Podcast: Building the Blockchain Ecosystem

Blockchain could be bigger than the internet and revolutionize our financial system, Barry Silbert argues.

Brian Hughes | UPS Longitudes

Click to play podcast.

Barry Silbert has a simple goal: to build a better financial system. He says he’s found a way to do just that.

Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group, a strategic investment company that helps entrepreneurs, financial institutions and technology investors, believes that blockchain will help build that better system.

Blockchain is a global digital ledger where anything of value can be moved or stored. It’s secure, decentralized and completely transparent.

We all know that the line between physical and digital money is blurring, but what does that transformation mean for consumers around the globe – and the societies of tomorrow? And are there any potential pitfalls?

Silbert sat down with Longitudes after presenting in the UPS Speaker Series last fall. In our wide-ranging conversation, he argues that blockchain will change more than just the future of money. It will make global trade more seamless, bring greater financial opportunities to impoverished areas and even make us safer.

Do you agree with Silbert’s prognostication? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Click here to read the transcript.

INTERVIEW EXCERPTS:

On the world’s increasing comfort with digital currencies:

“If you take a big step back and look at the history of money, money has taken lots of forms. It’s been rocks, it’s been wampum, it’s been salt, it’s been squirrel pelts. For a period of time it was coins that were made of precious metals. Then it went to physical paper representation, which for a period of time was backed by gold – and that’s no longer the case.

So it’s not crazy to think that society will get comfortable with and embrace a world where money is only represented in digital form.”

On the need for a new financial system:

“There’s certain things that I’m 100 percent convinced of. I’m 100 percent convinced that we’re going to digital money. The timing is uncertain, but i know we’re doing that.

I’m 100 percent convinced that the existing financial system that exists today is broken and dysfunctional, and that we need a better system. And I’m 100 percent convinced that we’re moving into a world and a society that is very much driven off of mobile devices and connectivity.

In knowing all of that, what are the companies that we can invest in? What are the businesses we can start that will help support and accelerate that, but will also take advantage of that world we will be living in?”

On the application of blockchain beyond financial services:

“Social security cards, birth certificates, driver’s licenses … all of these documents that are given to you by the government exist in a database somewhere already, yet that database is not accessible by you or anybody else.

So I get excited about the idea of having all of that information in some type of immutable distributed ledger, where i control the keys, I can provide access to that database to whomever i want and they don”t get to keep that information.”

“What gets me excited right now is finally, finally seeing small businesses and some very large companies experimenting around using Bitcoin as a rail to move money across borders.”

You might also like:

Blockchain and the Digital Currency Revolution

Does Global Trade Need A Global Currency?

The Promise of Digital Finance

Brian Hughes is Managing Editor of Longitudes.

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