So, my first question is about a very big piece of news recently which is Facebook’s Libra coin or the Facebook powered coin Libra. What do you think the significance is of that development for the industry in general? And how do you think it will change? What we’re seeing so far? I think it’s great for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general, that a company as huge as Facebook is taking it seriously, taking blockchain technology and cryptocurrency seriously enough to launch its own coin.
I think it will be great what they do. It’s already interesting seeing how they’ve innovated with their own smart contracts, the language, you know, their plan to move to proof-of-stake – all of these decisions have already been really interesting to see. I don’t think Libra can compete with bitcoin, I think there are two different things.
I think it actually can help Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Libra is not going to be permissionless, you’re going to have Facebook approving a hundred validators around the network. So it’s not also private I think, there is a chance Facebook will be able to access and use your data like it already is.
And because of all those things, it’s not censorship-resistant like Bitcoin and Ether and other cryptocurrencies. And I think that’s the most important part about cryptos themselves. So I don’t think it can compete for that directly in that sense. It’s not solving the same use case basically? Yeah, I think it is solving one use case which is to enable cross-border transfers easily.
I mean right now we have local country transfers pretty well resolved, at least in the U.S. with things like PayPal and Venmo, but transferring value across borders is still very difficult in the traditional financial world.
It can be done with bitcoin and, I think it’s one of the important use case – cross-border transfers. And I think that’s where Libra will be making an impact. Well, it doesn’t compete with bitcoin, it does compete with traditional banks, with other fintech, with PayPal and Venmo, as I mentioned. So yeah, I think Facebook does have a good chance of solving value transfers. Making it just easier to do.
So you mentioned competing with other banks, and there was also news this week about JPM coin’s launch date, which is set for later this year, and I’m wondering, I guess, how would you compare those two coins or those two developments. Is it worth comparing, and basically the same question about JPM coin, what are your thoughts on that? So I think JPM coin is a bit different.
It’s like in another league in terms of impact, I think its impact is less, because JPM coin is aimed at institutional clients, and I understand a very reduced number of institutional clients, I think it’s, you know, they’re still in the very early stages of actually having it become more widely used within the bank.
So yeah, JP Morgan is obviously a huge bank, but I don’t think it’s in everyone’s lives as much as Facebook is like people use different banks. So speaking about bitcoin, back to the decentralized cryptocurrencies.
What do you think about the recent rally that we’ve seen with bitcoin and in general in the crypto market? Do you have any thoughts about what’s driven that or expectations for where it’s going, because we’ve seen a couple of predictions recently? New predictions from Anthony Pompliano, talking about bitcoin hitting $100K by 2021, and Tom Lee, who often make predictions saying that bitcoin would easily pass its all-time highs of $20,000 and I’m wondering what you think about what’s going on in the past week or so? I think the recent rally has a lot to do with the things we’ve been talking about.
You know, Facebook, JP Morgan, just big companies looking at blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. But also we’ve seen volume increase in places like Hong Kong and Venezuela, where people continue to use Bitcoin as a censorship-resistant currency. So I think all those things are surfacing news, are making headlines, people are looking at this news and saying or realizing cryptocurrencies aren’t dead.
They’re still thriving. People still believe that this technology can make an impact. And so they start buying again, and it’s just like this virtuous cycle that we’re getting into again with crypto. And we’ll continue to have value in the long term. Of course, it will be very volatile. So, whenever people ask me: “Should I buy?”, I say: “If you believe in it, sure.” But it will come with ups and downs.
And, you know, I think it’s so risky that nobody should be holding more than they can afford to lose at this point. What’s your opinion overall of mainstream media’s coverage of the cryptocurrency and the blockchain industry in general? I’ve seen it evolve and become better and better. I think when I started covering myself at Bloomberg in 2017, I didn’t know much about this.
Maybe I had some general knowledge, but you know, by the end of 2017, I knew a lot more. And I think many journalists went through kind of that same evolution. And I’ve seen that in covers, I think it’s improved.
And I think as we continue to see these big companies embrace blockchain technology and launch different, their own cryptocurrencies, maybe people will be forced to take it seriously and we’ll see more dedicated cryptocurrency teams, more knowledgeable editors and reporters.
I wanted to also ask you a little bit about your upcoming book, which as I understand is about Ethereum. Could you just give a brief summary of the topic of the book, other than Ethereum, and maybe talk a little bit about why you decided to write it? Sure, okay, so my book is on the history of Ethereum.
It’s a non-technical book focusing on the early days or kind of the back story of how the second biggest cryptocurrency was created. And I decided to write it because like I mentioned, covering this huge bubble in 2017, at the end of the year I knew I had witnessed something that’s really important and I had always wanted to write a book. So I looked at the cryptocurrency space and said, you know, this is my chance to write a book. Like this is something that’s important, that will have a lasting impact.
I think it deserves to be documented in a more permanent way. And I thought that Ethereum was the most interesting story to be told. I think the story about Bitcoin has been told really well and many times. The story of Ethereum hasn’t really been told at all.
And I think it’s really important. Like it’s already made an impact in the blockchain space bringing it forward from being a way to transfer money, from being a way to have smart contracts and decentralized applications and bring just functionality.
Just enabling money to become more functional, more programmable. So I think whether it wins or not remains to be seen, but it’s already made an impact.