012. The Bitcoin Experiment, Big Business, and Blockchain with Dante Disparte

Dante Disparte is a regular Forbes contributor, author, CEO and founder of Risk Cooperative, and former Chair of the Harvard Business School Club of DC and Member of HBS Alumni Board in Boston. He is also a founding advisor of the Global Blockchain Business Council.

http://riskcooperative.com/

In our chat today, we talk about one of his recent Forbes magazine articles titled, “Our Economic Model is Out of WACC”.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dantedisparte/2018/05/28/our-economic-model-is-out-of-wacc/#7a8c5167395a

His article, referencing Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC), explains how large companies think about investment models, and his stance is that it’s time for a new investment yardstick. He explains how blockchain and cryptocurrencies enable new business models that can help reprice and right-size finance and incentives.

Dante also references an article written by one of his colleagues at Forbes, Michael del Castillo 

Article: The 10 Largest Companies In the World Are Now Exploring Blockchain

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2018/06/06/the-10-largest-companies-exploring-blockchain/#380933d71343

Dante gives us an incredible statistic about how popular “blockchain” was at the World Economic Forum that he attended in Davos in January of this year.

World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dantedisparte/2018/01/28/one-thing-is-clear-from-davos-blockchain-is-out-of-beta/#262ad4c89d4f

Dante also mentions the Global Blockchain Business Council, of which he is a member and advisor.

https://www.gbbcouncil.org/

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea how big the business of insurance really is, but Dante shared that it’s a $5.5 trillion market! So, no wonder it’s an industry that is inherently risk averse. He explains the hierarchical nature of the corporate structure and that blockchain, inherent in the technology, can flatten corporate structure. As he likes to say, “corporate hierarchy is flat, the next layer down”. When he explains that forty percent of the American public could not withstand a $400 emergency right now, he shares that blockchain can enable insurance companies to reach more clients and enable a faster process when disasters strike.

Dante co-authored a book with Daniel Wagner called “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making: Organizational Resilience in the Era of Man-Made Risk”.

https://www.amazon.ca/Global-Risk-Agility-Decision-Making/dp/1349948594

He talks about the notion of values mattering most when it’s least convenient and the fact that sixty percent of global risks are man-made.

We also get into politics and why in our culture plagued with doubt and distrust for politicians, big business, and institutions, that blockchain has huge opportunity right now. He cites that the rise in populism, whether in the Brexit example in the UK or the election of Donald Trump in the US, are symptoms of the real issue underneath being that people are fed up with status quo.

Why are we in Western cultures fed up with the status quo? Dante says it’s in large part due to severe income inequality, that we’re not doing enough to address it, and that it’s one of the Big Four Global Threats — the other three being Climate Change, Pandemics and Erosion of Trust.

Dante quotes one of his Forbes articles: “Blockchains record trust like the atomic clock records time”.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dantedisparte/2018/04/26/why-blockchain-why-now/#4f4283074f42

He goes on to say that “in an environment like that where a company or a firm could say I am irrevocably recording this particular transaction, it’s a proxy for trust.”

He talks about Bitcoin as an experiment. At the beginning of 2017, Bitcoin was worth $1,000 and it became a $20,000 asset by the end of last year. Although there were large sums of Bitcoin owned by whales, does Bitcoin help to democratize wealth? There is no centralized authority or governing body and a flat, decentralized organizational structure, so should we look to Bitcoin as an emerging business model? Dante called it “an encouraging societal experiment”.

Dante cited exciting examples of blockchain businesses:

He is an advisor to Power Ledger, innovative tech in the energy sector.

https://powerledger.io/

He also mentions Bitfury paving the way for new models in the area of land registries.

https://bitfury.com/

And, Etherisc, a platform re: flight delays.

https://etherisc.com/

He quotes Michael Casey “a cryptocurrency can be coded, but a dollar cannot”. *See SOC podcast 010. Hilary Carter recommends two of Michael Casey’s books. https://speakingofcrypto.com/2018/06/15/010-blockchainrevolutionhcarter/

Lastly, we discuss his being a leader among a community of leaders at Harvard Business School Club of DC and also serving on the Alumni Board in Boston as well and giving scholarships to local non-profit leaders in DC.

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