Interview with Amir Carlisle from The Players Company

Horacio sat down with Amir Carlisle, Co-founder and CEO of The Players Company. The Players Company is a modern financial collective for athletes, by athletes. The Players Company mission is to help athletes build wealth and cement their legacies through access, education, and community. Amir talks about the vision of The Players Company, his football career, the perils of athletes and money, and a desire to help bridge the racial wealth gap.

Discussion topics include:

  • The concept of generational wealth
  • Creating a digital banking system to put value back in a community
  • Structuring The Players Company as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
  • Playing big-time college football and the sacrifices that come with it
  • The Learn-to-Earn Protocol to fund money back into the DAO treasury
  • Using the social capital of athletes to give back to a broader community
  • The NFT release and its role as as a governance token
  • Hosting meet-ups with NFT holders and business executives and athletes to create networks
  • Creating a $TPC crypto token that is backed by a traditional banking assets
  • Joining The Players Company Discord channel to contribute or to learn more about TPC

You can listen to the podcast through Spotify or YouTube.


[Horacio Ruiz]


Welcome back to the Alts podcast. I’m your host Horacio Ruiz. We bring you industry leaders and creators to give their insights on the rapidly changing and exciting world of alternative assets. Opinion expressed on this podcast by the host and podcast guests are for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Podcast hosts and guests may maintain positions in the offerings discussed in this podcast.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Today’s guest is Amir Carlisle, co-founder of the Players Company. Amir and co-founder Sheldon Day played together in college as teammates at the University of Notre Dame. Now they’ve teamed up to build the Players Company Dow to mobilise the athletic community behind financial literacy and education, while also addressing the racial wealth gap. Amir talks about his playing career and the influence it had on creating the Players Company. We’ll talk about its structure, the mission and the proof of learning concept they will implement to help communities build generational wealth. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Amir. So, we’re very honoured today to have Amir Carlisle. He’s the co-founder of the Players Company. Kind of a start-up at the moment, but an exciting one. And we wanted to get Amir on. Amir welcome on the podcast.

[Amir Carlisle]


Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Absolutely. So, we were really intrigued about the Players Company. You’re a co-founder along with your former teammate. You guys played college ball at Notre Dame. Sheldon Day. And I just kind of want to let you talk about it. What is the Players Company, right? And kind of, how are you guys building it up and what are you hoping it to become?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. On a high level our goal, from our background, coming from shadows from the far east side, I was born in Chicago, moved out to South Jersey and really one of the things that brought us together was just the fact that wealth was something that was not a reality in our families. You hear this term generational wealth thrown around all the time. And it was just something that we didn’t see. My family, nobody has ever passed away and been able to pass down any type of asset. Only thing people were able to pass down in my family was debt. And it was a similar situation for Sheldon’s family. And so, we really came together, united under that same passion of really helping our families build wealth and helping ourselves build wealth and really changing that trajectory.


And so really, essentially, we came together, united under this common passion. And what we saw was kind of this trickledown effect. Most of us are coming from low-income environments. We escalate as athletes to the college ranks then to professionals. But during this journey, we never were taught about money. We were never educated or guided on actually how to build wealth. And you see the same problems that we’ve seen in our community. In the professional sports where guys mismanage finances. They don’t have a proper support system around them. And ultimately, after retirement, they fall on tough financial times. And so, from our standpoint, we said, look, we’ve got to provide a better system. The system really essentially sets an athlete up to fail. Sets a kid in an urban environment up to fail. And so really how could you build a system that is more representative of the people. And really, this inclusive financial system where we can actually begin to create opportunities. So essentially what the Players Company is, It’s a community of people. It’s both athletes, it’s businessmen, its businesswomen, it’s community leaders that have really come together to create a better banking system. Really with the mission of creating a more inclusive system that’s really built on diversity, that’s built on inclusion, that’s really built on empowerment. So essentially what we’re trying to build out, it’s really the foundation not as a community. But it’s how do you build a better banking system, that is really there to pour back value into the consumer and the community rather than just taking everything. So that’s what it is. We’re launching about – well shooting about a month and a half, two months, but we’ll roll out this digital banking product and we’ll kind of dive into the details of how it actually operates, but it’s a community-based platform that’s really focused on this two-way street of value.

[Horacio Ruiz]


That’s fascinating, man. And something really cools to hear. I know that a lot of times when you talk about where you come from a background where maybe you’re not wealthy, right. Or a background where you’re struggling at some point, you say enough is enough. I want to change this. And I want to make it better for the kids following my footsteps. So just kind of a big picture, right. With the players company, you’re creating it. And you want to create it as a Dow, is that correct?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yes, that is correct.

[Horacio Ruiz]


And so, with that being said, you have this governing structure – I know you guys are going to release an NFT in a couple weeks, I believe. I don’t know if it’s scheduled for the February 28th. How are you looking to have that governance, right? Are you looking to have just complete input from whoever’s member of your Dow, whoever holds that NFT will then have the power to kind of vote on different measures? Participate in different programs. What do you have in the works?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So how things are going to be structured. So, you’ll have the actual Dow entity, there’s three kind of sub entities underneath the Dow, in regard to a token selling company development trust fund ECT. Then you have the actual C-Corp into the C-Corp itself is going to house all of the regulated business currently right now it’ll be digital banking. Eventually broker dealer, anything regulated, anything around investments ETC. And then underneath the Dow, there’s a 5-0-1, C3 non-profit. And so right now there are two members on the board of the C-Corp digital banking. The digital banking entity, the Dow itself will have one board seat. And so initially the goal is like, you got to lay the path. Before, it’s kind of just a free for all everybody voting. The goal is for us to really lay that path. And what it looks like. And so, with every decision that we make, how it works, kind of everything’s built around what we call this learn to earn protocol or our proof of learn protocol. And so basically individuals earn tokens for participating in any type of value within the community. And so, value really think of it as for now educational shops, webinars. So, for attend of these workshops’ webinars, ETC, they earn tokens. As they earn tokens, they then hit these various thresholds. At these thresholds they then earn NFT badges. And so, these badges then unlock varying levels of access on the platform. There’s also monetary upgrades to these badges, higher interest rates, discounts on interest rates on loans eventually, ETC. And so, as you kind of escalate up the ranks, you obviously get a larger voice. And so right now kind of there’ll be seven work streams underneath the Dow that have various utility event planning, education, charitable initiatives, ETC.
So there’ll be kind of these various seven work streams. And so how it will work is basically revenue generated from banking. So right now, think card swipes right now on debit cards, but eventually credit cards. And eventually we’ll get into lending products. That money will be contributed to this community treasury. And so right now, as we begin, it’s going to start at about 15% of revenue as contributed to that treasury. And then as we then push towards what we will call true decentralisation, we get to a point where a hundred percent of all revenue generated from banking is then contributed to this treasury of which the people then dictate fully, at this point, of how it’s allocated. Are we allocating it to event planning? Are we allocating it to new educational initiatives? Are we allocating it to charitable initiatives? Are we allocating to product development ETC?


So basically you create again at this two-way street of value where the value that we’re extracting from you in terms of revenue generated from card swipes, net interest margin, ETC, is then contributed to a treasury and then it flows right back to the community. And so, you create this business where one, it’s always representative of the people, because once we kind of reach that point of true decentralisation, the people then dictate how the capital is allocated a hundred percent. And then really you create these two entities that as we generate more revenue, we equally generate more impact. And so that’s really the goal. It’s like, how do you create kind of this virtuous cycle of value where value created is value return, and then we’re going to get there. The goal is we’re not going to just get there to true decentralisation from day one. That line between core team and community, the goal is it begins to blend over time. And as it begins to blend, basically we begin to hand over all power to the community, but it really comes down to, we have to lay that path. We have to lay the path to wealth and how we’re building this system first. And then from there, the people take over.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Yeah, that’s an amazing trajectory you guys are talking about. And in listening to, I can kind of envision it. I see kind of, we’re going to have like this financial product, right. That’s going to be kind of leading the way in terms of generating revenue. And then you’re looking to have that – and I think you referenced that before to like a digital banking product. And then off of that, then you’ll be able to kind of fund these other initiatives that you guys are hoping to do to kind of educate people or to donate money to 5-0-1 C3’s. Am I getting that kind of, right? Like, because it seems to me like the crux of it is that digital banking that you’re talking about that that’s really going to spearhead the company in a lot of ways.

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So that’s the business behind everything. If we’re thinking of it kind of it’s this almost economy, think of it more so as like an economy here and with that economy, you obviously have to have kind of your primary revenue generator. And so, banking is that how we generate revenue. And from there traditionally kind of in say, a web two world where you have Bank of America. Bank of America generated 30 billion dollars of net income. And so, where does that go? Where does that $30 billion dollars go? We don’t really know. Traditionally how banking works is very – this one-way street of value where it’s them basically extracting value from us. And there’s very little value actually poured back to the actual consumer. What we’re trying to build is say, Bank of America, but now that 30 billion dollars of net income then is dictated, how it is allocated by the people?


And so, you’ll have an internal accounting team that says, okay, this is what we have to. We have to account for this year from expenses, taxes, ETC. So, it’ll be run like a company, but you have these different working guilds where you have two representatives from each working guild. And these working guilds are working collaboratively for this common purpose of how do we really optimise for value for the consumer, rather than how do we optimise for value for, or optimise for profit for this business. And so, kind of those working guilds underneath the bank, think of that as kind of the structure where people are actually dictating how that 30 billion is actually allocated for our best interest rather than the bank’s best interests.

[Horacio Ruiz]


That’s awesome, man. And I’m looking forward to kind of diving deeper into that. I kind of want to take a step back. I think you’ve done a phenomenal job of introducing the Players Company and kind of your vision for it. And you referenced this before, growing up and having like this idea of generational wealth in it, you’re not seeing that, you’re not experiencing that. What was your journey as an athlete say like in high school where you grew up and then being a part of a giant football program? And kind of growing up in that, having formative years as an 18, 19, 20-year-old guy, what did you see around you? And looking back on it, what are some things that you’re trying to like do better or correct?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. My journey through life has been able to see my parents go from – we had nothing when I was younger to seeing them accomplish things and achieve their goals and really provide a better future for myself and my brothers and really seeing. My dad, leading that way and leading that push and really setting that example for me. And so, I was able to get a great view into kind of what it takes to be a high-level athlete. My dad had the luxury of being able to train professional athletes when I was a kid. And so, for me, I always just sat there and watched, like seeing some of the guys that you see on Sunday’s workout and seeing the dedication that they really have to the game for their personal growth and really that commitment that they made to themselves to be great.


And really for me, it was eye opening. Because you saw kind of a behind the scenes of what it actually takes to achieve those goals, what it takes to become a division one football player or to play in the NFL or become a star player. We don’t get to see kind of that behind the scenes of what it actually goes into. The hours of blood, sweat, and tears and discomfort and fighting through injuries and everything. And so, it was cool to really be able to see that as a kid. And so, I love the game, I actually got into the game at a young age, but I also love the grind. That was something that I learned to love early where it’s great, it’s so fun. Everything that you put into the game, manifests itself on game day. And that’s where everything that you work for obviously comes through fruition, but it’s the hours in the summer when you’re running, liners and you’re lifting weights that you don’t see. And so, I learned to love that process. And so, as a kid – so I came up, I was always really one of the top kids playing. Ended up going to high school. It was funny. I went to this big football school coming out of high school. And that was the first freshman to play varsity in school history. Got brought up in the playoffs. And then my mum was like, Hey I can’t – school was like 55 minutes from the house. She was like, I’m not going to drive you there anymore. And so, then I had to transfer to this really little school, about 500 kids called King’s academy. And basically, I think King’s academy had put out one division, one player in school history, like the year before I got there, the league that we played in, we played against California school to the death. And so, we were pretty bad. Like it wasn’t good football. It wasn’t known for putting anybody out. And I remember the athletic director for the school that I was at, as a freshman, said if you transfer, you’re going to commit athletic suicide. And so, for me, always was somebody that always really operate and still to this day, operated with a chip on my shoulder and always wanted to – I’m going to prove you wrong. I’m going to use any to have a negativity as fuel to the fire.


And so, from there I just worked hard, worked, had the opportunity to really work with my dad and he trained me, and I made that commitment to my – the same commitment that I saw the guys that made to themselves. When I was a kid, I made that commitment to myself. I said, I want to be something I want to play division one football. And so, from there I got my first offer at Stanford. My sophomore year of high school ended up at the time I had set the record for most Rushing yards in county history. Went to USC from there. It was, again, you start from zero again. It’s like, man, you build yourself for up, you become a top recruit all American. Now you’re back to ground zero. And then from there, again, it was always kind of this up and down adversity and that’s something that I think is, without even diving too deep into it, but it’s really – adversity is what makes people successful.


It’s learning how to deal with adversity, and how to respond to it. And so got the USC, I was one of the first freshmen going into week one to start as a running back, got hurt two days before the game. Came back, played my true freshman year. Next year I was going to be like the quote unquote guy and be the starter. Then my family moved, I transferred to Notre Dame. I was feeling great. I was like, on my high horse, I was coming off. I was about to be the star running back at USC. And I was like, I’m about to be the star running back at Notre Dame, came in, broke my ankle, the first two weeks at one of the workouts. Another piece of adversity, another obstacle that I had to overcome and to make matters even worse, I had got permanent nerve damage.


And so, I wasn’t able to feel from my knee down, through my toes at all. And like, even to this day, I can’t feel the bottom of my foot. And so again, I was out a year and a half, came back. I wasn’t the same. I ended up playing that second year. Started the first three games, did really well, fumbled, another obstacle I that I had to overcome. After I fumbled, I got benched for that year. And it was rough, like ups and downs. I lost all confidence. I was dropping passes. I really felt like I just had lost all confidence in kind of that sense of self, of that sense of self belief. From there they moved me to wide receiver the next year. Another obstacle I had dropped like five out of the eight targets I had that year.


Just due to a loss of confidence. And from there it was like, okay, like how do I respond again? They move me to receiver. Really? The goal was really okay. He dropped five out of eight passes. We’ll move him in receiver. He’ll continue to drop passes and we won’t have to play him anymore. From there. I was like, okay, how do you respond? Chip on your shoulder. how do you prove him wrong? Ended up starting my last two years, signed an NFL contract as undrafted free agent with the Cardinals. It really experienced my dream of putting an NFL Jersey on, but from there it was like now, okay, now I finished for shoot. I stopped playing in 2019 and it was back down to the bottom of the totem pole again. And so now it’s about that same chip on the shoulder, trying to prove people wrong.


Now, in this sense, it’s about how do I bring kind of all that experience of really dealing with adversity as an athlete to this next business venture and really fuelling the passion of really helping people and providing this better system to impact and build wealth. And then also really just carrying over how to deal with problems. Cause that’s something that as an athlete we discount, but it’s a lot of ups and downs. It’s so many different ups and downs that you have to deal with that translate directly to what you have to deal with in real life. And so, for me, it was about understanding how to now really channel what I learned throughout my entire journey to now pour that into this next venture and pour that into becoming a businessman, creating an identity outside of the sport.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Absolutely. And in talking to you, I know that from the outside looking in, a lot of people, not that it’s not, it’s impressive. Two of the biggest college football programs in the country, right. You played for USC, you played for Notre Dame. And a lot of people would say it’s a privilege to do that. But then when you mention when you’re in the grind of it, when you are putting in the hours, people don’t really understand how much of a toll it takes on your body, how much time it takes up and the sacrifices that you make.

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah, yeah, definitely that I say that that’s a hundred percent true

[Horacio Ruiz]


And because we’re talking about the Players Company and you’re definitely athlete centric here. And so, people might be looking like why do athletes need help with managing their money or with trying to launch businesses. Don’t they have enough money, or don’t they have all these built-in privileges that they’ve had since they were playing for these programs. And that’s not the case. A lot of times you guys are actually at a disadvantage because you dedicate so much of your time to a sport, and you don’t get that opportunity to sometimes explore other venues that can help you grow professionally.

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. I think that’s something. I think now I’m hoping for at least with the new NIL laws that it’ll give these college kids these days the opportunity to really begin to explore life outside of the sport. But when we were playing, it really wasn’t the case. We were able to do a little bit, I got a kind of this little two internship type program where I was able to – it was more so like something to just put on your resume versus actually getting any real-world experience. But when it came down to trying to even get a job, I remember I applied to Buffalo wild wings just to try to get some real-world work experience. And the football department said I couldn’t work the job. And so yeah, you put anything into being the best that you can be at this sport. Literally like balancing school, balancing, basically it’s a full-time job. We have to be in the building a certain amount of hours. But beyond it’s the body maintenance it’s the film work, it’s the preparation, it’s the extra physical work of making sure that you’re in tip top shape and catching more passes and running more routes and just making sure you’re prepared and then kind of thinking of it from a more zoomed out lens, we commit ourselves to the game at that high level for since we are 10, 11, 12 years old. And so, shoot like, I played from age 10 to age 26, that was 16 years of my life where my one focus was how could I be the best football player I can be? And like again, kind of taking it back to the system, the system around me really didn’t even allow me to look outside of that focus and really begin to even diversify my interests.


And so only thing you’re focused on is football, football, football. And so, as you escalate the ranks, one of the things that we’re not taught in our educational system is money. We’re not taught at a young age, we’re not taught in high school, college. And so really you leave these individuals who many of which are coming from low-income environments to really fend for themselves. You got to figure out, you got a lot of money now, but you got to figure out what to do with it. And it’s foreign. It’s like, I don’t know what a W2 or W9 – I don’t really even know what a stock or a bond or anything is. And so now, you really leave the athlete extremely vulnerable to the people around them.


And so sometimes an athlete gets a great team around them, and that team is really there to develop, and they do what’s in the best interest of that athlete. And they’re able to learn along the way and they’re able to translate their dollars into wealth. Other times you got people who are taken advantage of and ultimately fall on hard times. And then you have a lot of people that are in the middle that just get very mediocre advice and guidance. And really, again, they’re just – the advisor has the incentive and not to their own fault, advisors have families to feed. And so, at the end of the day, when it comes out to it, they need to make their 1% fee. And so, you might have an advisor that doesn’t want to tell a player, hey, you’re spending too much money right now because typical athletes sometimes they’re like, well, don’t tell me what to do with my money and fire you.


And so now it’s like, okay, the athlete’s got to figure it out. And it’s really a lot of times by trial and error. And again, the NFL does stand for not for long. And you don’t know that last down that you play. When I play my last down, I had no clue. And so now shoot your career ends and you don’t figure it out yet, income shuts off, you have no passive income, you have more debt. You really don’t own anything. And it’s like, well, dang, it’s too little too late now. And so that’s what really happens. on its simplest level it comes down to the team around the actual athlete. And again, it comes down to the system, the structure around how do we actually help an athlete establish a criteria on how to find a good advisor or how to invest or how to do these good financial practices.


But beyond that it’s really about actually how then do you educate and guide and support because what was traditionally happening was bad spending habits in their career, income shuts off, extreme draw down on savings. And now you have a tough time figuring out what to do next. And that’s a piece that I think isn’t talked about enough, but I’m glad athletes are starting to have that conversation around mental health. But that identity issue is huge. I mean, you got to think about like, even like the adrenaline rush you get from going out in a stadium and 85,000 people are screaming for you and these people who want to shake your hand and get autographs. And then your careers over one day randomly might be an injury. It might be someone didn’t want to pick you up.


And now the same people that were shaking your hand and screaming for you, don’t answer your call. And it’s like, dang, well I don’t feel important anymore. And so, like that identity mental health aspect is so crucial to that transition as well. And I think it takes it back to how can we provide a better system to help an athlete, even just figure out what they’re interested in outside of the sport and not have these blinders on and destigmatise that for you to be a good player. All you have to do is just focus, focus, focus entirely on the sport. Like you do have to focus on the sport, but it’s okay to learn about stocks. It’s okay to learn about crypto. It’s okay to diversify your eggs. But I think now kind of the trend is, guys are starting to step outside the game a little bit more and learn. But yeah, that’s kind of, from our research and friends and what we’ve seen, definitely the system, how it works now sets a young 21, 22-year-old person up at a disadvantage.


I mean, shoot, if you give anybody that much money at that young of age. I don’t care if they’re an athlete where they’re from, it’s hard. And just telling them to fend for themselves, how it kind of currently works is, you understand why a majority of guys do end up in a tough financial predicament post career.

[Horacio Ruiz]


What you just outline there, right. Is like an all-too-common story. A lot of times, young guys come upon money, and it can work out a bunch of different ways, but you’re basically – one injury, one major injury away from losing it all. Right. And now – and then you mentioned also the NIL, so you got even younger guys, you got 18, 19-year-old guys now that are out the open legitimately making more than a million dollars from these deals. And it’s like, how do you handle that? Right? How are you able to keep that money? Make sure you don’t lose it. Because I know me as an 18-year-old kid with a million dollars, I mean the world is limitless, right. The possibilities are endless. So, you really have to be careful with it because your athletic career, which is how you’re making your money can disappear from one day to the next. You have a bunch of former athletes as investors, you have Richard Sherman. I know you also have Will Fuller and Zach Miller, a bunch of different athletes. So, my question with the Players Company, are you guys looking to make it sort of like this Dow to help younger athletes and to help athletes manage their money and educate themselves and create these networks or is it open to anybody, who can really participate? Who would benefit the most from it? 

[Amir Carlisle]

Yeah. So great question. And so, what we’re actively working to do is now, so we’re actually about to do a partnership with this other group of individuals. This other Dow and what that partnership is going to do is we’re actually going to create the actual infrastructure, this digital bank, the proof of learn protocol. And so, it’s going to be a collaborative effort. And so, in terms of the actual system, this community based financial system that we’re looking to build that will be open for everybody. And so really the goal there is like really, we operate off of the quote to who much is given much is require our – we as professional athletes. I don’t care if we play one year. I feel like someone who like Sherm was a 10 plus year vet. We’ve escalated past where most thought we could, and we’ve achieved a level of wealth that many people are our families have never seen.


And so, from our standpoint of what we’ve talked about is as this group of athletes that we’ve turned the dollars that we’ve earned into wealth and assets. How can we further that vision, further that mission of creating a more equitable world? And how can we really blaze this path to wealth for the broader community? Especially understanding the plight of those, where we come, and really kind of just without diving too deep into it. Really looking at the racial wealth gap, there’s an underlying opportunity gap. And so really how can we leverage our likeness, our social capital, to give access to people that traditionally don’t have access. And so that’s kind of what we’re working through from a just straight infrastructural system standpoint. The group we’re partnering with can’t get too deep into it now, but it’s a group of bankers, community leaders and developers.


And so, we’re coming together now from a strictly players company standpoint, what we’re doing, there will be a sub-community within the broader financial system where it’s – think of it as more as a support group for athletes where you can actually go and ask these questions of how do I hire a financial advisor? What type of criteria should I be looking for? So, it’s more – think of it as a structured, curated community where you might have a guy like Zach Miller, who Zach understands from both sides of the seat now. He’s a certified financial planner who has athlete clients, and he was a former pro football super bowl champion. And so, he is going to provide more genuine advice to a young athlete than a financial advisor who might just be in it for the money.


And so, it’s really about from a player’s company standpoint, it’s creating this form where we can begin to impart the knowledge, information and experience from the last generation of athletes, the vets, the guys who have been there to the next generation, who are trying to figure it out, who are trying to learn how to invest. And so really the ethos of the Players Company from a community standpoint is mentorship, both informal and formal. But it’s about how can we really begin to educate from this community centric standpoint and how can we really begin to educate from experience? But from an overarching system of what we’re actually building out in the actual app and who can actually engage with the app, ECT. That will be open to everybody. That’s about how can we build wealth together and how can we do it in a more inclusive and empowering way.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Yeah. And forgive me. Yeah. And I should note that you guys are still incredibly early in the project, right. I mean, I know you guys have been working on it behind the scenes, but you guys just launched or made it public within the last couple months, is that correct? 

[Amir Carlisle]


So, we launched the name kind of like the mission of what we were trying to do last summer. And we’ve been kind of head down behind the scenes working. Again, I love the whole Dow space because it’s so collaborative. Its so community based. And so, we’ve been working with a couple different Dows on actually building out the product. And so, we’ll probably be – we’ll have kind of the initial beta, live probably around, I’d say April, mid-April that will be live. But, yeah, definitely super early in this. What we’ve done previously is did some things just on a more informal basis, but when we actually launched this system that we talk about, this community based financial system to help really empower disadvantaged communities to build wealth and really kind of this community forum built on mentorship and experience and information and knowledge, that’ll be in about April 4th. So, we’re still pre-launch. But yeah, definitely putting one foot in front of the other to get to that point.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Yeah. And I kind of see it coming together. I mean potentially, and maybe it’s me just having this very tunnel vision, but I could see somebody who’s a fan of some of these players, maybe a Richard Sherman fan, a big a Will Fuller fan and they become involved with the Dow, take part in it and you’re opening up all these other things for them,  whatever it is. Maybe, you incentivise virtual greet and meets. You virtual, you incentivise maybe memorabilia. I have no idea, but there’s – so as athletes, you mentioned before you have that social capital that you are always able to tap into, right. That fandom, those emotions, that sports have to kind of get a broader community involved in the project that you guys are working on.

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. Yeah. And so again, that’s to the point of like, how can we leverage the social capital of professional athletes for access to the broader community? And that’s what is really about. This guys like will and Sherm and having conversations with Will and talking about the reality of kids in Philadelphia. It’s a sad reality where you’re talking about kids in a classroom and it’s 40 kids in a classroom with 20 textbooks. And so, it’s like, how can you – having these conversations behind the scenes of as an athlete, beyond giving capital, but how can we capitalise people that need it within these communities? And so yeah, most definitely in terms of doing Q and A’s, cause a lot of these that’s another part of this is like, how do you humanise athletes?


Like everybody just sees us with a helmet on and a jersey on and you almost kind of forget – especially now with sports betting and how popular fantasy sports are, you almost forget that these are real humans at the end of the day with families and passions and it’s really about humanising athletes. It’s like Sherman’s an awesome real estate investor who has a ton of experience that he can pass down to not just the next generation of athletes, but to anybody on how to invest in real estate. Or you got guys like Kelvin Beachum, who literally is probably one of the best venture capital investors I’ve ever seen. And how to evaluate companies and how to build teams and how to build companies. He’s got an amazing knowledge base on that. And so really again, it’s about leveraging that social capital and it’s also about humanising athletes and leveraging their knowledge to educate the broader community. But again, it’s really about us as a community of athletes really blazing this path to wealth for people that traditionally haven’t had that opportunity.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Absolutely. And you’re looking to do it through that Dow model, which you talked about. I noticed on social media that you guys are still on track to drop an NFT on February 28th. Is that a hard date, February 28th? Can you talk a little bit more about that drop?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So, I never like to lock myself in. It’s a soft date, however things are moving forward towards that date. Artwork. Everything is coming together.

[Horacio Ruiz]

How important is that NFT drop going to be for the Players Company moving forward?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah, so that NFT drop is huge for us. One, it allows us to align with our community socially and economically from a community standpoint and from a governance standpoint, in addition to actually really broaden – not broadening, but solidifying our messaging to the public. And so really what the NFT, how it’s going to operate. There’s three membership tiers. You have dough, bread and green and what we’ve done in honour of black history month, we partnered with three black artists. And each of these artists, basically what we said to them is like here kind of is the mission, this is what we’re doing, but make a piece of art that signifies to you or symbolises a journey to wealth. And so, it’s really cool because the artists have very different styles. One’s a 3D artist, the message behind his artist is afro liberalism.


One is more kind of a 2D cartoonist think more your traditional NFT. And the third girl does kind of this multimedia hybrid where it’s digital and a real-life picture. And so, it’s really cool because each of them will come up with a very different image of what wealth means to them. And so really kind of that it embodies our overarching message that wealth no longer has this stereotypical image. It doesn’t have to be a man sitting there in a suit, it could be a kid from an urban community in a hoodie. It could be a girl from the suburbs. But really inviting that wealth looks like us and we all have the opportunity. Because really seeing representation is huge. One of the reasons, Sheldon talked about it in this article. But you come from these impoverished environments, and you really see rapping or playing sports as really the only means to make it out. And if you don’t make it out, you turn to the street. And it’s sad that these are the are only options that it’s like, dang, you got to be in the top 0.5% in order to make it out. Cause it’s super hard to make it as a professional athlete or an artist or you turn into the street. And it’s like we got to show representation, greater representation at the top where it doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter what you look like, but we can all achieve wealth. And so that’s really the overarching message of it. It’s like, this is not a black versus white thing.


This is an us thing. This is a black and white and Hispanic and whatever race inserted into it, it’s about we can do better together. And really, you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and how can we create a better economy, is we strengthen where we’re weak at. And right now, that’s in the black and brown communities. And then from a more utility standpoint, the actual NFT lays again, it lays the foundation of governance for us. And so obviously the – as the NFTs escalate in kind of the different ranks, they come with associated governing powers. And those governing power obviously give you a vote within the community. And so loosely, basically this gives you your voice. And like I said earlier, this is – we’re building a financial system that is truly representative of the people.


And from our standpoint, who better dictate what’s in the best interest of the people than the people themselves. And so really the NFT not only symbolises this inclusive message of wealth, but it symbolises our application of this inclusive message of wealth saying, we’re actually doing it. You actually have a voice. This is your voice within this new financial system that is going to be representative of you. And so that’s kind of the messaging behind the actual NFT. It’s interesting, you get a lot of kind of – you get pushback, another celebrity athlete, NFT, but this NFT is tied to a real product that generates real revenue. And at the end of the day, our goal is to provide real value. So that’s really kind of the messaging what we’re thinking around the NFT.

[Horacio Ruiz]


That’s great. And you did provide some information on the NFTs. The artists and kind of what they represent. Do you have any details on like how many NFTs there will be and where, how, and where it’ll be available, how much it will cost to mint, anything like that?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So, TDD on actual pricing, however there will be 3000 of the actual NFTs. It’ll be 2000 of kind of the lowest tier, 750 of the mid-tiers, and then 250 of the top tiers. And so, the top tier will actually give access to a product that will be rolling out in the fall. And so that product will be centred around basically alternative investing. So, think of it as kind of this community-based investment product, where you’re able to invest alongside of your favourite professional athletes. And so again from a deal flow access standpoint, what we’re doing is just leveraging this community for access to better opportunities. And so, you get this pipeline of great deal flow, ETC, and you have the opportunity kind of the social capital piece to say, you’ve invested alongside some guys and girls that you see playing in your favourite sports leagues. The second tier gives access to – obviously there’s an associated amount of governance rights. You have a higher interest rate in that second tier and then you also get access to our in-person tour. Think of its kind of like a coffee side fireside chat where we’re doing them in LA. But we’re bringing basically top tier A list, CEOs, business leaders, community leaders, to come in in a very intimate setting, sit down and teach, and give people the opportunity to actually learn and ask questions where it’s not conference style. It’s like 15, 20, 30 people. And we’re sitting there in a room with the CEO of X company. And we’re talking about how to build business, how to build wealth and really providing kind of this form where we could begin to build. And then the third tier gets access basically first access to the platform, the educational suite, ETC, and obviously associated governance rights. And so that’ll be how those tiers work on a high level. And then as the product build out begins to really as we begin to progress down there, those NFT holders will have pretty significant monetary incentives attached to those various tiers that people who earn their way into the community, won’t initially have,

[Horacio Ruiz]


Let’s get into the digital banking product that you talked about earlier, you referenced earlier and the financial incentives, what I’m mostly intrigued about and kind of to connect things together from what we talked about earlier was that digital banking kind of product. What exactly is that? And can you give more details about it?

[Amir Carlisle] 


Yeah. So, this is going to be in partnership with – we’re building this in partnership with another Dow. And so how it’s going to work is basically everything centres around what we call this proof of learn protocol. Proof of learn basically is a playoff of proof of work proof of state, which basically, proof of work is the heart of the blockchain, where we’re saying that proof of learn education is the heart of building wealth. And so how that actually operates is there’s two sides to this marketplace. And so, kind of taking it back to something I said earlier, you have this racial wealth gap. We see, we hear about it all the time, but underneath this racial wealth gap is an opportunity gap. And so, our goal is first to close the opportunity gap to then close the racial wealth gap.


And so basically how we’re doing that around this proof of learned protocol, there’s two sides to this marketplace. You have members and you have Cedars. Members are anybody who creates an account on this digital banking platform. And so, as you create an account, you go through traditional KYC, put your name in yada, yada, you get a debit card and traditional kind of Neo banking sense where we differentiate again is around this protocol we’re building out. And so, you have members and then Cedars. Cedars are anybody that see the ecosystem with any type of value. Right now, it’s going to be predominantly exclusively around education. So, think of people, hey, I want to educate on budgeting. Hey, I want to educate on real estate, hey, I want to educate on stocks, bonds, ETC. But eventually as kind of this economy builds out this marketplace, think that Cedars could be anybody who’s providing any type of value to members.


That could be somebody who’s trying to offer an internship. Somebody who’s trying to offer a job, somebody who needs some – offering an opportunity to be an actor on set, whatever it may be. Any type of value that can be added to members thinking that is this marketplace where we can connect members to cedars. Cedars both create an account. There’s kind of this two-sided dashboard, where both are able to create an account. Members earn TPC tokens for good usage of the platform. That’s creating your account. That’s connecting a meta mask wallet. That’s setting up direct deposit. Cedars earn TPC token approved opportunities. So, a cedar then posts an opportunity to the platform. We have a middleman it’s called a Guild called the veters. The veters vet through the opportunity. The opportunity gets the approval. From there, members can opt into that opportunity.


So, say it’s a budgeting class, say you posted a budgeting class. I could go on my app. I see the budgeting class that you posted. I click RSVP. I join. I go, I earn TPC tokens for attending. You then earn TPC tokens for the opportunity that you posted. And then there’ll be an extra incentive for how your opportunity performs. So, say you have 50,000 people that end up attending your webinar or whatever it may be. You can earn a bonus on top of that based on the engagement with the opportunity you posted. And so basically, we’re aligned here where we’re both earning the token. That is the foundation of this economy. That token is then backed by all banking activity. And so, as we’re engaging with the community and adding value by swiping our card or setting up direct deposit, that value then flows back into a treasury and the treasury is going to now increase or accrue value to that token. And so, as we’re learning together, as we’re building together, as we’re educating, we’re building wealth together just by learning and engaging with the community. And so that’s how it’s going to – how to operate on a high level. And you have basically these two sides and we’re basically – how can we connect you to an opportunity? And so again, our goal, how do we close the wealth gap? Well, we first got to start with closing the opportunity gap. 

[Horacio Ruiz]

That’s awesome. Yeah. And I guess I have one more more question, right, with that debit card that you mentioned because that’s how some of the profits are going to come off of that debit card. Correct? What is that linked to, is that linked to a traditional bank or is that going to be linked to a digital wallet?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah, so the debit card. So, think of traditional Neo banking, where we have a partner bank behind the scenes on a front-end standpoint, the user is interfacing with us from an account standpoint. That account is being created at a partner bank. But every time the debit card is swiped, we generate interchange on those debit card swipes. And then we also have different accounts we’re able to generate net interest margin on. And then eventually we’ll get to lending products, credit card products where for lending we’ll be able to generate net interest margin. So, we make money in very traditional banking sense. Just the only difference here is that in traditional banking sense is, the bank extracts value and shoot, we never really see that value. We get paid 0.01 interest and there’s very little value that is actually returned back to us. Think now that that banking all of the revenue generated from traditional banking senses, debit cards, credit cards, lending that then flows back into the community from – it goes into the treasury, then flows back into the community from this kind of democratic – these democratic votes. So yeah, everything, how we make money, it’s tied directly to traditional banking. How Bank of America makes money, how Chime makes money. That’s how we’ll make money.

[Horacio Ruiz]


And then you mentioned that you had the cedars and the members. Now, if you’re a member and you’re using those debit cards, right. Because I imagine there’s got to be an incentive to use that debit card. You are earning tokens if you’re using that debit card, are you also, not just, are you creating revenue for the players company, but then are you also able to kind of earn some of that social token?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So, disclaimer kind of star here. We’re working through that now with our legal team. Because there are some complexities, obviously banking is a regulated industry and kind of tying the token into it. So yes, that is definitely the thought. How people earn tokens are in participation. That’s participating in an opportunity. Performance. So, people can opt into different financial challenges, budgeting, saving, ETC. Performance also ties into usage. And so that’s kind of your setting up your direct deposit, connecting your wallet, creating your account. And then what we’re working through from a performance usage standpoint now is can we tie actual card usage to token rewards? And then the third way, individual members are able to earn tokens is by goal setting. So, if you set a savings goal or a budgeting goal and then you achieve your goal, you then earn tokens. And so those are kind of the three. You have your participation, performance and your personal goals that you can earn tokens for.

[Horacio Ruiz]


That’s awesome, man. It really is. You guys are building it and you’ve thought it through, right. You want to make social change, but like you said, you have this – you have an enterprise at the front end of it. But you want to have – you want to reward people for doing that. And then you want to not just reward them in a way that you get this back or whatever but rewarding them and the community at the same time.

[Amir Carlisle]


Exactly.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Is there – and I want to respect your time. Is there anything else that you want to add or is there anything else as you’re building out the platform that you’re looking to maybe get some help from or looking to get some reaching out. I mean, I know you said that you’re behind the scenes, you got a bunch of different people creating partnerships that you’re creating partnerships with. What’s your next step?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So, for us, just kind of just staying on top of what we’re doing. Just if anybody’s interested in kind of any updates to discord channel, I’m always in there to ask questions. But yeah, really our whole mantra has been part of the progress here. And it’s really about been doing this as a collaboratively as we possibly can. So yeah, if there’s anybody out there that has a skillset that you want to contribute, if you go into the discord channel, there’s a link that says get involved and there’s a tab of ways that you can get involved. And we talk to everybody who fills out that intake form. If there’s any type of value that you can add, we always have that conversation.


And what’s next for us on the horizon. Obviously one it’s building out the community. We really want to of put our ear down to the ground to really understand what the community’s needs are and how can we really provide an experience that we provide value where if you have questions about how to build wealth, we’re there as a resource to answer these questions. In addition, also, as you know, we’re actively working through this product build out and during this product build out, it’s really been about leaning on the community and getting their feedback on every step of the way. And it’ll continue to be about that. You know, even after launch, this is obviously building out a neo banking product, any type of FinTech type product, you have to iterate and we’re going to iterate with the community in mind and make sure that we’re building what’s in the best interest of our constituents.


And beyond that, it’s really about, for us it’s building the community in conjunction with that. It is fundraising too, for us, we’re actually in the midst of fundraising. And then from there it’s launching the product launching kind of your quote unquote minimal viable community. And then building from there. It’s listening to the community and building the system, a product, a community that really is there to always maintain their interest. And the goal is ultimately, it’s really, how can we really build wealth together? So that’s kind of the next, I’d say the next three months on the horizon. And then from there’s, just let’s see, let’s see what the feedback is. Let’s iterate, let’s build, let’s create together.

[Horacio Ruiz]


That’s great, man. And I really hope that there’s listeners when we put out the podcast that want to reach out and help you out in any way that they can. That would be awesome. You mentioned before discord, where should somebody or people that are interested in following the Players Company, what should they do? How should they reach out to you via social media? What website should they go to and who should they be following?

[Amir Carlisle]


Yeah. So, follow Sheldon on Twitter, you can follow myself. I’m solar bot three. The discord link is in both of our bios. It’s also in the bio of our Instagram page, which is just the players company and then in the discord channel, I’m solar bot. And so, yeah, just ping me. And the DM and the discord, that’s where I’m most active every single day. I’m just trying to build that up. You can find us on either of those social channels. But the discord link will be in our bio from there.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Amir is the co-founder. His co-founder Sheldon Day who couldn’t be with a us today, but you guys are both the co-founders. It was a pleasure talking to you, Amir. Really thanks for setting aside the time. And I really hope that as you guys’ progress, as you guys are building out your product, that we’re able to talk some more. And in a couple months and see where you guys are at. Thanks again for your time and really appreciate it

[Amir Carlisle]


All good. No, I really appreciate your time. This has been fun and look forward to catching up in a few months and seeing where we’re at.

[Horacio Ruiz]


Thanks for sharing all your story. A lot of your background and what you went through. And then now building up this new platform. Sounds really awesome. And I know you guys are going to do very well.

[Amir Carlisle]


Thank you. I appreciate it. Take care.

[Horacio Ruiz]


This is an exciting time to be building in the crypto space and creating Dows. Today I heard from Amir and his experiences that made him want to create a community built around building wealth and changing lives. He’s in many ways an embodiment of a new player’s movement to impact social change. I know Amir and Sheldon will be incredibly successful by taking the grind from the field to the business space. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, let others know about it. We find our guests so interesting and knowledgeable. And I know others will too. Or leave a review or hit the follow button. Until next episode, take care.

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Author

Horacio Ruiz

Horacio Ruiz

Horacio is a veteran math teacher of the New York City public school system. Prior to teaching, he lived in New Orleans where he worked in sales for the New Orleans Hornets before joining The Institute for Sport and Social Justice to rebuild homes in the Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. He currently lives in Staten Island with his wife, Alicia, his three sons; Oliver, Henry, and Jacob, and their pitt-mi,x Tipitina. In 2019, Horacio published a biography, The White Knight: Calvin Patterson and the Integration of Florida State University Football.

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