Block Con Day 2, held at Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying on Wednesday, October 11, was packed with just as many household blockchain names as Day 1. Discussions started off early on a popular crypto topic: decentralized content monetization, which highlighted projects Sense, Yours, Everipedia, and Data Wallet. Ryan Charles, who was tasked by Reddit at one point to lead their cryptocurrency pursuits, sat on the panel.
Another interesting conversation took place in the early afternoon. Entitled “The Family Office Perspective on Investing in Crypto and ICOs,” it featured Sam Englebardt (Galaxy Investment Partners), Will Peets (Passport Capital), J. Alan Reid Jr. (Arista Group) and Kavita Gupta (ConsenSys).
The discussion focused on how small family offices might involve bitcoin or blockchain in their daily operations. It might be a simple one family member being convinced that blockchain is transformational, and a good fit for their family business.
Ms. Gupta, who runs ConsenSys’ venture fund, discussed that many small family businesses in the Middle East have expressed interest in blockchain for their small business.
Later, Ariel Musiera gave a speech on Rootstock, and building a better bitcoin. His speech was particularly interesting due to the relation to bitcoin. Most of Block Con focused on blockchain generally or specifically Ethereum or an ERC20 Standard token. RSK is seeking to advance bitcoin technology to make smart contracts on the first cryptocurrency platform a reality.
In between presentations, blockchain peer-to-peer payment company Verse conducted the first digital currency transaction in virtual reality with blockchain platform NEM’s NanoWallet transaction platform. The demonstration was presented by Matrix.AI. The demonstration included a PayPal-esque exchange, as well as an e-commerce type exchange for a flight on the virtual ‘Crypto Hawk’, a reference to the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk, and also the conference’s location at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying. You can see the video here:
In a panel called “Investment Frameworks in Token Capital Markets”, some of the space’s best known venture capitalists discussed their methods of analyzing tokens and teams. The panel included Spencer Bogart (Blockchain Capital), Darsh Singh (Hazoor Partners), Tucker Waterman (Distributed Global), and was moderated by Stan Miroshnik.
“We are not re-inventing the wheel,” said Mr. Bogart. “First thing we are looking at is the team. We need to believe in an entrepreneur.”
He added: “We understand particularly at the seed stage that a lot of these investments might not work out.”
Later on in the evening, Boost VC founder Adam Draper, a fourth generation venture capitalist, gave a light hearted speech, which elicited laughs from many in the audience. It focused on his 10 rules for surviving crypto.
“I’ve been in the space for five or six years, and this is me welcoming all of you to the space, even if you were in it before me,” he said. His speech, though a comedy routine more or less, worked after a long day of technical presentations.
“Never stop talking about crypto.”
He added: “We were incentivized by a protocol to talk about it,” he said. “I’ve been talking about bitcoin and the price went up. So just don’t stop talking about it. We are the marketers. You are a node in this mechanism”
“Buy some bitcoin.”
“Sorry, it drives me nuts when someone is pitching me about bitcoin and they don’t own any,” reasons Draper.
“Interchangeably use bitcoin, blockchain, crypto, network and distributed ledger, and no one will question you.”
He gives an example.
“This network is distributed with a ledger and it’s built on a blockchain.”
“Constantly talk about that one time you met Vitalik Buterin.”
He then talked about when he met Buterin. “I met Vitalik in North Carolina, at a bitcoin conference,” the venture capitalist recalled. “I didn’t believe Ethereum was going to be a thing, and I am very wrong.”
“Argue about how forking is a good idea.”
“Argue about how forking is a bad idea.”
“Having met Vitalik Buterin is not a qualification for a resume update to crypto advisor on LinkedIn.”
“Don’t start a crypto fund.”
“Craig Wright is not Satoshi.”
Draper ended the presentation with some words of advice. “It’s enthusiasm meets intelligence,” he said. “It’s an exciting place, and that’s why everyone is gathered here. Its an exciting thing with lots of unknowns. Everyone is trying to find the answers. What I want everyone to do is participate in a way that is building value. Build true value, set out to solve the problem you set out to solve.”
Block Con was an impressive event, featuring many attendees, interesting companies, good food and beautiful weather.
Blockchain Capital’s Mr. Bogart gave worthwhile advice while on stage at the token heavy event: those who are not well-funded or experts in the space should stick to buying, first and foremost, Bitcoin.
Be sure to check out the review of Day 1 here.