Necessity is the mother of invention. In 1991, a group of researchers in the computer laboratory at the University of Cambridge shared a single coffee pot. The problem is that the coffee didn’t last long once brewed, and there was no way to know if there was coffee to be had before making the trek to the machine. A simple solution was to point a camera at the pot and broadcast the frame grabber to all the researchers’ desktop computers through their internal network. Information asymmetry solved.
Our team at Collab Crypto spends a lot of time thinking about markets. We concur with Naval Ravikant’s statement that blockchains will replace networks with markets, so we’ve been thinking carefully about what tradable assets will look like in the future and how markets will form around them. Particularly, commoditized assets.
I’ve been visiting the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance for the past few months, which has provided the opportunity to interact with leading thinkers and builders in the blockchain ecosystem, not only here in Cambridge but throughout Europe. One trip I was particularly excited to make was a visit to our strategic partner, Bitstamp. Not only have we built a friendship with the founding team, but they are also investors in our fund. We talk regularly about what we are seeing in the exchange market and the crypto market more generally.
This series of posts is going to be a little…different. Inspired by xkcd’s “Up-Goer Five” and the Ten Hundred Words of Science project, the goal is to explain complex and interesting technical concepts in crypto as simply but thoroughly as possible using only the one thousand (ten hundred) most frequently used words in the English language. I will aim to limit each post to around 1000 words total as well. First: Bitcoin. I hope you enjoy!
The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its popularity. And vice versa. This is as true in investing as in anything else, and especially important to keep in mind in a nascent area like crypto where there are still far more open questions than answers. We wanted to share some of our reactions, thoughts, and perspectives on the relevance of some recently-expressed “unpopular opinions” (some of which are hopefully not so unpopular anymore) to crypto and investing more broadly.
Now that we’ve lifted the veil on Collaborative’s crypto investing efforts, we plan to start providing some commentary on our recent investments since we kicked off last year. We’ll be putting out several of these posts in the coming weeks, starting with one of our first investments, in a company called StarkWare.
I’ve been interested in distributed ownership models since I was a Ph.D. student - my doctoral thesis was on employee stock options. When I came across Bitcoin and blockchains shortly after I graduated in 2011, I immediately saw parallels between crypto and my academic work. In some ways, it felt like the next big step in what is inevitable for the future of financial transactions.