Yesterday, I spoke with Piotr Michalak, the CEO of an edtech company called ccFOUND.com. He explained why it was important to build such a company and shared his vision on cryptocurrency portfolios. He also told me that their analysts predict an impressive Bitcoin price by the end of this year. Don’t miss this piece!
U.Today: Hello Piotr, it’s nice to have you here! Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what brought you to the world of blockchain technology and what was the crucial factor that made you interested in it?
Piotr Michalak: Sure. So, my name is Piotr Michalak. I have been in the online business for the last 15 years. In 2011 I met a CTO of a Swiss company who told me about Bitcoin. He was the first one that told me about Bitcoin. So I invested in Bitcoin in 2011, buying them for $10 a piece. So you could say I was pretty early in the game compared to some people, although I do not consider myself early - I know some people who were there even before me.
So, I believed in Bitcoin first because I have seen it as this alternative to the current financial system solving many of the banking and fiat currency problems. I have studied economics, business, and marketing at my technical university. So I knew a little bit about how the current system works. I have seen Bitcoin as this kind of store of value, a digital gold type of currency. So I knew that the invested money may grow tenfold or even a hundredfold. I have seen this as a very valuable investment. Back then, I was just a little businessman and also my business grew manyfold over the years. About four years ago, I moved on from training and educating entrepreneurs to teaching investors.
So we have created this cryptocurrency investments publishing house, where we publish the biggest Polish influencers, teachers and analysts on the matter of investing in crypto and touching on wider investment topics. We have built a 50,000 people strong community.
I have seen that it would be nice to reach a wider community worldwide and not focus on just a few well-known analysts. Cryptocurrencies and other investments are so complicated nowadays, that it may be that everybody knows something. I may know something about a new company, and you may know something about some kind of instrument that I don't know about and this is why we should share knowledge. We should share what we know with each other in an open and honest manner. That was one of the reasons to create ccFOUND.com. Also there are several other reasons why ccFOUND.com was born as this is a kind of new platform that would help people by helping each other and sharing knowledge. Whereas there's no place currently like that on the internet.
U.Today: So what is ccFOUND.com? Can you tell me more about it and why do we need a new platform dedicated to educational technology? What makes it special?
Piotr Michalak: Сurrently how the internet operates is via some kind of groups on Linkedin and Facebook or forums. So you either go to ask a question on these kinds of forums, which are very defragmented and often hateful. Not many people try to help you, not many are legible and there is no way to manage reputation. Or you go to Google and you ask your question but you subconsciously know that you can't ask Google for advice regarding your actual situation. You can only ask for some bits of information, and then you have to piece the pieces together. So a normal person that doesn't have four to eight hours a day to analyze the market, practically has little chance of making a knowledgeable investment decision, for example.
So, there are also other problems like; experts currently on the internet are people who have made a conscious decision to focus on marketing to build their personal brands and create this guru-type personality. This is actually wrong because you get many narcissistic personalities who are trying to sell on YouTube or on their websites. Well, actually many of the really helpful people and people who know something are not publishing anything online at all, because there's no way for them to monetize, there's no way to incentivize them for their time.
For example, if you are a medical doctor and you advise people on some kind of forums or Facebook, well, what do you get from it? Nothing, right? You'd have to spend hundreds of hours before you build your reputation and a subscriber base. In the beginning, you are a no-name. So, stemming from this, we found out that there is a need to build this big knowledge and wisdom database, marketplace, and search engine allowing experts to build their followers base.
So you could call ccFOUND.com a knowledge and wisdom search engine. First of all, because it connects you with other people's minds, not computers like Google does. Google connects you with computers and searches them for information. We connect you with people and you search for knowledge within the community. That's a big difference. So you can ask your question, which may be way more complicated than what you can ask Google nowadays. When you receive answers from other people, these answers are of course upvoted. The best ones are always at the top. People then receive reputation points and get subscribed by their followers.
Later when they are most helpful, when they earn a reputation, they are gradually allowed to monetize by offering their information products. This is a huge game changer, actually, people in the information industry may not be aware how hard it is for an expert nowadays to monetize online because he has to build his traffic on sources like YouTube or Facebook. Then he has to move the traffic into his website where he can sell something like an ebook or a course.
There is no platform currently on the worldwide web that would actually merge these two realities into one where you both build your community and or tribe. And in the same place, you're allowed to monetize via all the different ways, without moving people from one website to another and losing them while doing so.
So, we have everything in one package for knowledge providers, for people who want to share, who want to help others, and this really incentivizes them. What it does is that people will be, at last, happy to share their knowledge online - those people who don't do it currently.
We will have in the future, thanks to ccFOUND.com, about 10 times the experts we have online nowadays, I suppose. I say this as an ex-expert myself, like a person who has been doing this kind of business for the last 15 years.
Last but not least, all this knowledge will be translated into each and every other language. This is also huge because once you answer, for example, a question, in English and Japanese and Hindu, I will see all of these questions and answers in my language in Polish. If I were in Germany, I would see everything in German. So everything will be translated. It allows for knowledge and wisdom sharing above borders, above nationalities, above cultures. There is no place currently online that would allow people to show their expertise extra culturally, above their nationalities.
So we are currently living in these language bubbles, and either the English language internet, or the Polish speaking community. We have no way to share unless we know other languages. This will be the first website that will allow people to share in every other language and also the community will be helping to correct these machine learning translations. So no worries here. Thanks to this, ccFOUND will be visible in all the Googles around the world and all the search engines like Yandex and others. What search engines love most is actual questions, right? So, it will help build huge traffic on the website.
U.Today: You said that there are no other platforms on the market, like yours, right? So you don't have any competitors, do you?
Piotr Michalak: Well, ccFOUND.com is stemming from what all the current social media actually achieved. So, it's hard to say whether we have or we don't have direct competitors. I would say we have them. Obviously, ccFOUND.com will be similar to Quora - it will be a questions and answers website. It will be similar to Google in a way because you ask your question in Google and you will ask your question on ccFOUND.com. It is similar to internet forums or to Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups in a way because you interact with people and you build your community there. So what we did is we took the best things from our competitors, from the current social media, and we made something better.
So you could say this is like a new generation social media 3.0 where it is also put into people's hands. By holding our FOUND coins, you earn a commission from all the transactions made on the platform and you can vote on the platform and participate in the decision-making process. You are no longer a product for the social media company. You are actually a co-owner of the whole platform. This is also a huge change in how we perceive the user who's actually now an investor and then the owner of the platform. We do not allow, or we do not plan to allow any advertisements on the platform. It's a completely different business model. So, you can say that Facebook is our competitor. Google is our competitor. Quora is, but we are doing things very differently in many ways.
U.Today: Okay. What are your plans for this year?
Piotr Michalak: This year we have just started the crowdfunding process, and also ended the private sale last year, earning $1.3 million from 270 investors. Now, after opening the doors for the wider worldwide investors group, we plan to also generate institutional investors like smart money venture capitalists. We also have a team for that and plan to raise even up to $100 million from investors. This campaign will end next year.
Actually this year, we also plan to finish the open beta version of the platform. We had our MVP finished last year, but now are implementing very big changes to it. The doors are closed right now. They will be open at the end of this year. We also plan to open the first monetization capabilities of the platform that will be on blockchain. Next year, we plan to go into full monetization mode, allowing people to sell different types of information products for the tribes they will generate on the platform.
Between this and next year, we plan to hit the landmark of 50,000 users, stemming out from our community here in Poland, but also going into the English speaking community first. Then the plan is to implement more languages after Polish and English and gradually internationalize the platform.
U.Today: That sounds very good. Do you have a crypto portfolio and if so, which coins do you keep there?
Piotr Michalak: Well, I have several crypto portfolios. Each and every one of my companies has a crypto portfolio. So I manage I think six cryptocurrency portfolios right now, and we have a team of people that help us do so. Regarding coins, I prefer not to answer this because I believe that it's a matter of what your strategy in the current portfolio is. So for example, I have portfolios where I keep only Bitcoins and Ethereum, and I also have portfolios where I have mostly altcoins. So I diversify my risk into these more risky and less risky portfolios.
And that's actually your decision as an investor. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to risk a lot or a little? Obviously, cryptocurrencies are very risky, but as I said, we are the largest cryptocurrency publishing house in Poland. So we have our own analysts and we analyze all the time about what will happen and where the market will go. Knowing that this is how we make our decisions and that it could even be harmful to tell someone, “all right, these are five coins, invest in them.” That's not the way to go.
U.Today: Yeah, I understand. So how can people avoid exit scam projects in your opinion, maybe you could give some advice to our readers.
Piotr Michalak: I think one should invest in projects that are sensible in a business way. That was always my way to look at cryptocurrencies and it does not work short term. So short term, scammy projects may be giving the most return on investment, right? People could earn great money on Bitconnect, which was a Ponzi scheme, and other coins like that. I've never believed in Dogecoin actually, but you see Elon can tweet on Twitter and you can earn huge money on Dogecoin and there are other coins like that also. So, if you want to earn money in the short term, don't listen to me. But, if we want to earn in 10 years' time, we should probably think like investors from the early dotcom bust era.
So we know that probably a cryptocurrency dotcom bust will come. Some of these smart contract platforms, some of these logistics platforms, some of these lending platforms will die and some of them will become market leaders, right? Some of the decentralized exchanges will die. Some of them will become market leaders also. So knowing that, we have to find the Amazons, the Apples, the Microsofts of the current cryptocurrency world and to look using the market means to analyze each project and each product as if it was a business startup. So see if it has a viable business model, see if it has a strong team, see if it is led in a professional manner. That's the way we lead ccFOUND.com. This is actually a startup that we also offer for normal stock market investors. We have many normal business people, who don't touch cryptocurrencies, who invest in us.
That's the way to go. Remember, blockchain is just a type of database and is just a decentralized register. That's all and there's nothing more to it. It is revolutionary in a way, it has created some kind of a new category, but there are a lot of scams going on there. So just choose sensible businesses that have a proven business model that are stemming out from their current business like we do. ccFOUND.com is like our current business model taken to the next level, and this crypto publishing house I told you about is a multimillion dollar company. We are just scaling it up by creating ccFOUND.com. So, if you want to avoid exit scams just choose businesses that you will hold for 10 years, maybe forget about them and later wake up after the dotcom bust of the current era and find out that you may be a multimillionaire from, for example, 10% of your portfolio. The other 90% may die out, but the 10% will be the Microsofts, the Apples and the Amazons.
U.Today: Okay. Thank you. And the last question: how much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2021? In your opinion, of course.
Piotr Michalak: Well, we have analyzed it several ways, calculating it, mathematically creating econometric models for this, and we suppose that Bitcoin will be worth somewhere around $100,000 to $200,000. It's risky saying it will be worth more than $200,000 and it should not be worth less than $100,000. Obviously, it may go another route. For example, investors may be wary of the one hundred thousand price point and many of them may sell at ninety-nine thousand, ninety-eight thousand and ninety-seven thousand and we may not hit the 100k target. But according to some models, we should definitely go past a hundred thousand dollars, especially with all the money printing and inflation going on and Bitcoin being like one of the few anti-inflation instruments. So, that's where we should go.