Making Monero More Accessible – Interview with Vikrant Sharma, the Founder of Cake Wallet

hey everyone and welcome back to my
channel girl gone crypto I am really excited as you can tell I've got my cake
wallet shirt on today to have Vik the founder of cake wallet so Vik thank you
so much for coming on the show today yeah thanks for having me so just to
start out can you tell us a little bit about what cake wallet is and why you
decided to create this wallet yeah yeah good question so cake wallet is a Manero
specific wallet for ios and android so we launched the iOS version in 2018
january and we launched the Android version just now in January 2020 the
main purpose of cake wallet is to purely just make Manero usable because before
before cake wallet I think you know is very difficult I mean there's a web
wallet thanks to fluffy pony which is great but but there is no wallet that
you can use on the go and in 2017 I ran across Manero and I started studying it
and and looked at it and even today I probably understand 1% of it but I
really like the community I like the technology I like the philosophy behind
it and decided to jump in and make a mobile wallet so tell us a little bit
about what drew you to Manero in the first place and to privacy coins in
general yeah it's it's kind of a funny story
I'll just go a little more back to 2013 or was it 14 when Bitcoin went up to
$1,000 and that's when it caught everyone's attention including mine and
instead of buying Bitcoin I started mining it I bought a ASIC miner off of
ebay and sandesh this kid helped me set it up and
I started mining and it was great I was mining like point to Bitcoin a day
Bitcoin it crashed yeah it's pretty good but Bitcoin did crash did $200 at that
time but still it was fun for a while and but you know there was really no use
of Bitcoin it was just there people are buying it people are sending it to each
other back and forth so I thought let me let me see what this dark net market the
dark markets is all about and my wife wanted antibiotics I thought okay let me
try it well we try to use it let me try to try to use it so I bought some
antibiotics of alpha alpha market do you remember alpha market I've heard of it
yeah and yeah I don't know if it's there anymore and I paid through my coin base
account and like within a day coinbase sent me a message saying we're canceling
your your account please move your coins and funds whatever you have you violated
our Terms of Use through illicit use bla bla bla so I I didn't understand that
about Bitcoin right I think like many people don't that it's truly traceable
whatever you do is out there for public knowledge and if somebody really wants
to know where you're spending like coinbase
wants to know they knew and then they shut me off but at the same time on
Alpha Bay there's another coin called Manero and I thought you know why why
only Bitcoin in Manero why not theory and why not – or what other
popular coins that were popular back then and that's when I that's how I got
into Monero because I found it really interesting that why would why would
they only host this one Bitcoin or accept this other coin so that's how I
went down the rabbit hole and you know I think for me it's more about the
privacy of using Manero not how you acquire Monero or avoiding taxes or
things like that for me it's about a privacy of use which which equates to
money right I mean right now you can get paid by your employer and that's okay
government knows you know everybody knows okay this employer paid you but
once you have those funds how you use it nobody knows nobody has to know you can
withdraw cash and you can pay cash nobody would know how you used it so
it's it's funny how the rules for Bitcoin or much stricter than rules for
cash right yeah I mean you're when I pay my pay my lawn maintenance guy I'm not
doing kyc on him right but on on Bitcoin you have to do or on crypto in general
you have to do kyc for pretty much everything you want to do and it's even
kyc see it's know your customers customer or even kyc see see or know
your customers customer I mean it's endless
and I think Monero kind of solves the problem and of course the fungibility
issue that's huge for in you know monero community that's the word that's thrown
around all the time right we put the fun in fungibility I love that you know I
you see on Twitter all the time now right fresh mind Bitcoin are worth more
and you've seen tweets from even Bitcoin maximalist say don't send me Bitcoin
unless it's coin join or mixed or something you know and somehow they
think that makes it clean and now you see exchanges one accept Bitcoin that's
been that's been mixed or put through some kind of a you know what sabe wallet
or whatever and that's a great wallet I'm not knocking it by any means I'm
just speaking on the mixing aspect of it so I saw they know and that that makes
me like Monaro even more so I have a question with Bitcoin because I think
your story is really interesting because one of the things that I I hear people
say sometimes even people that are kind of within the privacy coin arena is that
in some ways Bitcoin could be considered a privacy coin because it has such a
massive amount of transactions that even though it is traceable the likelihood or
the ability for people to sort through that is is smaller so you have a certain
amount of anonymity from that I'm just curious cuz that's something I hear from
other people and I'm just curious what your thoughts are on that yeah I mean
sure you can hope and pray that you don't get found out you get lost you
know just the same way you hope you don't get audited by the IRS if you're
if you're doing some illegal transactions you're not declaring income
but is that a way to live I mean to you know hoping you don't get caught and I
think that that belief in Bitcoin that is so much is going on you won't get
caught yeah probably but I think with AI and and processing power increasing year
after year and more companies and governments are getting involved in
tracking it I think to hide is gonna get tougher and tougher and again Manero is
not for hiding it's for privacy it's two different things so what is your
relationship kind of going back to cake wallet here with fluffy pony and the
Monaro team do you work directly with them or are you just kind of built
completely separately or what what does that relationship look like well you
know this was the first app first crypto app that we created so we just wanted to
we didn't know if we're gonna succeed we don't know if we to fail so we just did
it in a vacuum right we didn't go to the community for funding I didn't go i
funded this my wife and i funded this completely on our own there's no outside
investors so initially we didn't work with the community we just went on our
own and we just read the websites and did whatever
research we could but since then I've gotten really involved with the
community you know I sponsor events as sponsor
meetups I sponsor other shows as sponsor conferences fluffy ponies great he's
been very supportive of what cake is doing he's always nice enough to show up
at our at our parties well we've had two parties and you showed up to the first
one Adam cut a cake and he jokingly said
okay I think Nick and I are married now in New York we do the party right during
consents this week so we actually have a cake which Pat Chen I don't know if you
know Pat and he also runs a meet-up so he usually brings a actual cake with
the cake log on and we cut it up and serve it to everybody so he's been he's
been a lot of fun and very supportive and we become friends since then it's
been good so speaking of cake actually one of the things I wanted to say is I
love your branding and the naming and like the logo I just think that that all
is really strong and not just because I really love cake I just was kind of
curious what is the story or the inspiration behind the name well at that
time in 2000 end of 2017 I'd say the most popular iPhone wallet for Bitcoin
was bread wallet and for litecoin is loaf wallet and I think cerium will
ripple and which one of those is toast wallet I think it's the Aramis toast
wallet so I just wanted to go with the bakery theme so you know when people
think of Bitcoin they would think red water and people think like linda.thank
loaf wallet and when people think of an arrow I want them to think cake wallet
and I think it pretty much has become synonymous with Monero we've done really
well so speaking of that actually tell me a little bit more about kind of a
year marketing strategy that's always something I'm really interested in
hearing from companies I know you mentioned that you
guys do a lot of sponsorships but just kind of in general what's your marketing
approach well I mean initially it was it was marketing within the Monaro
community you know we're always I'm always tweeting you know posting on
Reddit a lot and we started a meetup group you know Monero talked dug from a
narrow talk yeah so he and I started the meetup group in New York
along with morph token do you know morph token it's an exchange they're in cake
wallet okay so we started a meetup group in New York and we were doing it pretty
consistently every two months hosting hosting meetups and we'd get a good
turnout there but I think since January of this year I'm trying to break out of
the Monaro bubble and it's a great bubble to be and you know the community
is fantastic but I think to educate people more about privacy and oanero and
cake wallet which which all go together and in my view we've been I've been
trying to tweet more and outside of our monaro community I think now we're kind
of getting to be well-known in the in CT and crypto Twitter so so that's that's
my goal for this year is to try to break out of the Monaro world and try to get
people involved and they'll say oh what is cake wallet what is Manero what is
privacy and start asking those questions actually now nowadays you see privacy is
a huge thing on crypto Twitter right I mean that's every fourth tweet is my
privacy it's amazing or maybe it's the Twitter AI is showing
me those tweets more no I think you're right I am seeing way more conversations
around privacy not even just on crypto Twitter but even just amongst like my
normal friend group that I have in person like people that aren't even
really into crypto or seem like they're becoming more aware of their own data
and their privacy a little more so I would definitely
with that in general I think it's a pretty big topic of conversation in the
world right now when you leave when you leave our little crypto community when
you go into real world it's amazing how 99% of people don't own
any Bitcoin even Bitcoin forget manera or anything or they don't even know
crypto or how it works it I find it amazing and when we live in our bubble
we think the whole world is using you know everyone's on cake wallet using
Monero but then you got in the real world and I think the growth is still to
come and one thing you just kind of in general I'm curious about in terms of
privacy coins so one thing that I really love about what you guys are doing is
that you are trying to make Manero more accessible to people right having an
actual like iOS app that people can use makes the user experience so much better
and so much easier for just kind of everyday people to learn how to use and
to acquire privacy coins and so in general what do you think are the kind
of the factors that will come into play that will increase the adoption of
Monero and privacy coins in general yeah I think it comes down to usability right
you can have the best technology out there but if only the total geeks and
nerds and I don't mean that in a derogatory way at all I claim to be one
no one will accept me but I yeah I think I think its usability I think it has to
be seamless I mean look how easy venmo or PayPal or cash app is so I mean our
first step at least was to make it easier for people to go from Bitcoin to
Manero mm-hm right and we added exchanges change now
morph token XMR to who added those guys into the wallet because that was a big
question people like oh I want to use it but how do I get it coin base doesn't
have it you know Gemini doesn't have it right and you hear that so that was a
first step is to at least have crypto people be able to get Monero
and I think we've succeeded in doing that we get a huge volume in the
exchange part of the wallet which has been more successful than I imagined and
I think the next phase for us is for non crypto people to go straight from fiat
to Monero that's that's the ultimate goal for us for this year
but I think in the interim we'll go Fiat to Bitcoin to Monero you know it's just
there's just way more avenues out there to go Fiat to to Bitcoin and then there
is anything else so I think in cake wallet you'll see that step first you'll
see Fiat a Bitcoin de manera so in terms of your roadmap for what you guys are
working on right now is that kind of the main big goal you guys have for this
year or what else is also kind of coming down the pipeline for cake wallet yeah I
mean that's that's the main goal and it goes back to your previous question that
how how to make it more accessible to people how to make it more usable so
that's you know so that was driven by that same question that you asked you
know how do we do it how do we make it more accessible so I think for for the
next six months roadmap that is that is our goal you know the space is changing
you know so fast and so much you have to be ready my my lead developer and I we
argue all the time because I keep changing directions and I'm like it's
not me this is the world so we argue a lot but in the end we think it works out
in the end awesome well Vic it has been so awesome
having you on the channel learning more about cake wallet I personally have been
on a bit of a journey learning more about Manero and privacy coins lately
and so it's just been really great to have you on and learn more where can
people find you and start using cake wallet if they want to do so after
watching this yeahjust Android Google Play and Apple
the App Store you can find it find both of those they're both versions nice
shirt again well thank you thank you for sending me the shirt and one really
important thing about the Monaro community is the Monaro research lab the
PhDs that are working on you know always working with it funded by the community
and and doing cutting-edge work I mean I think maybe they'll be recognized a
hundred years from now and in books and you know history but I just want to give
a shout out to those guys they're doing fabulous work
I mean mind-blowing work which I don't understand half the stuff they say so if
someone wanted to kind of learn more about what they're working on where
would they go to find that information IRC there's our see from an arrow and of
course the Monaro subreddit I mean I don't go on IRC too you know because
again it's way too technical I just stick to Reddit and Twitter and get news
from people like you awesome well thank you again so much for coming on my show
and I will put all the links to everything we mentioned below so that
you guys can all check it out thanks again so much thanks a lot thanks
for having me on

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