About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

What’s Next For Bitcoin Payments?

bitcoinWe hear quite a lot these days about the idea of using bitcoin in actual payments. Some suggest that opportunities to spend bitcoin are on the rise, and that it is indeed becoming a major form of currency around the world. Others counter that spending opportunities are still few and far between, and may not be particularly meaningful to the average consumer anytime soon.

The truth is that we’ve reached a point at which you can more or less make what you want of bitcoin payments. If you want to seek out and highlight opportunities for spending, you can; if you’d prefer not to buy into the idea of bitcoin as useful money, you’re certainly not alone. So, rather than picking one narrative or the other, we decided to look not at the future of bitcoin payments. Without any argument as to whether bitcoin will be a mainstream currency or not, the following are some of the ways in which bitcoin may evolve as money.

Select Stores Will Continue to Accept Bitcoin

We have looked at ‘Where You Can Actually Use Bitcoin to Buy Stuff’ before, and in doing so highlighted some of the companies that have become known for embracing cryptocurrencies. These include Shopify, Subway, and Tesla, to name a few. We expect that in this space, bitcoin spending will more or less stay where it is now. A handful of major stores have been accepting it long enough for us to know that they’re not launching any major domino effect. McDonald’s isn’t accepting bitcoin just because Subway chose to, and so on. However, it’s also a good bet that some major stores will continue to dabble in cryptocurrency moving forward.

Gift Cards & Debit Cards Will Be Popular Options

In the aforementioned article we made note of gift cards that can be purchased with bitcoin (at sites like Gyft). These will continue to be used, and give people an indirect way of using bitcoin to fund purchases. The rising trend of bitcoin debit cards will likely be even more significant though.

Earlier this year, payment giant Visa partnered with Coinbase to allow the latter to issue bitcoin debit cards. This combination of traditional payment methods with cryptocurrency has brought abut a way for people to pay with bitcoin just about wherever they’d like. This system appears to work, which means bitcoin debit cards aren’t going anywhere (and will likely become more popular as word gets out about them).

Gaming Will Make Heavy Use of Bitcoin

Gaming has always been an interesting industry to consider with regard to cryptocurrency. It’s essentially a vast, international enterprise in which people are using different payment methods, and value privacy and security.

This more or less sounds like the perfect environment for crypto adoption, which is why we expect to see more of it. Already there are some gaming sites and platforms that accept bitcoin directly. However, there are also systems that enable other gaming companies to get more flexible about finances.

Discussions on gaming payments on FIS Global cover this idea, highlighting modern processors that can handle a “vast network of alternative payment types” and “process any payments” customers want to make. These processors are basically opening gaming platforms up to their digital, international audiences more effectively — and that process should include more bitcoin activity.

Bitcoin Will Be Useful in (Some) Travel

Bitcoin spending was linked to travel fairly early on, largely as a result of a few travel booking companies (including Expedia) getting on board early. Some of those companies have since backed off, but we imagine bitcoin remaining relevant in travel in a different way.

Specifically, it could become the preferred (and easiest) currency option at certain destinations. A Medium article made note of countries that are adopting bitcoin more rapidly and heavily than others, including places like Singapore, Switzerland, and Argentina. It may well be that travellers around the world find that bitcoin is worth acquiring to spend at certain destinations like these.

Whether or not bitcoin truly becomes a major, useful currency is a debate no one can win just yet. But these are some logical ideas as to where bitcoin spending may go next.

Samuel Huber, CEO Admix – Exclusive Q&A

SamuelWelcome to Mob76 Outlook, Samuel, can you tell our audience about Admix?

We are in gaming and define ourselves as an entertainment company with in-game ads that wants to disrupt the advertising industry. Moreover, the industry is hot right now and entertainment is becoming more and more digital. It is one of the only industries growing faster under lockdown – we are a ‘success story’ during a difficult time.

We are also going against the hated advertising industry – big players seen as evil monopolies, stealing user data and so on. We’re taking on Google and Facebook. Everyone likes a David and Goliath story. We are building a revolution in the industry by putting users first.

We also have a focus/expertise on VR/AR which is also a polarising topic – when is it going to become mainstream?

Not everybody is a fan of in-game advertising, what are you doing differently, Samuel?

With 1.5 billion daily players, gaming is the new entertainment. Everyone is playing games, one way or the other. Lately we’ve seen the rise of platforms such as Fortnite or Roblox who are pushing the boundaries of gaming as we know it to become platforms for general entertainment, concerts or education therefore catering for a much wider audience than simply ‘gamers’.

At the same time, that wide new-found audience needs to be monetized, and this is where Admix comes in: we are proposing a business model for the next generation of entertainment. The Covid crisis has further amplified this phenomenon as people have been forced to live online.

How is the gaming industry changing apart from the digital aspect, Samuel?

The definition of gaming is changing rapidly. Gaming technologies, mainly real-time 3D, are started to be used outside of games – movies, manufacturing, education, ecommerce. There is a clear transition from 2D content to dynamic 3D content across industries.

It is not hard to imagine that these technologies will power a 3D version of the internet, further amplified by VR and AR, the next computing platform.

The largest companies out there – Google, Amazon, Facebook – have capitalised on the first generation of the internet. They have generated billion of dollars by monetizing users’ attention in different ways (via advertising and commerce). But they all operate on the 2D internet – websites and apps.

What happens when most interactions happen in 3D, whether on a screen on a VR headset? This requires a completely different interface and technology. That’s what the Admix long-term vision is. We are building a business model for the next generation of the internet. We want to be the next Google of the 3D world.

Why should readers care about what you’re doing?

Currently, we focus on gaming, as early adopters. As a marketplace between publishers and advertisers, we solve two needs for huge industries.
On the gaming side: with gaming evolving into more entertaining, immersive experiences, developers need a new infrastructure to power more profitable business models, particularly in immersive channels such as e-sport and XR where traditional ads don’t work.

On the ad side, the web is saturated with ads; as a result, young generations are hard to engage. Advertisers need to find new channels and a less intrusive approach. They’re realizing that gaming is a genuine channel to engage audiences at scale, but lack the tools to do so.

So, this is a big deal for AR and VR developers?

Admix enables developers of 3D content to monetise areas within their game with non-intrusive placements – such as billboards, posters and even 3D products such as a can of coke or wearable sneakers. These ads are integrated with the gameplay and therefore do not create a bad user experience. It also gives developers complete control over their advertising experience, which is a complete revolution in the space.

Can you give us some idea of what your product consists of?

Our product stack is split into three components:
SDK for Unity and Unreal, enabling developers to create inventory within their games
developer dashboard for inventory management, analytics, and handling monthly payments
supply-side platform, connecting to advertising platforms to sell our inventory on the runtime.

Now please explain that to a smart person who isn’t that into games

The Admix solution enables game developers to place billboards, posters, videos, and even 3D products in their games. Every time a user sees or interact with the ad, the game publisher generates revenue.

Because these ads are integrated with the environment instead of interrupting the gameplay, they do not affect the user experience, and work better for everyone. We are building the first advertising solution that puts players first.

Everybody loves a founder’s story. How did you get to this place, Samuel?

I am French and graduated in Physics from Polytechnical Shool of Lausanne (CH) in 2010. Wanting to apply my knowledge in a more practical way, I came to the UK to get a Master in Engineering and went to work as engine engineer for Mercedes F1 in 2011. At the time, I could see the mobile market growing fast and started some app projects on the side, before making the jump to go full time entrepreneur in 2013.

I used to run a small development studio and grew frustrated with available monetization solutions, all providing a terrible user experience. None of the publishers I knew were excited to work with any monetization, seen as a necessary evil. Yet they all used it.

I thought that there would be an opportunity to build a solution that would put users first, that developers would actually love to use, and that advertisers could leverage to reach an otherwise unreachable audience. This would literally shake the $500 billion advertising market for the better. This ‘three-way marketplace’ is symbolised by our triangular logo.

Where are you based and who’s in your team?

We are based in Farringdon, London, with remote employees in Ukraine. My cofounder Joe Bachle-Morris has more than 20 years experience in the advertising space, as CEO/COO/MD of various agencies like Brothers&Sisters and VCCP. He also had a stint as CMO and BSkyB.

Natasha Whitfield-Niven, VP Revenue was Head of Commercial at Rubicon Project. Our CTO Mohammed Alisrawi has experience building ad servers for adtech companies. We also have great advisors and investors with industry-specific experience.

How big is your audience and how much traction do you have?

We handle four billion ad requests per month (growing 30% m/m), we have 220 publishers onboard and $1.3 million ARR. We also recently raised $7 million and we are using this to expand our global operations.

Finally, why are you better than your competitors, Samuel?

Look at existing success in the advertising space: Facebook and Google grew their ad side model quickly because they made it easy for advertisers to join the platform and start spending. They reached critical mass which quick-started strong network effects that meant that nobody could catch up.

Google owns web advertising and Facebook owns social advertising. Compare that with agencies (aka service companies) whose growth rate is capped, do not build defensibilities, and are worth a fraction of the value.

Admix aims to be the former. We aim to own in-game advertising. We are building unique technology to enable brands to access 1.5 billion daily players while they play, and that requires scalability at its core.

Thanks a lot for your time, Samuel, best of luck with it all

No problem, thanks for inviting me.

Admix announces $25,000 User Acquisition Boost program

Admix is offering AR and VR developers $25,000 for user acquisition.

admixAdmix, the in-game monetization solution that recently closed a $7m Series A, is offering developers a chance to win an up to $25,000 boost towards their user acquisition.

To participate, studios need to install the Admix SDK to power non-intrusive ads in their games, and monitor progress over the first six weeks. Admix will handpick apps with the most potential.

Developers can sign up here to the program and boost their acquisition.

Founded in 2018, Admix is a full stack monetization platform for game, esport, virtual reality and augmented reality developers wishing to monetize in a different way. Instead of traditional adverts such as banners or video interstitials, Admix’s SDK for Unity or Unreal enables developers to drag and drop posters, billboards or even 3D spaces in their games.

This ‘virtual estate’ is then sold programmatically to thousands of advertisers, a big differentiator to many competitive services acting as agencies. The Admix platform attracted over 200+ mobile publishers in less than a year, a growth that attracted VCs to lead a Series A round.

Recently, the Admix team has bolstered it’s partnership team with hires from AppLovin and inMobi. This team will evaluate performance of new apps joining the platform, monitoring weekly userbase growth, session time, retention, and monetization vitals via the Admix solution.

They will then award these UA grants to the most promising ones, and help acquire users via a mixture of sources, including their own in-game inventory – something that Admix is currently testing.

“While monetization has been our bread and butter, we have always tried to help the developer ecosystem, by sharing resources, or featuring indie developers. This is the next step, with us contributing financially towards the app success. We couldn’t be more excited about accelerating the next hit games” said CEO Sam Huber.

Although the program is open to all developers, including new apps, the terms and conditions of the offer indicate that Admix is mainly looking for apps with early traction, and strong unit economics, that they can accelerate through funding and UA expertise.

About Admix 

The company launched publicly in November 2018 by revealing the first-ever advertising campaign in VR with National Geographic and Oath (now Verizon).

They have since expanded to traditional games, and less than 18 months later, the company is working with over 200 game developers, including leading casual titles. Admix is doubling its inventory size every 2 months, which attracts over 500 advertisers monthly, including Fortune 500 brands like Amazon, Spotify, Uber and Universal.

>About Samuel Huber

Samuel Huber is the founder of Admix, a monetisation platform for games, VR and AR based in London. Previously, Sam was the owner of an indie game studio, building hyper-casual mobile games before they were cool. Today, Sam regularly speaks about game monetization, advertising and extended reality at conferences across the world.

BlockSpeak 15 – Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – CEO Binance

Our latest guest for BlockSpeak 15 is CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ.


BlockSpeak 15
BlockSpeak 15 guest this week needs little introduction to anybody in the crypto and blockchain world.

Changpeng Zhao, better known by the kindly acronym CZ, is the CEO of the world’s biggest exchange Binance.

I took the liberty of calling him CZ and in this episode, CZ speaks on a wide range of subjects, not least the effect of Covid-19 on Bitcoin and crypto activity on the Binance exchange, as well as the long-term implications of this extraordinary disruption on all types of finance.

According to CZ, exchange volumes have gone up more than 500% over the past three months as traders and speculators have either moved over from more traditional fiat exchanges or incumbent investors have increased their activity.

He also links this with the recent Bitcoin halving and is fundamentally optimistic about the future of crypto as a more mainstream from of money that will continue to gain critical mass.

Moreover, CZ is also questioned about the security of his exchange and recent high-level stories about wallets being hacked and the booty being transferred to the Binance exchange and the being converted into other cryptocurrencies such as Monero and being spirited away to the extent that law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and UK Police lose the trail.

While being relatively non-committal on how Binance has improved its security in light of these stories, he confronts the questioning front-on and comes across as somebody who understands transparency.

Listeners to BlockSpeak who are fascinated by how exchanges work and this increase of magnitude of trading during these surreal days will enjoy this episode. The numbers certainly back this up.

This episode (BlockSpeak 15) has proved to be the most-viewed of all our conversations to date and we’re delighted to announce that CZ will be joining us later this year to share future opinions and reflections.

To view previous episodes go to the BlockSpeak page of this website or the main site at www.blockspeak.io.

BlockSpeak 11 – H.E. Kurram Shroff

BlockSpeak 11 – What’s it like to be a Bitcoin whale?

BlockSpeak 11BlockSpeak 11 has a special guest this week and somebody who has the initials H.E. in front of his name, so please be introduced to His Excellency Kurram Shroff, a so-called Bitcoin Whale, one of the biggest fish in the crypto sea.

Shroff is a likable fellow and prefers to be one of the civilians so he asks for the His Excellency moniker to be dropped when spoken to. So, it’s Shroff all the way from this point.

Shroff was interviewed under lockdown from his apartment in Dubai where we watched the sun set behind him as dusk intervened on another Covid day. Speaking from the balcony, Shroff has suffered huge losses in Dubai, losing a billion dollars from his $3 billion Real Estate portfolio, but nothing seems to faze this man.

Presumably the world of Bitcoin investing has been very kind to him when he can just shrug off a $2 billion loss, but perhaps that’s the ocean whales live in; a very different one to most people on this planet.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to whale investing and it’s difficult to discern whether Shroff talks the talk or walks the walk. He could be anybody, but who knows in crypto?

The conversation moves away from his personal losses and on to the subject of cryptocurrencies themselves. As a self-confessed early adopter, this whale has surfed the waves of volatility for the past few years and he has an ear for a good story and one in particular will draw your eyes from your body and wipe the lice clean out of your hair.

The life of a Bitcoin whale seems to be a chilled place to soak if Shroff is anything to go by. Who cares about Dubai Real Estate losses of billions. Life is going swimmingly for Shroff.

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