The First Block Podcast
TFB #8: Ben Hunt on crypto markets, memes and metagames, and why the Narrative rules all

TFB #8: Ben Hunt on crypto markets, memes and metagames, and why the Narrative rules all

March 29, 2019

“I’ve always been a sucker for maps, particularly maps that visualize the world in a novel way, that show our place in the world with a perspective or in a dimension that we hadn’t previously considered. I call these maps of self-sovereign discovery, maps that reveal a path of self-directed exploration of our world and ourselves.” - Ben Hunt in ‘You Are Here’

Dr. Ben Hunt is the creator of Epsilon Theory, a newsletter that examines markets through the lenses of game theory and history. The main premise of ET is to break down the constructed experience and pre-packaged narratives that we are fed daily by the mainstream media. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators across 180 countries read Epsilon Theory for its unique perspective and fresh insights into market dynamics.

He is also the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Second Foundation Partners, where he is responsible for determining the Company’s investment views and positioning of model portfolios.

He has also written two academic books ‘Getting to War’ and ‘Policy and Party Competition’, which he co-authored with Michael Laver.

1:40 Epsilon Theory and maps of self-sovereign discovery | 5:27 Playing the cards and the players in public markets - the stuff that matters | 10:40 When did Ben start paying attention to crypto? | 14:24 ‘More than a fad but less than a fashion’ - Ben on Bitcoin in 2015 | 20:14 What is crypto’s metagame? | 23:55 Distributed Ledger Technology and redefining the Social Contract | 27:15 The importance of narratives and memes in the rise of crypto assets | 30:20 Bitcoin - at the very least a placeholder for a better financial system | 37:20 Bitcoin as free speech | 38:10 Ben’s advice for the crypto community.

TFB#7: Divraj Jain on moving from crypto hype to crypto reality

TFB#7: Divraj Jain on moving from crypto hype to crypto reality

March 19, 2019

Divraj is the founder of Build in Bombay, which is a real-time startup chat community. The company is responsible for organising meetups for Zcash in India. He previously started Tokentally, which is a platform for curated crypto-asset resources. Along with his website, he is one of India’s foremost minds in the fields of crypto and blockchain technology and his Twitter page is an incredible resource for the latest technological and market developments coming out of this space.

1:33 Divraj’s background and introduction.| 3:18 Takeaways from EthBerlin | 7:36 Token Curated Registries (TCR’s) | 9:33 How Ethereum has developed in the last two years | 11:55  ZCash and other privacy coins | 15:20 Bitcoin forks and ideologies | 18:46 The current utility of crypto assets | 21:09 Assessing Dapp usage | 24:10 Interesting projects in the crypto space | 27:20 Central Banks, Governments and cryptocurrencies. | 34:14 Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in India.

TFB#6: Shailesh Sharda on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is leading human civilisation into uncharted territory

TFB#6: Shailesh Sharda on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is leading human civilisation into uncharted territory

March 14, 2019

Shailesh Sharda leads the World Economic Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in India, working on policy frameworks and governance protocols for emerging technologies.

 

In early 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the WEF’s C4IR in Mumbai in partnership with the Government of India, citing India’s ability to play a pivotal role in the development of this new suite of emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, drones, AR, VR, IoT and others to solve the most pressing problems faced by mankind today. It is only the fourth such Centre set up by the WEF globally in addition to ones in San Francisco, Tokyo and Beijing.

 

“With one of the youngest labour forces in the world, a sizeable technical aptitude, the second largest number of internet users on mobile devices and the second largest English speaking population, India is well positioned to enhance its global leadership in a post fourth industrial revolution era” - Borge Brende, President - World Economic Forum (WEF)

Shailesh talks about why drones, blockchain and AI are the first priority of the C4IR in India and how his work is going to bring together the right minds from both the public and private sector to help India leverage this all-encompassing revolution for the benefit of our economy and society.

Overview

0:56  Shailesh’s road to the World Economic Forum and his current role | 2:12 The Fourth Industrial Revolution | 7:22 Role of C4IR in India | 14:38 Focus of C4IR on drones, blockchain and AI | 16:57 Blockchain at Davos | 21:22 Blockchain in banking | 27:30 Most immediate use cases of blockchain technology | 31:00 Role of India in the Fourth Industrial Revolution | 36:42 Impact of emerging tech on work and jobs | 42:10 How can people get involved with the WEF in India?

TFB#5: Alex Gladstein on ‘Why Bitcoin Matters For Freedom’

TFB#5: Alex Gladstein on ‘Why Bitcoin Matters For Freedom’

March 6, 2019

Alex Gladstein is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation(HRF) and a guest lecturer at Singularity University. Before working at HRF, he also served as Vice President of Strategy for the Oslo Freedom Forum. The main aim of HRF is to empower citizens in the countries that are prone to human rights violations and enable them to rise above the existing autocratic regimes. Through his work, Alex has collaborated with key stakeholders across the globe to promote the creation of societies that are both free and open. The HRF seeks to drive home the message that the development of technology, freedom and individual rights are intertwined which is why the proliferation of bitcoin and other decentralised technologies assumes such an important role as we chart the way forward for human civilisations in the years to come.


1:24 - Introduction to the Human Rights Foundation | 
5:42 - Alex’s roles and responsibilities | 7:07 - Using emerging technologies to tackle authoritarianism | 13:47 - Alex’s first introduction to Bitcoin | 15:37 - Difficulties in retail adoption of cryptocurrencies | 22:57 - Scope of Bitcoin in countries with unstable fiat currencies | 30:04 - ‘Bitcoin is insurance against an Orwellian future’ | 35:00 - Censorship in India | 39:10 - Combating data centralisation in ubiquitous technologies | 42:48 - The current wave of populism sweeping the globe | 47:11 - How to get involved with the HRF?

TFB#4: Ben Askren on his UFC debut and the budding romance between crypto and MMA

TFB#4: Ben Askren on his UFC debut and the budding romance between crypto and MMA

February 6, 2019

Ben Askren is an undefeated MMA fighter and a former US Olympic Wrestler gearing up for his debut in the UFC on 2 March. After spending the last few years as the Welterweight champion in both ONE Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA, he announced his signing with the UFC in late 2018 and is set to make his debut in the Octagon against former champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 235. He talks about his involvement with the Litecoin foundation and the growing influence and collaboration between the MMA world and cryptocurrencies.

 

1:28: Ben’s preparation for his debut fight against Robbie Lawler | 4:41: Will Ben ever fight Tyron Woodley? | 5:16: UFC 235 | 6:34: The mutual admiration between the combat sports and crypto worlds | 8:38: Ben’s intro to crypto | 10:16: MMA fighters working with cryptocurrencies | 11:10: Association with the Litecoin foundation | 13:10: The potential of censorship-resistant money in combat sports | 15:30: Ben’s plans for India.

TFB#3: Chris Bates on developing blockchain-based land registry systems in Africa

TFB#3: Chris Bates on developing blockchain-based land registry systems in Africa

February 6, 2019

Chris Bates is the Chief Security Officer at Bitland Global, a Ghana-based firm that is focused on unlocking the potential of land capital through the democratization of real estate ownership using leading-edge technology. Time magazine voted the company in its list of 50 'Most Genius Companies’ of 2018. After establishing a presence in Ghana, Bitland has also started to develop land registry projects in different states of India and with other African nations.

1.0: Intro to Bitland | 3.24: Why is Land title registry such a problematic issue in emerging economies? | 6.00: Bitland’s key beneficiaries | 11.23: Does bitcoin provide banking to the unbanked? | 13:38: Bitcoin as censorship resistant money | 20.01: Why is blockchain the right solution to tackle the issues regarding land registry? | 29.08: Bitland’s collaboration with the Government of Ghana | 35.56: Bitland’s goal of giving individuals access to financial services | 41.40: How Bitland tackles security | 49.19: Cadastral coin | 52.09: Community building activities conducted by Bitland | 54.37: Major challenges | 59.40: What vision does Bitland have for India?

TFB#2: Rahul Raj on starting India’s largest digital assets exchange

TFB#2: Rahul Raj on starting India’s largest digital assets exchange

February 6, 2019

Rahul Raj is the CEO and co-founder of Mumbai-based cryptocurrency exchange Koinex. After short stints at Inshorts and Bizongo, he along with his co-founders Aditya Naik (CBO) and Rakesh Yadav (CTO) laid the foundations to build India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in May 2017. Having secured venture capital from industry giants like BEENEXT and Pantera Capital, they were the first multi-token open-orderbook exchange to launch in the country. With daily trading volumes peaking at INR 1722 crores in December 2017, Koinex is the first and only Indian exchange to feature in the list of the top 10 global crypto-fiat exchanges.

1.03: Intro to Rahul Raj | 6.08: Koinex’s origin story | 9.57: What was Koinex’s launch strategy and how did they strategise market acquisition? | 14.10: How are crypto projects listed on Koinex and what is the process behind it? | 15.05: What are the initial challenges that were faced by Koinex? | 17.25: How did Koinex attract liquidity and volume so quickly? | 22.54: War stories from December 2017? | 30.20: Key milestones from Year 1? | 34.48: How did Koinex respond to the RBI’s directive in April 2018? | 39.40: How did Koinex establish its footprint in the P2P space in India? | 43.27: What are Koinex’s goals in the months and years to come?

 

TFB#1: Aaryaman Vir on navigating the crypto world as an investor and entrepreneur

TFB#1: Aaryaman Vir on navigating the crypto world as an investor and entrepreneur

February 6, 2019

Aaryaman Vir has been involved in the blockchain space in for a number of years, both as an investor and an entrepreneur. He is one of the co-founders of Elemential Labs which is a recently funded Mumbai-based startup who are building tools to foster smoother enterprise adoption of blockchain technology. He is also an investor in cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin and is the co-founder of Prophetic Ventures which is venture fund focused on a suite of five emerging technologies (India Stack, Blockchain, VR/AR, Drones and AI).

0.01 - Intro to podcast host | 3.15 - Intro to The First Block | 4.27 - Aaryaman’s background and introduction. | 6.36 - What is Elemential Labs? | 7.38 - What other ventures has Aaryaman invested in or founded? | 10.29 - The challenges Elemential faced in India? | 13.35 - Elemential’s original sales pitch | 16.49 - Aaryaman’s views on the current state of blockchain adoption | 20.52 -  Key takeaways from crypto in 2017 | 32.37 - What are NFTs? |35.00 - How we should view Blockchain and crypto FUD? | 42.15 - Predictions for crypto in India