May 23rd, 2019
who are you and what do you do?
My name is Guillaume Verbal, know on the internet as Doweig. French expat living in Thailand. I’m am a Bitcoin entrepreneur, libertarian and meat eater.
What's your background?
How did you get involved in blockchain and lightning network development?
It’s started in 2016, after investing a little bit in bitcoin and Ethereum I got hooked and was looking for opportunities to work in this industry full time. Actually few people know this but my first blockchain job was as developer for Ark, I worked with them from the beginning until main net launch.
I them moved on the create my own e-commerce company in China (where I was living before) and started selling Trezor and Ledger Nano S to Chinese customer. This company is still the biggest hardware wallet reseller in China, still operating strong. (coinwallet.taobao.com).
You're making 12 lightning apps in 12 months, why?
So a problem I had when working on a previous company (clavestone.io) was the lack of customer feedback. People often think that the first step when making your own startup is hiring people, developing for month and then huge launch, everybody talks about you and you’re famous. Truth is, after we spent months working on this and launched, nobody wanted to pay for this product. We spend so much time doing what we thought clients will want, not they actually wanted.
So the bitcoin1212.me project is the opposite, I want to get as close a possible to my app users, ask them feedback before I even launch the product and launch small but often. If it doesn’t work, kill it quick and move on.
where did you get inspiration for this?
I got inspired by Pieter Levels who did this and actually got not one but 2 profitable startups doing this! https://levels.io/12-startups-12-months/
Why the lightning network and not ethereum, and use ERC tokens?
Lightning network is currently the best option for micropayments, Ethereum on-chain fees and lower than Bitcoin’s but are still above $1, not suitable for the use cases I’m working on. Plus you also have to wait for confirmations, not a good user experience.
We need something that confirms in less than 5 seconds and only layer 2 solutions can often that. The only one that’s working: Lightning networks.
Tell us about the apps that you've made so far?
So far I’ve worked on an eventbrite for carnivore meatup that let’s you pay in bitcoins. No2 was a content monetization system, like a crowdfunded medium where user pay together to reveal text and the content written gets paid. No3 was a simple bidding system where the biggest bidder would be "the King” completed with a twitter announcement bot so everybody can know about it.
How do you come up with your ideas?
I have a list of random idea I constantly add, coming up with ideas has not be too difficult to be honest.
The hard part is to figure which one will be interesting for the users and deserve a shot.
What has usership on your apps been like?
It’s been a great learning experience, #1 was too narrow and most people were not interested in it. #2 got a really good buzz at launch and lots of people trying it, the problem is that most users never came back. #3 was fun and some people talked about it, it lacked promotion and marketing. I didn’t really want to push too hard since I know that’s it’s a project where user would not come back most likely.
Can you tell us about, or give us a few hints towards your future projects?
So I’m learning a lot about what people like and how to hook them. I will get a few gaming projects out in the next few month with a betting system integrated.
What do you hope to teach people through doing this? or what do you hope they will take away with them after seeing your apps?
I think Lightning network is a new frontier and that we have a shot at making bitcoin usage mainstream. Build something that can only be done with bitcoin because payment processors would block it, or that people don’t want to learn their credit card information, because of privacy concerns or something like that.
Gambling, Porn and Free Speech are 3 good verticals for bitcoin to reach mainstream I think.
I’m hoping to make the first mainstream app using Lightning Network to be honest.
May 23rd, 2019
First, a personal question, if I may. How is it to live and to code in Bangkok?
Bangkok is great I love it. I lived in Beijing, China for 6 years and moved to Thailand about a year ago. I regret not doing it sooner. Everything is great here, good weather, good food and people are very friendly.
Being based in Thailand, you launch a new bitcoin startup every month, through your bitcoin1212.me, how is it coming along? Tell me about it.
It going good, I’ve mostly been on schedule, lnc4.io is the first one where I took 2 month to build it. Hopefully I can stick in 1 app a month in a feature.
I’m trying to make a bigger gaming cash prize project so I’m breaking it up into multiple apps, improving the platform over time. Lnc4 is the first app from this project.
What was the most successful startup so far?
Has to be https://lightningscratchcard.io/ it did get a good amount of press coverage and got used by almost 1000 people. Biggest issue was to retain users however, it turns out its quite difficult to get people to pay for written content.
Do you not need a physical presence at meetups? What are you most efficient channels of communication?
Social medias are a big ones, I also do talks and meetups to get more coverage in group chats.
Distributed apps has been and still is for many a big hope for many developers engaged in blockchain? Yet so far, most dApps are games. Why do you think it is so?
So I have looked into so many possible industries before starting games, and I’m now convinced it is the best market for Dapps. The reason is the users.
The average bitcoin enthusiast is a white male aged 18-35y, most of those also gamers, its a natural combination. I got this data from previous venture and research on the internet. Roughly 70-80% of users fit this criteria, talk about bias.
Will the realm of dApps ever expand beyond games? Which area outside games has most potential, in your opinion?
After extensive research I found 4 verticals where Dapps could shine:
- Porn: because people don’t want to leave their credit card informations
- Gambling: because regulation makes it difficult for those websites to operate and get paid
- Free speech: Deplatforming for political reasons is becoming more common, those websites will turn to bitcoin to get paid
- micro payment: sub $1, because credit card fees and just too expensive for that
I'm pursuing the micro payments.
I will not ask you the question on the exchange rate of bitcoin to a dollar tomorrow, this question has bugged my life ever since I got into blockchain :) However, how do you see the future of bitcoin blockchain as an ecosysem? How will the Lightning help bitcoin blockchain to grow beyond cryptocurrency?
I think Lightning Network is very promising but will stay a niche payment system for a while, years. Simply because the bitcoin price volatility makes it very difficult for people to use regularly and for business to operate.
So business will only accept bitcoin when everything else failed, until the price become more stable. That will only come with more financial acceptance and regulation around the world.
First store of value, then medium of exchange.
Many new blockchains have been developed since the introduction of the bitcoin blockchain 10 years ago. How would you define areas of application between the major blockchains, such ethereum, stellar, etc?
I think Altcoins are good experiments and I’m following a little what’s happening in the space. Sadly I have yet to see any concrete technology coming out of them.
Bitcoin still leads the adoption and technological side.