Safe Harbors

I am not opposed to regulation. I think that industry needs to play by a set of rules that ensures things like public safety, fair dealing, etc.

But I do think that regulating an industry or a company too early in its life can be very damaging to innovation and the development of new technologies and new industries.

So I am a big fan of Safe Harbors.

A safe harbor is a stipulation in a given rule that certain entities or certain situations will not be deemed in violation of it.

In general, I like the idea that small companies or nascent industries are given safe harbors until they are at a size where compliance becomes affordable and/or possible.

My partner Albert wrote a post last week proposing some safe harbors for the crypto token sector.

Crypto tokens seem like an ideal technology/sector for safe harbors. Clearly this sector needs some rules and regulations. But subjecting projects and technologies to these rules too early in their life or subjecting projects and technologies to inappropriate rules and regulations would be devastating.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Robert Holtz

    Safe Harbor provisions were designed to combat litigious shareholders who have equated management’s outlook to investment advice on which they may detrimentally rely. Say, for example, if a CEO in as formal a form as an MD&A or as casual a form as a tweet says publicly, “We expect blockchain and cryptocurrencies to have a substantial role in the expansion of the fintech industry for the next three years,” there is an allowance under Safe Harbor that any kind of forward-looking statement she makes is not a direct promise but rather what management reasonably anticipates based on available information. It has become boilerplate not because it gives any special rights but rather because it protects entrepreneurs from corporate raiders and the like who would weaponize such disclosures and representations against management in some kind of shareholder litigation or overturning of executive power. If people were just a lot more reasonable and used a little common sense once in a while, safe harbor provisions wouldn’t be necessary and my shampoo bottle wouldn’t have a warning on it telling me not to drink the contents.

    1. JLM

      .It is worth noting that many safe harbors must be “invoked” meaning the CEO must notify the investing public of the safe harbor before initiating it.A typical example is the pre-conference call invocation of the “forward looking statement” safe harbor.I cannot tell you how many times I have reached for the shampoo bottle to slake my thirst only to be warned off.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Robert Holtz

        Quite right. Years ago when I was running a public entity, counsel made me put it at the bottom of every single press release. LOL… I loved your response on the shampoo label! Brings a whole new meaning to “a bottle of bubbly.”

        1. JLM

          .Ran a public company for 13 years. Did the same thing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. William Mougayar

    The key thing here is that most regulators are trying to retrofit existing regulations into what they are seeing in tokens and cryptos; and they are painting with a broad brush. That’s not ideal, and is detrimental to the ecosystem’s innovative streak.What would be more desirable is if they start to update the (old) regulations to adapt to the new realities. In the meantime, a properly articulated and executed Safe Harbors period would be a good thing.

    1. Robert Holtz

      But, to Fred’s point, it is early yet for regulators to step in. To a certain extent, the world is still wrapping its heads around what this will all mean and what the real risk factors will be. Regulators, even well meaning ones, have a track record for stifling innovation. It falls on us to try and hold the door open for entrepreneurs and give burgeoning tech like this become adequately defined. It would be like making road laws before the advent of the automobile. And yet, that’s exactly what happens time and time again when it comes to communications, media, and the Internet.

      1. William Mougayar

        Eventually they will have to figure out what to do. Progressive regulators see themselves not only protecting investors, but also providing the “right” regulation that fosters investments.Currently, there is a balkanization of regulations, via half-baked statements and “updates” from a few western nations regulators (e.g. in USA, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, etc.) and these are more confusing than helpful, especially because they don’t concur with each other.

        1. Robert Holtz

          I’m a firm believer in the “Measure twice, cut once” philosophy. In that metaphor, no one has even measured once yet and yet the scissors are already in-hand. Anyone investing in ICOs needs to clearly realize that they’re in the wild west right now. Risk capital only. Highly speculative and volatile. Too many unknowns to count. It’s the wilderness. I see the merit of attempting to make investors feel safe but, in my view, even that is premature. You’re envisioning safe markets for the risk averse. That’s a swell vision for the future but not in these early days. My view is that, for the time being at least, the risk averse should avert themselves.

        2. Lawrence Brass

          It would be nice to have an open sourced regulation framework for crypto in the likes of what Larry Lessig and the creative commons people did for copyrights. It could serve as a basis for the states regulators and as a common ground to work on.

    2. mplsvbhvr

      Curious – do you actually think this is possible? I couldn’t agree more that it’s the ideal… but governments are old and move slow – I just can’t picture a world where legislation could ever possibly keep up with crypto in a meaningful way during this rapid growth stage. At least not in the U.S. Perhaps things are different elsewhere.

      1. jason wright

        Yes. The pace of innovation is way beyond the ability of a regulator to keep up. It’s also very much the game of whack the mole. Regulate in the US and everyone moves to another territory, and another, and another. It’s a competitive world and sovereign nations will take advantage of unfavourable regulations being imposed elsewhere.Ask a regulator what homomorphic encryption is and what its implications might be and they will wish they had chosen a different career.

        1. DJL

          Back in 1988 I attended a talk by Charles Vest (President of MIT) and I’ll never forget what he said: “Technology will far outpace the ability of politicians to regulate effectively.”It only gets more true each year!

          1. jason wright

            He was so right, and it is accelerating.Those Howey/ SEC regs are from another epoch. They belong in a Niall Ferguson book!

    3. sigmaalgebra

      > new realitiesLikely it’s a bit less clear than mud just what those are.> properly articulated and executedWe can pick up those in the gift shop at any Disney Land, right? Else we can order on-line from Fantasy Land?Then there’s the issue of democracy, that is, consensus, that is, from politics, media, legal, lobbying, etc. mud wrestling? Or there will be some downsides for some people, and they will push back. In their pushing back, it may be that they will not, in grade school playground terms, fight fair!Up thread I mentioned things in common with AirBnB, Uber, and crypto currencies, but, net, bottom line like, IIRC, for each of these three, some cities, …, countries have already made it illegal.IMHO, all three of those are betting on a long ride on a sick horse on a short pier: (1) AirBnB is trying a tricky way to get into the motel business. So, they can try to make the big bucks that so far have evaded Motel 6.(2) Last I heard, Uber was a taxi cab company that keeps losing lots of money. Their advantage is using smartphones to hail a taxi? Other taxi companies could do that, too, right?(3) For crypto I’m still looking for the first valuable application for which crypto is the uniquely good tool other than activities at or over the line of what is legal.I’m eager to learn: How is AirBnB a better business than Motel 6? What is the advantage of Uber over other taxi companies? What is the valuable utility of crypto?

  3. Richard

    That time may have passed. At today’s market caps, ICOs might lead to a Pearl Harbor for a lot of people.

  4. DJL

    The fear of regulatory retribution has already driven the cost of a “real” ICO to the point where a startup would need to raise seed funding just to do an ICO. I just don’t see a clear way to put a boundary around this stuff. Maybe if the ICO’s operate in a non-profit sense?BTW – At Information Shield we are creating a safe-harbor to help small companies address regulatory requirements in cyber security and privacy. It is not a regulatory change, but the creation of a set of adopted “controls” that are defensible to reduce risk and liability. Perhaps the crypto market can adopt this approach. If an ICO attests to some level of internal controls they can get a safe harbor pass for a certain time period or application.

    1. Richard

      Yes. Check out a company called Talla, Their approach seems to makes sense.

      1. DJL

        I am familiar with them. But to my point, they were already funded and made a decision to invest $500K to $1MM to “do it right” at many levels. I judge that they are way more sophisticated that the average crypto-startup.

        1. Richard

          I agree. If there is a safe harbor for ICOs, it should be being woven into current securities laws and not designed to circumvent their intended safeguards. Turning the economy into a casino only enriches the casino/ the pipes.

  5. kidmercury

    cryptocurrencies are a means to a peaceful revolution. i might have to force myself to read snow crash in its entirety. stephenson’s vision of a crumbling nation state running parallel to the rise of digital states with their own currencies is clearly on its way. nation-state regulation is only going to let the state determine the winner, and subvert the whole process of disrupting governance — the true destiny of cryptocurrencies.

    1. Robert Holtz

      Snow Crash is an excellent read. Highly recommended. The Metaverse is inevitable.

    2. jason wright

      This article is behind a data wall, but the first paragraph captures well the real concerns of the nation state about crypto. It’s about self preservation, but hidden behind the PR rhetoric of protecting the consumer and business from cyber fraud and scams.

    3. Richard

      The US has the world’s fiat currency and without that status we are Fucked. Yes, I get that the crypto sheet don’t get this. If this gamble of crypto currency works as you think it will with the end of US dollar fiat status and you are not part of the new crypto oligarchy, you’ll have won the battle but lost the war. The debts of the US will make life very difficult.

      1. kidmercury

        If crypto is done properly, and I believe collectively it will be, then everyone will benefit and the relative power of a crypto oligarchy will be vastly less than the relative power of the dollar oligarchy.In other words, the real winners of the cryptoeconomy will be the network that uses a well managed currency to grow through strategic subsidies (welfare, basic income, and other nice sounding policies that fail miserably in the nation state context but will fare very well in the cryptoeconomy). If someone gives you 100 tokens, a free house to live in a “nation” that has employment and good transportation and safe environment, it becomes appealing relative to other options (Baltimore, south Chicago, Yemen, Chad, etc). This world seems impossible now but it is the economic trajectory we are on. Only nation state regulation can stop it, and thus such regulation should be avoided.

        1. Richard

          Remember, we have basic income for 20% of the US. These programs, this basic income (social security and Medicaid) is consuming 50% of the yearly budget. I do not see a trajectory for basic income.

          1. kidmercury

            let me give you an example of something that may occur.1. consider airbnb. they are already in the process of buying up real estate, and have a business model that gives them incentive to continue doing so (the more property they own the more they can rent out). 2. they now have airbnb trips in which they recommend things for you to do on vacation in city X. so this sets the stage for them to get paid when you rent a home in city X, and then paid again for whatever activities you do while there. 3. of course buying real estate in cities is expensive. what if they bought a few acres out in the middle of nowhere? that would be a lot cheaper than an apartment in nyc. of course they have to incentivize people to create something to do there. so they start giving out handouts, essentially investing in building up a city. they invite new merchants to come on board, and give them subsidies to do so, but those new merchants have to accept airbnb coins. increasingly, everything they do will be priced in airbnb coins.this is what cities are already doing, but in reverse. right now cities are bidding amongst themselves to give their tax dollars to the monopoly known as amazon. that’s totally backwards. it should be amazon going into the middle of nowhere and bribing people to come to them.i know one immediate objection is that this is too expensive for airbnb to do. au contraire! when one has a business model with high gross margins, these types of outlandish moats are very enough time, every city will become a bit more like disney world: centrally planned and manufactured from the start, complete with their own currency.there are obviously a lot of details to sort out. that is the job of entrepreneurs. rest assured, though, even though few recognize it, the race is already on…..

          2. Richard

            Hard to see any connection to ICO, cryptocurrency here.One could presumably incorporate a municipality and treat it like a REIT I suppose. Keep in mind, the largest apartment unit holder in the US has just 100,000 units.Lots of studies out there on the rate of return for publically financed stadiums.As to Amazon, it is the jobs and corporate spending Hard to argue against paying up front for this. See them effects that federal gov has on DC,VA. See Walmart’s effect On Arkansas.Walt Disney was a genius.

          3. kidmercury

            the connection to cryptocurrency is that through the blockchain all transactions can be tracked, and so a currency operator can take a piece of everything, and can create smart contracts to automate much of the governance needed to run a locality.agree that someone could incorporate a muncipality and treat it like a REIT. all of this could have been done before, and in fact has been tried many times, but nothing can work until the time is right.

          4. Lawrence Brass

            Yes. The time is right at the right time, after the drops of sweat have rolled.Smart contract infrastructure is not reliable enough yet to build governance constructs. Remember the DAO and the more recent Parity multi-signature wallet incidents. Some people point at their faulty code as the root causes. I think that the supporting infrastructure is not ready yet and that it requires an architectural review instead of patches.Pushing things *hard* don’t necessarily produce better outcomes.

          5. Richard

            That doesn’t sound like an anarchists business plan, more like an industrialist.

          6. JLM

            .Airbnb does not own the real estate.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. LE

            There is nothing to prevent airbnb from buying real estate. There is also nothing to prevent airbnb from offering mortgages to people that want to buy properties to rent out on airbnb. Nothing to prevent them from getting into the renovation business. And so on.In the case of airbnb much of what is happening is also similar to when someone buys a dunkin donuts which some people think is the gold standard of shitty franchises (have not verified that just repeating what I have heard). Anyway when you ‘buy’ a dunkin donuts or you ‘buy’ a fedex or a bread delivery route your brain thinks you are a business owner however in reality you have just bought a job and provided your own capital to do so. (Maybe Charlie Crystal should do this actually…) Nice job I say. [1] And you know with the 711’s and Dunkin Donuts what the franchises can do that a corporation can’t. Like some immigrant can get his kid to work there underage just like I worked for my dad when I was 10 or whatever age I started doing that (and many follow this path). Or I see in the chinese restaurants you see kids there helping out at essentially no cost to the parents. Wouldn’t happen in a corporate Panera Bread.Also airbnb has enough critical mass of renters and data to buy shit real estate in the middle of no where and fill it with bodies.Anyway I was not able to easily find anything that said airbnb is ‘in the process of buying real estate’ but I wouldn’t be surprised if not only they did this but could be starting to do it or with llc;s etc not in full view. It makes sense and I don’t believe it would harm their core users.[1] There are plenty of examples of this where what I see is the labor is shifted to a person who doesn’t properly value their time. My sister in law is getting into flipping and renovating houses. She is skilled enough (all learned from youtube haha) to do kitchen/bath renovation. What I don’t understand is why she doesn’t just do renovations for people and charge highly for it instead of putting her money at risk with flips. Why? Maybe because it’s a higher social rung to own and sell real estate than to be a contractor perhaps.

          8. kidmercury

            I misspoke, technically not buying real estate but controlling property rights:

          9. sigmaalgebra

            If AirBnB starts to look like, walk like, act like, quack like a hotel, motel, apartment company, or some rural, New England bed and breakfast, then they will be in that business and regulated like they are in that business. But those businesses are not very new and, thus, are likely highly competitive, that is, have thin margins.If those businesses have fat margins, then to heck with the BnBpart; AirBnB should just go compete with the big guys with the fat margins, Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Motel 6, Ritz-Carleton, whatever.I’m guessing that AirBnB, Uber, crypto-coins share two main things in common: (1) Some use of some simple apps on mobile computing and (2) working at or over the line of the spirit of old regulations. For (1), I don’t see much of a long term business advantage or Buffett moat. For (2), they have built a sea castle on the empty beaches at low tide and are waiting for the tide to come in, that is, the laws and regulations.Maybe if those three get big enough, then they can do political lobbying, legal pushing and shoving, etc., constant battles, and try to bend the laws and regulations in their favor. Sounds like a non-stop full employment situation for lawyers.

          10. jason wright

            i foresee the waning of personal real estate ownership. tokenisation should permit frictionless renting and leasing of collectivised resources.

          11. kidmercury

            i agree, i think something like that will probably occur.

          12. kidmercury

            yes, exactly!

          13. PhilipSugar

            Damn we agree again.

      2. PhilipSugar

        Holy Shit Richard…..on this we agree.

        1. Richard

          Those of us in the US are the beneficiaries of a 100 year economic run. We’ve have earned fiat currency status through the hard work of so many great business icons and war veterans. We live on the equivalent of worldwide beachfront fiscal property. It’s a long shot but cryptocurrency could very make that beachfront property obsolete?

          1. Lawrence Brass

            Owning the world’s money printer is a great advantage indeed.It explains in part the luxury of trillion dollar deficits in the horizon.

          2. Richard

            innovation, productivity and a stable currency will keep it that way.

          3. Girish Mehta

            Great comment. “A great advantage” is true, if a slight understatement. Valery Giscard d’Estaing called it an “Exorbitant Privilege”.Keynes accurately saw the unfair advantage this would give the US and fought Harry Dexter White to the end in Bretton Woods in 1944 on this. The US held all the cards as the superpower and Keynes failed.The role this played in the post world-war economic success of the United States is not overlooked, but it is sometimes understated.

      3. Robert Holtz

        I agree with you too, Richard. But here comes the bad news: The train has already left the station and it’s moving fast.

        1. Richard

          I don’t see any signs that the $ has lost or is going to loose its fiat status.

          1. Robert Holtz

            Putting cryptocurrency aside for a moment, even in traditional currency circles U.S. is losing is grasp as the de facto currency of the world. China wants that position and has even engaged in currency manipulation to knock the U.S. of its pedestal. Now add Tencent and the dominance of QQ, the picture becomes ever clearer. That’s before we factor in Bitcoin, Gridcoin, Etherium, and the whole ICO movement.

      4. jason wright

        that’s why the dogs of war pull hard on the leash, trying to savage Iran, and why they savaged Lybia, and Iraq, and Afghanistan, et.c., all to weaken alternative currency systems and pump up the power of the US dollar. morally indefensible. ethically bankrupt.

    4. fredwilson

      you must!!!!!

    5. mplsvbhvr

      +1 to Fred’s comment. I read it once a years ago but the novel seems far too relevant now to not be worth a second run-through so I’ll be picking it up again soon. Highly recommended

  6. JLM

    .Safe Harbor provisions protect issuers of securities against claims by investors who have purchased the securities. It is a shield to litigation.The US SEC has a mission, amongst other duties which at times may be in conflict, to serve the interests of investors by overseeing and disciplining issuer and exchange conduct.First you must have a body of regulation before the US SEC can identify which issuer conduct is deemed “safe.” They also routinely identify conduct which is not safe.Right now, we don’t have that body of regulation, but in any event there are already widespread abuses – such as issuers who are felons.Most safe harbors are “inside baseball” type things like “forward looking statements” in the utterances of public company CEOs.What is really being asked for is “guidance” which is the first cousin of “best practices.”This likely falls under the rulemaking obligations of the US SEC. The US SEC rulemaking is a weapon – remember the 3 year gap from legislation of the JOBS Act to the rules?They use that weapon when they don’t like something. They hate crypto.It is hard to see this happening without legislation to spark the rulemaking.One other issue is the absence of any involvement by Wall Street underwriters. If a big IBank were issuing a prospectus, conducting a road show, putting together a buying/selling syndicate, this would get sorted most ricky tick.Of course there would be a 7% fee, no?There will be no safe harbors until there is documented regulation. There may not be any safe harbors because crypto is simply not safe.Caveat empenada!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  7. Skeptik

    It’s a little self serving for a VC, no? Give my portfolio companies a break – until I sell them to a bigger player that can afford to be encumbered by regulation? We have to be more specific. Would you offer a Safe Harbor to a smaller broker dealer ? No. Client money is at risk. I’m a libertarian at heart but talking your book is a universal language.

    1. fredwilson

      i could change the name of this blog to Self Serve. if you did not know that was how i roll, you do now

      1. JLM

        .Haha, well played. Nice volley at the net.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. jason wright

          it was a fault. wait for the second serve, if there is one.

      2. jason wright

        ‘SS’? Time for a rethink on that one.When i first stumbled across this place some years ago it was a bit of a eureka moment for me. I found somewhere on the web that was stimulating, eye opening, informative, and educational (and no cats). Interesting people doing interesting things, with things worth saying and things worth listening to. Much of that remains the same today. Now, you can tell me to go and jump in the river (and i can swim), but in more recent times have i sensed a shift. Before it seemed to be more about people wanting to achieve good by using capital as a means to that end. Now it seems to be more about the capital being the end, the only end.I put it down to the ‘crypto effect’. It’s become too much the topic of conversation everywhere. Things have become too ‘narrow’. What about a ‘Token Tuesday’, and one other day (maybe ‘Token Thursday’ as a rebound from the discussions of Tuesdays) as a disciplined approach to combating the general overkill (as i see it)? I can’t see the wood for the… crypto (if you get my modified meaning).

        1. fredwilson

          i’ve learned a lot in the past year about the cost of good intentions.

          1. PhilipSugar

            I am sorry to hear that.I think I have always had a harder heart than my wife. She is so much more sympathetic than me, in some ways, but much tougher than me because she headed up medical for a maximum security prison and has worked in the Supermax in MO, and she knows how evil people can be (she told me how a Russian told her about staking people down and letting the pigs that hadn’t been fed for weeks eat them) ,But as you make money and you have good intentions people will FUCK you. I won’t give any personal details. But I love this video:

      3. sigmaalgebra

        Gee, I thought that “self serve” was the way to get a big, iced Diet Coke at McD’s. Not to be confused with “soft serve” which is the ice cream served at McD’s.Soft serve, self serve tip: In early summer, drive along some NE Interstates and look for hillsides without trees and not recently mowed. Then stop and hope to find bushes of red raspberries ready to eat. Oops have a gallon plastic bowl. Then fill the bowl with the raspberries, drive on, stop at the first McD’s, get a stream of orders of soft serve that dump on the raspberries until they are nicely coated with the soft serve, wash down with self serve. Been there; done that. It doesn’t get much better than that!

  8. Tom Labus

    Is an ICO a futures contract @pointsandfigures?

  9. jason wright

    predicting a crypto crash is becoming a sport. not Fred, but one or two VCs (and others) are beginning to sound a bit smug in their public pronouncements on what might (or what might not) be coming down the road.

  10. ItsAllAboutFred

    Let’s translate this self-serving drivel: Fred invests in startups at an early stage and would benefit from an easing of regulations.

    1. Robert Holtz

      Fred makes no secret of his motivations. His bias is inescapable but no one is trying to escape it. That’s over the counter and completely above board. What makes it drivel?

      1. BattlingTheAVCLiterati

        Your argument is ridiculous.Fred presented a subjective, self-serving argument as if he were dispassionately and objectively considering facts. That is underhanded, not above board.As I indicated above under the name “ShortAndSweet” in response to Fred’s response….**********************Your blog posts have way too much fluff these days. Also, you consistently fail to acknowledge conflicts of interest. Here’s an example what you might have posted today:”I know it’s self-serving because I invest in startups at an early stage but I think the US economy and even much of the world economy would benefit from an easing of regulations on startups at an early stage. Doing so would help encourage investment in startups and concomitantly spur innovation.”**********************Are you a slick salesman like Fred who is similarly well-practiced in the art of torturous obfuscation? I ask because your “logic” above is pitiful.

        1. Robert Holtz

          Let’s be clear. This is NOT a news site. There is no journalistic imperative to be impartial. There can be no misrepresentation because the only thing Fred claims to represent is his own viewpoint and even that changes and evolves over time, often as a result of the constructive discourse that takes place on this very forum. As Fred likes to say, this blog is like a bar and he gets to be the bartender. You seem to think you’ve cracked open a deep conspiracy, that you’re exposing a hidden fallacy. I’m here to tell you that everyone knows full well that Fred has a vested interest that cannot be separated from what he writes here. The visitors to this site are under no delusions. We come here of our own volition to find out what Fred thinks and we all know full well that Fred’s opinions are almost always constrained by what benefits Fred, his firm, and the associated entrepreneurs. I think you refuse to acknowledge the reciprocal relationship that indeed exists between Fred’s opinions and Fred’s investment decisions. You think Fred’s opinions are entirely based on what supports his investments but it is equally true that where Fred puts his money is a very direct expression of what he genuinely thinks, believes in, and wants to see in the world. What he thinks and where he invests are not contradicting forces. They are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same thing.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Another reason to come to Fred’ s Place: Learn what the other people here think of what Fred has said. So, I get to read what Fred has said and, then also, what JLM, LE, … etc. say.IMHO, sometimes the comments here on a post by Fred are better than Fred’s post!And not all the comments here are talking up companies in an investment portfolio so can avoid some of that possible bias, additional agenda, etc.

          2. Robert Holtz

            Great points, sigmaalgebra. You’re quite right. Some of the best things Fred has said here were in response to other people’s comments and the conversation that ensued. The truth is, Fred also uses this platform to iterate his own ideas and keep himself informed and in the loop. What’s so wrong about that?!? For me, it adds to his legitimacy. It is actually a form of transparency to be sharing with colleagues what he’s thinking and how he hopes things will evolve.

    2. fredwilson

      correct! thank you for the translation.

      1. ShortAndSweet

        Your blog posts have way too much fluff these days. Also, you consistently fail to acknowledge conflicts of interest. Here’s an example what you might have posted today:”I know it’s self-serving because I invest in startups at an early stage but I think the US economy and even much of the world economy would benefit from an easing of regulations on startups at an early stage. Doing so would help encourage investment in startups and concomitantly spur innovation.”Personally I find such assertions ludicrous. They are founded on the belief that the god of Progress must be propitianted. Much of the rate of change over the last 250 years or so has generally been too fast. We don’t need more innovation; we need more peace. What if GeoCities had not beed founded until 2100 and Facebook until 2200? Frenetic change for the sake of change or material profit tends to lead to problems.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Naw!!! I never used GeoCities or MySpace and don’t much use Facebook.I see a lot of fantastic advantages in computing and the Internet. E.g., just now I’m taking a break from being up all night doing a “build” on my first server, which will also double as a development computer for a while. E.g.:(1) Worked hard on the issue of the “thermal paste” between the processor and its heat sink. Since It’s an eight core processor with a 4.0 GHz clock drawing 125 W, I wanted to be sure. So, I followed the old advice “measure twice, saw once” except I measured about four times before I was happy with the result.(2) The cover plate for the back panel ports was a train wreck, with a lot of tabs that were designed to act like springs to force the motherboard (mobo) to force the plate tight against its position inside the case. But the springs made the force way too much, especially for a delicate mobo, and some of the tabs were just in the way. So, I used old metal working tools to remove the tabs: Still not good enough, because the plate was still not quite flat enough. So, more work on the plate, and got the mobo in, and the plate looks fine.(3) In a PCI slot, installed a FAX modem card from my old, sick development computer. Installed a back panel slot adapter that brings four USB 2.0 ports to sockets on the back panel. In total there will be 10 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports. Next will install a similar adapter to bring old 9-pin serial to the back panel so that I can drive my old Xerox/Diablo daisy wheel printer for addressing envelopes, making labels for CD/DVD jewel cases, and various other labels.(4) Then will move over to a 5 1/4″ slot an old Asus USB CD/DVD reader/writer.(5) Then install a Western Digital 500 GB, 3.0 Gbps 3.5″ SATA drive.(6) Power up and look carefully at what the BIOS has and does.Etc. … Then get my startup software copied over and running again.So, it’s the processor I mentioned, 16 GB of ECC (error correcting coding) main memory, soon four internal SATA disk drives and one external USB drive, an Internet connection that commonly gives 70 Mbps download speeds, etc.Bottom line: I’m able to plug together one HECK of a lot of computing. Heck I wrote the software on a single core processor with a 1.8 GHz clock. So, the eight core processor should give about 17 times more computing. That’s a LOT of computing, AND a LOT of Internet data rate.Amazing! A major step up in the history of technology and civilization.Such computing with the Internet has changed civilization: (A) We can discuss ideas here at AVC, at other Disqus sites, on Hacker News, at other Web sites, etc. (B) We can download as PDF files, usually for free, some of the best technical material ever written. Similarly for video clips. (C) One reason I didn’t even want to try to be a college professor was the nearly impossible strain of getting mathematics typed. The typing was always several times as much work as the research. Now, no problem! I have a really good step with D. Knuth’s mathematical typesetting system TeX and a really good text editor, KEdit, each with about 200 macros. So, I can easily type the applied math for my startup. The last paper I published, yup, from TeX. Finally the typing is not much harder than the research!Net: Computing and the Internet have the developed world just awash in information technology and information, powerful, valuable information of wide variety.But for the nonsense of some of social media, well, no progress in technology and/or civilization is so good that it can’t be misused.So, don’t misuse it.

        2. fredwilson

          then stop reading me. this is a blog. not a newspaper.

  11. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:There is no one within our group that is listed as an accredited investor. There are Daytrader(s), CRE investors, etc.We have seen many fraudulent schemes come and go before and after the tech crashes. (Black Monday (87) & dot-com bubble (00). The promotion of any crypto-currency really invalidates and makes cheerleading positions illegitimate. We are viewing this objectively on the sideline with no hidden agenda’s or newly created user names to attack any single crypto advocate because you actively disagree with their political views verses their financial investments.We collectively believe some thought leaders were sucked in to help legitimize the entire foundation of what now has been realized is the real potential in the technology of the Blockchain that definitely wasn’t realized before the pitches to invest in BTC.NYT reporter Nathaniel Popper book Digital Gold we recommended before he established endorsements from those in his book (Journalistic integrity breached) outlined the influencers targeted and the greed that followed to get the support. A credible Investigative Journalist would be required now to unravel the global reach of the influencers in crypto.Very confusing to view these positions and cheerleading presentations (disguised) in declining and speculative platforms with no intrinsic value. This isn’t stocks being discussed with 10K’s that can be read.Regulations assist in preventing fraud and speculative instruments that shouldn’t be offered or openly promoted as investments.Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent

  12. TeddyBeingTeddy

    But when you know there is a ton of criminal activity going on, in even new and small industries, doesn’t the govt have a duty of care to protect the victims? Lot of smart QPs buying BTC, but also a lot of impressionable widows and orphans…

  13. Frank W. Miller

    Its not too early. They just need to be regulated now. For someone that was all in favor of Title II being burdened on the Internet companies, it seems a bit contradictory for you to not want regulation now on the token industry which is swimming in billions. Its well past time.

  14. Pascal Aschwanden

    >> But I do think that regulating an industry or a company too early in its life can be very damaging to innovation and the development of new technologies and new industries.This is exactly what happened to housing. And it’s why we haven’t seen any meaningful advancements in this industry for the last century: a house costs roughly the same as it did a century ago, adjusted for size and inflation. Housing, a multi-trillion dollar industry, the biggest “problem” of all “problems” to be solved, is virtually untapped. The amount of disruptive investment in this industry is many many orders of magnitude lower than other areas, completely ripe for disruption. Unfortunately, the layers upon layers of countless regulations is so massive, no one can dream of disrupting it.