Contrarian Island

By Contrarian Island - Bitcoin - Cannabis

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A Podcast Broadcasted From Contrarian Island • Bitcoin • Cannabis

Episode Date
420: Kyle Kingsley CEO of Vireo Health

Vireo Health International, Inc.'s mission is to build the cannabis company of the future by bringing the best of medicine, engineering, and science to the cannabis industry.  Vireo's physician-led team of more than 350 employees provides best-in-class cannabis products and customer experience. Vireo cultivates cannabis in environmentally-friendly greenhouses, manufactures pharmaceutical-grade cannabis extracts, and sells its products at both company-owned and third-party dispensaries. The Company currently is licensed in eleven markets including Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.  For more information about the company, please visit

Topics discussed: Kyle Kingsley's move from emergency medicine to cannabis • Vireo's opportunity in Minnesota • The importance of IP • Expansion into Puerto Rico • Ending the opioid crisis 

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Aug 20, 2019
420: Hadley Ford CEO of Ianthus Capital Holdings


Hadley Ford is the CEO of Ianthus Capital Holdings ($IAN $ITHUF). iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. Founded by entrepreneurs with decades of experience in operations, investment banking, corporate finance, law and healthcare services, iAnthus provides a unique combination of capital and hands-on operating and management expertise. The Company uses these skills to support operations across eleven states.

Podcast Topics: How Mr. Ford entered the cannabis space • CBD For Life • MPX Merger • Q4 Goals • Florida Retail • The most interesting thing in cannabis

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Aug 06, 2019
Contrarian Island Season Two: Bitcoin and Cannabis

The introduction to season two of Contrarian Island - tons of great guests lined up!

Aug 04, 2019
Contrarian Island #12: Pete Cheyne - Lightning In A Bottle

Pete Cheyne is the co-founder of Block Matrix, which is the company behind Bottle. Bottle is an app that aims to make Bitcoin accessible to everyone by allowing users to instantly create a Lightning wallet with their social media account. In this show, Pete and I discuss the creation of Bottle, what it has been like building on Lightning Network, and the importance of making Bitcoin more accessible. Follow us on Twitter @ContrarianCast and follow @BottlePay

Jun 19, 2019
Contrarian Island #11: Nathan Worsley - Peer to Peer

Nathan is the co-founder and CTO of the peer to peer cryptocurrency exchange LocalCoinSwap. We had a great conversation about the importance of peer to peer trading, Nathan's experiences as an arbitrage trader, the recent decision by Local Bitcoins to remove cash trades, making Bitcoin accessible to the masses, and the current regulatory climate in the sector. Follow us on Twitter @ContrarianCast and check out LocalCoinSwap

Jun 12, 2019
Contrarian Island #10: Joshua Frank - Tracking Sentiment

In this episode, I speak with Joshua Frank, the co-founder, and CEO of TheTIE. TheTIE is a platform for cryptocurrency traders that provides powerful market data. Joshua and I discussed: Their research on fake exchange volume across the market • The correlation between Crypto Twitter sentiment and prices • TheTIE's Sentiment Tracker which analyzes millions of tweets per day • Bitcoin's rise in market share • Follow us @ContrarianCast and @TheTIE • Visit TheTIE:

Show Notes courtesy of BlockchainSEO:

In Episode 10 of the Contrarian Island podcast, founder of Joshua Frank opens the discussion by giving a brief introduction to what jump-started his interest in crypto, along with a brief introduction of He explains that The Tie’s primary purpose is promoting transparency in an otherwise difficult to navigate (and shielded) blockchain landscape – a solution to better help explain market data and price movement.  

Frank continues that noting the’s platform is geared towards traders, providing information and analytics on cryptocurrency sentiment, pricing, technical, on-chain data, and more. The first major topic of discussion podcast host Matt and Frank hit is a May 10th report released by TheTie on suspicious trading volume across nearly every exchange, but for 11. 

The report ultimately found large discrepancies between volume per user visits and high incentive for exchanges to push out fake volumes due to a significant increase in traffic, referrals, and commissions. Frank emphasized just how egregious these fabrications were – to a point where several exchanges were touring $25 million in trading volume, when barely breaking $25,000. 

The Tie’s 20 step report also noted the lack of exchange Terms of Services prohibiting “market manipulation” specifically (less than 50%). 

Such findings were alarming, with Frank reflecting how fabricated and suspicious volume was in fact one of the most substantial barriers to mainstream adoption (due to an extremely overinflated market). 

TheTie’s Comprehensive Crypto Analytics Platform

The go-to dashboard to the crypto market.” 

In the second half of Episode 10, Frank explains several novel features The Tie boasts, namely the ‘crypto sentiment tracker’. Frank explains that’s crypto sentiment tracker accesses roughly 850 million tweets per day, and scores them based on a proprietary algorithm. For example, The Tie’s algorithm takes into account how long a Twitter account has been in existence, how accurate they’ve been tweeting about X coin (this generally wipes out about 97% of all tweets), and calculates a market sentiment. 

In a day and age where social media and technology are so intertwined, it’s only natural that the blockchain ecosystem and Twitter should cross paths. Frank noted the extremely correlation between action in the crypto market and activity on Twitter about particular projects (or the market in general). 

And, to hammer home true transparency and trust in The Tie and their mission, Frank stresses that no employee at The Tie actually holds any cryptocurrencies. 

To wrap up the podcast, host Matt questions Frank on what he thinks are the major drivers and boxes that need to be ticked in order to truly realize mainstream crypto adoption. We can’t give everything away in this article, so you’ll just have to listen for yourself. 

Final Thoughts 

Frank’s incites into the crypto market and articulation of several fundamental id

May 28, 2019
Contrarian Island #9: Nick Ward - Layer One

Really enjoyed this conversation with Nick Ward, the founder of Bitcoin apparel and merchandise site We discussed finding Bitcoin amongst the chaos of the 2017 altcoin/ICO mania, why "time" is the main ingredient for mass adoption, and Bitcoin's fundamentals influence the merchandise designs at Layer One. Shop LayerOne: Follow @ContrarianCast and @Nck_Wrd.

Shows Notes By Blockchain SEO:
We’re on the cusp of the second layer to the Internet.”

Episode 9 of the Contrarian Island Bitcoin Podcast shifts gears from previous episodes, as it’s the first guest who has started their own Bitcoin-related business in furtherance of assisting mass adoption. The early half of the episode tackles Ward’s background in design and web developing, along with what served as the catalyst for his interest in blockchain. Ward noted that although he had first been introduced to Bitcoin back in 2014, it wasn’t until the 2017 Bitcoin and blockchain hysteria commenced, that he hopped on board – citing Ethereum as the initial project to pique his interest.

Ward goes on to explain that once the market took off, he started looking for answers, realizing that the positive gains he was witnessing everyday on his crypto portfolio app were unsustainable. Crypto Twitter became a go-to platform, where he was able to find a filtered and concentrated message, and he soon solidified his position in blockchain.

In the second half of the episode, Ward discusses his motivation behind creating LayerOneBTC, a Bitcoin and blockchain related online merch store. What struck a chord with us at BlockchainSEO was Ward’s deeper meaning behind the store and merch. He emphasized that LayerOneBTC wasn’t just about selling Bitcoin-related merchandise, it was created in furtherance of spreading BTC awareness and conversation. Designs were/are thoughtfully tailored to generate discussion surrounding the fundamentals driving Bitcoin and blockchain (ex. Limited supply, Proof-of-Work, sovereignty).

He cited several t-shirt and merch designs which affirmed this, specifically one that reads “21 million,” a number made in reference to Bitcoin’s maximum supply. Ward further expanded on his partnership with “What Bitcoin Did” podcast host Peter McCormack, along with his intentions for building out LayerOneBTC and its reach.  

When asked by podcast host Matt where Ward sees heading in the next 10 years, he stated he was here to keep pushing the envelope with partnership and wanted to keep putting out important ideas in the space to generate thoughtful discussion (and serve as a platform for merchandising brands).

Interested in picking up some Bitcoin and blockchain related merch? Head on over to to check out their collections. We also recommend following Nick and LayerOneBTC on Twitter.  Also, make sure to check out all of Contrarian Island’s past podcasts over at their Twitter page or website.

May 20, 2019
Contrarian Island #8: Pavlenex - BTCPay Server

Pavlenex and I chat about Bitcoin, BTC Pay Server, Hodlonaut, and Bitcoin mass adoption. Find us on Twitter @ContrarianCast, @Pavlenex, @BTCPayServer

May 11, 2019
Contrarian Island #7: Gigi - Bitcoin's Gravity

Episode #7 is with Bitcoin researcher and writer, Gigi. We had a great conversation about Gigi's new piece titled Bitcoin's Gravity. We talked about feedback loops in Bitcoin, what needs to happen for mass adoption, different Bitcoin interpretations, what drives people towards Bitcoin, Proof of Work and more. All in all, it was an insightful Bitcoin conversation. Follow us on Twitter @ContrarianCast. Follow @DerGigi

Show notes courtesy of BlockchainSEO:

“People have ideas, but ideas have people.” 

Episode 7’s guest ‘Gigi’ takes a deep look at everything Bitcoin, primarily centering around several concepts discussed in Gigi’s most recent and well-acclaimed Medium article ‘Bitcoin’s Gravity’. The article addresses some of the most egregious misunderstandings surrounding Bitcoin and underlying blockchain technology as a whole, outlining its primary goal (to reach consensus) and how it mirrors traditional games that have existed throughout history (one ripe with its own explicit and implicit rules). 

Episode 7 begins with Gigi explaining his somewhat “tale as old as time” foray into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, having come from a background in computer science, and only having been “swallowed whole” by Bitcoin post-Mt. Gox. He talks about his “eureka moment,” where he realized how it worked on the technical side of things and its novel idea of true immutability. Specifically, he cites three fundamental ideas driving Bitcoin which made things click; no inflation, no confiscation, and no central point of failure. 

Gigi then expands upon the notion of four elements (addressed in Bitcoin’s Gravity) at the heart of the Bitcoin ecosystem and manifestation as a feedback loop: ideas, people, code, and nodes. Gigi’s ideal-value feedback loop goes something like this:

  • Bitcoin’s set of ideas – the ultimate value proposition – attracts people,
  • Those people then freely choose which code to run,
  • The respective code runs on individual nodes, which dictates behavior,
  • More nodes join the network, and peers are connected to one another,
  • The network achieves consensus, to decide upon who owns what, and finally
  • The value then reinforces a set of ideas defined by its consensus.  

From Gigi’s understanding of Bitcoin as a feedback loop, he notes how it helped him learn how people are drawn into Bitcoin (and remain “married” to their own ideas and coins). 

One quote that resonated with us at BlockchainSEO is when Gigi emphasized the already established nature of Bitcoin and its value, meaning that Bitcoin may ultimately change us more than we will change it. The gears are in motion. Supporting his argument, Gigi talks of the strengths of Proof-of-Work (PoW), and how as a true anchor to the real world, it ultimately solves core trust issues plaguing traditional systems and mechanisms. Host Matt and Gigi then discuss how while Proof-of-Stake has gained popularity over the years (while it, in fact, was not a new creation), it has yet to be “battle tested” in comparison to PoW.

Finally, host Matt and Gigi talk into where the crypto market is headed as a whole, to which Gigi asserts that we are likely in a relatively peaceful time at the moment – with potential for future high profile attacks and hash wars to follow.

We strongly recommend reading up on Gigi’s article titled ‘Bitcoin’s Gravity’ before (or after) listening to the podcast, which can be found ove

May 08, 2019
Contrarian Island #6: Brett Richey - Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Sports Betting

Today's episode is with Brett Richey, the CEO of BlitzPredict. BlitzPredict is a betting exchange that is revolutionizing prediction markets by utilizing blockchain technology. We have a fascinating conversation that covers: Brett's life as a poker pro • The current problems with the underground Bitcoin casino market • How BlitzPredict is using Augur and 0x to create a better betting experience • Decentralizing trust • The future of cryptocurrency and sports betting • Follow us on Twitter @ContrarianCast • Follow Brett at @BrettRichey • Follow BlitzPredict @BlitzPredict

Show notes courtesy of BlockchainSEO:

In Episode 6 of the Contrarian Island Podcast, podcast host Matt talks with his first non-Bitcoin focused guest, Brett Richey – a former professional poker player and CEO of BlitzPredict (built on the Ethereum blockchain). 

In the early half of the episode, Richey talks about his transition from professional poker (11 years), to heading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) applications in Vegas, to the moment he realized blockchain tech was still in its infancy and near overnight foray into crypto.  

Having come from a background of a high risk tolerance, one manipulated and highly saturated with unsavory actors and opaque business practices, blockchain tech was a no brainer for Richey – recognizing today’s present day cat and mouse sports betting industry generated diminishing (and unbeatable) returns for average persons.  

Richey proposed a solution, one focused on a healthy long-term sports betting ecosystem, where funds, lines, control exist solely “in the hands” of its users (thanks to blockchain’s distributed ledger technology). Richey cited their original goal – to become a global aggregator of gambling (similar to how Kayak is at the forefront of travel deals and bookings). Cue BlitzPredict, the “Future of Betting. ”

“There’s no difference between a bookie and a market maker, the difference really is just in the verbiage.” 

Tackling today’s highly fragmented, centralized, and traditional online sports betting platforms, BlitzPredict is a low-fee, highly transparent decentralized betting exchange built on the Ethereum blockchain and powered by prediction market protocol Augur and P2P asset exchange 0x Protocol

Specifically, Augur is set to assist in one of the biggest hurdles – liquidity – while 0x Protocol enables speed (something especially important for market makers) – settling transactions on the blockchain (all while keeping the order book off-chain).    

Essentially, BlitzPredict is a regulated and curated portal to global liquidity portals for sports betting and gambling. Furthermore, they’re aimed at accessibility and the user-experience, looking to “mirror the ease of William Hill’s app.” 

Richey goes into depth about several core problems plaguing today’s sports betting markets (and blockchain as a whole):

  • Highly centralized and manipulative actors and framework,
  • The vulnerability of user funds,
  • Banning of winning gamblers without justified reason,
  • Delayed or non-existent cashouts,
  • Exorbitant fees.  

While BlitzPredict has only deployed its testnet so far, Richey anticipates the mainnet to go live sometime later this year (noting if all things go smoothly, it will be in conjunction with Augur’s V2). Due to the regulatory uncertainty and restrictions in the United States governing online gambling and sports betting, BlitzPredi

Apr 29, 2019
Contrarian Island #5: Lyn Ulbricht - #FreeRoss

Today's episode is with Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Ross Ulbricht. Ross Ulbricht is currently serving a double life + 40 years sentence for his role in the Silk Road, an early Bitcoin marketplace. On this episode Lyn and I discuss: Bitcoin's Role in Ross' Aggressive Sentencing • The Failed Drug War • Criminal Justice Reform • And Most Importantly, How We Can #FreeRoss • Please sign Ross' petition for clemency • I highly recommend watching RailRoaded to learn more about Ross' case • • You can find Ross on Twitter @RealRossU and you can follow this podcast @Contrarian Cast. •

Read the Show Recap courtesy of here:

At the very beginning of Episode 5, Matt notes the intertwinement of Bitcoin’s existence not only with that of financial transactions, but today’s sociological, economical, and of course political landscapes, laying the ultimate framework for the thesis of the episode; the fight for Ross Ulbricht’s freedom. 

For those unfamiliar with Ross Ulbricht, founder of the online, black market, e-commerce platform operating from February 2011 until late 2013, let’s take a deeper look at what the Silk Road was, along with the events leading up to Ross’s double life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Simply put, the Silk Road was the first modern darknet e-commerce platform and market for users to purchase literally anything. At the helm of the Silk Road was then 27 year old Ross Ulbricht, who, along with several others, operated the account and username ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ (DPR), named after the fictional character from 1973 fantasy romance novel “The Princess Bride.” 

Specifically, the Silk Road operated on The Onion Router (Tor) network, a volunteer overlay network geared towards identity obfuscation and anonymity, enabling users to browse and transact anonymously and securely. 

The sole currency accepted and transacted with on the Silk Road? Bitcoin. 

After a June 2011 Gawker article detailing the depths of the Silk Road went viral, the site became heavily scrutinized, and the subject of several government investigations (prompted by New York senator Chuck Schumer).

Arrest & Conviction

In late 2013, Ulbricht was arrested while at the San Francisco Public Library, and charged as the “mastermind” behind the Silk Road. Initially, Ulbricht was indicted on charges of computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, money laundering, and murder-for-hire. However; the murder-for-hire charges were ultimately dropped.  

On February 4th, 2015, Ulbricht was convicted on seven charges, ranging from computer hacking, to engaging a continuing enterprise, all the way to narcotics trafficking, and subsequently sentenced to double life imprisonment plus forty years, all without the possibility of parole.

We’re losing our right to a fair and impartial trial in this country.”

-Lyn Ulbricht

In Episode 5 of the Contrarian Island Podcast, podcast host Matt interviews Lyn Ulbricht following her recent move from Colorado to Tucson Arizona due to Ross’s recent prison transfer. She notes that while held at USP Florence High, a high-security prison in Colorado, due to his charges (life in prison), Ross was held and mixed in with violent offenders and living under highly restricted conditions. Ro

Apr 09, 2019
Contrarian Island #4: Brandon Quittem - Bitcoin's Value

Where does Bitcoin derive its value from? • Brandon Quittem is a cryptocurrency researcher and writer who you may know from his article titled "Bitcoin is a Decentralized Organism (Mycelium)" • Majority of the conversation focuses on what makes Bitcoin valuable • We also discuss Bitcoin as digital gold, Schnorr, fee-only market, the Bitcoin 2019 Conference, and a few of Andrew Yang's policies • Follow Contrarian Cast on Twitter (@ContrarianCast) • Follow Brandon on Twitter (@bquittem)

Mar 25, 2019
Contrarian Island #3: Bradley Kam - Blockchain Domains

Bradley Kam is the co-founder of Unstoppable Domains • Unstoppable Domains is launching domains on blockchains • They are backed by Adam Draper's Boost VC and received grants from Zilliqa and Ethereum • Topics discussed on this episode: What are blockchain domains • What is currently wrong with the internet • How blockchain domains can revolutionize cryptocurrency payments • What are the use cases for blockchain domains • Why blockchain domains can become a massive asset class • Their first auction with the extension .zil • Building a censorship resistant internet • Pre-order your .zil domains today at • Follow us on Twitter (@contrariancast) • Follow Unstoppable Domains on Twitter (@unstoppableweb)

Mar 11, 2019
Contrarian Island #2: Daniel Frumkin - Cryptocurrency Hedges

Daniel Frumkin is a cryptocurrency researcher and writer • Topics discussed on the show:  Daniel's decision to forgo a career in mechanical engineering to focus on cryptocurrency full-time • The bullish case for Bitcoin • Why Decred and Cardano are the strongest hedges in crypto investing today • Personal growth from travel • Follow us on Twitter  (@ContrarianCast) • Follow Daniel on Twitter (@dfrumps) • Daniel's projects: bookCrytoAndCopyCoin2LearnBlockchainSEOMedium

Mar 08, 2019
What Is Contrarian Island?

The Introduction To Contrarian Island: A Cryptocurrency Podcast Topics Discussed On This Episode:What is Contrarian Island • Who is the host • What were the motivations behind starting the podcast • What can listeners expect to hear on the show moving forward • Follow us on Twitter

Mar 06, 2019