What the Smartest Tech Investors Have Said About Bitcoin

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We have put together a collection of what some of the smartest people in technology have said about Bitcoin.

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1. Marc Andreessen

Marc is an entrepreneur turned investor. Not only was he one of the creators of the first web browser ever, but he also started one of the fastest growing and most successful venture capital firms in the world (Andreessen Horowitz). Via his venture firm, Marc has invested tens of millions of dollars into Bitcoin companies.

  1. Bitcoin for micropayments: Easy to get started now (checkout Coinbase). As the consumer use of Bitcoin scales up for transactions, it becomes easy to ask for small amounts of money on a per-story or per-view basis with low or no fees. (A lot more of my thinking on the subject of Bitcoin here.)” — (Link to source)
  2. Bitcoin at its most fundamental level is a breakthrough in computer science – one that builds on 20 years of research into cryptographic currency, and 40 years of research in cryptography, by thousands of researchers around the world.” — (Link to source)
  3. Bitcoin is the first Internetwide payment system where transactions either happen with no fees or very low fees (down to fractions of pennies). Existing payment systems charge fees of about 2 to 3 percent – and that’s in the developed world. In lots of other places, there either are no modern payment systems or the rates are significantly higher.” — (Link to source)
  4. “Critics of Bitcoin point to limited usage by ordinary consumers and merchants, but that same criticism was leveled against PCs and the Internet at the same stage. Every day, more and more consumers and merchants are buying, using and selling Bitcoin, all around the world.” — (Link to source)
  5. “The criticism that merchants will not accept Bitcoin because of its volatility is also incorrect. Bitcoin can be used entirely as a payment system; merchants do not need to hold any Bitcoin currency or be exposed to Bitcoin volatility at any time.” — (Link to source)
  6. “My prediction is that the libertarians will turn on bitcoin. The libertarians will discover that the blockchain is public” — (Link to source)
  7. I’d like to address the claim made by some critics that Bitcoin is a haven for bad behavior, for criminals and terrorists to transfer money anonymously with impunity. This is a myth, fostered mostly by sensationalistic press coverage and an incomplete understanding of the technology. Much like email, which is quite traceable, Bitcoin is pseudonymous, not anonymous. Further, every transaction in the Bitcoin network is tracked and logged forever in the Bitcoin blockchain, or permanent record, available for all to see. As a result, Bitcoin is considerably easier for law enforcement to trace than cash, gold or diamonds.” — (Link to source)
  8. Bitcoin is platform for creating competition for much of how current financial system works. Make incumbents compete.” — (Link to source)
  9. One immediately obvious and enormous area for Bitcoin-based innovation is international remittance. Every day, hundreds of millions of low-income people go to work in hard jobs in foreign countries to make money to send back to their families in their home countries – over $400 billion in total annually, according to the World Bank. Every day, banks and payment companies extract mind-boggling fees, up to 10 percent and sometimes even higher, to send this money.” — (Link to source)
  10. Bitcoin generally can be a powerful force to bring a much larger number of people around the world into the modern economic system. Only about 20 countries around the world have what we would consider to be fully modern banking and payment systems; the other roughly 175 have a long way to go.” — (Link to source)
  11. “We are seeing dozens, soon hundreds of new Bitcoin US startups.” — (Link to source)
  12. Another potential use of Bitcoin micropayments is to fight spam. Future email systems and social networks could refuse to accept incoming messages unless they were accompanied with tiny amounts of Bitcoin – tiny enough to not matter to the sender, but large enough to deter spammers, who today can send uncounted billions of spam messages for free with impunity.” — (Link to source)
  13. Every important new technology has birthing pains. PC did, Web did, Bitcoin does. Our enthusiasm and commitment unchanged.” — (Link to source)

2. Fred Wilson

Fred is the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, an incredibly well respected and successful venture firm in New York. Fred has invested in Twitter, Tumblr, Kickstarter, and pretty much every other awesome website you probably use.

  1. “People need to feel comfortable that if they hold onto a Bitcoin for a week it’s going to be worth pretty much the same as when they got it. And that’s going to take a long time. I also think we need to see real transaction volume happen. Right now, most people who get Bitcoin hold it, they don’t transact with it. That’s part of what causes all of the volatility — if there was a very vibrant system where Bitcoin was just getting swapped around like crazy, the velocity of the money would cause Bitcoin’s price to stabilize, and there would be a much more liquid market.” — (Link to source)
  2. “One of the real issues with Bitcoin right now is that it’s not that secure, and the reason it’s not that secure is, it’s easy to hack into people’s computers, if they have a wallet on their own computer, it’s easy to get in there and steal the Bitcoin. Bitcoin theft is a big issue. Bitcoin fraud is a big issue. And what will have to happen is we will need to see companies like Coinbase and others merge that can invest heavily in security. And that’s both technological security, and also process security — to make you comfortable to keep your Bitcoin there. And I think that that’s probably going to be first big commercial opportunity in Bitcoin, is to create secure systems. Because without that, I don’t think we’ll ever get enough confidence and trust in the system for people to really start using it.” — (Link to source)
  3. We believe that Bitcoin represents something fundamental and powerful, an open and distributed Internet peer to peer protocol for transferring purchasing power. It reminds us of SMTP, HTTP, RSS, and BitTorrent in its architecture and openness. Like what happened with those other low level protocols, entrepreneurs and developers are now building technology on top of Bitcoin to make it more useful, more accessible, and more secure.” — (Link to source)
  4. “Even though Bitcoin has been all over the media lately as its exchange rate has surged, collapsed, and surged again, we believe that we are in the very early days of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.” — (Link to source)
  5. What bitcoin does is remove the need for that central entity, that central computer and central company. The way I like to think about bitcoin is like PayPal, but open source, peer-to-peer and not controlled by a company.” — (Link to source)
  6. I also think we need to see real transaction volume happen. Right now, most people who get bitcoin hold it, they don’t transact with it. That’s part of what causes all of the volatility — if there was a very vibrant system where bitcoin was just getting swapped around like crazy, the velocity of the money would cause bitcoin’s price to stabilize and there would be a much more liquid market. I think those are the kinds of things an economist would want to see.” — (Link to source)
  7. “The thing that’s cool about bitcoin is that it like cash on a wire, or cash over the air. It’s like I’m giving you a five dollar bill, but it comes into your account over the Internet and there is nobody to pay for the transaction. That is a big deal.” — (Link to source)
  8. “Right now you need someone to be the arbiter of identity – either Facebook, Twitter or Google – somebody who developers can use for login and other information sharing. I think you could do the same thing with a block-chain architecture, where there is no third party, there is no clearinghouse of identity information.” — (Link to source)
  9. “I don’t have a view on what the ultimate value of a Bitcoin will be nor do I care. I am interested in Bitcoin plain and simply because I believe it can be and possibly will be the financial and transactional protocol for the global Internet.” — (Link to source)

3. Chris Dixon

Chris is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. They have invested tens of millions of dollars into Bitcoin companies, including Coinbase.

  1. “I started getting interested in Bitcoin about two years ago. Like a lot of people I initially dismissed Bitcoin as a speculative bubble (“Internet tulip bulbs”) or a place to stash money for people worried about inflation (“Internet gold”). At some point, I had an “aha!” moment and realized that Bitcoin was best understood as a new software protocol through which you could rebuild the payments industry in ways that are better and cheaper.” — (Link to source)
  2. “Let’s say you sell electronics online. Profit margins in those businesses are usually under 5 percent, which means conventional 2.5 percent payment fees consume half the margin. That’s money that could be reinvested in the business, passed back to consumers or taxed by the government. Of all of those choices, handing 2.5 percent to banks to move bits around the Internet is the worst possible choice. Another challenge merchants have with payments is accepting international payments. If you are wondering why your favorite product or service isn’t available in your country, the answer is often payments.” — (Link to source)
  3. But the most exciting aspect of Bitcoin (and this is admittedly more speculative) are all the interesting new business and technology models that “programmable money” could enable. For example, I am very bullish on micropayments (this is a longer topic which I plan to write about separately). The world recently ran its first large-scale micropayments experiment – so called in-app payments on iOS and Android – and despite some serious design flaws (centralized control, 30% fees), it was a smashing success. I think Bitcoin could enable a micropayment system for the open web, and thereby provide a business model beyond banner ads for many important services such as journalism.” — (Link to source)
  4. “Bitcoin is a serious proposal for dramatically improving the payments industry. There are plenty of open questions but I think it’s an experiment worth running.” — (Link to source)
  5. Merchants can instantly convert any Bitcoin they receive into dollars. Buyers can automatically replenish any Bitcoin they spend. Transactions that use Coinbase this way create zero net Bitcoin exposure for either party. Volatility is no longer an issue.” — (Link to source)
  6. “There’s the whole problem of fraud online, which is a massive problem, along with all of the payment fees. The interesting thing with these math-based currencies is that you can do transactions without trusting the person at all.” — (Link to source)
  7. “The Internet is an anonymous network, but it requires authenticating identity. The exciting thing about these new currency schemes is that you have these anonymous payment systems grafted onto anonymous networks.” — (Link to source)
  8. Probably 10,000 of the best developers in the world are working on [Bitcoin]. Because they are not sitting in a building called Bitcoin Incorporated people seem to miss that point.” — (Link to source)
  9. “You read these criticisms that ‘bitcoin has this flaw and bitcoin has that flaw,’ and we’re like ‘Well, great. Bitcoin has 10,000 people working hard on that’” — (Link to source)
  10. I think for a lot of people in tech, finance has been this very frustrating area. We see what happens on Wall Street, it’s very corrupt, and it’s so highly regulated that, when you do try to start a company, you run into all these regulations. [Bitcoin is] this release for the pent-up frustration. Finally something is happening in finance tech….[We spent] years in the desert there.” — (Link to source)

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