The current rush of coverage and excitement about crypto-currency inspired Sandra and me to cover the topic on Popping the Bubbl. Sandra had the perfect person in her contacts, Richard Titus.
This write up of our conversation doesn't come close to capturing the topics covered in the episode. Be sure to listen, subscribe and rate.
A quick aside--During prep for the show I enjoyed reading Titus’ LinkedIn article on leaving Samsung; you will too.
A guy with Titus’ background and perspective is exactly what we crave on Popping the Bubbl. Richard is a serial entrepreneur, a former Beach Boys roadie, multiple-exit founder and a venture capitalist--WOW.
The crypto-based conversations I’ve experienced run the spectrum from “All-In” gambler to cynical pessimist. Illustrating the wide-open nature of crypto based conversations, Richard relayed a story about his Thanksgiving this year. While he and his friends discussed crypto, the conversation started with the group firm in their resistance. “Crypto is for drug dealers.” By the time he left, Titus had the group excited about investing!
As with a lot of market disruptors, the dust-up during the pending collapse of an old market is filled with bluster, pontificating and outdated expertise. This collage of opinions and forecasts makes knowing what to expect impossible. Despite the obvious risks in crypto investing, Richard discusses some of the big picture trends and facts that illuminate the reason, so many people are bullish about cryptocurrency.
Richard also notes some of the outlandish things that he’s experienced along the way. He recalled a few years ago, bragging to his wife that he used 2 BitCoins to buy pizza; oops that turned out to be, a $30,000 pie. He also reports to us about a hard drive with about a million dollars of crypto in his garage or storage somewhere. Of course, he’s misplaced not only the electronic wallet but also the passwords to gain access to it.
“Something like 20% of all the BitCoin ever mined has been inactive for a very long time and is assumed lost or destroyed.” – Richard Titus on Popping the Bubbl
As Richard describes the Cryptoshpere, he notes that he’s been “Long” on it for years. His beginning goes back to reading and providing notes to friend Mark Jeffrey on his book BitCoin Explained.
He also credited Michael Terpin for keeping his interest and knowledge fresh by inviting him to sit on panels at his crypto-based events. This perch allowed Richard the chance to survey the landscape and get a better feel for the what was coming.
What in the heck is crypto though? Richard helped us frame what BitCoin is and what can crypto be used for. Yes, BitCoin can be used to purchase things, but think of it less as a currency and more of a store of value. It’s more akin to gold.
Of course, some cryptocurrencies will emulate and replace money, others will act as service tokens granting access to a gym a membership, maybe a unique value added for an investor. Others will emulate contracts and title records. Also, ICOs which are highly speculative means of democratizing the raising of capital for startups. Still, feeling uncertain about what Crypto is, does or can be, that’s the emerging nature of crypto.
Richard submits that BitCoin is a solid hedge against the Dollar. Further, the dollar has been losing value and purchasing power for a long time. Meanwhile, BitCoin has grown exponentially, and its value is directly proportional to the number of people trading in it.
Finally, for those that challenge that BitCoin isn’t real in terms of a value, neither is, Richard points out, the Dollar. Ultimately, BitCoin is tradeable in more currencies than the Dollar. That’s right, BitCoin is more wide-reaching in terms of trading power.
One question that hits the hardest. In an environment when disruption is the norm, where decades old or even older industries are being toppled, why would banking, ledgers and currency exchange be any different?