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
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?