Last night I had the honor of appearing on a discussion panel with my friend Paul Vigna as well as Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss to talk about Bitcoin, the blockchain and “the future of everything.”
Paul, whom I’ve been friends with for almost ten years, is a veteran Wall Street Journal markets reporter who became the paper’s first full-time crypto beat writer last year as the whole digital assets thing took off. Last night’s event was for the launch of his new book ‘The Truth Machine‘, with co-author Michael Casey, about how the blockchain will transform society globally.
I had a few thoughts…
I am in awe of the guts it took for Tyler and Cameron to accumulate as much Bitcoin as they have and to stick to their guns through “25 bubbles and crashes” over the years. Yes, the price rise was fast last year, but this was not exactly easy money. You had to have vision back when this was just “a drug dealer thing” or “a toy” and then you needed intestinal fortitude through the Mt Gox episode and the thousands of rumors about government intervention all along the way. Bravo, boys.
The Winkelvii say that 2017 was only the year Wall Street discovered crypto, but 2018 will be the year they come in full-force. “Their armies have massed along the border, but they’re still outside…”
Joseph Lubin, one of the founders of the Ethereum network, also spoke on a panel. He’s one of the most important figures in the whole crypto story, given how instrumental he was in creating the application layer atop the base layer of ETH. His involvement in the crypto startup scene was elemental in bringing thousands (soon to be millions?) of software developers around to the possibilities of these new protocols. What’s cool about him is that he got interested in Satoshi’s white paper during the financial crisis and truly believes that decentralized apps / distributed ledgers will radically change the current “broken” system of trusted intermediaries that no longer deserve our trust. This includes the giant banks as well as the dominant social media companies.
I made the point that most startups and ICOs that have bubbled up to the surface will disappear, which would be in keeping with how prior booms have played out. No one disagreed. Tyler and Cameron pointed out that they only allow “base layer” protocols on their Gemini trading platform like BTC and they don’t want ICOs because they look more like traditional securities. The twins are firmly in the Bitcoin is a store of value camp and they consider the coins to be commodities.
The Museum of American Finance put the event on, which shows how forward thinking they are. The trustees recognize that we are the midst of a revolution in financial history. When I compared the rise of the blockchain to the first example of an American tech boom 200 years ago – the canals – the chairman of the museum, Richard Sylla, came up to me afterward and said I made an important point. Sylla is the co-author of A History of Interest Rates, one of the most important financial books ever written. I was really excited to meet him.
If you want to read more about what this technology could mean for our systems, governments, identification, web companies and the world at large, I would recommend reading Paul and Michael’s book: