How Lisnr CEO Rodney Williams Plans To Use Crypto In His Firms: Black Tech Week 2018

Written by Dana Sanchez

Rodney Williams has a strong opinion on cryptocurrency, as in “don’t put your money in nothing you don’t understand.”

As Williams paces across the stage at Black Tech Week Miami, sound waves pulsate across a screen behind him in a graphic interpretation of his proprietary protocol.

Williams is CEO and founder of Lisnr, a leading resource for data over audio. Lisnr’s low-power data transmission technology enables fast, reliable, and secure communication between devices via any speaker or microphone. The protocol is on track to power more than 100 million devices in 2018, Williams says.

He sells the technology to the biggest audio equipment companies in the world — companies like Bose Corp. — and asks them to apply it across everything they do so their customers won’t have to. Using sound.

“That’s a hard sell,” Williams says.

For the past six years, 80 percent of Lisnr’s demand has landed on its website, including Ticketmaster.

Williams co-founded Cincinnati-based SoLo Funds in 2015. The mobile money exchange and lending platform connects lenders with borrowers around the world.

During a question-and-answer session, Williams told the audience at Black Tech Week 2018 how he plans to incorporate crypto in Lisnr and SoLo:

Rodney Williams, founder and CEO of Lisnr, at Black Tech Week Miami 2018. Photo: Anita Sanikop/Moguldom

Rodney Williams, Lisnr founder and CEO, on using crypto:

“SoLo has a real grand vision,” Williams says. “It’s the vision of the mom in Nigeria who needs $20 for seeds for her farm and Ricky in Los Angeles being able to loan her and for her to pay him back. Now I’m learning cross-borders. I’m learning cross- languages. I’m learning cross-regulation. For us to actually go after that vision, that company (SoLo) may incorporate some blockchain technology as an interface but the consumer will never know. That’s using the technology to build a great company behind it. That’s what I want to do.

With Lisnr, we’re getting into more of a security aspect (with crypto) where customers are using us for payments. We actually have crypto companies, mobile wallet companies, using sound to transmit currency from one mobile wallet to the next. It’s completely off-line, it’s locally encoded and … it’s untraceable.

Rodney Williams, founder and CEO of Lisnr, at Black Tech Week Miami 2018. Photo: Anita Sanikop/Moguldom

We may start to incorporate some aspects (of crypto) as a security measure. We may insert a token – a blockchain token – in the header of our data streamer as a way for a decentralized password. I’m looking at the technology and we’re trying to use it to do some things better.”