“The AICoin group is using the profits we generate from trading cryptocurrency to invest in blockchain and AI startups. We put a number of propositions in front of our membership and they vote using the smart contract embedded in AICoin on what to invest in. These people are not usual token holders. Our subscribers are a bit older, a bit more thoughtful and less over heated. So they have this wealth of experience and knowledge which they apply to their voting. Our first investment is one I cannot publically name just yet. But their business model is to bring high quality medical care to underserved populations using AI and several other new technologies. This is a good business. The founders have good heads on their shoulders. They will make money. They will also do a huge amount of good for the world. We are involved in this. We are helping make this happen. This is hugely satisfying to me.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Marcie D Terman, Founder of First Global Credit/AICoin. After 15 years in broadcast news Marcie became a commodity trading advisor for a London based trading firm. She is the Founder of First Global Credit, and the Founder of AICoin.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Ileft a broadcast television career in NYC to come to London in the late 90s to work for a proprietary investment firm that traded decisions made by AI models which it also licensed to banks. There was a natural transition from that into founding a data security company that caught the paradigm shift away from tape backup to tech that used the cloud to store data. I ran DATAFORT for about 14 years until my co-founder Gavin asked me one day if I had heard about this thing called Bitcoin? Seven months later our first crypto-business went live. First Global is a cryptocurrency exchange that also let people use cryptocurrency as trading collateral.
Then, after a successful token launch in the summer of 2017 which allowed subscribers to license our previously developed AI modelling software, we took the license fees and doubled them by trading cryptocurrency markets. We are now starting to take those profits and turn them into investments in a portfolio of early stage AI and blockchain companies.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
This is something I absolutely LOVE! AICoin, the token we launched last year has already generated $3m in trading profits, half of that is earmarked for investment in start-up companies. We are building a portfolio of investments and I am doing the initial interviews with the startup founders. The diversity of projects, the energy of these people, the intellectual challenge of dissecting each opportunity is just riveting. I am having an indecent amount of fun doing this work.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There have been many. Probably the most fun story comes from my very beginnings in cryptocurrency. I went to an Conference in London in the summer of 2014. Just wandering around to talk to people, listen to the lectures and absorbing what this bitcoin thing was all about. And I ran into this tall guy with wire rimmed glasses and a bow tie. Texas accent… in London! We started chatting about blockchain and bitcoin, his business and why I was there. He was super friendly and very open with information. It turned out that guy was Paul Snow the CEO of Factom, a really amazing token that solves big business and government issues by creating an immutable records. You should look them up. Well a few months later when my partner and I launched First Global at Inside Bitcoins Las Vegas 2014, Paul Snow wandered over to our trade show stand because he remembered me and was glad to see we were launching the company. He then proceeded to sneak us into a private party organised by Brock Pierce and Michael Terpin in the Hugh Hefner Suite of the Palms Casino Resort. Two story suite, pool on the terrace, panorama of the strip. Rat Pack meets the Millennial!
We were literally 2 days into the industry and this major player is introducing us to who (at that point) were many of the leaders, investors and power behind the growth of bitcoin. It was a tremendous experience.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
#1 This industry seems to attract really brilliant people who are not, usual. I have met more people that have introduced me to concepts I never would have considered on my own and that is really exciting to me.
#2 I can see the really exciting thing about blockchain technology is not the financial applications but the ways it is going to fundamentally change how we do business. For instance my sister is a real estate agent and she tells me there is this total scammy product called title insurance. It’s a cash cow that banks demand as it proves (when you are buying a property) that there are no liens against it and that no one else owns it. But largely the same research is done again and again and again. If that information was stored on a blockchain, bang, that expense disappears. Rights of ownership are a cross market benefit with wide ranging applications.
#3 I’ve met quite a few people that are looking at how blockchain tech can be used to improve things in the undeveloped world. Blockchains can be used to minimise transaction costs which suddenly makes the unbankable — bankable. I’ve met a great gal, Genevieve Leveille that is putting together a startup that uses cellular phones and blockchain to link farmers with food sales business. This increases return local farmers in Africa and Asia receive from their produce by minimising the involvement of middle men which currently take a disproportionately large cut from each transaction.
#4 I have gotten to see and be involved in the token market from almost the start. I am not going to talk about scams or the need for regulation. That’s a big subject, too big to address here. But when you see the unbridled creativity that erupted from access to capital that was not being controlled by the elite of Silicon Valley. We are looking at an ice berg where just the tippy top of what is possible is showing. The amount of development that will grow from this phenomenon cannot even be judged yet. We are at the start of a new age and blockchain is one of the technologies that is going to take us there. I happen to believe that artificial intelligence is another.
#5 Trading cryptocurrencies is just plain fun. When I came to London in the late 90s to work for a proprietary trade group we’d traded currency pairs like The Cable (Dollar-pound) or dollar-yen. A big move was a quarter of a cent. With cryptocurrencies a 10% move on the day is not unusual. A 10% move and then a 15% retrace can happen as well. It’s just astonishing.
Oh what the hell #6 — I’ve met these guys who I would call tech-weenies. That’s not a pejorative, it’s just tech is their love, it is their focus. And they were noodling around with bitcoin mining back in ’09 and now they are millionaires. And they’re kind of standing their blinking, not believing their luck. You gotta love that kind of success story.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
#1 — Big change is not comfortable and cryptocurrency is going to be the author of really big changes in our financial system, culture, political structures. I do not believe we are headed for cataclysm. The world is so complex, so many interrelated factors, but I suspect that many social and political structures will change because of cryptocurrency and blockchain. You know, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It will definitely shake out some of the boll weevils hiding in the flour sack.
#2 — Most of the talent involved in blockchain startups are intelligent but because of their age and lack of experience they are not wise. They will make painful mistakes where the general population may be faced with difficulties because of this.
#3 — Whenever someone found out I was involved in a cryptocurrency company 3 years ago they’d squint at me and snigger. Now, everyone is looking for trading advice and predictions. I ALWAYS say. Never invest in something you don’t understand. Take the time to L-E-A-R-N. There will always be opportunities so you do not have to leap at this second. And KNOW YOURSELF. If you are not comfortable with risk, think about that before you go flinging huge wads of cash into something pretty and shiny and new.
#4 — There is absolutely no filter on what kind of start-ups are being bolted onto a blockchain and thrust in front of a non-critical public. In a normal angel or VC situation a lot of thought goes into each and every cash transactions. The total crap is filtered out. People are not treating their cryptocurrency like its real money and are indiscriminately flinging funds at anything. Right now, a nice looking ham sandwich could have a successful token sale.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Well back to the AICoin group which is using the profits we generate from trading cryptocurrency to invest in blockchain and AI startups. We put a number of propositions in front of our membership and they vote using the smart contract embedded in AICoin on what to invest in. These people are not usual token holders. Our subscribers are a bit older, a bit more thoughtful and less over heated. So they have this wealth of experience and knowledge which they apply to their voting. Our first investment is one I cannot publically name just yet. But their business model is to bring high quality medical care to underserved populations using AI and several other new technologies. This is a good business. The founders have good heads on their shoulders. They will make money. They will also do a huge amount of good for the world. We are involved in this. We are helping make this happen. This is hugely satisfying to me.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
I never stop learning. I read all the time, listen to podcasts and when I meet people I listen far more than I talk. Being a knowledge sponge gives me the best chance to embrace the challenges I will need to face. I think this is a tremendous tool for a successful professional and personal life.
I used to be very goal oriented to the exclusion of everything else. I missed out on enjoying a lot of what I was achieving because I was anxious to get to the next goal. Now, I’ve come to realise there is huge value and satisfaction in the journey. That a successful life is one that is experienced with eyes open all the time. That it is a process where each action should be enjoyed. You’re not going to love everything you need to do, but its far more satisfying to try to be present in the moment.
I have to run my professional life congruent to my personal values. There is no peace if you do things you know are wrong to achieve a goal. And you know what? You don’t have to be a creep or behave in a creepy manner to achieve lofty goals.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Oh wow. There are so many and of course my mind goes blank when you ask. Malcolm Gladwell, Marc Andreessen from Andreessen Horowitz. Top of the list — Adam McKay. He wrote and directed The Big Short but he also wrote Anchorman with Will Ferrell. He’s got to have a fascinating brain.