Video Of The Week: Albert on CNBC

CNBC asked my partner Albert this week at the Slush conference if we are in a bubble in crypto. This is what he said. It’s a very short (<2min) video.

Cryptocurrency to be worth trillions: Union Square Ventures from CNBC.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    …but which one (or two) will be worth the trillions? I’m not sure we’ve even seen them appear on the scene yet. just a glint in an authentic entrepreneur’s eye at the moment. I don’t see many people in the space being worthy of the ‘entrepreneur’ sobriquet, just a whole bunch of rascals, scoundrels, weasels, and toads who deserve each other but the world doesn’t.where’s the philosophy, the vision, the desire to create a better world? I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as some of these characters.Thank you.

    1. Tom Labus

      Fraud part of the cycle?

      1. Girish Mehta

        Dunno. Alternatively – may be somewhere between the “401K ? I have never run that far before” and “I can be the next Warren Buffett” part of the cycle ?https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Chart Hat tip: ofdollarsanddata

        1. Tom Labus

          I believe Greenspan considered fraud part of the cycle. But also thought that it accelerated banking crises

          1. Tom Labus

            I’ve thought a few times that the bitcoin market was in blow off territory but at this point who knows.

          2. Lawrence Brass

            At these speeds other rules apply, as in aerodynamics when speed exceeds the speed of sound. New times, new rules.

          3. JamesHRH

            I think this merely shows that unsustainability of the underlying technology.Other assets classes or innovations had tangible, grandmother’s can understand benefits that eventually came to fruition (Web) or reset to proper values.My Mom’s 94. She needs a new financial system how?And, btw, I think the current one is unbalanced and overly complex and ripe for a blowout.

      2. jason wright

        I expect there will be several cycles, and perhaps this is the fraud cycle. it’s endemic.

    2. Richard

      I’m troubled reconciling that the same group pushing for basic income is attempting to monopolize a currency.As much success as USV has had almost none has made created wealth and made its way to Main Street shareholders.

      1. jason wright

        venture capitalism does seem to suffer from a paradox of virtue.somewhere along the way people lose sight of their noble intentions. relying upon personal philanthropy is not enough. it requires systemic change. we could be heading in that direction. it’s a good time to be alive. the future is up for grabs in a way not seen for a long time, and we can all participate if we choose to. dare i call it a ‘movement’? it feels like it could well be precisely that, but I think we need to move away from ‘crypto’ and ‘blockchain’ and come up with something more tangible that resonates with the concerns of the many in their daily struggles.p.s. ‘net neutrality’ doesn’t work either.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      where’s the philosophy, the vision, the desire to create a better world? True story here. Working with the Dash team on their compensation structure before the price shot up and they were actually able to pay market rates, one of my goals was to help them figure out ways to incentivize people to hang around until they could be paid adequately. As a precursor, I did a survey to understand the motivations of team members around the world and the results were incredibly heartwarming. Personal risk and sacrifice displayed and a strong sense of mission.Now, that their price allows them to pay market rates and build a team, in recruiting for Dash, I am discovering both mercenaries and missionaries interested in the crypto space, and just plain honest opportunists whom I do not fault. I say, show me someone who is lucky and I will show you someone who recognizes opportunity.BTW, in recruiting, the majority of people I reach out to have never even thought of joining a crypto organization (and often have your same perspective) so my role becomes as much educator as recruiter.I don’t know if the Dash team is a stark exception but I’m going to William’s Token Summit next week and will let you know. 😉

      1. jason wright

        hey, thanks Donna 🙂 your involvement with Dash had slipped my mind. tut tut to me for that.”both mercenaries and missionaries” – it seems to hold true that the basic law of the positive and the negative being almost inseparable in this universe can be found wherever we care to look.’Donna Dash’ would make for a great digital identity and persona. the twenty first century’s first crypto superhero. we need one.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Thanks, Jason. You flatter me; I am such a very small player in the scheme of things. Well, for now. ;)Donna Dash… has a ring to it. Dashly Donna?But as much as I love Dash, I have helped them hire both an HR Director and a Recruiter, so my work with them may be winding down. Now exploring other potential clients in the space but Dash has set the bar.

          1. Richard Carlow

            When I was a recruiter I always felt there was little difference from the work of an educator. At least if you take away the sales part, which of course, you cannot.Donna Dashly, very “Wacky Races”. That could work for the smiles.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          I love that you say “tut tut.”

    4. Michael Elling

      There are no fully distributed systems in nature. Nor are there fully centralized systems. The answer is centralized-decentralized hierarchical networked systems (CHDNs). None, none of the current renditions of crypto or blockchain adhere to this principle. For CHDNs to work we need incentives and disincentives as well as value conveyance/sharing. No one is talking about an algorithm that equilibrates value capture at the core/top with costs at the bottom/edge of networks and networked ecosystems. It’s still winner takes all, which is found nowhere in nature.

  2. Vendita Auto

    Not involved but like the embedded position coinbase has taken. Not involved but IMO Ethereum system is way ahead. Ethereum Ether ETH is confusing as was the interesting informative Bitcion bitch fight:

  3. Gayatri Sarkar

    I agree with him 100%. If one wants to understand the current crypto current look at dotcom bubble. Crypto economy is the trillion dollar market in future. I predict that most the data ledgers will be replaced by blockchains(which is already happening, $11 trillion credit default swap moving to blockchain courtesy DTCC) and big companies may start giving equity coins instead of stocks in future . But I don’t think any cryptocurrency will replace current currency, may be there will version of crypto dollar adopted by Fed and govts like crypto ruble. But I’m unable to fathom what will happen to bitcoin after 21m is crossed, will it be a novelty item?I wrote a guest editorial on ICO bubble in bostinno and I’m glad it tallies with Albert’s vision. This article was written as a cautionary piece for amateur crypto investors(which I guess mostly 70% of the investors).

    1. Richard

      Is there a single data ledger block chain in the market place that has gained traction and is making money?

      1. Gayatri Sarkar

        I think we are still at early stage. We just migrated from Stage (Fraud+ Awe) to Stage (research + understanding). I know Fed is doing research and so do NASA, Department of Homeland Security is already investing in blockchain startups. DTCC is moving $11T credit default swap, which I think will not build any crypto traction. Lot of climate control IOT and product development happening in blockchain which is actually exciting. But people who are doing research are already saying that blockchain is a super modified database. I think unless the adoptive incentive structure are well utilized, we can’t analyze the new asset class. Hopefully some big data mining will help in future over the current speculative valuation. Till then its our play money thats causing the traction. I’m interested to see how this CME group BRR plays

        1. Richard

          All this could be true, but the blockchain to date is an open source protocol, not unlike http. Why would large institution build on a public blockchain vs a private blockchain?

          1. Gayatri Sarkar

            That’swhy big financial institutional using private blockchain (Hyperledger like) with ZKP

  4. Alex Murphy

    Stitching together three things from AVC … Meditation + BlockChain + MBA Mondays.Fred – Can you start a series on everything related to the Block Chain in the format of MBA Mondays … something for everyone to mediate on over the following week. Perhaps bring in great example videos / write ups as a base primer growing into what everyone should know.

  5. pointsnfigures

    A good point is irrational exuberance attracts more people. How many coders have decided to switch from working in Java and other languages to concentrating on crypto in the last two years? A lot. We aren’t even in the first inning of the game yet. Still in spring training.

  6. Tom Labus

    When you are born, you get put on a blockchain with registration for national health, to vote and credits for education through grad school and SS.

    1. Richard

      So if the government creates a blockchain how does that inflate Bitcoin?

      1. Tom Labus

        No idea. Bitcoin is like booster rocket that will be jettisoned

        1. Richard

          I can’t see any developed gov entity tying it safety and security to Bitcoin. In fact if you look at the comments from the central banks of all the developed countries, they share a common view, Bitcoin is not something they endorse.

  7. Richard

    It is a trillion dollar asset because i say so. Not very convincing.It is a trillion dollar currency because I say so. Not very convincing

    1. Susan Rubinsky


      1. LE

        The problem with this type of ‘investing’ is that just like a casino over time if you follow the same thought process you will probably loose. So while it would be nice to think a person who wins (the grandma or Jamie Dimon’s daughter ie ‘she thinks she’s a genius’) will win repeatedly stop betting and never return, the truth is they will most likely make more bets. Because the first experience acts like what I call ‘a lever’ since it happens early on and encourages you to place more bets. The difference is Jamie’s daughter can afford to lose but the grandma can’t.Will disclose that personally I have no issue with making money off of people who make mistakes and are stupid. So I am not calling out anyone in this space who is profiting either.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Love It!In recruiting for the Dash team, this is how I’ve been positioning the ease of use of their new platform. I’ve had to change the wording from “your grandmother” to ”a grandmother” after realizing how many of the people on the other end of the line no longer have a grandmother. This has been one of the most age agnostic teams I’ve worked with. So refreshing!

      1. LE

        According to my soon to be published PC best practice guide you should probably replace ‘mother’ with parent!!!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Bah!I honestly did think about this as someone who is committed to inclusive language, but opted for flavor. And to my own mother’s credit, she was a fairly early internet adopter, as was my Dad. But, they never got past the AOL stage.

  8. LE

    Skillful handling by Albert (good media training). The question CNBC should have asked Albert is ‘are you buying at the current price, selling or holding?’.The problem with all the publicity around this (see my other comment with ‘grandma is in’) is that grandma is in. There are people that could get hurt and will get hurt. I have no issue if it’s ‘lottery ticket’ type investing just for fun. But somehow I suspect that might not be the case. In the ’29 crash the shoeshine boy didn’t have much to lose but grandma does. [1]Good use of Amazon by Albert instead of ‘dot com bubble’. Everyone knows Amazon was derided and ultimately worked out. Many of the dot com bets did not that was the bubble. But it took a long long time.By my quick check Amazon hit a high of $107.12 on Dec 10 1999. It did not get back to that price for roughly 10 years. (October 2009).[1] Grandma is a proxy for the grandma type buyer not literally grandma…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. Richard

      Fred doesn’t believe the marketplace (vs the government) is the proper governing authority for the Internet, but it should be the governing authority for a rogue currency? Bitcoin is popular in one area, Ransomware. This by itself should trouble folks.

      1. LE

        This by itself should trouble folks.I am not troubled by that. And despite my comments elsewhere (I will argue all sides for entertainment) I wake up in the AM and try to figure out ways I can make money off of this in some way. (But that is not doing what everyone else is doing so the angle wouldn’t be buying, selling options etc.)

        1. Richard

          I can see spending your waking morning, each day, trying to get to one’s land of critical mass (wealth). But beyond say $100 million and having very expensive tastes and if you are not creating wealth for others, you are nothing more than a toll taker.

          1. LE

            Making money and figuring out how to make money is fun. It’s a game. The fact that you can buy things with your winnings is icing on the cake. If you win a tennis game, unless you are a pro, you can’t even do that. Do people stop playing a game w/o any monetary rewards and say ‘I’ve won enough I am going to stop’?No because they enjoy winning.You know how you know you like the game?When you enjoy even a small win (making money) nearly as much as a large win. That’s how.Lastly people with a great deal of money use that money to do things that bring them (in their mind at least) very nice social interactions by giving that money away. That’s in addition to the good feeling they have by that charity. That’s the icing on that cake.The downside of continuing to play the game is the stress it puts you under. Like Fred having to do meditation. While I don’t know what is going on in his life other than what I read, most likely that stress comes from ‘the game’. Which of course he could quit if not for the pleasure that it gives him to play. I don’t think he works because he needs the money at this point. And I also don’t think the big driver of his schedule is a sense of obligation either. It could be but I don’t think it’s that. (Could play a role sure..)

          2. Richard

            A huge decide between Making Money and Taking Money

          3. jason wright

            It’s the hunter gather instinct. Its native natural world setting would strictly limit the potential to gather. We now have an unnatural setting where gathering is potentially without end. The human mind struggles to adjust. out of balance. stress accumulates. pop.

    2. PhilipSugar

      It’s very interesting to me.It is very fungible, super fungible, you don’t have to lug around gold or currency, etc. That is a huge plus.On the other hand when people say I am going to use it as a store of wealth, not as a transactional currency (Fred’s words) and it exploded in price and people like “grandma” buying that worries me. I remember another asset that was only supposed to go up in value.I give Bezos HUGE props. He took something and just ground at it for ten years, didn’t care about his stock price and just built a machine. I live and encounter three Amazon million square foot warehouses: New Castle, DE, Middletown, DE and NorthEast, MD.When I see tons of Penske Trucks semis with UPS stickers slapped on them and the UofD Penske rental lot totally empty because they are using the box trucks for delivery, I know they are kicking ass.

      1. LE

        They are bursting at the seems. The drivers in those vans are the lowest grade at least where I am. I went ballistic on Thursday because I got an email saying I was not there for a delivery when I was sitting right at my desk. I wrote Amazon and said ‘your drivers are lying to you and I have the security footage to prove they never even came to my door’. That has happened before. At least UPS leaves a note. Amazon drivers are doing what call center people used to do. Hanging up on people to meet the quota.Lately I’ve had multiple problems with their logistics specifically. They will get all of that worked out of course.

        1. jason wright

          How can they lie with gps?

          1. JamesHRH

            You figure out that no one checks the data so you know that you will not be found out if you lie

  9. kidmercury

    I agree totally with Albert except with the idea that irrational exuberance is good, all it does is waste capital, just like when entrpreneurs raise too much money.The good news is the cryptcurrency game has barely started, we have years before we will see the next google/Amazon borne out of the currency revolution

    1. LE

      Albert is not saying it’s good as in ‘good vs. evil’. He is saying that it’s good for the sector and that all of the publicity is good in bring in more interest and buyers.But you are right as well. The money that is put into this sector is not going toward something else if it’s buying crypto. Those billions came from someone’s pocket and would have been spent on in theory goods and services or at the least other ‘investments’. Ditto also for the brains that are spent by entrepreneurs and employees of these firms. So this is not labor (or ideas and energy) that is around for something that might have greater value overall. Nothing new about that happening. But generally something that creates an emotional exuberance is going to pull people out of the national direction they might have gone otherwise.Even USV. If they are putting a part of their brain, money and energy into crypto it means they have less time to think about, read about, and take meetings about something other than crypto.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Is creating “goods and services” a higher good than creating a new economic and financial order that will help to level the playing field? For instance, banking for the under banked, lessening of financial dependency on corrupt or unstable governments, etc.Talking to people in other countries gives me a different understanding.

        1. LE

          I live in probably the highest tax state next to the state that you live in. Also in an area where there is a migration of jobs into other states and countries. So I will answer your question by stating that I quite frankly don’t really care (my honest answer) about ‘corrupt or unstable governments’ at all. [1] Further we need to get jobs to people in our country that are ‘unbanked. Job opportunities that is what we need and should be doing. Not a way for them to simply avoid payday loans and check cashing shops. Banking for people out of the US? I don’t care at all. In my state we are trying to get more money from the residents by way of gambling (now sports gambling) which is just another tax on people that can in many cases least afford to blow money on that.[1] Is this a long term problem that can impact the US? Sure. But we have things that impact us now that I would be more worried about.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            My vantage point is working with a crypto organization that from the early stages operated with a global team and in a global market. So I wasnt thinking of this from a strictly U.S. perspective. Cryptocurrency is global.

      2. kidmercury

        i’m not commenting from a moral perspective either, i’m saying it’s flushing money down the toilet. (though one may conclude that flushing money down the toilet is immoral). albert is saying this exuberance is a net positive; i see it as a net negative that does more to slow down actual innovation and waste capital (aka energy) than something positive.put another way, the dot com bubble didn’t really accelerate much, because you had to go through the first big bubble, clean up the mess, then build the companies that would last at a more gradual pace. if you just started building things gradually and kept doing that, you would get the same end result — and would get it faster, and with less waste.

  10. Donna Brewington White

    “Early exuberant moment” Good on Albert for making that clarification.This is an incredible opportunity we have to witness such a massive shift from the earliest stages, and yes even with all the risks, unknowns and abuses. Truly a new frontier.Recruiting in the crypto industry I’ve jokingly said that “wild, wild west” is not an apt enough description. It is “wild, wild planet” — and I am barely scratching the surface.Thanks for letting us know at the beginning that the video was less than 2 minutes. Made the difference for me. Although Albert is always a draw. What a mind!

    1. Gayatri Sarkar

      Agree, its wild wild planet and we are scratching the surface. I bet we all are even the crypto specialists. Interestingly we will able to see how all it unfolds in future.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Ha! Just posted this on Twitter.Added the words #blockchain and #cryptocurrency to my LinkedIn profile because I’m recruiting on behalf of @Dashpay. Daily get numerous connection requests from “#crypto experts.” How can there be THIS many???— Donna White (@donnawhite) December 2, 2017<script async=”” src=”…” charset=”utf-8″></script>

      2. Donna Brewington White

        BTW was just looking you up to see “who is this person!?” — have appreciated your comments on AVC!

  11. george

    That was really smart to make an Amazon comparison – great reference point. I wonder where cryptocurrency ends up but on either end of the spectrum, it will be spectacular!

  12. Wake Up and Smell the Ponzi

    Cryptocurrency is akin to a fraudulent investment.Gold and silver are valuable because they have been in demand by folks all over the word and have been for thousands of years. They can properly used as money.Fiat currency is valuable because “the guys with the biggest guns” (the government) require taxes be paid with fiat currency. It irks many that the government can print more fiat currency whenever they like but that is irrelevant. To those people I say, take over a government then you too will be able to print fiat currency. Fiat currency can properly used as money.Regardless of the absurd process of “mining” cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency is in fact very similar to your friend Mike writing “‘This is money!’ on a piece of paper” These days people are buying Mike’s pieces of paper but they won’t for long. Cryptocurrency can properly used as money as long as people are willing to accept those pieces of paper Mike wrote, “This is money!” on.Within the next decade a panic will start, the bubble will be burst, and people like Fred Wilson will talk about “Irrational Exhuberance” when in fact this is just good old fashion greed clouding many people’s minds.Like millions of other people, Fred Wilson is utterly, totally, and completely deluded about cryptocurrency.

    1. Fixed It

      Edit: “Fiat currency can properly *be* used as money.” not “Fiat currency can properly used as money.”

  13. JamesHRH

    How grossly tabloid has MSM media gotten?’ There is a good chance that crypto will be worth trillions…’ – what Albert said.’ Crypto to be worth trillions.’ – CNBC headline / click bait.It totally skews Albert’s investor style comment – its a good investment, because if the thesis is right, the rewards are massive – into a prediction.Journalism sucks so hard now. Glad I did not make that career choice.

  14. Michael Elling

    Buck Rogers vision from the radio daze of 1928.

  15. kevando

    > Perhaps what you could call an amazon momentlol. Does Khan have a video on the dot-com days?