This is a transcribed excerpt from the “Bitcoin Magazine Podcast,” hosted by P and Q. In this episode, they’re joined by Alyse Killeen to talk about what’s happening in the VC space as it relates to Bitcoin, and for what hidden gems are ripe. investment right now.
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Alyse Killeen: I’m curious with so much going on, how you all think about the important things to pay attention to in the innovation space. We’ve talked a little bit about the Swan acquisition, which is exciting because they’re a company that has maintained that commitment to their community, so I’m excited to see them grow.
We talked about Taro and what he does for adoption. I wonder what you all think. So from Stillmark’s perspective, just to lead with an answer here, from Stillmark’s perspective, what we like to do is look at where protocols are going and then anticipate what that means for entrepreneurs and infrastructure and applications.
I gave the example of talking about seeing Segwit turn on in 2017 and knowing what that meant for the Lightning Network or for entrepreneurship and innovation in an absent infrastructure that would be built on top of the Lightning Network. So we see it in this kind of progressive build-up, but I’m curious from your point of view, how things rise to the top of your list in terms of what’s important and exciting.
Q: Man, that’s a great question. I’ll give my thoughts and I’d love to hear Q’s too. I think, as I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges we face in the Bitcoin space is the UX issue. How can we increase the ability of the average person to adopt bitcoin?
In the US we have a level of financial privilege, given that we exist within the country that is currently the world’s reserve currency, but in so many other places this is not the case. I think technologies like Fedimint and things that make it easier for people who aren’t interested in bitcoin for the big reasons we all are to adopt it and immediately see those positives: people operating in oppressive financial regimes, people who are trying figure out how they can maintain and persist the value they have gained over time and space because they have real, lived experience of their governments confiscating that wealth. I think these are the most interesting technologies for me.
Second, I would say technologies that allow us to more effectively preserve our privacy and financial freedom in developed countries. We’ve been talking a lot about CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies). We spoke yesterday with Natalie Smolinski, who will testify tomorrow at a congressional hearing about how CBDCs are a sales funnel for Satan.
I think the technologies that allow the average person, who isn’t set by default on financial privacy, the technologies that allow them to adopt that very easily and natively will become increasingly important as the challenges that we face in the world continue to increase. up
These are the things that interest me the most.
Killeen: So P, I was just going to say that we see things the same way here, and one of the things that Stillmark does is look at how you can use technology to meet people where they’re at to both adopt BTC and as an asset and Bitcoin, the protocol.
So I’ll give an interesting example of that, which is a company we recently invested in called Pink Frog. And so what Pink Frog really is, it’s a game studio, but what they’re going to do is integrate Lightning Network to provide a better community experience for their players, and they’re going to use sats. as in-game rewards, and also rewards between users.
We’ve seen this before and it might not be interesting described the way I just presented it, but here’s the detail that I think really makes it compelling and shows a breakthrough in the Bitcoin ecosystem, broadly speaking. This is a team that doesn’t come from a Bitcoin perspective, but comes from a gaming perspective.
So a team from King, which is one of the most prestigious and successful studios in the world of video games, and is the team that introduced and grew Candy Crush. And Candy Crush is a game that has seen 100 million monthly active users as an example of the adoption that this team has been able to achieve.
Now, what they did when they left King and launched Pink Frog is that they thought deeply about the gaming experience and how it could be improved for their players. And what they’re doing is they’re looking at a young millennial, Gen Z audience. So they’re looking at themselves as the TikTok audience and they’re trying to see how technology or other kinds of innovations can intertwine with what they’re looking for these players
So they’re not really trying to force bitcoin, they’re identifying Bitcoin as a way to fulfill a need and want that they’ve noticed in their user base. And so it’s really exciting to see technologies being used in this way, which is just to solve problems or provide a fun answer to something that people want.
And instead of trying to convince people that they want bitcoin, it’s using Bitcoin technologies to meet people where they are and to integrate with their lives or how they spend their time. Pink Frog is a nice and fun example of this. So, going back to the beginning of our conversation, Taro was the serious application of this, where when we introduced Lightning Network in emerging markets, and I’ll use El Salvador again as an example, we saw that people really had to be banking through Bitcoin and Lightning Network. They needed to be able to interact with their local and online community, without a debit or credit card, and that’s really what Lightning Network was for them. But the volatility of BTC was difficult for people of lower socio-economic level. So Taro comes in to meet people exactly where they are and to provide a solution for something they know they need, which is tools to participate in both their local economy and the global economy.
What you say really resonates with me because I’m excited about the exact same thing, which is how Bitcoin can address a variety of challenges that future users have.