Hey Michael, how are you doing?
Michael: First of all, thank you for having me here. I'm very well and how are you?
I'm doing good too! Thanks for asking. We're delighted to have you here! Could you share a bit about your background and what you were involved in before diving into the world of cryptocurrency Additionally, we'd love to hear how you first got into the crypto market.
Michael: I have a degree in system analysis and development, I worked for about 6 years in the corporate environment, and I have a specialization in software engineering (product owener). I went to study in the United States in 2016, but I needed to have sources of home office income, and then I met crypto, at first, I lost 2 Bitcoins in cloud mining lol, but I didn't give up studying about the revolution, about money, and about the current financial system, and then, I met Bitcoin in 2016, through Coinbase, but through Poloneix I had access to my first digital assets. I volunteered for 1.5 years at Decred, then became community manager for Brazil when Emilio left, where I stayed for around 3 years, and now I'm Zcash's ambassador in Brazil, totaling 7 years of experience.
Do you have any hobbies or personal interests that you're passionate about and that help define your personality?
Michael: My main goal has always been to help my family, so everything I do is always for the best of them, I like to invest in new initiatives, helping people achieve greater things, as crypto has changed my life, I would like to help more people with it.
Could you share the story of how and when you first became part of the ZEC project?
Michael: I became interested in Zcash because privacy is getting scarcer every day, so I started to notice Vitalik's papers about ZK-Snarks on Twitter, so I started researching and found on Bitcointalk where Satoshi mentioned this technology as a solution to the lack of privacy in Bitcoin. I also saw Grayscale invest 85M dollars in Zcash with a great investment thesis, where it could capture offshore fortunes and other things. I found Zooko and Edward Snowden as co-founders of Zcash, with big minds behind that, because they are involved in creating things better for people. After that, I invested in Zcash and started to dig deeper. I realized that Brazil didn't have an active community and that the subject of privacy education was minimal, so I created social media and hired new people, and today we have 7 people.
What aspects of ZEC do you find most appealing, and did you anticipate that the project would have such a significant impact on the market?
Michael: The cryptography behind zcash will be what blockchain has been for the last 10 years, zero- knowledge proofs have many use cases, and this will be the future of applications, digital privacy, and financial transactions, therefore I am very bullish on ZEC in the long term.
ZCash is a great project! Could you also share some insights about your experience working on the Decred project? What initiatives within the project were your personal favorites, and where do you believe there might be room for improvement?
Michael: I'm very grateful for the opportunity at Decred, the community, and the project helped me get to where I never thought I could, I just lament the way everything happened, but whenever I can I always speak well of the project to people. In my opinion, Decred has the best wallet in this entire space, the developers are excellent, and it has a great vision for the future. We know how difficult it is to argue with the market and show a solution for Bitcoin, the group of maximalists and people who work against other projects is huge, so we need more and more marketing and community because without community there is no project.
In your perspective, do you see any similarities between Decred and ZCash, and if so, what aspects do they share? On the other hand, where do you think these two projects differ?
Michael: I believe that both share the same vision of being a viable alternative to the censorship that Bitcoin is about to become, as I said, the Decred wallet has everything in one, and the Decred system is more advanced than Zcash, but Zcash has strong tech which is ZK proofs, and also for being a pioneer and having stronger names behind the protocol.
I like both projects, they both have optional privacy, so I believe they share the same vision, Zcash wants to become a hybrid system until it migrates to Proof of Stake, so it would be cool to see some joint contributions between the parties.
Let's delve a bit deeper into your role at ZCash. Is there anything exciting and new that you're currently involved in and would like to share or comment on?
Michael: As an ambassador of Zcash in Brazil my part is providing education about everything in this crypto space, which is more than Zcash content only. I have created a community from scratch, and I am happy to be able to open opportunities for new people to work and receive ZEC as payment. Zcash Brazil has played an important role in all ZEC communities.
Could you tell us about your favorite ZCash applications that extend beyond cryptocurrency and why Do you find them interesting?
Michael: Yes, we have some, such as:
Free2z: serves to make community donations using ZEC
Zgo: payment gateway for people and businesses
Shielded wallets: these are important, like ywallet, zingo, nightwakh, and soon Zashi.
Have you had the chance to explore Decred applications like DCRDEX, Timestamply, or Bison Relay? In your opinion, do you believe that such applications play an important role in the success of a project?
Michael: Yes, I have tested all Decred applications so far. I think those are amazing, and having products already working and that are free for people is so cool. I hope that more people can use them, and also that DCR always tries to do it in the most user-friendly way possible.
Why not an extension of Decredtion?
Thanks for sharing your opinion on those applications! Our talk is almost over but first, I need to ask you: There's a sentiment among specialists that the crypto market is entering a favorable period for investors once more. What are your thoughts on this?
Michael: The market is already showing optimism, but we have many factors and government things to consider, such as CBDCs, privacy, Defi KYC, and many things that will still happen. What we must do is always have conviction and believe that better days will come to our space, and always thoroughly educate new people so that they can take advantage of this revolution and be part of it.
In your opinion, how can the ZCash and Decred communities collaborate and integrate more effectively?
Michael: IMO - Taking advantage of self-funding intelligently, forgetting about internal conflicts, and exploring the unknown, because we have many opportunities, and we need more courage in both projects, so we have a chance of achieving great things.
Thank you all for being a part of this fantastic discussion! The Crypto community is vibrant and filled with innovation. Let's Keep exploring, collaborating, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in this exciting space. Could you leave a message to the crypto community?
Michael: Kudos on your commitment to innovation and privacy in the crypto space! Decred's governance model and Zcash's focus on privacy are shaping the industry. I wish both communities continued success in pushing the boundaries of blockchain tech.