Podcast #21: Blockchain and Bitcoin VC Investor, Bart Stephens

Podcast #21 features a 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.  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 touch on a host of issues as I try to better understand the blockchain, its application to Bitcoin and its impact on industry in general.  Interesting stuff as we try to peer into the future.

INTRO-

QUESTIONS-

– 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 blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.

– The term usually is the second word mentioned after hearing “Bitcoin” and “Etherium” and other digital currencies that have become popular in the last 5+ years.

– But it’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 “blockchain” helps to solve.
  • From a 30,000 foot view, “How does it work?”
  • What are the terms we need to be familiar with?
  • What is the benefit of block chain’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 general bottleneck or way of doing things that the blockchain fixes or makes more 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 the potential for Bitcoin, etherium and other ICO’s?
    • Jamie Dimon’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 can’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?

www.blockchain.capital

@pbartstephens

@blockchaincap

OUTRO

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