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.
– 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?