On Tuesday evening at the WeWork Times Square in New York, Charlie Shrem and Marco Santori featured in an hour-plus long panel covering a wide range of topics in the Bitcoin space, including ICOs, the Ethereum hard fork and blockchain initiatives, in front of about 70 people.
The CoinDesk-run panel, moderated by chief editor Pete Rizzo, was streamed on Facebook Live. A lighter demeanor permeated throughout the evening as topics were delved into with depth, honesty, and hope given an increasing understanding of the ongoing issues surrounding Bitcoin by a wider audience.
Shrem began by expressing his deep appreciation to be back and active in the Bitcoin community, and quipped about how much has changed over the past few years since taking time off from the space.
In an exchange with Santori, when the term “DLT” popped up, Charlie in turn was completely confused over what this meant!
Marco and the laughing audience knew all too well that “Distributed Ledger Technology” is an ongoing race towards taming blockchain into simply an Oracle-style database.
Charlie provided enthusiastic, experienced thoughts throughout, and even shared some initial details around Mainstreet.ky — a blockchain securitized asset platform that will look to pool investments in infrastructure and manufacturing companies.
On the Trend of ICOs
ICOs are increasing in popularity and amplifying regulatory pressures, while luring investors and curious entrepreneurs alike. Speaking to this, Shrem remarked, “ICOs are a really cool model, but it depends on how you’re doing it… you need to be careful of the legal ramifications, the technology behind it, with proper storage, and sound technology, otherwise it’s risky like TheDAO.”
From a legal perspective, demand for blockchain-related professional services and legal advice is also increasing. Santori drew parallels to earlier innovation in crowdfunding, adding “I’m a big appcoin supporter, I think it’s a great model… When you look at Kickstarter, that model, there were a lot of skeptics at first. There’s a lot to learn from their model to get it right without selling securities.”
Shrem on the Ethereum Hard Fork
Charlie: “I was so against the hard fork…. I cried about that originally…. The whole point is about integrity…. Having data on the blockchain that can’t be turned back… It was a very bad precedent that was set… But, look what we have now? Two huge communities that have been growing… It’s okay to have differences of opinion… Perhaps in the early days of Bitcoin this was not the case.”
Santori on the Delaware Blockchain Initiative
Excitingly, there are ongoing programs being developed to facilitate the issuance of blockchain-based shares for small companies. T0 and AirBitz have been pioneering in this work, and the Delaware Blockchain Initiative is bringing a new level of muscle to the mainstream regulatory adoption of the technology.
Santori detailed his excitement, saying “There’s very cool things going on around corporate security and entrepreneurial laws… We can put a security on a blockchain for a small company… the native asset is the corporate share, the security… It is the “Blockchain/DLT ‘Holy Land’.”
On Central Banks and Digital Currency
Marco: Utility settlement coin (USC) is a project between a few of the world’s largest banks so that they don’t have to settle transactions…. There’s a tremendous cost saving to not have to remediate at the end of the day… What if the Bank Of England steps in and gives recognition to a coin like this? Then all of a sudden these coins have real value.
One additional topic of note was that leading Bitcoin exchange CoinBase received a subpoena from the IRS regarding identities of customers from the 2013-2015 period.
All in all, the event was a success. The audience even got to play a game of bingo based off of which words were mentioned, with rewards in bitcoin.
“We have two subreddits now, for Bitcoin”, Shrem joked.
“It could have died, it could have went away, and it did the complete opposite. Bitcoin is back with a vengeance, baby!”
What do you think about the CoinDesk on Tap panel’s discussion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: Ryan Strauss