America is experiencing a dating crisis, and it’s about time cutting edge technology was harnessed to address it. Even prominent venture capitalist Tim Draper agrees that modern dating is a problem that needs a solution.
Adryenn Ashley, the CEO and founder of dating app Loly, is the woman getting close to providing that solution.
Loly implements all the hottest technologies– Blockchain, cryptocurrency, augmented reality and digital identity– to make the dating experience safe, secure and completely natural.
More than that, putting trust and consent on an immutable ledger has the potential of encouraging people to take responsibility for their choices, in personal relationships and elsewhere. Improving humanity through a better dating experience? Sign us up.
Katya Michaels: How did you first discover Blockchain?
Adryenn Ashley: I've been in Bitcoin for almost 10 years. I'm a startup consultant, now an ICO consultant as well, and I was asked to take my consulting fee in crypto. That was 2009, and if I could ever recover those Bitcoin, I would never have to work again.
KM: What do you find most exciting about Blockchain technology?
AA: Blockchain is an un-****-with-able register of what actually happened. That means there's no go-backsies, you have to own your words and your choices. Blockchain is going to force society into a role it has not been in since the fifties, and I think that's going to be one of the unsung blessings of this technology.
There are things that need Blockchain and there are things that don't– 99 percent of businesses do not need Blockchain. However, the ones that do, voting records, health records, will be changed significantly. I cannot wait until people are no longer dying because of prescription conflicts because nobody bothered to look at their medical record. That will save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Never break the Blockchain
KM: How does your dating platform Loly implement Blockchain?
АА: There are two different reasons why we need Blockchain. One is digital identity.
If you're like most women, you get hit on by men who are married and if you're like most men, you get hit on by women who aren't real– they’re bots or scammers.
From both sides, it is difficult to ascertain that people are who they really say they are, and we use a digital ID product to verify that.
Your sexual preference data is held in your own device and it's encrypted. Your data is your data. It's not held in our servers. We have security protocols, but even if we are hacked, all they’re going to get is a username and encrypted password. We don’t hold a database which could reveal sensitive information.
The other way we use Blockchain is sexual consent.
We have this #MeToo epidemic, people on both sides not owning their choices, not owning their decisions. But decisions cannot be edited retroactively. Verified consent gives women the safety, security and certainty that they need to say yes, and it gives men the insurance that the yes that they heard last night stays a yes tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, a decade from now.
That's a key piece of Blockchain– that it's immutable. You can't go back and change the records.
Compos mentis: owning your choices
KM: How does the consent mechanism work in real time? People tend to be emotional in intimate situations and prone to changing their mind unexpectedly.
AA: What our consent does is it opens a consent window, so when you have your fun, then you check out. To verify that this whole experience was consensual, you're agreeing up front and then you are agreeing that you agreed, at the end. It's like a post-nup.
At any time during that encounter, you can change your mind. I factor that in because sometimes, all of a sudden, you can freak out– maybe you're doing it for the wrong reasons, maybe something comes up that changes the encounter. You can still use the app to check out successfully.
Another piece of this revolutionary protocol is about getting people to really understand what they want and to be honest with themselves. You can change your preference data and what you’re looking for in real time. If it’s 2:00 in the morning in a Las Vegas Hotel room and you just want some company, that's very different than “at this moment in time I’m searching for my soulmate.” If you're looking for a long-term relationship at 2:00 in the morning, you're not going to find the right people.
When you sign up for the platform, you enter an ethical contract that basically says– things happen, people change their minds and everybody's going to agree to be kind. I call it the “no douchebags/no crazy chicks” policy.
We're trying to weed out the problem people and create a community.
Seventy percent of the women on existing dating apps have been celibate for more than a year, not by choice but because they cannot find an appropriate match. When you're swiping through these apps, all you have is a photo. People match thousands of times, but the way it works is just not in the moment. The way that we have set it up is as organic and natural as bumping into somebody at the grocery store.
KM: You mentioned Blockchain putting people in situations of taking responsibility for their decisions and choices. I feel there's a question of how ready people are for taking that responsibility.
AA: Oh, we’ve turned into lemmings. We’ve told every woman that she's a victim, that she's got this glass ceiling and that she's not responsible because someone is victimizing her and someone else is to blame. That culture has got to end.
We have to get back to the point where we own our choices, our handshake is our word. Because then and only then are we actually going to move forward as a society.
The trajectory that we have been on is not good for women— the victim mentality and the Violence Against Women Act. I created the California Alliance for Families and Children with a core group of people and we did a large study which showed that domestic violence in the United States, it's 50/50: 30 percent man on woman, 30 percent woman on man and 40 percent mutual. Nobody ever wants to admit that. You these narratives created for power that do not serve the people. That's a problem.
Beyond the #MeToo bandwagon
KM: I'm getting a sense that you're going to have a unique perspective on the women in Blockchain discourse. Do you feel that the space has changed in the past 10 years in terms of opportunities for and treatment of women?
AA: I have a very skewed perspective, you're right. I'm the only female ever in the cigar room with the Titans who have never asked me out in 30 years. Why? The answer was – I’m a valuable asset, not a female.
Certainly, there are men who are predators and they needed to be called out. The tech industry is similar to the entertainment industry. Everybody knows who the predators are, but nobody's talking about it. And I think that's the problem.
I did have some issues with #MeToo, with the pile on, because I have a friend who got thrown under the bus, I feel unjust. In this case, I was there, I saw that the woman started it and then jumped on the #MeToo bus.
And yet, it's OK in our society for women to behave like that. I think that is actually going to be the downfall of women if we don't hold each other accountable to better behavior and owning our choices.
The women who are dressed properly, have a business pitch, no flirtation, not leaning on their femininity– those women getting hit on, that has to stop. I don't think everybody has to lose their femininity and vulnerability, but it's hard to create a safe place for everyone. Because of that, the fact that we have women in Blockchain and women investing in women allows us to focus more on creating opportunity in a safe pipeline, a safe funnel for women that need the extra support.
A Blue Ocean amidst bro culture
If we create the infrastructure and the environment where women feel safe, they will thrive. We already know that women are a better investment. They're a better long-term risk. They're gonna make more money, they're going to fail less, they're going to work harder, they're going to put more into it.
We already know this, so women should be getting more investment, but they're not– just because of the way the system is designed. Unless you’re a 25-year-old Stanford grad, Asian male, you can't write something on a napkin and get a $5 mln seed round.
In addition, with this whole #MeToo thing, we now have the blowback which is men not taking any meetings with women. That's going to take a while to settle down. It's up to the women in Blockchain, the women in tech to create that safe place for the men to come in who will support women. When these men end up making a lot more money, that's where we get to have our “I told you so” moment. Then the industry will shift. We have to create our own breaks.
Instead of trying to change the existing bro culture, we have to do a Blue Ocean Strategy from scratch where we go– here's what we're doing over here. Blockchain gives women the opportunity to do it and democratizes the entire investment field with ICOs, token sales.
Normally, we would have to pitch a VC, and in my case, they wouldn’t touch a dating app– even though the only apps out there are mostly built by men and they don't address what women need, to feel safe, secure and certain to say yes.
KM: Many people feel that technology has infringed too much on human interaction. We have apps to help us communicate, take care of each other, spy on each other. Now Blockchain introduces a kind of technology-assisted trust. Do you feel that’s something that might be difficult for people to accept? Or are we tired enough of ambiguity to be ready for it?
AA: I'm tired of being asked out by married men. I’m tired of going out to dinner with men that I think are single and available only to find out that they are not. I'm definitely ready to only date available, eligible, appropriate people, and I need technology to do that.
What's interesting is it's already in our everyday life. Our phones are listening to us all the time. I've sold my soul to Google and Apple, and I'm OK with that, it makes my life easier. I have tried to function without them. I go on cruises where they don't have internet and it's frightening– I’m on shore in Turkey, trying to figure out how to type on the Turkish keyboard in an internet cafe.
Is there an addiction? Yes, I have an omnipotence addiction. I am omnipotent when I have my phone and my laptop, I can find or do anything I need to. There's no escaping technology.
I think that you would have to convert to be Amish if you want to avoid it and that is backbreaking labor, I'm not sure I'm up for it.
Bitcoin, Blockchain and love
KM: Any predictions about Bitcoin and mass crypto adoption, when is that coming?
AA: So there are several apps coming out, mine being one of them, that are mainstream and understandable. We're calling them apps, not wallets. These are projects that everyone can adapt and learn to use. People will create digital identities in order to use these products.
That will help with mainstream adoption. We're at five percent now– it's the tipping point. I expect we’ll be 30-35 percent by the end of 2019. I think Bitcoin is going to hit $30,000 by the end of the year.
I said $10,000 by the end of last year and it hit $20,000, it was $10,000 in November. I said that when it was $800 and my friends thought I was crazy. It's math, and I majored in math, so I'm pretty sure I can read the algorithm.
Because it’s diminishing supply, proof of work gets harder– Bitcoin is designed to increase in value, so it will.
KM: Your token generating event is coming up. Do you think regulations are going to impede token offerings in general?
AA: I think there will be laws passed that will make it easier. I think that every prosecution so far should have been prosecuted, in the same way, had they been stocks, not tokens. Fraud, Ponzi, misrepresentation– that's already illegal. That should continue to be illegal in the token economy. Do the right thing, own your choices.
I prefer to run token sales like a Kickstarter for subway tokens– full utility. I check with the SEC first. We're running a fully compliant utility token. If you want to buy in bulk, you're going to have to get a reseller agreement, but it's not for investment purposes.
It’s for love. Who doesn't want to get laid?