BRD CEO Adam Traidman on crypto industry: ’It’s about accessibility, ease of use, and control’

Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Brian Sozzi, and Myles Udland speak with BRD CEO Adam Traidman about the affordability of cryptocurrency, the challenges the industry faces, and its prospects for the future.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Let's focus in on one asset in particular right now, that is Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency if we're speaking more broadly. The prices rising once again. Looks like it's at a record once again. And it's nearing a total market value of a trillion dollars. So let's talk more about that with Adam Traidman. He is the CEO of BRD, which is a crypto wallet company.

So Adam, before we get into the wallet side of the equation, I would ask you first to comment on the price. We've been talking to some people about Bitcoin in recent weeks. They're mostly Bitcoin people, so they're feeling pretty good about the increase that we have seen in the price.

But how are you thinking about the price now? Do you think it will continue to go up, and presumably, that's going to continue to sort of feed on in itself in terms of demand?

ADAM TRAIDMAN: Sure, great question. What a great time to be joining you when we're at literally all-time highs right now this morning. So if we look back over the last several years at the appreciation of Bitcoin and kind of where it's moved over time, what we want to-- instead of looking at sort of just the trends, I like to look at the data.

And I like to look at the moves that big institutional, big money type investors are making. And we're seeing recently what I call a strengthening of the foundation or the floor of the Bitcoin price. That is, you've heard about large corporate treasury movements, such as MicroStrategy investing hundreds of millions in Bitcoin. And Elon Musk talking about Tesla investing a significant amount of their dollars into Bitcoin as well from their corporate treasury.

And what you see is a lot of long, large institutional type investors. And so what that points to is long-term appreciation and less volatility than I think we've seen as an industry over the last 5 to 10 years since Bitcoin was first created. And just a real sort of a more slow but long-term appreciation is what we see coming forward over the next few years.

MYLES UDLAND: And, you know, Adam, thinking about kind of where you guys sit within the crypto world, storage has always been an issue. But obviously, it becomes a larger issue the more people that get involved in the space, right? Because now you have a mix of both more sophisticated investors and then also more novice investors.

And I'm kind of curious how you guys have approached those two challenges as certainly you've seen your user base grow considerably here.

ADAM TRAIDMAN: That's a great question. And then what's really interesting about cryptocurrency and Bitcoin as well is that it's a very global type of movement, right? You know, Wall Street goes to sleep every night, but Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency markets continue to trade.

And very much like, you know, the age of the internet and this sort of horizontal nature of the internet reaching across borders previously and across oceans, cryptocurrency does as well. And so we've addressed that by creating, you know, a product that can just as easily be downloaded by someone here in the United States or in Asia from the app store and is a really easy way for them to get started.

What we decided is that there's a lot of trepidation around new assets. We're used to dealing with banks, we're not used to dealing with mobile apps to invest. We might use a mobile app to pay someone to share a bill or to share an Uber ride, something of that sort. But to put tens of thousands of dollars into an investment through your phone it's not something that historically has been as well accepted.

So the challenge, I think-- part of the challenge for the cryptocurrency industry has been making investing in Bitcoin easy, accessible, and to sort of engender a feeling of trust and safety for these new investors. That's what we focused on at BRD.

MYLES UDLAND: And then, Adam, related to that, I think everybody outside the crypto world read with much amusement that story in the "Times," I guess it was, like, maybe six weeks ago, about people who've lost hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto because they forgot the password and so forth. And I'm curious what you, being in the industry and in the storage space, make of those stories and how you kind of maybe think about dispelling the misconception that you have to write down your password on paper, otherwise, it's kind of gone forever.

ADAM TRAIDMAN: What a great question. You probably don't realize it, but you're asking actually about the genesis of our entire company and product was that the co-founder, my friend of the company, lost about 80 bitcoins due to a situation exactly as you described. That money was lost about six years ago, and it is truly gone for good.

These days, with the advent of things like iCloud backup and Google Cloud and things of that sort, it's a lot easier for folks to be able to securely store what we call a private key, which is basically that password that you referred to. So these days, you know, the evolution of modern mobile wallets like ours has been just to, you know, to make it a lot safer. Because we always forget our passwords sometimes, right? And we have to plan accordingly.

BRIAN SOZZI: Adam, what's the evolution of your platform look like? What new services are you working on?

ADAM TRAIDMAN: Yeah, that's a great question. So, you know, what we aim to do from the beginning is to make cryptocurrency more accessible, just easier for the average new retail investor to get involved no matter where they sit in the world. But as gains start to be made and as people start to make these investments, you know, they're looking at, what can they do with that cryptocurrency?

And so there are a variety of places to go from there. And I guess the best analogy is to think about, what do you use your current bank account for? That might be to pay your bills or to have an ATM debit card, withdraw cash.

So things of that sort are sort of the type of direction that we're taking our product to enable our users who have, gosh, collectively now over $20 billion in crypto assets at the store collectively, all of our users around the world within our platform. And to be able to basically access that money more easily as people start to realize gains and whatnot, you know, they want access to that money, and they want to do things with it. So, you know, we're looking at paths to make that easier.

JULIE HYMAN: And that answers my other question, which is to take a step back of all the different ways to acquire cryptocurrencies at this point. There are various exchanges, we've been talking a lot about Robinhood, there are ways to buy crypto instruments on Robinhood or a Coinbase, for example. What's the difference between those and a wallet, say, and the advantages of each of the different methods?

ADAM TRAIDMAN: That's a really good question. And I could probably talk about it for a lot longer than we have. But I think the simple way to boil it down is say, you're going to find, just like working with a different investment bank in order to buy a stock or mutual fund, you're going to find different fees, you're going to find just different sort of ease of use and simplicity of accessibility.

Also, remember that cryptocurrency is a very global thing in nature, right? We have people right now as we've been talking buying bitcoin anywhere and all around the world, right? Services like, you know, Coinbase, for example, do a great job in North America. But their geographic reach is limited beyond that.

When you switch over to the mindset of sort of this young millennial generation, right, with their discretionary income, they're used to using mobile apps for everything. Everything is mobile these days. And so that's the path that we took, where we've created a mobile app, you can use it anywhere in the world. You don't have to be sitting there in the United States. And you can make an investment.

And so, you know, it's about accessibility, it's about ease of use. It's also about control of your own money. And so when using a wallet on your mobile device like BRD, you actually are holding your own bitcoin versus having it stored at a centralized entity like a bank, like Coinbase would be. And that provides you with the ability to be more flexible, to use your money anywhere in the world where you happen to be, and to really operate in sort of this modern borderless society that we all live in today.

JULIE HYMAN: Interesting stuff. Thank you, Adam, for explaining, breaking this all down for us. All of us who-- you know, it's so fascinating to me, cryptocurrency, as we've now been talking about it for a few years. And we are still trying to sort of get our hands around it as it also grows and evolves. Adam Traidman, BRD CEO, thank you so much. Appreciate it.