Consumer Protection From Digital Criminal Activities with Michael Terpin

NTE Michael | Consumer Protection

With blockchain, you could map the growth of the internet. When the web started in 1991, nobody knew about it back then. By 1994, you had twenty million people in the world on the web. At about the same time, we’re at the same point in terms of global adoption for blockchain. Most of the surveys say there are roughly twenty million people in the world that have any type of cryptocurrency wallet out of 7.6 billion. Michael Terpin believes that in 24 years or less, we’re going to have the majority of people in the world having access. Michael is the founder and CEO of Transform Group. He talks about SIM swaps, digital identity hacks, and the reason behind his $224 million lawsuit against AT&T.

Consumer Protection From Digital Criminal Activities with Michael Terpin

I have Michael Terpin of Transform Group. It is quite a PR announcement that you’ve made because some of us did Google. If we Googled you now, what would we find out?

I sued AT&T for $224 million.

Talk about a little bit why? Fraud is going on.

AT&T, they’re not unique but they seem to be the worst of the worst in terms of violating user privacy rights. When you sign up with a telco, you expect them to protect your information. There are criminal gangs out there for many years now who have hacked digital identities. In an earlier era, it was a consent decree where AT&T got fined $25 million for giving even less sensitive information out to gangs of hackers when there wasn’t even a cryptocurrency involved.

You were hacked but it’s not about hacking.

They’re called SIM swaps. What these gangs do is they either go into the store and try to find someone dumb or increasingly we’re finding out for arrests, they bribed people in the telco stores. They find junior guys that maybe making $10 an hour and they say, “I’m going to give you $1,000 if you hand over this information.” They do that through social media. In some cases, they don’t even have to go into the store. They just simply say, “Here’s the guy’s name, put it in the records.” In my case, I had been hacked last year also by AT&T and T-Mobile at the same time. It was a small amount of money. I went in and said, “How do I get bulletproof protection? Do you have a way? What do you do when Brad Pitt comes and says, ‘People are taking pictures off my phone?’” They have what they called high-profile celebrity protection. What that was in both T-Mobile and AT&T, and I assume some of the other ones have this, for high profile accounts, they will give you a six to eight-digit password that cannot be changed. I can go in there with the Pope, my mother and a passport and you can’t change it.

Then they can’t get all of your data.

At least in theory. In my case, even though the screen, and we have copies on the AT&T file reading habits on high profile must-asked account, didn’t ask.

Do you think you’re a target though because of your work in the blockchain?

The rule of law should be done for things to protect consumers when there's absolute criminal activity going on. Click To Tweet

Of course, I’m a target. Many other people are targets too. The point is if the telephone company can’t protect us, they should say, “You can’t have an account with us because we can’t protect you.” They didn’t say that. They said we have a high profile-height high security, this way, you’re safe.

You were talking about some interesting dynamics going on between all of these ICOs that you’ve been doing. I read online that you’ve done 31% of the ICOs that come out successfully have been through your company.

It’s 31% and it’s moving target with things and it’s moving and down. It was 31% the last we tracked of the entire market value of the blockchain

What do you see going on? What is the key to getting in ICO successfully?

We’re in a bear market right now. In many cases, you could go and have a cool idea and put something out there, get a community developing and raise a lot of money. A part of that was the dynamic of several billion dollars. About $3.5 billion was raised from wealthy family offices and other people saying, “We’re going to give it to digital currency funds to go and spend.” That was reflected in the value of the overall market going from less than $50 billion at the start of the beer to over $800 billion so a lot of people made a lot of money. Then you had the CBOE, which was Wall Street coming in and letting people play games. A lot of people thought this is great. People can go along but a lot of sophisticated traders came in and went short.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it meant that we’re now entering an era where it’s going to be less organic when you have run-ups and you’re going to be less organic when you crash. There’ll be a lot more legal and the illegal manipulation and the laws are still being defined. The early days of what you saw is what you get in terms of price performance are pretty much over with right now. We saw also the New York Stock Exchange parent company now coming and saying they’re going to have custody. They’re certainly going to also file for ETFs and things along those lines. It’s developing a bigger market. It’ll be better for the overall stability. We just have to simply watch a lot of the tricks that Wall Street played in other industries to make sure that they’re not playing them with the blockchain community.

Where would you say we are in the cycle of combination of blockchain?

I won’t speak to AI because it’s a completely different field. With blockchain, I would say that you could map the growth of the internet. The web started in 1991, nobody knew about it back then. You started getting some early people playing around in ‘93, which is when I got heavy into it. By 1994, you had twenty million people in the world on the internet, on the web. Flashing forward, you’re at the same point as 1994 in terms of global adoption for blockchain. Most of the surveys say there are roughly twenty million people in the world that have any type of cryptocurrency wallet out of 7.6 billion. We have a long way to go. I do believe that we’re going to get there in 24 years or less to where you have the majority of people in the world having access. As I said, Telcos have the power to make this much quicker. If they buy an exchange, all of a sudden anybody can go on and buy tokens through your phone. They could buy an exchange. They already have your KYC. They know who you are and they could be great enablers. Instead, they’re looking away when this criminal activity going on in their networks and not taking it seriously.

I’m having a similar problem in media as well. We’re having media problems in the same respect and we’re having industry problems as well and telecom is another area.

NTE Michael | Consumer Protection
Consumer Protection: We’re now entering an era where it’s going to be less organic when you have run-ups and you’re going to be less organic when you crash.

 

The rule of law should be done for things to protect consumers when there’s absolute criminal activity going on and they’re too big to care companies just ignoring their responsibilities. We see what happens with Facebook and some of the things that happened there. With this, this is going to be a landmark case.

We’ll be watching carefully. This is Michael Terpin and Tracy Hazzard from ChainXChange.

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