Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum, award-winning entrepreneur, and CEO of Decentral talks about freedom, liberty and impact on this week’s podcast.
Elizabeth Renieris, a crypto and blockchain lawyer educated at Harvard and London School of Economics speaks about identity and data privacy in the crypto and blockchain space.
“There’s lots of evidence today that online and in our digital lives, which is increasingly most of our lives these days, there’s just a whole bunch of things that are broken. Things that we’ve accepted as normal. Things that we’ve come to see as the status quo. And, nobody’s questioned is it ok that I have to make the trade-off of free online services for personal private data.”
Matthew Spoke, Founder of Aion, talks to me about the original intentions of the internet. It started off as a peer to peer and it became centralized. But, blockchain technology is levelling the playing field and anyone can have the opportunity to sell a successful product or service and Matt says we can all collectively can own the next version of the internet.
What does it mean now that the internet can become decentralized? What will it mean when greater financial democracy is accessible around the world. What will it mean for government policy as the technology that crosses borders becomes mainstream?
“Decentralized networks are the future infrastructure of the world.” So where is the world headed?
“People are asking what’s the killer app of decentralization? It’s not really an app, it’s a social structure. It’s re-evaluating how we make decisions and how we coordinate with people”
Decentralization is democratizing opportunity.
He says, often we don’t talk about crypto in the right context. Instead of talking about what crypto allows to be built, we too often talk about market caps and speculation. But “crypto is the economic engine that makes these networks possible and if that’s true, than there’s no financial cap”.
So the executive chairman of Cisco valued the internet as worth $19 trillion, but Matt says that that figure doesn’t factor in the value of what’s being transferred over the internet. So the decentralized internet, the internet of value, web 3.0 will be worth even more.
We also get into how Matt went from being an employee at Deloitte to leading an R+D team focussed on Bitcoin and the underlying technology to leaving and co-founding his own successful and thriving blockchain company, even though he says at the time, taking the leap was “terrifying”.
One of the topics he believes isn’t addressed head on enough in this space is around for-profit crypto companies and their driving motivations. He believes there’s a conflict of interest that’s inherent in having token holders like share holders. For this reason, Aion decided to become the Aion Foundation and focus on serving “the most important stakeholder, which to us was the user of our software” as opposed to optimizing how they do things for shareholders whose expectations are driven by expectations around revenues and profits.”
He goes on to say, “This an industry that is almost exclusively open source software so it’s not necessarily monetizable at the protocol level.”
And it was just one of the fun questions I ask at the end of the interview, but I asked him about what character trait he would recommend someone have who’s starting out. And his answer made me realize that they were qualities he must have to have gotten to where his is from where he was.
He said that these days it’s not about one skill. Now you’ve got to have the desire to constantly be learning and upgrading your skills, so what’s really important is adaptability and to be able to constantly evolve.
“The companies I will suggest in the next 2 to 3 years that are going to make it are ones that have a real blockchain product with real utility that people really need and they’re getting real quality advantage out of, like any other company. And 2017 was the year of FOMO which is ‘I’m going to miss out so I better buy it’ 2018 is like ‘woah what happened here, hold on here I think we have to go find something real’ and 2019 I think is going to be the year of prove it. ‘Prove you’ve got something. Oh, you’re going to raise a coin? I’ve heard that story. OK what is it really that you’re doing?”.
Michael Hyatt has built incredibly successful tech business and he’s been in business since before the days of the internet. He’s got first-hand knowledge of where the internet and computer technology came from and educated and experienced insight as to where blockchain tech is going.
So where is it going? Michael talked about a creative destruction phase or a nuclear winter, much like we’re seeing now. But he believes that the future is bright. He thinks “the Facebook of cryptocurrency hasn’t been born” but that we’ll see real businesses with important use cases coming to the forefront after the fallout from the hype around cryptos and all the betting on the promises of ICOs that have never delivered, and won’t.
He talks about the crypto space mirroring the real world. People talk about there being a new paradigm, but Michael doesn’t buy it, not were businesses and investments are concerned. He says it all comes down to the fundamentals. Is there a viable business? Are these the people who can deliver what they’re promising? And is there something backing the crypto or blockchain investment that has real value.
“If you’re starting a company, whether it’s a crypto company or any kind of company, I don’t think it matters. I think what matters is that you have to be in it for 10 or 15 years and build to win not build to sell or build to flip.”
He says when you’re buying part of an ICO, you’re buying a Kick Starter, that really, you’re buying a promise that it’s going to be useful, but that very few companies have delivered on their promises.
With Ethereum, he says that something big has to happen. When Ethereum can be used as part of some revolutionary tool, an app that changes the way things are done in the financial world or the medical world, if it can change the way were doing things now then the value will really go up. But, whether it’s Ethereum or some other blockchain technology that transforms the way we’re doing things now, there needs to be broad based adoption and a global understanding of the new technology’s value. Then and only then will there be the Crypto or Blockchain Facebook or Google or Apple.
Michael mentions the collapse of the condo market in Miami as a historic example that may be similar to what we’re seeing the crypto right now. Condos that were overpriced, plummeted in cost, but there was a point when buyers and investors saw that condos still held a certain value. So, while he doesn’t believe Bitcoin is digital gold. He does believe there is a value and that the public will figure out what it is.
I ask Michael about his affiliation with Rotman’s Creative Destruction lab, which he is completely impressed by, saying that he’s in a place where he’s surrounded by big thinkers and intelligent innovators.
Michael talks about being an advisor to Polymath. He’s excited about security tokens and believes in Trevor Koverko. https://twitter.com/trevorkoverko
He also believes in the idea of tokenizing securities like art, paintings, wine, or buildings that have a that have an inherent value and supports the idea of these securities, that aren’t big enough to go public, can also draw in non-accredited investors who would like to put their money into something, but maybe don’t have the financial wealth to be able to pour in large amounts of money in order to be able to see a return on their investment.
One of the other topics we hit on is regulation. His point of view is that regulation makes the market real. It’s there to stop companies from lying and cheating people and that regulation entering the picture is a healthy thing. Essentially the regulators will sort and sift through what’s being offered and cut out the crap.
Michael is also a regular contributor to The Pitch Podcast.
“You have people trying to take advantage of the fundraising mechanism that is an ICO without having a real business. They’re more excited about raising the money and then figuring it out. That’s a lot of the people. A lot of the people that have ICOed will not stay standing. It will be just like the dot com explosion.”
Hartej had read Satoshi’s White Paper back in 2011 but he spent a lot of time in the space without creating his own place in it. Now he and his Hosho co-founder Yo Sub Kwan have founded a company that fulfills a huge need, and one that (especially for how much money is at stake) really isn’t being taken seriously – and that’s blockchain security.
What’s the point in creating smart contracts if they can be easily compromised? Who cares if blockchains are immutable, trustless, unhackable if the contracts running on top of them can be breached?
And, how is world-wide adoption ever going to happen if news headlines keep scaring people away with stories of another exchange that just got hacked out of millions of dollars?
I talk to Hartej about Hosho and blockchain security and we also get into tokenization and how there are a whole bunch of people who seem to want to tokenize anything and everything, when maybe tokens should really have nothing to do with it.
His advice is to build a real business and there are places where tokens make sense, like in the world of gaming. Or in a place where you can have peer to peer markets, like in underdeveloped markets that would allow an artist to have access to the internet and sell music there.
Hartej goes into what Hosho can do with smart contract auditing and checking security vulnerabilities including with penetration checks for exchanges. Because when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges being secure, it really only takes one toke that isn’t secure for there to be a critical vulnerability. Because if one coin can be hacked, and exchanged for Bitcoin, or fiat currency, then the whole exchange is at risk.
He talks about the history of Paul Graham in Silicon Valley and the key to a Startup being a Startup is growth. Hartej mentions the Y Combinator program and that there are essays there that all entrepreneurs should read.
When it comes to startups vs big Fortune 500 companies, Hartej talks about the fact that the Fortune 500 companies are in the space but they’re working on research and development. They’re behind where the early investors were years ago but they’re working on it.
And before we get into our Five Fun Questions, I asked him what use case he’s excited about seeing in the blockchain space in the next 5 years. His answer? Healthcare. How much data do we have on our body right now, about what’s going on with our body? And what if we could cater how we live, eat, sleep, exercise according to what our doctor recommends based on our body weight, resting heart rate, average heart rate, blood pressure, activity habits, blood sugar levels and on and on. It is amazing to think about where the technology we have now with our health data in our wearables will be in the next 5 years and what that could mean for our health.
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