#FintechFinimized: Both Sides of the Coin 💰

Nic Sharp, Obi Nwosu, Vinay Jayaram

Responding to popular demand after our first #FintechFinimized event, last week we followed up with an evening focused on cryptocurrency. As the title suggests, we thought it’d be cool to have an event that addressed “Both Sides of the Coin” — i.e. two varying viewpoints on the topic.

We had two interesting speakers join the conversation — Obi Nwosu, CEO @ Coinfloor, and Vinay Jayaram, who has 16 years’ experience at Morgan Stanley. Nic Sharp, formerly at UK-based VC firm Passion Capital, and current CEO at Fundstack, moderated the panel, addressing topics like value creation and regulation.

We hosted the venue at Runway East in London, a super cool co-working space. The vibes were relaxed in a trendy setting. We enjoyed the best pizza in London (obviously Franco Manca 😉), cold drinks and chatting with participants.

The talk started out with an introduction to cryptocurrencies and general information about how one would acquire and trade them. Then naturally progressed to value creation compared to other currencies, questions around regulation (or lack thereof), and what the increased adoption of cryptocurrency would look like. You can hear what the speakers had to say by watching the panel of the video of the event:

Crypto conversation led by Nic Sharp

Obi took the side of addressing the many advantages that cryptocurrency has (as you would expect from the founder of a crypto trading platform). Most interestingly, Obi’s view on disruptive technology, especially cryptocurrencies, is that it takes time for people to fully grasp their significance. Instead, people try to explain things through the lens of their own experiences. When people’s understanding of crypto matches its reality, then value will be created. Obi views cryptocurrency as simultaneously being a currency and a whole new asset class/store of value, like gold, as well as a commodity, like gas.

“If you’ve had your capital in bitcoin in the last 9 years, you would have large value, compared to fiat currencies, which are very bad stores of value…[with an] average life expectancy of 23 years before becoming hyperinflated.”

Touching on regulation, Obi stated that you do need to work with governments and regulators, but that adoption is driven partly by government and partly by user demand. Lastly, he thinks that cryptocurrency won’t completely take over money.

Vinay, on the other hand, tended to draw upon his experience in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and expressed a more realist point of view. You can invest in something by making a judgement between price and value, but all you can do with Bitcoin is trade it. While also drawing on his experience in banking during the dotcom bubble, he mentioned that cryptocurrencies could absolutely be disruptive. He thought bitcoin had value, but was lacking sufficient usability in our existing economy.

“I view Bitcoin from a currency point of view and it needs two things — can it store value reliably and can it be a medium for exchange? It definitely does a very good job of storing value and a lot of it has to do with controlling the value of it — the supply is constrained and thus it’s very valuable. But you can’t pay rent with bitcoin, and it’s still a centralized authority that determines what is and what isn’t a medium of exchange.”

We gave away Finimize socks to the first people to ask questions, as per tradition, and had an interesting Q&A discussion. My favorite question addressed the credibility and legitimacy of cryptocurrency as it has been linked to illegal purchasing activity in the past.

Q&A discussion

I got to know some really interesting people, discussing a range of topics from politics to fake news. Kyle and Vladimir, both Finimize Insiders and recent Oxford MBA grads, shared some insight on politics in their home country of South Africa. Another user, Piotr from Poland, an engineer at Microsoft, shared an idea of a new company he’s looking to start to tackle fake news and help readers decipher what’s real and fake. Smart bunch!

Want to help shape the next #FintechFinimized event? Email me @ anna@finimize.com!

~Anna, Community @ Finimize