Hey guys, buckle up for a new edition of the Around the Block podcast, the only podcast to go behind the scenes to talk with the movers and shakers of the cryptocurrency world. Today we’re talking with Ovi Negrean. Ovi Negrean is the Co-Founder & CEO of ACE and also of SocialBee’s. Ovi has over 10 years of experience in building SaaS and mobile products, managing software development teams, and creating ROI-positive marketing initiatives. He devotes his time and knowledge to helping startups worldwide build effective solutions and create marketing strategies.
To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.
Listen Here- Around the Block.
Ovi Negrean 1:04
Thanks Jefferson Nunn. It’s great to being here.
Jefferson Nunn 1:08
So, tell me a little bit more about this ACE meeting. How did it work?
Ovi Negrean 1:14
Yeah, so actually, ACE is a product suit. And the first product in the suit that we released is ACE meetings, which is, you can think about it as a Calendly. Like, alternative. So, it’s a meeting booking solution that really helps you lose the back and forward that usually happens when you’re trying to set up a meeting with one or even multiple people. And we besides being offering more or less everything that Calendly has to offer with some bells and whistles that we like the main part. And also the reason why we’re talking about today, I guess, is the fact that we also have ACE coin, which is basically our what three take and how we are positioning is the whole product suit into this new and exciting watery world, where basically we have a used to earn model where just by simply using ACE meetings, and then all the future products that we’re working on as well, just by using them on a day to day basis, you earn this ace coin, which will then offer governance rights, and also various parts along the way.
Jefferson Nunn 2:29
So yeah, that’s the part that’s really interesting to ACE coin, and I know everything just getting started and everything. But I find it interesting that we can incentivize consumer behavior. Now more easily with crypto token because it’s one thing Hey, use our tool and you’ll get a coupon. Yeah, that you know, so what, right? But hey, use the tool, and you’ll have an age coin. Oh, okay. Now you got my attention, right. So, tell me more what, how does that gamification work out?
Ovi Negrean 3:07
Yeah, sure. So even though we started working on the tool for one and a half years now, we’ve been like, just heads down and working on it, we want it to have a reasonable version. And we just recently did a soft launch. And we’re now getting up to a bigger launch, let’s say so. And we always had ownership within our company, both ACE and social be the other company that I’m involved with, and how actually a scheme to be ownership was always one of our core values. But before the web3.0 world, it’s, it’s hard to actually confer ownership to the users of the app. Sure, it’s relatively easy to offer stock option plans or things like that for your employees. And of course, for the founders, and maybe investors if you have those, but for the users, it was always hard. But you can actually think about the users, especially the early users as investors in your product, because they’re investing time, many times when investing money, they do take a risk just like a regular investor would take a risk because especially if your product is early, there is no way of knowing if that product will still be around or not. So, because all thanks to the whole coin parts and how web 3.0 is also evolving, we can also offer this ownership component to in ACE and to specifically to us to our users. So indeed, we currently have three different types of rewards. Firstly, just by signing up and setting up your account you are already getting rewards. Then we have rewards that are linked to basically referring people to using the ACE products, specifically ace meetings for now. And then the third one, anything that has to do with any payments that you might already be doing like any Fiat USD payments that you might be doing within ACE, some of that part also gets converted into ace coins. So, this way, basically, you can earn coins in many multiple ways, but just by using it on a day-to-day basis.
Jefferson Nunn 5:25
Yeah, not that last part that you touched on that it’s interesting. You know, I know a lot of folks, they monetize their meeting. And so, what if that’s one of the areas that I was actually looking at is, do you think we’re gonna see people now wanting to collect money in cryptocurrencies as opposed to, you know, or even ACE token, instead of, you know, using Stripe credit card and that sort of thing?
Ovi Negrean 5:59
Yeah, I’m sure that this is the world that we’re going towards our payment feature is just now in the last phases of it being developed. So, you will be also able to say, Okay, for this meeting, it you have to either pay for the meeting. And this is going to be like version one, where it’s going to be, like paid but with real, just like regular currency. But in Saudi conversion, you will also have the possibility to pay via various crypto tokens. Or if for the users that want to only, for example, offer some meetings to their community. However, they define that community, it can also mean that you just showed that you hold a specific number of tokens are some NFTs in your wallet. And just because you have those in your wallet, you will have access to booking some specific meetings. So that will also be that’s also a feature, which is on our roadmap, and it’s going to come later as well.
Jefferson Nunn 7:03
So yeah, I think if you combine that with some of the gamification, because I know some of these, they’re recurring meetings, right? Things like coaches, you know, people that are planners, things like that, you know, trying to really help people grow, I think, like even sales consultants, you know, that are out there, they want to incentivize customer behavior. So, I think there could be a big role for cryptocurrency gamifying consumer behavior, and it’s really a fascinating concept. I think the more people get into it, the more they’ll see, there’s opportunity. So just thinking back a little bit to the past. You know, I got started in 2010. And then I thought over the scan, and then it went up to 100. And I’m like, okay, not a scam. Like, I keep remembering that, you know, Bitcoin crash video, right? And then it crashed every time it crashed, it crashed your fire. Right? So. So how did you get your start?
Ovi Negrean 8:17
Yeah, I actually also bought my first Bitcoins with around $100, which, in theory sounds very good in practice, unfortunately, I bought them on Mount Gox. So, I guess your audience will know what that means. Those bitcoins are gone. So, after that happened, I really stayed away from the space for quite some time I had, I think it hurts too much. So probably, that’s why I just didn’t want to like touch the space or even look at it. But in the recent three years, more and more very smart people that I follow in the startup space, have been mentioning how they are going from the west world into the web3.0 world. And once enough of these people that I look up to started seeing that I said, Okay, maybe it’s time for me to see what’s happening again, with this whole crypto world. And of course, throughout the years, I still knew like high level what’s happening, but I didn’t deep dive into it. So maybe a couple of years ago, I started researching again, and about maybe one year ago, I started going down the rabbit hole again, which I’m sure that your listeners know once you go down that rabbit hole. That’s, that’s a bigger rabbit hole to go down. Into and I saw that Sure. We still have a lot of things in the space that still need to be built and things that are still have to be invented even or implemented. But it feels like this is Dot-com bubble, all together, where of course you will have also the pets.com of the world which will just like go bankrupt or maybe startups that have no business idea or business value or anything like that. But I’m sure that also like the Amazons of the world and Googles of the world will also emerge from this from this new cycle. And it feels very exciting to feel that we are now also at the beginning of a new wave almost of both computer geek and of what the internet means.
Jefferson Nunn 10:23
Yeah, I think that’s what’s coming next. That’s a great time to that because web 3.0, I think it’s a buzzword at the moment. It’s not quite coalesced into something. But tell me from your perspective, what is web 3.0?
Ovi Negrean 10:43
Yeah, I think also with, with constants like this, there are many definitions and people understand different things like even when you say crypto, the reactions are going to be totally different based on the experience people had with crypto. And for web 3.0, when you say web 3.0, for many people, maybe it just means like crypto for some it means get rich quick schemes. For some it means million-dollar, monkey pictures, and so on. For me, what it means is, basically there is a definition which I really liked, were web three is where, what two was read and write. So, you could read and write on the web, web 3.0 is read and write and own. And also, this is the part that we really, we really liked about it. And the core part that we took into ACE the ownership part, where I think that in five years or 10 years from now, we will look back. And when people are going to say like, look, I was using Facebook in year one, and then you got nothing from it, people will just like laugh at that concept. Which of course, these concepts are [inaudible], they’re not. But I think that’s where the world is going. And this is why also with ACE coins, we really want to incentivize the early users. And of course, we have also a scheme where the earlier users will get more benefit, but it’s still going to be a benefit for later users as well. But to sum it up, I think, what three for me is this concept of Read Write which we had before but also of own.
Jefferson Nunn 12:22
knows your search history. Or you go well, I don’t know, I don’t really care what people know about if I search for Domino’s Pizza. And it’s like, the problem is you do that enough times and, you know, your behaviors track. You know, and guess what, you know, Google benefits from that, not you. I mean, you probably have done Domino’s Pizza enough time to get a free pizza at this point. So, and that’s the difference. You know, I really liked that ownership concept that we’re heading into especially, I know Metaverse, it’s another one other nebulous term. But I’ve talked to on this show some very amazing people talking about the metaverse, and it’s gonna happen. And the way I usually like to coach it is imagine write a two dimensional world right now, right. Imagine if it was suddenly a three-dimensional world, right. That’s the difference or better. How many people do you know that like three bucks, a few hands can go up. How many people do you know that like to watch movie. Everybody’s hands go up. You know. So that’s kind of that dimensional difference. I think both get with web two and web three. Right. It’s gonna go into a whole other dimension. So, what else do you think is gonna be coming next for crypto in that new brave world that we’re heading towards?
Ovi Negrean 14:05
Um, yeah, so, um, one thing. So, I think the part which I really love about crypto right now is just the sheer amount of, of very smart people who go into the space. So, this is why I think we got like, the DeFi summer and then the NFTs boom, and so on. Because there were some concepts that people didn’t even think about. But startup ideas started to emerge. And then people started to riff off each other’s ideas, and then we could see a lot of innovation happening relatively quickly in the space and also when I when I think about these types of technologies, and also you mentioned Metaverse, it’s these are almost like expanding sort of technologies where nothing happens for a long period of time, even though something may be the innovation rate or the improvements that are doubling. But when you’re starting from very small numbers, that the doubling, you don’t feel it. But at one point, it gets to a point where the innovation is big enough that a double really counts. And with all of these exponential curves, you really don’t see them until all of a sudden, you just like, see them everywhere. And they skyrocket. And you see major improvements. And this has been also the case with AI. AI has been around or discussed since I believe, the 60s. But we didn’t actually have any real AI for years and years. And nowadays, we have more and more quiet advanced AI, in the form of GPT, three, or the self-driving cars and so on, we’re still a long way for from even more general AI, but the curve is now at a pace where every doubling really counts a lot. And now in the what’s going to come next. I think the fact that we’re now also in, in a bad run is a good thing, because a lot of the ideas, or a lot of the people who just came in to speculate are gone, or are like at least taking a step back. And it’s going to be a better time to just like, not worry so much about the noise, but rather to build and to come up with more and more ideas. Like in our case, we’re building a marketing sales and operation platform that is also designed for the solopreneur or the small business. And it is designed with web three in mind, and it gives ownership to our users. But I know there are also countless of other people who are using this either, like in our case used to earn incentives or other incentives to bring to life new, almost new economies. And just considering the sheer number of people that are very capable people that are going into the space, I’m sure that we’ll see a lot of interesting innovation.
Jefferson Nunn 17:17
Awesome. Yeah, that’s one of the things I’m seeing is that it’s becoming more accessible and more usable, easier to understand. That’s kind of you mentioned the 1960s Ai. Yes, you had to be a sheer genius, because nothing had been invented yet. None of the underlying tools and technologies had been invented. Now today, I thought it’s all you need to get started with AI, you know, and just a little bit of time really made sure there’s more advanced AI tools that you can get into but you can develop the AI tools with Python even so. Similarly with crypto, I’m curious, on at least on the business side, if you’re a young 20-year-old 22-year-old entrepreneur wanting to get started in cryptocurrency, what tools or technologies or books or whatever videos? What guided you to help guide them, right.
Ovi Negrean 18:28
I think I think with crypto it’s important to really try to understand the basics and the underlying technology. Even though in a few years from now, people won’t care that it’s crypto, we want to know it’s crypto, just as we don’t know what’s happening when we’re sending an email or when we’re accessing a website. Sure, some of us that might be more technical might know that, but the general public doesn’t care that and this is when web3.0 really overtakes web 2.0 when we don’t even talk about this anymore. It’s just there. And it’s part of the underlying technology. But I think if I would be a young person starting out in this space, I would try to sample as wide as possible. So, try to just go in your podcast player and look for crypto or web 3.0, and look for any topics that really interest you. Biology, for example, is one of the people in this that talk about the space but also more from a philosophical point of view, which I really enjoy whenever I find a podcast episode with him. And then of course, there are also some very specific crypto podcasts and crypto newsletters, and it’s up to everybody to decide what works best for them. But I think the other part which we didn’t touch upon yet, which is also linked to the whole web3.o part is the whole DAO space where nowadays you can really even get your hands dirty and really learn by doing by just joining dowels and trying to help as much as possible and try to collaborate with people who are the people who are maybe in charge of a dowel or are coordinating the dowel, let’s say so, and really depends a lot on the skills that you have. Because nowadays, crypto and web three is not just for the technical people, of course, there’s still a lot of needs, there are still a lot of work to be done on the technical side. So, if you have the technical skills, that’s great. But there are, there is a lot of work to be done on the marketing side, on the product side, on the UX side, of course, on the community side, and so on. So, I would definitely urge somebody to just sample as wide as possible to really understand a lot about the space. And then to really see where their interests really take them. Because some people will be more attracted to the NFT part of things, some people will be maybe more interested to the DeFi, or to the governance structures, because now there’s also room for philosophers in the space as well, because there are still concepts that need to be thoroughly thought out and later implemented. So, there’s there is a wide range of possibility. And there is definitely a need for ambitious people who want to come into the space, learn it, and then and then definitely, also learn by doing.
Jefferson Nunn 21:25
Yeah, I sincerely believe that we’re at the KLM DePuy for is what I recall it. And typically, technology progresses to buy main waves. And I really think that next wave is going to be huge. So, with that, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with our listeners? It’s been a great show. I really enjoyed it.
Ovi Negrean 21:54
Yeah, sure. So, thanks, again, for having me. If people want to learn out, learn more about us, they can just visit us at useace.com. I’m also quite accessible on Twitter or on LinkedIn just by searching for my name in England. I’m happy to connect with entrepreneurs and people in this space. And the most important part is to just default to action. So just do and it doesn’t have to be perfect if you’re going to start by contributing to a DAO, for example. And you see, that is not the type of DAO that you want to be a part of, that’s not a problem. Because if you would have not tried to do that, you would have not figured that out. So, each time that you try to do something, even when you fail, you’ll learn something. While if you’re just sitting on the sidelines and just do countries of reading and research, which you can definitely do all day every day in this very fast-moving space. It’s not the same as getting your hands dirty, and really trying to contribute one way or another to an existing project because that’s the easiest way or maybe starting your own project.
Jefferson Nunn 23:06
Yeah, always loved to hate Elon Musk. But he says one thing I agree with, which is fail faster. It’s true. And there are hundreds of DAOs out there. Join one join a 100 Check them all out. But there’s definitely a lot going on. So, thank you very much. Links are at the top of the show page and join us. Thanks again.
Ovi Negrean 23:34
Thank you, Jeff.
This concludes today’s episode of the around the block podcast, the only podcast to go behind the scenes to talk with the movers and shakers of the cryptocurrency world. This podcast is produced by crypto.news.
Our host is Jefferson Nunn
Managed by Urooj Fatima
Edited by Muhammad Wasay
Voiceovers by Daniel Rubin
Please follow us on any major podcasting platform. Thanks for listening