Sakhib Waseem joins us to discuss equipping the DeFi world with a full legal layer with Astra Protocol.
Sakhib Waseem is an experienced technology expert in the financial sector and a blockchain specialist. Sakhib has worked with numerous top tier financial groups such as Bank of America, National Australia group and actively advises governments, designing and implementing transformative blockchain technology-driven solutions from inception.
Sakhib has played a leading role in the design and build of several enterprise technology platforms, for significant financial regulatory bodies across the globe. He is extensively experienced in designing blockchain applications and networks and has been an active thought leader in blockchain since 2016.
Outside of actively designing and implementing technology platforms and networks, Sakhib has been actively investing in cryptocurrency since 2014.
As Chief Innovation Officer, Sakhib leads the design, build and implementation of new and innovative products at The Proof of Trust and Astra Protocol.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:01:06:14 – 00:01:31:10
Richard Carthon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of crypto current, your host here, Richard Carthon. It’s a day I have a special guest all the way out in Portugal, travel across Lisbon, doing the whole rotation of looking at different types of workshops and events because as an amazing project called Astro Protocol that I’m excited to learn more about. We have the key. But how are you doing today?
00:01:32:15 – 00:01:41:28
Sakhib Waseem: Hey, Richard, yeah, really pleased to be here. Thank you for having me on today. Yeah, as you said, I’m out here in sunny Lisbon at the moment enjoying the blockchain week.
00:01:42:21 – 00:01:52:22
Richard Carthon: Awesome. Well, we’re glad you could catch us during your busy schedule, but before we learn more about everything you have going on with Astral Protocol first, want to learn more about you? Give us some background on yourself.
00:01:54:00 – 00:02:29:14
Sakhib Waseem: Yeah, absolutely. So my my current position right now is the chief innovation and chief technology officer for the Astro Protocol, so you can imagine my background comes from quite a technically focused position. My career really started in traditional finance in an analytical position where I was able to aggregate lots of data but different workflows and really accelerated beyond working in in the traditional finance sector and creating my own company, which specialized, increasingly innovative new technology platforms for banks.
00:02:29:24 – 00:03:13:07
Sakhib Waseem: And within the financial space. So that career really spanned over a decade. A building, really cool, innovative product, some of which were based on blockchain and as early as 2015. So really, I had a good foresight and understanding of how traditional finance works from a technology perspective, but also how to drive innovation in large, scalable environments. And that’s really a high level overview to my career. But it’s been an interesting journey building large, scalable technology across lots of different jurisdictions on what became very relevant to me and astroparticle under strict regulatory compliance at the same time.
00:03:14:00 – 00:03:33:03
Sakhib Waseem: Right now, the very extensive background that is very relevant for what you’re doing today, and it actually crosses into the crypto blockchain, well, pretty well and is very needed. Speaking of which, you know, what was your first introduction to the space in and how did it lead you down? The rabbit hole of crypto and blockchain is where I want to be.
00:03:34:26 – 00:03:44:05
That’s a great question, and it’s quite an interesting one, really. I was first exposed to bitcoin and Litecoin as early as 2013.
00:03:45:24 – 00:03:50:02
One of my my other colleagues, one of my employees and my team at the time
00:03:52:15 – 00:04:26:26
highlighted bitcoin to me as this, you know, money for the internet is what you describe to us. And I looked at it and over a couple of weeks, I just saw the value of this thing appreciating pretty rapidly. So I thought, Hey, this is cool. I can see the future value of it. I started to read about the principles behind it. The idea of free exchange from peer to peer. And I really thought it was an interesting concept. So back then, you had to download those wallets onto your laptop, and it was quite a difficult process to get into.
00:04:27:06 – 00:04:59:08
But I managed to crack it and I bought my first bitcoin and Litecoin in 2013, like a lot of people did at the time. Unfortunately, there was some bad media press at the time. It was around the Silk Road time and we saw a big crash in the market. So the investment I made in the first couple of weeks didn’t do to very well. But time has shown, as well as hitting all time highs now that bitcoin is here to stay, the innovation that was created so many years ago has really flourished and look at the industry that we have now, it’s it’s really booming at the moment.
00:04:59:26 – 00:05:25:03
Sakhib Waseem: Absolutely. And it’s looking like it’s picking up a lot of steam as we kind of wrap up twenty twenty one. But being in the industry or knowing about crypto and getting into bitcoin, Litecoin 2013, seeing both bull markets and bear markets and and just fast forwarding to where we are now with the Astro Protocol, kind of explain like how did it come about? You became part of this company and what is it ultimately that you are trying to accomplish?
00:05:26:09 – 00:06:02:12
Well, I’ve been working with the founders in the technology space for a number of years, just creating lots of different applications and then clearly have some experience in creating both permissioned and public blockchain applications through my own company. Really, we we love DeFi as as a collective of people, myself, the founders, and we’re pretty much every employee. Our organization is huge fans of DeFi. I mean, it’s true innovation for the financial sector. And but with that, there has been some interesting noise in the media and some strange,
00:06:05:02 – 00:06:13:08
Sakhib Waseem: strange thoughts from regulators around the world. So we looked at the major issue that we saw coming in DeFi, which was.
00:06:14:24 – 00:07:03:28
Sakhib Waseem: Financial innovation, crisis, opportunity for success, but it creates a huge amount of risks as well as you don’t have to look far to say that people are often, you know, caught by rebels and scams, and you have unsophisticated investors who are just getting into the space. People like myself in 2013 and others who are subject to losses, risks and a lot of problems as well and can be swayed in this area. This era of social media to make bad decisions at the same time and really that warranted regulators to start look very closely at the industry as a whole, and that created a little bit of an environment of overregulation from a certain stance.
00:07:04:00 – 00:07:18:29
Sakhib Waseem: When we look at the actions of the FCC as of late, we look at Chinese government closing down operations for a lot of different cryptocurrencies, and then we look at the European perspective as well, with the European Central Bank taking
00:07:20:16 – 00:08:04:19
Sakhib Waseem: an opposing stance to cryptocurrencies, but without banning it. So we saw this opportunity to really manage the balance and keep the industry going forward. So we created the very first of its kind, a truly decentralized compliance layer that is accessible to multiple chains and really is simple and intuitive to use. And the principle and ethos behind the Astro Protocol is to bring the highest grade of regulatory compliance policy on board on boarding ramp for DeFi to as many people as possible, ensuring that all the major applications are able to absorb this technology and alleviate those pressures from the regulators.
00:08:05:08 – 00:08:43:05
Sakhib Waseem: So on this journey, we actually teamed up with and I can’t announced earlier today, but we’ll be making some very, very interesting announcements very soon. We’ve we’re working with a number of the top legal firms in the world in a completely decentralized fashion. So we’re we’re able to distribute KYC, KYC, AML checks through this major network of both legal services and business advisory services. We’re actually calling this the decentralized legal network that allows both retail and institutions to access decentralized view when it comes to compliance.
00:08:43:25 – 00:09:01:06
Sakhib Waseem: And in the eyes of the consumer, creates more of a safe environment for people to operate in the eyes of the regulator. It means that we have a green light to continue doing what we’re doing. We don’t need to stifle innovation with regulatory pressure, and we can continue moving this industry forward in the way that it should be.
00:09:02:26 – 00:09:10:23
Sakhib Waseem: So that’s our mission statement, really is to bring all of this together so that we can continue with this true innovation in the financial space.
00:09:11:21 – 00:09:30:00
Sakhib Waseem: So there’s a lot that you all are doing that, I think is absolutely incredible. But the main point here is to help sift through the regulatory nuances that are essential for everything to move forward in crypto. And it’s one of the largest challenges across countries and.
00:09:31:19 – 00:10:12:13
Sakhib Waseem: A lot of companies within the crypto blockchain space, when they think about interoperability and everything else, they need to make sure that in the different, uh, countries that they’re going to be operating in, that they’re not having any red tape they’re having to work through, but then also making sure that everything is they’re not liable for for the type of technology and being able to work with the different individuals in different countries. They’re not having to look behind their back every three seconds for all the innovations that they’re creating. So it sounds like Astro Protocol is moving forward with this in mind so that as people are continuing to build these amazing blockchains and innovations, that they’re not having to worry about all this regulatory red tape.
00:10:13:20 – 00:10:51:05
Sakhib Waseem: As it does exactly right and and the way that we approach this is that one of the reasons that we partnered with the major legal and business advisory firms is that it gives us firstly great timeliness when it comes to that thing on every service call that we have. And secondarily, it means that we can provide remet for over one hundred and twenty seven countries around the world so that we can really provide this global base of compliance checks to every protocol that wishes to engage in this service. And one of the key aspects is that we’re able to do all of this without sacrificing decentralization.
00:10:51:24 – 00:11:21:11
Sakhib Waseem: So users to sign up to these platforms, the lending and borrowing, the DEXs yield farming and pools as well, they can still remain anonymous within the application. They just call our service provider information. We carry out those checks. And as far as the application knows, without them being burdened by carrying personal information of those users, I having to go down those strict regulatory procedures. We’re able to provide that service through that decentralized legal network that we provide.
00:11:22:15 – 00:11:49:12
Sakhib Waseem: Which is pretty remarkable, and again, I know they can’t announce all of the partnerships that you have in place, but it sounds like you’ll have some really great things now brewing with that. And again, by providing access to a lot of these protocols, I wish to engage with you all your you’re. Pushing down a lot of the barriers to entry and allowing a lot more fluid.
00:11:50:27 – 00:12:20:12
Sakhib Waseem: Practices to like get up and running in a compliant way, which is really, really, really cool. And again, I know that you focus on the five part, the centralized aspect of it, which I think is still very important because as you start adding regulation and other stuff like that, it can start to feel centralized again. So can you kind of speak to to the like application of how you are still able to like do all this regulation and still be the centralized focus? You know, I mean, like, that’s a very interesting process.
00:12:23:23 – 00:12:51:19
Sakhib Waseem: Hey, cryptocurrency, true, this is Steve Miller, and I’m the host of CC Life Show that keeps you up to date with what’s popping off in crypto in every episode of CSI Live brings you. The latest news keeps you updated on the top projects in decrypts everything you need to know to get ahead in the wild world of Web three. So if you really want to stay cryptocurrency, join Richard, Chris and I every Tuesday and Friday at seven p.m. Eastern, only on YouTube Live. So what are you waiting for? Subscribe to cryptocurrency YouTube channel today! And as always, stay cryptocurrency.
00:12:55:14 – 00:13:26:26
Sakhib Waseem: Well, in short, we utilize technology like zero knowledge proofs, so when a service calls our application, we can tell the mother that, you know, an address has been whitelisted by our service. From a user perspective, it’s really simple. You just within four clicks, submit your application of all your information as you went through any compliance platform for the KYC. But what we do is rather than passing out to one centralized entity which, as you said, kind of kills decentralization is one firm is responsible for who can join in, you know, enter into a platform.
00:13:27:12 – 00:14:01:15
Sakhib Waseem: Instead, we hand out to that decentralized legal network. So in the same way that Uber offers rides to its customers, we offer those cases out to a full spectrum of different compliance specialists from both the legal and business advisory world. And we use a really cool matchmaking algorithm that creates an anti collusive panel of adjudicators. So without getting too technical, what this allows us to do is ensure that those individuals who are selected don’t know each other can’t converse with each other.
00:14:01:24 – 00:14:20:13
Sakhib Waseem: They’re working within a decentralized sphere as well. So we’re introducing decentralization from the entry point for users so they can remain decentralized and anonymized within the applications that they’re using in DeFi. But internally, within our own structure, we incorporate decentralization through that legal network as well. Well.
00:14:21:11 – 00:14:49:24
Sakhib Waseem: And it’s it’s cool that you’re setting this up to where it is zero knowledge proof and you don’t necessarily have this one entity that’s running the show. You have a network, an ecosystem that are coming together to get all this accomplished. And I’m sure from a. Coordination standpoint, it’s it’s quite a lot of plates to be spinning at the same time. How is it that you are kind of coming together and putting it in such a way that it can be streamlined?
00:14:51:10 – 00:15:22:11
Sakhib Waseem: Well, it’s a really simple and easy to consume service. It can be connected to any application, either through a smart contract clause or through an API call. So we make it really easy to consume the front end operation like you would with any application which take Shopify for an example, you’re able to integrate it into your site seamlessly. Whenever you connect the wallet service, you can call the smart contracts or you can simply just carry. This is part of the onboarding technique. So use as a comfortable with with these kinds of processes, it’s no different to what we see today.
00:15:22:21 – 00:15:58:09
Sakhib Waseem: The magic Israelis, what’s happening in the background that allows is to to create this network and this this this ability to connect with the right people in the right jurisdictions. And that’s key as well. When we much make use users to this decentralized legal network system, we’re bringing in specialists pertinent to your local. So if you’re registered in the states and you need a state specific compliance expert to look at you, we can provide that because we have the bandwidth in the network as well and just frankly from the questions legally.
00:15:58:24 – 00:16:30:07
Sakhib Waseem: But looking at the other side as well, we talk about regulatory pressure. What’s key and sets us apart in the marketplaces we come with really strong firms. As I mentioned, we’re talking top 10 legal business advisory firms out there, all attesting and working in a decentralized means. So regulators are really comfortable from the perspective that these checks are being carried out not by one centralized entity, but actually from a panel of industry experts who come from top accredited firms as well.
00:16:30:23 – 00:16:41:26
Sakhib Waseem: So from a regulatory sense, this is this is a really, really special for them and it really hits all the key points that they’re looking for, which is a safe environment because nobody wants to kill innovation.
00:16:43:00 – 00:17:14:28
Sakhib Waseem: No, and I think looking at that side of things as well as is largely important just to see how do we keep progress? How do we keep innovation going without stifling the true essence of what brought everybody to the crypto blockchain space in the first place, which is decentralization? And it sounds like y’all are doing those things. You’re doing them well. So, you know, amazing job with getting a lot of this set up with you going to a lot of these different shows and kind of, you know, putting Astral Protocol out there.
00:17:15:00 – 00:17:21:05
Sakhib Waseem: You know, what are some of the things in your pipeline that you’ll have coming that you think a lot of people are going to be interested in?
00:17:22:09 – 00:17:56:02
Sakhib Waseem: Oh, I say the most exciting thing about this, that we’re actually launching our token, which is going to power the transactions even more so we’re looking at lots of different methodologies for our token. But really, we’re going to use this to enforce even further decentralization and then allow every individual who calls the service to be in control of how fast they want to be seen in the system as well. So that’s some of the exciting news, but part of our journey will be introducing lots of different compliance elements to what we do and broadening out what legal services within this within the DeFi sphere looks like.
00:17:56:14 – 00:18:34:10
Sakhib Waseem: And for us, it’s about increasing the accessibility to legal services and business advisory services for compliance to things like KYC, KYC. But we’re looking at innovation even beyond that, bringing additional features over time. So I would say the two key things for us right now are bringing out a token which is really interesting and keeps the notion of decentralization for our platform. So we’re on be be on the lookout for the extra token, which they’re coming. And the second is just adding more services to our offering to ensure that each of these platforms can can add an on board different services with greater accessibility.
00:18:35:04 – 00:19:01:10
Sakhib Waseem: No doubt, no. That sounds great. And I think even with both of those coming out, there’s some people here listening to like, Yes, I’m looking to figure out how I can get more involved with getting a lot of this legal compliance and other things within my protocols in a situation to where I know that I am protected. So for all of those who are working on these innovative blockchains or cryptos, how can they get involved and get started with Astro Protocol?
00:19:02:16 – 00:19:40:07
Sakhib Waseem: Very simply, I mean, just reach out to us at Astroparticle dot com. We’ve got a really responsive team. We love to engage. We’ve got a very busy and active telegram as well. If people can reach out to us and through all of our social media, we’re a great team. We’re really approachable and a lot of people see us at different conventions. We actually get approached by a lot of different companies who look for advice like, how should we approach this industry? And we say, Look, you know, there are two routes. You can either spend a huge amount of money building your own infrastructure for compliance and you might not get it right or you can rely on the top legal firms around the world to provide the service for you.
00:19:40:16 – 00:20:11:01
Sakhib Waseem: We’re a big facilitator of that. But we keep it decentralized, always our. But the common question that everybody asks is this How can we integrate this? And it’s really simple. As I mentioned quite earlier on, You Can Be The Connector was a smart contract code or through an API. We’re really flexible and we got the system in a way that we can operate with multiple different chains. I mean, clearly this this regulatory pressure coming in from pretty much every chain now and nowadays, you just have to walk off stage to get served papers by the FCC.
00:20:11:14 – 00:20:25:16
Sakhib Waseem: So I think it’s important that people start embracing compliance tools like ours, really, just to ensure that they’ve got a real fighting chance that keeps the regulatory pressure away from you and not the true innovators can focus on that growing that platforms without having that kind of pressure behind them.
00:20:26:13 – 00:20:57:18
Sakhib Waseem: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people are going to be looking at this even more so as the industry continues to grow, especially as institutional money is starting to flow in with this new Bitcoin ETF that’s out on the market in other things like it. So, you know, as we kind of take a 10000 foot view at the crypto landscape right now that you have all kinds of different, I won’t say revolutions, but a lot of different tracks that are going on right now. Yeah, DeFi, NFTs, regulation, stablecoins of all types of things.
00:20:58:07 – 00:21:07:22
Sakhib Waseem: As you look at us going into twenty twenty two. What do you think are some of the things that people should be aware of and be looking out for?
00:21:09:04 – 00:21:42:15
Sakhib Waseem: Why am I saw a little bit of bias there, Richard? The first thing I would say to everybody is really invest in compliance. Invest in ensuring that your future of your business or your innovation is protected sufficiently from multiple jurisdictions because regulators still haven’t made that mind up as to how they want to approach this. So I think it’s important big time you have an agile company like ourselves onboarded so that we can navigate those waters with you and also provide you with a regulatory reporting framework that can help you get through these times as well.
00:21:42:28 – 00:22:17:18
Sakhib Waseem: That’s one of the biggest threats to DeFi. Crypto in this entire space is how the regulators will make their mind up as to how they want to proceed with this. And what are those restrictions one of those obligations that we have to adhere to? And what does that mean for us if we’ve been already operating outside that remit set mean that we have to retrospectively review things? So if you were a startup in the market you’re interested in, is this a good time to start investing and thinking about how you can insert a module like dollars into your ecosystem if you’re a larger player in the market? Well, it’s we’ve already been approached by a number of these guys.
00:22:18:08 – 00:22:23:00
Sakhib Waseem: They’re already starting to think about it as to how they can equip themselves and move forward in a compliant manner.
00:22:24:16 – 00:22:55:21
Sakhib Waseem: Got it. And, you know, I really appreciate that in just a great reminder to everyone that compliance is important and making sure that you don’t have regulators coming after you is the best peace of mind that you could probably have as you’re building out your company. So definitely appreciate that as we kind of wrap up here, man, I always like to finish up with two fun questions. And the first being with all the information you have right now, if you go in part one or two pieces of wisdom to yourself, when you got started back in 2013, what would you tell yourself?
00:22:56:27 – 00:23:35:17
Sakhib Waseem: I would say buy more bitcoin. First of all, and the second thing that I would say to everybody is that we’re all still very early. This entire industry, whilst it is really boomed over the past few years, it’s just the beginning of true innovation. And we’re going to see even more growth. We’re going to see even further adaptations and where we are. And the only thing that’s really standing in the way of that, as I’ve said many times today, is regulatory pressure. So equip yourselves with the tools to ensure that you can continue to innovate, continue to drive financial innovation at its finest, bringing out further freedom through financial means to people.
00:23:35:19 – 00:23:47:19
Sakhib Waseem: This is incredible. And it’s been a pleasure to be part of this industry and watch it mature over time. And yeah, I’m excited to play an interesting role in how we keep the industry moving forward.
00:23:48:25 – 00:23:57:23
Sakhib Waseem: No doubt. And I’m confident that you will. And as and as a final question, you know, what are what of the final thought that you want to leave with everyone here today?
00:24:00:08 – 00:24:02:14
Sakhib Waseem: My final thought for everyone today is.
00:24:05:12 – 00:24:21:29
Sakhib Waseem: We’re still early, so invest in as many new upcoming emerging technologies as you can. You win some of them, you lose some of them. But the important thing is back in the community and ensuring that financial innovation is driven from the community itself.
00:24:23:21 – 00:24:53:21
Sakhib Waseem: Then that’s a great thought. You everyone listening here, we always encourage you to just become involved. Put in what you’re willing to, I don’t say lose. I mean, again, like this is a high risk, high reward type of opportunity. But if you have time on your side, typically you come out on the other side. OK, so do your research, find things that you’re comfortable with and once you’re ready to make the jump, make the jump and make the investment and keep pushing for it.
00:24:54:00 – 00:25:06:27
Sakhib Waseem: So everyone listening really, really, really appreciate you joining us today. But I want to ask you one more time as to keep what are ways that people can learn more about Astral Protocol and learn more about you.
00:25:08:05 – 00:25:26:19
Sakhib Waseem: Absolutely, you guys can reach us on astroparticle dot com. We’re also at Astroparticle on Twitter. We also have a Telegram group that you can reach us on. I’m accessible through each of these different platforms as well personally on Twitter to reach out to us through either social media or straight on our website, guys.
00:25:27:09 – 00:26:06:15
Sakhib Waseem: Perfect. Well, again, really appreciate your time today and for everyone listening. Stay, cryptocurrency. Hey, cryptocurrency crew. We want to give a quick shout out to all of our faithful listeners out there. It’s been an amazing journey and we really appreciate your support throughout the years as we’ve been growing as a community. Each episode, we decided that we would start sharing some of the reviews that you were leaving for us. For today, we would like to share this review. Today’s review comes from J. Dog three three five great information and easy to digest. I’d recommend to anyone interested in crypto. We sincerely appreciate this review and all reviews and would like to ask that if you’re enjoying our show, please take a quick moment to go and leave a review on our podcast so that hopefully we can be highlighting your review next.
00:26:07:01 – 00:26:37:07
Sakhib Waseem: Simply go to our show notes or go to our website where we have a link, where you can share your review today. Hey, everyone. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. For more information on today’s episode and all of our episodes, please visit us at WW w that crypto dash current, not SEO. You can also find a link in the show notes. Want to stay up to date on the latest news in cryptocurrency? Sign up for our newsletter today. You’ll receive daily emails Monday through Friday that are personalized and curated content specific to you and your interest.
00:26:37:15 – 00:27:08:01
Sakhib Waseem: Powered by artificial intelligence, you can either go to our show notes or go to our website to sign up today. Are you an accredited investor looking to invest in cryptocurrency? Quezon City Capital can help go to Quezon City Capital dot com for more information. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the quality of our podcast each week are improving. I can only thank my amazing producer Andrew Darida with the Ritter Productions, who has been putting all of this together. If you have any podcast music or audio needs, please go to Ritter Productions dot com. That’s D-R.I.
00:27:08:03 – 00:27:10:20
Sakhib Waseem: TR Productions dot com.
00:27:16:12 – 00:27:29:10
Sakhib Waseem: Thanks for tuning into another episode of cryptocurrency with Richard Condon’s. We’ll be back with more exciting developments from the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency next week. But until then, stay crypto cryptocurrency.
00:27:38:24 – 00:27:39:20
Sakhib Waseem: Please use.
00:27:46:00 – 00:28:20:19
Sakhib Waseem: Thank you for joining us for another episode of cryptocurrency. Just one quick reminder cryptocurrency is a cryptocurrency and blockchain education platform that’s bridging the gap between the curious newcomers who are just discovering the space and the thought leaders who are shaping its future. All opinions expressed by Richard Cawthorne, the cryptocurrency team, and their guests on this show are exclusively their own opinions. You should not treat any opinion expressed by Richard. The team and their guests as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or to follow US financial advice. This show and any other crypto current production is exclusively for informational purposes.
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