Silver Lake co-founder and Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member Glenn Hutchins took the stage at Consensus 2016 to deliver an overarching speech about why public blockchains like bitcoin still matter in the age of big bank ledger efforts today.
A director for both telecommunications giant AT&T and US stock market Nasdaq, Hutchins provided a unique perspective on bitcoin’s history and future for the packed audience of roughly 1,500 attendees during his solo keynote.
In his remarks, Hutchins compared bitcoin to the Internet, and private permissioned blockchains to Intranets, citing the crucial role such private systems played during the transition to the web in the 1990s, but cautioning their impact will be limited.
Hutchins told the audience:
“Disconnected from the digital currency, blockchain exists more like an intranet. Intranet was quite important, but the transformative value was only when all those intranets were connected into an Internet.”
Hutchins indicated that bitcoins could come to serve as the “boxcars” for finance, comparing distributed ledgers to the new “railroads” in terms of how they could enable economic development.
The investor went on to say that he had personally bought bitcoin and that he was in the midst of investing in bitcoin companies as part of forthcoming Series A and Series B rounds. Hutchins announced last week that he had joined the board of directors at industry-focused VC firm Digital Currency Group.
The talk stood out even on a day that saw a number of impressive announcements from Chain, which revealed a new blockchain platform created with assistance from its big financial partners, and the state of Delaware, which detailed its effort to allow corporations to certificate using blockchain tech.
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Image via Glenn Hutchins