Michael Beches on Creating Intelligent Contracts by Combining AI and Blockchains with VIAOT (Episode 119)
During his studies in economic law in Vienna, Michael was deeply involved in developing various start-ups. He is the Co-Founder of BlockExpo GmbH, a Viennese company that supports the Blockchain ecosystem in Austria with conferences and strategic consulting. The flagship project of the company is the ANON Summit – an annual, two-day conference with over 1000 visitors from over 50 nations and a clear focus on blockchain use cases from different industries. Michael continues to be intensely involved in strategic consulting for companies and managers. In his role at VAIOT, he helps to optimize business processes and drive growth through digitization tools.
Combining artificial intelligence.
*Disclaimer. None of this information is financial advice.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:53:08 – 00:01:03:02
Richard Carthon: Welcome to another episode of Crypto Current your host here, Richard Carthon, and today I got a very special guest all the way out in Vienna. We got Michael Beches with VAIOT. How are you doing today?
00:01:03:17 – 00:01:05:24
Michael Beches: I am very good. How are you doing yourself?
00:01:07:13 – 00:01:22:24
Richard Carthon: Aw man, I’m great. I’m glad you’re able to speak with me halfway across the world. A lot of things going on right now, but I’m very interested to learn more about everything that’s going on at VAIOT, but before we do, please give us a little background about yourself.
00:01:23:01 – 00:02:16:03
Michael Beches: Sure. So again, hi everyone, my name is Michael. I’ve been living in Vienna for about 20 years now or the best city in the world, as I like to call it. Before that, I grew up in Romania because that’s the place of my origin. And yeah, business wise in 2018, I co-founded the company named Block Expo, whose goal is to connect and educate people in the Blockchain space. And yeah, we’re doing that with mainly events and community meetups. So we have a weekly meetup series called Block in Mind every Wednesday in Vienna, 7 p.m. CET time, which is now held online of course. And we have our annual conference, the Summit, which also takes place in Vienna and actually it became one of the biggest Blockchain conferences in Europe to date.
00:02:16:05 – 00:02:16:28
Richard Carthon: Wow.
00:02:17:05 – 00:02:30:03
Michael Beches: Yeah. And our last edition was in April. And yeah, due to corona, of course also was held online, but still we had over 8,000 registrations from 120 countries, so that was pretty insane.
00:02:30:05 – 00:02:30:20
Richard Carthon: That’s great.
00:02:30:22 – 00:03:16:06
Michael Beches: I had to say that loud. And yeah, basically from the moment I founded the company, I was always very interested in how to make it grow in the most efficient way and as fast as possible well as well. So as a result, I became Head of Growth and spent the last few years focusing on growth marketing basically and continuing my education in disputes specifically. And now, I’m in a space where I would like to share the experiences that I had for the last few years especially, in this industry, which we all know sometimes is our ticks a little different than many others.
00:03:16:11 – 00:03:16:26
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:03:16:28 – 00:03:28:09
Michael Beches: That yeah, I just want to share this knowledge with other promising companies and yeah, want to help them grow as well and VAIOT, the company I work for now, it’s definitely one of those companies.
00:03:28:25 – 00:03:48:21
Richard Carthon: That’s amazing and it’s cool that you’ve been in this space for a while that you’ve been able to create events where a lot of people are very engaged and you’re able to share your knowledge with such a vast amount of people, but, you know, how did you first get involved in the space in the first place, like what was your first introduction? What year was it and what made you want to learn more?
00:03:50:09 – 00:04:13:15
Michael Beches: Yeah. So I think that was actually rather unspectacular I would say. I guess it was the year, I would say late 2016, 2017, apologies from my side because I’m not an early adopter, I know most of the Blockchain company founders always say they got into Blockchain in 2011, 2012, but yeah.
00:04:13:26 – 00:04:23:20
Richard Carthon: Hey there’s not wrong, whenever you get in the game it’s a good time. I mean, even getting into it right now, everyone is listening, it’s a good time. So yeah, no problem with that.
00:04:23:22 – 00:04:47:03
Michael Beches: Of course, of course. That’s why we’re spreading the news. And yeah, back then, I was studying business law in Indiana and a colleague who actually later became my business partner as well, just wouldn’t stop talking about Bitcoin and Blockchain. And also at that time the hype was as you know, very real, so I just started doing my own research and yeah, one thing led to another and now we’re here.
00:04:48:06 – 00:05:16:14
Richard Carthon: Yeah and that’s amazing so you know, you get into it around 2016 you’re now in it for four years you know, you’re beginning to work with VAIOT, which you know, online it talks about how you’re combining artificial intelligence and Blockchain to create new ways of digitally accessing services securely concluding legal agreements and with natural user interface. Can you just expand on that? Like what is it that you’re working on and how would somebody want to use VAIOT?
00:05:16:16 – 00:05:55:27
Michael Beches: Yeah, sure, sure, sure. So actually the project was founded three years ago in Malta, yeah with intentions to leverage the first regulated environment for Blockchain projects in Europe and currently, we are finishing this process, allowing us to meet all the regulatory requirements. And yeah, as I said, at this company, a company that combines these two major technological trends, artificial intelligence and Blockchain and what we are doing is we are developing an intelligent virtual assistant, so also now a question to you Richard. Do you know what a virtual assistant is?
00:05:56:25 – 00:06:03:00
Richard Carthon: Oh absolutely, we actually utilize one for the company, so absolutely.
00:06:03:03 – 00:06:23:08
Michael Beches: Nice, because most people they know what Siri or Alexa is, but when they hear the words “virtual assistant,” they’re like, I don’t know, they think of something else. So basically VAIOT is something like Siri or Alexa, but the main difference is that it’s strictly business orientated.
00:06:23:10 – 00:06:23:25
Richard Carthon: Wow.
00:06:23:27 – 00:07:16:11
Michael Beches: So it is created to digitize business processes first of all and this is what we’re doing right now, we are offering our clients a brand new and unique digital channel for their communication with customers. And second of all because you mentioned it, this is the company’s future and ultimate goal. We are building a personal AI legal assistant, providing legal services including digital and Blockchain based contracts. So yeah, as I said, the virtual assistant can be offered to various science and different economic sectors. And what I mean by that is whatever your company has a product or a service to be sold digitally or you serve your customers digitally, you can use biotechnology to have your own AI assistant delivered to your customers via mobile application.
00:07:17:08 – 00:07:18:15
Richard Carthon: That’s pretty cool.
00:07:18:17 – 00:07:26:19
Michael Beches: Yeah. And that should help increase sales revenue, so basically reduce costs. Yeah, depending on which process you choose.
00:07:26:24 – 00:07:52:00
Richard Carthon: Definitely. And let’s just kind of dive into that just a little bit. So for example, let’s say I am a new company entering the Crypto, Blockchain space and I’m trying to set up my operations, right? So your legal documents of operations, would this AI be able to help me with that or what are the type of legal implications that the AI would be able to help me create?
00:07:52:21 – 00:08:13:20
Michael Beches: Yeah, sure, of course, but this is the final step of having our agenda because the legal side of things is the most complicated ones because you have to integrate it into the Blockchain as well. So we could help you with that, but this is still something that takes a little bit of time.
00:08:15:02 – 00:08:15:17
Richard Carthon: Got it.
00:08:15:19 – 00:08:51:24
Michael Beches: But actually we create quality contract so both principal and ready to sign as, well as highly secure Blockchain based digital versions, replacing uncertain risky contract templates and expensive time consuming legal services, but let’s say for example, if you wanted to sell me your car, we could do that via the biotechnology, but first the only thing we had to do is both get through the KYC process. Of course, depending on the price, but let’s say from $500 upwards we had to do that KYC process.
00:08:51:26 – 00:09:41:14
Richard Carthon: Got it, okay. And for everyone who doesn’t know the KYC, know your customers. Just some basic legal documents to make sure that you can assure hey that you’re saying who you are and have all the legal ramifications to go through the act of selling something. So I think that’s really cool. I think it’s fascinating and I definitely see where anything that involves a contract period from person to person or company to company, this just can touch so many different facets of business and like you said, can save time and money by not having to go to a third party legal institution. So I guess my question is are you trying to disrupt the legal structures that are out there, like not having the necessary need to go to a law firm to accomplish some of these things?
00:09:42:21 – 00:09:43:11
Michael Beches: Sorry, once again.
00:09:44:17 – 00:09:51:25
Richard Carthon: So instead of me hiring a lawyer, I could go to VAIOT and be able to handle a lot of the different kinds of contracts that I would want to implement.
00:09:52:11 – 00:10:08:06
Michael Beches: That’s the idea and that is also like our main say upon, like you have high availability, you have 24/7, 365 days a year and easy access to services and distribution schedules. So yeah, of course
00:10:09:17 – 00:10:27:14
Richard Carthon: Awesome, yeah. Well, I’m definitely interested in seeing how this all shakes out cause I definitely see where all of these use cases are being used. So where are you currently at in the product? Where is it, are people starting to use, is it in beta? Well, how is it currently being utilized?
00:10:29:09 – 00:11:09:12
Michael Beches: So right now, we are in the internal testing phase, we have the MVP ready. So just last week actually, I downloaded the VAIOT app and we have our first use case ready, which is buying and car insurance. So this is our first MVP and also one thing that is also worth mentioning is that for our proof of concept, we joined forces with IBM and that really laid the groundwork for our future plans and gave us confidence that we are going in the right direction.
00:11:10:00 – 00:11:10:15
Richard Carthon: For sure.
00:11:10:17 – 00:11:18:13
Michael Beches: But this is where we are right now. So finishing the MVP and as soon will be available for everyone as well.
00:11:18:15 – 00:11:53:24
Richard Carthon: That’s awesome. Well, I mean that that partnership’s gonna be a big deal and of course can help you with the future growth, but definitely some exciting things and definitely going to be checking this out and and looking forward to utilizing it once it is fully ready to go for it for beta. So kind of shifting gears a little bit, I know that you’ve been in this space for the last four years, you’ve put on a ton of events in educating people in this space about Blockchain. What are some things or some projects that have your attention right now or that are things that are happening in the space that you think people should be paying attention to?
00:11:56:01 – 00:12:12:15
Michael Beches: So there are two spaces like in the Blockchain industry that interests me the most right now. The one is the NFT space. I got into this topic for, also for your communities and listeners, NFTs stands for non-fungible token.
00:12:13:03 – 00:12:13:18
Richard Carthon: Thank you.
00:12:13:21 – 00:12:30:26
Michael Beches: And I got into this topic because of one of sponsors from one of our events, it was actually the Austrian Postal Service and is actually a very traditional company, but they wanted to make a new approach and what they did is that they launched the first ever Crypto send.
00:12:30:28 – 00:12:31:13
Richard Carthon: Wow.
00:12:31:15 – 00:13:40:16
Michael Beches: And yeah, with the Crypto send, that could also be sent as a digital image within Ethereum Blockchain and you could also trade it afterwards, of course. So they launched it a few years back, it was a huge success and now they have their second edition. And that’s why I, yeah, just was really interested in the whole NFT topic and then I started looking into other digital collectibles, such as art, wine and gaming. And also a colleague of mine brought me to a Blockchain game, you can download on your cell phone, it’s called Night Story, where you are able to buy and sell gear. And for me, like I’m a little bit of a nerd myself, I play sometimes some games and this was like the first time I really get like Praxis oriented stuff that I could use with some NFTs, like really tried to level up things with buying all the gear in open source, which was really great. And then, I really started shifting and seeing the huge potential also for esports.
00:13:40:28 – 00:13:41:13
Ricard Carthon: Right.
00:13:41:15 – 00:14:29:04
Michael Beches: Because for esports they have huge stars and a huge fan base. And the problem is if you are playing something or gaming, or I didn’t know you and you buy some skins or outfits or I don’t know what the problem is, after one week you buy another one and you cannot do anything with it. So I think this is the future and this is where it’s heading. It’s like really trying to get the most out of everything you are paying for, yeah? And it also makes it a lot more fun to also be able to trade stuff, so I think this is very promising. And also of course, besides the NFT topic is the DeFi space or also DefFi bubble, as I would like to call it already because it’s getting pretty crazy.
00:14:29:06 – 00:14:29:21
Richard Carthon: Yeah.
00:14:29:23 – 00:15:11:23
Michael Beches: I mean yeah, I believe DeFi is more than a short term trend and it fundamentally innovates our financial system, I really do. And yeah, it is unstoppable and the existing financial system will undergo major changes in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure, but that being said, I think with almost every new hype, there is also an ugly opposite side. And just as we have seen similar hype with the ICOs in 2017, with lots of projects popping out of nowhere and having little substance, but sell themselves very well, they take advantage of it to grab, to attract ignorant people.
00:15:11:25 – 00:15:12:10
Richard Carthon: Yep.
00:15:12:12 – 00:15:27:25
Michael Beches: And this is also something that I’m seeing right now is just people don’t inform themselves well about the projects and they only want to gain quick profits and that can easily yeah, burn your fingers I would say, so people really have to watch out.
00:15:29:13 – 00:16:02:23
Richard Carthon: Definitely. So first on the NFT side, non-fungible tokens, I agree that that is the like future, it’s super cool, a great way for people to get involved in the space who are into art, into gaming, into everything else and cross bringing different collectibles across various platforms is very innovative and I think where the future is headed. And I think it’s a really cool thing, if everyone listening who doesn’t know a lot about it, definitely do some research and I’m probably going to have a future speaker come on and only talk about NFTs, but super, super cool space.
00:16:03:02 – 00:16:03:18
Michael Beches: Yeah.
00:16:03:20 – 00:16:35:11
Richard Carthon: Also on the DeFi side, I mean, just to echo that we are headed towards a bubble I think as well. I think with everything that DeFi’s being worked on, the circle of everything that needs to happen, the checks and balances and bringing the DeFi project from start all the way to the finish, I think a lot of these projects are getting to about 75 percent and are trying to figure out that last 25 percent. And I think most of the companies in the space probably are not going to be able to figure out that last 25 percent and a lot of people are gonna get burned because of it.
00:16:35:13 – 00:16:36:11
Michael Beches: Yeah.
00:16:36:13 – 00:16:50:19
Richard Carthon: It’s super early and it’s still a lot that needs to be figured out and kind of like you said, I just want everyone who’s learning about DeFi, make sure you learn about what the project is working on, how they’re trying to fix it and what they’re trying to do.
00:16:50:21 – 00:17:59:00
Michael Beches: Because I think also yeah, in the Blockchain space, like it really took a lot of time to mature like and all the new companies that are not necessarily DeFi projects, so they really have to prove something, like the team has to be very stable, there has to be a story that has to be a clear guideline. And DeFi now, the market cap is just exploding and you see now also just projects copying or forking other projects because most of them are open source and they just come up with something, they say it’s new and they try to sell it and yeah, people just fall into it. So it’s really, it’s again like in 2017 a little bit, where it doesn’t really matter, you don’t have that much substance and they don’t look that much into the future. And this is something we worked very hard in the last few years in the Blockchain space to really mature this space and to prove to everybody that this is something sustainable, but yeah, as I said, everybody has viewings on research, so yeah, that’s just a message.
00:17:59:06 – 00:18:32:28
Richard Carthon: And just like you said, all the companies that stuck around after the ICO boom of late 2017, early 2018, the ones that are still around and surviving, they’re building something for the future, they’re trying to last or trying to be companies that go and thrive. What you’re kind of seeing right now early in this DeFi space, you have some projects that are like, “Oh I could go raise a whole lot of money if I just put DeFi on the end of it” and they might not necessarily truly be trying to build something to last, they are just trying to ride the wave of let’s see how much money I can make as quickly as possible so.
00:18:34:18 – 00:18:35:03
Michael Beches: Exactly.
00:18:35:05 – 00:19:05:13
Richard Carthon: Do your own research, find out what it is that you’re trying to get involved with. And again, really do appreciate you bringing this to the forefront of everyone’s mind, but what is something, so 2012 has obviously been a seesaw of a year of highs and lows in all kinds of things happening, not only in the Crypto, Blockchain space, but just in the world period with COVID. What are some things in the next, let’s call it three to five years that you think people should be aware of or should be looking out for?
00:19:05:20 – 00:19:06:05
Michael Beches: In the Blockchain space now?
00:19:06:07 – 00:19:06:22
Richard Carthon: Yes.
00:19:06:24 – 00:20:10:03
Michael Beches: I think it still is DeFi. I think it has as I said, it has the most potential in my opinion and it really is needed right now. It is like, it is the most important thing we have to our current financial system and it needs change and we’ve been seeing that the last few months especially. And so this is where I think it’s headed, it’s just like Cryptocurrencies always was the biggest use case in Blockchain, like everything as of course, there a lot of use cases in different industries, but still Cryptocurrencies are still the biggest ones and it will be. So I just think making this whole process more mature and bringing also the traditional players into it, but we’ve seen it also, we are hearing like every week news from some new banks looking into the space and trying to find ways to cooperate. So I think this is the way it should go.
00:20:12:01 – 00:20:30:22
Richard Carthon: Definitely. And looking forward to seeing how DeFi shapes out as well because it’s the future, it just I think plainly put it is the future. But Michael, really do appreciate all the time and information that you shared with us, but before you go, what is a final thought that you want to leave with all of our listeners here today?
00:20:31:16 – 00:21:28:20
Michael Beches: Final thought. So from a business perspective of course, please follow us on all our social media channels at VAIOT. We are also having our public sale soon, so this is also very interesting. Just stay up to date. Follow us, we’ll give you updates on everything that we are doing right now in our company. And as I said, our MVP will be ready soon. So yeah. And thoughts in general as we’ve said just guys, please take your time, do your own research, don’t get too much FOMO. And Crypto and Blockchain is here to stay and it is the future in so many ways and we need to educate people, so this is a task that is here for the whole Crypto space in the community, not just for us. So yeah, take it seriously please and wherever you are in the world right now, please take care. Take care of each other.
00:21:29:01 – 00:21:36:25
Richard Carthon: Awesome. Really great final thought and I really appreciate your time as always. And for everyone listening stay Crypto Current.
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