Chamath Palihapitiya to Speak at CoinSummit San Francisco

Pete Rizzo
Mar 14, 2014 at 18:23 UTC
Updated Mar 14, 2014 at 20:37 UTC

Noted early tech entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya has been added to the speaker list for CoinSummit San Francisco, an upcoming two-day, invitation-only event to be held on 25th and 26th March at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Palihapitiya, one of the largest individual bitcoin investors and a prominent early executive at Facebook and AOL, joins an already impressive lineup of industry talent that includes keynote speaker and early software pioneer Marc Andreessen; Naval Ravikant, founder of AngelList; Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple Labs; and Nejc Kodrič, CEO of bitcoin exchange Bitstamp.

Additional speakers include David Lee, partner at SVAngel; Tony Gallippi, CEO of BitPay; Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase; and Jackson Palmer, co-founder of Dogecoin.

Palihapitiya has emerged as one of the more credible investors advocating for bitcoin in recent months, memorably speaking out on the digital currency’s behalf at TechCrunch Disrupt last October.The comments were seen by many as a key vote of confidence at a time when many in the mainstream were questioning whether bitcoin was a speculative bubble that would soon burst.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Palihapitiya said that bitcoin regulation is a topic he is eager to discuss at the engagement.

“Figuring out how bitcoin efforts intersect with existing regulators and regulations is now front and center.”

Likewise, Palihapitiya suggested he would also appeal to the ecosystem to rethink its overall business strategy in order to appeal to more mainstream consumers.

“We need to create a broader, diverse ecosystem of best-in-class point products versus Swiss Army knives. Xapo is a great example of deciding to do one thing really well. Once more companies do this, we will be able to appeal to a broader set of the world.”

The statements support TechCrunch’s prediction that Palihapitiya would soon become “one of the most prominent advocates for the digital currency”, a development that seems to be coming to pass with his addition to CoinSummit San Francisco.

What to expect

For the event, Palihapitiya will be interviewed by Brad Stone, a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Stone co-authored a feature on bitcoin which made the front cover of a January edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt, Palihapitiya grabbed headlines when he estimated his personal bitcoin holdings to be worth $5m and suggested he would look to double or triple this investment.

Palihapitiya also suggested that he will continue to champion bitcoin as an investment at CoinSummit.

“We will have some good tax policy and regulatory oversight that will allow more traditional financial institutions to participate in the ecosystem – irrespective of their view of bitcoin as a currency, commodity or other. BTC is at $10k next year.”

Palihapitiya focused much of the conversation on bitcoin as an investment, as well as the underlying technology, topics that are both likely to be on the docket for CoinSummit.

About Palihapitiya

Born in Sri Lanka, Palihapitiya is mostly known for his work at high-profile tech companies, beginning with ICQ Messaging, which was later acquired by AOL. Palihapitiya went on to work on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

Founder and partner at The Social+Capital Partnership, a Palo Alto-based VC fund made up of philanthropists and technologists, Palihapitiya notably invested $15m in Barry Silbert’s alternative investment platform SecondMarket, which is working on launching a regulated bitcoin exchange in New York this year.

Further, he is the current owner of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise, which has added credibility to rumors that the franchise may accept bitcoin soon.

As noted in his profile in BusinessWeek, Palihapitiya was integral in helping Facebook grow from just 50 million users to more than 750 million users.

Bitcoin users can only hope his support helps the digital currency achieve similar results.