148: Dentacoin? What?
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone today my guest is Jeremiah Grenzebach. He’s an early entrant into the blockchain scene, immersed within the peer-to-peer technology for about eight years. He has been a contributor to Ethereum, Waves, ZCash, uPort, Status, imToken, Byteball and he is a strong believer in decentralization and transparency. The reason we have him on today is to talk about a particularly interesting project I think probably to a number of of you out there because we do have a lot of health care people with us and it’s called Dentacoin. Jeremiah, welcome and thank you for being on the show.
Jeremiah: Thank you very much for having me here. I’m very happy to join the show.
Buck: Yeah good, good. So where are you right now? Are you in Germany?
Jeremiah: No at the moment I’m traveling actually. I’m traveling to Varna. We have an office there. Yeah in Bulgaria exactly in Eastern Europe. I’m shortly going back to London and then to Germany.
Buck: Got it. So tell us so you’ve been I you’ve been involved it looks like in peer-to-peer technology for about eight years. How did you get interested? I mean you look like a pretty young guy so you started pretty early.
Jeremiah: Yeah well I got interested pretty early as I discovered the technological invention of Bitcoin and I didn’t take it through series in the beginning I was just curious about what was happening there. Pretty soon read the white paper which was absolutely fascinating for me. I sort of hoped that there might be something around this once. Then at some point I realized oh this is actually getting somewhere and at this point I started thinking with rents also and what what could built around such a technology.
Buck: Yeah so what year did you discover Bitcoin?
Jeremiah: Well news back then I’m generally interested in cryptocurrency and I mean in cryptography and yeah well Bitcoin was just completely new I mean we had Internet money before but it was just not reliable at all and so it promised to be the first reliable one.
Buck: So when did you get in and when did you discover, was that like 2012 13 or were you there right at the beginning?
Jeremiah: No it was right at the beginning it was right around I’m not sure.
Buck: 2009 was the white paper and well interesting. So then, of course you ultimately ended up co-founding this project called Dentacoin. But how did you discover the problem and what exactly the problem is it that your project aims to address?
Jeremiah: So the whole idea about this project came to live with me when I had talked to Professor Tim Djokovic which I reached in dentistry actually he’s a professor from Varna who I met on one conference and we are talking about this whole health sector and the needs of potential need for blockchain in there and then we talked about ideas like decentralized data, like the data for patients that are not stored decentralized or not stored securely or not stored digitally at all at the moment in many countries. And so we started talking about around this topic and then we involved some kind of concept and idea.
Buck: So what is it specifically that you thought well, here’s a problem that we can potentially solve with this project called Dentacoin. So I guess in in part is maybe that I mean that kind of goes into what exactly Dentacoin does.
Jeremiah: Yes it actually involves to a way bigger thing after all. So our main focus at the moment is that we actually want to create some potential system change you could even say where we try to build tools that enable the dentists to be incentivized by keeping the patient healthy. So that’s just sum it up what what it especially means is that at the moment it’s not only dentistry but in the health system in general and a certain problem is that you actually make more money as a doctor when you when you don’t do the everlasting long and best shop in general but if the patient is in need of coming back. This is just in the nature of the system because if they are not coming to your to your office then you don’t make money. So it’s somehow strangely incentivized to keep keep patients safe which is not the intent of the doctors of course. And that’s somehow a strange economic problem that exists.
Buck: Ok so that’s the problem that you identified. So how does how does Dentacoin in particular address that problem? How do you see this addressing the it’s a concept basically of promoting preventive care but also putting the patients and the dentists in particular in alignment with the idea that we want to prevent problems but at the same time not then penalize a provider because they’ve done such a good job that they’re gonna end up broke. So how does how does Dentacoin do that?
Jeremiah: Well first of all I think it’s important to realize that we actually can’t go there on the moral path or something. We cannot persuade someone to act differently and make less money after all, so it will only work if you somehow incentivise as I said as a doctor and as a patient too to learn to change the system. So the thing is that what we build a several tools, but the main tool is also called Dentacoin Assurance and what it does is it gives you a direct contract between the dentists and the patient basically pays a premium per month, which is a small premium additional to the to the insurance that the like local occurring insurance that he or she has and this is also variable globally between let’s say five dollars and fifty dollars depending on where you live and this additional premium sums up for the dentist. It is a stable income, a reliable income that comes every month no matter if you’re sick or healthy as a patient and on the other hand in the contract the dentist promises to treat you in any case with no further costs except some very rare or limited situations which are legally in the contract but in general it’s like you are not paying anything additional as a patient and the dentist will treat you if you get sick, and I say if because the main advantage of this concept is that the dentist is economically incentivized to keep you healthy, to do one proper treatment if it’s even needed and then yeah and then even like informs you about how to treat you, what about hygiene, how should you brush your teeth in a way that they really don’t get worse and also a lot other influences there. So the dentist gets into the role of of keeping you healthy and that’s the idea basically.
Buck: Yeah I think you know in the US we have a little bit of a model that we see a lot particularly where I live in Santa Barbara where they call concierge medicine and I don’t know if you know about this model but effectively what it is is these doctors. And in certain areas you know the the reimbursement does not necessarily put you know their interests in alignment with patients in other words. They have to see so many patients so fast that they can’t possibly provide quality care and they’re doing that just so that they can be profitable and actually make a living. So in concierge care basically what they’re doing is you pay a certain amount of fiat per month and that fiat currency effectively allows the doctor to then have less patients. They have a fixed amount of money coming in and then therefore they can take less patients and pay more attention to patients and keep them happier. So fundamentally it sounds like the concept is somewhat similar to concierge medicine or am I missing something?
Jeremiah: Yeah it’s pretty close. I think one difference is that this all lives in the blockchain so we are not using a fiat currency but encrypted in the blockchain and the contract is not only the signed PDF paper contract that you’re actually signed with your dentist as a patient or the other way around but also the the money handling, the logic behind it that means that the payment handling I mean, that means that the contract checks if you actually pay your premium every month and so on and holds the contract in the block.
Buck: Yeah so let me ask you this. So you know one of the things that we you know always like to kind of explore is if you have a model right now presumably that exists in concierge medicine and for me and my doctor that I go to it’s just automatic payment off my credit card. Why do you need a blockchain to do that or why does it why is it helpful? I mean what is the value add of blockchain in this scenario?
Jeremiah: Yeah so first of all, blockchain it’s just a database, right? It’s a database that has certain pros and cons and it’s very expensive, it’s very slow, but it’s very reliable. So in cases that you want one or a percent reliability and not trust some external parties, you will probably go with the blockchain database. So in all our projects I only mentioned Assurance so far but actually we have some more products I might mention later, but in all of those projects, data is sensitive and you probably don’t want to rely on an external source and most importantly for us, I think is because of the different tools that we have and the different ones that we offer to patients and dentists, we want to create some connection between these tool. So we don’t only offer this Assurance. We offer a review platform where you can write reviews for your doctor which is not a new thing, the thing is that with handling private Keys we can make this reviews trustful, that means you will know that as a dentist that this is actually a real review and you will know as a patient that they are actually no fake reviews in the system and this is just one other example, but all these examples work with Dentacoin with cryptocurrency. So you actually get paid for reviews. You get paid for filling surveys for the general knowledge and the market research for dentists that means patients can make money by filling surveys and tell the opinion about what should be improved in the field and what not and so on and all these tools are somehow bundled so we approach dentists and say here we have this bunch of tools, they are all Dentacoin related so please check them out. Please give them to your patients and they might use it in this environment and then they can earn and send spend Dentacoin which economically prospective from our site means that now we have a startle of of usage of this for his currency. All right so this is another advantage.
Buck: It’s basically creating sort of this trusted peer-to-peer ecosystem of dentists and patients, correct?
Jeremiah: Yes actually.
Buck: It costs less in that regard. So let me ask you this, okay so as I mentioned before, I actually have a number, a lot of dentists who listen to my show Wealth Formula Podcast in particular and they might be wondering right now, well first of all where are you? Are you only in Europe right now or is this something that’s in the United States as well?
Jeremiah: Yes it’s actually globally. We’re in the United States, in India and China basically everywhere. The thing is but when I come back to this Assurance contract, we make a sample contract for literally every country adapting to the specifics there and then at the moment we are in a better state that means we have a first version running now and we will introduce that in March when we are at the big dental conference in Cologne in Germany and what you could basically do then is you go to the website can register there and and then get a sample contract free to fill it and send it to your patients at this point. They don’t have to do much they just get the contract, you probably introduce the whole thing in your office and then you get going and it’s not it’s not limited to any country.
Buck: Got it. The next question I would have if I was a dentist in here is okay so now we’ve got this, if I’m getting paid in Dentacoin, why would I want to be getting paid in a token that has significant volatility as opposed to getting paid in fiat? What what’s the argument there?
Jeremiah: Well at the moment for a dentist well it has pros and cons. I would say of course as you just said the con is that you actually have a pretty well would have a medium of exchange there and then it’s also a medium of exchange you need to exchange it back probably in the first time especially. On the other hand first of all you can exchange it at any point we have exchanges all over the world where you can easily change immediately to fiat again and the other thing is that you might not do that and might speculate and just a few other dentists are joining because you believe in us or you think that might be a thing and you want to use that your clinic or office and as we see more and more dentists joining us, even now after the first year, it might be that at some day it actually gets more stable because network effect sets in and then it’s not just any random token like 99% of these sort that don’t actually have any use case or not a real one at least, but it actually gets real business and if this currency per se gets a real business then what we call the network effect sets in and that means it just rises in value over time and then at this point you can see it as just some kind of investment actually. It’s like holding shares in the broad check or less in us as developers but more in the in this project as as a movement let’s say
Buck: Yeah I know. And I get it and I think just for clarification I think like you know the way that you mention it is very useful. So first of all if you’re getting paid and Dentacoin presumably the amount of well one question would be is a patient paying okay they’re paying in Dentacoin, but is the amount that they are paying per month or whatever it is, is it a certain amount of Dentacoin, or is it a certain amount of Fiat?
Jeremiah: Good point good question. It’s like in the first it’s bound to the dollar basically that means you have a stable value because we know that it’s all volatile and we can’t handle to fix the prices in Dentacoin at the moment but as I said before if there is a use case and if it gets more successful then it should get more stable and at this point you won’t change that then a simple change and update that later.
Buck: So what’s interesting to me about this is if I’m a dentist and we can talk a little bit more about the benefits of the network effect etc, but what’s my downside here, right? Like I can basically get paid a monthly amount and we know what it is, it’s highly predictable because it’s pegged of Fiat. So you’re gonna get $50 or whatever per month and it’s you know fifty dollars of Dentacoin and if you don’t want to hold your Dentacoin then you immediately convert that to Fiat and you get your $50 and you’re basically concierge medicine. And if you are feeling and you start to believe in the project more, maybe you say okay well maybe half of it I’ll turn to Fiat so I can make sure I pay my bills and the other half I’ll hold in Dentacoin and see if this network effect takes off and all of a sudden I have a tremendous opportunity for upside. Is that the way some of the dentists are approaching this?
Jeremiah: Yes and it’s not only, I mean they are not only approaching it while this assurance but they are actually using the feedback system and create like a connection to their patient with it. It’s all it’s like you said it’s a trustless relationship patient that what we finally like to eventually achieve is that you actually get some more trustful connection to your dentist or your patient again, which is like this ideal that their doctor knows you. So that’s why we’re creating this these trust less tools because it makes it very easy actually to trust each other again, it sounds paradox but…
Buck: Ok, let’s talk about what happens when the value of Dentacoin goes up and down because right now obviously you’re talking about fifty dollars of Dentacoin, so even if Dentacoin goes up by a thousand X which who knows I mean, it was up about at least a hundred x from where it is right now, right? But if it goes up in value, what does that actually mean to a somebody who’s using the token? I mean so from from a use standpoint you’re still pegged to Fiat, right? So is it really more just the added benefit of having something that can appreciate? Because from the standpoint of the users it seems like at least initially there really, you’re always gonna be pegged to Fiat anyway so what’s the additional advantage or disadvantage of it being cryptocurrency?
Jeremiah: So the advantage is actually more being the blockchain system behind it that the tools are using and less the currency itself. So like it’s just money, in our case it’s just money. It’s not money whether it’s money for this kind of movement or project. So as long as the project makes sense and you’re using the tools and you’re inside this kind of environment, then this money makes sense per se. But I think the value of Dentacoin can only rise in a long term with the success of the project, and with project that means with the success of these tools that we actually offer. So if like this year will be very interesting for us because we are approaching much more than just actively. At the last year were just waiting and there they were coming but of course only stopped and now we actually actively approaching them and so if this spreads, which is our goal, and then this this money the strange cryptocurrency will rise just as a fair of a company and if it does so then this is your extra benefit but besides that is just money and it’s meant to be a currency like dollar euro and so on.
Buck: Right. So how big is the network of dentists right now?
Jeremiah: We have a we have like 4,000 dentists in the environment that approached us but we have several actually using it already and also clinics involved interestingly, which is very interesting for us because they those are chains.
Buck: Is that in the US too, the chains?
Jeremiah: Yeah we have also and dentists in the US and we are working there, let me just get the latest here. So we have around 80 dentists are actually accepting Dentacoin payments at the moment that also labs and suppliers and they are all over the world, we actually have a map on our website which you can check out to see where they are and who they are and so on. So these are the on the dentist side and then on the other hand we have approached by, I was wrong it was 1800 roughly dentists and around 190 thousand users in general. That means patients or other crypto interests are interested party.
Buck: Yeah and you know for any for any given dentist say you’re out there listening right now, it doesn’t mean you have to turn your entire practice into a Dentacoin practice, right? I mean you can do this for, you can just be part of this network is an additional way to generate interest in revenue for your practice and treat them a certain way.
Jeremiah: Well it’s exactly. I’m from more from the technical side as I’m the core developer there so I see it as a bunch of apps that you actually get on a website. We have they have similar to a smartphone apps is the assurance that I mentioned before one app is just your wallet where you see your income or see your balance, your Dentacoin balance. Another app is this review platform and you can you can actually label this website with your brand and then share it with your patients and this way you will make them use it, you can explain it easily and stuff. We really try to make it as easy as possible because we know that crypto space is not, it’s like it’s in the beginning and we have urgently needs two notions for example when you talk about the wallet that are easy to use like if you only know what a credit card is and you don’t know what a product is you should still be able to use it.
Buck: Right. Tell me about the business funding and stuff. When was the ICO, you know what did the funding was it was it from you know was it taken out Fiat, were you hit significantly by the downswing in the in the crypto markets from the capitalization of your company?
Jeremiah: Yeah well if you talk about crypto economics is crazy, wild west and it’s like the presale was in July last year and the ICO was in October last year and then we had towards the winter we had a steep uprise in the price which was due to the general hype. And then we actually dropped down afterwards as with most of alt coins and since then is pretty stable we had a heck of one of our exchanges in last week’s which dropped the price dramatically again, it’s recovering so we are always around the seventies most valuable coin on.
Buck: I guess my question is more when you guys raise capital through your ICO did you did you move it to Fiat at that point?
Jeremiah: So we didn’t. We actually hold it in Ether because we were collecting Ether, Bitcoin and so on and we are holding in these currencies and that’s what we are spending for our developments ever since. Obviously that it’s not as much at the moment, but at least we have the most t amount we hold in Ether and besides that of course we have our Dentacoin share which means that we are relying on both currencies and we can spend both tokens and that’s what we’re doing and hoping for better times in the general view there of course.
Buck: We’ve talked about we’ve talked about sort of the economics between the doctor and the patient and alignment there, we talked about reviews. What other benefits are there to the provider side here and I mean what else what else does the project provide specifically to providers that may make this interesting to them? For example you know is there you know is there a website that features doctors who are part of the network? Is there other benefits that that we might not even think of etc because I mean there may actually be people in this listenership that that are particularly interested.
Jeremiah: Yeah well one is this open source market research that means we provide it through this one tool that I mentioned before which is actually called DentaVox we are providing for free, market research data for all the participating dentists that means people are filling service for Dentacoin and we’re checking this disservice to be not fake service and then this data so what the latest trends are what the latest needs are for and so on and in various fields are around the dentistry are actually provided and besides that we have this feedback system where you can actually learn what you might improve and/or which are the parts that are really working well for your patients and so on. We will have a platform for dentists, at the moment is just a telegram channel that we are providing and everyone is very welcome to join us and telegram in this channel because there’s actually some nice exchange already. Really focusing on dentists offices and Clinics, we will set more focus on that other part as well.
Buck: Where can people learn more? If you’re if you’re a dentist in the US and you’re listening this show and you want to find out more and you’re interested in potentially and signing up, where can they learn more?
Jeremiah: But the first we’ll start is the website of course. DENTACOIN.COM and we also have DENTACOIN.COM/DENTISTS and DENTISTS.DENTACOIN.COM but you’ll find it just over the general website and there’s a specific website subsite for dentists where you actually get to learn how to use that and besides that as I said just please join us on Telegram if you like because there we can get in direct contact and you know help you get started and answer questions and get your answers and so on.
Buck: Yeah I mean I think one of the challenges to me is that most of the dentists I know who listen to this are not necessarily that tech-savvy so you’re talking about Telegram I know what Telegram is, but for a lot of people out there they’re going Telegram, what are you talking about? Is that like Facebook? But so but what you’re telling and what I’m gathering is that even for those who are not that tech-savvy you can make this fairly user-friendly for yourself.
Jeremiah: Yeah we are early on so if you try it at the moment then you don’t see finalized software, you see ready to use software, but you might get lost in contact at some point so this is just it won’t cost you anything because it lives out of the out of its own funding, it’s the project is fold up by the value of Dentacoin and this means you can just try it and get in contact with us, by the way we have a pretty much active Facebook page so just join us there if you prefer and yeah I think the website is a good start.
Buck: Yeah listen this has been really good information and hopefully some people will explore this. Appreciate your time Jeremiah and thanks for being on the show today.
Jeremiah: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Buck: We’ll be right back.