and does not howsoever constitute any endorsement, financial, or investment advice, nor any solicitation or offer of securities, other financial instruments. CoinGecko and the podcast presenter makes no warranties implied or express of any kind in relation to this podcast, including without limitation, the accuracy and updatedness of its content. All opinions and recommendations there in the podcast are based on the personal opinion of the presenter. Please conduct your own research and procure professional advice should you, at your own risk, decide to howsoever invest or trade in relation to the content contained in the podcast.