Tell Us About Yourself.
Hey everyone, I’m Shahar Abrams. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m coming to you today from the deep south here in Atlanta. And I love crypto and I want to talk to you about crypto and how you can use crypto to do things you probably didn’t think were possible. Both kind of financially for yourself, and just, you know, as utility of different applications and how you think about banking, finances, even art.
Tell us how you got into crypto.
Yeah, so I always had a kind of fascination with tech and with financial markets. So when I found crypto in 2017, it was a perfect storm for me of something that literally combined tech and personal finance and financial markets in just the most unique, incredible way. A lot of people had heard about crypto and Bitcoin, particularly before 2017, but for whatever reason I kind of ignored it and passed it off as a fad ; then something happened in 2017.
I don’t know exactly what spurred it, but I got a book that actually explained the tech, blockchain and Bitcoin and what the stuff was doing. I read that book on a plane and by the time the plane landed in Birmingham I knew that I wanted to devote my life to crypto and blockchain technology.
Ever since then, I focus on crypto and focus on teaching new people about crypto and helping them understand the right way to get involved in crypto and the risks associated with it.
You were working at the time, did you end up leaving immediately? Or did you work on this while you were still IBM?
Yeah, so I actually ended up working on it while I was at IBM. IBM was trying to take advantage of the trend they saw coming. My day to day was working on projects and IBM was at the time actually just standing up their federal sector consulting, blockchain practice. At the beginning of 2020, which is kind of where the practice peaked, we had over 20 consultants working there. I was leading one of our largest projects with the US postal service which was a project around using blockchain to track international mail.
It was basically like an NFT blockchain, where every mail piece was sort of like an NFT and we would track what happened to it as it got moved from party to party, from the postal service to Delta airlines. That took the mail across the ocean, picked it up from there and took the last mile. It was really interesting, a great use case. And it was a really interesting project. I did a couple more projects after that and I eventually left IBM at the beginning of this year in 2021.
I was always more interested in the public cryptocurrencies, the Bitcoins and the Ethereums than building the sort of walled garden blockchains that we were doing at IBM.
A big reason I was able to do that was because of my favorite thing to talk about, which is crypto passive income. I believe that wealth is not some number that you hit in your bank account, wealth is a passive income stream that you build to the point where you’re earning money independent of time. And that allows you to no longer have to spend your time working for money. Crypto allowed me to do that. And now I try to spread the word.
Wealth is a passive income stream that you build to the point where you’re earning money independent of timeTweet
Do You Trade Or Invest In Crypto?
When you say crypto allowed you to leave your job at IBM, was it always passive income or were you an active trader at first?
The passive income, absolutely. I don’t day trade, but I tried that and it didn’t work out for me. To be a full-time trader is really tough and not to mention really stressful. I’ve had the privilege to meet lots of really great traders, especially in crypto. And you know, the first thing they’ll tell you is it’s not for 99% of people. It’s as much of a grind, or more probably, than a regular job.
People that are really good at it have this disposition where it’s not work for them and they actually love it and they don’t get stressed by it. That’s not to say you can’t do it, you certainly can. If that’s your dream, you should go for it. I love trading but I make more money just as an investor. Trading is a lot of fun and really interesting.
I guess I’m not the type of person that would have felt comfortable leaving based on the idea that I’m doing really well trading and I’m going to keep doing well. It was the passive income that gave me that confidence.
Explain Crypto Passive Income
A lot of people don’t know, and I’m looking for an explanation myself. I thought with cryptocurrencies you make money when you buy and sell them. So how can you pay your rent if you’re not buying and selling, which is trading? Explain the passive income to me, as it relates to crypto.
Absolutely. So everyone is probably earning some passive income, right? If you have money in a bank deposit or have a savings account, or even just in your checking account, I think sometimes they’ll pay you a little bit of interest on that, but it’s just minuscule. Nobody pays attention to it because the bank pays you, you know, less than a percent, usually less than half a percent on your savings account. And that’s because that’s the way it’s always been. And you need the bank to hold your money. Your other option is to put it under the mattress or start your own bank. Right.
So crypto has flipped that thought on its head, which is what makes really good passive income streams with crypto possible.
I think a lot of the recent regulatory scrutiny that has been directed at crypto is honestly the big dogs, the banks, traditional financial sector, starting to feel the heat a little bit and starting to realize how much this is going to hollow them out. These services are just so, so much better. You don’t control the money that’s in the bank, the bank does. But crypto assets, you can control.
You don’t control the money that’s in the bank, the bank does. But crypto assets, you can control.Tweet
Crypto Banking App
So how does it work? Right? I have a crypto banking app that I use which basically acts like a bank account, but for my crypto assets. You can keep them in your own wallet and you can send them around to whoever you want, you just need an internet connection. You don’t need anything else.
And so you can send those assets that you control to an application that’ll do the same things that the bank does. They (the application) loan out your money to people that need it, hedge funds, institutions, your neighbor, whoever. They charge interest. But the difference is they pay you, the depositor, back 80% of what they make on that interest because they recognize you’re the source of the value. You’re the source of the opportunity.
I can take dollars and I can convert them into a crypto version of a dollar called a stable coin, which tracks the value of a dollar one-to-one. And many of these stable coins are totally regulated. They’re audited, they’re very, very safe.
I’ve been using them for years. You can move your dollars from your bank into Coinbase, transfer them to stable coins, one-to-one for free. Then, you could transfer those stable coins into this app, and you’ll start earning around 9% interest per year. To give people an idea, at 9% your money is going to be doubling around every eight years or so. In eight years, you’re going to double your money just by being in cash, just by being in dollars. Now I can’t tell you for sure that those rates are going to stay the same because they fluctuate and sometimes they’ve been higher. But, that’s one example. And that also works with investment types of crypto assets like Bitcoin or Ethereum. You can earn interest on those too, and I’m not talking 0.2% interest, I’m talking four, five, or 6% interest per year.
Crypto Banking Fees
There is no minimum deposit; there are no deposit fees. And there aren’t any type of bank fees. Any amount that you put in there will earn interest. You can withdraw any time. There’s no lockup or holding period, and you’ll actually get paid in installments every week. And that will compound every week.
It’s an incredibly, incredibly powerful tool that I used, I still use. No matter how much money you have, if you have even a few dollars to be able to put away-you want that to work for you. Crypto and these types of apps give us that power to make our money work for us in this way.
Celcius Network Interest Banking
It has never been possible in this way before. And if you take one thing away from this, please take that and go try it out. The app I use is called Celsius network. I do not work for them. They do not pay me anything. I have a referral code, Shahar6Abe, for $50 in Bitcoin if you deposit. Use it or don’t, it doesn’t matter to me. I encourage people to just check it out, try it out with a few bucks or a few thousandths of a Bitcoin or whatever. You’ll see the interest next week. Then you’ll see it working and I can almost guarantee you’re going to want it. You’re going to deposit more.
Compound Interest In Crypto
So that’s the passive income secret with crypto then. I guess if you have enough in the account and they’re paying out weekly interest, you can earn enough to pay whatever it is that the interest can cover.
At the beginning when I started I was maybe getting a couple bucks a week, maybe $5, $10 bucks a week at most. Maybe some beer money every week that you get that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. But then the power of compounding and the power of holding good investments like crypto while the dollar is going down is really powerful.
And now I earn upwards of four figures a week. That is enough to pay rent, enough to buy groceries, enough to buy some NFTs.
And you can get there, it took me a few years. I’m not here to tell you it’s going to happen next month but a few years sure. Sounds better than what the bank pays you.
Crypto Education: Roadtobabylon.org
What you’re essentially saying is you can have a job and just feed into this app, or feed it to whatever app you decide to use. And if you just keep feeding it enough, over time, it’ll be able to pay you back and you don’t have to look at a chart. You don’t have to do any research and find out the next big coin. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just be patient and trust that it’s going to work. Which clearly, clearly it has.
You’re company, roadtobabylon, is a cryptocurrency educational platform. Why did you start that? And, and what is the mission of Road to Babylon? Because I love the website, roadtobabylon.org.
Yeah, roadtobabylon.org is my education platform. I named it after a personal finance book that I’m a big fan of called Richest Man in Babylon. It still is one of the best personal finance books out there. And part of what I liked about the book is that I realized that the principles of wealth creation and this idea of creating passive income and investing have been around for thousands of years.
Ancient Babylon is where they figured out how to make permanent records. They realized that if you write stuff on soft clay and then you bake the clay it becomes hard and permanent. And so they used that to create the first written laws, Hammurabi’s code, and the first kind of titles and deeds to property. Once you had that, now you can invest. So that’s kinda where it started. And I liked the idea of juxtaposing those old time-tested principles with the new, crazy world of crypto. And trying to show people that you do it the same way, really. Just the medium has changed.
About The Author
Shahar retired as the leader of the enterprise blockchain deployment team at IBM at the age of 29. He founded Road to Babylon to help others on the path to financial freedom by sharing his no-hype, principles-based approach to investing in cryptoassets.
You can learn more about how to execute effective crypto investment strategies at roadtobabylon.org.