RAOUL PAL: Mark, fantastic to get you on "Real Vision." Finally, it's my chance to get to sit down and chat to you.
MARK CUBAN: I thought of, you mess with the rest, end up with the best. You know that, Raoul.
RAOUL PAL: Thank you, my friend. Listen, I want to pick your brains about a bunch of things, because there's a lot going on in the world. And you've always got some really interesting perspectives. One of the things we're kind of framing right now and something that's going through my head, and probably going through your head, is, are we in some sort of bubble? If we talk about the financial markets first, what's your perspective on this? Because it seems like there's a lot going on.
MARK CUBAN: Yeah. There are two types of bubbles in my mind. There are interest rate Fed bubbles, and then there are people-driven buying bubbles, right? And depending on the asset, I think it's a little bit different. But I think for the most part, this is a Fed-driven bubble more than it is anything else.
So you can't really compare this part of just stock prices to what we saw with the internet bubble, because interest rates back then were 4% or 5%, so people had risk-free alternatives. They could just put the money in a savings account and make money. So it was a personal choice to come in and buy. But on some of the collectible items, I think that there's joint responsibility. There's the money available from the Fed, and then there's people looking to get into a variety of different types of collectibles-- whether it's crypto, whether it's trading cards, art, whatever it may be.
RAOUL PAL: And what about the massive rise of retail? I've seen you on Twitter talking about it-- we've all been looking at this-- the huge rise in retail, which is great, but it seems like it's come very quickly with stimulus checks. And it seems to be driven by other things as well. What's your take on the whole situation?
MARK CUBAN: I love it, because it is the revenge of the nerd. It's the revenge of the little guy. And it's just using some of the same techniques that brokerage firms have used forever-- get long and get loud, except now in this day and age, you can go on a message board, but unlike the internet days when there would be a few thousand people on Yahoo message boards or maybe 100,000 people on message boards across a variety of stocks, now you've got WallStreetBets and the like where you've got this concentrated effort.
And you've got the zeitgeist, this mindset, of screw the big guy, screw Wall Street. And you combine those two together, and it's not investing, and it's almost not even trading, it's more like revenge. And it's not necessarily a bad thing. Now, when I say that-- I say it's not necessarily a bad thing because of what it represents and what that impact can be going forward.
To me, that's what makes it good, because you can see this group investing of little guys really turning into something that has a powerful impact. But like I wrote on my Reddit, there's going to be some bloodshed along the way, right? There are going to be people who lose money. There's going to be pain. It's never a straight line. There's going to be ups and downs. There's going to be people who fall out, people who make money, and there's going to be a lot of traditionalists that think it's just the worst thing ever for the little guy, because they think they know more than the little guy.
RAOUL PAL: Yeah. I think that whole thing many of us have been looking at for years, the democratization of finance and taking the power away from Wall Street. It's happening en masse. And social media has driven it. And it's super encouraging, I think.
MARK CUBAN: Yeah. The biggest threat isn't so much the banks, it's liquidity, as we saw with Robinhood, and it's the SEC, who we don't know what they're going to do. But the SEC throws everybody under the bus because that's what they're supposed to do. That's what lawyers do. And so it's going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
In my mind, and I just had a recent conversation about this, it's the crypto perspective of concentrated democratization with voting rights into what happens meets what we saw on WallStreetBets. And when those two merge, that's when it's going to be crazy. And that's what I see, right-- the merging of what can happen with crypto and tokens.
And so imagine like we're talking whether it's Aave, whether it's any of the DeFi protocols, whether it's Sushi, whatever-- Sushi, [INAUDIBLE], whatever-- or Polkadot, which has governance characteristics. And they say, OK, we're going to over collateralize because that's what DeFi does, as opposed to what Robinhood did, which gave you margin. And what over-collateralization means in crypto world is you have to have $200 worth of crypto in order to borrow $100 worth.
And so imagine in that type of environment where the margin calls don't have the impact we saw over the past couple of days, everybody got one share, one vote. And everybody voted on what stock they wanted to pile into, and if you want to assign your voting rights to somebody else, great. And everybody decides how often they'll review. So if you want to watch it minute by minute and vote continuously on your phone-- yes, no, yes, no-- great, or hour by hour, or whatever it is.
But once it's tokenized on the blockchain where you have complete transparency, now everybody can pile in and know exactly what's going on and all be in agreement. And you talk about changing the technicals of a stock and changing what happens with a stock-- and it's not always about just making a stock run. I gave the example, let's just say there's a company that has employee stock ownership, and those employees are going to be able to sell on a given date, and you want to come in and run the stock up so that they can sell at a higher price.
Or another company has a great social construct, and it's not just get in and get out, but you make a decision as a group to stay in there for six months, or a year, or five years. All these things can happen. But what we saw with WallStreetBets, even though there's a lot of pain along the way for some people who didn't fully know and understand, I think the longer term implications are incredible.
RAOUL PAL: I think you're dead right. This is clearly a move towards blockchain at every level, from custody to clearing to derivatives. Because this whole thing's a mess, and we've known it since Lehman went under. It needs to be cleaned up.
MARK CUBAN: Oh, yeah, there's no question. There's no transparency. There's no real way to trust exactly what's going on. And there's just digital versions of the way it's always been done. And we're getting to a time now-- look at Robinhood. If Robinhood dealt with DeFi, they would be crushing it right now. Again, people don't realize what NVL is.
And people in the DeFi world expect to over-collateralize. People in the traditional stock world expect to margin and to try to just juice their returns-- exact opposite. And so if Robinhood had been in a position where they understood that the people that were making these buys and sales, if you required over-collateralization, they probably would have done it, and it would have been OK, because the mission was more important than trying to juice their returns.
They probably would have been fine with not doing calls, and options, and calls, and puts, because the mission wasn't about juicing returns. It was about beating the man and trying to make some money doing it. And so the game is going to be completely different. So I agree 100% with you, Raoul, that this is going to go towards blockchain. And it will all be better for it.
Now, the question becomes, whose blockchain? How is it managed? How decentralized is it, if at all? That's a whole different story.
RAOUL PAL: Yeah. For people want to make investments, it's super interesting, because it's like being in VC with real time mark-to-market. So we can invest in a lot of this stuff. Some won't work, some will do really well.
MARK CUBAN: It's like the early days of the internet. It's 100% the early days of the internet-- brand new, no one really knows what it's going to be, a lot of projections, a lot of people thought we're crazy. I can't tell you how many times when we were starting Audionet that turned into Broadcast.com-- OK, so, yeah, I know you've got to download your TCPI client, and yeah, I know you got to have a 56k modem at least, and then you've got to download an audio-video client.
But trust me, it's going to get easier. I would hear it every day. All I have to do is turn on my radio. All I have to do is turn on my TV. I've got cable TV. I'm getting satellite TV. I don't need this internet craziness to do this. And everybody said, internet broadcasting, psh, there's no chance-- there's just no chance.
And it was the same concept now that we're hearing now until it changed. And it took time-- with streaming as an example-- it took a long time. It took almost 20 years, 18 years before bandwidth became available enough and cheap enough so that streaming and cord-cutting could really happen. And that was 20 years into the internet, give or take, right?
And so we're only 10, 12 years into crypto after starting the beginning with Bitcoin, and I don't know exactly how many years with the Ethereum, and transactional blockchain, and smart contracts. So there's a long way to go, and there'll be a lot of companies that don't work. But you're going to get some, oh my god, winners.
And at the beginning of the pandemic, as awful as it's been, I talked about companies that we're going to look back in 10 or 15 years, and there are going to be companies that were created. And America 2.0 was going to come out as something that happens here. This is it. What we're seeing right now with this communal effort and the foundation of blockchain-type applications that people stuck at home can use to try to make money off yield farming off your stimulus check--
RAOUL PAL: It's amazing.
MARK CUBAN: That has just changed the game 180 degrees. And if you don't know it, it's going to smack you down and make you bleed.
RAOUL PAL: I can't agree more. So OK, there's a big fight going on now between the disruptors and the existing financial system. How does that play out? Because that's going to be a battle, right?
MARK CUBAN: Disruptors will win. We just don't know which disruptors or exactly how they'll win, but they'll win. They always do. I don't see any horse and buggies, I don't see any CD manufacturers doing real well. There's just a long list of, we want to keep it the same.
Banks started to create their own blockchains and tried to do it in a way where they could retain their own business. Look, there's this innovator's dilemma for all companies. The NBA faces it-- direct to consumer streaming versus traditional linear television. Banks face it-- how you can pay money back and forth, and the cost, and the maintenance, and the know-your-customer. There'll come a time when even though the crypto community will fight all the laws, the know-your-customer stuff, that will inevitably come.
They will fight it, but then they'll just get used to it. Because the number of new people coming in will think it's a good thing. I have no problem with know-your-customer as someone who owns crypto-- I'm fine with it. If you don't like it, tough shit. If you're going to go mainstream, you've got to do with mainstream issues.
And trying to reduce illegal activity and clean that up, that's a good thing, not a bad thing-- even though I understand that whole concept of, we want to decentralize. We don't want anybody in charge. It's big enough and bigger than what government agencies can control if you just give them the basics of trying to keep it safe for all the new people coming on. And so I think the disruptors are going to win. But again, it's got the same feel of the early days of the internet. We don't know all the ones that are going to be the winners yet.
RAOUL PAL: So talking about tokenization, it's likely to disrupt the other industry you're in, which is the sports industry, and also the sports personalities. It's so obvious to me that a lot of the middlemen in this industry, particularly the agents and all of that sort of stuff, are going to struggle because the power of individual influencers to issue tokens and trade their tokens-- or sports teams to run huge franchises-- how are you thinking through this? Because you obviously must be looking at it.
MARK CUBAN: Yeah. Digital goods are digital goods, right? Bits are bits. And back when we started Audionet, we used to say, bits are bits. They don't care how they're conveyed over what platform. They don't care who receives them, where, when, how, or what, or for how much, right? And it's the same thing with tokenization and digital goods.
Anything that can be made digital and tokenized will be made digital and tokenized. And while we'll have applications like tickets-- let me take a step back. My big light bulb moment was when I sat down on Mintable and Rarible and I put up some videos that the Mavs had done for sale. And it wasn't so much that I sold them for a lot more than I expected to, but when they ask you, a, would you like to convey copyright? I was like-- and then they ask you, what would you like your resale commission to be effectively?
And when I saw that, I fell in love. I literally at that moment wanted to marry tokenization, because that's what's been missing in the conveyance of all goods forevermore. And now that we're valuing digital goods in our lives as much or more than all but our biggest purchases-- homes, maybe cars, but entertainment, everything else is digitizable or is digital already natively, and now tokenizable I can do it with tickets, I can do it with trading cards like we're seeing with Top Shot that I create.
The only limit is my imagination. But now imagine being a photojournalist. You know how people get sued because they put some picture that somebody took that they don't realize was a professional, and they didn't have copyright, and they sue you for using it even if it's a picture of you? Well, now if that was tokenized and all those rules were conveyed, and the creator got paid if you ever resold it or whatever, oh my god, imagine music. Imagine YouTube.
If you create a video and you have one version for retail where, instead of worrying about how much money am I making on YouTube, you create $3 million in a series, and you sell them for a dollar apiece, and you get 50% if it's ever resold on a marketplace somewhere-- ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. It's a different game.
Again, it's just like the same feeling of the early days of the internet when it's like, oh shit, you mean I don't have to do this, and I can do this differently? Or even going back before then-- I'm old enough where one of my first jobs out of college that I ended up getting fired from was selling a spreadsheet on a PC. And it was just like, oh shit. And then when I got fired, I created a company-- I'm like, I'm going to connect all these PCs together into what were called local area networks.
And everybody's like, what the hell was that? We barely know what a PC is. But you just say, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. They're all going to be connected locally and globally. And I built that company and sold it. Then it was the same with streaming. And then it was the same with HD. Now this is America 2.0. This is money 2.0. And I don't mean currency money, I mean being able to earn money via digital-- it has all changed. The only thing we don't know is who are the Amazons and who are the Pet.coms.
RAOUL PAL: Yeah I mean, everything has changed. I think about it-- I've been trying to think through the idea of universal basic income, which comes up a lot. So imagine if you're actually paid for your time on the internet by the advertisers via a token system. That helps a lot of people gain an income from things that they do, which right now are the advertisers.
MARK CUBAN: I think it's going to be more fundamental than that, right? But you're right, it'll create actually selling your time and attention, but also making commitments. And so we're working on an application where-- I won't go into all the details, because they're still all being figured out-- but effectively, it says if you commit to buy from this brand using this token, we'll pay you, because I don't have to buy advertising.
Now you're with me and I know if you're living up to your agreement or not, and let's go. Now, we're going to sell Nestle's Quik a whole lot easier, because now we've got all these committed people who are using this token to buy Nestle's Quik.
RAOUL PAL: So clearly, your big thought process here is this is a massive secular cycle that's in the making, and we've only probably just started, because we have no clarity yet where it's going. We just know it's going there.
MARK CUBAN: I would have given you a completely different answer six months ago. And when I was on "Real Vision" a couple of years ago with Kyle, I did give a completely answer.
RAOUL PAL: Yeah, AI you gave.
MARK CUBAN: Yeah, and AI and this go hand in hand, right? But at the same time, I still believe what I told Kyle back then, that Bitcoin is not going to be a currency. It was called cryptocurrency because that's the way they wanted to market it. It's a crypto-asset, it's not a currency. And it's not going to be a currency.
And it's not going to be a hedge against fiat and printing too many fiat dollars. No. It is a store of value-- Bitcoin particularly is a store of value that is going to increase in value because it's scarce. And if you have more buyers and sellers, it'll retain its value and most likely go up in value. And that's a good thing.
It still doesn't have any more utility right now other than a banana, right? So if you're hungry, I'd rather have a banana than Bitcoin. But I'd rather have Bitcoin stored, because in terms of value, Bitcoin is worth more. But at the same time, we're starting to see via DeFi how you can use that Bitcoin and either swap it, or turn it in, and wrap it right into wrap Bitcoin that effectively mimics the value proposition and allows you to do