Mark is Director, Business Development for Rocket Dollar, covering Sales, Partnerships & Co-Marketing efforts across the country for their US-based clients. He is an experienced revenue-driver, with a track record of helping individuals & institutions connect tax-advantaged dollars for alternative investments.
Rocket Dollar account holders have the power to invest in any asset class allowed by the IRS. Invest securely and easily in Real Estate, Startups, and more. Open a Self-Directed Solo 401(k) or Self-Directed IRA with Rocket Dollar and put your money to work.
*Disclaimer. None of this information is financial advice.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:01:20 – 00:00:14:22
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here Richard Carthon and today I got a very special guest working on an extremely cool project that I’m excited to learn more about. We have Mark Peck with Rocket Dollar. How are you doing today?
00:00:15:12 – 00:00:17:06
Mark Peck: I’m great Richard, thanks so much for having me.
00:00:17:08 – 00:00:31:09
Richard Carthon: Of course man. Well I’m excited to learn all about Rocket Dollar and it’s extremely unique utility because I was actually looking for something like this about a year ago. But before we dive into that how about you tell us a little bit about yourself. Give us some background.
00:00:31:11 – 00:01:12:22
Mark Peck: Sure. Well I’ve been working in the alternative assets industry for about 10 years, primarily working for banks and trust companies who provide retirement services, so alternative retirement accounts is really my focus. I’ve had the pleasure and benefit of being a part of the crypto community going back to 2016-2017 as things sort of really took off. You know I had friends you know tipped me off to this amazing new industry and I just can’t get enough. So Rocket Dollar’s a couple of years old, we launched it to try and really add more value to the tax advantage investing space. And for me in those two years I knew digital assets and partnerships and that space has really been a focus and I’m super excited to talk about it today.
00:01:12:24 – 00:01:25:19
Richard Carthon: No doubt. Well let’s let’s dive back into early 2016. You say that was your first introduction to it, like how did you first hear about it and then once you heard about it you know how did it intrigue you in the way you were like wow this is something I could bring to my own livelihood or my own business?
00:01:26:19 – 00:02:00:27
Mark Peck: Yeah. Well I’ve always been you know excited and sort of curious investor and growing up you know that was pretty much just the stock market right and that’s all people talked about and as I’ve matured through my career and start just you know get exposed to more private investments I realized just how powerful you know private shares in a company can be or private staking in a in a new venture can really be. And so in 2016 I had some buddies in the Bay Area who were launching you know companies that have now long come and gone and I’m really glad I didn’t buy their ICO. But yeah you know at the time that was the bleeding edge and it was really great to watch it.
00:02:00:29 – 00:02:42:02
Mark Peck: I think luckily my somewhat conservative side of me from the investor perspective was like I’m going to hold off on investing in some of these things, waited to 2017 to start to put my own money to work you know got a little bit of a theory, a little bit of Bitcoin early luckily. I wish I had you know done more. And since that’s how it’s going to roll now. But I was hooked. You know but I think I also being a little bit conservative on the investment side and not being a technologist. I sort of wanted to stay with those peer stores of value and you know Bitcoin really personifies that at the moment. And obviously you know things change every day, but that’s sort of where my focus is on the store value play and that and a hedge against everything that’s happening in our economic world.
00:02:42:04 – 00:03:09:27
Richard Carthon: Well let’s talk about that as we transition into Rocket Dollar, so I mean we’re in 2020. We had a pandemic that just hit us. We have all kinds of indicators in just global conditions that are affecting all kinds of economies. I believe the European economy is down tremendously since the beginning of the year. How are you seeing what’s happening in the world economy and how is Rocket Dollar uniquely positioned to help offset some of those challenges?
00:03:10:29 – 00:04:03:03
Mark Peck: Yeah, so our tool is focused on allowing you to use retirement dollars to invest in alternative assets, which can be a really wide spectrum. It can be a token, a digital asset, it could be a bar of gold or a piece of real estate. And so those have been the more traditional asset classes. But again as things have evolved on the digital asset side we’re finding more and more ways to help customers get part of their portfolio in something a little bit more insulated and a slightly more uncorrelated asset or that doesn’t have the same systemic risks. So you’ve got to know clients investing in European real estate through an STO token, right? But they feel confident in the you know immutable ledger that provides that function of ownership for them, as opposed to not being able to touch or to handle the asset that’s you know held abroad from them.
00:04:03:15 – 00:04:46:03
Mark Peck: But predominantly it’s that store of value play and a hedge against with everything that’s going on with the dollar you know sort of the disbelief of the disconnect that the stock market has displayed yet again here where you know again we’ve all benefited in our for 401K’s over time where those numbers have gone up, but you’d have no control over it. And it seems so you know it is uncorrelated to any other real economic driver. So we’ve got folks who are coming in they’re putting ten thousand dollars in a Roth IRA in Bitcoin and they’re long term modelers, right? That’s the primary audience today. A lot of the folks are experienced in that you know like yourself. I don’t have to explain to you what Bitcoin is. You already know what it is, I’m just helping give you the tool to unlock those retirement dollars. So that’s our common customer today.
00:04:46:17 – 00:04:59:20
Richard Carthon: For sure, go ahead and expand on that a little bit more. Just give us an overall understanding of you know like what Rocket Dollar is and if you know if I’m your ideal customer and like how do I come on and get engaged and use your platform.
00:04:59:27 – 00:05:32:16
Mark Peck: Right. So the trick with retirement is keeping everything reported and owned and a clean trail for the IRS, right? They are very focused on just making sure you have the right rails in place to account for all the assets and to and to make sure they’re owned properly, you know out of the account, back into the account. And so Rocket Dollar’s being paid for a very specific set of order of operations. We really focus on being super tactical, we do that all through our you know online digital experience it’s all all electronic. No, no hardcore you no hard copy paperwork.
00:05:32:22 – 00:06:38:11
Mark Peck: And so the focus is opening a new account in the same way that you’d open a Roth IRA at Fidelity. You’re rolling over old dollars from an old 401K plan and an old job you left behind or rolling them over from let’s say a Schwab brokerage account where you trade GBTC today. So you’re funding the same account type at Rocket Dollar, same rules being played by everywhere from the IRS perspective, but then Rocket Dollar layers on top a very specific entity for the customer to use to transact through. So it results in this idea of checkbook control and what checkbook control is the ability for the customer to own and hold the assets directly on behalf of the retirement account. So you can disperse money out through your Rocket Dollar account and onto Coinbase and exchange your onramp you know from U.S. dollars to ethereum, that’s where you begin. And you can hold the keys in a hot solution of your choice, maybe on a platform with an exchange all the way down to a true cold solution that you create yourself. And so it gives you the ability to manage and hold your assets so that you know your coins, your keys from start to finish.
00:06:38:20 – 00:07:01:03
Richard Carthon: And that’s so powerful. A lot of platforms have tried to create solutions. I don’t want to say exactly similar to this in the retirement standpoint, but the whole idea of still having control of your own keys while setting up a long term type of investment opportunity like this is super powerful. So I think that’s really amazing like how we are all able to get that set up. That’s so cool.
00:07:02:05 – 00:08:07:28
Mark Peck: Yeah, well we’re lucky that we didn’t have to, you know, invent something new. We are repurposing old mechanisms that have been well proven by the IRS and from a regulatory perspective, which is important, right? When it comes to your retirement, when it comes to taxes you want to be super careful, which has been frankly a huge barrier in the crypto space in the U.S., right? It’s so difficult for people who are transacting out of their taxable dollars to manage the reporting. What’s so beautiful about what we do is that there’s no reporting on your gains or on the trading, it’s all tax deferred within this account type. So we’re offering that same fundamental IRA like you’d hold at Fidelity. We layer on top a legal entity you’re in control of and it gives you that onramp to to own the assets in and out. And so our focus is on technology and really the backend operations so that when the customer interacts with our journey it’s really easy to package all these complex things into you know four or five easy steps. So we focus a lot of our time and technology on the back end just creating sound you know really banking infrastructure which allows for a quick customer turnaround you know when you come through.
00:08:08:12 – 00:08:35:22
Richard Carthon: No doubt and I mean this sounds like a really unique opportunity in the sense of a lot of tech forward and forward thinking companies to be able to create this type of unique retirement plans for their employees or even for your own self-made entrepreneurs that want to go out and set this up for the future that you now have this trusted entity to go and set this up. So like how has it been received so far and what’s been the experience so far with everyone?
00:08:36:29 – 00:09:49:26
Mark Peck: You know really positive and a large part of what I focus my time on were sort of partnerships for the first couple years with exchange partners with some of the lending platforms like a Celcius. You know who can help engage with our customer base and just add value to the choices because we really do give you a wide range of choices. And so if you’re not sure about which way you want to go you often need some education or some content to help you make a decision. So we try to focus on adding that in. You know this year is obviously seen as a rollercoaster of emotions for all savers, investors and just for so many different reasons. And so it’s been an interesting ride where you know we’ve tried to really just add value where we can for an educational perspective, but also not you know maybe overstep our bounds in terms of where’s an area that we actually have expertise on and we should be commentating. It feels like some of our peers sometimes maybe coach people in a direction that’s not necessarily a comfort level for them, right? Like sort of the late night, gold salesman hard sell. That’s not the kind of approach we’re trying to take right. Like we’re trying to provide the tool that gives you lots of choices and help you feel empowered to make the choice, not necessarily coach you down one way or the other that’s just beneficial to us.
00:09:50:00 – 00:10:14:06
Richard Carthon: No doubt. And I think that is a really strong point of empowering people to come on make their own decisions and provide an education piece because I mean as you’ve said in a lot of different ways where retirement is set up, they kind of try to steer you in a certain place of like you know how do we while you make money how can we get our biggest ROI too? So in the fact that you’re just giving all the information and the tools out there and letting people make their own educated decisions I think is extremely valuable.
00:10:17:02 – 00:11:30:06
Mark Peck: Yeah absolutely. What’s great too is it really lets you be diverse and uncorrelated to the point where you can invest in a couple of startups through you know Start Engine or Republic and then pair that with your ten thousand in Bitcoin and you know put your trading Fidelity account in that same sleeve or umbrella of assets so you’ve got your standard assets for that traditional exposure. You know really your sort of aggressive trade if you will with crypto and maybe you find something else to sort of balance those out. And so it’s been really fun for me to talk to so many educated customers, right? So every week, every day we’ve got people calling in and asking us these really interesting and complex questions. So helping them sort of unwind that and figure out what’s possible or maybe you know that’s actually limited because you’re a U.S. based resident and you live in New York State. You can’t actually purchase that project coin or you can’t transact without platform SEO issuance because they don’t have the right and AML, KYC to match up with us. And so that’s where we can continue to add value to our clients as they explore and push the boundaries of what investing you know what investments they want to go after. We just help to continue again to help make sure that they stay in line from that IRS guardrail perspective.
00:11:30:12 – 00:11:30:27
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:11:30:29 – 00:11:33:12
Mark Peck: But encouraging the exploration and encouraging the innovation.
00:11:33:26 – 00:11:52:15
Richard Carthon: Which is absolutely spectacular and definitely something to continue. Everyone listening to go check that out. And I know that you’ve been in this space since you said early 2016 and you’ve seen all kinds of things happen over the last five years. You know what are some things going on right now in the crypto and block chain space that have your attention that you think other people should be looking out for?
00:11:54:01 – 00:12:07:14
Mark Peck: Well I think for me as a user and a lot again a lot of the population that we’re working with are you know investors who believe in the space, so they’re long term modelers. You know you don’t have to preach to them. You know why Bitcoin has its value, right?
00:12:08:27 – 00:12:09:12
Richard Carthon: Right.
00:12:09:14 – 00:13:32:21
Mark Peck: But again it’s an issue of sometimes finding the access to actually get to unlock all of the potential. So I’ve been excited to work with a few yield platforms that are creating income and depository yield or lending out through their programs. I mentioned one a little bit before, it’s Celsius Network, there’s Block Fi out there, a couple of big names in the States. And then Avé out of Europe I really like, they’re a decentralized lending platform. So what’s really great about them is you’re not giving up your keys and your coins, right? They’ve actually they’re providing that yield. Though smaller than the others in terms of the deposit return it’s because it’s decentralized, you’re still maintaining the assets yourself and so we are benefiting from their great work and evolution in terms of their offering. So we continue to explore those pieces, continue to figure out you know if you’re going to again make this super long term allocation where you’re just holding it for 30 years. How do you continue to make sure that you get the most out of it and compound those returns and if you can earn a couple percent a year it does pretty amazing things for you in the long term. So I think that’s right now a great place of innovation that helps investors. And I’m still waiting a little bit on the STO boom too from an investment side like we see that and we hear it. I wouldn’t say it’s as prevalent as it was even a couple of years ago. Like we we still get calls and queries like real estate tokenization and things that are very tangible.
00:13:32:26 – 00:13:57:04
Mark Peck: I think there is a lot of potential there. But I have to say with our market there’s been a little bit of a lag I think in interest of that compared to just people acquiring the coins directly. People come to us primarily to buy the big major coins, SRP, ethereum, you know Tasos whatever it is, right? They want the big tope 10 names. It hasn’t really trickled down as much to some of the side projects as I thought it would have a couple years ago.
00:13:57:06 – 00:14:55:08
Richard Carthon: Gotcha, so there’s still a lot of opportunity in the alt space and to see what the alt coins are doing but I think there you hit on a huge point in the yield space. We actually had someone with block buy come on the show previously and had a really good conversation and there’s just so much opportunity in that space because you’re right if you’re just gonna be a hodler you’re gonna be sitting on this money anyway. You know if you have it in cold storage or what have you, you know it’s just sitting there just like with your savings. Well with your savings account, at least you’re getting like point zero one percent so maybe making a penny on every whatever you’re putting out there. But with you know if you’re getting somewhere between four to eight to 12 percent yield with your money just sitting there anyway cause you’re not gonna touch it, you might as well be making money on your money and there’s a lot of opportunity in that space. So I appreciate you speaking on that towards that. But with everything that’s going on in the world right now I mean kind of we spoke about early in the conversation. Where do you see the future of cryptocurrency and block chain headed in the next couple of years?
00:14:57:10 – 00:15:36:23
Mark Peck: Well I think it has the ability to improve financial services greatly. You know I think that it remains to be seen whether that is whether the big banks are the beneficiaries of those improvements or the end point users. You know we’re hoping that the users are empowered in the way that block chain is really you know so far been able to achieve. But you know just like stripping down barriers to using you know digital assets on your phone as a payment method you know the ways that you know big public companies even like Square, right? Continue to spend money and time and and support projects like I really appreciate that convexity of traditional banking and and watching I think block chain is going to win out if you will in terms of how much impact they have.
00:15:36:25 – 00:15:37:10
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:15:37:12 – 00:15:58:22
Mark Peck: But it’s important to at least build those bridges, right? I think there’s a bank in California, Silver Gate Bank, right? Like they were one of the first banks to bank crypto startups and though that’s sort of a boring news story to like you know an outside user who is just learning about crypto. I think it’s really important to people who are inside the space because you need those things to take incremental steps of validation.
00:15:58:25 – 00:15:59:10
Richard Carthon: Yes.
00:15:59:12 – 00:16:44:04
Mark Peck: You know that leads to just a few weeks ago, right? We had J.P. Morgan talking to Gemini and Coinbase about becoming customers, right? So every step of validation is still really important. And I think honestly just surviving and thriving during these times like I listened to one of the podcasts you know from from the previous recordings right and you talked about how the team there was still hiring and how hard that was for them or how difficult that is compared to a lot of their peers to say we’re still open for business and we’re hiring, we’re adding new people to our team. I mean that’s just an amazing achievement considering how fragmented of a year it’s been. You know like to just just survive and get through it and come out on the other end is probably more of an achievement than it would be normally.
00:16:44:06 – 00:17:18:07
Richard Carthon: Correct. And I think in this space just like you said, every monumental step is it’s just so much more powerful because it’s helping that uptick, that upswing that’s I think finally going to come what would have taken I think a decade to get to I think might have gotten cut in half, if not sooner, just cause there’s way more focus in a lens on everything that’s happening in this space and the fact that just like you said with one of my previous episodes even though in this space a lot of people are losing jobs and there’s not a lot opportunity in this space. There are people that are growing fast and need help and need resources and that is encouraging.
00:17:18:09 – 00:17:31:26
Richard Carthon: I think that is an encouraging sign of just all the opportunity that’s in the space, so of course surviving this time and for everyone that’s building the infrastructure building those first layers so that when everybody comes and builds on top of it. If you’ve already been there you’re just going to thrive, right?
00:17:32:06 – 00:17:32:21
Mark Peck: Yeah.
00:17:32:23 – 00:17:49:09
Richard Carthon: And so I really appreciate that comment. I think there’s a ton of truth to what you just said. But more than anything I really do appreciate your time and everything you’ve been able to drop on us. I think there’s a lot of valuable information here. But what is a final thought that you want to leave with all of our listeners here today?
00:17:50:23 – 00:19:01:19
Mark Peck: Yeah. Well thanks again for having me Richard, great to be here with the Crypto Current crowd. You know I think for Rocket Dollar and what we’re trying to address is the fact that most people think their retirement has to be kept in brokerage jail if you will, right? And there’s no other options besides an ETF and that’s just not the case. So depending upon your skillset, depending upon your own unique journey that got you to where you were and are in your professional career you can leverage that expertise and apply it to your retirement account. So whether you’re in health care startups or you know block chain focused or you know a real estate tax lean expert, you can do, apply all of those experiences to your retirement account and that’s just something that most people aren’t aware of. And so whatever your flavor is and whatever your near and long term personal financial goals are there’s something to at least learn from the industry that we’re in, whether it’s a good fit for you at that time or not. You know it’s not always timely, but there’s tons of value there that for most people is completely new. And so you know do yourself a favor, check it out a little bit. This idea of self directed retirement accounts can add a lot of value or at the very least help you shape the other things that you’re doing in your investing life.
00:19:01:21 – 00:19:36:26
Richard Carthon: Absolutely. And I think that’s a great final thought for everyone there is. We’re in this time, in this period where people can set up long term wealth and one of the ways that you can always do that is through your retirement. Now with this, a giant shakeup with everything going on in the world, but this is allowing you to look at several different asset classes, several different ways and even involving the crypto currency community to be able to invest and get into that space as well. While you’re already doing what you want to. So for everyone listening you know go check it out, go get some more information. And Mark what are some different ways that people can either learn more or connect with you?
00:19:37:29 – 00:20:03:03
Mark Peck: Yeah, so you can visit us at RockDollar.com. We’ve got a team email box which is just Info@RocketDollar.com. Again my name is Mark. Thanks for the time and the interest. You’re welcome to give us a call too. We take old fashioned phone calls too you know the the old school way, so everything’s on the site there. We’ve got a ton of information, our knowledge base and are happy to connect with people on LinkedIn as well, so you know we take all comers and are glad to learn from the other community as well.
00:20:03:24 – 00:20:13:16
Richard Carthon: Excellent. Well, again man super appreciate your time in telling everything you did about Rocket Dollar and all the amazing information that you dropped, but for everyone listening, Stay Crypto Current!
Crypto Current will be guiding all of you who are new to the cryptocurrency world to becoming a cryptocurrency and blockchain expert. Crypto Current was founded to give access to information to everyone on current events occurring in cryptocurrency and blockchain in a digestible way. Since its creation, we have created content that impacted thousands of people through its podcast, blog, and social media.