Within the past two years, cryptocurrency has taken hold of not just the global financial industry, but among the tech industry as well. More money than ever is pouring into crypto startups focused on mainstream consumer adoption or acceptance from legacy financial institutions. Crypto in its various forms, from blockchain technology to non-fungible tokens, is having its moment in our cultural imagination.
More investors are getting involved in the crypto space ranging from seasoned venture capitalists to internet celebrities. Addison Rae’s family has gotten involved in crypto through their investment in Gryphon Digital Mining, the first cryptocurrency mining startup producing these digital coins with 100% renewable energy. Gryphon completed a reverse-merged with Sphere 3D, a data management company, in its path to be listed as a public company on the Nasdaq. Monty Lopez, husband to Sheri Easterling, father to Enzo Lopez, Lucas Lopez, and Addison Rae Easterling, explains more his family’s journey into the social media industry, and about why now was the right time to get involved in the cryptocurrency industry.
Frederick Daso: Before we jump into your crypto investing here, I want to know more about the story behind you and your family. Before you all were on TikTok and the general social media world with your family, I heard you were building houses in Louisiana. What was that like?
Monty Lopez: Well, we were a Berkshire Hathaway-owned company that had worked for them for about a decade. It was in the manufactured housing industry. We did a lot of construction for various kinds of homes. Even during one point in my career, I worked in the Bahamas. So, it was really exciting, and it was a good company. Before our family got into social media, that is what I would’ve thought I would’ve done for my entire life. You know, it was my career.
Daso: That’s neat. How did you first learn about TikTok, and did you ever think your daughter, Addison Rae, would blow up, let alone make a full career out of it?
Lopez: It’s funny because my wife thought there was something to the platform in the very beginning. As my daughter started to grow, my wife became further intrigued. I think my wife has 15 million followers. I’ve got a good five and a half million. It’s just really funny to look back on it. That’s the path that led us to where we are today, which we are forever grateful for.
Daso: That both she’s generating your daughter’s generating, even yourself, what was it like seriously considering leaving the lumber industry or leaving the home building industry to pursue social media, full-time you and your family?
Lopez: My wife and daughter had come out here initially. At one point in time, I just thought I would take a year-long vacation and come down here and take a look at it. Then, if it didn’t work out or weren’t going in a good direction, I would go back and work for the company that I worked for all my life. It wasn’t a real hard decision. It was just a risk.
Daso: A year-long vacation has turned into what, how many years now?
Lopez: Yeah, it has been a year and a half so far. Whenever we came down here, I think I flew on December 31st, 2019. I flew back to get my two sons, and my two dogs and my wife stayed here with Addison. The next thing, we’re living in Tarzana. And here we are today – we are moving down to Los Angeles this week. We have a really busy week.
Daso: Great. Now onto the main topic. How did you first get into crypto? Specifically, what led you to discover Gryphon Digital Mining?
Lopez: With crypto, we just started dabbling in it as it grew over the last year or year and a half. As we got into entertainment, we started looking for other avenues to invest and, specifically, an asset class that we can put time into and just kind of watch as it grows. We were interested in Gryphon because it was the first 100% renewable Bitcoin mining company.
Bitcoin miners are the people or companies that run these computers, and just like traditional payment processors, they are rewarded with transaction fees. To maximise the profitability of running the Bitcoin network, miners are incentivized to find the cheapest power possible, which often is stranded or otherwise wasted renewable energy. That, to me, made sense because it’s the blueprint that everything’s going in the direction of.
Daso: I’m sure you’ve heard of Elon Musk’s concerns about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies in general and their negative environmental impact. Even lately, Tesla is just reversing their policy on accepting Bitcoin. How did that, and just general environmental concern, shape your thought process on investing in Gryphon?
Lopez: I said, whenever you’re looking at something using a hundred percent renewable energy, it makes sense. It’s the direction that it needs to go in for it to be good for the economy.
Their main source of renewable energy is currently hydroelectric. Gryphon has an edge over other companies in the space, because their renewable energy prices are so low, and are all located in opportunity zones, as well as in states that have renewable energy credit incentives, driving our costs even lower than fossil fuel options. They are able to prove to the market that going green is not only the right thing to do, but profitable as well.
Daso: It’s Father’s Day, is there anything you want to share or say to your family?
Lopez: Oh man. I am just grateful that we’re all here together, hanging together and sticking together as a team, and growing through the experience. I am just really excited that we could come out here and all sit in and grow with it. I have my two sons here, my wife’s here, and my daughter naturally, she’s here. It’s just good keeping us all together. Because it keeps us grounded and level-headed.