Two of the cryptocurrency world's most outspoken figures are putting their money where their mouths are.
Joe Lubin, the founder of the ethereum startup studio Consensys, and Jimmy Song, a partner at Blockchain Capital, struck a handshake bet in front of an audience of hundreds, perhaps thousands, at CoinDesk's Consensus 2018 conference in New York City on Monday.
The exact terms of the bet have not yet been sorted out – that will happen on Twitter, the participants said. But the broad outlines emerged on stage.
Lubin bet Song "any amount of bitcoin" that five years in the future, the blockchain space will include some number of applications – perhaps five – that have earned a yet-to-be-defined number of users.
Bitcoin maximalist Song took the bet.
To explain how things came to a head, it's necessary to back up about 20 minutes. Amber Baldet, former blockchain program lead at JPMorgan, had unveiled her new project Clovyr, a decentralized app (or dapp) store that gives users access to projects tied to both public and permissioned, more enterprise-focused blockchain networks.
She then brought Song and Lubin onstage for a conversation that immediately caught fire, with Baldet asking what Song thought about Clovyr.
His reaction was brutal: "I didn't see anything other than buzzwords."
The reason, he argued, was an insurmountable disconnect between centralized enterprises and supposedly decentralized applications, which Song dismissed as "magical blockchain dust."
A back-and-forth among Baldet, Lubin and Song ensued. Lubin sarcastically predicted that the next five years of cryptocurrency innovation would see nothing but "bitcoin 1.0." Song doubled down, saying "I don't really see much of this stuff gaining much traction." Bitcoin, he argued, is "the real innovation here."
So, Lubin issued a challenge: "I'll bet you any amount of bitcoin that you're wrong."
For now, the number of bitcoin is unknown, as are other terms of the bet. But Song accepted the wager, and Lubin tweeted at Song shortly afterward:
— Joseph Lubin (@ethereumJoseph) May 14, 2018
Image by David Floyd for CoinDesk