At the start of the millenium, the talk in Technology was about the disruption of the music industry. It underwent a profound digital transformation which changed the way we consume music. The medium shifted from the Cassette to CDs to MP3s and now to On-Demand streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Deezer that we see today.
Fast forward to today and the latest Technology talk is about the future of money – FinTech, BitCoin and Cryptocurrency.
Tatiana Moroz is the CEO of Crypto Media Hub and an entrepreneur in the crypto-currency space. She is a prominent member of the BitCoin community, having been involved since 2012. She is also a singer-songwriter and has a successful music career. By combining her two passions, she created the very 1st artist cryptocurrency, Tatiana Coin.
In my quest to find inspiration for original content, I meet many interesting people on a daily basis. My work on social media is about unearthing the digital disrupters of tomorrow. So when Tatiana’s article randomly popped into my LinkedIn feed in March last year, I knew I had to speak to her. So I did.
I’m delighted to bring to you this exclusive interview with Tatiana!
Simon: It’s pleasure to be able to speak to you Tatiana, can you introduce yourself?
Tatiana: At my core, I am a singer-songwriter who fights for love, liberty, freedom, and peace. As a person that cares deeply for those values, I have expanded my work into crypto currency as an incredible tool to help achieve them. I have had a wonderful journey so far, and travel all around the world speaking and performing. I am the founder of Crypto Media Hub, a marketing and PR agency for the space. I am also the creator of Tatiana Coin, the first artist cryptocurrency in the world. Since the coin’s inception in 2014, I have worked closely with Adam B. Levine and Tokenly to create Token.fm, a platform that let’s artists create digital assets and have true control over their careers. We also focus strongly on fan engagement and community building via the P2P possibilities enabled by the technology.
Simon: How and when did you get into music?
Tatiana: Attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston was an eye opening experience for me. It put me in the company of many talented individuals. “When I went in, I was not so sure what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I liked music, but my background was in musical theatre and choirs. I listened to Stevie Wonder, Prince, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, etc. The most important thing that I took from Berklee was my commitment to music. I could have taken a few different directions after high school, but I chose music and I am very grateful to have made that decision, as I think it’s one of the best art forms out there!
Simon: How would you describe your music?
Influences, which range from Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams, Fiona Apple, Cat Stevens and Carly Simon, to Guns ‘N’ Roses, the Violent Femmes, Radiohead and Nirvana. It really is a blend of everything. If I had to choose, I would say it’s singer-songwritery pop, country rock and folk blues. There are a lot of influences. I don’t even know who to say I sound like. I have been compared to all sorts of people: Jewel, Ryan Adams, Rickie Lee Jones, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor. I have no idea really. I am the original Tatiana, how about that?
Simon: Sounds amazing! I write about the Business and Technology on LinkedIn and I’m always looking for original topics to cover. As a big music fan myself, a singer-songwriter who is also involved in cryptocurrency was pretty much a dream ticket for an interview! So how did you get into Bitcoin?
Tatiana: I started out as a libertarian activist supporting Ron Paul in 2012. I have always been interested in how to use music to better mankind, but my own generation was lacking in focus. However, when I learned about the Federal Reserve, I found the fight of a lifetime, one to take back sovereignty through one of the most powerful forces on earth: Money. I thought it could be achieved with protests. I carried many “End the Fed” signs in the freezing cold.
Simon: My followers will know that I blog on politics quite a bit and I’m normally critical of the lack of solutions it provides for our modern day problems, especially when it comes to economics.
Tatiana: I found politics to be a dead end also. I realized the system was unfair and broke it’s own rules, so directing energy that way was pointless. I wanted to win a cultural battle, and that was something that could be won outside the government’s control. Around August 2012, Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair of Bitpay sponsored one of my shows and told me all about Bitcoin.
I wasn’t so excited about it at first, but when the few coins I bought started going up in value, at least it piqued my interest more (I am very averse to finance and technology subjects generally). It wasn’t until Jeffrey Tucker (of FEE) helped me envision a world in bloom because of Bitcoin till I really “got” it.
Soon thereafter, I wrote a Bitcoin Jingle to help folks understand the deeper ideology and empowerment made possible by this tech. The song was a big hit, and I was welcomed with open arms by the people that were furiously innovating around the roadblocks that have held mankind back for a long time.
I was inspired by how it brought together so many different people of varying backgrounds. The best part was that while there are certainly libertarian and anarchist undercurrents within our sphere, there’s no need to argue about politics! Bitcoin is for everyone, and the evolution into blockchain offshoots is exciting to watch unfold.
Bitcoin is for everyone, and the evolution into blockchain offshoots is exciting to watch unfold.
Simon: When we spoke for the first time, you talked about the story of Ross Ulbricht, the Founder of Silk Road (the first modern darknet market), who is serving a life sentence (for Money Laundering, Computer hacking and Conspiracy to traffic narcotics). You have become good friends. Can you tell us more about how you came to meet him?
Tatiana: As I never used the Silk Road site, I wasn’t clear on what had happened with the case. However, when I met Lyn Ulbricht (mother of Ross Ulbricht) and realized how devastating the trial and subsequent sentencing was to the family, I started to look deeper. I interviewed Lyn (I have a podcast called the Tatiana Show) and we became friends. I saw a complicated case fraught with corruption, perverse political agendas, and manipulations. Once the smoke cleared and I could see things more clearly, I knew I had to speak out.
I did it the best way I knew how. I wrote a song about the Silk Road. I wanted to humanize the story, and strip away the salacious, misleading narrative and show an idealist and an innovator. I strongly believe the motivations for the Silk Road were altruistic, and were meant to be a free market experiment. It’s hard to tell exactly what went on since the courts stifled all efforts by the defense to present Ross’s side, but it’s clear that he didn’t deserve double life plus 40 years for all non-violent crimes. He was the head on the spike to stop others from innovating.
That hasn’t worked, as the drug war rages on and dark markets thrive with less morality than the Silk Road. The sentence was disproportionate, cruel and unusual, and there are a lot of questions out there about if Ross was the only Dread Pirate Roberts. I believe he wasn’t, as evidenced by someone logging in as DPR 7 weeks after Ross was imprisoned. Also, for the record, Ross has NEVER been tried or convicted of murder for hire. It’s used to malign him in the mainstream media and in the sentencing, but it’s never been proven in a court of law.
That must be tough for him and his family. How often do you see him?
I have gone to see Ross Ulbricht in prison over a dozen times now. He and I have become close friends. I am close with his entire family, and they never cease to amaze me with their strength and perseverance. Ross though, has become a personal hero to me. His dignity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and graceful countenance throughout an unfathomable horror have served as daily reminders on how to be a better person under any circumstance. There is a blog he wrote here that encapsulates his world view and breaks my heart every time (https://freeross.org/letter-ross-prison-journey/?v=47e5dceea252)
I am so grateful for the opportunity in this darkness to learn the truth about the drug war and the justice system. These systems are failing us, and the results are devastating millions around the world. Seeing the children of these non-violent offenders in the prison crawling all over their fathers for that tiny fraction of time, and watching their faces crumple in tears when being torn away have lit a fire within. This is immoral and I will not watch it go on. This truth has driven me further into drug legalization advocacy as a harm reduction tool. I am glad I am no longer asleep to these travesties of justice that happen every day.
Simon: I hear you have your own cryptocurrency too. Can you tell me more?
Tatiana: I created Tatiana Coin in 2014, and we raised $10,000 worth of Bitcoin at the time. I used it to fund my most recent album, “Keep the Faith”. I released it this year and I am using it as an example to illustrate the power of crypto in the arts. I took a picture that Ross had drawn of me for my birthday while in prison as my album cover. I wanted to use that to start the conversation about what artists can and cannot do under the old guard. Record labels provide a valuable service, but it can come at the price of free expression. Would I be able to use such a controversial cover if I was dependent on someone else, perhaps a major label? I think not.
Simon: Tell us more about the Token.fm project. What excited me about it was the idea that it would allow musicians to take more control of their music and earn more for their hard work. They deserve it and that’s a disruptive model right there.
Tatiana: As our mainstream media has become more homogenous, we need new ways to empower the risk takers and the rebels. With Token.fm, fans fund their favourite artist. They are connected directly, and can be a part of their inner core team, helping ensure the artist succeeds and get a benefit for that. Artists have total control and have a place from which they can build their empire. They can find new ways of adding experiences and value to those communities to which they are now connected to directly. Tokens bring scarcity to the digital realm, and our streaming capabilities are paying out 10-20x what the normal average stream pays with artist’s dictating licensing and pricing structures.
With Token.fm, fans fund their favourite artist. Artists have total control and have a place from which they can build their empire.I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming announcements. We have been “heads down” for 3 years, but we are finally onboarding artists to test things out and will be bringing the platform to the masses in a matter of months. This is something for artists, by artists, and I think of it a bit as my baby! We have an incredible team of innovators, creators, and freedom lovers I am lucky to work with. I can’t wait for more people to join the art revolution. Oh, and if people like this, they can get their Tatiana Coins right now on my site using USD or cryptocurrency.
Simon: That’s very exciting indeed! So, what about the Crypto Media Hub?
Tatiana: Crypto Media Hub is my marketing, PR, and events company I founded in 2015 to help connect people in the space to quality contractors and partners in the space that I had developed relationships and trust with. I was initially doing advertising media buys, matching publishers with companies that needed banners, but it quickly evolved into consulting, promotion, and other engagement initiatives. Now that the blockchain market is booming, my deep roots in the community and extensive history have given the firm a distinct advantage, and we are hiring quite a bit. It’s a bit overwhelming to be honest, but that’s a good problem to have!
Simon: Not only are you a singer songwriter and crypto currency expert, but you are also very interested in political activism. How do you think technology can impact the world of politics?
Tatiana: I think that technology can be used to make inefficient government services irrelevant. We pay very high taxes, and yet the return on that investment is poor. Courts are corrupt, DC is a cesspool, and even with the best intentions, government simply cannot compete with the free market outcomes in the private sector. However, as you can imagine, there’s no incentive for government to ever concede even a fraction of power. Since they have the guns and weapons, we must find ways to peacefully withdraw from the system by creating better alternatives. Sure, technology can be used for evil, but I like to think about the incredible positive impact we can make and I still have hope. But not for the politicians haha!
Simon: Have you invested in BitCoin yourself? when did you start?
Tatiana: Of course- see above- 2012 at $11 a coin.
Simon: That’s quite some return! What do you think the future holds for Bitcoin and crypto currencies in general
Tatiana: The future is unbelievably bright! I tell all my friends to buy, and people are actually starting to listen. There are so many opportunities to bring transparency and accountability to the world, so I see an upward trajectory.
Simon: How do you stay up to date with news about cryptos?
Tatiana: The Tatiana Show! I have so little time for things, my best way to get the latest is to have guests on to talk about it. It’s a really neat thing to be able to ask all the best experts anything that you want, I feel pretty lucky!
Simon: Would you recommend investing? Which currencies?
Tatiana: I would! While I am not in a position to make recommendations, I hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, Zencash, Zcash, Storj, and Lightcoin. I will have a lot of Tokenly’s Tekk token when they launch next month, and I am also invested in the Decentraland project. Also, I know they are my clients, but I am excited to see what Storm Token can achieve, so hoping I can pick some of those up during their upcoming sale. They have a great team, and since they partnered with Zencash (also a CMH client), I think there’s a lot of potential for global impact. However, I am always excited to diversify, and hope to get more soon!
Simon: Where can we find out more about Tatiana Moroz and CryptoMedia Hub?
Simon: Thank you for talking to me Tatiana, really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule. Good luck in all your ventures!