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Cybersecurity and Blockchain Solutions with Nick Donarski




Join Tim and his guest Nick Donarski today as they talk about Nick's Company ORE Systems, his path through cybersecurity and blockchain solutions. Sometimes the right path for you is not the obvious one. Nicholas Donarski (Co-Founder / CTO). His company was named one of the top 10 blockchain solution providers for 2022. Nick Donarski is the technical expert behind ORE Sys, LLC, and the inventor of the multi-part ecosystem that is the ORE System comprised of the ORE Token, the ORE Forge, and the ORE SDK. Holding multiple certifications including MCSE+S, MCSA+S, MCSE, MCSA, MCP, and CEH, Nick is a cyber security expert and has been a featured speaker at multiple cybersecurity conferences and worked for some of the biggest names in the industry. He is fluent in numerous programming languages and blockchain technologies including Web3, Ethereum, Polygon, Binance, BSC, and Smart Contract Security and Testing. Nick is a “gamer” at heart with a passion to create games for users and help developers realize their dreams. The suite of tools within the ORE Ecosystem is the means to that end.

Nick was recently featured in US News & World Report, Computer World, GameSpace, E-Crypto News, TheStreet, Techbullion, and Disrupt Magazine, as well as quoted by TechTarget about the use of NFT's in the Metaverse, appeared on What the Truck, and interviewed by Dave Vellante of Silicon Angle on The Cube.



Full Transcript: Tim Chrisman: [00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to another edition of Podcast for the Future. I'm your host, Tim Chrisman today. We're joined by Nick Donarski. The co-founder and CTO of ORE systems. Nick is the technical expert behind this company, which was named one of the top 10 blockchain solution providers for 2022. He's the inventor of the multipart ecosystem that is the or system comprised of the, or token the or forge and the, or SDK or software development.

He holds multiple certifications, including CSE plus S CSA plus S CSE, CSA, MC, and [00:01:00] C H the last one, I think is gonna be one of the more interesting ones we'll get to Nick is a cybersecurity expert and has been featured as a speaker at multiple cybersecurity conferences. And work for some of the biggest names in industry he's fluent in numerous programming languages and blockchain technologies, including web three, Ethereum polygon, Binance, PSC, and smart contract security and testing.

Nick is ultimately a gamer at heart with a passion to create games for users and help developers who realize their dreams, the suite of tools within the or ecosystem is a means to that end, excited to have. Nick here and let's get to it.

Yeah. So thanks for taking the time to chat. Definitely. This is, a pretty conversational podcast.

The idea is ultimately just trying to get at what's that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. What's that challenge worth doing? And along the way, highlighting [00:02:00] that. You probably didn't take the right way to go. So like I run a nonprofit working in the space sector. I'm a political science guy.

Did a bunch of time in the army. I am awesome. I am not qualified for space but the turns out if you want something enough and are willing to work enough, you can you can get there

Nicholas Donarski: oh

Tim Chrisman: yeah, man. Yeah. So that's the idea just walk through where you've been, what you're doing, where you're going with with that in mind.

Nicholas Donarski: Questions. No. Good

Tim Chrisman: to go, man. Cool. Cool. Where are you? Where are

Nicholas Donarski: you out of right now? So I'm based in Dubuque, Iowa. I'm in one of those weird flyover states that nobody ever talks to in a, in an underground bunker.

Tim Chrisman: So yeah, no, it it looks like it's a former like nuclear weapons shelter.

Yep. Yeah. That's awesome. What brought

Nicholas Donarski: you there? So really grew up in the Midwest. All my life grew up in Chicago. Okay. That's where I went through all the way through high school. Yeah. After that then left Chicago got out of the city. Kicked [00:03:00] around the Midwest, went up to Wisconsin for a while and then really got a, got the corporate kind of real job.

And then from there moved me out to New York and New Jersey lived in Colorado, traveled around the world

Tim Chrisman: and all that kind of thing. Yeah. Okay, cool. Were you on the the good side of Chicago or the Cub side of

Nicholas Donarski: Chicago? I am on the Cub side of Chicago. I am my far Northsider. Yes. Yes. Born and raised north cider used to walk to Wrigley field.

Tim Chrisman: Oh, wow. Okay. Cool. I I spent about a year in Iraq and about a year in Afghanistan with this guy who is really into the Cubs, the care packages, most of us would get would've like candy and chips and all sorts of snack food. He would get, whatever the latest Cubs paraphernalia.

And

Nicholas Donarski: at one point he had actually got a, I got a pair of Cub shorts on right

Tim Chrisman: now oh yeah. He had this ball that whenever he threw it, it would sing this Cub song. 18 [00:04:00] hours a day. Just bouncing that up.

Nicholas Donarski: I didn't care about torture.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah. I didn't care about baseball till then. Now I hate the Cubs.

Yeah, no. And so you run and we can get into, what, you're helping run a cybersecurity organization,

Nicholas Donarski: right? Yeah actually it's a blockchain organization, so I have a background in cybersecurity got started in 99. Yep. And and now I do blockchain and I'm sit sitting as a CTO for a couple of different organizations now.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. And that's definitely not something you think of when you think Iowa.

Nicholas Donarski: Yeah. Yeah.

Food

Nicholas Donarski: chain, not blockchain. That's exactly it, man. High technology, bleeding edge technologies. You don't really think of that from corn country.

Tim Chrisman: No. And so, was the.

Is there a reason you all, are, I guess the better question is, are you all based out of

Nicholas Donarski: corn country? No I'm based in Iowa. Our organization is actually based out of Austin and then we've got a we're all US based. Okay. So we've got Texas three of our four board [00:05:00] members are military members, Lucas and Sean served like 25 years together.

And then Joan is actually sitting on the border right now with with the Texas national guard oh, wow. Okay. So yeah active, in the kind of, building up the organization with key people, but Texas, Florida, Chicago and Iowa is what really makes up the.

Tim Chrisman: Okay.

Cool. Cool. So you're really leveraging both the virtual network or nature of blockchain and post COVID.

Nicholas Donarski: Yeah, honestly, I haven't stepped foot in an office in 20 years.

Tim Chrisman: We were talking before we started about it, your, what you're in looks like it would be pretty cool if it was an office

Nicholas Donarski: yeah.

Being, doing cybersecurity really from like I said, 99 and being in it for so long. Yeah. The early days, you were this weirdo. I wear t-shirts for the last, like 30 years. I ha I did have a suit collection for a little while in there when I lived in New York.

Yeah. Outside of that it's black t-shirts. But the, [00:06:00] there was no necessity for me to really be in that office setting, cuz either I was touching something that was on the internet or, something that was remote and it's much cheaper. To work remote than than it is to work in the offices.

Most of these tech organizations, especially in security, a lot of 'em, unless they're like these big dollar, Appfleet and, some of the other big ones the the, they don't need that square footage so that, you get a lot of coworking spaces that are being used and things like that.

But most of the engineers work from home. And so even through like COVID and stuff, Day didn't change.

Tim Chrisman: Didn't change. And I imagine early on half the reason you could work from home is that nobody was really sure what you did that magic box that was connected to this internety thing.

Nicholas Donarski: that's right.

My BLT drive when O L and Mr. Kawasaki. Exactly. So yeah, no, I worked for HP was one of the founding members of Hewlett Packard shadow labs. I actually have the logo tattooed on my body. Nice. But I, for three [00:07:00] years, I didn't step foot in an office. Yeah. Like I never used my HPID.

Not once in my entire tenure

Tim Chrisman: that I really hope that they made you come in to get it. And then you never had to use it from then on they,

Nicholas Donarski: They said that it sat there and I never even picked it up. Oh, you never even picked it

Tim Chrisman: up even better. That's. That's great. And you started really early.

Yep. Cybersecurity by if I read your bio right in junior high or a junior

Nicholas Donarski: there, we. Yeah, junior in high school. So I actually got hired by my high school. Yeah. To go to high school. Cause it was cheaper for them to hire me than somebody outside. True. My ma my mom was a single mom at the time.

Yeah. Went to a Catholic school in Chicago, which was a private school. Yeah. And half of what I made, went to my tuition, what my hourly rate was, went to my tuition. So I went to school for BA almost free. Yeah. My mom loved. And the other half went in my pocket as beer money.

Nice. Yeah. That was how I got started. And it was teachers and parents and [00:08:00] just doing random computer stuff back then. Yeah.

Tim Chrisman: I, no, and I I was spending high school, trying to figure out how to make popup show up on my neighbor's computer. Telling them to restart their computer.

That was delightful. Yes. It's harder to do now. People, it is man, It's hard to

Nicholas Donarski: do a good prank. especially technical. Everybody's so hyper aware of this system. Yeah. Back then it was the, it was the wild west. I was, oh yeah. There was I can neither confirm nor deny, but there was nights that I would jump from, rooftop to rooftop with an RJ 11 and alligator clips and a telco phone and figure out who was using their phone line and who wasn't so that I could get online.

There

Tim Chrisman: you go. Yeah. I got really familiar with net send.

Nicholas Donarski: Yes. Yep.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah, I I recently tried that even on an internal network. I was helping my kids set up a Minecraft server. It turns out those skills don't age, if nothing really change.

Nicholas Donarski: That's the thing, man. Yeah. That old stuff. And the funny thing is that older stuff, right?

Is people don't realize still works. Yeah, it really does. So you can come back and that's the [00:09:00] case with security, as we forget about all this old stuff, and then it comes to bite us in the ass, but yeah, all that old stuff actually still works to this day and it is, you start doing stuff and it takes you like four or five extra clicks or command to do it.

People are like, what is that ancient sanscript

Tim Chrisman: exactly. Oh yeah, no. And yeah, my both my daughters are delighted whenever I'm able to, hit enter and this like long string of code starts rolling. They're like, my God, you're a programmer. I'm like, yeah, that's right. . And so I, starting out junior in high school that was your own company, wasn't it?

Nicholas Donarski: Yeah. So I incorporated my first company when I was 16. So I wrote my first program in basic and on apple two E in 1989. All right. So I would literally like to say I was born and raised on the internet. Yeah. I was one of the few people that had a two-way pager, I was the only person I knew that had a two-way, but yeah, I had one those kind of technology, things that all came up, but my dad was big into computers.

My dad was a firefighter [00:10:00] paramedic. Yeah. He was big into computers, he did punch cards and reel the real programming back in the day. Oh, So like old school mainframe kind of stuff, that's intense. And he was always like, if you hack into my stuff or if you break it, know what you did.

And rule number one is never hack from home. So yeah. That's between those two things. That was how I grew up. So I, I was bred into that whole thing. And then I worked with him in his contracting doing data forensics and stuff like that in the early two thousands.

And that's how I, yeah. How I came up. And then my mom was a ER nurse. My dad was a fireman paramedic. My mom was in the city. My dad was in the burbs. Yeah. But having that aspect and that Hey, my kid knows computers, that was how I started getting into doing contracting and training and stuff like that for police department and some of the other organizations that I've spent my time with.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah, that's incredible. And having that tie back to, these groups of people that, both need and want the help. [00:11:00] Now they have somebody that's not gonna talk down to them. That's the

Nicholas Donarski: whole thing man, yeah. Most of the tech guys out there now it's a different thing because we've had 20 years of people that have grown up on computers and the people that are in there, but you go back, in the early two thousands and you had police departments that were trying to convert.

Average, I don't want to talk beat cop down to beat cop, but street cops. Yeah. That were trying to transition them into these computer technology roles. Yeah. Yeah. And it was just like, oh, and so knows, word processing back then it wasn't even word, right? Yeah.

I had to correct myself in my own brain, but there was somebody that knew how to use a word processor. That now was part of this digital crimes unit that they were trying to build, so helping and seeing those things from that case, it was a way different wild west back then,

Tim Chrisman: man.

Yeah. Yeah. No kids don't even, we used to joke cuz like I was the guy who fixed hardware. Software's not my thing. Okay. I [00:12:00] continue to think there's some sort of magic happening behind the scenes. There's a little Demonn in there or something. Hardware. I got it. So I was the guy who, any, anybody in the neighborhood, anybody at school needed hardware fixed.

I was the guy. And so we, there's always jokes about the cup holder that was attached to all these computers. Kids don't know what that is. There's no CD, there's no CD. Yes. So I can't even use these jokes anymore. In 15 years, a joke started and was lost. It's very

Nicholas Donarski: wild, man.

The Junos yeah. Or the CompuServe have long come and gone. Yeah. And things like that. So it's, there's just no reference. The cool part though, is being part of this generation that did get to see that. Yeah. There's this. For me I give a thousand percent credit to my success in the security industry, right?

Yeah. To the community. If I hadn't been part of the hacker community, if I hadn't had the conferences and everything else, I wouldn't have had the success. So for us, to have those firsthand experiences. [00:13:00] We're, I'm 40 this year, that's weird to say , it's weird to say. We've only got so much time before that, just that, that generational knowledge ends up getting lost.

So true. Yeah. I see it as our job to, to communicate some of that, especially when we're talking about technical stuff and security stuff, just like we were talking a few seconds ago, those old codes still work. Yeah. They do. So 8008 is boobs on a calculator. It's an old code, but it still works.

Exactly. Yep. The, that kind of old mentality and those things are gonna get lost. And at some point in time, even right now there's still AS 400 devices that are online that I have had to touch. OK. The fact that those types of technologies. I have to imagine that any engineer from actual usage of that device is collecting a social security check at this point.

Yeah,

Tim Chrisman: no, they've got it. Yeah. And so for people's reference that as 400 IBM made it [00:14:00] like 88

Nicholas Donarski: ish. Yeah. And it would, and they converted them because lots of times it's financial healthcare or these legacy systems that were online or involved in an organization back in the early nineties, late eighties, then they converted them to put them on the network in the mid nineties, early two thousands.

And now this thing can't be taken offline because the entire system is based off of this one file written in Cobal or something. Yep. Yep. You And that's the thing is like these languages aren't even taught in school cause everybody's about what's the new, react node and all the rest, right?

Yeah. Cobal are still on the internet.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah, no, I remember my dad telling me learn basic. He's you could do visual basic if you wanna be a baby . But that's never going outta style and I'm like, whatever, dad, I'm just gonna do hardware. Now 25 years later, he's right. There is, you can still use basic

Nicholas Donarski: I wrote my first program in basic man.

Yeah, that was the very first thing. The very [00:15:00] first like full program I wrote it was out of the back of a PC mag. Yeah. From like 1986. And it was a Halloween theme to chess game. that's awesome. That was, it was like 87 pages at the back of the all written in basic.

Yeah. Wow.

Tim Chrisman: That, oh, You can make an app now faster than it took you to write that

Nicholas Donarski: absolutely.

Tim Chrisman: Absolutely. Wow. So you start early and you're, you're doing the supporting the forces of good at your yeah. And you, then you become a penetration tester, which sounds like you were a deputized hacker.

Is that about

Nicholas Donarski: right? Yeah, so early on there really wasn't a path for us. I had my Microsoft certified system engineer plus security, right? That was, so MCSE plus S I got that in server 2003, since then, I've had, a known number of Microsoft [00:16:00] certs and or you had your CS P back.

Which was, more for that management. And I'll tell you a story about when I tried that in a second and then you had the CEH right. Which was really the nerd cert. And that was really about the tool. In all of this, I tried to do college. I went to eight different colleges, but I went to college nine times.

One of 'em let me back twice. Nice. And I still don't have a college credit to my name. All right. I, it, I didn't see unlike what most people do is going to college to try to find that career. Yeah. I kinda screwed that up because I already started a company go. Yeah, you already got, so I was there more for the fun.

Yeah. The 19 year old college experience, I had a bank roll at that point because I had a company. So it wasn't like I was, hurting for beer money. So I definitely partied more than I should have come here one. And then from there really I did certain things I raced motorcycles for a while there.

I built race cars for a while there. I did computer animation for a while there and I would go to the experts [00:17:00] right. Or where I thought the experts were. And they were at the various different colleges or schools. I would take my course to get my answers. And then I'd be like, screw this. I don't need the rest of this.

I don't need to

Tim Chrisman: take your test.

Nicholas Donarski: And I would, that's how I would do it. So I was building an, an race car or an engine for my race car at one point. Yeah. So I went to automotive school for the engine class so that I could do it, got through all of it. And then I was like, cool. I got exactly what I needed, washed my hands of it and never showed back up.

Had college bills, you're an American

Tim Chrisman: hero. You are,

Nicholas Donarski: had college bills for a couple of years after that, but at the end of the day, that was all I was there for was that, that, that specific, that expert, that professor's brain. Yeah. And I couldn't pay for it anywhere else. So I just went for the content and then I was like, cool, I'm done.

And went on with my Merry life of doing whatever cool thing I was trying to do. Yeah.

Tim Chrisman: That's a great idea. that's really cool. Cuz you got a far [00:18:00] wider range of inform, information sets then I got a lot of history of art and how to write in English.

Nicholas Donarski: Yeah. Now looking back I wish I had taken some more of those English classes with the number of reports that I write now.

Because my QA, but that's what I have QA people for exactly.

Tim Chrisman: Just right. Have an AI do it.

Nicholas Donarski: That's the thing. It's I write my version and it's definitely come a long way since yeah. 20 years ago. But I take my version, I send it to somebody else for QA. So I don't need to be an English expert.

That's not my, that's not my skill set. Yeah. That's not my, that's not my forte. That's my, not my expertise. If it was, I would, be teaching English in a school somewhere.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Instead of doing awesome things yeah. Instead

Nicholas Donarski: of doing cool technical things. Yeah. Yeah.

Tim Chrisman: No that's so you took that, did you have the C eh, so certified ethical hacker

Nicholas Donarski: certification?

So I got my C way back when in like V two, I think it was, I think they're on like nine or 10 or [00:19:00] something at this point. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. So it was back in oh three or so that I took my C yeah. Tried to do the C I S P because everyone in the industry, including all of the various different.gov and yeah.

And all the rest organizations like you need to get your C I S P. So I decided I'm gonna, I'm gonna buckle down and do this thing, right? Yeah. So I went and I paid 10 grand, went to one of the boot camps. It was two weeks full immersion first, it was like, we guarantee you're gonna pass going all the rest.

So I go out to north Conway, New Hampshire to do this boot camp. And I'm there. We, it was cool. The experience, of being at a bootcamp, you're hanging out, you're going to north Conway, it's like the lake PLA area in New Hampshire. So like you get the trendy places to go out afterwards.

Did this whole week, we get to the test, I go into it because I know that this just, this was not the most exciting class in the entire world. So anybody that's not familiar, C I S P is a much broader aspect of [00:20:00] security. Like it come, it covers everything from physical security, the CCTV to policies, to everything else.

Whereas the ch is much cooler. It's writing in code and breaking stuff. So I get into this test and I've got three 16 ounce monster energy drinks sitting there and everything. I get into the test slam the first one, slam the second one. I'm like, all right, I'm jacked up. I'm vibrating exactly amount of, yeah.

I get into this test right about, I don't know, maybe 20, 25 minutes into it. Falling asleep. I start dozing up. This test is so dry that it I'm falling asleep trying to take this test, right pound my third monster. Get through two thirds of this test don't even care anymore. Don't care anymore.

I'm trying to stay awake. I check off C for every single answer. Turn my test in. Never go back and take it again.

Tim Chrisman: that does explain a lot more about the people I've met, who talk about how much they liked this that, that test, that class and test. I [00:21:00] understand them better now. And it

Nicholas Donarski: is along with them.

If if your goal is to. Now, I've had 20 years into it. Yeah. And now I finally have achieved a CTO role, right? Yes. If you're going into taking your C I S P to get to the CTO role, like in a short period of time, you wanna be a security program manager. Yeah. You wanna do all that so that you actually have the overarching understanding of broad concepts of quote unquote security.

So that you can apply security with a lot of different things that you do today. It's a good, it's a good intro. It's a good understanding of kind of where they all play together. Yeah. But it's not a depth type of a certificate. It doesn't give you that depth of application, that depth of that execution, it just pres presents the ideas.

Yeah.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. They each have their own, the boring parts of the ideas

Nicholas Donarski: at that. That and that's exactly it. If now going, taking that a step further, right? Yeah. Because I did at least [00:22:00] take and the TA or take the course and have an idea of how all of these security managers actually think the next 10 years of breaking into things.

So against those managers that were certified in that made it a little bit easier. that

Tim Chrisman: helps . Yeah. So you took that, that, when would, when did you take that?

Nicholas Donarski: That, that would've, yeah, that would've been like 2004, 2003. Okay. Around the same time I did my C H. Okay. So

Tim Chrisman: you're still, that penetration tester sort of role.

Yeah.

Nicholas Donarski: I was just a security guy, and really the first penetration testing role that I got was probably about, oh, Okay. That was my first official title that ran. Yeah. Yeah. A pen tester. And I was doing PCI testing for a company outside of Chicago called Haylock. They still do PCI focused testing and things like that to this day.

And spent time really honing the formalization or really what I like to call, like the corporatization of what security testing is. [00:23:00] Yeah. Which really helped me because I had all of the. UN chained the unboxed skill sets and things I had done from this point.

So it really allowed me to focus and understand like the core concepts of how compliance applies, because now in PCI, they have X, Y, and Z that you have to check for. Yeah. So now I continue to see these same findings over and over and over and over and over again in each one of my daily things.

So there was a certain point where if I didn't know something, I went and did the research to figure out what that was, how it worked, everything else, so that I could do that validation, but I wasn't, reaching for all of these little rabbit holes that I could get drugged down to. And I was really honing and forming the skillset of bridging.

The just general security skills to something that I could actually generate revenue with. Yeah. I I could become that asset and I was becoming a product then, and this was really where I started to figure out [00:24:00] that now my skillset was something that I could apply to branding myself.

And this was actually how I started getting into the hacker environment. And I started doing my presentation. So my first public talk I did was in, I think it was 2012. Yeah. At not ACON. And I released a an operating system for mobile phones called WMD package. Cuz obviously the WMD thing was going on during that time.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah I called it the real weapon of mass destruction so what it was it was a mobile operating system that had all of the Cali tools baked into it long before, they had all of these security phones and you could run all your ROMs and all the rest. You either had the NOK N 9,500 and I'm gonna date myself there for some reason which you could program as a nerd.

You could rewrite the realm, but I actually built this as a virtual machine for windows mobile phones. Oh yeah. I remember those. Those were cool. Yeah. So I was doing some work for HTC at the time, and I had lots of HTC devices all over my desk. Yeah. And one of my favorite [00:25:00] ones, absolutely.

Favorite device of all times was the 85, 25 tilt. And what it was you could slide the screen sideways. Okay. Tilt the screen up. And you had a full Cordy keyboard, the size of your phone. Oh, you had a full keyboard that you could actually, it was like the Blackberry keyboard, but it was actually the length.

The lengthwise. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So you didn't have the little, button overlap with my fat thumb. Yeah. So one of the greatest phones that would, and it had the stylist for touch. There you go. There you go. So running virtual machines and actually running, code tools with a real keyboard and a mouse, essentially made it doing things like that.

So that's really where, I did pen testing for compliance for a number of years. Once I left, Haylock I went over to rapid seven. Okay. I was at rapid seven for about three years. I was known in Mr. Rapid seven. I did 85, 86 conferences in the course of 14 months. Whoa. I was there.

I got onto rapid seven right after they acquired Melo. I actually [00:26:00] have Melo tattooed on my body too. Oh, okay. But, yeah, so I was there as part of their professional services team and did stuff for rapid seven. Yeah. And then from there, then I went and became one of the phoning members of HP shadow labs.

Tim Chrisman: That's cool. And I think, you mentioned something and it was off the cuff and it, wasn't a big deal about how, as you're sitting there and you don't know something you're going and finding it and adding it in and thinking of yourself as this product.

Okay. Hey now we're version 1.0, in certain numbers here. People really resist that idea. No, I'm a special snowflake, like cool baby, but maybe you could upgrade yourself.

Nicholas Donarski: And that's exactly it, man. Your salary is just your employer subscription. Yeah. And it took me a lot of years to realize that, first for my branding thing, for my personal branding, like how I made myself an entity was I first realized that conferences yeah. Are just dog and pony shows. Yeah. Okay. It's just to sell tickets yeah. And all the rest.

So if you give a good [00:27:00] show, More conferences want you to come to it because they're gonna sell more tickets. Cause you're exactly right. So there's, you have to balance, good quality content with, asshole on the stage. So that was always me. I was the guy who said, obscenities on stage, not obscenities, but swear words on stage.

Yeah. And made major conferences. When everybody was coming and had their suit or their I, their IBM, polo on, or their Microsoft polo on, doing these talks, I'm up there in black t-shirts hat on backwards and saying swear words, while I'm talking about breaking into web apps yeah.

And stuff like that. And then the other part of it was, figuring out that conferences had an, had extra space for doing trainings. , if you were doing a talk and a training and they could bill and they could charge for the tickets for the training too, and you were gonna do it anyway, you offered it to them.

Why wouldn't they, why wouldn't they do that? So now all of a sudden, why don't, why wouldn't we wanna come here? So that, that branding, right? That building kind of [00:28:00] a brand of yourself, it goes not only for the conferences, but it's also for your employment, man. If you don't believe in your brand.

Why is your employer believe in your brand? If you don't believe in the brands that you go out and purchase off the shelf, right? Yeah. You have all of those brands on the shelf. When you walk into let's just talk the soda aisle, right? You walk into the soda aisle, you've got Coke. You've got Pepsi.

You've got seven up. You've got all of these things to choose from. What makes you the special snowflake out? There normally by yourself, there's nothing that sets that up. You have to brand yourself that you have to make yourself that. Yeah. Because the employer's gonna take advantage of you no matter what they want as much work as they can get for the cheapest dollar, because they wanna make the be, that's the goal of the business, the exactly goal of the businesses to make money.

Yep. And they have to make money off of the efforts of the people working for them. And if they can get the most effective usage of whatever time they have dedicated to generate the highest number of revenue, [00:29:00] that's the goal of a business that's malicious, it's just, yeah.

That's the goal of being in business. So if they can take advantage of somebody who doesn't believe in their own personal brand, because they think that they're doing good and they're gonna, get those gold stars eventually, I'm gonna, I'm gonna get that gold watch. Yep. Then you get these career people that spend 30 and 40 years in that same career.

Now, when you're talking about that in legacy terms, you go back into the old days of the big corporates, the automotive industry, the, the railroad industry and things like that. 30 and 40 years, isn't the same as 30 and 40 years in tech. Oh yeah. You're talking somebody that's spent that's been in tech since the nineties till now, and there's still a DB admin, that's choice.

Sure. That's a choice. That's I got stuck in a rut. Didn't know how to get out and I didn't, I was too scared to, to get outside of that. Yeah. You can't be, you can't be scared to say, Hey, I'm gonna go find another job. This industry there's plenty of jobs. Sure. Especially if you specialize.

[00:30:00] Yep. Nobody looks at what your score was. If you're a doctor, you got your PhD, nobody asks you for your final, test results of the year. You got your PhD. Yeah. How you separate yourself is becoming a specialist. Yeah. Find that, find your niche. When I talk to security people all the time, one of my interview questions is what do you do outside?

What do you do when you get away from the screen? You can find people that have special talents that they may not know about or technologies that they haven't even thought about just by finding out what they enjoy. If they're out in their, out in the middle of nowhere and things like that, you ever talk thought about satellite tech.

You're sitting here writing code, breaking stuff all the time. Never thought about satellites. You can be out in the middle of nowhere and screwing with stuff. Exactly. So like just finding those types of things out. Helps you build your personal brand and me being in it, as long as I have, I like to call myself a team lead.

I never I actually had HP create a title for me because I refused manager in the title. But I'm a [00:31:00] team lead because, I believe in making sure that my guys have what they need that, you they have the ability to get further than I did. And that's that growth.

That's that leadership.

Tim Chrisman: And a lot of people have this idea that they need to ha they need to make one big move to improve themselves. I need to get a master's I need to get a PhD. I need to get this, one certification, but, to your point, all these little things matter and can change whether it's, integrating a hobby, you have all of that makes you the Joan soda instead of a Coca-Cola.

Nicholas Donarski: Exactly. And that's why Joan soda is four bucks a bottle instead of 99 cents.

Tim Chrisman: Exactly. I really, I had to do a Google search of what else is on the soda. I,

Nicholas Donarski: but yeah, I mean that, that specialty thing, man, is how you create your worth in an industry of just so many people.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah, no. And looking through your history, it definitely seems like that specialization has. [00:32:00] Increased and you were joking, you still a database admin and that may be that's like me saying I'm still a, CIS admin for my home network.

Yeah, it's true. But it doesn't tell the whole story.

Nicholas Donarski: that's you're well, and that's the thing, right? Is these DB admins that may have had 30 and 40 years yeah. Should share those experiences because like we were just saying those databases are still gonna be online in 50 years

Tim Chrisman: from now. And that's true.

And that is something that's weird. It's that, you talked about railroads and yeah. These legacy things. It's 70 year olds, 60, 70, 80 year olds who are like, Hey, here's the experience I'm passing down in tech. You're saying, I'm 40 and I've gotta start passing this down. Like that's,

Nicholas Donarski: it

Tim Chrisman: really is.

Yeah, it really is. There's no more slide phones with full keyboards. I guess we have flip phones again. So there's that we

Nicholas Donarski: do, everything comes full circle. Yeah. Fingers crossed HTC makes a, come back and they bring the 85, 25 or some swimmer version there.

There we

Tim Chrisman: go.

Nicholas Donarski: Bring [00:33:00] back to keyboards, man.

Tim Chrisman: Bring it back. Yeah. That was my, whenever I saw smartphones. I'm like, but they don't have a keyboard. This can't work. This can't be a thing. It's just a fad. Yeah. That was a mistake.

Nicholas Donarski: I can probably still type faster than I can swipe, so

Tim Chrisman: yeah.

That's fair. I, yeah, I can. Yeah, I definitely can. And I'm an old man for it. So yeah, you, so we got up to HP, you continued doing similar stuff. It looks like from your yeah. Bio up until

Nicholas Donarski: recently. Yeah. After HP, I actually went and started hard adding some hard skills. I went and got department of state certified for doing diplomatic security.

Oh. Did went and got some other hard skills door, kicker skills. Okay. Sets and branched off for a couple of years there after 15 and then came back and really started focusing back into the bleeding edge text right about 2018, 2019. And from there we started getting into blockchain and that's where we really are now is started or [00:34:00] system last year.

We've officially coming up on our one year anniversary, which is an amazing milestone. Yeah. To be alive one year after you start we've got nine employees, which is the first time that, I've been at the helm with my own employees. I've been at the helm with, somebody else's company's employee.

To be at the helm with your own employees, it's a much different responsibility. It's yeah, it's a

Tim Chrisman: heavy.

Nicholas Donarski: Heavy weight. Yeah, man. If they don't eat that's on you. Yeah. And like I said before, being a team lead that, that's that kind of, stuff's important for me.

Yeah. So yeah, so we're doing it's or solutions or systems blockchain solutions. We do all of the underlying technology builds for a lot of these things that we see in web three. So from NFT marketplaces, smart contracts. Yeah. We also launch product lines to, support these kind of development efforts.

We've got an NFT game client that competes against steam. So you can actually, oh, wow. Yeah, you can buy your games as NFTs and we use digital rights NFTs for digital rights [00:35:00] management. Yeah. And you can buy in-game items as NFTs and bring them into your game. And then we have an SDK that supports our game development arm.

So we like to, that's like our Xbox. Area. And then we have an NFT streaming client that we just launched at the beginning of the month for music. Yes. We've got our own NFT version of Spotify going, and we're gonna be competing in that space. And we've actually got O OG Arabian, one of the founding members of NWA that's coming onto the team for our streaming service.

Oh, wow. Yeah. We're building out that and then and then we've actually got the crypto assets of it too. So we've got, or token we've got NFTs and the whole gamut of that, and then we're building stuff for other projects on top of that.

Tim Chrisman: Okay. And so I understand blockchain barely and so NFTs.

And so I'll try to, I'll try to break back. know, You said you did the door kicker stuff. That's basically my level of education and experience So with [00:36:00] Spotify or the games you're using the NFT to essentially. Create a record of who's allowed access to this and then a record of it that can then be used to pay the

Nicholas Donarski: developers exactly.

Or the content creators or creators. Yeah. So like our artists can come on and like the streaming client, we do 80, 20 split with our artists. So we just take enough to basically support the architecture behind it. Yeah. All of our subscriptions that people sign up for 80% of the subscription gets to kick back to the artists.

Yeah. So they can create and monetize their own way with subscriptions, paper view the whole nine yards on that platform. And then they can also create content that are the NFTs that has their music on it, or their art on it. And they'll forever create the royalty structure. Yeah. For every time that item is traded.

You have that music or that item that's attached to it, that, you, as the owner gives you access to it. The creator can decide whether they want to give full rights. They just want to have it as a [00:37:00] license. We provide all those tools for the user to define what that really means. Yeah.

And then instead of, going to disco round or a garage sale and buying that and the artist losing out on any sort of secondhand trade, the NFT, when it trades hands, they've got that built in royalty. So they continue to have that that royalty structure yeah. In their content. Through the NFTs blockchain at the simplest form is just a database man.

Yeah. So when we say, blockchain, it's just a database that runs on lots of computers. It's like saying the cloud back in the day it's

Tim Chrisman: inside the computer. You got it.

Nicholas Donarski: Exactly. Inside the computer. Yeah, it . Yeah so it's just a database and an NFT is just a picture saved in that database.

At the very simplest God,

Tim Chrisman: you could have saved me so much research by just going with it. If I had learned that 18 months ago that would've been so

Nicholas Donarski: much easier that's, that's really all it is people true. A lot of people put buzzwords on everything. Okay. I was in the industry before cyber was ever [00:38:00] used.

the word? Cyber, what

Tim Chrisman: did we used to what it was the net it's called information. Oh, yeah, information security, but it's like cyberspace at some point, but I was trying to think what was a buzzword for it before cyberspace,

Nicholas Donarski: Worldwide web, the net, all these things were long. Everybody knew something shorter and buzzier. Yeah. But yeah. Back in the day it was information security. It wasn't cyber security. Cyber sounds so much cooler. It does.

Tim Chrisman: It does. And the information security people were like, we don't actually care about most of your information unless it's online.

So really .

Nicholas Donarski: But yeah. It's the same thing with blockchain. Blockchain's just the database that runs on, a specific set of computers and then NFTs are just it's an item, yeah. Or if you wanna use a bookshelf analogy, which is the other one that I use, the blockchain is just a bookshelf, each item on it, whether it's a smart contract and a token, go coin or whatever, or an NFT, it's just a book on the shelf.

Tim Chrisman: All right. That's pretty handy. And as you said, [00:39:00] it's, a buzzy thing, blockchains NFTs you said what or E O E or yeah.

Nicholas Donarski: Or pronounced or so, or is the lowest layer of creating everything that's the whole or, oh, okay.

Tim Chrisman: Fair. So yeah. What you mind outta the ground?

Nicholas Donarski: Exactly. Exactly.

Tim Chrisman: Okay. All right. So you know, what was the idea like why, what was that first.

Nicholas Donarski: Yeah. I just wanted to make a video game, man. That's how this whole thing started. That's

Tim Chrisman: possibly the best reason I've ever heard to start a company.

Nicholas Donarski: yeah, honestly, that was how this whole thing started.

So two years ago I wanted to make a, an MMO R P G. Okay. That had NFTs and a crypto token in it. Yeah. Very, so my whole thing is wow. Is wow. Gold is the very first cryptocurrency that we never called the cryptocurrency it's.

Tim Chrisman: So that's world Warcraft for people who don't play. Yeah. Yeah. One of the people who played this, if you don't know what it is

Nicholas Donarski: but there's a black market for the trading of the currency.

Incredible. There's there was a Harvard economy course taught on the economy of, wow. I didn't know that there's hotels, restaurants and everything around [00:40:00] the Asia region that you can go in and pay for real world items with your world Warcraft gold. Wow. It's used for money laundering for the Russian and the Asian organized crime units.

Huh? You find any other definition by any other thing, that's a cryptocurrency. Yeah. Okay. So my whole thing was gamers are inherently already using NFTs, which are in game items. Yep. And cryptocurrencies, which is in game, whatever points, call duty points, exactly. Blow to Wildcraft gold it's digital currency, except they don't let you get out of it.

You can't get your money back. You're stuck in it. So I wanted the ability for the community and having the ability to trade these through different games and through the ecosystem and all the rest and cryptocurrency and blockchain was the simplest way to do that. Oh, my

Tim Chrisman: God. That would be incredible. If I could trade things from Assassin's creed into something useful.

Nicholas Donarski: Exactly. That's the thing. And then, you [00:41:00] had CS go Counterstrike, go. Yeah. That was totally against all of those black market sales for the Mo gear and everything. Yeah. It was rude. So now we support all of that stuff. Okay. So we're like bring your cool shit. Build your cool shit.

Put it on the marketplace, build the games, have it tradeable. So we, we actually released ocirus protocol, which is just like call of duty. Yeah. Multi-player first person shooter, which ha we did it as a proof of concept. I was like, okay. If I'm saying that I'm doing this and I'm an engineer, I'm gonna call bullshit on somebody else.

So I need to prove. It can actually work. Yeah. So we built a first person shooter that's called duty graphics, built with unity in the whole nine yards. Okay. And we released that last year as our proof of concept, but yeah, really the goal of it was to build a, this MMO R P G with the, with NFTs in it.

And I looked at engine, which is the big name out there. I looked at some of the other smaller projects, but a engine sucked for the user experience. Okay. And I'll say that clear as day engines, user [00:42:00] experience blows. Yeah. Okay. You have to buy, most users right. Are gonna buy Ethereum first.

Yeah. They then have to pay gas and the conversion cost to convert Ethereum to engine, and then they have to convert engine to J engine to if they want to get on gas free that's three transactions. A user has to do just to use the game features. Wow. That is a user experience. Sucks. Yeah. So I couldn't build this massive multiplayer art online game where I wanted lots of transactions and everything to happen.

On something that required that much user interaction. Yeah. You lose users because of that. So I started to look at what the other options were and I started, and I realized that there really wasn't anything off the shelf. All these other potential projects said that they were gonna do this in the future.

And , they either didn't exist anymore. And, after three months of them saying that this is what they wanna do, cuz they got their pump and dump and they rug pulled and got themselves out. Yep. Or or the tech was, they didn't have enough support for [00:43:00] the engineering staff to get the tech.

Yeah. Any sort of timeline, they're judging out three years, four years, things like that. I was like, screw this. I'm gonna do it. Yeah. So I started building all of the tools to do it all myself and the game and all the rest. And then I was like, just like this light bulb moment was like, if I'm spending all these hours.

And not only that, I had to become an, a blockchain engineer on top of that on top of my day job. Yeah. Just to build a game, just to build a game. So after eight months of becoming a blockchain engineer where I'm starting to write like the SDK stuff. Yeah. The code to actually integrate, I still don't have a line of my game written.

Oh God. Okay. I know the majority people out there, especially in career paths that don't have 20 years of career, that's paying their daily bills. Yeah. You can't take eight months out of their life to become a blockchain engineer to make a game right. For the next however many years.

Oh, for sure. So I was like if I'm writing all this code, somebody else out there needs to use, wants to use this. Yep. Yep. And that's [00:44:00] really how this whole thing started. And then I started putting together the SDK and then with the SDK, I put the NFT marketplace together. And then I was like, okay, this actually works.

what are the odds? Like this actually works, this is weird. For some reason, this all works. Yeah. And then I brought Lucas in and Lucas double checked my work, and called bullshit where, whether it was or not. And he is like, Hey, this actually kinda works.

And then we brought Sean or we brought Jonah in and Jonas. Lucas's kind of Jonah and Lucas knew each other really well through the military, but he was like his technical, bullshit oter yeah. Of the tech side of it. And Jonah looked at it and he. Wait, this actually works , and that was really how that whole thing started.

And then we formalized it last year and we've been doing it since, and we've been dedicated to the engineering and building the tech. Yeah. And we've achieved what, basically, every other project that I saw out there at that time was trying to do in six years in a year, and then overcame a lot of that.

And now we have product packages and areas that are [00:45:00] completely, different than just the gaming aspect. And yeah we made enterprise, so I couldn't do it in 22 years in security in one year in blockchain, I made the cover of enterprise security magazine. so

Tim Chrisman: you got, you found your way in exactly, man.

It's incredible. One, a Cyrus protocol that's PC only.

Nicholas Donarski: I mean to Xbox though. Yep. So we are launching, we are a part of the ID at Xbox project program. So we actually decided not to do the self-publishing route, which would just get it out there. Yeah. Because you can't do it on the new Xbox councils.

You can only do it on like the original Xbox. What was it? So what Xbox and it was after the 360, it had an oh, the one or yeah, the one Xbox one. Yeah. One is what you could do. But if you wanted, actually on the next gen consoles, you have to be part of the ID at Xbox program.

So we got our partnership ID we've we're in the process of getting this submitted. So fingers crossed, man, that ocirus, protocol's gonna pop up on the [00:46:00] Xbox store here pretty soon. There we go.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And if it's part of game pass, I'm playing it on that's

Nicholas Donarski: opening day. That's the thing man.

So we've done a bunch of upgrades, even over the course of it being our proof of concept. Yeah. Yeah. We've added stuff to it over the course. Cause I can't let it go. At the end of the day, I just wanna make video games, man. I could it's funny because that's. That's the back of my phone.

One of my buddies Jimmy, who does a lot of our artwork. He made that and there's some t-shirts available, but it says, I just wanna fucking make video games. That's really, there you go. So we still put out updates. We've got some new features in there for the calling cards and for all of your call of duty kind of personalization stuff.

Yeah. I'm actually a playable character. If anybody gets in there and reaches reaches level 100 you can actually play as my character and things like that. So that's awesome. And so multiplayer only. Multiplayer only we've got we may end up releasing bots, so we killed bots off out of the beta.

Yeah. Uh, We may bring 'em back just because of user pool just so that people can actually get in there and [00:47:00] shoot at more people. Yeah. But but yeah, so right now it's just person to person PVP team PVP and things like that. There's six different maps in there. There's 78 NFT guns that you can get in and be part of there.

Yeah. There's all kinds of cool stuff, man. Wow. My

Tim Chrisman: wife and I just finished watching mythic quest on apple. Nice plus so I feel very qualified to offer. If you need somebody to write the story for a single player I'm willing to volunteer. I can be an old curmudgeon that talks yes. About. Skew things for the story.

Nicholas Donarski: So if you check out ocirus protocol.com, you can check out there's some Laura up there. So Jonah is our lower guy. You guys, you and him will have to get together and do it as hopefully who knows. We may, with us launching the streaming platform, it may be coming into the streaming platform as a series.

I go in the future. Cause we, we talked about, trying to do the whole Netflix thing, but now we've got our, now we've got our own platform who needs, exactly.

Tim Chrisman: Who needs Netflix, you made, yeah. You made your own Netflix.

Nicholas Donarski: Exactly. We've got [00:48:00] the iOS app and the Android app for or spark coming out this month, wow. Yep. You

Tim Chrisman: guys

Nicholas Donarski: not playing around. Nope. We're out there building stuff and we're, we just want people to come and actually play with their toys, yeah.

Tim Chrisman: Now, and that's, the best businesses start like that. Where it's like, Hey, I just wanted to do something and, oh, by the way, you could also use my toys if you wanna do the same thing.

Yep. No, that's incredible. I know we're coming up on time here, so yeah. I wanna be mindful of that, but is there anything we missed talking about? I feel like we,

Nicholas Donarski: we covered man. We We covered all kinds of stuff. I feel like we know each other intimately at this point,

Tim Chrisman: man.

That's right. You'll be getting my, a Christmas card this year. Yeah, fantastic.

Nicholas Donarski: no, my thing is I say this all the time, first off don't be, and don't be scared to fail. Just learn from what you failed and where you failed, right? Yeah. Don't be scared to take the next step, because that's the next part is, yeah. Failing is one thing taking that next step and getting back on the horse is a whole different thing. Exactly. Don't be scared to say. I don't know. Okay. Because people respect you for saying, I don't know, but I'll get back [00:49:00] to you with the right answer.

Yep. And people are too scared to say. I don't know, because everybody wants to be, everybody wants to be a rockstar. Yep. And don't St and don't stick it out in a shitty job because you spend too many hours there.

Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, it's solid advice. And it seems to have worked well for you.

Nicholas Donarski: And I'm not, I'm definitely not a model.

I am some model, but I am not the model of what

Tim Chrisman: no. I But you developed your model from your experience, so you don't do everything you did learn from what you did. No, that's the ideal for everybody is like, Hey look, kid. Don't do what I did learn from

Nicholas Donarski: what I did. that's exactly it. That's exactly it, man.

Yeah. Learn. Learn from the old guys. The old guys still have things to teach you. Exactly.

Tim Chrisman: And the best part of being in tech is the old guys. Aren't actually very old. They

Nicholas Donarski: aren't man. We're still cool. That's right. Still we're coming

Tim Chrisman: back. cool. Thank you so much for your

Nicholas Donarski: time today, Nick. I appreciate the opportunity, man.

It's been a pleasure. Yeah. Take care. Thanks dude. Bye.

[00:50:00]






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