Podcast #21 features aÂ fascinating conversation with Bart Stephens on the emergence of Bitcoin and blockchain.
Bart is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of BLOCKCHAIN CAPITAL, the first VC firm to raise a venture fund through an ICO, and the most active VC investor in the sector, with 72 portfolio companies across three funds.Â Bart is also a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Stephens Investment Management, a family owned and operated hedge fund and venture capital firm. Bart has a background of 20 years as both an operating entrepreneur and a venture capitalist. Bart earned a B.A. in Political Science from Princeton University.
We touchÂ on a host of issues as I try to better understand the blockchain, its application to Bitcoin and its impact on industry in general.Â Interesting stuff as we try to peer into the future.
– Bart, you have a diverse background
You started out at E-Trade and come from a deep background of operating and investing in technology based venture capital.
What lessons did you pick up from your early experiences?
– Now onto the blockchainÂ is a continuously growing list ofÂ records, calledÂ blocks, which are linked and secured usingÂ cryptography.
– The term usually is the second word mentioned after hearing â€œBitcoinâ€ and â€œEtheriumâ€ and other digital currencies that have become popular in the last 5+ years.
– But itâ€™s the blockchain system of recording and verifying transactions and data that seems to be the exciting game-changer across many industries.
– Bart, perhaps a brief rundown of understanding what the blockchain is and how it works
- Help us understand the problem that â€œblockchainâ€ helps to solve.
- From a 30,000 foot view, “How does it work?â€
- What are the terms we need to be familiar with?
- What is the benefit ofÂ block chainâ€™s decentralization and affirmation of data by consensus?
- How does that disintermediate current manual processes and improve security over the system
- Public blockchain systems vs. private systems- can you make money on the public systems or is it the private systems where you have to play?
What will Blockchain impact?
- What is the generalÂ bottleneck or way of doing things that the blockchain fixes or makes moreÂ efficient?
- Benefits for recording of events,
- Helping with medical records,
- Helping with identity management,
- Helping with transaction processing
- Improvements for provenance or basis tracking
- Other examples?
- Back to the currencies- where do you see theÂ potential for Bitcoin, etherium and other ICOâ€™s?
- Jamie Dimonâ€™s comment
- Banking in underserved markets
- More frictionless and cheaper e-commerce transactions
- Impact on Western Union and traditional banks?
- Conflict with money laundering, banking secrecy laws?
- Where are blockchain advancements really going to affect financial institutions?
Where are the opportunities?
- Describe some of the themes and businesses that are interesting
What are the dangers?
- What seems like a fad or a business theme that is going in the wrong direction?
- Is there a risk that computational power canâ€™t keep up with the explosion of data?
- Without centralized records, is that a problem?
- What if we get an EMP?
What is the best way to follow the development of blockchain?
How do we stay in touch with you?