The best of the best – 2! Blockchain experts share their ideas in this second part of the Best of Speaking of Crypto 2018 podcast.
“The requirements for skills are changing so quickly that the only real characteristic you can have is a desire to constantly be learning and constantly be upgrading your skills. Anybody who thinks that they’re going to come into their career with the same skills that they’re going to leave their career in this generation, they’re going to be caught off guard. So, it’s adaptability and a willingness to constantly evolve as a person.”
– Matthew Spoke
In this compilation podcast, I talk to Susan Oh, Matthew Spoke, Anu Bhardwaj, Betsabe Botaitis, and Eman Pulis.
Aside from all things blockchain and crypto related, what else makes these forward-thinking, big-picture seeing, crypto dynamos tick? How do they look at the world and what’s some advice that they can give the rest of us who are trying to grow or do better or learn some insights?
I got to ask these five successful thought-leaders about things like: challenges they’ve overcome, an important character trait that would be helpful for someone entering the workforce, and what they’re looking for in a city if they could create one themselves.
Each of these five different podcast guests answered the same five questions.
1. If someone’s completely new to the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, what would you like them to know?
2. Looking back, what was one of the most challenging things you faced in your career and how were you able to overcome it?
3. What would you say is the most important character trait that someone who’s about to enter the workforce should possess?
4. If you could create your own city or town, what are three key elements you would want to include?
5. LOVE, MONEY, + INFLUENCE — can you rank them in order of importance and explain?
“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.
“I’d like to see a world where blockchain is just ubiquitous, where every single thing that’s manufactured if you want to know where the touches were so that you know child slave labour wasn’t used or blood diamonds weren’t used or some of the ways that people are ever to exploit leverage for profit, I’d like to see those go away.”
Retired United States Air Force Colonel and Chief Innovation Officer at Fr8 Network, Jim Regenor, believes that blockchain is a game changer. The single source of truth, the transparency and the trustlessness can create new business models and he’s working on a few of his own.
We talk about how people and different industries will be impacted when there’s no longer a need for an intermediary to govern or to act as the authority over various systems, like with digital currencies themselves that exist outside of traditional monetary or fiscal policies.
As a former White House staff member, Jim talks about a day in the life of the White House and said that it was like being able to know tomorrow’s news today.
We also dive into the transformative effects of blockchain tech and talk about a few use cases, like with supply chains, micro loans and digital identity.
Jim talks about his background at Moog, an industrial company that was using the technology of 3D printing, and Jim wanted to know where that technology could take them. When he learned about blockchain tech, he realized that there was the ability of creating new business models and new markets.
He shares an example of ‘the gig economy’ where people who work as freelancers or on short term contracts, aren’t able to access benefits the way those who are in traditional full time employment can. So Jim explained that blockchain can allow for a vehicle where freelancers could obtain benefits through a tokenized system build on blockchain technology.
Jim poses the question as to how can blockchain impact the individual and the firm and references this book.
by RH Coase
He explains that Henry Ford started the assembly line in a factory to make sure everything came together the way it was supposed to, and he was able to oversee production in order to ensure that everything was made in the right way. But, with blockchain being trustless, there’s no need for pieces to come together to be overseen by an authority who deems the production correct. He asks the question as to what kind of efficiencies or new systems can that create?
Jim suggests that with peer to peer trust there will be a monumental change in how systems work, how business interact with one another and that it will inherently erode some of the traditional power of government.
One of the things he’s interested in seeing come to be is digital identity through blockchain technology. Sovereign digital identity in the developed world will allow peer to peer interactions, and can this model be taking into the developing world as well?
Jim uses a term he calls ‘Industry 4.0’ involving:
Digitization – the advances of the internet, scanning and upload, create a Word document
Digitalization — can move messages back and forth
Digital design — to a machine, like 3D printing
Digital transformation — blockchain truth being the transformative element
Where does he see blockchain tech being used? It will be best in highly regulated industries, an industry that has a lot of arbitrage (or middle men not creating added value), anything to do with liability and litigation, because transparency can create efficiency so the processes in these areas can become more streamlined.
He talks about Fr8 Network developing a protocol that will assemble standards for data as things move through logistics. He gives an example of a shipping container being tracked through blockchain tech and because of the single source of truth, if an item is damaged, the technology is there to be able to pinpoint where it happened. He calls it reverse forensics and explained that the visibility creates efficiencies.
Book: Blockchain Revolution
Book: The Truth Machine
He talks about blockchain doing away with a list of terms and conditions to be agreed with, but what will replace it will be a governance model where the responsibility to protect the intellectual property or trade secrets will be that of the platform provider. As we get into the tech side of the blockchain, Jim mentions Aion’s solution to be able to move from chain to chain and he praises Aion’s founders, Matthew Spoke and Kesem Frank.
By Kevin Kelly