How companies like Starbucks are building their business with Blockchain technology
Ric Edelman: It's Tuesday, April 25th. Charlie Munger recently wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal saying America should ban crypto. His partner in crime, Warren Buffett, says Bitcoin has no unique value at all. He doesn't think crypto counts as money. And he also said he doesn't understand Bitcoin. Warren said, "I get in enough trouble with things I think I know something about. Why in the world should I invest in something I don't know anything about?”
Well, let me help out both of these guys. Let me give you just a few real-world examples of how crypto solves problems and is helping millions of people around the world. First, let's talk about social media. We all know the problems with social media. There's corporate control, censorship, massive amounts of misinformation. Billions of us, though, use Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and so on. Everything we post to all of those sites is owned by them, not us. Even though we create the content, they can sell our data, alter it, they can even shut us out of it. We need the benefits of these social networks. Can you imagine your life without Facebook or LinkedIn?
But we need these benefits without the Big Brother element. So let me tell you about Farcaster. It's a decentralized social network and brand new. You own and control your followers, list your content, even your username. All your data is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, not some corporate database. It's open sourced, not controlled by a powerful company. And that means your social media is your property. You get the profits, not Facebook or Twitter.
Or try this one. You know that you can now order groceries online. You get delivery in hours. You can stream movies to your phone almost instantly. But if you want to send money from your bank account to somebody at another bank, or if you want to pay a bill via ACH or if you want to pay employees, it takes days, even longer if it's a weekend or a bank holiday. All of this is solved by Stablecoins. Stablecoins are dollars. They reside on a blockchain. Your money moves at the speed of the internet. 24/7, 365. You don't need a bank account and you avoid all the bank fees. And if you live in a country with a bad economy or a corrupt government or where you can't get access to a bank, stablecoins let you use digital dollars without any bank or government involved.
People and businesses around the world have already put over $100 billion into stablecoins. One of the most popular is the USD coin, 1.6 million users worldwide. There have been $2 trillion in stablecoin transactions just so far this year. That's more than PayPal did all of last year. Now, let me give you another example of the usefulness of blockchain tech and digital assets. We all depend on Google Maps and Waze, but those maps don't get updated often. And you're the user, not the owner. That means the profits go to Google, not you.
Well, there's a new project called Hivemapper. You plug in a dashcam to your car. That's it. The camera takes photos, sends them to Hivemapper. It adds the info to its database. In real time, users pay for access to the map. You earn money by owning the Hivemapper coin called Honey, which runs on the Solana blockchain. In just three months, Hivemapper has mapped nearly a million miles. It's mapping the world five times faster than Google did, and it's just getting started.
Here's another idea brought to us by Starbucks. Starbucks has a loyalty rewards program with 29 million members, about 1 in 10 American adults. This loyalty rewards program costs Starbucks a lot of money to operate. And so Starbucks is lowering its expenses by launching NFTs, non-fungible tokens, on the Polygon blockchain. These NFTs are rewards. You get things like exclusive coffee tastings. But here's the thing, because they are NFTs that Starbucks is giving you, you own them. So if you don't want the reward that Starbucks has sent you, you can sell it. And some of these are selling for $500. It's very low cost for Starbucks to produce and distribute these digital collectibles. And you benefit as well.
And now consider this one, Coinbase. This is a crypto exchange publicly traded company. They employ thousands of people and have millions of customers in 100 countries. Those customers have deposited $80 billion so they can trade crypto. And Coinbase makes money by charging a 1% fee on every transaction. Coinbase is in an industry called traditional finance, just like every other brokerage firm and bank. This is TradFi - traditional finance. And TradFi is a complicated and expensive business to operate. All of these companies, whether it's Merrill Lynch or Coinbase, they're centralized companies. All the functions of their business occur within their organization.
But now there's a new version of a company not centralized but decentralized called DeFi, decentralized finance. The DeFi equivalent to Coinbase is an outfit called Uniswap. This is a software program. It operates on the Ethereum blockchain. It competes with Coinbase. It lets users trade crypto just like Coinbase does. But Uniswap isn't a company. It has no employees and no offices. It's software. And it handles everything automatically. And that makes Uniswap a lot cheaper to use than Coinbase. And it's now just as popular as Coinbase too. It processes the same trading volume as Coinbase and soon it's going to be even bigger. The same is going to happen to all the centralized banks and brokerage firms. The new tech makes everything faster, cheaper, safer, easier to access and use worldwide.
And last, let me tell you what Rihanna just did. The famous singer and songwriter, she just sold 300 NFTs. If you buy one, you own a piece of one of her most popular songs, which means every time it's played on Spotify, you get a cut of the royalty.
Hey, I've just given you six examples of how blockchain and digital assets are improving our lives. Let me tell you about three investments that let you capitalize on this. The Global X Blockchain ETF, the Global X Blockchain and Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Global X Metaverse ETF.
The global blockchain market was valued over $10 billion last year. It's expected to grow 10X by 2030. Just the next six years. The Global X Blockchain ETF, the symbol is BKCH, invests in companies that are involved in blockchain technology, digital asset mining, transactions, hardware and integration. The Global X Blockchain and Bitcoin Strategy ETF, the symbol is BITS. BITS does all of that, plus it invests in the Bitcoin futures market. And the Global X Metaverse ETF, symbol VR, focuses on hardware and software providers, creators, collaborators, the companies building Metaverse tech and Metaverse platforms. The global metaverse market is already valued at $50 billion. It's forecasted to reach $1.3 trillion by the end of the decade. You really ought to take a serious look at these three ETFs. You can learn more about them at GlobalXETFs.com or talk to your financial advisor.
And if you'd like to learn more about these commercial use cases and how crypto is going to improve commerce around the world, and if you want a deeper exploration of all the crypto commercial uses, join me for a webinar today, 2:00 pm Eastern. It's a one-hour webinar, How Crypto Is Really Going To Change the World. If you're a financial advisor, you'll get one CE credit. Everybody is welcome. The event is free. You can register at DACFP.com. Hope to see you there.