Alex Saunders of Nuggets News on the Crypto Clothesline Podcast
If you are wondering where the most untapped crypto community is in Australia… this episode is for you!
Alex Saunders is our revered guest this week. Australia’s most influential crypto-star, fellow podcaster and the man behind Nuggets News: a channel with over 30,000 subscribers is responsible for giving sound information and solid education to newcomers about cryptocurrencies. Nuggets’ substantial following has developed as a result of years of collective experience in the cryptocurrency field, knowing which projects to back and which scams to veer away from (based on extensive research) and what the difference is between the two!
Even as a young man growing up in Tasmania, (the southern-most part of Australia), he was affected by the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 seeing his gifted shares crash in value:
“I remember saying to my dad, ‘Do you have to pay your fund manager to lose half your money?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ And I thought… that’s an easier job than the weatherman.”
From all challenging experiences, there almost always stems a great outcome (I call it The Lotus Theory: beautiful things grow out of mud). This loss of perceived ‘value’ in his shares lead Alex to start digging deep into the world of money – banking and stocks, which effectively lead him to the next rabbit hole and new passion: Bitcoin.
“I read about Bitcoin in 2012 and I just thought this is going to take off. It’s digital instant money and we live in a digital world.”
A former pharmacist, Alex started commenting and creating content on various social media platforms to help newbies better understand this unfolding crypto world. In 2017, when cryptocurrencies really hit the headlines, his online YouTube channel Nugget’s News really grew.
“I quit pharmacy altogether… and we started a premium website. I was hiring friends full-time and it was just chaos in that bull run over summer. And now Nuggets News is a business where we do all sorts of things. But YouTube is probably the backbone of what we do.”
Thriving Crypto Tasmania
Alex comments that although the Meetups in Tassie were very quiet for the longest time, following the spike in the crypto market in 2017, literally thousands of people have since attended. There are many businesses that have adopted crypto payments systems for their goods and services, and there’s even an organisation called Get Paid in Bitcoin, helping companies pay their employees in cryptocurrencies! https://getpaidinbitcoin.com.au/
“… you can get a small percentage of your salary and bitcoin every week.
“We’ve got a lot of businesses accepting crypto down here in Tasmania already… We’re hoping to get some government support and we’re going to continue to onboard big businesses down here because I think it helps tourism.
Australia Is Absolutely Obsessed With Crypto
In terms of Aussies getting onboard with crypto, Alex claims that Australia is right up there… You can pay your bills with crypto, you can use crypto in a growing number of retail outlets around the country, you can even travel from Brisbane airport right up the Queensland coast all the way to the Great Barrier Reef, paying only in Bitcoin!
“…in Australia you’ve been able to pay any bill with cryptocurrencies since 2015 when Living Room of Satoshi (proud sponsors of Crypto Clothesline) won Best new Start-up in Australia. You can pay any bill, you can do bank transfers, you can pay directly at the shop with TravelbyBit – they’re always signing up new merchants. All this stuff is here in Australia already…just waiting for [cryptocurrencies] to be adopted.”
People Do Not Necessarily Understand
Paying with crypto at more outlets and being able to buy your surfboard with Bitcoin is all very well, but do people really understand WHY it’s potentially so important to start adopting cryptocurrencies in terms of their personal freedoms and basic human rights?
Nugget News’ main focus is on education, not just about crypto, but also the system and the financial world we all live in, albeit perhaps unconsciously, right now.
“The mainstay of what we do is education, trying to get people to understand just those basics.
“I mean the first thing we discussed today was sending money overseas. It’s probably the easiest real-world example in Australia for a meal on a Friday night. You want to split the bill and your friend is with a different bank. That money won’t get there ‘til Tuesday.
“It’s just crazy that we live in, like I said, this digital instant world, but to send your own money from one account to another, it can still take days!”
And BTW, it’s not just about informing us all on the up and downsides of cryptocurrencies. It’s no secret that most people on the planet don’t even realise the social engineering behind our current financial structures and spending hypnosis (think: rampant consumerism), so much so that I’ve heard it quoted in some circles:
We don’t need a ball and chain anymore. We lock ourselves up for an entire lifetime by getting ourselves into crippling debt based on conditioned thinking, the blood-thirsty drive for status and an unquenchable desire for ‘more!’
Our basic fear of missing out (FOMO), which drives our greed and disintegrates awareness of the needs of others, leads to a hostile and conflictual planet full of people.
This overarching education may include (but is not limited to) learning about the:
- devaluing of the dollar (the reduction in the official value of a currency in relation to other currencies)
- inflation is not only an increase in prices, but a decrease in the physical size of products. Last year’s 600 ml drink now weighs 330ml but costs you the same, or more. You literally are often paying more for less. Your paycheque hasn’t gone up by much either, certainly not in alignment with the increases in products and services. So with the same or close-to-the-same amount of money, you’re able to buy much less.
- bank account skimming (it’s legal for the Australian banks to ‘skim’ our accounts in order to increase bail themselves out. We as depositors of the bank are in fact creditors, and we will pay to help keep banks afloat.
- the cap on our own money – if we want to remove all our cash from our bank account, we generally can’t… we have to ask permission, wait a given amount of time, wait until the bank ‘releases’ our funds… if they do so at all.
- we don’t control our own money – it could be taken at any moment
- money’s not backed by gold – money gets printed Cash is literally just arbitrary pieces of paper with no actual value through it was once backed by gold – you would once have been able to exchange your ‘note’ for its equivalent value in gold at the bank, since actual physical gold was too heavy to carry around. Then, governments decided to simple take away the real gold component and leave us with just the paper – worthless pieces of paper with a culturally agreed number value associated with them, but which in reality, are actually worth no more than the cost of the paper they’re printed on…
- banks are not our friends – we’re in financial peril but we don’t even realise it
“We don’t even question it, but we’re starting to get to the point where more and more people are living paycheque to paycheque. Inequality has never been higher and I think we are reaching a tipping point where you explain these concepts to people that you don’t get taught at school or anyone else. And you tell them Bitcoin and the alternative options, and they sort of get their head around it pretty quickly.”
“When I just see that banks, and all the corruption happening around us and then the government and all the media are putting out this stuff about how bad Bitcoin is, and yet every day there’s worse things happening in our own government, our own banking system. It’s just kind of like you’ve got to really push these messages to bring about change and it’s a shame that this will probably take decades and years to happen when the technology’s already right there in front of us.”
Alex comments that from the comfort of our ‘lucky’ lifestyles, especially here in Australia, we’re immune in a sense to the extreme daily difficulty and financial hardships people are living in other places. People’s money has been devalued, eroded, stolen or simply blocked from them – so that not only is life uncomfortable, but in some instances, people are going hungry and becoming homeless. Bitcoin has literally saved some families and lives, in the case of those well-informed early adopters who invested in it before the cash economy in their countries collapsed.
“…if you look at Venezuela with hyperinflation, you know everyone that’s worked and has any life savings, is just lost.
“Then look at countries like Greece and Cyprus: they were the drivers of Bitcoin, [there were] big rallies back in 2013 and 15 when the government… said, ‘We’re taking 10 percent of your money to cover our debt.’
“…in Greece they said, ‘You can’t get more than $100 a day out of an ATM.
“In Venezuela people are starving to death. All these things are real-world examples we don’t see from the comfort of our lounge rooms.
“And those people that are using Bitcoin have literally saved their lives or their family’s lives.”
Furthermore, there’s a plausible theory being passed around in conversations in the crypto world that banks, big biz and governments are most likely in the act of accumulating masses of cryptocurrencies in order to then be in a prime position to manipulate this market: this ‘Future of Money’. Once they’ve got 51 percent, then they’ll start presenting in their media monopolies it as the best thing ever.
What was apparently born as a decentralised system (ie. no bosses, no middle-man, no overseeing agent) has or will in fact, fall prey to total centralisation – being under full control of the big boys, and then people will start buying it, (rushing in) at a much higher price.
“I certainly feel that the bank is and all the powers that be are accumulating [crypto], and between now and then they will start to pump those messages out on through their media outlets during the next bubble. Just like the dot.com bubble it will be retail investors who get fleeced the most, and they’ll be buying off these people that are accumulating now [meanwhile] telling you it’s a scam.”
I think we can see that the biggest scammers are the banks and their friends, but what of crypto scammers?
Nasty Little Scams
“Any message you get is a scam until proven otherwise.”
2017 with its crypto bull market buying-in hysteria lead to a lot of uninformed people buying into a lot of unresearched projects, hoping not to miss the Golden Opportunity. In reality, many people instead copped no more than the Golden Arches, and got pissed all over…
There are so many tales of people now with crippling credit card debt, people who’ve mortgaged themselves into the ground trying to buy up big and not miss the proverbial boat. December 2017 saw many people scammed, burnt and left wanting, giving the mass media a chance to paint the crypto scene through the filter of blood-coloured glasses.
That’s why it’s so important to align yourself with a reputable, reliable and independent media organisation like Nugget’s News that can provide you with sound, honest and realistic information.
“We’ve been pretty accurate with our predictions and we’ve picked a lot of good projects that have made people a lot of money and we’ve avoided all the scams and said, guys, you know, don’t touch, beat connect or USI tech, don’t touch these ICOs. It’s a scam. So we’ve protected people from downside by giving I guess, measured sensible advice.”
“…if you just go to Google and type in Bitcoin, next thing you know something’s popped up that’s promising you 10 percent monthly returns. They’re all out there to get you and there’s no way to get your money back in the crypto world as we know… it all comes down to education.”
“Whether it’s Twitter or Telegram, anyone can create a profile with the same picture and same name as me. And I’ll send you a message saying, ‘Hey, it’s Alex, you know, send us some money. We’ve got a new coin!’ And people do it. It’s unfortunate, but everyday people fall for these scams.”
Biggest Struggle In The Crypto Space
When asked about what Alex considers are his biggest challenges, he lists: trolls, scammers and the stresses of running a start-up.
There’s also the fact that this market is so very new and to the onlooker, extremely volatile. Study any chart that shows the growth and correction of Bitcoin since its inception in 2009 and you’ll see there have been many cycles like any financial market, including fluctuations in price in the US dollar, shares, precious metals and more. The point is though that crypto is presented in a poor light, possibly because that way less people catch on, buy in and hold the key (literally) to their future potential financial freedom.
“You’re always trying to give advice that caters for everyone in a general nature…
“I think we’ve got a long way to grow yet, but if you’re new to this space and this is the first time you’ve put in money and if you put it in at the top, if you bought Bitcoin at $20,000 and you’re now down, I do feel for those people and as I said, I’m trying to create content that’s positive and keep everyone enthused about this space and get across the important messages.
“[Those that] buy at the top and sell at the bottom, then walk away and are obviously telling their friends at the local barbecue how bad crypto is and to avoid it, and it’s all a scam. I guess that’s the stuff for me, it’s frustrating…”
“Since 2012 bitcoin’s gone down between 50 and 90 percent phase corrections, I think it’s happened six times that I’ve sat through…”
It’s The Nature Of A New Asset Class
The fact is, crypto has been repeatedly described as the Wild West. It’s kkkerrazy out there! We’re seeing massive price movements in Bitcoin and its other crypto cousins.
“Bitcoin went from $30 to dollars and those people lost a lot of money. Bitcoin went from $1,000 back down to $150.”
(Thanks to Aleks Svetsi for sourcing this image is his Medium article)
There are all sorts of reasons the market is fluctuating: emotional FOMO hysteria feeding ‘pump and dumps’ (see our interview with Crypto Gat), whales flooding the market and sucking the juice out of the market: all different forms of synthetic market manipulation.
Alex claims though that most ‘newbies’ don’t take into consideration Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA: Dollar-cost averaging simply involves investing the same amount of money into shares, managed funds, or crypto etc at regular intervals over a long period – whether market prices are up or down. … This averages the purchase prices over the total period that an investor keeps investing.)
“So [newbies] find out about Bitcoin or a coin. They fall in love with it and they put in all $10,000 they had to invest at once and the next day it drops 50 percent or the next month it’s down 90 percent and if they had just bought a little bit at a time and educated themselves, they’d probably find another coin they want to invest in now, but they put all their money into the first thing. So it’s all about taking your time because [even though you experience] FOMO… You’ve got to look at a chart and technical analysis… If something’s gone up a thousand percent, you should never go all in… these things tend to go up and down, so you just have to be patient.”
Formation Of Regulations In Australia Towards Cryptocurrencies
There’s much contention, confusion and misinformation it seems around regulating cryptocurrencies in Australia. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has introduced regulation that has resulted, in some cases, in people paying more in tax than they profited from the sale of their crypto-assets, and crypto organisations fleeing these shores in order to nurture their start-ups in more crypto tax-friendly waters…
The fact remains that crypto remains an enigma for law-makers because it doesn’t fall under of the usual descriptors defined in our taxation schedules until now.
It’s outside the scope of this blog to pro and con the state of the ATO in relation to cryptocurrencies, but suffice to say, there are legal specialists researching how other countries are handling their crypto treatments so as to benefit the crypto organisations, investors and economy as a whole.
“If we’re trying to get this to mass adoption, you can’t just be making laws and regulations and thinking about it from that top down perspective.
“I think it’s trying to put a square peg round hole, particularly with tax the sheet
“Some of the laws… people weren’t really aware of [or weren’t] made very clear at the time have resulted in people that might have a tax bill that’s bigger than their holdings because technically you’re meant to pay tax when you swap assets…”
“… a lot of people [contributed to an] ICO that went up in price and they weren’t aware that was a taxable event and have got themselves into some pretty messy situations…their tax bill is bigger than what their whole account is worth.”
“…we’ve got these rules and regulations that don’t fit this crypto world.
“… people are already moving away. We’ve seen businesses and exchanges… set up in Malta [or] the Cayman Islands.
“…people are frustrated… they’re saying… I can’t even work out my tax [with these] thousands of transactions. There’s no software to even help me as a business.”
“So it’s all pretty frustrating to hear those messages and fact is that, yeah, those people are just going to move away. Just like the US has been really stubborn. Those innovators are moving, they economy’s going be huge in five years’ time and Australia will fall behind.”
Find out more:
Nuggets News podcast episode mentioned in the interview
Nuggets News article mentioned in the interview
Crypto Gat interview on Crypto Clothesline Parts 1 & 2 talking about Pump and Dumps
Shireen Yip of TravelbyBit interview on Crypto Clothesline
Mike Maloney’s The Hidden Secret History of Money