Plus a conversation with crypto author and podcaster Laura Shin
Ric Edelman: It's Friday, February 17th and today, I want to talk with you about connections. No, not the touchy/feely stuff. And no, not who knows who and who can get stuff done and stuff like that? No, I'm talking literally connections, connectivity; the technical aspect of this, because you can't connect with the person you're trying to connect with, then nothing happens. And connectivity is everything these days.
Back in the days of the American Revolution, it took a month for that letter you wrote in the American colonies to reach London. Give it a few days or a couple of weeks for the recipient to write a reply. And then it was another month for you to get their letter. Talk about a slow pace of getting anything done. No wonder the Revolutionary War took eight years. And then sailing ships were replaced by steamships. Crossing the Atlantic took four days, not a month. Airplanes could then do it in hours. And of course, all that became irrelevant because we laid transatlantic cables in the 1860s. We used Morse code to send messages across the ocean almost instantaneously, but few people had access to that tech, and the cost was huge. Today, of course, we don't give any of this any thought.
Thanks to the Internet, we send messages instantly from one person to another for free. You know that a technology has truly hit its peak when people don't even think about the tech they're using. It's just like oxygen. When's the last time you ever thought about oxygen? Pretty important, but also pretty much a given. And so the key for us to be really productive is to be able to communicate with each other.
Back in the day, you'd leave home to find your fortune out West or you leave to go fight a war. Your family wouldn't hear about how you're doing for months, if ever. Even as recently as 20 years ago, you were still getting in your car and you'd be totally out of communication. I remember when I was in my 20s, I'd be in New Jersey visiting my parents, and every time I left to go back to my apartment in Maryland, my mom would say, 'Call me when you get home'. My grandmother used to tell us to call her when we got home after visiting her. But she would say, just let the phone ring once and hang up because that single ring told her it was us and that we were okay. And because she didn't have to answer the phone, we didn't have to pay for the phone call. Remember when we used to call our parents after 6 p.m. because it was cheaper?
Today, instant communication and it's all free today. Us talking to each other is about as good as it can get. You and I can trade texts and emails and photos, documents pretty much instantly in unlimited quantity, and it's all free. At this point, everybody's got a smartphone - even kids as young as seven in some households. That means it's become a zero-sum game.
The only way for T-Mobile to get a new customer is to steal one from AT&T. So if the telecom industry overall is going to grow, there's only one way they can do that, right? Go after the people who still don't have a cell phone. Is there anybody left who doesn't? Well, yeah, there's about 700 million people in the world who don't have a cell phone and 16% of them live here in the US. The rest, 84%, live in other parts of the world - Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America. There's still a growing opportunity here, and that's why so many companies are racing to build low orbit satellites around the planet to provide cell service to countries that still don't have it. I mean, there's no point in buying a cell phone, meaning they're not going to be able to sell any cell phones if the people can't use them to connect to anything.
But I'm being a bit narrow focused here. The real opportunity is not trying to connect the 700 million who don't have a phone with the 7.3 billion who do. The real growth opportunity is connecting those 7.3 billion people with the 100 billion devices that we all use. I'm not talking about the Internet. I'm talking about the Internet of Things called IoT. This is huge. Think about it. You don't just talk to people anymore. You talk to Alexa and Siri and you tell Alexa to turn on the lights or the garden hose or start the car or make coffee or listen to music or tune to the channel so you can watch the game. Which means all those devices are connected to the Internet just like you are.
There's only 8 billion of us, but how many devices do each of us have that we can connect to the Internet for us to talk to? We're talking 100 billion new Internet connections. A terrific report on connectivity was published by Global X ETFs in partnership with the Wall Street Journal. Let me just share with you the key point of their research.
The Internet of Things is skyrocketing because of three factors. First, sensor technology has gotten really good; voice recognition systems that you talk to machines without you giving the tech any thought at all. No training, no limitations. Say whatever you want. The AI understands you. Second, the cost of adding these sensors to everyday products like toasters and coffee pots is getting really cheap. Prices have dropped 70% in the past decade and the prices are continuing to drop. These chips are now so cheap there's no reason for any manufacturer not to add them as a feature to their products. And third, we've now launched 5G network technology. Which is fabulously faster than 4G was. I wrote about all this in my book, The Truth About Your Future, that 5G was coming and it's now here and it's 100 times faster than 4G. With 4G, you spent 8 minutes downloading a movie to your phone. With 5G, you do it in 8 seconds.
The commercial and industrial uses for this connectivity technology is huge: consumer media, connected vehicles, construction automation, precision robots, heating and ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, autonomous vehicles, remote maintenance, office equipment, IT infrastructure, security and fire alarms - the list is almost endless.
By 2030, IoT is projected to be a $13 trillion market, that's an average annual growth rate of 26% a year over the next seven years. And if all that isn't exciting enough, guess what? They're already working on 6G. It's expected to debut in 2030. And how much faster will that be? Well, 5G, like I said, is 100 times faster than 4G. 6G will be 100 times faster than 5G. In other words, data in 2030 will be moving 10,000 times faster than it did in 2020. Already 38,000 patents have been filed for 6G technology. China and the US have about 80% of those patents combined, split about equal. Japan and South Korea have 14%. Europe has the rest. This is a global development.
So while we're all focusing our attention these days on ChatGPT and AI and EVs, let's not forget that none of those things can happen without their ability to communicate with us. Connectivity is the core of all technology, and that's why it deserves a spot in your diversified portfolio. I like the Global X Internet of Things ETF. The symbol is SNSR. You should talk about it with your financial advisor or simply go to GlobalXETFs.com.
CBDCs: The World of Digital Money Is Gaining Traction
Have you ever heard of a CBDC? A central bank, digital currency? Virtually every government in the world is going to launch their own digital money and they're going to do it this decade. Our own Federal Reserve is actively working on this, but what's the whole point? Well, quite simply, you've got to ask the question, why is our Federal Reserve printing money? When's the last time you used cash to buy anything? We use our credit card. We wave our phone at a cash register. We're shopping online. Why on earth is the government still printing money and distributing it through armed guards and big, fancy bulletproof trucks that is expensive to deal with? Why aren't they distributing the money digitally? You already get your paycheck digitally. You get your Social Security check, your pension check digitally. You're using PayPal and Venmo.
Why on earth is the government still dealing with paper money? That's what a CBDC is. A form of money issued by the government, a central bank, and it's digital money, digital currency, and that's why they call it a CBDC. Central bank, digital currency. It's faster, cheaper, safer, and it's the future and it's going to be in your personal finances this decade. And if you'd like to learn more about blockchain and digital assets and CBDCs, read my new book, The Truth About Crypto. You can order it from your favorite bookseller.
Interview: Laura Shin, author and host of Unchained
Ric Edelman: A lot of folks have asked me, Ric, how do you know so much about crypto? Well, first of all, I don't. Let's not kid ourselves. One rule of thumb you'll here in the crypto world is that any time anybody claims to be an expert in crypto, you can be very confident that they're not. There's so much to learn, so much to know. I do spend probably a bit more time in this space than others and have for the past decade. But to answer the question, how do you know so much about crypto? Well, it's by talking with some really smart people and plugging into the content they produce. Because this is a bootstrapping industry still, it is emerging and we're all figuring out as we go. And one of my favorite resources is a podcast called Unchained. It's kind of like must listening to if you are interested in the crypto space. And so I'm very happy to bring onto the program the host of Unchained, Laura Shin. Hi, Laura.
Laura Shin: Hi. Thanks for having me.
Ric Edelman: Laura and I have known each other for quite some time. In addition to being the host of Unchained, Laura also has a book, The Cryptopians. We're going to talk about that book. Her subtitle is Idealism, Greed, Lies and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze. And Laura is also a member of my faculty at DACFP, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals. We have launched the certificate in blockchain and digital assets. That certificate course has now been available for a couple of years. Thousands of financial professionals have gone through the course. Laura teaches one of our modules and so needless to say, I'm a very big fan of Laura Shin. She's a former senior editor at Forbes, and she was the first mainstream journalist to cover crypto full-time. Her podcasts and videos have had 25 million downloads. Why did you decide to leave Forbes to cover crypto full-time?
Laura Shin: For me, I'm the kind of person who I only really enjoy work if I find it challenging. I remember hilariously, a personality test literally said something like If something becomes too easy for you, you can't be bothered to do it. No matter how much somebody praises you for it or pays you or whatever. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that's so true. And so what's so great about crypto for me is that you can never keep up. It's absolutely impossible, like you said at the beginning of the show. And so I just kind of love that. It's very fun for me. You know, I constantly get to learn new things and I never feel like I can just sort of sit back and relax. And in that sense, like it's just sort of fun and exciting. It's constantly changing. And as a storyteller, I mean, you know, you probably already know, but the stories in this space are just, you know, bonkers. And the characters, you know, all I have to do is write the facts and the story tells itself. So, yeah, it's just been such a wild ride and so fun.
Ric Edelman: That's been one of my favorite aspects of crypto, is that it's if nothing else, it's intellectually interesting and that just makes it so entertaining. It is such a rapidly growing field that the number of stories on a daily basis are just mind boggling. And on the one hand it makes it a lot of fun. And so now, you know, everybody is focusing most recently on FTX. Were you as surprised as everybody else about that story?
Laura Shin: Oh, for sure. I mean, you know, what I tweeted was that at that time, I was explaining what happened to my real-life friends. As I would say to them, it would be as if the person you thought was Hermione ended up being Voldemort. And the reason for that is because Sam was the number one probably, you know, he was he was the crypto person who frequented DC the most often out of anyone. And in the months leading up to the revelations about how there was likely fraud there, he had been pushing for a bill on Capitol Hill. And, you know, the top lobbyist in DC for crypto said to me, oh, this bill is likely to be passed by end of year. And the reason is because of Sam. He had pledged to give away nearly all of his wealth for causes that were perpetrating good in the world. And so to find out that that is the person that is likely perpetrating this massive fraud, I mean, that was a shocker.
Ric Edelman: What do you think the outcome is going to be of the FTX scandal?
Laura Shin: Wow. First of all, Sam Bankman-Fried made a ton of political donations. There was a report recently that one in three lawmakers of this new Congress took money from either Sam himself or FTX executives. So I think we're going to see probably some tussle in Congress. And you know what I'm hearing actually from people who interface with lawmakers every day is that actually the experience has only educated lawmakers more about crypto generally. I think within the crypto community itself that there's a number of people in crypto who view the events of 2022 as crypto's version of the great financial crisis. And so it's just been very fascinating to see sort of how these people talk about their beliefs in Bitcoin and why it is that they actually still believe that this will be true over the long-term, but maybe just isn't true now. So who knows if they'll be right on a 10-year time frame. But when bitcoin hits new lows, my Twitter feed is full of people saying that they're buying more bitcoin because for them it's like, Oh, I get a discount on this asset that I believe in.
Ric Edelman: What would you say are the biggest mistakes that people are making about crypto today?
Laura Shin: Oh, wow. Well, probably the first is something that I notice all the time. People often do not understand how the asset works, how it's different from a stock. There is no customer support for Bitcoin or anything like that. So what I'll say to them is, okay, you know, learn how to buy and sell an NFT or learn how to vote in a DAO. I mean, there's just so many things you can do. And so my notion is just learn how the technology works.
Ric Edelman: Yeah. So talk about the book, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze. What was that craze?
Laura Shin: The story that I tell is how Ethereum got launched and then how it gave birth to this massive global craze. That is really the first time that crypto just became a phenomenon on a global scale. And honestly, it's a crazy tale. There were eight co-founders at the beginning, which doesn't sound like a recipe for success. There were two co-founders that were ejected almost immediately, but it was pretty dramatic how that happened. It was a very messy situation. And then the middle of my book is taken up by this massive hack that occurred in the Ethereum world. It raised $150 million in a month. And then within three weeks after it raised all that money, it got hacked for 31% of all the ether. You know, Ethereum at that time was not even a year old. And so it threw the community into a crisis. But the good news is that actually my sources and I believe that we figured out who hacked that money and it had been a mystery for almost six years. So it was a very exciting bit of news to reveal the day my book came out.
Ric Edelman: That's Laura Shin, host of the Unchained podcast and author of The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze. I encourage you to go check out Laura's podcast, Unchained. Laura, thanks so much for joining us on the program today.
Laura Shin: Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed this.
Walking with Angels
And the beautiful inner resource that’s always ready to help you
Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. This week, I want to remind all of us that we are never alone. Asthma, that’s pretty scary stuff. As I started my New Year, an asthma episode that turned into bronchitis put me in the hospital for five days. Never in my life have I had such a flare up. And there was a moment when I realized I couldn't breathe. But then I just kind of surrendered. But I had my team. We are never alone.
What team you may say? Well, I knew the EMT and the paramedics were on their way. I knew that there were going to be some great docs and nurses at the hospital. But no, I'm talking about my team of angels. We each have a team of angels - our angels, our guides, our friends and family that have passed on. Whether we're aware of it or not, they're constantly watching over us and they're here to support us and especially at a time of distress. I know a lot of us aren't even aware of this. There's so much struggle today with feeling separated and alone.
But I'm asking you that if you ever feel this way, just to take a moment to go inward and invite in your angels, your guides, maybe someone that's passed on. Ask them to come and sit with you. Breathe deep. Invite them in and envision them sitting and holding your hand. This is what I did when I was sitting, waiting for the emergency guys to show up. I truly had no fear and I felt totally supported and surrendered to those that were on the other side there to hold my hand.
You can envision them holding your hand, invite them in, they're waiting to support us and be there for us every day. So this is what I did while I was being admitted and going through tests and just sitting there on oxygen, grateful to be able to breathe, there with people I didn't know. But I also knew that there was a team around. Their hand on my shoulder just there to support me. They were right by my side.
In this time of struggle and mental struggle and mental health, it's really, really time to open up the awareness of this to sit quietly and say, I invite in my guides, I invite in my angels, I invite in so-and-so that's passed on. “Come sit with me quietly for a few moments”... When you get up, notice and be aware. Maybe you feel a little bit lighter, maybe that depression or that angst that you were feeling, maybe that's gone away.
Life is about our inner journey. And when the external life gets so hard on us and keeps pushing on us, or when we have health events, these are the times that we need to go in and invite in our spirit family. They will smother us in love. They will let us know that we are not alone. When I was in the hospital and Ric had gone home for the night and all the nurses were busy doing what they're doing, you know, that's when it's kind of scary. And that's when I felt my dad's hand on my shoulder. They're around. They're there for us. They're there to support us.
So my word of the week is INVITE.
The I is for Inner. This is where we live with our inner knowing, our intuition. When we're hurt, when we know trauma, when we feel alone and separated, this is where we need to shine the light to bring in comfort and our invisible spirit support. They are there waiting.
The N is for Need. We need others and we need our community and we need to feel safe and to be able to talk about our feelings. And so the action item is to find a place where we can share what we're going through.
The V is for Vision because we can set intentions and that opens up the path to a vision of what we want in our life. When we sit and we chat with our team of angels or our spirit family that's crossed over, they'll help us find that path.
The I is to Ignite a connection, a union that is unconditional love. When life is hard and we don't feel loved or we don't feel appreciated or we don't feel seen when we invite in our angels and our spirit family, there is unconditional love, and their sole purpose is to support us. And once we can let down the barriers and we can connect, we'll never go back. We'll always want to feel connected. And we'll never, ever feel alone.
And the T is for Tender, to be tender with ourselves. Our emotions can get so raw. And we need to find a quiet place for ourselves. Just to give ourselves a hug and let ourselves know that we'll be okay. And we're not alone.
And the E is to Elevate. When we do feel disconnected, this is time to tune in and tune out the noise. We can pretend we're floating on the clouds and our angels or guides want us to know they're around and they will elevate our mood and help us feel a joyful life and live a joyful life.
I know this may sound strange to all of you, but if you can just let down the barriers, and you can just listen and feel those on the other side that want to support and love you. It will be a wonderful day.