Video Of The Week: The Token Summit Conversation

As I start thinking about 2017 and what happened this year in the world of startups and tech, I am going back and watching and reading things that stayed with me this year.

This talk between William and me at Token Summit captures much of what I have been thinking about the blockchain/crypto sector this year (and beyond).

It was fun to watch it again six months later. It is about 30mins long.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Good one from the 2017 drawer. End of year is a time for reflection and introspection. Look back, so we can look forward.

    1. jason wright

      When are you bringing the extravaganza to Europe William?

      1. William Mougayar

        Not decided on Europe yet.

  2. Richard

    This month my physical therapist, waiter, doorman, Postmates delivery person each asked me if they should invest in bitcoin.

    1. kenberger

      the historical turning point is when the shoe shine boy is GIVING the stock tips– surely, we’re at that point now too.

      1. LE

        I think that you have to be careful with that comparison. The reason is this is global and there was no involvement in the 1929 crash by people in China who are big gamblers not to mention honestly the everyday man in the rest of the world as well. (In terms of ease of participation in driving and keeping prices up.)Also nobody has any real data on the exact point in the curve that the shoeshine boys got involved, do they? That’s a story to prove a point. Market also recovered long term, eh?By the way the Chinese have inflated other markets and are staying with those markets that I have benefited from. (William/Fred/JLM/Phil Sugar knows what I am talking about ). They are big gamblers and even though there have been small bubbles in value they are definitely still in the game many years later. [1] They completely prop up the wholesale market. In many cases they pay way beyond what is normal end user value and provide liquidity so to speak.I don’t own any bitcoin at all by the way. So I am not talking my game or anything like that.[1] I will note that there are differences in the liquidity of the thing they are buying but the mentality hasn’t seemed to change much it is based on how they view risk and are apparently gamblers at heart. And there are a great deal of people over there in China. Note I do not see this same behavior from any other country period. Only China.

        1. Richard

          I don’t recall Bitcoin being pitched here on AVC as a way for the Chinese to be able to gamble. If it were I might have made a larger investment and have a clear conscience.There is a fine line between legit infrastructure and ponzi activity*. Godaddy can also be seen as playing on the crowd.* I do believe that there are infrastructure and application plays in the blockchain

    2. fredwilson

      what these people in my life ask me is if they should’s what i tell them”you have just won the jackpot at the craps table. do you want to put it all on the next roll of the dice, put most in your pocket and put the balance on the roll of the dice, or do you want to take it all and go home?”i tell them to be careful, be sensible, and don’t let their emotions take over

      1. Richard

        These folks are asking if they should get into bitcoin not to whether to sell bitcoin

        1. LE

          Isn’t that the same thing? In theory what is the difference of buying into bitcoin at $x (whatever that x is) and holding bitcoin at $x and not selling?Now the interesting thing is it’s quite common that people will hold onto something that they already own that they wouldn’t buy at the same price. Even taking into account transaction costs, difficulty and what not. (What is the name for this behavior?? Must be a name, right? ) I believe it’s related to the ‘bigger better deal’ in your brain right around the corner.Let’s say you have a garage full of junk as an extreme example. If someone comes along and says “I will buy all of that junk for $100” you will start to evaluate whether it makes sense to sell for $100. Or hold for the bigger better deal. But later if another person comes along and asks you to buy a similar garage of junk for $200 (twice what you are not jumping at taking) you are probably going to pass most people would even if they had the space for the junk.I have a theory that I developed on how to help a hoarder that is aligned with the above line of thought. Instead of telling the hoarder to throw out their junk and stop hoarding ‘just do it’ you offer to buy the junk from them; pay them for it.

          1. Evan Van Ness

            it’s the same except for taxes. can’t ever leave that consideration out.

          2. Richard

            They couldn’t be more diffentent! It’s not the price that’s the issue, it’s the “value” of the asset. The question is what has happens to bitcoin today that renders its value 3x since this talk, never mind 2000% since date Y.

        2. fredwilson

          the “physical therapist, waiter, doorman, Postmates delivery person” in my life are asking if they should sell. they already own it.

          1. LE

            Don’t forget that all the press had to say was that Marilyn was found in the nude…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          2. Richard

            Huh? That’s a huburous arrogant snied nonreponsive comment. These are kids with < $ 1000 to their name. Time for some meditation.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Comments spot on.

      2. LE

        I think the ‘people’ that are in your life asking matter as well if that is not obvious. The advice that I would give to the mailman [1] (not that he is in my life) would be different than I would give to my mother, my sister, my kids, my aunt or someone that I do business with. One of the problems with things you read (in particular internet advice; not that you are giving it) is that it’s non specific to particular circumstances. And to me facts and details always matter and it’s how I make a living. By mining the details and more effort than the other guy/gal let’s say.So yes it depends as well on how much the money (if they sold now) would be life changing. Let’s assume for a second that if you (Fred) sold you would have $10,000,000. Now I don’t know what your net worth is and won’t even guess but I can assume that that amount (as high as it is) is not going to change your life. Because you already have toys, houses and things that money can buy.One of the reasons that the ‘rich get richer’ (and this is obvious) is that they can gamble and importantly they can afford to lose. Because their needs are already met and they are financially set. Or they have a safety net. And that would apply for example if one of the people in your life was your daughter or son. They have something to fall back on (you). Likewise do others who may be asking for this advice of ‘when do I sell’.I mentioned the other day that I think it must be super stressful to hold bitcoin and sell at a low price only to see the price rise. So even if you made a great deal of money and sold when it was $7k and now it’s at $14k or whatever total cognitive dissonance. [2] You could argue the same with stocks but it’s not the same because the price and news about the stock that you sold generally isn’t front and center every day.[1] John the mailman (and my mom would say brainwashing me ‘that’s all he wanted out of life’) probably should have sold when it was $3k and not hold out to double digits.[2]

        1. jason wright


      3. WA

        Once it’s pushed in front of the player, it ceases to be house-money. And should be played accordingly.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Happy Festivus.

  4. Tom Labus

    2K in May. It’s a correction or crash depends on where you bought.

    1. LE

      My shoeshine boy tip [1] is that you will potentially see selling in the first few weeks of the year from people who are holding on and did not want to have tax consequences from selling in the last month of 2017.[1] As if I know; this is total 100% speculation…

      1. Tom Labus

        Lot of cash out of market after tax bill signing

      2. jason wright

        what % of crypto holders are subject to that consideration? this is a global market.

        1. LE

          To defend what I said I will offer that all it takes is a little momentum for things to come crashing down. See my headline about “Marilyn” and what the press says. This is all psychology. Psychology is the reason you are more fearful when rationally there is no reason to be fearful (relating to everything not just investing).

          1. jason wright

            I wasn’t attacking your point. I just wonder how significant the tax date really is as US taxed residents are excluded from many ICO offerings.

          2. jason wright

            if I’m not for something it doesn’t mean I’m against it.Merry Christmas L.

  5. awaldstein

    Good event and good talk.Still clear in my mind.Have a great holiday.

  6. Richard

    Did the early internet infracstructure plays make more money on the collective application layer failures or the fewer successes?

  7. Frank W. Miller

    I had fun with these cryptocurrencies as well this year. I don’t own any and don’t really want to. I think I’ve let it be known that my interest in them is their underlying blockchain technology and OTHER apps that can be built on them. I’m particularly interested in distributed reputation, that one sounds interesting to me.One thing that happened was, I realized almost noone I talked to about it understood the underlying technologies. So as my last database lecture, I put together a presentation on the high-level design of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Its a start and I plan to add more details to it over time. I would be happy with any comments or suggestions that anybody here might have on it.… (switched from ppt to pdf)

  8. jason wright

    has anyone yet been shown to have made an accurate medium term prediction for the crypto space?

    1. Richard

      Here is the advice most people gave in 2013

      1. jason wright


  9. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Great forum discussion. It would have been nice to hear questions that addressed the volatility and lack of fundamentals in crypto-currency. People are unaware that smart money finds ways to make money even when Joe Public doesn’t. Crypto trading on Wall Street only confirms smart money figured how to monetize losses of others.Can’t go from a leading Banker (Dimon) calling Bitcoin a fraud and then futures trading jumps in Bitcoin. (No conspiracy theories required)

  10. Gregory Magarshak

    Hey Fred, given the disclosures from the SEC since May, and what their commissioner said a couple months ago, are you still confident about this:”A US domiciled company can wait until the token is live and functioning and sell it then, ***because at that point it is not a security, it is a token***. But if you want to raise funds in a pre-sale for a US domiciled company, there has not been a good way to do that.”I wish there was more legal guidance from the SEC or otherwise about this. I heard from people who have connections inside the SEC that they haven’t let anyone register the tokens as securities yet, which means we have to rely on exemptions such as Rule 506b and c, or Regulation Crowdfunding. Hopefully next year the tZero exchange will find a way to become FINRA-compliant (as they initially said they would) and the SEC will allow token registrations as securities, and then ICO will be a much cheaper way to get liquidity from the public markets than IPO, which will make a huge difference for the VC world I think.

  11. jason wright

    in my opinion this is the moment in time that marks the beginning of a truly global network society. when on mass individuals are beginning to enter a system that allows them to exchange their value and move it at will from place to place and without friction and at historically low cost we have crossed a threshold. the references to the waiter, the doorman, the shoeshine boy et.c. are lifted from the pages of history, but this time the architecture of the system is different. I think that’s the critical difference.when the volatility of Bitten (‘bitcoin token’, my dark humour) final begins to settle the network’s application player will then flourish. yes, there are big transaction speed and volume issues to resolve. they will be.2018? ask the SEC. ask Dalia Blass. they know.

  12. Vasudev Ram

    Update (putting it at top of comment so it is more likely to be seen, and since it is of interest (IMO): — New HN thread on this topic:Red Lang goes blockchain (…There are people both for and against the plan.—Seeing this post a bit late, but also just saw this, and William, you may be interested in the news, if not seen already:Red language goes blockchain:…I’m personally not too happy about this news, since I think it may distract and take away some of their time from working on Red itself (except the blockchain-related aspects they mention in the post), plus ICOs are chancy, and they were anyway possibly short of manpower for achieving the ambitious goals they have in their roadmap. [ They want to make Red both a full-stack as well as a cross-platform programming language (for both desktop and mobile operating systems). ] And I like the Red language [1] (having tried it out a bit and REBOL [2], its predecessor too, earlier) and think it has good potential to achieve its goal of fighting the insidious, creeping (more like snowballing) software complexity that is affecting many areas of software nowadays.Carl Sassenrath [3], the creator of REBOL was also involved with creating the OS kernel of the Amiga computer[1]…[2]