The Clubhouse Room Transcript: ChangeNOW & Cake Wallet

PAULINE: Hey everyone who has joined the room! My name is Pauline, I am the CMO of an instant cryptocurrency exchange service called ChangeNOW, and in the room with me is Vik Sharma, the CEO and the founder of the awesome Cake Wallet!

PAULINE: A big day for me, sort of saying! Hey everyone who has joined the room! My name is Pauline, I am the CMO of an instant cryptocurrency exchange service called ChangeNOW, and in the room with me is Vik Sharma, the CEO and the founder of the awesome Cake Wallet! So, I have a few questions prepared today just to keep the discussion flowing smoother, but if anyone has any questions or anything to say or add to the discussion, feel free to raise your hand. I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a good time today! 

VIK: Good, thanks for putting this together! Also, I’m glad to finally talk to you, I guess, ‘in person’, in voice, after communicating over Telegram for three years now. 

PAULINE: Yeah!

VIK: Looking forward to this. 

PAULINE: Awesome! Considering that we haven’t really talked in voice ever, and I’ve been moving between projects for the past few months, I haven’t really had the chance to see what great things you have done with Cake Wallet. How are you doing these days, Vik, how’s everything with the development, with the user base and whatnot?

VIK: You know, when we first built the app properly, we wanted to do a few things — and we wanted to do them really well. I think we've achieved that by the feedback we get and the user growth we were seeing every week and every month. Our goal is to continue that, just focus on a few tasks at a time, perfect them, and then move on to the next tasks. So, everything’s going well! Well beyond my expectations even, I have to say. 

PAULINE: That’s super good! And I know that you’ve been expanding for asset selection lately. I know that you now support Bitcoin wallets! I know the question like “Why did you do that?” would be not really productive, but could you tell us a little bit about what led you to the decision to start supporting other currencies other than Monero in Cake? 

VIK: No, I think that’s a very good question. That’s the question we’ve thought about and that we would definitely get asked by the Monero community. Basically, Cake’s done a few things. One is our partnership with you, ChangeNOW. As we’ve seen most of the exchanges, probably, 90% of the exchanges that have been at Cake Wallet using ChangeNOW are Bitcoin to Monero. We just wanted to make it easy for users so they could do it all in one wallet — and that’s been received well by people.

And the second reason was — I have to admit — Bitcoin is the face of cryptocurrency, the most popular thing, so I just felt that we had to support it. Also, [we wanted] to bring in Bitcoin users and — you know, our hope is that some Bitcoin maximalists and Bitcoin users will use Cake Wallet, and we’ll introduce them to Monero. All those three reasons combine. 

PAULINE: That’s a really good plan! Have you done any customer development among Bitcoin maximalists? Because we all know that that crowd is pretty peculiar. These guys are very held on pushing Bitcoin as the main cryptocurrency. And when exposed to the very idea of all coins being out there, they sort of meet it very negatively (at least, judging by my own experience). Have you seen any Bitcoin maximalists actually get converted into Monero or is that yet to happen?

VIK: We’ve definitely done something at Bitcoin Twitter and through our support tickets, where somebody’s a big believer, believer in Bitcoin. Now that they’ve seen something like Monero and that they’ve understood the issues of privacy and fungibility, they do understand the ethos behind Monero. So yeah, we’ve definitely seen some of that, but you don’t want to generalize all Bitcoin users and maximalists. There are some that will shut their brain off and not look at anything and call everything else a shitcoin, but there seems to be some respect for Monero within the Bitcoin community. I think Monero is conducted properly — and it’s respected.  

PAULINE: That is a really good answer to a very good question. I personally believe the world of cryptocurrency should be welcoming to people from other asset communities, for example, Bitcoiners opening their eyes to other altcoins which are good in some other ways. If we’re talking about Monero, it’s a ton more private than Bitcoin. And you know, nocoiners also need a really good exposure to crypto, if you want crypto to be even more widespread in the world! 

You’ve also mentioned building the protocol; it is built really well, and we all know that Monero is an open-source currency and it has been that way ever since I can remember. When we tried to come into contact with the Monero community, the first question I think they asked was: “Are you guys open-source”? And when we said that we were not, some people didn’t take it very well. I think it was back in 2018. 

What I want to talk about right now is — what are the pros, what are the cons of Monero being an open-source currency? Because we all know that open-source projects are good in many ways, but there are also some caveats of Monero being open-source. For example, a lot of people developing the projects within the Monero community do not really make money out of this development. So, what do you think are the pros and cons of Monero being open-source?

VIK: I think there are definitely more pros than cons. [One of] the pros that come to mind is the fact that [being] open-source sticks with the original cypherpunk mentality of not having a centralized entity dictating things. That’s the number-one pro, I would say, the biggest one. The Monero community definitely holds on to that mentality very strongly and promotes it. Of course, open-source gives whoever’s involved in the community some sort of safety; this code is being reviewed by thousands of people and you do have a consensus that nothing shady is going on. The only negative [thing] that may make the development slower is the fact you don’t have a centralized authority saying “OK guys, this is what we’re doing next, that’s it”. 

In Cake Wallet, we didn’t seek permission from anybody in Monero because it’s an open-source project, open-source code that’s out there, and everybody has access to it. I don’t think there are many cons to it. When we [Cake Wallet] first launched, we were closed-source. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know that open-source was. As soon as we launched, that’s the number-one feedback we got from the community, and [it happened] over and over again: that was kinda tiring. So, within two weeks of launching we went open-source, and I think I have to give credit to our acceptance and rise in the Monero community. 

PAULINE: We’re also not totally open-source yet, but we do have some open-source libraries in open access that people can build upon, and I think there is something really beautiful in this fact. There is no way for us to motivate people to create something based on the open-source libraries but they still do it because they want to create something. It’s a really beautiful thing in the IT community that people sometimes just take the source code of something and build something on their own. And talking about finances, as I know that you recently launched a Monero research foundation — I think it was a few months ago — how is it going so far?

VIK: No, we didn’t launch it. We’re considering launching something like that to have a more centralized way of funding Monero development — but we never did launch it, this was just in the discussion that we had with you. The purpose was to [get] companies benefiting from all the work that’s put into Monero to give back more often to the Monero community and its development. Namely, more to the Monero Research Lab. That was just an idea, you know, we’re just talking about it. Still, we should focus more on that and have a larger try to get funding and donations for Monero, I still believe it is just like that.

PAULINE: Well, I mean even though the Monero Research Foundation haven’t launched, which is very sad, we still love the Monero community a lot. Speaking of which, today we’ve made a donation to the Monero Research Lab — I believe it’s the Bitcoin address that’s on the GetMonero website. Right now, we have this exchange service called XMRExchange.io where we collect the exchange fees from people who do exchanges on it, and it’s been doing very well recently. Today, we donated .02 BTC, something like $1500, and as soon as the ChangeNOW’s affiliate profile lets people withdraw the profits, — there has been a little issue with that — we are going to donate another $3000.

We really believe that even though Monero is sort of moving away from the spotlight right now — we are going to talk about it a little later — everything about Ethereum is sort of being the high top, and we’re seeing the rise of NFTs and whatnot, but in the age where internet privacy is going extinct, it’s becoming more of a luxury every single day, every single month, every single year. I think that assets like Monero will always have their place in the market, especially considering that Monero is one of the biggest privacy assets. 

Yeah, what do you think about the current climate of the crypto market? I’ve talked about NFTs and Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges, but do you think this is just something that is going to pass — or this is just a way that we’re sort of living in? 

VIK: I think, more importantly, we’re getting the fact that something that has its value doesn’t have to be something you touch. A medium of exchange has no value. I think the whole mindset in the concept of money — and not even just money: just collectibles, for example, NFTs — that even though you can’t touch it, it does have value. Especially the NFTs — the uniqueness of it — you see that definitely more and more people you talk to are starting to buy into or understand that concept. I think we’re still [inaudible] or anybody who’s involved in crypto or people who are just getting into it, don’t know what to do. It’s early, it’s still early, and over the next 10 years, it’s going to be even more amazing than it was in the last 10 years.

PAULINE: So, from your perspective as a privacy fan, as a Monero fan — do you think that NFTs are actually something that will have value in, say, a couple of years from now, or people going to sort of like forget about it? Because what NFTs are looking like right now is just.. a fad is going to. We’re seeing a lot of skeptics who also come from the nocoiner side of things, who are talking about how NFTs — if you look at it from the money sort of things, from the outside perspective, — they are not something that has longevity to it. What do you think?

VIK: I think it’s equivalent to art, — it’s in the “beauty and values are in the eye of the beholder”. If somebody has created something and people like it, then it has value, similar to art. The actual canvas, the paints — things that are used — really have no value, but it’s the creator and the feeling and the thought process that goes behind it is what gives it value. So I think the same thing with NFTs. Maybe it’s overhyped right now, maybe. But I think it’s more well-known content creators like Kings of Leon — put out the [inaudible] as an NFT, I think what Elon Musk [inaudible] NFT, Jack Dorsey selling his tweets as NFTs. So, you know, I think that’s going to make that mainstream. Will everything that’s hyped up today be worth something a year from now, 10 years from now? Who knows how this goes. It’s truly based on what you think it’s worth, like anything else. I think it’s exciting. I think it’s here to stay as well.

PAULINE: That’s very well said, thank you so much! I have talked with a few people who are on the “NFTs are cool” side of things. I follow Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park, he has been very outspoken about NFTs and things like that, but I’ve also seen some pretty healthy criticism on NFTs. You know, it makes me really happy to hear that even people supporting the other side of crypto like privacy coins say something good about NFTs. That’s really great. 

Speaking of the current atmosphere of Ethereum sort of being dominant in crypto [inaudible] Bitcoin, because there are a lot of NFTs on Ethereum and DEXs on Ethereum. The privacy coins had their [inaudible], I think, a couple of years ago, when we’ve seen a lot of projects pop up like Verge, Dash, ZCash, ZCoin, which is called Firo right now. Do you think that privacy coins are going to occupy the same place in the crypto market that they did back in 2018-2019? Because right now, less than a year ago, we’ve seen a wave of cryptocurrency exchanges [inaudible] privacy coins for various reasons. Do you think privacy coins are going to develop further and get further recognition in the market, or are they just going to remain in the same position they are right now?

VIK: A lot of points in that question. Regarding the banning, 10 years ago even Bitcoin was used in Silk Road and purely used on the darknet market for drugs and [inaudible]. You know, there was a fear about Bitcoin, and everybody wanted to ban it. It grew out of that reputation and can do its own, and solely now it’s become digital gold, where nobody really wants to spend it — they just store it and stash it.

I think the same thing will happen with privacy coins. You know, right now there is a fear of privacy coins: they think it’s scary, something from the darknet markets. And it is being used there, but as I remind everyone, so was Bitcoin. So, I think, the first knee-jerk reaction for exchanges and maybe governments is to ban it, but just like Bitcoin, if people want this, they want to use it. Let’s come up with a framework and a system where these types of currencies can be used, just the same that we saw our regulations with Bitcoin — rules and laws to make it acceptable by governments and the masses. I think we will see that happen with the privacy coins as well. 

And that leads to another question, I guess, since Bitcoin was first created as a peer-to-peer currency, but nobody is really doing that — there is buying, trading, or stashing it. That leaves room for an actual currency to be used, and I think a privacy coin like Monero is the best candidate for that actual point on a daily basis.

PAULINE: But again, if we’re talking about a certain asset, if we’re talking about Monero, Monero has its mass adoption. We’ve seen that Bitcoin has been getting more and more tightly regulated, especially in the USA, because if you want — from the point of the legislative people, from the point of the law, — if you want something to be widespread, there has to be a certain set of rules that regulate it. And we’ve seen Bitcoin getting more and more tightly regulated from literally every legislative authority in the world, especially in the arena of the US — how do you think that ties into Monero mass adoption? Because we know Monero is a privacy coin — therefore it is fairly hard to regulate because you can’t really see what went where, who sent what.

Are we going to see more Monero mass adoption for, as you mentioned, commerce and things like that? Do you think regulating it will be easy, and do you think it will ever be as regulated as Bitcoin? 

VIK: If there’s a public need and demand, this is something we want to use. Just as it happened to Bitcoin — the masses said “Hey, we want this. We want to use it”, and there were frameworks that had to come up to allow users to own it, trade it, whatever. Different countries have different rules, different laws — so if there is a true demand for Monero or any privacy coin, I think those frameworks will come up. And, you know, the other thing is cash. If you’d be a person who works purely in cash, and at some point, you’d be going to buy something — a car, a house — you would have to do something which would reveal that you have more cash than you show. I think the same thing happened to Bitcoin, Monero, or anything, really. When you actually use it for some real-world application, that will reveal your wealth, and that may open you to getting [inaudible] it. And the reality that matters — I mean, I’m not an anarchist, honestly — we do live in a civilization with governments and rules and laws, and yes, there are some you like, some you don’t like, people feel there are too many laws, people feel there are not enough laws. But the fact is we do live in a structure. We live in civilization. I think they said — just like cash, it will come around so you have this. So, it’s up to the user to declare what they have and pay taxes on it. I think there will have to be some framework to allow privacy coins to be used and flourish. 

PAULINE: [inaudible] to that! As someone who works with the service where Monero is one of the most popular assets, I would like to see even more widespread mass adoption for it. As I’ve already mentioned, privacy is something that’s getting harder and harder to come by, especially with big corporations imposing on your data as hard as they are right now — and this is not a situation that is going to ease up anytime soon, in my opinion.

But the next question I’m going to ask is something that I have personally been wondering a lot about, and it’s something like — what is Monero used for right now if we’re talking about it as a means of exchange, not just a store of value? If we put all questionable practice to the side, even though we know Monero is being used for that — it’s not really about it, it’s not ever been really about it, at least I don’t think so. But what do you see Monero being used for right now practically?

VIK: You know, let me speak for myself. You see what other people are using it for, but I can only speak for Cake Wallet. For example, we use it to pay our developers who are in different countries, people that may be in different states or in different countries. It’s very fast, very secure, so we use it on a monthly basis. 

What can it be used for? There are VPN services, there are hosting services that accept Monero, I’m sure there are non-dark web markets out there that use Monero, I just haven’t looked into it. I think there’s a private jet company that has just started taking Monero — so there’s definitely some adoption out there. And, like I said, we use it internally in Cake Wallet. 

PAULINE: And do you think that... we all know that a lot of cryptos, a lot of protocols — they sort of change, adapt to the current situation in the market. Do you see Monero being… I wouldn’t use the word “edited” because it sounds kind of corny, but do you think the Monero protocol will adapt to the future regulations, maybe could it be any less private so that it would be easier to use — so it would be like easier-tracked transactions and stuff like that? 

VIK: No. The Monero community definitely would not allow that. And if that were to happen, Monero would hard fork into the original beliefs of Monero. I don’t see that happening at all. Monero already has a feature where you as a user — or a sender — could choose to reveal your transaction. That feature is already there, and not many people know about that. For example, an illegal activity took place, we feel it was you — you can reveal your transactions and show all about the transaction: the amount sent, the receiver. You can update that privacy once your transaction is done. I think not many people know: they think it’s fully private all the time and you can never reveal it — but you can choose it anytime as a user. 

PAULINE: So if we use the feature where we can reveal the details of the transaction, Monero basically becomes a version of Bitcoin — just faster and more secure and more private, right? 

VIK: Yeah, exactly. Bitcoin is open all the time, while in Monero, you can choose to reveal certain transactions if you want.

PAULINE: That sounds really awesome. I’m actually one of those people who never really knew about the feature. When we see people talking about Monero, the main thing they’re talking about is how it’s private, but almost never about how it’s fast, or how it’s cheap, or how you can basically make your conscious decision on whether you reveal your transaction history or reveal details about a certain transaction. And this is something that I’m going to remember! But where do you think Monero is going in 2021 and onwards? Because we are meant to talk about Monero mass adoption — do you think something is going to change drastically in the nearest future, or do you think that Monero will be sort of the same popularity as it is right now? 

VIK: Sure. Before I answer that, let me add something to your revealing transactions’ question. So, there’s a thing called the transaction’s key — not a transaction ID, a transaction key. And in Cake Wallet, if you go to your transaction details, not only will you see the transaction IDs for all your sent transactions, but you’ll also see something like the transaction key — and you can use that! I don’t have all the information in front of me right now, but that’s how we allow users to do that. If they need to reveal a transaction, they use a transaction key. I am just letting the users and the listeners know about this feature. 

PAULINE: Of course, thank you so much! 

VIK: And where is Monero going? Monero does continue to make itself better and more secure, it is always improving. For example, the next update will be [about] increasing the ring size. Just over the last three years with the bulletproof implementation, the transaction size decreased by 80% or 90%. Before it all, it cost you $2 for a transaction, now it costs you under a penny, which is a massive leap for Monero. Monero is always looking at the latest advanced technologies. I think, over the next two or three years, we’ll see more amazing stuff like that. 

Adoption was... Again, it comes down to Bitcoin users realizing that the blockchain is open and they want to transact in something more private. I think that all the listeners feel uncomfortable [about] sending Bitcoin. “Oh no, where’s this gonna go? Where’s Bitcoin gonna go after two or six blocks? Is it going to come back to me? Where did this Bitcoin come from before it came to me?” With Monero, you don’t have that problem. I think adoption will grow purely for that reason — and the fees, of course. Right now, if you send 100 dollars in Bitcoin spending 10 dollars — it’s 10%, while it’s under a penny and superfast in Monero, so… I think those two things will drive [both] the use and adoption. 

PAULINE: And that’s amazing! As you have mentioned, tainted Bitcoin is a bit of a problem right now in the Bitcoin community: not every Bitcoin was created equal, and not every Bitcoin is equal of itself — because some of the coins that might get sent to you have been used somewhere not really good (illegal or criminal activities, and so on). I know there’s even this thing called ‘dust attack’ using someone’s address to compromise their entire wallet. The fact that Monero eliminates that problem is very amazing.  

VIK: Just the fact that you have dirty Bitcoin — that alone should be a wake-up call for everybody.

PAULINE: Well, yeah! The fact that tainted Bitcoin could be recognized on the blockchain — on the one hand, it’s good because then you can track illegal activities or from what wallet it went, right? For the end-users, for the person who pays for their coffee in Bitcoin, or for the person who has their life savings in Bitcoin — that can be a really, really huge problem.

So yeah, actually, I’m really happy to know that Monero is still a bustling community which has a lot of development to do and is doing a lot of development. It sort of makes my heart warm that privacy coins are not going anywhere, that they’re here to stay, and Monero is the biggest of them. I know that most privacy coins have been delisted, but Monero somehow always stays — it is really, really great, and it’s so beautiful. 

VIK: I have a question for you.

PAULINE: Sure! 

VIK: So, you’ve probably heard about atomic swaps — chain-to-chain swaps between Monero and Bitcoin? 

PAULINE: I have heard about it. I think atomic swaps have been in the public eye ever since I joined this space in 2018. Back then, everyone was thinking about it as a huge upcoming technology, and the only atomic swaps I think I’ve heard about were made from the Binance Smart Chain to the Ethereum chain — if there is such a thing now. But yes, I don’t think I’ve heard about cross-chain swaps from Bitcoin to Monero that were not facilitated through a crypto exchange. 

VIK: Right. So, that has actually been demonstrated in the last three weeks on the testnet — and it seems to work. How do you think that would impact your business? Not just Monero and Bitcoin — any atomic swaps. 

PAULINE: This is a very good question, a question that we have been asking ourselves for the last, I think, two years ever since the technology first came into the public eye. Well, for ChangeNOW as a service, this is something that we acknowledge. We know the technology is being a middle service between the end customer and the cryptocurrency exchange, it facilitates trading and stuff like that. As you’ve already mentioned, the technology is going to become outdated — most likely in several years, probably when atomic swaps are something that is cheap, easy, convenient, and everything like that. Well, we are totally aware of that, and we are working on developing the ecosystem so that the things that we do are not just crypto exchanges. Right now, we’re looking into what else we could do, how else we can employ our expertise to make the crypto space better and bigger, more accessible to people. If atomic swaps do get popular, then we will find out a way to employ that into our business. And if that doesn’t work — we’ll see if we can do something else.

ChangeNOW as a business has always been about adopting and adapting to the current circumstances. This isn’t something that scares us too much, I would say. Remember when atomic swaps were introduced back in 2018, and there has been a lot of talk about the atomic DEXs — but nothing came of it? In my opinion and our opinion as a company, I think that it would be better for the community if they did come live, but we do not really know when it’s going to happen on such a big scale. So, there could be cross-chain swaps between Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum, there could be cross-chain swaps between, for example, Bitcoin and Monero or Bitcoin and the other fork chains, but there’ll always be trading pairs that are going to be more obscured. That’s where we should come in handy, I think. For example, if you try to swap Monero to some obscured token on the Ethereum chain, this is not something that would be done easily, so I guess this could be a place where we could come to help. But if cross-chain swaps between Bitcoin and Monero do come live on the network, that’s going to be really great for the community — it would be a much easier and cheaper way to move between blockchains. I personally think it’s really cool.

VIK: Cool!

PAULINE: Do you know when it’s going to come live, when it’s going to go off the testnet? 

VIK: I don’t know, actually, maybe somebody else in the room could answer that. From the Cake Wallet’s standpoint, the biggest question is — how easy is it going to be for a common non-techy person? If it’s going to be a command line, then that’s going to be on us to develop a nice GUI, a nice interface to make it user-friendly. We’re still far away from that. We’re going to be asked that question all the time, I think, — when atomic swaps will be live, when you guys have them in Cake Wallet... But yes, we’re definitely going to try turning them on in Cake Wallet. 

PAULINE: As you’ve already mentioned, if atomic swaps are going to be something that only a person with some coding experience can deal with, then we could be able to become a service facilitating this, developing a GUI, writing guides and instructions, and making the entire process as easy as it gets. We’re going to keep an eye on that, thank you for mentioning. And we’ll see what happens when it goes live, and I’m pretty sure that we will find our place and that entire thing. 

Well, we have one raised hand, Basil has been very patient! I’m really sorry for not letting you speak earlier, but you have the mike.

BASIL: Yes, [I am there], thank you for... the atmosphere. I would also add a few questions if you don’t mind. They got privacy coin massive adoption, so I would ask because I have seen the headlines [about] the fellow crypto exchanges like Changelly... [inaudible] So Cake Wallet, I just want to ask if you see any kind of eventual possibility where ChangeNOW in particular will be more [inaudible] maybe from blocking Monero transactions going forward?

PAULINE: Well, all I can say about this is that right now we don’t really see the need to track every Monero transaction because that would impede upon the user experience a whole lot. As you’ve already mentioned, an exchange like Changelly or any other service facilitating exchanges from one asset to Monero or vice versa can be a bid damper on business. If you see every Monero transaction that means that people who use services like ChangeNOW, for example, specifically to stay anonymous and private with their financial operations, are just going to leave, they are just going to stop using the service.

On the other hand, we have always respected the law, we always monitor all the new and upcoming financial regulations and stuff like that. But the main point in this is that we are going to keep relying on our risk management system which only puts suspicious transactions on hold, and we’re going to keep doing that until we legally are unable to do so. You know, introducing monitoring KYC for all of our customers like ShapeShift — this is something we’re not planning on doing until we absolutely have to. We understand that a big part of our clientele are the people who do not wish to be over-exposed — if that’s the correct phrasing, — to share more data with anything on the Internet. 

I don’t think you have anything to worry about right now. If we see that you’re suspicious, we are going to hold your transaction, but if you are a law-abiding citizen, then you don’t have anything to worry about. This is what I have to say right now. We'll see the changes, because we know that regulatory authorities really-really like introducing various regulations and laws, but for now, we’re in the clear. For now, we can do things our way, and if there’s anything that will change that, we will definitely let everybody know. I hope that answered your question. 

BASIL: It does, but I have another one. A suspicious transaction... what parameters are basically used to mark a transaction as suspicious? If one could flag suspicious activity, it’s also possible that it could be a false positive. A legitimate transaction could also be flagged.

PAULINE: Of course! We have a thing called a risk management system which employs a variety of anti-money laundering tools. We are also very much in touch with the Crypto Defenders Alliance — I don’t know if you know about these guys, but this is basically a collective of crypto enthusiasts who watch over what happens on the blockchain, what happens in the space with regard to various exchange hacks or wallet compromises, and right now, also smart contracts and various decentralized exchange protocols. If they find some addresses that have been compromised, they send it our way and we check them on our side as well. 

Also, I guess you were wondering what the criteria for suspicious transactions are, and this is something that I’m not authorized to disclose, unfortunately. If I were to tell you that you have to be this and that in order for your transaction to be flat, this opens a huge space for people to abuse these criteria. If it falls positive, we always give the customer a choice whether to continue the exchange and pass the KYC procedure, or to say “You know what, I don’t think this is something that’s working for me” — and then we issue them the refund and they leave. 

According to our current statistics, I think less than 5% of exchanges are flagged for KYC. I might be mistaken, but this is something that I looked up about a month ago. The chance that your transaction is going to be held as suspicious because it falls positive are, I would say, extremely low. And we’re always ready to listen to our customers, and if you have any feedback about your transaction, if you think it was flagged as a false positive one, you can always let us know and we will try to figure out the solution for you. Our customers are our main priority, and we always do our best to take care of them to the best of our ability. If there’s something that you think is wrong, you can always let us know on social media or via the support team, and we will do our best to help you out. I hope this was helpful to you!

BASIL: More than, thank you!

PAULINE: Thank you so much Basil! Hey Jack! I’m going to give you the right to speak right now. 

JACK: Hi! I was just going to ask a quick question that applies to the Cake Wallet app. What we see on ChangeNOW and Cake Wallet in the app — ‘cause 2021 was obviously a bull market, a lot of transactions going on, I would imagine that increase of users since maybe March, maybe I’m wrong... If [there are] more transactions, for example, as more people adopt Monero and other cryptos, are we likely to see the same amount of fees? Around a similar percentage, or we’re likely to see an increase? 

VIK: Definitely a decrease. I mean, Pauline can [inaudible] for this, but we’re always looking for [inaudible]. Cake Wallet is doing that permanently, so if there’s more adoption, we’re gonna lower the fees as much as possible. Also, because there’s competition, you can’t outprice yourself. Since we’re talking about fees — if you do a Bitcoin-to-Monero exchange on Cake Wallet, we’re going to refund your network fee in Bitcoin, so look for that later on this week. That should be exciting. 

PAULINE: Oh yeah! 

VIK: So, answering your question [inaudible] — lower fees make it easier for users to exchange cheaply. I think, ChangeNOW is...

PAULINE: Oh yeah! At our end, we prefer to operate from the standpoint of rates. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the rates for our customers to make sure that they get the most favorable rates in the market. As Vik has already said, there’s a lot of competition coming up, and it is healthy, and we have to do what we can to keep up with the times, give our customers the best service we can, and make our service as accessible to anyone and everyone in the space as possible. 

There is one thing to keep in mind — if we’re talking about exchanges from and to Bitcoin and from and to Ethereum, [there are] enormous network fees right now. This is something that we have been seeing for a while because we are in a bull market right now. Just to keep this in mind — this is something that we cannot really influence. We are constantly looking for ways to minimize network fees with a few tricks we have been working on. With the business growing, making fees higher and higher so that our customers suffer is not something that we have ever had on our priority list. Hope that answered your question. 

JACK: Yes! Thank you Pauline! What you’ve said about refunding a transaction fee whatever the fee was — that sounds great as well. As you’ve said, the transaction fees of Bitcoin may be unreasonable: sending someone $20 and paying a $10 transaction fee is madness. I have a question for Cake Wallet. Any user that has an iPhone that is obviously so user-friendly [can use] Cake Wallet and ChangeNOW — where, I think, I first bought my [crypto]. The CakeWallet app didn’t work so well, you always have this fee problem — and I know where it comes from. But now it’s great, if there’s a scope for it to come down, you don’t have a plan on increasing it — that’s cool. Thank you for answering my question!

 PAULINE: You are very welcome! 

VIK: And another solution might be to introduce another crypto wallet. I mean, right now it’s already there — for example, Litecoin. If you go to the Monero subreddit on Reddit, you’ll see a lot of users say they won’t use Bitcoin or convert it to Monero. They use Litecoin just because the network fees are so much lower. There are things you could do as a user to lower your cost exposure. 

PAULINE: Yeah! Basically, if you would like to send money cheap and fast, literally any crypto other than Bitcoin and Ethereum would be a very good choice because the fees are lower, and the speed is significantly higher — Monero transactions take seconds, Litecoin transactions take seconds. I think the only significantly slower crypto that is more or less popular is Bitcoin Cash: their block times are fairly low. Still, anything other than that would work, for example, for exposing a nocoiner to crypto and showing them that crypto is actually really-really good.

VIK: Pauline, thank you very much! 

PAULINE: You’re very welcome! It has been a really good discussion, and I’ve had a lot of fun. And I think the perfect question to wrap it up would be — where is Cake Wallet going to go in 2021, what do you guys see for yourself coming up? 

JACK: You know, the end goal of all this is Monero being directly [inaudible] on the Monero without any single step further than that. We are putting intermediary stuff [inaudible] within two weeks, and maybe even this week you will be able to buy Bitcoin with your credit or debit card. Then, there’s a built-in exchange backed by ChangeNOW to convert to Monero. Those are the long-term and short-term goals. The short-term goal is to provide a fiat provider through a third-party [inaudible] the two-step process to Monero, and the long-term [one] is definitely to go directly to and from Monero to some fiat.

PAULINE: Sounds great, can’t wait for that to happen! We will be sure to give you guys the additional support, because you’ve been really great to us, and our main priority is to be great to our partners — especially such long-term partners as Cake. Thank you Vik so-so much for being ready to show up. I know it’s really early where you are. 

VIK: Not that early at all!

PAULINE: Again, thank you for showing up, this has been really fun! And thank you so much who showed up to listen to the room, I thank you Basil and Jack for asking your questions, they have been super fun. I hope everyone has a super great day!

VIK: Thanks everyone for coming and supporting us!

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