🎙 "Everyone Can be Rich in Crypto; There are No Divine Rights:" Terry Crews
In this week’s episode, I speak with Terry Crews, a legit star. He was a professional football player, has starred in multiple Hollywood films and currently leads in TV shows including America’s Got Talent. He is also a cryptocurrency enthusiast, minting h...
In this week’s episode, I speak with Terry Crews, a legit star. He was a professional football player, has starred in multiple Hollywood films and currently leads in TV shows including America’s Got Talent. He is also a cryptocurrency enthusiast, minting his own social token called POWER.
Terry has a very powerful story on how he got into crypto. It was at a design show in Milan. He wanted to support his friend at the show, but wasn’t able to withdraw money from his own American Express account. He realized a financial system that’s based on trusting a long line of intermediaries is broken. He thought, even when he did everything right, and he was already wealthy and famous, he still got the door shut in his face —so what’s left for the rest? He thought back to the families who were crushed under debt from loan sharks in the neighborhood he grew up in. He watched what happened with Gamestop earlier this year.
All of that cemented his view that the financial system should be permissionless, transparent and global. He believes creators and personalities with a following like himself stand to benefit from this new system by bypassing old gatekeepers and reaching their audiences directly.
He is exploring this concept by creating his own social token. POWER brings together a group of investors who will support artists. Eventually, when the group has collected a valuable portfolio, he plans to make the POWER token tradable. But he’s not in a hurry. He said, to him, “this thing is for life.”
The podcast was led by Camila Russo, and edited by Alp Gasimov. Transcript was edited by Owen Fernau and Dan Kahan.
🎙Listen to the interview in this week’s podcast episode here:
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Camila Russo: We usually don't have athletes and movie stars on The Defiant podcast. So really interested to hear about how you got interested and involved in crypto in the first place.
Terry Crews: Wow. I'm going to try to be as succinct as possible because it's a little bit of a long story. But the first thing I am, I am an artist. Before I was a football player, before I was an actor, I was an illustrator, painting, drawing. And I actually thought my career in Hollywood would be in the special effects lane. My dream was to work for Industrial Light and Magic, and create special effects for movies and use my art in telling stories.
And I had an art scholarship before I had a football scholarship. So as an artist, my whole thing was, how can me as an artist find ways to survive? Because when you are an artist, the first thing that goes before your name is usually starving, starving artists. A lot of times being an artist is always attributed to being tied in to having a life of poverty, a life of trying to make things work, you know you have to sacrifice everything, you probably have to give up everything, and then someone else benefits off your work.
And my thing is, being an artist, I've always been a patron of the arts. I always have found people that I loved and I always invested in them. And when I was getting involved in the furniture business, there was a friend of mine, who actually is one of the world's best designers. He had just left the school. He was in Switzerland, he was studying luxury at his university, and creating really beautiful objects. And this guy had been my friend when he lived in the United States.
And I flew over to Switzerland. And I love this guy. And I was like, man, look, I have this budget, I said, whatever you want to do, I'm going to contribute to you. I'm going to invest in you. And I said, let's make a product. I want you to design it and we'll put it out, you will blow up. And the whole thing is to get you the recognition that you deserve, because that's really, really hard for most artists.
“And I was like, man, look, I have this budget, I said, whatever you want to do, I'm going to contribute to you. I'm going to invest in you. And I said, let's make a product. I want you to design it and we'll put it out, you will blow up. And the whole thing is to get you the recognition that you deserve, because that's really, really hard for most artists.”
So he came up with a whole line of furniture, a settee, a table, a chandelier, and it was beautiful. And we took it to Milan for the Salone del Mobile, which had an emerging designers conference for brand new designers. And it was a hit. I spent all my money. I ended up spending double, because all his designs were so beautiful, they were real marble and real glassmakers, and we had to get things from all over the world, but it was so beautiful. It won awards.
And the thing was when we were at Salone del Mobile, it was in Milan, Italy, and I flew everyone over and it was a huge exhibition. And what was happening is the exhibitors needed more money. And I was like, oh, okay, there were always these little fees and little things that I had to take care of. And there I was, I was out of the country, so it was more than my ATM could give me. So I had American Express send me my own money, basically, and I was supposed to pick up the transfer, the wire, at a bank right there in Milan.
And I went to Milan, I went to the bank. And there I was, I had my passport, I had my driver's license, I had my American Express card, I had everything in my hands, I was ready to go. And mind you, Camila, I was already famous. So this is one of those things where I was in the bank, and people were like, oh, I know you, you know. And I was like, hey, guys, how are you doing? And the bank, they had secure glass. I’ll never forget this. It was this big, thick, bulletproof glass that was sitting up there.
And here I was in line. I showed everything to the teller, and she went to her manager, and the manager was on the phone in the background going no, no.
TC: Why? Right. And that's exactly where I was going. I was like, what's going on? And he was on the phone with American Express. And then I got on the phone with American Express, and I said, I see the person you're talking to and I said I need my money. And he was like, no, no. And the teller came back, gave me my passport, gave me all my information back, gave me my card back and said no.
CR: What? Did they give you a reason?
TC: This is the thing. So I talked to the guy from American Express, and he's like, I'm so sorry, Mr. Crews, we're having difficulty. I can send you somewhere else. And this was just weird.
CR: What year was this?
TC: This was probably 2017.
CR: Okay, pretty recent.
TC: Not a long time ago. So I realized something. And one thing, I looked around and I started to realize very quickly what was happening. I was the only black person in the bank. I was probably the only black person that these guys have even seen in the area, because everyone was white, everyone.
CR: What, did you think they were discriminating against you?
TC: Absolutely. I believed right then and there, he wouldn't do it. And even apparently, American Express couldn't make the guy give me my money.
CR: But he didn't believe you were the account owner or something?
TC: I had everything. I had all my information right there. I had everything. I guess he thought I was running some big scam or something.
CR: No, that's so unacceptable.
TC: But this was the thing. Again, and this is another thing is that. Just like in America, there's probably just as much racism in America as there is in Europe. And in Italy, they're not used to seeing a lot of black people. And so in his mind, he probably felt like I'm being tricked; there's some sort of scam going on. So the American Express guy sent me to the very sketchy side of town and it was a side of town that the Ubers wouldn't even go, because they were like, this is not safe. I had to walk to this 24 hour internet café, and they were selling incense and smoke things. It was really smoky. It was so sketchy. And the guy gave me my money, and I had to walk all the way back to the hotel because the Uber wouldn't pick me up.
CR: So this was a different American Express location in a bad neighborhood?
TC: It wasn't even an American Express location. It was just the people who would give me my money. American Express worked hard to find someone who would agree. And this is what happened. But I had a Black Card. I mean, this is the best American Express card you could ever have.
Permissionless Access to the Financial System
CR: And you couldn't even access your money?
TC: I could put a million dollars on this card, and they would not accept it. But on the way, and this is why I said it's kind of a long story, but this is where it all comes together. On that walk back to the hotel, I said this can never happen again. On that walk, I was thinking, look at the ability of someone, I'm already rich, I'm already famous, and I can't get access to my own money. And I thought these are gatekeepers. These are people who are preventing you from succeeding in some way, shape, or form. This is a system. This is something that, even when you do everything right, even when your credit is A1, even when you do everything down to the letter, they can still say, no. It blew my mind. And I said, there's got to be another way. There's got to be another way.
“I'm already rich, I'm already famous, and I can't get access to my own money. And I thought these are gatekeepers. These are people who are preventing you from succeeding in some way, shape, or form. This is a system. This is something that, even when you do everything right, even when your credit is A1, even when you do everything down to the letter, they can still say, no. It blew my mind.”
And Camilla, once I started to look into research, and I found out about crypto, and I started to look into the democratization of what crypto is, and it did not care what color I was. If I had fulfilled all the requirements of the smart contract, it must go through. No one person can say no to me. It's the whole community. One thing that blew me away is being decentralized, is truly power. Because a country can't even say you can't have it. You know what I mean? This is about a whole other system. When I saw DeFi, I saw the ability for people.
“One thing that blew me away is being decentralized, is truly power. Because a country can't even say you can't have it. You know what I mean? This is about a whole other system.”
You have to understand, when I started doing the research, I started to see how people in Africa were being denied ownership of the places that they knew their families already owned simply because they had no record. And so I said, this is a way. If you can put it on the blockchain, if you can put the record of you owning your own land, and your own places, and all your contracts, and what your family has on the blockchain, no one can refute it. But now you'd have somebody to come in and say no, you don't own it, this is ours.
And this happens all the time. This happens all over the world. So many people are told, no, that's not yours, it's mine. I have more records than you do. But this, the fact that we can have a ledger that proves who you are, where you come from, and I'm telling you, I said, this is the way of the future. This is truly, truly power. When you look at the hundreds of millions of people who are being disenfranchised, I was one person who was disenfranchised from the system. And I said I'm in.
After that, I said, I have to find a way to get involved with cryptocurrency because it truly, truly is something that everyone needs in their life. Listen. And this is the thing. And you mentioned women's rights. Women couldn't even get a credit card in the United States without a man signing for them in 1975. You know what I mean, like?
CR: Wasn’t that long ago either.
TC: That’s not a long time ago. That's the 70s. If you are a woman, you could not get a credit card.
CR: No, that's insane.
TC: Just think about the women who were trying to get businesses, trying to start things, you know, single moms who were trying to raise their families and you were stuck. Not only whatever race you were, but if you were a woman, you could not do anything. You were subject to whatever that someone would let you have. But with crypto, and with the way things work here, it's true, true freedom.
“Not only whatever race you were, but if you were a woman, you could not do anything. You were subject to whatever that someone would let you have. But with crypto, and with the way things work here, it's true, true freedom.”
CR: It's permissionless.
TC: I love it. I love it.
CR: You don't need to ask permission from anyone. You're your own bank. You own your own assets. If you want to transfer, it doesn't care who you are, but it doesn't matter where you are either. So it doesn't matter if you're in Milan or in the US, it's a global network. So you can just transfer to wherever from wherever without asking any banks, no intermediaries. It's beautiful.
TC: That hurt me so much. It hurt me so much. I said, I’ll never… because I did everything right. You know what I mean? I did everything I was supposed to do.
Wealth as Faith
CR: Okay. So you learned about crypto and blockchain, when was this and what's the first thing you did? Did you go and buy Bitcoin?
TC: No, actually, I waited. I waited. I just did more studying and I did more looking. Because people were all into Bitcoin. They were like buy Bitcoin, buy Bitcoin, buy Bitcoin. But this is the thing for me. Even though Bitcoin was like gold, of course, and it's something you just keep and the whole thing. But I was looking for a system. Because for me, Ethereum was much more intoxicating to me, because it was a network, it was something I could build something on.
“But I was looking for a system. Because for me, Ethereum was much more intoxicating to me, because it was a network, it was something I could build something on.”
So I got involved with Ethereum right away. I got Ethereum. I got turned on to certain people that I really, really trusted who let me know how this whole system works. And so I bought some Ethereum and just sat on it and still do. But my thing is to really find ways to make this thing work. Because once it clicked for me that Bitcoin was like gold, and Ethereum was like oil, you know, oil that runs your machine and runs your businesses and runs your whole thing. I said, that's what I need. Because there's so many business things that I want to do that I need a structure to actually operate. That's why DeFi is so beautiful right now. And I have to be honest.
It's not really about the ins and outs for me. And I know a lot of people who are like, well, you should be in this coin or that coin, and this and that. But these are more speculators. I'm not a speculator. I believe in what this is because all money is, is faith. All it is, is faith in you. If I know you, and I believe you, you all of a sudden have currency with me. You know what I mean? And all wealth is technically spiritual. It's not something that really, really exists. But when you deal with money as a hard good, it can be stolen. But you can’t steal my name. You can't steal my effort, the goodwill, the faith.
I've been married to my wife for 32 years. You can't steal that. And when you have built this goodwill and built these great things, I saw the power of crypto is not for getting rich quick, it’s really about spiritually proving yourself as someone to have faith in. Like it's faith. That's all money is.
And one thing that that got me is because when I saw the whole thing that happened with GameStop, and I saw how people put faith in certain things, and you start to understand that Wall Street is a game, and it's corrupt, and, there were people who did everything right, and a lot of Wall Street told them no, because if they wanted to trade it, they wanted to do things and they shut it down. I thought, this is evil. This is what we're talking about. You shouldn’t have control over people.
“...when I saw the whole thing that happened with GameStop, and I saw how people put faith in certain things, and you start to understand that Wall Street is a game, and it's corrupt, and, there were people who did everything right, and a lot of Wall Street told them no, because if they wanted to trade it, they wanted to do things and they shut it down. I thought, this is evil.”
And for me, you cannot love people and control them at the same time. And what happens is, if you love someone, you have to be free to do whatever you want to do. But when you're talking about control, you're convincing people, you're tricking people. I have had business managers that have lied to me. I've gone through five or six different managers who straight up lied to me about what they were doing simply to control the way I think. And this happens all over the place. This is from Bernie Madoff all the way to what happened at GameStop. And so many people develop faith in the system that's lying to them the whole time.
“I have had business managers that have lied to me. I've gone through five or six different managers who straight up lied to me about what they were doing simply to control the way I think. And this happens all over the place. This is from Bernie Madoff all the way to what happened at GameStop. And so many people develop faith in the system that's lying to them the whole time.”
CR: At least with blockchain, you have a record of what's going on that you can verify. I think that's the difference. It doesn't change human nature, you still have people who are lying and involved in the crypto ecosystem. We see scams all the time. But at least with blockchain, you have a greater ability to audit what's happening. There's a trace and it's public so everyone can see it.
And also nobody can change it. Because once it's on the blockchain, you need a very unlikely attack to happen on this very secure blockchain to change that ledger. So blockchains won't change human nature. People will still lie and scam, but at least they'll give you more agency, for one, having control over your assets, and two, over the ability to audit what's going on, to have traceability.
TC: You're right. But I'll be honest with you, human nature will not change. But when you look at the number of scams in Bitcoin versus the number of scams at your local bank, I mean, it's literally a hold. Bitcoin is still 100% better than what's happening in the financial system right now.
CR: Oh, yeah. I agree.
TC: I had to ask myself, which one is better? Look at what happened with Wells Fargo. And Wells Fargo here in the United States, they were opening accounts for people and they didn't even know they had them. And it was a scam on a worldwide level, where some people had 20 accounts and didn't know. And it was so wild.
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, I was pretty poor, and I used to watch the check cashing places in my community basically rob the community. They were loan sharking. You could do a payday loan, but the interest was, like 300% if you didn't pay it by a certain time.
And so many people got caught under that debt that you saw, the neighborhood started to crumble, and it started to fall underneath that stuff. I mean, first of all, people can talk about oh, yeah, there was a crypto scam. But I'm like, there's a scam on the corner of your block trying to trick you into getting all your money now, but paying three times later. And I said, this is so evil and so corrupt that everything I've seen with cryptocurrency is still better than your best banking system you have right now.
“And so many people got caught under that debt that you saw, the neighborhood started to crumble, and it started to fall underneath that stuff. I mean, first of all, people can talk about oh, yeah, there was a crypto scam. But I'm like, there's a scam on the corner of your block trying to trick you into getting all your money now, but paying three times later.”
Issuing the POWER Social Token
CR: True. Because it's so opaque. You don't know what's going on behind those closed doors. Okay. So I want to ask you, you made an interesting point about how crypto gives you this ability to put your faith in someone. And I think that's tied to the social token that you issued, right? You're enabling your fans to put their faith in you to own a piece of you, essentially when they're buying your token. So can you talk about that? Why did you decide to issue a social token and what does it do? What's it about?
TC: Well, again, the reason for the social token was simply because I saw the incentive going the wrong way. When you look at the Internet, the incentive has always been bad behavior, because you want views. And so you have trolls that tend to run up views and really, you get paid by conflict. And so the more conflict you create, the more views you get, the more money you make. This is the wrong incentive. It's absolutely corrupt. It leads to everything breaking down.
“...the reason for the social token was simply because I saw the incentive going the wrong way. When you look at the Internet, the incentive has always been bad behavior, because you want views. And so you have trolls that tend to run up views and really, you get paid by conflict. And so the more conflict you create, the more views you get, the more money you make.”
It reminds me now of how all the news organizations, when Trump was in office, they really, really profited off of the acrimony. They made a lot of money. You’re talking about CNN and MSNBC. Because the point is not to tell you things are good. The point is to get you scared, and the point is to make you very, very afraid so you watch everything, and you feel panic, and you spend your money and they get more advertising. But now that Trump got out of office, a lot of these same news organizations are struggling. They are now looking for the latest crisis, so that they can ramp up and try to get some more money again.
Social currency works totally the opposite. You have to do good. You have to create faith. You have to have done great things in order for the value of your currency to increase. And I think in the future, it's going to actually beat the advertising system that we have right now, because every human being is going to be able to have their own social currency based on the good things that they've done, based on have you ever cheated anyone? No.
And this is the thing about the blockchain and about crypto that I love, is the transparency. Right now, the problem with the scams and all this stuff that happened with crypto, the problem I see is that people are anonymous. I believe everyone is going to have to put their name out there. Once you start doing it. Because people who are anonymous can get away with a whole lot of things and get people to oh, yeah, my name is, they come up with some animal name, I'm Lion and whatever. And all of a sudden, everyone puts all their money in Lion and then they pull the rug out from under him, and they're gone. But if you had a name, and you knew where this person lived, and you knew everything about them, bam, this is that person.
“Right now, the problem with the scams and all this stuff that happened with crypto, the problem I see is that people are anonymous. I believe everyone is going to have to put their name out there.”
Remember, transparency is what this is all about. And I said, I want to be first. I want to be as transparent as possible. You know what, this is Terry Crews’ social currency, I called it POWER, but you know it's me. You know it's Terry Crews. So if I was involved with a scandal, or scam, or whatever, the price of my money or whatever my currency was, would go down. So this gives me an incentive to always do good, to always do great things, to always improve society, as opposed to tearing things down. Because remember, all kinds of crookedness and all this stuff, it just doesn't last.
The only real, real way for money to work is that both you and I have to be in win-win situations. I have to give you what you want and you give me what I want. It's a great exchange. And let me tell you, when you develop those kinds of exchanges, everything grows, everything gets better, no one is unhappy. But right now, you have a segment of people who are trying to trick people out of things. And they want to give you a little bit less, and then take a little bit more, but that never, never works.
But social currency, the reason I decided to get my name behind it, is the principle. The principle never ever gets old. It's one of those things where you know it's me, you know that I'm behind it. And if you believe in me, if you have faith in me, and I keep that faith, I have to hold that faith, it will grow and it will continue to go on. I'm not in a get rich quick scheme. This thing is for life. I really want POWER to transcend me. I want it to be something that people will be in 100 years and go, yeah, I wonder who made that? You know what I mean? Because we've been dealing in POWER and the faith behind it is so good that we don't even remember who started it.
“But social currency, the reason I decided to get my name behind it, is the principle. The principle never ever gets old. It's one of those things where you know it's me, you know that I'm behind it. And if you believe in me, if you have faith in me, and I keep that faith, I have to hold that faith, it will grow and it will continue to go on. I'm not in a get-rich-quick scheme. This thing is for life.”
POWER’s Distribution and Goals
CR: Okay. So you should POWER and like, how did you distribute it? Who is holding this currency now?
TC: Right now, we basically gave it away to a really select group of people. And we also have a Discord that we have about 500 really, really great holders of POWER, who believe in it and the whole thing. And I have been very, very picky about who gets POWER and who gets let into the community. Because simply, I know what this is.
And what I did when we created POWER, it was about the artist, remember going back to who I am. And what I saw was so many people getting beat as artists. You have artists who are putting things in galleries, and they only see 10%. They may sell something for $100,000, the gallery makes $90,000, while that person is left with $10,000. And I thought this is not right. I mean, just look at all the artists being scammed and being taken advantage of from the music world, all the way to film, television. The whole deal is, people are willing to sell their birthright in order to get in.
“Imagine if Star Wars was owned by a group, by a community. That would be something that everyone could feel like they were into, instead of being board members, stockholders, that kind of thing. It's a little bit beyond that, because we believe in each other. That's the principle behind it.”
But I created POWER for the artists, for the creatives. And as a community, our plan is to own our own IPs, our own intellectual property. We're going to make an announcement pretty soon. But I decided to get behind a young designer in New York by the name of Frederick McSwain. He is going to be the first POWER-sponsored designer. And we're creating a product. Remember, I did the same thing with my friend Anny, and he's going on to design things for Amez and for other furniture companies. He's very famous right now. But we started out together.
I'm going to do the same thing with Frederick, but with the POWER community behind it. Whatever product we make, I told him, whatever you want to do, Frederick, the POWER community is going to support it. We have to budget. This is what we're going to do. The POWER community is going to own the product that we develop. So we have rights, and the more involved the POWER community is, the more rights you get. And it's really, to me, the new way of doing business in a way that everyone benefits, as opposed to someone being exploited, someone being taken advantage of. You really, really get ownership as a community.
I like to just say, imagine if Star Wars was owned by a group, by a community. That would be something that everyone could feel like they were into, instead of being board members, stockholders, that kind of thing. It's a little bit beyond that, because we believe in each other. That's the principle behind it.
CR: Okay, so you have this group of around 500 POWER token holders, and the idea is to invest in artists, and support artists, and then you, as a group, will own a stake in that production?
TC: Exactly. It can be from film to music. Also, another thing we decided to do was to give microloans with no interest at all. It’s literally giving loans to artists who need help. Whenever you pay us back, that's fine. But there's no interest involved, because you're part of the POWER community. Then we have the community itself vote on who the artist is, out of the community, that we want to support.
CR: Got it. So it's more like a DAO, like a Decentralized Autonomous Organization?
CR: Okay. And the POWER token is a way for members of the DAO to vote on different decisions, like, who you will invest in, what loans you'll give out, that sort of thing?
CR: Okay. And it's the idea that the stake in these productions will be better terms than, for example, what an artist would get at a traditional gallery?
TC: Exactly. And I mean, much better. If we do the same thing the galleries are doing, it really wouldn't work. But if we have a wonderful piece of art that was created, and we all own it, the value of all POWER goes up. So as people own it, everyone tends to benefit, and the artists themselves will see most of his profits. That's the thing. I mean, there'll probably be a minor bit that will go back into the POWER community, but because of the work that they've done, it's a meritocracy. The more work someone does, the more they can profit. That's our plan.
Illiquid by Design
CR: Got it. So you distributed POWER to like a select group of people. But can I go to Uniswap, for example, and buy POWER, or is that limited?
TC: We went through the Roll network. We have not pooled. We're not liquid. And that's by design. We decided we're just going to build the community. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, there are Disney dollars that you exchange, and it gives you extra benefits if you use it inside of the park. POWER right now is not liquid, and it probably won't be liquid for a long time, simply because we have to build the faith. The big deal is to build the community.
“We have not pooled. We're not liquid. And that's by design. We decided we're just going to build the community.”
And I have to say this: I'm funding it 100%. But once people see that here, wait a minute, they're actually representing artists, they're actually giving these loans, they're actually doing these things and they have a product, it's going to gain momentum. I want it to be organic. I'm not in a hurry. That's for speculators. When this thing is going to be right, it's going to be right. If it happens next year, if it happens in 5 years, if it happens in 10 years, this is no problem…
CR: That's interesting. Okay.
TC: It's not a money grab. And anyone who comes in here with the attitude of a money grab, it's not for you. That's why we're not pooling. Imagine we had an IP that got major interest from outside, let's say someone wants to buy it and wants to turn it on one other thing, that might be a point where we turn liquid just so we can blow the community up, so we can actually give the community that's already existed with us, so that they can see the results and they can profit. But that's the only way I would do it. You don't have to invest money. I would not make it liquid unless every member of my community profited.
CR: That's so interesting. It's pretty different from other social tokens, which are liquid almost from day one. You're keeping this like a closed community, a DAO, you’re building it out. So you're allowed to sponsor your first artists. The idea is to grow that portfolio of artists. And then maybe, once you have a really great portfolio that will just give more support to the currency, maybe at that point, there will be interest from an outside party to buy some of that, and that will be the moment to make it a public currency and make it liquid and selling?
TC: Exactly. This is one thing that really activated that: Roll got hacked. Shortly after I announced my POWER, there was a hack. Almost $7 million got taken from the Roll portfolio. Because I was not liquid, it didn't hurt me at all. I never got touched.
And a lot of times, when you're talking about hacking, and you're talking about this kind of stuff, especially in crypto, it's usually an inside job. Somebody knew something. Either they were trying to get somebody back, or revenge, or they were laying in wait. But crypto is so, so hard to do an efficient hack. People come out of nowhere, like, I'm just going to bust in here, it doesn't happen that way. You have to know so many things are so encrypted that it’s got to be an inside job.
I know, anytime I've had anything stolen from my house, and I've had a few employees and different things, it's always somebody from the inside. It's never somebody who's been on the outside. They've been watching, and they've been looking. They know when the gate opens, they find out the gate code, they know what to do, they know when you're not home. These things are planned.
And Roll got hacked. It opened my eyes. The people who really, actually got hurt were more speculative guys, people who were trying to get paid. And what was so great about it is that even those who are in the community, who know how this whole thing works, they weren't affected, because they know we're going to ride it out. You know what I mean? I hold some of my friend, Trevor McFedries’ Friends With Benefits. And they weren't sure about it at all. They just said, you know what, we're not in it for that. We're in this for what this means as a community, for who we are. And to me, it is so much more powerful.
“I tell people right now, I would host America's Got Talent for free. I would. Because it's one of the most satisfying, beautiful, amazing experiences I've ever done.”
Because I'm going to tell you this, as an artist myself, I've been in the entertainment industry for over 22 years. And every time I did something for money, I was left… It was not good. The minute I decided I was going to do everything for the enjoyment, I'll never take a job to get paid. I only do what I love to do.
I tell people right now, I would host America's Got Talent for free. I would. Because it's one of the most satisfying, beautiful, amazing experiences I've ever done, giving people's dreams away. The fact that someone could come in and do a show and become famous overnight, that is so much fun to me. But they pay me a lot of money because I would do it for free. And I told everybody at NBC, I’d do this for free. This is not about the money.
But when you have that attitude, they give you a lot of money. People have faith in that. But if I was doing this like wow, how much am I going to get? You know what, I'm going to host but you got to give me a rate, you’ve got to have my trailer out there, you’ve got… all of a sudden people find ways to get rid of you. If you were that guy, that was like, oh, you nickel and dime and everything... But it's always the people who approach life like an artist.
I mean, you can be a groundskeeper, you can cut the lawn, or you can be a landscape artist, someone who's like, I'm going to make these trees, and you do so great that they go, wait, I'll pay you whatever you want.
CR: I love that attitude. Yeah.
TC: You see what I mean? This is where artists live. Artists don't do it to get paid. Now, of course, we want to eat. Of course, we have to make a living. But that's where people are exploiting us. And I'm like, listen, I will never be exploited, because I'm just going to do what I love. And as long as I love it, I'm always seeing profit. But as soon as I start doing a trade-off of, well, you're only going to get this, all of a sudden, that's where you can get robbed.
CR: So bringing it back to social tokens, I think it's a great insight, the fact that you're doing this for the long term. So obviously, this is not a cash grab, so you're not making it liquid. And by doing this, because it's something that you believe in, and something that you're building for the long term, hopefully, the result of this will be that POWER gains in value. But it will be as a result of you believing this and building this out and just seeing it as a long term project, rather than okay, how can I make money on this right away?
TC: That’s right.
CR: Okay. And then I also wanted to give a bit of background on Roll for those listening who don't really know what happened. So, Roll is a platform where anyone can issue their own token. I issued my own Cammy coin, back when Roll was first launched, I think it was even 2019 or early 2020, like a long time ago, just to test it out. I didn't really do anything with it. But anyways, anyone can go issue their social tokens.
And unfortunately, earlier this year, Roll was hacked. Somebody got access to the team's private keys, and they stole 5.7 million worth of social tokens. So that drained a lot of the treasuries from social token teams or owners who had made their tokens liquid. But Roll is reimbursing these teams. So they're able to kind of give back to their communities. And they have been able to reimburse much of that, just for background.
Okay. So, you're going about the social tokens thing in a different way than most people I have heard of. But how do you think other creators can benefit from this? Like, what would you advise for people listening to this right now?
TC: You know, my biggest advice would be, you have to decide where you want to be. I know, as an artist, I found that there are great, great relationships that I had where I owned things, where I owned a piece, but there were better, bigger things done when I had a royalty agreement. Even the furniture thing I'm going to bring up. I owned the pieces that Ed did, and took them a lot. But I didn't make any real money off of them.
But when I did my thing with Bernhardt, and Bernhardt design, I designed my own furniture. They decided they would give me a 3% royalty. They had faith in me. And we've had a four year relationship where I get checks every month, and I've seen major, major profit, and the furniture is all over the world. It makes me really respected in the design world. And I look at that as being sort of an example of what POWER can do.
“I think this is the future of how all things are going to be done. I look at NFTs, and of course, it's a bubble. But the thing is, the whole internet was a bubble back in 1995.”
But imagine if I was Bernhardt, too, so on top of the royalty, I would also own a piece of what Bernhardt is doing. And I think this is the future of how all things are going to be done. I look at NFTs, and of course, it's a bubble a lot. But the thing is, the whole internet was a bubble back in 1995. I remember when they had pets.com, and that whole thing, and everyone was thinking this is going to be the best thing ever and then it tanked. Just like Bitcoin right now, it's tanking. Oh, no, it's over. But you just gotta wait. You got to hold it, and relax, because it's not going anywhere.
And again, people who were speculating, people who were in it for a quick buck are going to get hit hard. And that's anywhere. My thing is, when you look at a scam, a scam is what I call dangling carrots. You see people who want to dangle some carrots, and if you're willing to jump for those carrots, you're always going to get scammed. But me, I will never jump for those carrots, because you have to be confident in what you know, and what you believe. And this right here, it's going to make things very, very clear that the best will rise to the top because it's going to be proven. It's one of those things where you have faith in something when it works.
This is why I need to give POWER the time to grow. You can have faith instantly, but trust is earned, it is something that takes a lot of time to build. And that's what I'm working on, building my trust. With all the creators out there, you have to be trustworthy yourself. And I see with crypto, and the way this whole thing is going, creators have more control than ever. When you're talking about transparency, when you're talking about the fact that you are decentralized.
Even with a lot of artists within the gallery system, they have to go along with the other system. William Morris Endeavor went public just two weeks ago. They made a billion dollars. And all of the talent at William Morris Endeavor got zero. The talent that William Morris Endeavor represents got nothing. And no one said anything. Listen, Camila, I couldn't believe it. How are you going to basically pimp the artists you represent? They represent world class actors, world class directors, world class creatives, and they took them for a billion dollars. The two heads of the company, Patrick Whitesell, and Ari Emanuel, each left with $300 million apiece,
CR: Oh, my God. And the artists, they didn't have a stake in the company?
TC: Nothing. No actors have a stake in the company. And the actors still have to pay William Morris Endeavor 10% of whatever they make. 10%.
CR: Of their work?
TC: That's their agency. And you don't want to say anything? Because they're not decentralized. You need the agency, the agency that owns you. You see what I mean? And that’s why they could sell you.
CR: Okay. So with social tokens, in theory, what these artists could do is basically sell their tokens and get that as an advance on their work? And they sell them directly to their fans so that they can go around agencies or disintermediate the mediator. So in that direct relationship, the artists get remunerated for their work, they can monetize whatever they do. The fans will be able to get the upside in the artists career because they'll own a piece of their token. If they believe that they'll do well, they'll be able to benefit from that upside as well. So like you said, it's a situation where both sides win?
TC: No middleman. It's a chance for you to get right to your fans and your fans to get right to you. And the transparency is so beautiful. I mean, look at the music industry. For years and years, they called it the “black box” because no one knew how much they actually made. You would go do concerts, you do all this stuff, and then you find out that you had to recoup all the money that they spent on the concert. So you thought you made $500 million, and you turn around and they hand you a bill for $600 million. Remember when Prince went rogue? Prince went rogue. Years ago, he said, ‘I'm out of this. In fact, I'm going to sell my music digitally.’ And he made more money that year than he made his whole career.
“No middleman. It's a chance for you to get right to your fans and your fans to get right to you. And the transparency is so beautiful.”
And a lot of people were like, oh, well, he had to deal with Warner Brothers, it was so much better. But it wasn't. It wasn't better for Prince, not at all. He saw it and he encouraged all the other artists, he was like, ‘come out, get out of this thing.’ But the artists were scared. They were like, ‘I don't know,’ because the system still had them. But not anymore. The music industry's over, the way that it used to be. It's truly decentralized right now. That’s why no one can control it.
A Creative Revolution
CR: You have NFTs, social tokens, you have all these tools to do that. And you're right. I had DJ Blau on the show a few months ago, and same thing, he sold his album as an NFT and got more with that than he ever got from Spotify in many years of a career, in one single NFT token. So yeah, it is a true revolution.
TC: It is a revolution. This is why I attack this spiritually. It's not really about X's and O’s and figures. I'll leave that to the people who are mathematicians. I'm about the principle. There's a principle of health, not a principle of sickness. There's a principle of wealth, not a principle of being poor.
This is one reason why in India, India is really trying to get rid of crypto, because their whole system in India is based on divine right. When you talk about the caste system, there are people who were born rich, and who should always be rich. And that doesn't work. But when you talk about cryptocurrency, everyone can be rich, everyone has their own wealth. There are no divine rights. And divine right has been a major problem when you talk about world history. It's always been, I have this because I was born with it.
“It is a revolution. This is why I attack this spiritually. It's not really about X's and O’s and figures. I'll leave that to the people who are mathematicians. I'm about the principle. There's a principle of health, not a principle of sickness. There's a principle of wealth, not a principle of being poor.”
CR: It's so unfair.
TC: It's so unfair, and it's not right. And what the trick is, is they made you believe it. That's the trick. It's not that they say it. It's the fact that you believe it. And once people believe, ‘wait a minute, I have power. I have rights.’ This is one reason why we call it POWER. Because for every artist who actually realizes they have power, you have way more power than you ever thought you had. In fact, every human being has the same amount of power on earth as every other human being. But you get fooled out of knowing that. And the more you discover, the more it benefits you. That's my job.
I want to tell everybody, you can do this. It's going to take some figuring out. It's going to take some work, but you have it and you can do it.
CR: Totally agree. I love that. So everyone, go and create your Ethereum address right now, everyone can do it. Go use your social token, go issue an NFT, you have to get over the gas fees, but it'll be fine…
TC: That gas fee stuff is going to go away soon. I really feel that the system is going to change.
CR: Yeah, the technology's there. We’re getting there. Terry, to wrap up, I can't have this conversation without asking you about our Wait For It video. Because I really want everyone to go watch it. Our director Robin Schmidt made a great video with Vitalik’s deepfake in there. So I wanted to get your thoughts, like, what did you think when you saw that? It was a pretty crazy production breakthrough.
TC: But see, Robin has been a big reason why I'm so enthusiastic about cryptocurrency. He really breaks things down so you can understand it. What I'm giving you is just the basic elements. Like, what happens, when people start getting too detailed, it starts to get confusing, and everybody's like, ‘well, what does that mean, what does that mean?’ I like the way Robin puts it. You go, ‘oh my God, I can understand this.’ He has the greatest illustrations of what things mean and how it works. And I love his heart.
Let me tell you, we sat and talked, me and Robin, and we talked about the same thing. We're like, man, this is about the long haul. This is literally about empowering people, and really giving people a chance to create their own life. That's all you want. That's all anyone ever wants, is opportunity to create the life they want. And you don't want anybody to veto that. And he said to me no. Like back in that bank, when that guy told me no, he was literally stopping me from creating the life I wanted. But I found a way around. And I think crypto is the way around this for a lot of people. And as soon as they realize it, and more people every day are realizing more and more, thanks to the videos that Robin puts out.
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