Startups with Niall Maher

Alan McDonald, the cofounder of Unbanx joins me to talk about building a WEB3 business and giving passive income from transaction data.

Show Notes

Alan McDonald, one of the founders of Unbanx joins me to talk about building a WEB3 business and giving passive income from transaction data.

WEB 3.0 is all the rage on the internet right now. But is there more than stoned apes?

Alan gives me some insights on how he is using WEB3 and advice for founders in the space.

We learn about WEB3, data unions, DAO's, legal issues and the community in this episode. 

Section with video on “Wait what the f*ck is Web3?”
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What is Startups with Niall Maher?

Welcome to Startups with Niall Maher.

This show is to going give you tips, strategies and advice to grow your business and hopefully entertain you along the way.

Niall will introduce experts and resources that he is always learning from.

It’s all about sharing that experience with YOU.

Niall has worked in nearly every corner of technology businesses; Lead Developer, Software Architect, Product Manager, CTO and now happily a Founder.

You’ll also get to hear live calls with special guests (such as founders, authors and experts).

Thanks for listening and let’s grow together.


And happy Tuesday or whatever day it
is that you are listening to this.

You might've heard about this
crypto stuff and how web 3.0 is

going to revolutionize everything.

No, no, don't stop listening just
yet, I'm not going to sling over the

top crypto- bro propaganda at you.

I've been learning to code
some crypto contracts to see

what goes on behind the scenes.

Honestly, I'm really impressed with
some of the potential use cases.

When the hype comes down, we really
should see some revolutionary use cases.

That's if the scammers and
rug pullers, don't dismantle

the whole thing before then.

If you've never heard about web
three or here's wondering what

the heck I'm even talking about.

I'll link to an article or a
newsletter in the show notes

with some information on it.

So you can be in the know-how.

I think it's important that people
start realizing that web three is not

a silver bullet, that the newsfeeds
on Twitter would have you believing.

But with extremes on both
sides from it's just a fad too.

It's the future of the internet?

I usually think the truth is
somewhere to be found in the middle.

One of the more interesting use
cases I've come across is Unbanx.

That's spelled U N B A N X.

And as we know it, our data is
being sold by big tech companies.

But I had not thought about my
banking data being sold until

I stumbled across this app.

I was blissfully ignorant to the fact
that my fried chicken Guinness and

coffee purchases might be valuable.

I'm also ignorant, but curious about
how a business like this actually works.

And in this episode, I'll be chatting
with one of the founders of non-banks,

the beautiful, calm and knowledgeable Mr.

Alan MacDonald.

As he tells me about on banks, how he is
building his business on all of the weird

things that I never thought about when it
comes to creating a web three business.

Alan is giving people a way
to make some passive income

with their transaction data.

If you are curious about what
it looks like to conceive and

build a web three business from
community to your own currency.

This should be an interesting one for you.

Let's jump into it.

Niall Maher: you're the
first person in real life.

I don't even know if I can say real life
because we haven't met in the wild yet

local person that is working on web three.

So I thought you'd be the perfect person
to come in and try and teach me some

bits and pieces about web three and
the business and the business model.

And also fill in people with
what you're doing with Unbanx.

So I know it's all over the media.

Now, people are selling our data.

We don't get money for the data.

That's a, it's a huge thing.

I am totally ignorant.

I don't know how much you're getting.

I don't know what these things are.

I'm guessing this is
kind of your specialty.

Since you're trying to give people
basically some passive income to

sell the data that a lot of people
are already getting rid of anyway,

or is the data being leaked already.

So these are a couple of
questions just to start.

Maybe let's even roll
back before I got too far.

What is it in your own words that
Unbanx does, and then I'll start to

barrage you with all of the other.

Alan McDonald: Okay, fair enough.

So at Unbanx, we're building a platform
to allow anybody to sell their own banking

data, so to monetize their banking data.

And so as you kind of mentioned
there at the moment the banking

data, which I suppose really what I
mean is your transactional history.

So when you play a coffee or coffee, or
when you buy a big Mac or something, that

data is at the moment being anonymized and
sold by whether it be the card companies

who have the data, your bank, and they
collect this data, anonymize it, and they

sell it as part of these huge data sets.

And the problem is that,
people who create the data.

You've created by doing these
transactions, we don't get any this

and we don't think that's right.

And that's what we're trying to solve, is
to allow people to monetize their data.

And we believe in the concept of
data as labor as it's something

that that's yours that, if it's
used, you should get paid for it.

And the fact that other massive companies
are making quite a lot of money selling

your data and is what we're trying to fix.

Niall Maher: And there is that quote.

I think everyone has seen or become
famous now where if you're not paying

for the product, you are the product.

So it's something that I think
we've only become acutely

aware of in the last few years.

I switched browsers now to brave
and things, because I'm getting

slightly more conscious about what
information I'm sending to people

and what they're using it for.

And it's very interesting.

And just watching the trackers to
see how many trackers are installed

on websites and things that are
just mining for data and trying to.

Obviously sell it or that's
how they make some money.

Unbanx and your background then, what
made you feel like you're the perfect

person to solve this other than the
crazy desire to give people free money?

In a sense,

Alan McDonald: yeah.

Niall Maher: I love the way I talk
about it as if it's free money.

When you've just said,
this is money to other

people are

Alan McDonald: So it's already out
there in circulation being bought and

sold like myself and my co-founders
and my co-founders my first cousin

and we We'd always been interested
in the idea of passive income.

And when we'd done a few things down
the years to try and I suppose to

make passive income for ourselves.

So like we did, we did a bit
of Amazon FBA, a bit of drop

shipping, all this sort of stuff.

We actually set up a bedsheet company
called dub-linen, which the best thing

was probably the name about that post.

And so we'd always been trying,
trying to do these little side

projects around passive income.

And we'd always been quite interested
in the crypto space from late 2017.

Those two things together
brought us to data monetization

and we kind of read about that.

And at the same time I was working
in a bank and working in open

banking and I kind of understood
the two areas pretty well.

We chatted about it.

And about the idea of.

Of collating peoples banking
data, and selling it but, there

was something kind of missing.

We were like, how would you
actually do it in reality?

And then just, I suppose on our
research into the area, I read an

article one day about data is labor
and I started describing data unions.

And that was kind of like the light
bulb moment when I read it with daddy.

And it's like, well, this
is, this is how you do it.

This is how you logically group, all
these streams of data to come in, this is

how you manage to members of your union.

And it's how you get to the marketplace
at the end and how you sell the

data for the members of the union.

So when we started looking at that, that's
when it all kind of clicked into place.

And from there we just, we created
a kind of a pilot that we launched

in the UK, about the summer of last
year a three month pilot, which went

really well, we collected like 15,000.

Unique transactions from it.

And then on the back of that, we applied
to outlier ventures, which is like a

web trade accelerator got into that.

And yeah, we've just went from strength
to strength during that accelerator

and afterwards, or finished it now.

And yeah, so here we are, we've
released the dev platform last week,

looking for feedback and it's hooked
up to like a sandbox bank account.

We'll get the feedback iterate and then
hopefully towards the end the end of

march end of April, go live with real
banks that's when it gets exciting.

Niall Maher: I have put it on my list of
things to do so sign up and give you some

of my data as well to try it out because
if it's rapidly growing, it looks great.

It's very interesting because look,
I'm using Revolut on everyone now,

and I know that's a big chunk of
their money is being made from the

transaction data and things like that.

So it's very cool to
see the changes as well.

Growing the business, and this is
something that I think Twitter is

probably the main vessel for when
I see it everywhere on Twitter.

You just see.

I'm running the big crypto company.

Where are people marketing this stuff?

How do you get a business off the ground?

How do you cut through the noise
and look real and trustworthy?

I guess At the moment it feels a little
bit like cowboy country, because there's

so many people who are leveraging the lack
of knowledge to, just for their own gain.

I know you personally, you
have an actual product.

People can see it, they try it.

They're getting paid for it.

It's not like some of the
crazy NFT projects that day or

what rug pulls and everything.

So Yeah.

How do you cut through that?

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

So, I mean, it is, as you point
out an incredibly noisy space you

know, there's hundreds of projects
every week and, new crypto projects.

And a lot of them out there, I would
imagine are just kind of white papers and

just like, oh, we're going to do this.

A product never sees the light of day
and it is tricky at the, do you only

real way to do it that we've seen
so far is try to build a community.

So I tried to build in public,
put up videos weekly, put out

articles be pretty visible on
Twitter or as visible as you can be.

Just replying to people who
try and contact you or in

about a topic that's related.

And we have a telegram group,
We get feedback in and, we

can talk to more people.

So that's pretty good.

We, haven't gone down the route
that you have of a discord channel.

You try to manage all that,
but maybe in the future.

But that's really the only way
because a lot of this stuff , it's

very difficult to get around.

If you try paid advertising on
Facebook and Instagram, you, we've

got accounts suspended just for
trying to promote what we're doing

With Twitter, you get
a lot of ads rejected.

We haven't tried Google yet,
but it's pretty similar.

I imagine.

The paid advertising route isn't as
much of an option we found, so the only

alternative really is building a public
and putting out the content yourself and

just trying to get us to grow naturally,

Niall Maher: There is loads of roadblocks.

I see, especially in say the Irish
market, but even just in terms of

looking at your rebrand in the last
couple of weeks is just because your

crypto or just because you had the word
bank that you're running into problems.

I just never thought existed.

Now, it's, it's interesting
from the outside to see these

problems, but honestly, for
you, it's a massive headache.

Do you find these crazy
rules hard to navigate?

Are you just learning
about them as they come up?

Or how do you stay on
top of all this madness?

Because I've talked to a friend
of yours on Twitter who actually

had to register his business in
Singapore even to get around some of

the laws here and things like that.

He has said to me that there's
just giant issues with developing

business here in Ireland, especially.

What are the issues
you're facing immediately?

you here in Ireland.

Have you had to go that far of a
route as registering elsewhere?

Or how was it affecting you?

Alan McDonald: So there's
a few things there.

I mean, the firstly, the name,
so we rebranded from unbanks U

N B A N K S to Unbanx U-N Banx.

So that was, That's just like a thing
it's just learning on the fly, like

how, how somebody does know where
you can register a business with the

four level four letters, BA and K.

And then we did another clue, so we, we
did all our branding and domain names

and all that and put that out there.

And then we tried to registers
because, registering the name.

Isn't the first thing you do
because, I'm gonna walk it up.

And when we couldn't get that, we asked
about it, like, why can't we get it?

And they told us about banking licenses.

You can't just call yourself something
bank or a bank, which an old makes

a bit of sense as well, I suppose.

So we actually incorporated the
company as a completely generic name

and then just kind of did a trading
as on bank that was set up problems.

So anyway, just to, so we didn't
run into issues in the future.

We thought we would rebrand now to
try and stop, anything then happening.

So that's why we did that, which was
pretty annoying, even though we only

changed not a really rebranding,
even when we're quite small, it's

still a headache because you have so
many things to think of and change.

So we're going to launch our
own token deal bank SocGen

and probably Q3 this year.

And that's a utility token for
our platform, but trying to do

that in Ireland is I suppose.

Annoyingly expensive in that nobody
that we can find has done it yet.

whoever would go and do that would
have to be the first person to, pay

all the lawyers to figure it out, which
will just ruin off a pretty huge bill.

So we're going to go through
Gibraltar as opposed to Singapore,

where there's a well trodden path.

You go to a lawyer, this lawyer has
probably done, maybe 50 different

tokens in the previous year.

And it's okay, you pay X amount.

We're going to do this.

There's a framework.

so there's no figuring out,
do you know what the story is?

How much it's going to cost, how long
it'll take et cetera, whereas here

in Ireland at the moment, and there's
just too many unknowns, which just

means it's going to be too expensive.

That's usually the reason why you
don't see Irish companies launching

tokens, hopefully it'll get better.

I'm sure it will.

It can't get a whole lot worse than that.

There's really no, there's no guidance
at the moment, but yeah, we're

trying to build up a community here
in Ireland with that get, I suppose

more eyes on the area in general.

Niall Maher: On the Ireland versus
everywhere else, still, I've seen

kind of Lisbon being baptized
the capital of crypto for Europe.

So what is the difference I'm sure
it's just a case of, it's probably

my mirror, your last answer in the
case of we haven't done it here yet,

so there's not much of a framework.

There's not much here that they can help
us with what makes Lisbon so different

than the rest of Europe at the moment.

Anyway, for crypto companies,

Alan McDonald: There's a few
things like Lisbon Dow where

they've created a doubt, like a
decentralized autonomous organization.

And so there's a lot of experimenting
going on there, whether or not the

kind of laws in the jurisdiction
of Portugal are much different in

here in terms of launching a token.

I haven't heard of anyone
launching a token from Portugal.

Not that I've gone looking for one,
but generally there's a few places

in the world like Switzerland,
Gibraltar, Singapore, et cetera.

But another thing is that tax
laws in Portugal are pretty, pretty

nice for people who deal in crypto.

In terms of the actual legalities
of launching a token I do not

know and how much of a differences
between Ireland and Portugal but

there certainly is a huge community
over there in terms of web three.

Niall Maher: We all we know all
too well, how tax incentives can

definitely bolster an entire country.

Nudge nudge Ireland.

I've been told by ex companies even by
the HR department saying your job safe,

we need this place as a tax office.

You're going to launch your own
token in the future, but right

now you're using, is it streamer?

Alan McDonald: Uh, The name of
the token is DATA company is.

Niall Maher: So the name of the
token data, and for somebody who is

brand new to this space, How does
leveraging something like data help

your business in the short term before
you get to your own token as well?

Because I think it will lead on to why
you're doing your own token at all.

I'm sure that you have a
streamer or data helping you out

Alan McDonald: Streamer they built
a decentralized pubsub network.

It's like a kind of a Kafka decentralized.

And that's their core business
or that they started it up.

And then they found the data unions were
pretty good use case for this network.

As in transporting all the data
to make them through a data union.

They built the state of union framework
on top of their network and the native

token other network is their data token.

The default state is when you use
the streamer data union you need

get paid and data and who settled
the two datasets in this data token?

That's why we're, we're using that
and why we're leveraging their token.

Initially, and then what we'll
do is transition to our own

token when we have it ready.

So we can just switch over to the
token that is used in the platform.

But yeah it's the native token up.

The network that we'll be
using is why we're using it.

Niall Maher: I guess that's always a
good framework to see how somebody who's

doing the data unions first is doing it.

So you know what you need in your own tech
stack and technology as well when you're

putting this out, because I'm just so
ignorant to data and the problems of it.

That I haven't even thought of what
you would need to do to put that on a

network, really I've been learning some
solidity and I've told you that in my

own discord the data that moves through
solidity is very small and very expensive.

I'm just trying to think what my
solidity hat on, like, how would

you ever transfer that amount
of data without going bankrupt?

So it's very interesting problem.

I'm sure but one that I
guess Ethereum won't solve

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

I mean the data does this transferred
on the network is not on chain,

so it's streams of live data.

So if you were to buy FMD on banks,
dataset or data stream, I suppose it'd be

called you subscribed to a live stream.

As opposed to buying, static
files, which can be made as well.

But the network they've made is
I suppose just a decentralized

network for moving data.

Niall Maher: so you are
purchasing a key to a feed really

then is that the end result?

Alan McDonald: So you get
you buy it in, time slot.

So you can say we price it in hourly.

So X amount per hour to
access the Unbanx stream.

And then companies can buy, 10
hours, 24 hours, whatever they want.

Niall Maher: I was going to ask.

So it's probably the best thing to
answer that is how do you actually

make money off this when you're
giving away money to people?

So is it commission you get
for people using the feed.

Alan McDonald: I mean, this is
a good point and I'll because

it's this is something there's we
find causes a bit of confusion.

We've built Unbanx as a platform to
allow people to sell their own data.

It's of to facilitate people selling data.

You link your bank account on banks and
we'll anonymize the data and essentially

collated with all the other members
data, to create this kind of set.

And then when somebody buys the dataset,
the, and this is where that data union

magic comes in to funds are essentially
divided up between all the members.

Who've contributed data to that data set.

And we'll take between a 10
and 15% commission on that

as a flows back through.

It's not like we're giving
you money for your data.

We're taking it.

And then selling us for, you know, five
times that amount to somebody else.

We only get a percentage of what it's sold
for, pretty standard kind of marketplace

stuff, like E-bay or something.

Niall Maher: You're the system to handle
transactions, not a reseller, which

is what a lot of places are, when
it comes to data, especially, which

is just, we'll give you some pennys

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

And the whole, I suppose the main point of
it all is that it is a union, so is it's

member led, and then that's the whole,
link between if you think of trade unions.

So an easier way to maybe explain this
is if you think of a trade union and

a workers union, where people come
together for strength in numbers.

So this is the same type of thing, like
your, a data I don't mean to burst your

bubble, but your data is not worth a whole
lot, you know, was data both your data

in a set of 10, 15,000, 20,000 people.

That's valuable because you
can get insights on the cohort.

Whereas a trade union, the kind
of the currency would be labor.

A data unions currency obviously is data.

And you're able to sell that data.

Niall Maher: Makes a lot of sense, so
then you need a critical mass then to

make it valuable, like a lot of data sets.

I know this all too well because I'm also
in the back of my mind recently trying

to figure out how can I get more hiring
data so that I can be more effective

at making hiring decisions with Myqu.

So we need tons of raw texts
from interviews to try and come

up with a language processing
that would spit out things.

And I like to think of data always in
that sense of an interview isn't enough

to do anything with, because it's just
an isolated case, but, and that's the

value for any big company that's going
to buy data is that they need sets and

sets of data to run whatever they're

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

I mean, it's only valuable in the
aggregate, so there's no value of,

as I was saying, it in kind of single
streams of data, it's only valuable

when you aggregate it together.

And from that you can get insights.

So, X amount of males between 30 and
35 spend their money on this on a

Saturday, that's valuable as opposed to

Niall Maher: Damn.

That would be an interesting data set.

I want to see what that end up bracket.

Alan McDonald: yeah, absolutely.

And It also has to be, not that
it has to be, but again, it's more

valuable in a specific eh Geo location.

If we've 30,000 people on our platform
spread across mainland Europe, that's a

bit too fragmented to be valuable for us.

If we have 30,000 people in the
greater London area, that's valuable.

Niall Maher: These are all things
I just wouldn't have thought of.

Alan McDonald: You just pick
all up I suppose on the journey.

Niall Maher: I would love an
overview of tokens and how they work.

Alan McDonald: So from my
point of view, tokens is really

where they kind of diverged.

So if you're, let's say your traditional
SAS startup or whatever, and we've all

got the manage all the normal everyday
things to manage with the web three

stuff you have all of that and then.

You've got this token ecosystem
that needs to be managed and needs

to be, taken care of because it's
really the lifeblood of the company.

So we're going to launch a token and
there's many reasons why we're doing it.

Probably number one reason is
it provides ownership and kind

of transparency to our members.

So we want the members to be part of it.

We want to have a kind of a voting
system as in that you can vote

with your tokens, you know, on the
amount to tokens to stuff like this.

And it gives people a say and it
gives people, skin in the game or

feels like they're contributing to
the company and to the decisions made.

So that's one big reason.

And then it's great
for community building.

So by having this token, we can reward
people for say, if somebody wants

to be a community manager, like a
discord community, manager, we can

say, okay we can give you X amount
of tokens and again, you get buy in

and you're, it's all feeding into the
one kind of, flywheel of the token.

It also allows for fundraising.

So instead of fundraising with
equity, we fundraise with tokens or

equity, you might hear the term safe.

So S A F E, and it's
like future equity deal.

And we're talking to staffed, so a future
token, quite similar, but it's a bit of

a roadblock in terms of, I haven't found
many Irish companies who staffed invest.

And so I think it's relatively new here,
but it's getting more and more into

the For an accurate, I suppose you hear
more and more people talking about it.

So with the token, you have to
do, what's called token Nomics.

So obviously token economics, and
this is something you need to do

when you're doing the token design.

And the one word this probably the most
important when doing a token is utility.

So you need to prove, do utility.

It needs to have utility.

You can't create a token and the
only purpose for it being that,

it would appreciate in value.

That's basically a security and
that's I don't know if it's illegal,

but it's certainly frowned upon.

I think you might have to have certain
dispensations to create security spots.

basically the token, the siding,
and it has to have a value.

So like Ethereum is probably the
best example of that, where the

token is used as gas on the network.

You know, when you want to send somebody.

$10 in Ethereum, it costs you
a hundred dollars and send it

to him, that type of thing.

It's the gas and the network.

But it's a very interesting area
and designing to tokenomics and,

investing periods and cliffs
and all this sort of stuff.

So it's definitely an area that
you don't necessarily see in, non

web tree startups and companies,
but it's really super interesting.

Niall Maher: Is there resources for
people to learn about token omics

and that kind of things, because I
haven't seen money, resources on it.

I know that you're like, that's probably
brought on a half dozen more questions

me, if somebody wants to go really
go down the rabbit hole and nerd out.

on this

Alan McDonald: There's a few
different resources holders on

called third web, which makes it
easy to build web three products.

And there's a bit of token Nomics in that.

There's a token omics course.

You can do.

I think it might be rolling by
there's a company called Colonel

who do like a web tree accelerator.

I think they have a good bit on token
Nomics I mean, there's a lot of

videos now you just put into YouTube
and you'll see some some videos on it.


Like anything, everybody will have
their own opinion on a cellular level.

They're various for what you're
meant to do, like burns and

staking and all this sort of stuff.

Niall Maher: it's such a new
industry that it's only right.

That there volitile opinions,
because we don't know what best

way to use these utilities are.

Alan McDonald: This is it.

The whole area, like I think there's
misconceptions everywhere in it and.

Like some people think decentralizing,
everything will solve all the

world's problems, and we should
turn governments into DOWS.

And then the other side, you've
got people shouting, it's a scam.

And it's just used by criminal assault.

With everything that I think that the
truth is never at the extremes, it's

going to fall somewhere in the middle,
but yeah, it's, again, it's a pretty

noisy areas where you need to do your own
research as the phrase goes and try and

understand and figure it out for yourself.

Niall Maher: And I'd love to dive into
a couple of those misconceptions because

it's something I think we've even had
back and forth and Discord on just

talking about people's opinions, but
before we go off the topic of utility,

what does it look like for you then
proving the utility of your token.

Alan McDonald: So for us, what happens
is when you contribute your data we made

the data, certainly sell the data set.

So people who will buy the data set from
the marketplace will buy in our tokens.

Or we encouraged that they buy in our
token, we'll give them discounts or

whatever, but we try our best to make sure
that they buy in our token, which then

flows back through the data union, through
to the users who get paid in our token.

So it's like the payment
rails on our network.

And people would get paid in our
token so that's the utility of it.

And then building into that kind of
just the ecosystem we'll build around

it and adding the community rewards
and giving people tokens for, doing

parts for them, for the company.

Niall Maher: I even seen it on your
last video, your release that you

are giving or alluding to, if anyone
found a serious bug that you'd give

a few more tokens they're away.

So it's a

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

I mean it is.

And it's we've had even, we've only
released it to dev platform a week

now, and the feedback does come back.

Like today we got a 10 page word
document from somebody, who we

didn't, we'd never talked to like
screenshots saying this works, this

doesn't work, it's incredibly helpful.

I was, like I said to you before
it's scary releasing something, but

the feedback did you gain from it?

It's just invaluable.

Niall Maher: There is no one that
advises people to release late.

I think I've never come across
somebody that says wait longer.

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

It's not perfect enough.

Niall Maher: It's obviously scary,
everything is when it's new.

Now I'll kind of let you dive back
into where we were chatting and the

misconceptions land of web three.

And I guess this is something when
we first started talking, I had been

starting to go down the rabbit hole,
but I hadn't really educated myself

on a topic enough to even understand
how these things work under the hood.

I feel I'm a little bit better verse now
because I've went off and learned how

to use solidity and deploy a contract
and see how this data and the gas fees

and all of these bits hang together.

And I'm even using that a third web
framework that you are talking about

just a moment ago, after you mentioning
it to me to have a look at us in

a, in another conversation of ours.

it's been eye-opening to me
because I was very unsure.

I liked the tech.

I liked some of the cool projects.

I'm a collector.

So I like the NFT projects and things,
because I see value in that as a

collector, but for other people or
people that aren't getting into the

ecosystem, or even maybe just hesitant of
jumping in, what are the misconceptions

you think that scare people away
from doing more in this industry?

Alan McDonald: I think a lot of
the misconceptions have merit.

Like I think what annoys me is when you
hear somebody saying NFT through a scar,

to me, that's like somebody saying an
EC2 instances, a scam, and if the is just

a way to do something, it's, a unique
address on a public database, essentially.

I are a lot of NFT project scams,
probably, most likely there's been

a lot of stuff out there and it's
probably doesn't have good intentions

to try to make a bit of money.

But what I find, exciting about
that area is the potential to

enable different functionality.

I think a lot of it does get lost
in the pictures of apes that have

worth a quarter of a million dollars.

No, it's hard to overlook
something like that.

And fair enough.

But there's a lot of really interesting
use cases, especially for NFTs I

mean and one part of the whole area.

I can understand why people are hesitant.

And I think the hype around us puts
some people off and puts a lot of people

off, like just the pure there's so much
hype . If somebody just stumbled across

something like this and there wasn't much
about it and looked at, just lifted the

technical details optimizing, oh, that's
actually a pretty nice use cases for it.

But if you come into it having read all
the hype about it, you're oh, what's this?

Like, why is there so much
hype around this spot?

yeah, I think as I said, there's
misconceptions on both sides.

It's you just need to try
and cut through the noise

Niall Maher: I think it's always the case.

And Twitter's always a great example
of it is you'll only hear the extremes,

the stuff that gets commented on,
especially because Twitter is one of those

environments where you can upvote and
downvote, you can only like it or react.

And the only way to react
is by leaving some comments.

So it's very volatile
in that manner, I think.

But a lot of people forget one
day, look at Twitter, white,

why are people so angry?

It's because you didn't give
them the option to go silently.

Downvote this thing like

Alan McDonald: yeah.

that's what I don't get
sometimes is the anger.

Some people get so angry about it.

Like like I'm not gonna spend any
time arguing somebody on Twitter

Reddit or something about trying to
convince some days decentralizing

something is a good idea.

I don't know you have your own opinions
but I find the most efficient thing I

suppose for us to do is to try and build
a simple product that actually showcases

good use case of the technology.

As opposed to you're spending
time arguing with people about it.

that's what we're trying to do
and hopefully we'll release it.

Niall Maher: I am looking forward
to seeing and as well, because

it's a very interesting way.

I can't wait to try it out myself as well.

And you can see how my a 3:00
AM bank charges are being spent.

If it's to buy bad chips, start to
give me to hang over the next day.


it's a, it's an interesting space.

I'm, I'm enjoying it.

When I find people who really find it as
a solution to a problem they're having.

So for instance, I'm working with
a guy at the moment and it was a

great opportunity for me to learn
more about this, but he's using it.

He's a fairly well-known comedian in the
states, but he's using it as a way to give

fans of his exclusive access to things.

So he wants to.

And then after the membership
card that just gives you access

to things before anyone else.

And randomly he'll be able to
send physical goods to people.

And I know even that membership
card that he's developing is free.

So it's just a case of he's
just going to limit it.

Like even third web, when I was
signing off, you got a little NFT

membership card and that's how
you access the docs and things.

I like those little physical things where
it's not a cash grab on people who are

sincerely interested in the technology
and what they can enable and how they

can make life easier for themselves with.

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

And I think the collectible area is in
a very under sign up very translatable

from, collecting physical, whether
it be cards or figures or whatever.

I think that's very easily
understood by people in white.

Maybe it was one of the
first areas to take off and.

I understand rarity in different
traits of certain things.

And it kinda made sense
in people's heads already.

And then when they seen it, didn't a web
tree format or a digital format they're

going like, oh yeah, it still makes sense.

And I think another thing you touched
on there memberships is another one

that I'm seeing come to the fore, where
again, it exists and we understand the

concept and that it can be brought across
to a digital as a digital memberships

pretty easily and successfully.

Like there's one, I don't know
if you're a golfer but there's

a, there's one, an NFT project.

This is called link DOW and the
idea behind it was this they

created NFD collection and I think
they were each like, if you want

to create or something like that.

All the money that got made towards
this, how you buy an energy or you

become a member of link DOW, and the
idea is the actually you going to buy

a real world golf course in the states.

And then by having the NFC membership,
you get to go play the golf course, or

you get, certain parks or, just, that's
a really good idea because it's really

translating into the real world as well.

It's not just, everything's not existing
on chains, where you can actually go

and maybe play golf course something.

And I think that's pretty cool.

Niall Maher: Again, that kind of mirrors
what I was saying with the project I'm

working on and the person wants it.

So if somebody isn't a fan of his
anymore, that they can sell it.

If they feel like it and give it
to somebody who's a better fan.

And that actually does want access
to these things when they run out.

So it's a very interesting one when it's
real world things happening as a result.

That is so cool though,
because it's nearly like a

mix of crowdfunding membership

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

Niall Maher: rights, all of
these cool things come into it.

And I think that people will forget that.

People just like playing
with new tech as well.

So you're going to see some noise w
we're nerds, especially those builders.

Anyway, we're nerds.

We like to try new shit
out and see what happens.

And there's a lot of
that happening right now.

And I think it's going to be way crazier
in a decade when people have ironed out

a lot of the kinks that we're seeing it.

Alan McDonald: One thing I suppose
overlooked sometimes, is it?

And if like mess around, but LFTs is fun.

Like it's interesting.

It's fun.

Whereas, messing around with
cryptocurrencies maybe three years ago.

It wasn't, it was grand, but it was
just speculating on various tokens.

But if these have a kind of an
element of fun to them and then.

I think that's probably why they've
become almost like the killer

application for crypto and getting a
huge amount of people into it, just

because of I've had fun they are.

Niall Maher: Easy to
market because it's visual

Alan McDonald: exactly.

Niall Maher: I think I tell people
that when I was doing YouTube and

things originally, I only focused.

Uh, Front-end development
because it's visual.

It's what sells it's sexy.

So I think that's, what's funny that
I could see exactly why NFTs took

off is because it's easy to market
that, whereas it's not as sexy to sell

the technology and what it enables.

Theoretically, nobody's going to read a
white paper, but everyone can see your

Alan McDonald: exactly.


Niall Maher: Even those who are into
it, wouldn't find out for the growing

ecosystem here in Ireland then, because
this is something you are actively doing.

You've just launched a web
three meetup here in Dublin.

How is that going?

Where is it going?

What's the plans for next year?

Are you finding a lot of new
people that you haven't met so

far in the ecosystem or, yeah,

Alan McDonald: yeah, I mean, it
was going pretty well so far.

Um, myself and another guy to go actually
mentioned before we met by accident

on there's a protocol called ocean.

It's like a data marketplace
and then you can apply for

grants and I was going through.

I think thinking of applying and I
was looking at other applications

or they'd seen this other, one of
physios and then looked at truest and

there was a lot of pictures of people
doing squats in a lens to root beer.

So it was like if someone to the team,
and then I thought I said, it's strange.

I was expecting to see that.

So I pinged that person who
put the proposal in and sure

enough, I'm from Dublin.

So we kind of got chatting from
there and we thought it all.

Wouldn't it be great.

If there was more of a community, did you
could leverage and talk to, because we

had only ever met each other in the web
tree space, no one else from Ireland.

So we just put up there the meetup group.

And then I think we had our first
one at the end of November, then

skipped Christmas was the end of
January during a few weeks ago.

And then we'll hopefully have one,
our first one in real life and

towards the end of this month.

And there's about I think
130 people in the group.

So far, which is great.

So many peoples yeah.

They showing an interest in it yeah.

And then there's crossover with other
groups I wasn't really didn't look much

of meet up before, but there's a, like a
Dublin Ethereum and meet up group as well.

And there's a blockchain Ireland group.

So when you , kind of, put it
out there and dig into it a

bit, there is stuff going on.

It's just a matter of getting
all the people together and then,

putting it out there for people
to see and who are interested in

that to join long and contributes.

So, I mean, it doesn't encourage

anybody to join any of the
meetup groups for the web series.

Dublin one is one that we want the
most, like any community web three,

the community to contribute and run

Niall Maher: I'm hoping you get
loads of dope linen shirts made up

Alan McDonald: not to bring the brand


Niall Maher: just for, Yeah.

Like I know from starting a community here
in Dublin and I have one of the biggest

coding communities in Dublin at the
moment, and it's about a thousand people.

So having that kind of uptake already, to
me, it's just oh, this is going to take

off, which is great because I know early
on for the first six months, every month,

I was thinking, should I just give up.

Stick with it as well.

If there, although I don't think you're
going to have a problem with people

not jumping into this because it's
so new people want to talk about it.

It's, it is cool to see
and hopefully great.

I didn't realize it was the
next one is coming in person.

I'm going

Alan McDonald: Yes, we haven't
set a date yet because we're still

waiting to get confirmation on
the location, but yes, absolutely.

In person can't wait for that.

Niall Maher: Sweet.

Let me know if I can help you
with anything with that as well,

because obviously I know plenty of
people who will sponsor for pizzas

and everything else like that.

For these kinds of things.

I'm always annoying people.

I'm like half

pizza, mostly beer.

That's what I need from my meetups.

Alan McDonald: exactly.

Niall Maher: It's, it's fun.

I think the, now that
we're at the end of COVID.

I say this famous

last words.

I think I I love curse this all.


But at the time of recording, it
looks like disease that were coming

out to the other side of it, because
I knew it was locked up in two

years after their 83rd vaccine.

Now they'll be like, nah, it wasn't over.

as always Yeah,

so I don't even know where I
was going with that thought.

I think, look it's great to
see back meeting in person.

I did a, an event before Christmas,
before we had another lockdown

here and it was amazing just
to have people in and excited.

So many people have gotten
into the scene during COVID and

haven't got the opportunity to
meet other people in the space.

So getting into these places
in real life is amazing.

I think.

90% of the people who I met at my last
meetup had never been to a meetup in their

life, which is, which just shows like how
much people wanted to go and how excited

people were to meet people in real life.

You're going to find people that have
never gone to meetups even because

they've had time to learn all this stuff

Alan McDonald: exactly.


But nothing else to do

Niall Maher: I always ask my guests a few
things before I throw them off the call.

And first one is what is your favorite?

Alan McDonald: my favorite book to
be honest, I'm a really bad reader.

I have a attention span of a child.

So books, generally I consume them by
listening to them is really the only

way I can get through with I'm not sure
what my favorite one overall is, but the

best one I've listened to recently was I
think it was called banking on us again,

it's banking and it's by Anne Bolden,
who is the founder and CEO of Starling.

So starlings, a new bank in the UK.

Niall Maher: She was ex AIB?

Alan McDonald: she was ex AIB.


So she worked over here for years.

I was interested to hear the story of
Starling or what I didn't know before

getting the book was the whole thing with
Mondo and the whole drama that happened

there with her and dealer founder, Tom.

Bloomfield, I think it was.

So it's incredibly interesting story.

One of those things, it could be made
into a movie to two companies just

split and your man took all the senior
star to try start his own a bank.

So, I mean, I thought that was brilliant.

Niall Maher: A couple of people I didn't
realize there was a book one on her story,

but a couple of people have mentioned.

Her by name and the story.

So now I understand why, if there's a book
out there with all this knowledge, that's

probably where they're getting
this craziness, because I was like,

what a random thing to know about
a senior executive in AIB that

went off to start her own company.

So Yeah.

I'll have to check that out.

The next one is a tool.

Is there a, like something you use that
in business everyday, or just in your

personal life that you would be lost

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

That's an easy one.

I use canvas every day,
regardless of what I'm doing.

I don't know.

I just, I constantly have the tab open.

It's like an instant professionalism
in terms of graphics.

I mean, if I ever am encouraging anyone
to do a start up to start that, anything

that all of a sudden to get that just
to get visuals that are professional

looking in a very short amount of time

I think it's brilliant, yeah,

Niall Maher: I should have asked
you this earlier a little bit, but

is there any final tips you have
for somebody that's going out there

to start a web three business?

Alan McDonald: If you try and start, when
you'll hear this over and over again,

it's pretty much all about the community.

the best money you'll ever spend
is on building the community like

nevermind, paid marketing or whatever.

And the most valuable value
you will get is putting effort

and money into the community.

You need to build it up for many reasons.

As I suppose, we were finding now
for feedback, it's fantastic to get

those early users in and fill the
feedback and nevermind about just

kind of organic referrals then telling
people about it, spreading the word.

If you try and build a web three
company without a community that you're

just, you're fighting a losing battle.

Niall Maher: I'm going to do some
shameless self-promotion then on that

note, because my very first episode
of this podcast is all about growing

community because a friend of mine, Matt
has grown a slack community in the last

few years to a hundred thousand people.

And it's just him and his co-founder that
have 300,000 users on the platform and he.

it's all because of community.

So if people are want some tips on
just the community aspect, go, they

and go over and listen to that episode.

Alan McDonald: I listened to

that actually, as all of us, I signed
up to the site after that, about the

different than devs to get onto the beta.

It was a good episode.

Niall Maher: He's a very smart guy.

That's a person that I like to meet at
least once a month just to swap ideas.

So it's, he's always a good person
to chat to then I've been shameless.

Where can people find you?

Where do you want people to find you?

How can they get on, Unbanx
and anything else you

want to.

Alan McDonald: Have a landing page up
at the moment, which links out to the

dev platform, but that's Unbanx.Me.

So U N B A N X dot M E.

And from there, you'll be able
to sign up to the newsletter

test at the dev platform.

You'll find all our social there.

So Twitter is at, un banks under
score app app and they're to maintain.

So we're most visible on Twitter.

And of course we appreciate any
feedback on the dev platform.

Sign up to newsletter.

You can email me directly,
Alan, A L A N at Unbanx.

dot me and.

That's in terms of phone banks.

And then if you are interested
in the web three community or the

meet up, and that's just on meetup,, I think web three Dublin.

And we tried an audacious rebrand from
web three Dublin to web three Ireland.

I think half of the stuff says
are, didn't have since opened.

But if you look for web
three Dublin, you'll find us

Niall Maher: You were just
really excited rebrand month.

You're just like, let's
just change everything.

Canva is open double time this month.

Alan McDonald: Absolutely.

I've got too many logos
floating about that place.

Niall Maher: Excellent.

Let's hope you don't have
to do money more in the next

Alan McDonald: Yeah.

Here's hoping.

Niall Maher: Cheers, Alan, for joining me
today and hopefully we'll be catching up

offline very soon.

Alan McDonald: Yeah.


Thanks for having me Niall.

Niall Maher: who knew that having bank in
your business name would cause a rebrand?

Or even that there is a whole
industry made up of transaction data.

I love how nonchalantly Allen
brushes off the hurdles.

He is hitting in his own journey.

If you would like to connect with
Alan or try out Unbanx for yourself?

I will throw all the
links in the show notes.

I'm really excited to see on banks
and the web three community grow

with Alan over the coming years.

I'm hoping to get to his
next event in person.

So if any of you are in the area,
come and join me for a beer or six.

If you haven't already come connect
with me on LinkedIn and Twitter, where

I post more nonsense and I would love
if you could send me a message and let

me know if there are any topics you'd
like me to cover or what you've thought

of the few episodes we have done so far.

Niall: If you enjoyed this episode,
I have a little favorite ask.

If you could leave the podcast a kind
review, it would really help the show out.

It appeases the algorithm gods
and helps me reach new people.

So I really appreciate it.

And until next time, my beautiful friends.

Keep learning and keep growing.