In the newest edition of “Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn,” Jefferson interviews Frank Ricotta. Frank is a CEO of BurstIQ, a Denver-based blockchain company, and an impact entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience.
To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.
Listen Here- Around the Block.
Hey guys! Buckle up for a new edition of Around the Block podcast, the one and only podcast meant to educate young entrepreneurs like you how to make your way in the Cryptocurrency world. Today we’re talking with guest, Frank Ricotta. Frank is a CEO of BurstIQ, a Denver-based blockchain company, and an impact entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience. He served in the U.S. Air Force and possesses strong entrepreneurial, problem-solving, and communication skills, and his achievements span intelligence, defense, health care, cyber security, telecommunications, finance, and emerging technology companies.
Jefferson Nunn 0:50
Hello, and welcome to another edition of Around the Block with Jefferson Nunn and I’m here today with a very special guest, Frank Ricotta. How’re you doing today, Man?
Frank Ricotta 0:59
I’m doing great. Jefferson. How about you?
Jefferson Nunn 1:02
Good, good. It looks like you’ve been doing a lot of work with BurstIQ, right, suddenly feel smarter, because for some reason. Wow, why is that?
Frank Ricotta 1:13
Well, well, thanks. I appreciate that comment. You know, we started BurstIQ back in 2015. With some underlying objectives, one of the underlying premises actually was around data privacy, we ended up doing a lot of work in health and extending from there. But we’ve been, you know, big fans of blockchain since beginning and actually well before that in my career, and just felt that it had a lot, a lot more uses beyond cryptocurrency. And we stayed head down focused on that aspect of it.
Jefferson Nunn 1:48
Cool. So, what does BurstIQ do?
Frank Ricotta 1:53
BurstIQ is predominantly a secure data sharing platform. And by extension, we’ve created a whole bunch of app accelerators to create these next generation personalized experiences, digital experiences over the last over the last seven, over the last couple of years with COVID. You know, we’ve seen this whole digital transformation accelerate seven to 10 years, and none more so than in the health space, in particular with health been such a focus on so many aspects, you know, our own personal health but, but really broader society health?
Jefferson Nunn 2:32
Well, I’m curious, I mean, I have an Apple Watch. And I’m sure Apple knows more about me than I know about me. But how would this be different if I had the lite crap, as you call it. You know, taking my data and then doing what with it? Walk me through that?
Frank Ricotta 2:52
Sure. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s interesting point you’re watch in it. So, it’s an interesting time we live in when your watch may know more about you than your doctor. And we see that it’s going to continue to expand you, the more things around us telling us more about us, you know, whether it’s something I’m wearing and I’m sure we’ve all seen these commercials around, you know, blood glucose monitoring on the sticks something on me. And you’re going to see more and more of these types of Edge diagnostic and testing solutions to help us understand our health and wellness. So, you know, health is beyond health, just being when you’re sick. It’s a route, about really living a broader quality of life. So where do we come in, we describe ourselves as a business to business to human platform. And, you know, for us, when we look at blockchain, we look at blockchains, as networks and networks themselves, create connections and connections create community. So, our goal is to really help our customers, which are predominantly the middle be in that business to business, connect with people they serve, and connect with their partners, really, through unifying data across that spectrum, and driving more deeper and more meaningful conditional experiences.
Jefferson Nunn 4:09
That’s fascinating. I know, it’s gonna be even more just amazing as we enter into things like their Metaverse, you know, the Internet of Things, you know, pick something, you know, for the Internet of Things, IoT age, which recently signed a pretty major deal to power devices all over the world, you know, climate monitoring devices, which raises a whole another set of data acquisition, data management, data distribution, these are all just not little problems, big problems. Yeah. So. So, you have a, you know, a graph, if you will, a Graph API that allows developers to more easily acquire and manage that data. Is that how it works?
Frank Ricotta 4:58
Yeah. I mean, that’s essentially at the center, you know, you talked about this whole emergence of digital identity, and it doesn’t, it’s not just always a person, it can be a thing. So, a digital identity person, place or thing. And then, you know, creating trust in. Trust is kind of a big thing. You know, it’s one of the, one of the key salient features of blockchain frameworks is the ability to instantiate trust and zero trustless environment. So building trusted data, and you mentioned graph, so think, think your social graph, as an example, but now add the ability for you to own and control that, that sensitive data or associate that data with something like an IoT device, that’s, that’s a pretty important thing, as we emerge in this web 3.0 world is, who’s going to own your identity, who’s going to own your personas, who’s going to be able to use that data for whatever function you want to use it for? be monetized, or for something else? And, and I think that’s, that’s really the key in this next wave is changing the ownership paradigm from these, these big tech companies back to us.
Jefferson Nunn 6:10
Yeah, Facebook, they make $100 per user, they say. So, you’re talking about basically taking this power away from companies like Facebook, where we are the product, to now being able to selectively engage with different companies with our data? Is that how it works?
Frank Ricotta 6:30
Yeah, I mean, you’re underneath it all, what’s Facebook’s model, it’s really to use your infant information, your data to influence your behavior, to buy something or to do something. And, and why should we give that control away. And so yes, it’s about using your data to empower you. And I’ll give you a couple examples. I mean, the health example is a great, you know, a great space to use this, use this in a variety and a variety of ways. So, you know, one list extended out to a person, you’re gonna see 16 Plus Doc’s over your lifetime, more now, in these virtual worlds, every time you see one, you got to start from scratch, right, and, and so if we can accelerate that, and allow our care providers to understand more about us, that’s a big win. You know, the second thing is no chronic conditions are about 80% across all healthcare, so if I have a better way to engage with a person, you know, and then everyday all the time thing, and we can drive some of that cost down. And then you know, the last is really an inclusion model is extending access, access to well beyond what is traditional peripheral health. I’m gonna go one step further, though, kind of in a broader place, which is, which is workforce development or skills development or educational access, you know, when we’re able to understand ourselves and you know, our skills and really kind of own that, and help set on a pathway to make us better and we start changing again, the paradigm between employee employer relationship to more of an equitable footing, and, and really kind of drive a better and more meaningful kind of relationship there. And, you know, through this whole great resignation, and you can see it again, I’ll come back to health, you can see it in spades in health around nurses, where you expect a whole lot of retirements over the next few years, a lot of them leaving in droves are moving to really more of an agency-based engagement model. In so this need we’re about we’re gonna be about worldwide, about 80 million nurses short, worldwide are 80 million healthcare workers short worldwide, over the next few years and several million nurses, so we have to really start changing, changing the ground, you know, the changing the playing field here from the standpoint of really looking at it from a different perspective. And I know I seem to be wandering but you know, if we can understand ourselves better, we have, you know, a better opportunity to kind of grow and be, you know, just be a better person.
Jefferson Nunn 9:09
Exactly. I think you’ve hit on some very important topics that are very real problems and challenges even within the cybersecurity space. I know there are several million people short in cybersecurity, just being able to ban businesses, and on and on, there’s a lot of choices. Meanwhile, you get millions of people going I don’t know what to do. So yeah, it’d be interesting if we could help these people in their journey to help them make better decisions. And I think being able to acquire and understand the data, I think, are two very key points. So, data acquisition, data management is actually a pretty obscure space and other obscure is based in blockchain. How did those two come together in the world are praying? Tell me more about right.
Frank Ricotta 10:05
Oh, yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s a great question. So, as I said, I’ve been around cryptography 20 some years. And, you know, when you when you look at digital currencies, I mean, it’s 25 years of research in general and 40 years of cryptography research. So, it’s a, you know, as an overnight success, 40 years 40 plus years in the making. But I’ve always been fascinated with cryptography, cryptography, and particularly, you know, by extension into the privacy domain. So how does it all come together? So, we, you know, we’re pretty classic web 3.0 stack. So, at the at the core is, you know, as a blockchain foundation, you know, traditional kind of ledger-based technologies, with the ability to, you know, to extend into kind of monetization and incentives and little micro economy. So, using fungible and non-fungible tokens, but also using Blockchain to deal with identity and things like verifiable credentials from W3C standard, on the top of that, then, you know, think extending that to interconnected side chains or multi-dimensional side chains. That’s, that’s what we use to build, build our personal data graphs, and blockchain methods to sign in to test data. So, you can trust the data itself, versus having to trust perimeter protections, you start embedding security and understanding in the data and then being data gongs for a long time we start building really advanced data management tools that that are based on this whole, this whole notion of distributed data management and ownership. And then on top of that, a whole bunch of app kits to build next gen apps.
Jefferson Nunn 11:57
Awesome. It’s about the reading journey. I don’t think a lot of people would have the stamina to make it that far. And you’ve gone a really long way so you can drive.
Frank Ricotta 12:06
So, I have a lot a lot grayer hair these days.
Jefferson Nunn 12:09
Yeah. But along the way, I’m sure you’ve made some interesting connections, like you mentioned, some of the early stuff for Metaverse, and you’re already on web 3.0. So, what do you think? Is it next for blockchain and Bitcoin and Ethereum? And all that? What do you think next?
Frank Ricotta 12:30
Well, you know, it’s, it’s an, it’s an interesting world, as you as you said, you know, kind of independence in kind of real-world economies as well. If you look at what’s happened over, you know, over the last few years, when roughly, you know, you can say there was ups if I gotta do this off the top of my head, so excuse me, you know, $20,000 to one $1, crypto value, now we’re down to what 19. So, and you saw this kind of adoption wave, you know, when you look at even adopting iPhones and how that’s changed how that changed in five years. So, you see a very commonplace now. And I just, I’m a big fan of what’s going to happen in the derivative space, you know, with crypto currencies, as you start as these little micro economies started emerging. And I know listening to some of your podcasts when we talked about community tokens and, and different, different frameworks that how to incentivize community interaction and behavior. I think that’s going to be pretty key. And I think these micro economies, you know, as quote, Metaverse land really emerges is going to is going to is going to come to the forefront as well as, as we start bridging the gap between, you know, self-contained things to kind of broader spectrums. So I do believe this will create, continue to create bigger and broader halt economies. And I mean, last what you see is in in a lot of the altcoins, you know, the Ikom, some of the Ethereum contenders. And if you look at the look at what’s happening with their market capitalization, they just keep growing stronger. And I don’t believe that’s going to change anytime in the near future, particularly if they’re focused on creating ecosystems and real-world use case versus speculation.
Jefferson Nunn 14:26
Yeah, fascinating. One of the things you mentioned is either currency derivatives and things like that which can be a rather well interesting space to say the least, because you get the folks like the not even the broad USDT But that one weird USD t that imploded and a lot of people lost their money on that. You know, even though I would never advise somebody to go down that rabbit hole some people did. But I know even by Now the kids talked about, hey, there are more stable ways making derivatives. And then he even said, you can make a soul bound token, which would make life even more interesting. So do you think that’s really kind of the direction that we’re going to head in where we have these soul bound tokens that we can then potentially let’s say we make a piece of art or, you know, we have some data set that we want to sell now we can properly license that out without fear of these derivative market is doing shenanigans.
Frank Ricotta 15:33
Yeah, you’re right, there’s still a lot of less than less than reputable activities in some aspects such as well, we saw that early on and in financial derivatives, and you know, when I talked about derivatives, what, you know, the classic derivative platforms that they’re in, yeah, and, and really creating new things off that off of that, that base platform. That’s what I’m talking about, you know, some of the really crazy derivatives, you know, where I’m repackaging things, you know, those, those can get a little flighty and, you know, just enter those with caution. But the fact that we can, we can take some common frameworks and create little, you know, little micro economies based on something that’s specialized. I don’t care if it’s fungible or non-fungible, or some derivative that really facilitates and incentivizes a certain kind of behavior participation. I think that’s, that’s going to that’s gonna continue to explode. Because you know, at the end of the day, it’s what Metaverse land is all about, right in and in. And when you talk about what’s Metaverse, you can’t get a common definition, you know, metaverse, that just trying to own it, but the reality it’s everywhere, nowhere. I mean, we live in it every day. I mean, the fact is, it’s a real world, its augmented reality, its full virtual reality, it’s, you know, made up spaces and real spaces. In other words, I think it is just defining what the next generation is. And I think the power of blockchain and these economies reinforce, can reinforce good behavior, if done right. versus, you know, Tommy read a sci fi novel, we end up in a dystopian world.
Jefferson Nunn 17:20
Mike, why can’t we have a sci fi novel, I mean, a sci fi program where everything is great, you know. But you know, I didn’t, that raises some very, I call it meta psychology, human space to, you know, we’re right now we’re dealing with paper and pencils. And we used to, I mean, I remember, I went to Florida, the first time with my parents when I was like, six years old. And, you know, we took a bunch of pictures. And three weeks later, those pictures made it to my parents on both coasts, grandparents on both coasts. So you know, that lag time is measured in weeks, now, it’s like seconds, you know, I take a picture, you’re already going like share comment. I only think it’s gonna get to that next level up that next, I don’t know what it’s going to look like. But I know, it’s gonna be amazing, though, that human space 2.0. And I think part of it is that you hit the nail on the head is that information gathering and information distribution, you know, being able to make sense out of that data to make a compelling point in the healthcare space would be, you know, you have a collection of, I don’t know, 100,000 people that all add some random, whatever, you know, their, their heart gets elevated every time they eat a banana, I don’t know. But if you’re a call it a pharmaceutical group, not even a company, just a group of people, scientists, maybe they can come up with a solution for that, and serve that group of 100,000 people. Right now, I can tell you 100,000 People is too small for a pharmaceutical company to do anything about it. But a pharmaceutical group may be motivated to sell some $10 thing trot it out to people.
Frank Ricotta 19:14
I you know, I agree with that. I mean, it’s really bringing it bringing it bring it down to a population of one at some point in time. But if you kind of look at look at and kind of progress for so we deal with a lot of pharma companies you know, our underlying products called Life graphs, what’s life graphs digital identity with this trusted data around it, we like to think you know, like to call it your, your data DNA. And, and so all the things associated with that, whether it’s health data, or financial data, whatever it is about you, becomes part of you and by extension, you know, you should have some rights into that and take one more step forward and you call it human to Dotto you know, at some point, add a little AI in there and we Get our own digital twin that can help us do things and go to do things for us. And you know that that’s the path we’re, we’re heading on, you know, and you, you see a lot of these ethical discussions around augmented humans and taking neural links or whatever it happens to be. But, you know, we’re running down that path now. I mean, we already have kind of intelligent companions, I can, I can get directions to anywhere, anywhere in the world, really, you know, few commands, few types of buttons, few inputs. And it’s only going to get better, I think better with some of the principles behind what is what is a blockchain web 3.0 culture.
Jefferson Nunn 20:44
So, it’s a fascinating world, and that we’re heading into, and I think you’re definitely a part of that brain. So, it’s been a great discussion. Do you have any final thoughts? Or I listeners, you know, how to get involved with BurstIQ, for example, or if they’re a developer, they want to do something, how they should reach out?
Frank Ricotta 21:05
Sure. Okay, on the developer side, we’ve got a great program for developers, it’s our accelerated program, get on the platform have a free period, get a lot of tech support to really spin up new apps, and we have a good a good community, there are people doing some really incredible things from case management, for those that have are leaving the legal system, you know, to get back into society to kind of health and wellness application mental health applications. So, love, love you to join the community, you’ll get access to some good representative data and good support structures. The other thing is just, you know, just come along and follow us that and, and take part in the discussion. So, we’re, you know, we’re very active in terms of helping push some of the regulatory frameworks forward in a positive way. And I always love feedback on what we’re doing and the kind of things that are important to the community. And feel free to reach out to me personally on LinkedIn or directly.
Jefferson Nunn 22:08
Great. It’s great to have you, Frank, this was an amazing show. Thank you very much.
Frank Ricotta 22:13
Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
If you are hearing this message, you’ve listened to our new episode all the way to the end. And for that, I, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please review the episode on podcast.co or tell a friend about it and feel free to suggest future episode topics. This is Jefferson Nunn signing off until the next episode of Around the Block.