I am back in NYC after a trip around the world - with stops in London, Mumbai, Beijing, Korea, Los Angeles and Palo Alto along the way. I wrote about London and India observations in the last newsletter. A few takeaways on the rest:
- Even though China has banned cryptocurrencies, the country is putting significant resources into developing blockchain infrastructure, in the same way they put billions of dollars to work to gain a lead in artificial intelligence and mobile technology.
- In April 2017, I spoke at a tech conference in Silicon Valley and very few audience members had heard of "initial coin offerings" - I was asked to explain what they were. Last week, when I spoke at another conference all anyone wanted to talk about was blockchain and cryptocurrencies...
Facebook just announced that David Marcus, head of the company's Messenger product, will be leading a new group at Facebook focused on blockchain technology. Much of Silicon Valley has been late to see the promise of blockchain technology, partly because decentralization usurps the centralized data control that many of the tech giants have built their business models on. Last November I was on stage with Tim Draper at Web Summit in Lisbon and specifically called out Facebook - pre-Cambridge Analytica news -
I think to date we have not been able to allow all participants in an economy -
participants who give data/give information, who contribute to the economy - not
everyone has been able to get value back.
I just think about Facebook – The amount of personal information we are constantly
giving up… they are monetizing to the tune of billions of dollars through advertising
revenue by abusing our information. And what are we getting in return? We are getting
really badly retargeted ads, we are getting the Russians trying to influence our
There is a trust mechanism that is broken with the way business is done right now. And
I do believe that a token economy can change that or address that. Where the people
who are participating such as developers or citizens, can actually receive value back, in
currency that they personally care about.”
Jalak Jobanputra, November 7, 2017
Next week is Blockchain Week in NYC, ground zero from where the boom took off exactly one year ago. I hope to see announcements that display technical and market progress from the millions of dollars that went into the sector last year. I also look forward to seeing many of you at the various dinners and events. We'll have lots of news to reflect upon in the next newsletter!