Fall 2019 Multicoin Summit Recap (VIDEOS)
Disclosure: Multicoin has established, maintains and enforces written policies and procedures reasonably designed to identify and effectively manage conflicts of interest related to its investment activities. Multicoin Capital abides by a “No Trade Policy” for the assets listed in this report for 72 hours (“No Trade Period”) following its public release. No officer, director or employee shall purchase or sell any of the aforementioned assets during the No Trade Period. Multicoin is an investor in Bakkt, Skale, Helium, and Arweave. At the time of publication, Multicoin Capital is also long BNB.
Our summits are deliberately thematic. They seek to opine on the major events of the previous two quarters, shine a light on the most compelling developments in the space, and pinpoint hardest questions left to solve.
Our most recent summit centered around three major discussions: the institutional mindset with regard to crypto, the implications of exchange and neo-bank innovation, and tangible evidence of growth during the doldrum. You can see videos from the November 2019 Summit here, and videos from our prior summits on our Youtube page.
The first theme is one that we’ve discussed at every nearly event since inception. More recently, at our spring summit in Half Moon Bay, we invited Chris Bartholomew of The UNC Management Company and Ray Hindi of L1 Digital to share their knowledge and perspectives about institutional portfolio construction. Building on that conversation this fall, we invited Marcos Veremis, a Managing Director at Cambridge Associates (which has roughly $400 billion in assets under advisement), to talk us through his landmark report, “Cryptoassets: Venturing into the Unknown,” and explore how he thinks about crypto exposure, portfolio construction, manager selection, investment committee deliberation, and much, much more. This discussion, guided by Tushar, is one of the most deep and insightful conversations on the topic we’ve publicly had to date. It was definitely a highlight of the day.
Moving into the second track, exchanges were one of the most exciting spaces to watch in 2019. Anyone that follows our blog closely knows that we’ve been paying very close attention to the space since 2018. Building on our previous research, Kyle published a new thesis on “Exchanges are Open Finance” right before the summit, and at the event presented a complementary presentation called “Exchanges are Next Generation Neo-Banks.” Both are worth reading and watching within the same context. In this presentation Kyle makes the argument that crypto payment rails—which are global, open, censorship resistant, and permissionless—make the addressable market for crypto-enabled financial services global. This was never possible for financial services.
It wouldn’t be right to talk about exchanges without inviting the two elephants in the room: Binance and Bakkt.
This time around we were fortunate to host Catherine Coley, the CEO of Binance.us, for a wide ranging conversation covering the history of Binance, her background, the company’s mega-vision, and what’s in store for the Binance.us in the near term. Immediately following the summit, Tushar also published “Binance is Blitzscaling.” Many of the core ideas in this post are alluded to and discussed further in his conversation with Catherine.
We were also fortunate to host Adam White, the COO of Bakkt, to contribute to the conversation around exchanges. We’re proud investors in Bakkt. To say the least, it’s been excited to watch them take off. In this conversation, led by Bobby Cho, the President and Partner of CMS Holdings, Adam talks about his early days at Coinbase, wood-chopping culture, the backstory behind Bakkt’s grand debut, and their future plans to enter the consumer market. Coincidently, this conversation dovetails nicely with the discussion around the current institutional mindset.
Beyond exchanges, in a first for us this year, we also welcomed a handful of portfolio companies to show and tell. It’s easy to let the market and prices distract from the real innovation in the space. We felt it was necessary to prominently display some of the most compelling ideas that we’ve seen to date, much of which are already live and working in the wild.
Sam Williams, the founder of Arweave, gave a math-packed talk on how it’s possible to build a network that incentives participants to store data forever. Permanence is at worst a foreign object to most and at best a hard concept to grasp. Sam does an incredible job of explaining how, simply, in pure economic terms, it's possible to create permanence as a new development primitive using endowment-like thinking. Shortly following the summit, on November 5, Arweave announced their seed round. Though we couldn’t say it at the time, we participated in that round and invested alongside our friends at a16z crypto and Union Square Ventures (you can read Multicoin’s Arweave investment thesis here).
Frank Mong, the COO of Helium, then walked us through the incredible traction of the People’s Network (over 1,800 hotspots now and still counting). At this rate, Helium might go down as the fastest telecom rollout in history. He also announced the Patron Program on stage, a new way for network patrons to help on-board and manage city-scale hotspot operations. I personally couldn’t be more excited about this. Atlanta, Chicago and Denver already have super-patrons stepping up. And, most recently, Brad Feld, the co-founder of Foundry Group, recently showed off his cache of 50 hotspots in Boulder. He’s looking for homes for 40 of them. Fill out this form for the opportunity to get one. You can also order one here, but fair warning, there is a limited supply.
Jack O’Holleran, the CEO and Co-Founder of Skale, followed Frank and walked us through the impressive growth of the Skale Network. Currently in testnet, Skale is one of the most beloved projects in the Ethereum community, and for good reason: it just works. Over the course of this year it’s been incredible to watch Jack and his team summit one obstacle after the next. We’re very excited to watch Skale come to market next year. Watch this talk to hear what’s in store for the network in 2020.
And so, without further ado, below are the full videos from the Fall 2019 Multicoin Sumit. All of our talks from previous summits are also on our youtube channel. Subscribe if you’d like to stay up to date with our latest.
Opening Remarks, Presented by Tushar Jain
Tushar gave the opening remarks at the Fall 2019 summit. He covers the significance of China entering the global crypto stage, the emergence of a new international space race, and our new strategic hire, Mable Jiang, in Beijing.
Exchanges Are Next Generation Neo-Banks
Following the opening remarks, Kyle delivered a new presentation that outlines the firm's thesis on the role of exchanges in the ecosystem and the emergence of “Neobanks.”
Fireside Chat: Marcos Veremis, Cambridge Associates
Marcos Veremis, a Managing Director with Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm that works with premier institutional investors, private investors, and family offices, joined us for an hour following Kyle's presentation to discuss his landmark report, "Cryptoassets: Venturing into the Unknown." Interviewed by Tushar Jain, this conversation traverses everything from institutional portfolio construction, to manager selection, to global-economic investment theses.
Fireside Chat: Adam White, COO Bakkt
Adam White, the COO of Bakkt, one of the most promising companies in crypto founded in 2018 by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), was our next keynote. Bakkt officially launched on September 23, 2019. It is hailed as the most regulated infrastructure for bitcoin markets and custody today. Interviewed by Bobby Cho, president and partner at CMS Holdings and former head of DRW’s crypto business, this conversation traverses the impact and implications of physically-delivered BTC futures coming to market for the first time.
Arweave: Exploring the Implications of the Permanent Web with Sam Williams
Sam Williams, the CEO & Founder of Arweave, a novel data storage blockchain protocol that enables a permanent, serverless web, will took the stage next to discuss and the first-, second-, and third-order effects of creating a truly permanent data storage mechanism for the first time.
Helium: Announcing the Helium Patron Program
Frank Mong, the COO of Helium, took the stage next to talk about Helium’s incredible rollout since April 2019 and to announce the Helium Patron Program.
Skale: The Path to Scaling Kilimanjaro
Jack O'Holleran, the CEO of Skale, presents an overview of Skale's elastic blockchain network and touches on the most recent and upcoming milestones for the project.
Closing Keynote: Catherine Coley, CEO Binance.US
Catherine Coley, the CEO of Binance.US, closed out this year's summit with a tell-all since the company’s launch in September 2019.