Warren Buffett famously called bitcoin (BTC) “rat poison,” but venture capital experts say he and other naysayers are looking at cryptocurrencies as an “asset class” and nothing more. “This is an entirely new stack we’re going to build applications on, and the tokens are just the fuel,” said Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson during the Consensus 2018 conference in New York.
At the same time, Coinbase’s Chief Technology Officer Balaji Srinivasan predicted crypto will become the world’s largest equity market: “If Twitter turned everyone on the internet into publishers, blockchain will turn everyone in the world to investors.”
In a much-anticipated speech Wednesday, Square and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey clarified his past predictions that bitcoin will become the internet’s default currency. “The internet deserves a native currency. It will have a native currency,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be bitcoin. I hope it will.”
Mobile wallets are in fashion. HTC announced Exodus, what it calls “the world’s first blockchain phone,” featuring a universal wallet and secure hardware to support trading in ethereum (ETH), bitcoin and decentralized applications.
But that’s not all. As part of its effort to offer a more robust cryptocurrency trading exchange and expand to the U.S., social investing network eToro plans its own mobile wallet. Also, goTenna co-founder and CEO Daniela Perdomo announced plans to marry mobile mesh networking and the Samurai digital wallet to create a mobile app for cryptocurrency transfer called TxTenna.
If such transfers are reliant on internet service providers and mobile carriers, “we don’t have a decentralized currency system,” Perdomo said.
How do you attract institutional investors to cryptocurrencies? You don’t. Their clients will.
“The best way to get a big bank moving is when their clients demand exposure” to financial products like cryptocurrency, said Ledgerx President and co-founder Juthica Chou.
So how do you get those clients interested? BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes said recent lower stock volatility will drive some investors to crypto for a simple reason: “It’s more entertaining.”
There was plenty of bling at Consensus 2018. One of the most popular exhibition booths didn’t have much to do with blockchain but it certainly had flash. Crypto Jewelry showcased a display of jewel-encrusted rings emblazoned with the bitcoin logo. Its website lists a jewel-encrusted bitcoin at $13,350 USD, a bit more than the cost of one bitcoin, as of Wednesday afternoon.