We anchor our writing around the World Economic Forum 223 page report on CBDCs and stablecoins. The analysis highlights the key conclusions across several white papers in the report. We then add a layer of meta analysis around the language in the report, and question what it is trying to accomplish, and whether that will work with the Web3 revolution. This leads us to think about the tension between populism, as represented by crypto, and institutionalism, as represented by banking structures. We discuss theories of cultural and national DNA, and the rise of populism, as difficult problems to solve for any global alignment.
In this conversation, we talk with Will Beeson of Bella and Rebank, about how the Internet/Reddit/Gamestop broke out financial market structure, the social contract, and what the new American finance structure will look like.
More specifically, we give some thought to which FinTech and Crypto companies win or lose from the GameStop adventure, the actual market structure issues that led to the suspension of Robinhood’s trading, and what’s next for the mobile broker, and finally, the social meaning of the war against hedge funds by Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets. Check out our conversation on these exciting new developments.
This week, we look at:
The nature of innovation hubs, and how close groups of actors within a particular environment can be massively, fundamentally productive. Take for example the 30 million years of the Cambrian explosion.
The difficulty of experimenting with banking and money frameworks, the limits of traditional econometrics, and an overview of “free banking” in the 1840s.
How evolutionary theory can help us think about selection of economic models, and the hyper-competition and hyper-mutation that we see in crypto. DeFi protocols, like BadgerDAO and ArcX among hundreds of others, are experiments in designing different monetary policies and banking regime experiments in real time.
We have never before had such acceleration in the design space of the economic machine, subject to evolutionary pressures, built by a closely-wound nexus of developers. It is a fortune for the curious.
In this conversation, we talk with Jamie Burke of Outlier Ventures. This is a fascinating and educational conversation that covers frontier technology companies and protocols in blockchain, IoT, and artificial intelligence, and the convergence of these themes in the future. Jamie walks us through the core investment thesis, as well as the commercial model behind shifting from incubation to acceleration of 30+ companies. We pick up on wisdom about marketing timing and fund structure along the way.
I look at how the news about the spread of the coronovirus are cracking the global economic machine. Some may argue that the number of people effected is still low -- but that misses the entire point. The shock of a global pandemic has revealed weakness in the financial machine, sending the stock markets falling 10% year-to-date. Gross domestic product growth is expected to slow by billions of dollars, governments and central banks are unable to implement policy to compensate with rates at historic lows and borrowing at historic highs, public market valuations will tumble arithmetically, and private Fintech companies will lose a path to exit. At least that's what the conspiracy theorists want you to think!
Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year old climate MP was presenting her climate change case to the New Zealand parliament, and was heckled by an older audience member. Without missing a beat, she acknowledged and dismissed the challenger with a pithy “Ok, Boomer.”
The recording has since gone viral, inspiring everything from merchandise to Vogue articles. While the incident isn’t the source of the phrase “Ok, Boomer”, today it is the most well known manifestation. So what does the phrase mean? If you are inclined to more colorful language, see Urban Dictionary. But the meaning is obvious on its face — Gen Z is dismissing utterly and without consideration the judgment and protestations of society's elders on multi generational issues like economics, climate change, and social norms.
I've seen a whole bunch of headlines this past week about how Facebook is launching its version of the "Supreme Court", as if that were an app feature. The oversight board is meant to police controversial content decisions, and have the power to overrule Zuck's judgment on political matters. Its charter is drafted as if Facebook's 3 billion users were citizens of an Internet nation. Add to this the insanity over WeWork's failing IPO plans, where the CEO has been personally named in the amended filing documents with clear checks on demonstrated abuses of power. We are drifting into a Twilight Zone episode where modern corporations act as if they were feudal states run by divine kings negotiating with their nobility over a Magna Carta. Which is actually sort of where we are.