My guest this week is Adam Ludwin, the founder and CEO of Chain, a blockchain technology company targeted at large enterprises. Before shifting his career to focus solely on crypto, Adam was a venture capitalist focused on FinTech, which is how he came across the Bitcoin whitepaper earlier than most. I called this episode “a Sober View on Crypto” because Adam’s take is so balanced. He is certainly long crypto, both in his portfolio and career, but he is very skeptical of much of what is happening in the ecosystem today. For example, he offers the best reason I’ve heard for not launching an ICO or investing in them.
If you haven’t read Adam’s widely shared open letter to Jamie Dimon, it has become a must-read piece for crypto-enthusiasts. Read it as soon as you can.
I edited out an earlier chunk of our conversation as it was largely introductory. If you need a broader introduction to cryptocurrencies, I suggest starting with episode one of Hash Power and working your way forward. One key insight from Adam in our offline discussion what how cryptocurrencies function very much like equities or bonds. Just as equity financing enables the activity of joint stock corporations, cryptocurrencies enable activity in decentralized applications. We pick up our discussion with Adam discussing whether anyone really uses these decentralized apps today.
Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments
2:35 – (First Question) – Will anyone use cryptocurrency in the real world at a large scale
3:43 – The idea of censorship resistance
12:29 – Will society be accepting of this technology
14:39 – Why decentralized apps can’t be acquired
18:24 – The idea of exponential vs linear improvements on a trend and if there are limits to the growth of decentralized technologies
23:26 – The struggle with early adaption of blockchain
25:41 – Best application for bitcoin, storing value
29:52 – Adam’s introduction to cryptoassets and how his thinking has evolved in the space
36:44 – In this hyper frothy market, is there a situation that makes an ICO exciting to Adam
43:51 – Even though it appears to be easy money, Adam explains why you shouldn’t just create an ICO
50:59 – A look at what Chain is doing and what Adam is excited about
53:23 – How does what Adam is working on help to improve the ledger of his clients
1:02:00 – Why you can easily be an early investor in crypto currency
1:04:27 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Adam