I believe in the future of cryptocurrency and in it being a part of any well-balanced portfolio of investments.
Know My Company
Tell us about your interaction with smart technologies such as blockchain, AI and customer experience platforms.
The first distinction that needs to be understood is that many people use the term AI inappropriately or loosely (i.e. when the technology is not actually AI). I think it’s a bit ridiculous that every technology that exists out there today says that they have a portion of AI within it when it’s not necessary for it to be there in the first place. However, there are a lot of areas where it is important to have AI, for example, marketing assistance as well as platforms that need to be constantly learning and using data sets to help guide decisions.
Blockchain is clearly the way of the future. We’ve seen some real-life examples of it coming to fruition lately. Ultimately, the idea of decentralizing data is the way of the future. In my opinion, there is no reason that a single source should be that source of truth and that source of data when it can be owned by so many people and verified in real time. Additionally, the extra layer of security that it adds is obviously very key.
How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to start CoinSmart?
I believe in the future of cryptocurrency and in it being a part of any well-balanced portfolio of investments. It became very clear to me that the accessibility was low and I knew that our team could change that.
As a serial entrepreneur, what other technologies are you keen to work with?
I’m also involved in another great startup called Needls where we use AI to make informed advertisement purchasing decisions. We’re bringing, what I call, “big boy” technology to the everyday person to help them advertise in the easiest and most effective way possible. We are using AI in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) category to understand the intent to purchase, which is the holy grail of NLP. It’s always exciting to build your own classifiers and networks and present real-life utility through technology for your users.
What is the state of internet technology in 2019? How much has it evolved since the time you first started here?
I started very early in the internet world, so it has absolutely come a long way since then. I still remember when you downloaded a picture on a bulletin board and it took minutes to do so, line by line. It’s impressive to see how far we’ve come from then until today where we can now pinpoint ourselves in the middle of the jungle with Google Maps or Waze. Web 3.0 is on the horizon and blockchain will be at the forefront of it once we see the mobile revolution.
Tell us more about Blockchain laws. How does CoinSmart enable customers to comply with these laws using blockchain technology features?
I’m most well versed in the cryptocurrency side of blockchain and can best speak to regulation in that domain. As most people know, regulation is currently a grey area for this sector. We will have to play the “wait and see” game but I am highly convinced that regulation will help grow and establish cryptocurrency and blockchain to the forefront. Regulation in the market will allow for more trust, transparency, and adoption. At CoinSmart, we do everything we can to be ahead of what we believe regulation will look like in the future and build that into our platform and day to day operations.
How do you see the raging trend of including AI technology in a modern CIO/ CMO’s stack budget?
If your stack does not already include the best in class tools that have AI components, then, in all honesty, you’re a few steps behind. Bringing these tools to your team can eliminate the need for redundant or repetitive work and allow them to focus on what is most important for their jobs on a day-to-day basis. Any opportunity for computers to help eliminate wasted time and energy is always an added bonus for me.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for businesses in leveraging blockchain and crypto technologies fully?
The biggest opportunity is for those who are first to market as they will then be able to establish themselves as leaders in the space. The biggest challenges are the low adoption rates across the board and the large educational gap that must be overcome for people to understand the difference and the reason why we should be leveraging these technologies.
How should young technology professionals train themselves to work in blockchain-focused industries?
First of all, young technology professionals should be educating themselves to understand the opportunity that exists out there and learning the languages and security protocols. All in all, they should be going out and experimenting with what is out there because there are tremendous opportunities available and so few adept blockchain developers.
What is the biggest challenge to using blockchain for digital transformation in 2019? How does CoinSmart contribute to a successful digital transformation?
CoinSmart is helping by educating the broader population in understanding the rationale and benefits behind this digital technology through its educational portal, the GetSmart Hub. Our belief is that, in order for mass adoption to occur, we need to see more real-life implications of these digital technologies and more large corporations and governments accepting and embracing them.
The Good, Bad and Ugly about blockchain that you have heard or predict –
The good is all the potential opportunity that lies ahead of us, including the decentralization of an individual’s personal assets and data. The bad involves the close relationship between blockchain and cryptocurrency. With the latter being in such an extended bear market, adoption has been quite slow. The ugly relates to all the ICOs that went under in 2017/2018 taking with them the money of so many investors, ultimately, leaving a sour taste in most people’s mouths.
The Crystal Gaze
What blockchain technology start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
I take a broad sweep of the market to always understand what is out there. But what excites us the most are blockchain entities that allow people to use cryptocurrency in real-world applications. Unfortunately, I am not qualified to give investment advice and as such cannot go much deeper in my response here.
What technologies within AI and blockchain technology are you interested in?
Anything with a combined marketing and AI focus is quite interesting to me. I also like the real-world application of owning your own digital records whether it be medical or otherwise (i.e. ids) as this has a really big presence in the logistics space. For example, we know who’s touched the cookies and where they are at this exact minute.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
Constantly ensuring that I’m immediately responding to emails and communicating with people on an ongoing basis so it gets done rather than procrastinating. It’s all about focusing on one agenda item, getting it done, and moving on to the next.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Thank you, Justin! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
CoinSmart is headed by Justin Hartzman, Co-Founder and CEO. A seasoned business leader and entrepreneur, Justin’s passion for innovation has seen him lead numerous companies from start-up to successful exit. His proven track record of entrepreneurial success includes founding the first website brokerage exclusively serving online businesses, pioneering the industry and achieving over $100M in transactions to Fortune 1000 companies, PE firms, family offices and venture funds. He has also led multiple fundraising rounds working with Canadian and U.S. Angel Investors and VCs.
In addition to leading CoinSmart, Justin is also co-founder of Needls, an Ontario-based company that uses Data Science to automate social media advertising processes for small to medium enterprises worldwide.
CoinSmart has changed the landscape by making cryptocurrency accessible to Canadians with all levels of crypto experience. Breaking down the barriers of complex and confusing crypto transactions, CoinSmart offers simple solutions, learning tools for all levels, and 24/7 client support. The user-friendly platform features enterprise-grade security, cold wallet storage, and easily-generated tax-time reports. For more experienced investors, CoinSmart offers advanced charting, order book functionality and dedicated SmartReps for wealth clients. All clients benefit from competitive fees, as well as CoinSmart’s same day funding, withdrawal and verification SmartGuarantee.