Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Smailmail: Blockchain, Softbank and moar

Slow Ventures Snailmail

 Snailmail: Blockchain, Softbank and moar

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Welcome to the second edition of Slow Snailmail.  Why are we doing it? Learn more here.  Got this forwarded and want to subscribe? Go to: 

🎟 Hot Tip: This Bitcoin Thing Could Be Big

The recent dip in the price of BTC and other crypto-token-asset-kitties may have taken some of the sheen off the most recent bout of euphoria, but we at Slow have the highly contrarian opinion that this thing is for real - it might even be as big a deal as the internet itself.

If you want a fun fictional piece check out Auren Hoffman's Secret Conspiracy to Kill Bitcoin .. if you are just getting up to speed we love the Epicenter YouTube channel and the Proof of Work Newsletter

Sam has also been writing a lot about his views on the space over the last ~year in The Information.  If you want to read what he is up to (and aren't a TI subscriber yet) these links will give you free one-time access to his writing on things like….

Blockchains and The Right to Be Forgotten; Blockchain technology challenges existing regulations governing content on the internet, rendering impractical the 'right to be forgotten' in Europe.  #Welcome_GDPR!

The Double Edged Sword of Using Blockchains for Identity Portability; Many technologists are excited about using blockchain to make identities portable on the internet, but it will likely come with strings attached.

The Intellectual Tension Between Social Networks and Blockchains; Usually we think of centralization and consistency going hand in hand. The same holds true of decentralization and nuance. But blockchains and social networks may be reversing those historical norms.

Stable Coins, Oracles, Trust, and Identity; Connecting the physical world to the digital world in a trusted way is a critical problem to solve in order to take advantage of many of the most exciting parts of new technologies like blockchains. But it is extremely hard to do even in the simplest of cases like price stabilized currencies.

The Future of Hybrid Centralized-Decentralized Apps; Blockchain-based services are designed to be more trustworthy than centralized models, but they are also less efficient and more expensive to run. That means companies have to figure out where it makes sense to use distributed services to build trust and where it doesn't.

We can also look back laugh at the quaintness of his columns from a year ago on the topic like Seven Key Questions in the Cryptocurrency World and Time to Pay Attention to Cryptocurrencies #simpler_times when crypto-equity was just emerging as a killer 'app'

And, of course, we look forward to holding him accountable for his 14 Predictions on what will happen in crypto in 2018 - some of these bets are already looking better than others.

💵 Did I overhear you ask about Softbank?

The Softbank Vision Fund is way more logical than the majority of the people give it credit for. A lot of the innovation and risk in "software eats the world" (for better or worse) isn't technical, but in the branding / customer acquisition v LTV / operational excellence. There is very little disagreement from the market / investors that these software enabled products & services will exist. You can see that in how things have played out. A number of companies are funded going after the same opportunity and end up killing each other (and burning lots of cash) in the marketing channel. For the most part, the company with the best access to liquidity wins (if anyone at all is able to convince investors that they will emerge unscathed). Online lending is a great example of this. So is ridesharing / transportation. The list goes on. I would bet if you looked, the collective group of companies in these sectors raises just about what a typical Vision Fund check is. They are effectively funding the marketing / awareness costs for an entire sector (which everyone agrees should exist) but dramatically increasing the odds of being invested in the winner - by essentially anointing the winner. There is a strong argument to be made that what they are doing is actually a much more efficient allocation of capital. And usually there are strong returns to be had in harvesting inefficiencies… -- WQ

🤔 Short Thoughts & Novelties:

  • For those of you raising daughters, you can promote change and create the foundation for a better future from home.

  • You should really read Who Owns The Future by Jaron Lanier - especially this week. There are things to debate him on, but his view of tech and economics is worth mulling over.

  • For something lighter, but also important for understanding the 20th century and how weird the 21st is getting…read Warren Miller's Freedom Found.

  • We spend a lot of time at work, so make sure you enjoy it. Adam Grant's TED original podcast has great insight on this.

  • Molly's Game is apparently great.  Any predictions on whether Ready Player One will be amazing or disappointing?  We are betting 60% on rotten tomatoes.

  • Tuff Sheds…are surprisingly awesome.
💡 Management Tip of The Week:

Never argue with an idiot.  They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"  - Mark Twain, or George Carlin, or Greg King, or Proverbs 26:4, because #truth

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