[00:00] [music]

Kevin Garber: [00:12] Good morning, good evening, hello, wherever you are in the world. It is Friday, the 11th of November, 2016. We'll see how long we can go in this episode without mentioning Donald Trump. Let's welcome to the podcast.

[00:28] It's a Monkey Podcast, where we talk about everything technology, startups, tech, political economy. We've got a great show lined up for you today. We're going to be talking to Robert Hackett, who is a journalist at Fortune Magazine in New York.

[00:45] We talked to him about a brand new Cryptocurrency released called Zcash. A couple of weeks ago, we chatted to Timothy Lea about his Blockchain book and we spoke all about the Blockchain. We chatted to Robert about a new type of cryptocurrency called "Zedcash," or "Zeecash," or "Zerocash" -- all the same thing -- that launched a couple of weeks ago.

[01:08] We also had a quick chat to him about the...we spoke to him just after it was announced that Donald Trump got it. We spoke to him a little bit about the lay of the land. We also got startup minutes that we'll play shortly.

[01:24] Startup Minute is a new segment on our podcast where if you're a startup, or even if you work for a startup, or even if you're just listening to the show, you want to send through 45 seconds to 60 seconds about your company or the company you work with or the organization you work with, drop us an audio file and we'll play it.

[01:44] We'll also link you in the show notes. We all know that links are valuable from other sites. Please email us at podcast@itsamonkey.com if you'd like to send through a startup minute. This week's startup minute is from David Einstein who works for Orange Line, which is an SEO SEM and a company in Sydney. Let's go to their startup minute.

David Einstein: [02:07] Hi. It's David Einstein from Orange Line here. We're a digital performance marketing company that works with Expedia, Bupa, Bayer across the world. I just wanted to drop you guys a line and say I love the podcast. I get so much out of it. Our team listen to it on a regular basis.

[02:25] Get a lot of really useful stuff, and give you guys a big thank you for keeping the good work going, and keeping us interested and alive. Thanks guys. Keep up the good work.

Kevin: [02:35] That was David Einstein of Orange Line here in Sydney, but I do believe they have clients all over the world, so give them some love. If you do contact them, just tell them you heard about them on "It's a Monkey Podcast".

[02:47] As usual, my co-host is Kate Frappell, double P, double L. Thanks for nothing from all you listeners for not following her on Twitter. Have you been getting new Twitter followers that have been following your account?

Kate Frappell: [03:02] I think a few, but probably not the masses.

Kevin: [03:05] Not the masses.

[03:06] [laughter]

Kate: [03:07] Not Twitter famous yet.

Kevin: [03:09] Welcome again to the podcast, Kate. Kate is the senior design lead. Not the senior design lead, the design lead. I've just given you a promotion.

[03:16] [laughter]

Kate: [03:18] Woo!

Kevin: [03:18] It's been a long week, Kate, for us all. My mind is just a bit rough around the edges.

Kate: [03:26] Do I get my own office now?

Kevin: [03:28] Do you really want your own office? I don't know if you want your own office.

Kate: [03:31] Yes, I do. [laughs]

Kevin: [03:32] Do you? It's actually this ongoing debate in the startup world, the open-plan versus the non-open plan. What are your thoughts around wanting your own office?

Kate: [03:42] I think it's potentially a little bit more productive. The only downside would be the lack of easy communication with other team members.

Kevin: [03:51] The tapping on your shoulder?

Kate: [03:53] Yes. I don't mind that. I like the quick communication, but if you're trying to get into the zone, especially from working on new I-projects, it will be cool to have your own space.

Kevin: [04:03] I think what I'm going to try to do is create a variety of spaces. We've got the catch area which two of the team members seemed to have settled in permanently.

[04:13] [laughter]

Kate: [04:14] They really like it there.

Kevin: [04:16] They really like it there. Then, the desk and even the treadmill desk, which none of us use. As we hopefully grow, we can have more diverse spaces. I do think for people to have a closed office if they want to, a nice, quiet, closed office, it's definitely worth trying...

[04:35] [crosstalk]

Kate: [04:36] Maybe not even an individual office, but the option.

Kevin: [04:38] The option, yes.

Kate: [04:39] The option to go to quiet spaces and loud spaces.

Kevin: [04:42] You do have quiet spaces. The problem is your setup is in the open-plan area, so you almost need two setups. You almost need two work spaces.

Kate: [04:50] Almost. Our office isn't really that rowdy or loud, so it's fine. [laughs]

Kevin: [04:55] You're just being a...

Kate: [04:58] I'm just dreaming. [laughs]

Kevin: [05:00] That's OK. You're not senior design lead yet, but design lead, Kate Frappell. She's the co-host of the show. As mentioned, we're going to be chatting to a journalist from Fortune Magazine in a little while. Robert Hackett.

[05:14] As usual, we're going to kick of the show with a couple of news items. Kate, what do we have in the news this week, in the Tech News?

Kate: [05:21] Tech News this week. First of all, Google have redesigned Gmail for iPhone, the app. Not too many, I guess, tech improvements, but they've definitely changed the UI and brought in the option to undo the sends.

Kevin: [05:41] I checked my Android app but it hasn't been updated, so I don't know if this is an iPhone only update.

Kate: [05:46] I'm not sure. I spoke to Joe, and she thinks that the update was already on Android.

Kevin: [05:54] I couldn't find the Undo Send, may stand to be corrected.

Kate: [05:58] Apparently it slides up from the bottom.

Kevin: [05:59] It slides up from the bottom. I'm firing up, I'm sending you an email now, and I'll see if I can undo this. No, it's sending immediately, so mine...They strangely might have updated Apple first. Anyway, that Undo Send's been a Labs feature for a while in Google Labs.

Kate: [06:27] They've had it on the desktop version. They've only just recently brought it to the app.

Kevin: [06:33] Has it been officially on the desktop version? I know it was a Labs feature for many years.

Kate: [06:38] I think so. I mean I've never used it, but apparently it is on Gmail.

Kevin: [06:43] I used it for quite a few years. It was always part of experimental Labs. Another feature, which I've always wanted on Gmail is scheduling sends as well. Ad Click used to have that -- maybe they still do -- which was great. They've all third-party plugins that you can use.

[07:00] Sometimes, if I'm working late at night and I want to send the team a message, I don't want to send the wrong message and make them feel bad that they're not working at 10:00 at night. Sometimes it's just better to coordinate times, so they are third-party plugins but I haven't bothered to getting them.

[07:19] Anyway, we digress Apple iPhone new version of the Gmail, so send, pull back the send, that gives you probably what, 10 seconds?

Kate: [07:32] Not sure. That are yet only a brief time to recover.

Kevin: [07:38] Usually just what you need is the holy...

[07:40] [laughter]

Kate: [07:43] Polling stations are hungered now.

Kevin: [07:47] What else have they improved in the iPhone Gmail app?

Kate: [07:52] Apparently, it's been a wanted feature for a long time, they swipe left and right to delete and archive emails. Apparently, lots of other email apps have been doing it. I can't say I've noticed, but yeah, Gmail weren't doing it and now they are.

Kevin: [08:07] I logged into Hotmail the other day. I don't think they've used the word "Hotmail" for ages. I think it's called Outlook Online or something like that.

Kate: [08:15] I still have a Hotmail address. [laughs]

Kevin: [08:17] I think a lot of us do, and the interface was pretty good. Interface is really good. There's one thing which they fell down on compared to Gmail. I'll just try to see if it still happens. If you hit the Back button on Hotmail...What do they call it? They call it Outlook Live or something.

[08:38] If you hit the Back button, it breaks, whereas in Gmail if you hit the Back button, it doesn't break.

Kate: [08:48] Yeah, that's one thing I really like about Gmail. I can write off an email, leave that tab or close that tab, and when I come back, it's automatically saved as a draft.

Kevin: [08:59] Yeah, exactly. They're quite intuitive. Here, this Back button isn't working. It's actually just...I've clicked into an email on Hotmail, I've hit the Back button, and nothing's happening, so they've really overlooked that.

[09:10] That's quite important because you need to be able to navigate through backs and forwards quite easily, especially in something like email. If you're expecting people to sit on it the whole day, it's got to be really tight.

Kate: [09:25] There's nothing worse than composing a super long email, accidentally leaving, and then having to start again.

Kevin: [09:31] Yeah. Although they are...I mean the UI is starting to look -- in their Web version, at least -- it's starting to look a little bit dated. I do feel like they need a refresh on Gmail.

Kate: [09:41] Gmail, definitely. Yeah, definitely.

Kevin: [09:42] It's very, very functional, but it just needs...It doesn't have that slack elegance, that polish.

Kate: [09:54] Polish, yeah. You could say the same for their Calendar as well.

Kevin: [09:57] Yeah, Calendar though...how polished can a calendar be?

Kate: [10:02] You'd be surprised.

Kevin: [10:03] Really?

Kate: [10:04] Yeah.

Kevin: [10:05] We'll see what happens.

Kate: [10:06] Apparently, they've updated the Calendar app as well.

Kevin: [10:08] I saw that. If you're an iPhone user and a Gmail user, you've got a nice update coming your way. What else is in the news we're going to talk about this week?

Kate: [10:22] Chief Security Officer -- Alex Stamos at Facebook -- has mentioned at a recent conference that they are buying passwords from hackers and cross-referencing them with encrypted passwords used on Facebook.

Kevin: [10:35] I saw this when you've sent me this article, and it's quite interesting. This conference is happening in Lisbon at the moment. It's quite a big Web conference where some of the heavy-weights go to. Alex Stamos -- who's ex Yahoo and he's now Facebook, Head of Safety -- gave a talk.

[10:53] I've actually chatted with our DevOps engineer here, Sonya, a bit about this. She says, "What happens is you can buy these passwords." They're called password dictionaries. You can buy these password dictionaries, and they list frequently used passwords.

[11:13] Companies then, like Facebook, can see passwords that aren't obviously unsafe, but have been used in hacked accounts before. Then, through a variety of means, people that have used these passwords on their Facebook accounts, they can push a note to them to say, "Your password is not as secure as it should be. Please update it," etc.

[11:41] This article, which we'll put too in the show notes, is quite interesting because it just shows you how difficult this job of keeping their accounts secure is, especially based just on logins and passwords. It's a little bit ethically gray to buy passwords from hackers, because hackers are often organized criminals and sometimes unfriendly nations, and all sorts of things.

[12:14] To actually be feeding them money is a bit ethically very tricky. I'm quite surprised that he actually went public with this, because it could even be argued that it's illegal, it's aiding...you're buying the proceeds of crime. It's like buying a stolen bicycle from someone.

Kate: [12:29] To a degree, but at the same time, their argument is that they are helping the people who don't help themselves. They have methods like Two Factor Auth that they are available, but a lot of users won't opt into that, so they need to protect them.

Kevin: [12:48] That's fair enough. It's an interesting discussion. He also comments that the company also applies machine learning to the way that your activity on Facebook, so that if something looks like it's not you, they lock you out of your account.

[13:09] One thing they're also looking at doing is potentially allowing your friends to reset your account, which I thought...

Kate: [13:17] Yeah. Getting them to verify.

Kevin: [13:17] Which I thought was quite interesting, which sort of makes sense, right?

Kate: [13:20] It's an interesting idea. It's how much you trust your Facebook friends and the security of their account.

Kevin: [13:28] Exactly. You can picture hackers just doing a hack attack or something and putting...

[13:33] [crosstalk]

Kate: [13:33] Definitely. I recently read an article about the top 50 passwords people use.

Kevin: [13:40] Number one is "password," right?

Kate: [13:41] No. Number two is password.

Kevin: [13:43] What's number one?

Kate: [13:44] One, two, three, four, five, six. [laughs] That's number one.

Kevin: [13:48] I think Mark Zuckerberg got caught on his Twitter account...

[13:51] [crosstalk]

Kate: [13:51] Yeah, recently.

Kevin: [13:52] having something like that -- one, two, three, four, five, six.

Kate: [13:55] Another top one that I actually don't know why I never realized it, but is qwerty, Q-W-E-R-T-Y, because it's all on ones straight line on the keyboard.

Kevin: [14:07] I, many years ago, did some consulting, for a very successful property developer in Sydney that had built up a multi-million dollar property portfolio and he couldn't use a computer. His family dragged me in to teach him how to use a spreadsheet, to teach him how to use email.

[14:26] Firstly, when this chap saw a spreadsheet and how I could put a formula and change some numbers, it was like he was seeing god. He just shook his head, stared at it, and he went, "That is incredible."

Kate: [14:39] [laughs]

Kevin: [14:42] This guy was doing it all by hand and he owned some of the big multi-million dollar buildings in the city. Anyway, I was setting up some services on his and I said, "We've got to think of a password. Something that's difficult for others but easy for you."

[14:56] He just paused and he looked at me and he just used it. He said, "Kevin, how about..." and he just used an expletive. I just laughed and said, "Mm. How about an [inaudible] combination of his name?" People don't realize the importance of passwords.

[15:13] This Chief of Security at Facebook says, "The reuse of passwords is the number one cause of harm on the Internet, so people just using the same simple passwords everywhere. He also said "User names and passwords are an idea that came out of the 1970s main frame architectures. They were not built for 2016."

Kate: [15:35] That's an interesting thought in itself. If we remove the idea of a password, what other security measures can we implement?

Kevin: [15:42] I suppose there's biometrics, but then you need eye scanners and finger print readers.

Kate: [15:51] They'd have to be installed into everything.

Kevin: [15:53] Do you use Two Factor Auth on your Facebook?

Kate: [15:56] No, I don't. I should. I know I should.

Kevin: [16:00] I also don't use Two Factor Auth on my Facebook.

Kate: [16:03] To be honest, until today, I didn't even know.

Kevin: [16:07] That it was available?

Kate: [16:08] Yeah.

Kevin: [16:08] I also didn't know it was available on Facebook. It's generally more of an enterprise feature. I didn't know. I'm quickly going to log in to my Facebook account and see if it's available.

Kate: [16:19] They definitely haven't pushed it.

Kevin: [16:22] I think it's the type of feature that's got the potential to lock people out.

Kate: [16:28] It could be tricky. If you're like me, you start forgetting passwords.

Kevin: [16:37] If you're listening to the show and you're not using a password manager...I think some people don't realize they exist. Things like OnePass, LastPass. There's all sorts of password managers...

[16:48] [crosstalk]

Kate: [16:48] LastPass has changed my life.

[16:51] [laughter]

Kevin: [16:51] You don't have to remember passwords. It generates difficult passwords. You can do all sorts of great management with OnePass and LastPass. You don't have to write them down or remember them. Definitely use a password manager. I really recommend that.

[17:13] I'm just having a quick look if I can see on Facebook if I can see where..."Login Alerts, Login Approvals, [inaudible] password, public key, your trusted context, recognized devices, legacy content, deactivate your account."

[17:27] Login approvals. Use your phone as an extra way of security to keep other people from logging into your account. It must be that. I don't think they call it Two Factor Auth.

Kate: [17:36] Perhaps they're looking at implementing it. I swear they mentioned it in the article we were looking at.

Kevin: [17:42] They call it Login Approvals. "Login Approvals is an extra layer of security that uses your phone to protect your account. How it works. When logging in from an unknown browser, you'll need a login code. You can only get a login code from your phone. By entering the code, you can provide that it's really you trying to log in." That's it.

Kate: [17:58] It's a similar idea there.

Kevin: [18:00] It's just different wording, but that's the fact of.

Kate: [18:03] Yeah, it's basically the same.

Kevin: [18:06] If you've got a bad password, on any service you use, there's a very high likelihood that you will get hacked. Use that combination of uppercase, lowercase, combine your dog's name with your mother's birthday...

[18:22] [laughter]

Kate: [18:24] Even that's probably getting dangerous.

Kevin: [18:26] It's a very imperfect system, but all security is, even physical security. We're still reliant on keys that are a relic of the middle ages, literally.

Kate: [18:37] That's true. You're going to run my dad out of business. [laughs]

Kevin: [18:42] Kate's father does all the security. Had a very, very big 15-person office.

[18:50] [laughter]

Kevin: [18:50] No, no. There's always going to be keys for a long time. Anyway, that's Facebook, and we'll put the link to the story in the show notes. Please check at the show notes on itsamonkey.com. I'm going to make one request to listeners, Kate, as well.

Kate: [19:08] What's that?

Kevin: [19:08] That is, we've had some iTunes reviews come through which have been great, and that really helps us. It will literally take you 13 seconds -- don't know why 13 popped into my head.

[19:23] If you go to iTunes and search for It's a Monkey, or you follow the link on our site, and you just pop in some positive reviews, that helps with discovery, that helps with others finding the show. We would really appreciate it. Just pop on over to iTunes.

[19:42] If you are a long-time listener of this show, and we do get a couple of thousand people listening to the show...

[19:46] [crosstalk]

Kate: [19:47] Numbers are growing.

Kevin: [19:48] The numbers are growing and they can't all be my family, although I've got a small family

[19:56] [laughter]

Kate: [19:56] I might have a few family members in there. Give them a shout-out.

Kevin: [20:03] Please, send a review and tweet us. We love hearing from you. If you want to be a guest on the show, email us at the podcast. Follow us on Twitter, follow us on Facebook. We're trying to do this once a week as well.

[20:17] We're trying to move this, which is a lot of effort on our behalf. We do it half, because we want to raise the profile of ManageFlitter. We do it half, because we enjoy it. We like meeting interesting people, and contributing to the industry as well. We'd love to hear from you.

[20:34] We're going to take a short break, and then we're going to come back with an interview with Robert Hackett, who is a Fortune Magazine editor. We're going to be talking to him about the new cryptocurrency as well as what's happening in New York after Trump was elected the next United States President. Stick around with us.

[20:57] [pre-recorded audio begins]

Dave Zarate: [20:58] Hi, my name is Dave Zarate. I'm the customer support specialist here at ManageFlitter. ManageFlitter is a tool that helps you work faster and smarter on Twitter. With ManageFlitter, you can clean up and grow your Twitter account.

[21:11] You will also get access to useful Twitter analytics, social content scheduling, and much more. Go to manageflitter.com and start your free trial today.

[21:20] [pre-recorded audio ends]

Kevin: [21:21] You're back with It's a Monkey Podcast from Sydney, Australia, where we talk about everything relating to tech, tech economy, startups, entrepreneurship, you name it. Of course, it's been a really big week for the world.

[21:35] I had planned to chat about Zcash, which is a new cryptocurrency that I saw covered in a regular newsletter I get from Fortune Magazine. I'm happy to say, from Fortune Magazine at the end of my Skype line, I have Robert Hackett, who's the editor of Cyber Saturday. Robert, thank you very much for joining us on the podcast.

Robert Hackett: [21:54] Thanks for having me on, Kevin.

Kevin: [21:55] You happen to be based in the center of the world or the universe, New York City. Before we get into the cyber cash, Zcash discussion, it's the day after the big election. What's the mood on the streets, in general?

Robert: [22:14] It depends on who you were hoping would land in the office. I'd say "surprise" is a big factor. The skies are a bit overcast over here, which perhaps that's telling.

Kevin: [22:28] You're obviously working at Fortune Magazine and across tech. What's the general moods, or the thoughts on tech, attitude to Trump coming in, bearing in mind Silicon Valley, generally, is a huge supporter of the Democrats?

[22:46] Although, Peter Thiel was one of the first found investors in Facebook, controversially was a big backer of Trump. Any thoughts on how tech's going to digest all of this?

Robert: [23:00] Everybody is, obviously, very surprised. It's no secret in the tech community that their Trump supporters there in Silicon Valley were few and far between. Like you mentioned, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is one of the very few outspoken Trump supporters.

[23:18] I think everybody's just kind of waiting to see how this shakes out. I think you saw the markets may have taken a bit of a tumble in the future's markets. They've restored their value since then. I think everybody's just kind of waiting to see what happens.

Kevin: [23:34] If you're someone that likes to ride volatility in an arbitrage or something, it must be a really fantastic day for them. I know Obama, when he came in 2008, the market was down nearly six percent, the day after.

Robert: [23:49] Yeah. Lot of people compared this to what happened over in the UK with Brexit. I think we're seeing some similar reactions in the market to the anti-globalist perspective.

Kevin: [24:07] I see California, which of course, where Silicon Valley is based. It's the eighth biggest economy in the world. Huge, huge engine room of the US and the world, and there's talk. I've got a lot of Californian friends in my Facebook feed.

[24:21] Wow, they're really struggling to digest this. Even talks of seceding, and I believe there's even one tech investor that's actually got a campaign to secede. All sorts of interesting things happening...

[24:34] [crosstalk]

Robert: [24:38] Co-founder Piper Luke 1 has been calling for a secession of California to become its own nation, but we'll see how far that goes.

Kevin: [24:45] Could always give it back to Mexico, I guess.

Robert: [24:49] Yeah, that's true.

[24:49] [laughter]

Kevin: [24:49] Let's move away from the politics. Let's talk about Zcash. Of course, a couple of weeks ago on the podcast, we spoke with Timothy Lee. He's a Blockchain evangelist. We spoke quite in detail about the Blockchain, and how that's underpinning technology that a lot of different technologies can be built.

[25:08] Of course, Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency that was built on the Blockchain. Bitcoins has a lot of flaws. There have been a lot of people that have wanted to come up with Bitcoin version 2.0In your newsletter recently, you covered Zcash, which is launching.

[25:27] Tell us a little bit about Zcash, what issues it's trying to address, how is it different, and where it fits into the scheme of things.

Robert: [25:36] Sure. You call it "Zedcash." We call it "Zeecash" over here. That's short for "zero cash". Basically, to get an idea of this, there are a bunch of cryptocurrencies out there. There are hundreds of these sorts of alternate Bitcoin sort of knock-offs.

[25:59] Mostly, people use them as speculative vehicles to pump and dump. Not many of them had had lasting or staying power. Although, a few have kind of risen above the mires.

Kevin: [26:13] Which are those few, Robert?

Robert: [26:17] There is Ether, it's still the biggest competitor to Bitcoin, or at least it's rivaling it in terms of value. Last I checked, it was about one-tenth the value of Bitcoin. The price of Bitcoin did go up over last night's news.

[26:36] You've got Ether. There's also another cryptocurrency called Monero. There's one called Ripple. There were a couple of these. Zcash is the most recent one, and I'm happy to go into some of what makes Zcash different.

Kevin: [26:54] Please, do.

Robert: [26:54] Zcash, the interesting thing about it is...this is not just any kind of derivative of Bitcoin. This is actually something different. You've got top cryptographers working on this protocol. What they've done is they've added bleeding edge cryptography into it.

[27:16] All new sort of cutting-edge mathematics to imbue it with more privacy and more anonymity than what Bitcoin offers.

Kevin: [27:26] Because Bitcoin offers pseudo-anonymity, right?

Robert: [27:30] Right. A lot of people have said, "Bitcoin allows anonymous transactions. It's great for money laundering and underground marketplaces." Actually, it's not anonymity. It's pseudo-anonymity, which means you can create an alter ego, or alias, and then use Bitcoin with that.

[27:49] However, all of the details around your transactions are still publicly accessible. A lot of people talk about the Blockchain as being a distributive ledger. To its credit, it allows this visibility into the list of transactions.

[28:05] You can verify that everything is correct, good, and proper on that ledger. All of a sudden, now you have all of your financial transactions out in broad daylight.

Kevin: [28:21] Zcash was built from the ground up. Firstly, their team seems to be incredibly impressive. Definitely, there's a bunch of really deep technologists in it. One of the issues that they address is genuine anonymity, correct?

Robert: [28:40] Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, the team behind it. The guy who's spearheading it, Zooko Wilcox is his name. This guy has been around the cryptocurrency circles for a while. He worked in the '90s on a thing called DigiCash, which is basically the grandfather of all of these new currencies.

[29:01] He worked with David Chaum, who is like a patron saint of digital currencies.

Kevin: [29:07] This has just recently been launched, am I correct, officially?

Robert: [29:11] Yeah, it's only been out for a few weeks now.

Kevin: [29:15] What's been the uptake in terms of third-party integrations, wallets, any other services using it? I know it's very, very early days, but anything exciting happening already?

Robert: [29:25] It is. It's very early days. At this point, mostly what you're going to see is a few exchanges and brokerages listing Zcash, so that you can buy and sell and trade it. As far as, further sorts of apps and whatever you might want to build on top of it, I think it's too early to say that there has been anything launched with regard to that.

Kevin: [29:54] The person in the streets, someone listening to this podcast that's not a speculator, that's not a cryptocurrency tech head. Maybe he's just a founder of a small company, or an employee somewhere. Cryptocurrency, how is it going to impact their life?

[30:12] It's been floating around for quite a while. What's the promise of something like Zcash to affect the daily lives, positively, of just the person in the street?

Robert: [30:27] That's a good question. We've got Fiat currency over here in most governments, in most nations. That tends to work just fine. If you're part of a system, like the US, people tend to have a lot of faith in US dollars. That goes for a bunch of other places across the globe.

[30:47] However, there are a lot of people who don't have access to the same kind of financial system, same kind of faith in their governance and infrastructure. For them, cryptocurrency could actually become quite important.

[31:06] Because all of a sudden you have an ability to transfer value that is independent of a ruling class or a third party or anything like that. It puts the power back in the hands of the people. There is that angle.

Kevin: [31:23] Zcash is actually built on a separate block chain to the Bitcoin block chain, right?

Robert: [31:31] That right. Yeah. I believe, it forked from Bitcoin. A lot of the code is derived from Bitcoin. However, it is a totally separate block chain. It's its own universe.

Kevin: [31:41] The current exchanges already support this. You can already buy Zcash, or even mine Zcash also.

Robert: [31:51] You can. Yes.

Kevin: [31:52] Have you bought or mined any?

Robert: [31:55] [laughs] As much as I would like to, just because I find this whole world very interesting, I tend to stay out of it. As journalists, we're not encouraged to take speculative positions or investments in things that we cover. No, I'm afraid to say, I don't.

Kevin: [32:19] I'm just looking at their site FAQ here, "What are you changing from Bitcoin's design? Which parts of Bitcoin's network remain?" They say, "We're following a general principle of conservative innovation. Aside from the Zerocash privacy protocol, we wish to avoid making changes to Bitcoin's design without a strong rationale.

[32:36] We've decided to make a number of relatively conservative changes to Bitcoin's consensus rules. Increasing block size, we've removed activation rules for softforks." All of this is pretty technical. The challenge with cyber currency, and block chain and Bitcoin, is it's quite a complex technology to get your head around if you're not immersed in it day in and day out.

Robert: [33:05] Yes. Absolutely.

Kevin: [33:08] They talk about, how does Zcash compare to other cryptocurrencies with anonymizing properties. They do make the point that they realize that the improved privacy could help the good guys and the bad guys, but they make the point that so does any other technology as well.

Robert: [33:24] Right. A good way to think about it is, really, what the team has applied here is this thing call zero-knowledge proofs, which are often called or referred to as zk-SNARKS. Like I mentioned earlier, this is really cutting edge cryptography. It's really at the forefront of what people are doing at field right now.

[33:46] The whole idea is to allow for selective transparency. You can choose to reveal your identity or your pseudonym on the block chain, you can choose to reveal who you're sending a Zcash token to, or the amount or sum of that transaction.

[34:05] One of the things that so far remains in the open is the time stamp. People will see when that transaction occurred. It allows everybody to reach a consensus and a conclusion and verify and validate that all these transactions are what they say they are.

Kevin: [34:24] Are they based in New York, or The Valley, or a distributed team? Do you know much about them?

Robert: [34:28] Yeah. They've got a team out in Brooklyn, I believe.

Kevin: [34:33] OK. I noticed, when I spent some time in New York last year, that there's definitely a lot of block chain activity going on in New York. It definitely seems to be one of the areas of tech that, I suppose, coming from the finance sector and banking, there's this quite a strong impetus to get involved with the new technologies around the finance area.

Robert: [34:56] There is. There are these central hubs that are big into different parts of the cryptocurrency or block chain ecosystem. Obviously, on Silicon Valley you've got a lot of startups who are interested in the technology. In New York you've got the finance world interested in block chain.

[35:17] Elsewhere, across the globe you've got interesting groups working on stuff, in India, and mining operations in China. Yeah, these places have bubbled up.

Kevin: [35:29] Do you guys ever hear of Australian startups? When I'm in New York I always have the feeling that Australia is...You guys hear about Mars, and the Mars Rover more than you do about Australia. Do Australian startups ever feature in the tech scene in the discussions in New York?

Robert: [35:46] I'm sure they do. There might be a bias toward more local organizations. If you have ones that should be on my radar, hey, let me know.

Kevin: [35:56] There is quite a lot of interest in block chain technology here. There were a bunch of young guys in Melbourne that actually had a Bitcoin arbitrage fund, that was producing insane returns, which was quite interesting, which was fun to watch.

[36:14] Yeah, we've definitely got a lot of activity down here. It's a long way, and time zones are so opposite that we have very little crossover. Robert Hackett, editor of Cyber Saturday, at Fortune Magazine, journalist at Fortune Magazine, really appreciate chatting to you. Your newsletter, does it come out every Saturday?

Robert: [36:35] That's right. Yeah.

Kevin: [36:36] Cool. We're going to put it on the show notes. If you like to follow everything around Bitcoin, block chain, "Zeecash," "Zedcash," follow Robert's newsletter. Good luck with all the changes in the US. No doubt, as always, life keeps on moving on.

Robert: [36:57] That's right. It does. Thanks so much for having me on, Kevin.

Kevin: [36:59] Appreciate your time. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Robert: [37:31] Bye.

[37:32] [commercial]

Kevin: [37:33] It was quite fortuitous that we had an interview set up with someone in New York the day after this election happened.

Kate: [37:50] Yeah. My Facebook went crazy yesterday.

Kevin: [37:53] You have a lot of Americans on your Facebook account?

Kate: [37:56] I have a few, from my travels.

Kevin: [37:57] I've got a lot of Californians, and a lot of New Yorkers. My Californian friends were melting down.

Kate: [38:03] Oh, no.

Kevin: [38:04] Literally, melting down. Time will tell. We'll see. Politics is a very convoluted game. The one thing I do know in life, panic is the worst enemy. We all got to just keep on keeping on. If you have objections with what's happening in the world, just put out something better that you don't object with.

[38:33] Yeah, there have been protests in New York. My one friend's been live streaming on Facebook Live. She's been very, very vocal about that. There've been protests in the Mission District of San Francisco, which is ground zero for the startup scene in San Francisco. Twitter's first offices were in the Mission District, Uber is still there.

[38:55] San Francisco is really small. They're all very close to each other. The San Francisco people are very, very upset. Interestingly, Peter Thiel was the only Silicon Valley high-profile person that supported Trump. He was the first financial investor in Facebook, and put $500,000 into Facebook.

Kate: [39:21] Oh, wow.

Kevin: [39:22] He's ex-PayPal. He's part of the PayPal mafia. Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman. Elon Musk, of course, people know about. Reid Hoffman's LinkedIn. Of course, Peter Thiel who's Facebook, and now Palantir as well.

[39:38] He, obviously, saw something. He's always quite outspoken and contrarian, Peter Thiel, but he copped a lot of flak in Silicon Valley for donating to Trump and being positively pro-Trump. The rest of Silicon Valley is very of the Democratic persuasion, as is most of California.

Kate: [40:01] Yeah. I don't claim to know very much at all about American politics. What's the main reason, I guess, that Silicon Valley is anti-Trump?

Kevin: [40:14] In this case...We're both getting into political talk.

[40:19] [laughter]

Kate: [40:19] Potentially, exporting?

Kevin: [40:20] It's the whole business side of things. San Francisco is such an inclusive community, it's such a tolerant community, it's such a migrant-friendly community, it's such a LGBT-friendly community. That animosity towards those communities from Trump.

[40:52] That even just as a starting point, before you get to the economic policies, and everything else, they had problems with that. In terms of the rest of the policies, yeah, it just seemed a step back. A step back to times gone by, where a certain demographic of privileged white men would dominate and rule.

[41:24] We thought, with Obama, we've broken through to something else. People are worried that it might be a step back. Once you get rid of Obamacare, and things like that. This is a tricky area, which should be for one of our other podcasts.

Kate: [41:40] Yes.

Kevin: [41:40] Let's talk about cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is frustrating because it's complicated, right?

Kate: [41:48] Very. [laughs]

Kevin: [41:50] I still find it complicated. I was thinking about this earlier. Cryptocurrency is the type of technology that people will just one day experience the benefits when it comes together.

Kate: [42:03] I feel that way at the moment. I've been reading up a little bit about it. A lot of it still goes straight over my head. Perhaps, it's a matter of trying and experiencing it and, potentially, mining different Bitcoins to fully understand what the process is.

Kevin: [42:23] Jackson Palmer, who we had in on our last show. If you missed it, Jackson spoke about the new Macs. By the way, he send me a message about his Mac.

Kate: [42:32] What was that?

Kevin: [42:35] He returned it. On the last week's podcast, Jackson Palmer, who's one of the co-founders of Dogecoin, which is a cryptocurrency that became famous on Reddit, for using tips on Reddit. He gave a review of the new MacBooks. It was quite positive. Critical, but positive.

[42:55] His Mac had a funny sound when he would physically move it. Almost, like, there was a loose piece inside, that, apparently, is a known issue. He returned it, got his money back, and said to me, "I might have to go Windows."

Kate: [43:07] No. [laughs] Really? Can he take it back and get a replacement?

Kevin: [43:12] Apparently, it's a known issue with it. I'm not quite sure what's going on there.

Kate: [43:17] Interesting.

Kevin: [43:17] Yeah. He sent me the note, he gave me that update. Jackson Palmer said about cryptocurrencies, he's worried that we've missed the boat in mass user adoption. Bitcoin became popular a few years ago. It had a few problems, and was complicated.

[43:40] The promise was there, but didn't deliver on it. Now, the window has passed. It's something like Zcash, where they've looked at Bitcoin, and the problems, and reinvented it. Are they still going to be able to get mass adoption, and get people to build on it, etc.? It waits to be seen.

[43:59] There's a lot problems in society, where there's a lot of friction. Anything that involves the middleman, the middle person, there's a lot of friction. There's still a promise there to have a block chain technologies, and cryptocurrency technologies removing the friction around that.

[44:18] Getting rid of these middle people that act as trust, as we spoke about in the block chain interview. Zcash seems to be a really smart bunch of people. We may get them on in a few episodes.

Kate: [44:35] That would be good.

Kevin: [44:35] Maybe we can trash out these issues, and really drill down into them. These technologies still haven't trickled down to anyone other than enthusiasts.

Kate: [44:47] No. Not to the everyday. Yeah, definitely.

Kevin: [44:48] The amount of remittances, i.e., people that work in one country and send it back home in the world, is huge. You've got, for example, in America people from Mexico, people from the Philippines, sending money back home is absolutely massive.

Kate: [45:07] It's still quite popular here in Australia, too.

Kevin: [45:10] In Australia as well, right? Thai, China, India. You add up those commissions every year, it'd be staggering.

Kate: [45:18] A lot of money.

Kevin: [45:19] Even if they would solve an issue like remittances, and make that frictionless, the collective savings would be huge.

Kate: [45:29] Enormous.

Kevin: [45:29] Yeah. That's Zcash. We should stick to cryptocurrency, and not politics.

Kate: [45:35] Yes. Would be a better idea.

Kevin: [45:40] Politics is a rabbit hole, with no rights, no wrongs, and very emotive topics.

Kate: [45:45] Yes. Very opinion-based.

Kevin: [45:47] Very opinion-based.

[45:50] Interesting times. I grew up in South Africa, where politics changed a lot. From an undemocratic regime, where people were scared of talking about Mandela and ANC, right through to a democratic regime. It was interesting to see. One thing you learn, you adapt. You actually adapt to the times. You have no choice.

Kate: [46:15] You have to, if you want to survive.

Kevin: [46:19] You have to adapt. That's Episode 66. We're going to be back next week. We're going to be chatting to...Who do we have next week? We've got a ton of great interviews over the next little while. We're going to be chatting to...

Kate: [46:30] Danielle.

Kevin: [46:32] Danielle is going to be the week after.

Kate: [46:34] OK. Roy.

Kevin: [46:35] Roy, from the Sesame app, that helps people...I'll just double check, so I don't get the name of the...Sesame Enable.

Kate: [46:47] Sesame Enable, that's correct.

Kevin: [46:48] We'll chat to him about the fantastic technology they developed for people who can't use their hands, or disabled to use mobile phones.

Kate: [46:55] Yeah. Super interesting.

Kevin: [46:57] One of my favorite interviews, one of my favorite technologies. I love it when technology really empowers people that are very un-empowered. Things like cochlear implants, and things like that. When it just shifts their world so dramatically.

Kate: [47:15] Huge benefits.

Kevin: [47:16] That's the interview next week. I'm really looking forward to that, and having that chat with Roy.

[47:23] In the meantime, please tweet us, please email us. We love to hear from you.

[47:27] My name is Kevin Garber. I'm the CEO of ManageFlitter. I've been with my co-host, Kate Frappell, who's the design lead at ManageFlitter. We will chat to you next week.

[47:41] [music]