…It’s worth mentioning that the Bitcoin ecosystem in its current state has a much smaller carbon footprint than that of the current financial system. What we should focus on is building something that our children’s grandchildren can be proud of. Things get done by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on important subjects at hand.
Over the past few years, the cryptocurrency industry has been making headlines nearly every week. Many people have gotten very wealthy investing or leading the cryptocurrency industry. At the same time, many people have lost a lot investing in the industry. In addition, more people have been scrutinizing the ecological impact of crypto mining, as well as its potential facilitation of illegal activity. What is being done and what can be done to address these concerns?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Understand In Order To Successfully Invest In Cryptocurrency” we are talking to leaders in the cryptocurrency industry, as well as successful investors, who share insights from their experience about how to successfully invest in Cryptocurrency.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Justin Podhola, CEO and Founder of Elite Mining Inc.
Justin Podhola, a long-time successful entrepreneur, has been involved in cryptocurrency mining for 6+ years. Justin’s knowledge in Private Equity, Funds, and startups, is a professional master constructor, fabricator, equity markets trader, real estate investor, and business general contractor in Washington State. Justin started mining in 2016, and soon thereafter established Elite Mining, Inc., through which he brought his expertise in construction and fabrication to bear for the crypto industry by innovating on immersion mining technology and inventing the first turnkey mobile mining solution that can be deployed anywhere power is available.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a little about your backstory and how you grew up?
Justin: Hey, not a problem. Thanks for the interview. I grew up in extremely humble beginnings, in the small town of Ocean Shores, Washington. It’s mostly a retirement-based community. My siblings and I grew up with very limited resources. I’m from a divorced family. My dad left when I was only 4 years of age, so we were raised by just our mom.
I had two older brothers, so I was the youngest of three. Growing up, we really didn’t have much in terms of materials, but just as kids do, we made do with what we had. It wasn’t the easiest to always see those around me have nicer things, but I was able to absorb everything around me in my pre-teens and really start understanding what being successful means to me. I am also thankful that I grew up this way since I had the ability to really appreciate what a hard-earned dollar meant, and that if I wanted to become successful, that I would need to learn how to play the game of life, in a way that I could effect change.
Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Justin: Definitely! The most impactful book for me, I read in my high school years, was Rich Dad Poor Dad because it resonated with my adverse conditions growing up and I completely related to it. My mom was super loving to us, and she did a great job overall. However, there wasn’t much else she could do, as the town itself was a retirement community and didn’t have any industry to hang its hat on. In a way, I felt like she chose a great spot to raise us since it was mostly detached from the rest of the world, so my perspective coming into my adult life was significantly different than most. I always felt different in my thought patterns, and growing up in a retirement community, I had a significant amount of wisdom I was able to effectively collect from all the locals who had lived long lives. I had many enjoyable conversations during my youth. This really helped me formulate what did and didn’t make sense to me for my long-term goals and moral principles.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue your particular career path? We’d love to hear it.
Justin: My story really comes from drive and focus. I had an incredibly large chip on my shoulder that I have learned to harness, and to not let it overtake me at times. Every time someone doubts me or what I am doing, I first check myself briefly to see if what they say has any merit, and if it doesn’t, it motivates me to no end. Skepticism is a healthy thing in life, but be careful who you are skeptical of. You never know what you might spark in someone to overcome or prove — short OR long term. I always found it fascinating when I was much younger. I idolized celebrities and those who were wealthy or in the spotlight. But I soon realized that these are just regular people, with regular lives, and for the most part somewhere along the line they had some sort of good idea and just capitalized on it. There is no difference between those in the spotlight other than all the cameras around them.
I also learned along the way that money is just a vehicle for greater freedom. Fame is highly overrated and chasing it only creates more emptiness. True relationships are what have a meaningful impact in your life. Further, I have never liked having to play the game of money, because it goes against my altruistic ways and philosophical principles. However, I’m very competitive and want to make an impact. When you build something special with people you care about, money can come with success. Use that money and success to change the trajectory of not only your life, but also of all of those around you.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Justin: I had an instance where I was working with the R&D team vigorously on some details while building out a crypto mining operation, and it was crunch time. In my unfortunately expeditious nature, I insisted that moving this large unit we were working on with the excavator was going to be safe. I hopped into the excavator and wrecked the damn thing. Well, that was a poster child moment for pushing time limits on completion times — a well-learned lesson!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Justin: Many people have helped me along the way, but to be honest, no one person has really helped me in a significant way. I have always taken bits and pieces of the good and forged them into my own methodologies. I also have had to fail a significant number of times, which is really helpful to perseverance. This is one of the most important skills I learned is that I have been able to move around roadblocks effectively and quickly in life, and in business.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Justin: Yes, we are working on some carbon capturing methods that lowers the carbon that is released into the air, effectively lowering the carbon footprint that would otherwise be produced. This effectively will produce a net decrease in carbon emissions for wells that would still be used to power Bitcoin mining.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The cryptocurrency industry seems extremely dynamic right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Justin: In particular, the three things that excite me the most are the long-term growth metrics of crypto markets, efficiencies in mining, and the maturity of the markets. I have a keen excitement for both carbon credits and power trading via blockchain.
Long Term Growth of the Markets: The blockchain and crypto industry is no longer full of smoke-and-mirror companies. Many big corporations have entered the game, giving the industry more credibility and helping fuel growth and maturation. More investments are also being made into crypto startups and companies, and this is spurring innovation and helping attract top talents from other industries. Overall, the crypto industry is maturing in a healthy, efficient way. It’s a good time to place investments in good projects, teams and companies.
Efficiencies in Mining: Since the “Chinese Exodus”, which has involved many Chinese mining companies migrating to the US, I have seen a large surge in innovation with infrastructure building. Mining companies are hyper-focused on efficiency and margins. I’ve also seen energy producers take advantage of putting Bitcoin on their balance sheets. For investors, now’s the time to get in on crypto mining. The great American mining boom has just begun.
Carbon Credits and Power Trading via the Blockchain: This one gets me really excited and fired up. Our company, EMI, is really keen to raise the bar on innovation and execution in an industry that lacks a significant amount of infrastructure-building participants. We feel that this will develop slowly but digital representation of these two items will create a beautiful, well-balanced ecosystem. This will create value and revenue outside of directly mining cryptocurrencies. Investors should definitely keep an eye on this.
What are the 3 things that concern you about the industry? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?
Justin: Three things that concern me are the political climate for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, manipulation of the cryptocurrency markets, and any one particular celebrity influencing the markets more than they should be able to.
Political Climate: I feel that the political climate will work itself out as long as demand for cryptocurrencies continues to rise. There will definitely be winners and losers here. As an investor, the key is to not give yourself too much exposure to one thing. This way, an unfavorable political situation won’t wipe you out completely.
Manipulation of the Cryptocurrency Markets: Cryptocurrencies are revolutionary. But in any new industry, there’s bound to be bad actors looking to make a quick profit. It’s the Wild West. Let’s hope that the free markets reward the good actors in this space. Ultimately though, for as long as humans have existed, people have attempted to manipulate the value of things. So, this won’t go away anytime soon. The best we can do is reward those doing good with the necessary support to keep making groundbreaking progress.
Celebrity Influence: Here, I think there is no way to stop this. However, the penalization of those who actively manipulate markets should be severe. The problem is, such a legal battle would take up too much time and resources, and that route maybe isn’t best for crypto. I hope the free market and blockchain tech can solve this issue. We’ll see how it plays out.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about cryptocurrency? Can you explain what you mean?
Justin: The largest myth about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is that it isn’t a secure method of transacting. An incredible amount of press gets released about exchanges and projects getting hacked for millions of value in crypto. This inaccurately paints a picture that your funds aren’t safe if purchasing cryptocurrencies. The reality is that no one should be holding a meaningful amount of crypto on these exchanges.
Case in point: Having a central point of failure and keeping your funds on these exchanges is missing the point on the ideas that made this technology the tour de force that it is today. The security, responsibility and sovereignty over your hard-earned dollar, as well as the ability to transfer money around the world in seconds, are what this all began with. You should never hold a large amount of funds on any exchange. Those decisions belong to the individual, not the government or corporations of the world.
How do you think cryptocurrency has the potential to help society in the future?
Justin: It is already beginning to fulfill its promise of creating value for many projects. The largest thing cryptocurrency will bring to the masses is the ability to obtain global sovereignty over your finances without the worry of repercussions or fees that stack heavily against you. The single invention of Bitcoin and the blockchain technology behind it enables every individual on earth, with a simple cell phone and internet connection, to become a part of global trade networks. This is truly a special time for all of us to be alive. We can all connect in a borderless fashion as one global network. For those who haven’t had access to traditional financial instruments, cryptocurrencies are even more impactful and important.
Recently, more people have been scrutinizing the ecological impact of crypto mining. From your perspective, can you explain to our readers why the cryptocurrency industry is creating an environmental challenge?
Justin: To be frank, currently as I write this, I feel this is exaggerated. Our company is definitely green minded in all things crypto mining, and we are actionable on these important subjects, but narratives unfortunately are a large part of our world now. This is not an overarching issue in the short term. This is certainly a long-term issue that goes hand in hand with the rest of the world understanding that there are simply better forms of energy. This is a problem of our generation and will only be fixed by free market competition and innovation. Market winners will be chosen by virtue of economics, and they will help navigate our planet towards a greener future.
At EMI, we aim to be the global leader in green crypto mining through advanced immersion mining tech and use of renewable energy. Recently, we partnered with Australian-based AXP Energy to enable us to scale our green mining operations. Our work has been noticed, with StartUs Insights naming us one of the top five blockchain startups reducing energy requirements.
From your perspective what can be done to address or correct these concerns?
Justin: It’s worth mentioning that the Bitcoin ecosystem in its current state has a much smaller carbon footprint than that of the current financial system. What we should focus on is building something that our children’s grandchildren can be proud of. Things get done by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work on important subjects at hand. At EMI, for instance, we aim for our operations to be 99% green very soon.
Recently, more people have been scrutinizing cryptocurrency’s impact on illegal activity. From your perspective, can you explain to our readers why cryptocurrency, more than fiat currency, is seen as an attractive choice for criminals?
Justin: Actually, big-time criminals don’t choose Bitcoin because it creates a permanent record of transactions on the blockchain in a pseudo-anonymous way. Eventually, most of these transactions can be found and tracked, and that can make it easy to catch the criminal. Using Bitcoin for nefarious activities isn’t intelligent.
From your perspective what can be done to address or correct these concerns?
Justin: Transparency. I am very aligned with transparency, even to a fault at times. There needs to be a significantly higher amount of it in general. Of course, we still must protect one’s freedoms and privacy. The good news is that blockchain technology enables transparency for crypto transactions much more than fiat transactions ever could. We should use the capabilities responsibly.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they enter the industry? What can be done to avoid that?
Justin: One of the most common mistakes is having FOMO, or fear of missing out, on projects that really have no tangible value. A lot of cryptocurrency projects are not delivering on their promises. These projects should be viewed like early pre-seed penny stocks. I also see people who are stubborn about their ideas and methods. To me, one key identifier of intelligence is open-mindedness. Good investors listen to new ideas and are willing to be proved wrong.
Do you have a particular type of cryptocurrency that you are excited about? We’d love to hear why.
Justin: I have always been a major Bitcoin fan, of course. I also love what Ethereum has done and is continuing to evolve into. Sorry, it isn’t more exciting than that!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Justin: There are easier cliche answers to this, but I want to be targeted and specific to what I think the U.S. Government and the U.S. as a whole, should be doing right now. They should absolutely embrace Bitcoin’s principles and start working our way out of our inflationary system. THIS is the movement that will allow Americans to stay ahead of the curve that will be the eventual fall of FIAT currencies in the world and abroad. America has an incredible amount of smart people: Keep building, keep innovating, and keep working to better all things for humanity.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Justin: This one is a no brainer for me. I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Elon Musk. We have a similar mindset and work ethic. I have many of the same feelings and opinions as him, and I have much in common with how he grew up. I feel his philanthropic motivations and greater vision align with mine. More particularly, I completely agree with his view that money is a by-product of creating something valuable and meaningful. There’s some advice for investors: Put money in projects that create value, then the returns will come.
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success and good health!