Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Money and Fairness with Bish Smeir

George Grombacher September 28, 2023

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Money and Fairness with Bish Smeir

LifeBlood: We talked about money and fairness, where money comes from, what it means to be fair with money, the amount of money around the world and transactions used in the reward space, and what the future could hold, with Bish Smeir, seasoned entrepreneur and fintech professional, Founder and CEO of Vow.       

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You can learn more about Bish at Vow.Foundation and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Bish Smeir

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Bish Smear is a seasoned entrepreneur and fintech professional. He’s the director of enigmatic Ineke in egg Matic smile, and the founder and CEO of vow, he’s working to create cutting edge solutions to solve complex processes. Welcome fish.

Bish Smeir 0:18
Oh, hello. Yes, I hope that is the case. Nice to be here, George. Hi to everyone who’s listening.

george grombacher 0:24
Yeah, I’m excited to have you on tell us a little bit your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do? Oh, that’s

Bish Smeir 0:32
a good, good, good. Getting right there in the jugular? Yeah. Why do you do what you do? So why do I do what I do? So from my perspective, when we look at the question, Why, most of the time, I hear people focusing on solving the material equation, like how do I get rich? How do I? How do I make my life better from that perspective, because everyone thinks that from that perspective, everything gets better. And it’s not necessarily the case, you know, you if you just go and give, I know actually a guy who, who won the lottery, and who won the lottery in a very, very big way in Europe. And I’m not sure how that level of wedding impacts on someone. I mean, I guess time will tell. But I don’t think money just is the solution to everything that I could be aiming for. And it’s not a goal in and of itself. So the why is that I have could be on many levels. But for me for about 25 years now, I’ve only had one focus in terms of why. And that is this idea that the money that is in the world, the actual money that’s in the world can be issued more fairly. And everything I do, every angle that I work, every business that I build, has been leading to a point where I could align my y with the reality I live every single day. And I feel like I’m at that point. I’m excited about being at that point. But that is my way. And that is my point.

george grombacher 2:15
When did you figure that out?

Bish Smeir 2:18
When I was 17, actually in sitting amongst some lemon trees in a small village in near Amman, in Jordan, after I just read a whole bunch of books, because obviously, there was nothing much else to do back then. And I figured out that the font that a lot of the problems in the world was on a macro and micro scale seems to me to arise from an inequality and a socially unjust money issuance function, which has been devolved to a centralized power within every come every country. And I thought that this function of issuance of money means that you’re doing a podcast today, and every one of your listeners are presumably going to work doing something where they try and add value to the world or their customers in their own way. But because they’re forced to get money to survive, they are forced within a structure of thinking and doing to behave and sometimes make the wrong choices, maybe because because of a lack of money, or because of the incentive, potentially more money. And when I looked at that, and I saw on the site of that, another organization in every country, which has the ability to just create money on the money, magic printing press, I have nothing. I just thought that’s crazy. I mean, in your country, $4 trillion, has just been produced out of thin air $4 trillion has just been produced. And then the biggest way possible, that’s just a theft of $4 trillion of all of your listeners and everyone else’s in America’s money. Because somebody else because the American people have granted the right to a centralized authority to create that money. And I don’t think anyone does things for an evil reason. But I think we’ve passed the point now where that function of currency, or that issuance of currency can be entrusted to a single, a single central party in each country. Because I think at the end of the day, that’s where all corruption comes from. And why why would any of us pay taxes for example, and work all of our lives to pay 30% 40% of our money to support a country when the country can just print $40 trillion? Seems seems strange to me. I don’t know about you, how do you feel about that?

george grombacher 4:45
Yeah, Strange is a good term for it. I am I am against I am against what what the what the Treasury just did so in the States.

Bish Smeir 4:56
So I do not. Yeah, you’re not allowed to really save Much of this subject I read, because it’s like one of those topics which we all stay away from. And I think that’s not right. When you can see what happened in Hawaii. I mean, I’m just looking at the news on my side. And because I just said to you, we were going there just before the call, and you can see what’s happening in Hawaii, you can also see what’s happening in Ukraine. And surely, you know, although there’s all kinds of problems in the world, surely, a government and the people in the country should be looking after its own territory as hard as possible, as quick as possible to solve that, rather than thinking about solving more geopolitical issues all over the place to look after the look after the people. And if money’s being printed, where it just vaporizes and disappears in different directions, it’s not actually serving the purpose of the community, it’s meant to serve.

george grombacher 5:48
Why appreciate that? So So you’ve been working on this problem, since you’re 17 years old? Or at least thinking about it, and now working on it professionally for for a good number of years. You talked about how you’re working to or you feel like money should be issued more fairly? What does that mean?

Bish Smeir 6:08
So the first and primary answer to that is that it can’t be granted to central party to issue currency. Because whoever that is, I mean, if you had the right to print all the money in America, I’m sure you’d be printing $4 trillion. Why not? You know, let’s have some speed books, some, why not? Let’s interfere with other countries everywhere. Why not? Because it’s natural, isn’t it? If you’ve got the ability to do stuff, then you may as well try and do it. And so giving any particular person no matter how holy they are the ability to, to issue that to control this function, I think becomes a problem. And, and so of course, you know, who am I to try and conquer such a problem, I can’t conquer a problem on that level. But we can do experiments. And we can relate it to other layers of, of business and life. And that’s kind of like what we’ve been doing. When I was 17. I understood the problem, I didn’t know the solution. And over time, as this, as my experience has moved on, and the world has moved on, internet’s moved on and transparencies moved on, and all that kind of stuff, suddenly you get to this point where you think, Okay, well, let’s solve some, let’s solve some, some problems in a kind of really practical way. So what we do bringing it down to reality as we we focus on the reward space, which is obviously a very big, a very big space in the world, and try and make kits that try and move the issuance of rewards into a decentralized manner. And of course, maybe, just maybe, as that process develops, it can trigger it can trigger understandings of how this might look in a wider, larger global context over time.

george grombacher 7:56
So the reward space, give me an example.

Bish Smeir 8:01
So let’s say you’re in a rewards program. I mean, I think everyone in America is part of like 11. So I don’t know which, which reward programs you’re personally part of. But it might be a bank, it might be just a reward thing, like a Groupon or it might be a website where you can go to and save money on certain businesses on certain purchases, that that reward that reward space as a whole globally, it turns out that $42 trillion, is spent every year digitally with bank cards, or mobile wallets, or online or whatever, 42 trillion, which gives you an idea of what that 4 trillion is, yeah, but um, 42 trillion in total is spent globally, at retail and outs of that 42,000,000,000,017% of it is incentivized. So that means that 17% is of that 42 trillion is either used as a discount, or a coupon or a promotion of some kind, with a very definite aim from businesses around the world to be able to get customers come in and buy from them buy from the more often, you know, or whatever. So that’s the reward space in a global context. And in America, obviously, it covers everything from gift cards to to all kinds of different mechanics for rewarding you for a purchase, or for some form of behavior that you have. That’s the reward space as a as a context.

george grombacher 9:23
So to to interact with money or to create a situation where it’s been distributed more fairly, the reward space, there’s an opportunity to meet that end, how

Bish Smeir 9:39
you like this. I’m just thoughts about it right now. So what is the lifeblood of any economy? It’s the currency within that economy, right. And so, what we want to do is play with the lifeblood within the economy, and allow that lifeblood to be more for free. rarely issued. And if it’s if we use this expression of life Bloods, as something that gives life and make something either healthy or unhealthy, we can see that the currency itself, within any level of structure makes a difference in terms of the reward space, at the moment, you have each separate individual business, trying their best to get people in the door. And I don’t know if it’s the same in Arizona, where you’re setting but in the UK, I have witnessed in the last two years, probably 10, massive retail chains that we know and love and grew up with all just disappear off the high streets. And there’s more and more of them disappearing every day, with tons of local businesses disappearing, just just not the same volume of people going into the town centers are going into things for whatever crazy reasons that we’ve all been through over the last few years. But the point is, you know, everybody needs to get more money, and there’s less and less money in these local communities in these local areas. So, you know, if there’s not enough money, how do they survive, I don’t know, maybe you’ve noticed your electricity bills going up, your gas bills going up, everything just rising. So if if the average person has less and less and less disposable money, they can’t spend the money, which keeps the businesses alive. And we know that most of the money just gets sucked back up to the, to the banking systems and right up to the top of the tree. So it leaves the communities becoming more and more naked. And, and this nakedness in the communities or the nakedness. And the time centers. And this problem is not just an, it wouldn’t be just an advantage for you and me to solve the little guys. But it’s also a very important problem for the big guys to solve. Because they want to go out and have dinner too. And if there’s a problem having dinner, or going out and doing another thing, it’s a big problem, how do we fix the economics of letting the common man enjoy himself and keep going without a solution to the money. And so what happens is that people come up with ideas like universal basic income, we’re dropping it on people, or, you know, we need to find a way to give people more medical help, or, you know, we just keep having to create an ability to help people, which ends up taxing a whole load of other people, which ends up being in a situation where people start getting unsettled and unfair. And, you know, it becomes like a big political sort of question. So in terms of the very simple process of a business, giving you a $10 discount voucher, they just created money, right? So if Pizza Hut gave you a $10 discount voucher, that $10 didn’t cause pizza $10, they can go and put that $10 and prints, it’s intense, those newspapers, and it doesn’t cost pizza, millions and millions dollars to print out discount vouchers, they can just create that value. And the interesting reason why they can create that value is it’s not backed by actual money, because you can’t go to pizza and say, Can I have actual money for this discount voucher, it’s not backed by gold or silver or, you know, foreign reserves or government bonds. It’s just a discount voucher that’s backed by your ability or the promise of Pizza Hut to accept back that $10 discount voucher as a discount against your next purchase. So if you can imagine the word VO, or why we came up with this idea of VO, is it’s literally the VO of a business to accept back it. So discount voucher. So the real question is, is if you could get 1000 businesses distributing their discount vouchers within a sort of globalized ledger of, of issuances and acceptance back, you could create a type of currency supply or discount voucher currency supply that stays local because these discount vouchers can’t go up in the banking system to pay off a mortgage that they can keep going locally round and round and round. And by virtue of all the businesses driving customers, to them issuing a reward to their customers in the form of a feature spend digital discount voucher that is transferable. You can create a localized, you know, like a localized lifeblood moving around, which then helps the local people, the local communities, the local police forces, everybody creates a bit more economic, hyper targeted, hyper localized. You know, fun? Let’s call it in the middle. Does that make sense? Yeah, it

george grombacher 14:28
makes a lot of sense. It’s almost the way it used to be.

Bish Smeir 14:33
Exactly why can it not just go back to your

george grombacher 14:38
old things or new again?

Bish Smeir 14:40
Maybe But the difference in this whole process is that we will notice that issue and function is now distributed to many, many different companies. It’s not in the same way where there’s a central government or a central bank or a Central Council issuing this money to people. It’s actually based very commercially and soundly on sound principles of demand economics, the businesses issue, if they have already received a proper sale, they issue their center into supply and the back by their own integrity, just like just just in a distributed way. And because of this, if you had, for example, let’s say a, I wouldn’t say the word dollar, but let’s say we had two pounds, right? So if we had a pound in the middle, what’s a pound backed by? What’s the dollar backed by that? And I’ll ask you, then what is the dollar backed by

george grombacher 15:34
the full faith and credit of the United States government?

Bish Smeir 15:38
Which is backed by I mean, if you don’t accept these dollars, what’s it backed by at the end of the day, it is backed by somebody coming up to you and going, you know, it’s violence that backs money, right? Except this money, because that’s my money, right? So accept it, that’s the way it is, if you don’t pay your bills, we come and put you in jail, it’s at the end of the day money is, is has to be backed by something. And because there’s no gold backing this money anymore, it’s at the end of the day, it’s backed by the the military industrial machine, that the printing of money can be used to back to enforce. So it’s a big sort of circular sort of thing. So you could ask yourself in terms of the flourishing of, of humans and stuff, is that the way we want our huge futures to be? Do we really want to be in a situation where we are, you know, oppressing people and forcing people in subjugation and all of this kind of stuff? Or do we just want to get on with it, you want to have, you know, your your family and enjoy health and prosperity. And so there’s a guy in Africa and a guy in Indiana guy in the Philippines, everyone wants the same thing. At the end of the day, nobody really wants to put their families or anybody in danger. So can we create some money supply in a decentralized way, or a currency supply in a decentralized way that would have a community feeling over the money instead of, you know, instead of a conqueror feeling over the money, I guess we’re getting quite sort of deep. In terms of the subject matter, I didn’t intend that. But there’s a whole philosophical element to what money represents in terms of our daily interactions. And I would rather give you money, and you give me money, that is a community created money than I would rather give and trade within a currency that doesn’t have that sort of aspect within itself. And the same thing is true of both types of money or value transfer are exactly the same in terms of their function, the differences, we as a community need to decide that that function can be different. So if you look at Bitcoin, Bitcoin was the first sort of giant concept here, because it brought in the transaction, the issuance function of money being distributed to miners, and various other things. But it fails in many ways, at least currently, because in terms of our current systems, nobody thinks in terms of Bitcoin, do they or the average person doesn’t think in terms of Bitcoin, they still think in terms of dollars, that’s how much my medicine costs are, that’s how much my my food costs. And so because of that, a shop can’t accept something in Bitcoin, because they might lose money tomorrow morning, or, you know, if some big guy sells, they’re gonna, they’re gonna lose his money, and nobody wants to take that risk. So the idea of distributed, distributed money needs to be more connected with our normal common daily experience, at least at this point. And that can be done in reward programs. And that’s kind of like that, that space that we play. And on a day to day basis, even though I’m not really talking about rewards, I’m talking about it from a higher level, that reward function is where we can play with it, to understand it and understand the dynamics of it. And so that’s, that’s a passion of mine. And that that is the why that is manifested from being young till till now being a little bit less than young.

george grombacher 18:58
From that time, when you were 17 years old, sitting under lemon trees in Jordan, to where we are today. I love it. Thank you so much for coming out. Where can people learn more about you and your work and dive deeper into what you’ve just been talking about?

Bish Smeir 19:14
So yeah, you are more than welcome to go to vote dot Foundation, which is the foundation that operates here. And that’s a website that tells you everything we’re up to, and what what we’re coming together and see if you’d like to get involved and, and support this idea in your own ways. So if anyone’s out there who wants to do that they can do that. And then if they would like to check out the more reward program stuff, which is much more practical, you can do that at enigmatic smile.com, where we’re onboarding millions and millions of consumers and hundreds of 1000s of businesses to get involved to be part of this excellent exercise. But thank you very much for inviting me on.

george grombacher 19:55
It’s been a pleasure. If you enjoyed this as much as I did Shabbos you appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to vow dot foundation and check out everything that Bishr has been talking about. And then also check out enigmatic smile.com and dig a little bit deeper into the rewards side and program that Beshear has been working on and see how you can get involved and educate yourself a little bit more on what we’ve been talking about. Thanksgiving fish.

Bish Smeir 20:29
Awesome. All the best. Cheers. Bye bye bye.

george grombacher 20:32
Until next time, remember, do your part like doing your best

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