The First Block Podcast
TFB#18: Kartik Mandaville on building a decentralized verified identity platform for professionals

TFB#18: Kartik Mandaville on building a decentralized verified identity platform for professionals

June 25, 2019

Kartik Mandaville is the founder and CEO of Springrole which is one of India’s best known companies that’s utilizing blockchain technology in a useful way. While Springrole say they are building a decentralized ‘verified professional identity’ platform for professionals, a simpler way to put it is that they are building LinkedIn but on a blockchain – and there’s a good reason why that’s the better way to do it.

0:30 Introduction to SpringRole | 1:10 Motivation to get into the tech world | 4:00 When he got interested in blockchain | 4:40 The idea behind SpringRole | 7:07 Why blockchain was the right solution | 8:80 Evolution of Springrole | 10:28 SpringRole as a non-fintech product on Ethereum | 12:50 The SpringRole token and user base | 17:40 How stakeholders fit in? | 19:21 Can SpringRole co-exist with LinkedIn | 20:49 Indiastack and the Government’s role in digitization | 24:13 Misinterpretation by banks and government by association with crypto | 25:04 Future of SpringRole | 28:10 Product-market fit | 30:00 The SpringRole culture | 40:40 The Superhumans’ Lunch culture | 42:27 His philosophy on leadership and team building | 44:25 Conclusion 

 

TFB#17: The Hydrogen Team on building the Financial Web 3.0

TFB#17: The Hydrogen Team on building the Financial Web 3.0

June 24, 2019

In this podcast, we talked to Mark Anstead, Harsh Rajat and Saurav Kumar from the Hydrogen Team. Mark, Harsh and Saurav are the decentralization ambassadors for the platform. The Hydrogen platform allows enterprises and developers globally to prototype, build, test, and deploy financial technology applications and products. Hydro and Atom are the key products that are launched by the platform. Atom allows users to develop digital financial applications, while Hydro allows the use of public blockchains in private financial systems. Hydrogen won the FinTech Rising Star Trophy in the India FinTech Awards 2018. The platform also has a community development programme called Hydro Community Development Program (HCDP). This allows the community to take on development tasks like SDK and code library development, bugs and software improvement etc. and they are rewarded with Hydro (HYDRO) tokens.

1.20: A brief introduction to the Hydrogen Platform | 3.00: Why is it important to have a decentralized financial infrastructure? | 7.47: What is the difference between the Hydrogen platform and ‘Hydro’ product? | 9.42: How was blockchain the solution to the problem that Hydrogen was trying to tackle? | 14.41: How does Hydrogen acts as an interface between private companies and public blockchains? | 16.46: What is the roadmap of Hydrogen and its development of Dapps? | 26.01: How is Hydrogen different from its competitors in terms of compliance? | 30.19: How can a non-tech savvy person understand and use hydrogen? | 33.29: What is Hydro token ecosystem? | 38.25: How does the Hydro ecosystem tackle the issues related to governance? | 42.34: What is Hydro community development program(HCDP)? | 47.54: What is the scope of the financial ecosystem in the near future?

TFB#16: Morgan Housel on the psychology of money, the power of writing, and the changing nature of media

TFB#16: Morgan Housel on the psychology of money, the power of writing, and the changing nature of media

June 24, 2019

01:04 Content and blogging in 2019 | 03:23 Morgan’s journey to being a writer and a partner at Collaborative Fund | 09:02 The power of writing | 10:48 Using content to build brand equity | 12:40 How Morgan’s thoughts on writing have changed | 16:30 Being authentic and telling a good story | 18:20 How media is changing | 25:11 Going down the crypto rabbit hole | 29:12 Crypto through the lens of history and investment psychology | 36:54 Crypto as a social experiment | 42:20 “The Psychology of Money” | 45:46 Applying the “Psychology of Money” to investing | 48:38 The influence of Skill and luck in performance and investing | 52:43 Where crypto is headed | 55:51 Takeaways for a young audience

TFB#15: Lou Kerner on going down the crypto rabbit hole

TFB#15: Lou Kerner on going down the crypto rabbit hole

May 16, 2019

Lou Kerner is the co-founder and partner at Crypto Oracle. Lou has been a crypto enthusiast and investor since 2013 and is recognized as one of the most influential crypto voices and writers out there. Lou was previously a Partner at the decentralized VC, Flight, where he managed The Israel Founders Syndicate that invested in tech companies founded by Israelis. He was also the Managing Partner of the Social Internet Fund and has also spent some time at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, taking an interest in emerging technologies as an analyst and investor.

01:19 Background on Crypto Oracle | 03:54 Lou’s crypto journey - ideas, meetups and more | 07:25 Going down the crypto rabbit hole | 09:57 What makes crypto different from other emerging tech? | 12:03 Launching a decentralized VC fund | 14:08 Crypto vs ‘Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft & Google’ [FAMGA] | 17:57 FAMGA blockchain developments | 20:53 Decentralization - in principle vs practice | 22:39 BTC’s endgame | 26:22 Keeping the crypto community enthused | 28:39 Security tokens and opportunities they represent | 31:00 Institutional developments | 33:14 Incentives providing momentum for the crypto tech & community in 2019 | 34:49 Helping people appreciate cryptos as the biggest development in human history | 36:48 Conclusion

 

TFB#14: Darshan Bathija on building a customer-first bank leveraging blockchain technology

TFB#14: Darshan Bathija on building a customer-first bank leveraging blockchain technology

May 9, 2019

Darshan Bathija is the founder and CEO of Bank of Hodlers, which is one of the most exciting crypto projects being developed in India. They are building a Customer-First Bank leveraging blockchain technology which includes the provision of services like insurance against crypto thefts from exchanges, crypto credit cards and also crypto backed loans. They have just had their official launch in the last week of April and are hoping to be a key cog in the decentralised finance (DeFi) sphere in the months to come.

01:10 Darshan’s background and entry point into crypto | 06:12 How traditional banking is failing customers and the reasons for the existence of Bank of Hodlers |10:33 Why does a crypto solution fit the modern demands of banking | 12:50 Which part of the BoH business model needs to be decentralized | 15:58 Why was Maker the preferred partner for what they are doing | 19:05 Potential of BoH and DeFi to make a real-world impact | 22:03 BoH roadmap including asset-backed loans & crypto cards and insurance against thefts on crypto exchanges | 25:07 How BoH is the ‘missing piece of Satoshi’s vision’ | 28:36 Darshan’s experience of building a blockchain project in a crypto-hostile environment such as India | 30:44 What we can expect from them?

TFB #13: Naimish Sanghvi on why India needs crypto

TFB #13: Naimish Sanghvi on why India needs crypto

May 2, 2019

Naimish Sanghvi is the founder of Coin Crunch India, which is ‘India’s trusted crypto news source’. Aside from Coincrunch.in he also runs FinallyJobless.com and has been a journalist at Network18, a technology consultant at Deloitte and a Business Analysts at Infosys before quitting corporate jobs and venturing out to explore the world. Naimish has been a strong advocate for crypto in India and has not been shy about keeping people, exchanges and regulators honest as the industry has developed in the country over the past few years. He also recently launched a crypto and blockchain news series that aims to cover the latest big announcements in this space – in both English and Hindi.

Overview

0:30 Introduction | 1:52 When did Naimish start paying attention to crypto? | 6:33 Coin Crunch India adhering to standards of journalism | 9:26 Crypto Kanoon as an example for accessible crypto journalism in India | 12:57 Using crypto assets in day to day life | 13:35 Sustainability of crypto exchanges in India | 14:07 Perspective about the exchange ecosystem in India | 16:02 The fate of cryptocurrencies in India | 18:23 Govt’s take on cryptocurrencies being a Ponzi scheme | 22:09 View on the OKex event in Mumbai | 31:43 Does India need cryptos and use cases of cryptos in India | 36:31 Take on censorship resistance for day to day activities | 38:55 Naimish’s areas of interest in cryptos | 41:34 Future of crypto in India | 45:15 Hopes for crypto in 2019

TFB #12: Shikha Mehra on how governments will adapt to a world of crypto assets

TFB #12: Shikha Mehra on how governments will adapt to a world of crypto assets

April 26, 2019

Shikha Mehra is the co-founder of MainChain, a firm that specializes in research, training and consulting with public and private enterprises on blockchain technology. She sits on the advisory panel to the Internet Mobile Association of India’s subcommittee on cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech. She is also actively involved in the international crypto ecosystem as a writer and speaker, regularly engaging with businesses, users and regulators on the evolution of crypto assets and DLT.

Shikha is a member of a global multi-stakeholder committee – a joint collaboration between Vienna University, Austria and NET (new economy taxation) which explores how businesses and tax administrations around the world are reacting to and managing the disruptive effect of new and emerging business models and Blockchain technology in Asia.


1:20 Shikha’s introduction to the cryptoverse | 3:44 The long term potential of blockchain technology. | 6:09 Balance between disintermediation and regulation | 8:32 Do enterprise blockchains have any real potential? | 13:22 Viable use cases for blockchain | 23:06 Using blockchain to improve the Aadhar system | 29:41 General reaction of businesses and tax administrators to blockchain tech | 37:47 Central Bank Digital Currencies | 43:15 Co-existence of fiat currencies and CBDCs | 47:36 The use of cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions

 

 

TFB#11: Sameer Sibal on the delicate balance between regulating and supporting crypto and blockchain tech

TFB#11: Sameer Sibal on the delicate balance between regulating and supporting crypto and blockchain tech

April 18, 2019

Sameer Sibal is a partner at Jerome Merchant and Partners, a Mumbai based law firm whose expertise extends across the range of corporate law, banking and finance, real estate and emerging technology. They are the primary legal counsel for BankChain which is a community of banks for exploring, building and implementing blockchain solutions, and one of the largest blockchain projects in India.

Overview

0:35 Sameer’s background and introduction | 4:17 Jerome Merchant + Partners interest in blockchain | 7:00 Managing regulation for emerging technologies | 12:15 The regulatory scenario for blockchain technology in | 17:23 The tricky part about utility tokens | 21:06 Cryptocurrency regulations in India | 21:31 Bankchain and its scope in India | 29:35 THe growth of AI in the legal profession | 31:55 Smart contracts and legal contracts | 34:28 Data security issues in emerging tech | 36:11 Interesting legislative developments in India

TFB#10: Arianna Simpson on crypto trends and Decentralized Finance

TFB#10: Arianna Simpson on crypto trends and Decentralized Finance

April 11, 2019

Arianna Simpson is the founder and managing director of Autonomous Partners, a digital-asset investment fund backed by Cohen Private Ventures and Union Square Ventures. Their portfolio spans a range of protocols, tokens and projects focused on crypto assets and blockchain tech. She has spent her career in and around the tech world, including stints at Facebook and BitGo, the latter as one of its first employees. She is one of the most influential and forward-thinking voices in the digital assets industry and remains an essential ‘follow’ on Crypto Twitter.

1:13 Arianna’s introduction to Bitcoin | 2:03 Hyperinflation suffering economies like Zimbabwe adopting Bitcoin | 3:24 Crypto utility in developed and developing economies | 4:30 Arianna’s takeaways from crypto market volatility over the years | 6:10 Reasons for optimism despite numerous scams and PR disasters like QuadrigaCX | 8:04 Is DeFi just a clunkier Wall Street v2.0? | 9:55 What is Arianna’s investment thesis on crypto? | 13:13 How DeFi will cope with SEC regulation | 15:31 Central Bank Digital Currencies | 17:02 Can Bitcoin become a global monetary asset in years to come? | 17:52 Portfolio companies that Arianna is most excited about | 19:28 Fat protocol thesis  | 21:29 The Lightning Network and takeaways from the Lightning Torch experiment | 25:31 JP Morgan Coin | 27:11 Morgan Creek Capital wooing pension funds to invest in crypto | 29:41 The impact of Twitter on the crypto space | 31:05 Advice to investors newly stepping into crypto | 32:24 Predictions for 2019 | 34:13 Perspective on catastrophic failures in the space | 35:00 Top three book recommendations

TFB#9: Joel John on token ecosystem creation and investing in digital economies

TFB#9: Joel John on token ecosystem creation and investing in digital economies

April 5, 2019

Joel John is a research analyst at Outlier Ventures, which is a London, Toronto and Chicago based venture fund.  Their investment thesis is built around the idea that the future architecture of the internet will be built on the convergence of blockchains, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. They partner with remarkable teams to seed and grow tokenised open source communities that will become the digital economies of tomorrow.

Joel has been involved with blockchain related projects since 2012 and previously worked at Tracxn as a blockchain analyst.

1:30 How Joel got his start with blockchain technology | 5:30 Outlier Ventures’ approach to blockchain and crypto tech | 7:35 Convergence | 11:09 Joel’s opinion on token taxonomy | 14:42 Where value will accrue with crypto assets | 17:07 Token Ecosystem Creation | 20:28 Ocean Protocol | 27:42 Fetch and Initial Exchange Offerings | 30:56 Token Curated Registries and Staking | 34:24 Minimal Viable Governance for open source protocols | 38:28 Ethereum as a platform for decentralized finance | 41:22 Token based projects and acquiring mass users | 42:41 Crypto and blockchain in 2019, what’s in store?