Crypto, Kin, and Consensus 2018 — Now, Every Week Is Blockchain Week
“The internet is going to have a native currency so let’s not wait for it to happen, let’s help it happen.”–Jack Dorsey
But whereas Dorsey thinks the Internet’s native currency should be bitcoin, our team thinks otherwise. Our CEO Ted Livingston took aim at bitcoin the day before @jack spoke.
As you can watch in the video here (6:41:00 onward), Ted took a bet against eToro co-founder Yoni Assai. Ted’s position: That ten years from now, bitcoin won’t be worth anything.
Why? Because consumers don’t use it.
Ted spoke in the Before Crypto, After Crypto session (“best panel of the conference,” according to moderator David Wachsman) alongside two other leaders of large companies that have embraced virtual currencies.
For all three panelists, crypto creates new business opportunities. Indiegogo co-founder Slava Rubin, for one, is hosting ICOs on his funding site; eToro now sees 80% of traders on its platform exchanging cryptocurrencies. (The company is soon expanding to the US.)
For us, Kin creates a way to mobilize huge communities of developers to work on the same team — and win big against the ad monopolies — by building their applications around the same decentralized currency, as opposed to unique utility tokens of their own.
Instead of incentivizing miners to burn electricity (as bitcoin’s protocol does), our model compels developers to gain stake by creating experiences for consumers inside real virtual economies.
So while Jack Dorsey still has Square Cash’s heart in “that original idea of being able to purchase a coffee” with crypto, we don’t think the world needs that.
“We’re not going after the physical world at all. We’re going after the digital world.”–Ted Livingston
The world may not need many of the token projects we’ve heard about in recent days, either… and there were plenty of them. Consensus took place during ‘Blockchain Week’ NYC, which saw a raft of industry news.
The clarity of our mission earned one the week’s best stories: Check out Wired’s take on Ted’s plans to build a ‘Rebel Alliance’ against Facebook here.
Facebook aside, some of the week’s top news showed how interested the institutional set is in capitalizing on crypto.
JPMorgan’s Wall Street chief Daniel Pinto, for example, told CNBC that the bank is “looking into” the space; reports say the firm has tapped a London-based employee to lead their cryptocurrency strategy.
Goldman Sachs has a new coin in the mix, too. Its payments startup Circle just announced USD Coin — a “price-stable currency” pegged to the US dollar that will be the the first token released by a major financial institution.
Of course, having big banks in the space goes against much of what crypto was originally ‘supposed’ to be about. But the entry of institutions will likely help the industry’s innovators gain regulatory support.
The regulators had a big presence in Blockchain Week, too. Their overall respect and understanding of the crypto space seems to be growing every day: We got a kick out of the parody ICO project the SEC launched Wednesday to educate investors about scams… and wondered if the tropical background might be a nod to Commissioner Hester Pierce’s recent speech about how US regulators should be “lifeguards” protecting the “beach” of crypto innovation. (Definitely worth a read.)
Elsewhere in the week, there was tons of corporate interest in blockchain. FedEx’s CEO spoke about the technology’s disruptive potential, and Deloitte shared study findings that 74% of large companies across seven countries see a “compelling business case” for blockchain.
We’re sold on using Kin to help app developers of all sizes (especially the little guys) see business benefits from crypto, but it’s exciting to see mainstream companies gaining exposure to the underlying tech. In a world where we’re entering “the second era of the internet,” as noted academic Donald Tapscott calls it, every week is blockchain week.
“The internet of information is becoming the internet of value,” said Donald Tapscott at Consensus 2018. “The technology is not going to solve all our problems, but once again the technology genie has escaped from the bottle… It gives us another kick at the can.”