[00:00:00] Kriti: Hey guys, welcome to WhyFI Matter$! I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgivings, this upcoming Thursday, and can eat some delectable scrumptious food and spend time with people you love and your families and your friends. And speaking of things that we love, I am super excited to learn more about entrepreneurship, which I love, and cryptocurrency, which is something that I'm now very interested in. I think that some of the previous guests we've had on the show have definitely sparked my interest and curiosity in crypto, but I really wanted a better understanding of what it was. So I am super happy to learn from our guest today, Joel Clelland. Joel is the CEO at Centric, which is a digital currency company making strides in the crypto industry. And what's really great about Joel is because of his very diverse career experience over 20 years of extremely different jobs, such as teaching and some in the financial services industry and his experience as an investor, he is able to find creative ways to innovate and develop his company. And I'm super excited to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey, and also improve my understanding of how digital and decentralized currencies work and, in what ways this will impact the GenZ future. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Hi, Joel. Thank you so much for coming on WhyFI Matter$ today, I'm super excited to have you on the show and I'm really interested in learning more about cryptocurrency. I feel like it's a word that just tossed around a lot and it gets used and almost it becomes diluted and we forget the meaning and we don't even know what exactly it is. So I'm super excited to learn more about crypto, especially as a teen, because I think it's going to become a big part of our future specifically the GenZ future. So, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
[00:02:20] Joel: Of course, Kriti.
[00:02:22] Kriti: So I want to start off talking about your life as a teen and kind of, how did you get into the entrepreneurial space?
[00:02:32] Joel: Great question. When I was a teen, I was really into sales. I would sell anything when I was a freshman in high school, my marching band went to Hawaii for a special event. Yes. And I raised all the money I needed. For my trip. So my parents didn't actually have to pay just by fundraising, going door to door, knocking on doors, and selling pretty much anything I could to go on that trip. And I actually had enough left over where I was able to help another student with their trip. That's amazing, but I've always had a knack for not just sales, but just for mixing in the community. And I think to be an entrepreneur, you can't be afraid to talk to people. Or if you are, you should lean into that because the only way we get over fear is by doing things over and over again.
[00:03:23] Kriti: And you talked about mixing with the community. And I think like being an entrepreneur, even though it seems like a very self-centered sort of thing to do, it's actually all about helping other people because yeah, it, it should be, cause you're well, as an entrepreneur, you're solving things that are going to help other people hopefully. So you kind of always had a little bit of, you know, entrepreneurial spirit within you?
[00:03:52] Joel: I would say so when, and when I was a young adult, I started a mobile disc jockey business and. Pay to basically play music for people and put on parties. And that scale, that scaled over about a 10 year period, which one do I play? Well, when I was a mobile disc jockey, I was just playing other people's music and digital downloads and pop back disks. I don't know if you remember CDs, but that's a while back.
[00:04:21] Kriti: I know what a CD is.
[00:04:23] Joel: There you go. Okay. So, but I know most everything is MP3s now or, or WAV files or what have you, but yeah, no, I w I was playing other people's music, digitally for parties and I would get paid for it, but it's interesting. You bring up instruments because I also played in a couple of rock, cover bands and played guitar, piano, trumpet I sang. And that was another income.
[00:04:49] Kriti: Oh, that's really cool. So you're like you're hustling basically. Yeah, I play classical guitar and I've been playing that since I was like seven and I got an electric guitar like I think two birthdays ago. And I still have. I still have to work on my electric guitar, but I love music. That's great.
[00:05:10] Joel: That's wonderful. So a lot of times people think music and entrepreneur can they mix. And I think it's, I think it's a great marriage of sorts because the music or any artistic medium kind of works that side of a person, but then being able to give back whether you're putting on a party or putting on a show, entertaining people, people will pay for that.
[00:05:32] Kriti: Yeah, like I think a lot of people in the music industry Taylor swift she's on my mind because of her new album re-recording and I would say she's an entrepreneur because she created this. She created Taylor swift. Like she created this person and. It's crazy. Just how it's hard. It's bad to say, but she is a business. Like of course she has a business, but
[00:05:57] Joel: she's a brand.
[00:05:59] Kriti: Yeah. And she is this entrepreneur. So, she obviously has certain aspects of her that make her creativity different than someone else's. And a lot of people like what she does and she's there for a reason. And, but then there's also the sales from her concert. And I just read that, , she just make so much money off of her, her album, she just rerecorded. So yeah, I think I like how you said that music and entrepreneurship, they can mix and they
[00:06:28] Joel: should mix. And it's interesting to me too, is I've seen. So many entertainers that are also entrepreneurs and sometimes their businesses, their brand, and then other times they have other businesses outside theirs.
Quote unquote, brand. And I think that's the thing too, is, is I think part of the entrepreneurial mindset is just kind of freeing your mind in a sense and saying, Hey, I don't have to just do this for my whole life. I don't have to just do this. I can do this. And some other things or I can do this and then maybe bring on people to help me with these other things.
[00:07:06] Kriti: And even in industries or fields, Seem that is very like one dimensional. Like you stay on this path especially for doctors. It's really interesting because you're now seeing this shift where doctors are figuring out different sources of income besides, clinical practice. And it's interesting cause my mom she's a doctor and she listens to a different podcast called 'physicians on fire' and it talks about the whole fire movement and how doctors are doing different side hustles. And they are sometimes related to medicine, sometimes they aren't. And it's really cool to see how people are really tapping into this like different sources of income.
I don't just have to do my day job.
[00:07:51] Joel: I totally agree. I totally agree. I don't think anybody is truly one-dimensional. I think a lot of times we settle into being one-dimensional.
[00:08:02] Kriti: I think everyone has so many different interests, like for sure.
[00:08:06] Joel: Yeah, yeah. But I liked that example as well because doctors who maybe, as you said, have a clinical practice or they work for a large hospital. They could be doing concierge medicine, as long as that's not an issue, but you know, again, they could have, they could have a mobile disc jockey service or really having a family can take photos. You know, they have a photography business.
[00:08:27] Kriti: So I want to talk a little bit more about how you got into investing and also how you got into specifically crypto investing in crypto.
[00:08:39] Joel: Excellent. I've been investing in various things for probably 25 years, maybe a little bit longer than that. Mostly the stock market pre crypto, and I've invested in businesses, things of that nature.
I've invested in insurance products and I very rarely keep money in cash. I'd rather move. I call it that Lazy Money yeah, because cash doesn't tend to grow very much. Just sits there. Correct. And so I, I, I tend to move whenever I have lots of cash. I tend to move it into some other asset class and whether like it, whether it's the stock market or insurance products, or even precious metals, You know, gold and silver things of that nature.
But cryptocurrency is something that is here to stay. I was looking at coin market cap the other day, and they have over 14,000 digital currencies listed on coin market cap. And just three weeks ago, they were like 12000. So
[00:09:45] Kriti: two
[00:09:47] Joel: more just in just a short weeks, but that's globally. I mean, globally, there's over 14,000 digital projects or cryptocurrency projects.
And if you think about that, this we're still at the beginning of this space, it's still very early in this sector and I've heard people say, oh, I feel like I've missed it. It's I I'm too late for crypto. What are you talking about? It hasn't even started yet. I mean, the space has been around for, you know, about 10 years or so, but it's only really been taking off the last four or five years, maybe a little longer than that, but I, I got in and as an investor a few years ago, and when I, when I found the company I worked for centric, I, I knew I'd found something special.
[00:10:35] Kriti: I see. So I. I want to talk a bit about your path to becoming the CEO of centric, but I feel like now's a good time to just really dive deep into like crypto. And we can talk more about that later on, but so could you just, could you just do you have any analogies for teams that might help us understand?
Like I personally. I like, kind of know what it is, but I kind of don't know, but I want like a concrete understanding.
[00:11:03] Joel: Sure. Well, what I would do Kriti is I would back us up to when we were talking about cash money. Okay. That's something you're familiar with, and for money coins, Fiat, do you know having, do you know that term Fiat, Fiat is, is money that's given to us by the.
And it's maybe it's, it's like a federal reserve or a reserve currency, something like that. It's backed by the credit worthiness of a government. And we've, we've had Fiat currency in a variety of different forms for probably 900 to a thousand years. And the Chinese, the Chinese were the first culture.
And first, first country to really come out with this. Concept of Fiat where it's it's not backed by anything. It's just backed by the credit worthiness of the governing body. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That's putting, putting out and regulate regulating this monetary system, if you will. And even in the us, we were on the gold standard for a lot of years where our money was not Fiat.
It was money that was backed by. And of course, we went off the gold standard of had Fiat in the us. And I'm not sure where you're located. Are you in the U S as well? Oh, cool. The windy city. Awesome. But at any rate, what I always like to do is I like to start at the beginning, like what is money? And before when we had Fiat, we had commodity money and commodity money is like money backed by gold or maybe gold it's.
Or maybe grain or oil or something like that, that's backing the money supply. And that goes back thousands of years when people were transacting in, in bones and yak dung and shells. And, and then of course, gold and silver. I mean, you're, you're laughing a little bit about it, but people found value in a lot of different things and they said, this is worth something we're going to, we're going to transact in this.
I want you to. Clothing and you want my goat or my beef or my whatever. And people would find things to transact in. There was a gentleman I was listening to a few weeks ago and he said, even, even on school in schools, kids develop their own money. Like normally they're, they're transacting, you know, Pokemon cards, candy sweets, or whatever.
And they're using that back and forth. You know, this is valuable to me, but what you have is pretty valuable too. If I can I get that. And that's really all money is money is just a transfer of value. That's all, that's all it is. And so for, for my perspective is it's okay, well, what are we transferring?
We're transferring goods and services. You know, you, you, one of your parents is a doctor. They have, they have that. That's a professional service, lawyers, same thing. It's a professional service. And so we give them. Air quotes money to get those services. Does that make sense? Yeah. You go to the grocery store or the shoe store.
You're going to give them something that they see as money, for those goods, food clothing, or what have you. At the end of the day, it's really just ones and zeros at the end of the day. And it's okay, well, this credit card is connected to my bank, or it's connected to this line of credit, this money.
And I'm getting what I want using this instrument, whatever that instrument is, whether it's paper or coins or credit or crypto and cryptocurrency is really just another way of getting what we want. It's just another kind of money. That's all it is. And whether we're talking about Bitcoin or Ethereum or Cardano or Doge or Shiba Inu, or Centric, or any of the other thousands of projects that are out there, if you can spend it, it's considered money.
And our company happens to be in line with about maybe 500 of the 14,000 projects globally that you can actually use that.
[00:14:58] Kriti: Okay. So basically it's just, it's another form of currency, but it's digital, which is the biggest different, and also it's not. By a
[00:15:13] Joel: government, correct. That's the big thing that came out with the you've heard of Bitcoin.
I'm sure it's number one in this space. And when the Bitcoin white paper came out in 2008. So I mean that's 13 years ago, right? When the first white paper came out, it came out in the big part of the white paper. The big description of it, the vision of Bitcoin was that it was peer to peer. It was peer to peer money versus money that had to be.
Pass through a trusted third party. So it's
[00:15:45] Kriti: yeah. So it would be like the, it would be like me and my friend swapping a toy for a piece of candy. Whereas having to ask the teacher to go through
[00:15:57] Joel: your percent, that's an excellent way to explain it. That's perfect way. Cause we're the, in that, in your analogy, the teacher is the third party or the government it's okay, I got to go through Mrs.
Bernstein to get that toy. And then for my friend to get the candy, we can remove Mrs. Bernstein, whoever that is, and then we can just work together. So it's really in a sense, it's like getting back to the original way that money was done, way back. Whereas before governments and banks were in the
[00:16:30] Kriti: mix and who had this idea in the first place that it seems like if it was such a it's a, it's a thing we did like thousands of years ago.
Like I would get away from that. Yeah. Like how and how do we come back?
[00:16:42] Joel: So I I'd encourage your, your, your viewers maybe to kind of do a little bit of research on that, because we can probably spend several hours talking about what happened along the way. But there were like, if we go back to like ancient Rome about 2000 years ago, and then we start coming toward the, toward the present, there were these very wealthy families that basically were kind of a go-between like from, from the era where we were just bartering and transacting period.
Yeah. To governments getting in the mix and providing power. There were these families that would basically say, I'm going to write on a piece of paper. I'm going to write on this piece of paper right here, that, you know, I'm going to give you hundred of X and you can take this paper to this other person.
And they're going to value the paper that our family is backing the. So let's say for instance, the paper I put on, let's say it's like a hundred pieces of gold or something like that. So the family holds the a hundred pieces of gold and the paper is worth that. That's why these other parties are basically passing the papers because they, they put value on this piece of paper because it's backed by something else, established family.
And these, these really wealthy families. Became banks and then became heads of state
[00:18:07] Kriti: Medici's of Italy.
[00:18:09] Joel: There you go. You'll see, you already know your history. Very good. Yeah. The metadata is exactly right. That's fine. Yeah. Yeah. But understand that these, these concepts go way, way back. And a lot of times, once people have.
And money in a lot of senses can provide power to groups and people and institutions. Once, once there's something out there that is providing the same value and is maybe redirecting some of that power. At that can become a concern, right? For certain, certain bodies or governing institutions. And then we, you know, I mean, fast forward to where we are today and we actually have the country of El Salvador allowing the citizens to transact in Bitcoin as well as the local national currency.
[00:19:06] Kriti: What's happening in El Salvador is if I went to the store and ended up paying with my card, there'd be a button for me to pay