Bitcoin: The Hot Topic at Plug and Play Winter Expo

Plug and Play's virtual currency panelist discussion attracted over 100 investors and corporations.

Dec 14, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 12:04 p.m. UTC

The Plug and Play Tech Center startup incubator and accelerator recently hosted its Winter EXPO, with 28 startup pitches, a virtual currency panelist discussion and over 100 investors and corporations.

The virtual currency panel, dubbed the "Future of Fintech", was primarily focused on bitcoin. This was particularly relevant, as the audience had just witnessed 11 bitcoin startups pitching their business plans to investors.

Low risk payments and foreign banks

Vinny Lingham of Gyft started the session by talking investors through the primary reasons why his gift card business started utilizing bitcoin.

"It's a low-risk method of payment," said Lingham.

He compared bitcoin to credit card transactions, which can be problematic for a number of reasons. This is especially true with so many different countries operating with different credit card companies.

"How do you trust a credit card from a foreign bank?" he asked.

David Chen is an Associate Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, which recently led an investment of $5m in the exchange BTC China. He believes that it is still early days for virtual currencies like BTC.

"We’re still in the infrastructure-building stage," he said.

And when asked about the current state of bitcoin in China, given the recent central banking news there, he declined to offer any elaboration, saying: "I think it's dangerous for us to speculate."

Tip of the iceberg

Chris Larsen is CEO of payment platform Ripple, which he called a "universal joint" for virtual currencies. He echoed the sentiment that BTC is just the beginning of something completely new.

"Virtual currencies are really the tip of the iceberg," he said.

It's the concepts that these currencies bring to the table that are so exciting for financial technologies in the future. Larsen cited the confirmation of financial transactions without a central clearing house and a solution to the double-spend problem as the two biggest innovations that bitcoin has brought to market.

L-R: David Chen, Chris Larsen, Jean-Jacques Cabou, Vinny Lingham, David Johnston, Adam Levine

Jean-Jacques Cabou, a partner at law firm Perkins Coie, said that over the next few years the issues of navigating regulatory compliance in virtual currencies “will decrease”. He made it clear that any virtual currency-related business should be very transparent.

"If your bank doesn’t know you’re a bitcoin business, that's a red flag," said Cabou.

Distributed infrastructure

David Johnston, who angel invests in virtual currency projects through BitAngels, said that distributed infrastructure is what he is most interested in.

He cited a paper that he recently wrote about the disruptive qualities that distributed systems could present in the future.

He said that 2014 would consist of funding in "infrastructure level investments: Mastercoin, distributed exchange and distributed commerce".

The complete panel listing at the fintech session of the Plug and Play EXPO was as follows:

Vinny Lingham, co-founder and CEO of Gyft,

David Chen, associate partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners,

Chris Larsen, founder and CEO of Ripple,

Jean-Jacques Cabou, partner at Perkins Cole, LLP

David Johnston, executive director of BitAngels.

The session was moderated by Adam B. Levine of Let's Talk Bitcoin.

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
Breaking Barriers to the Web 3 Creator Economy

The latest innovations in blockchain technology are enabling creators to earn more from their work and achieve an unprecedented level of autonomy.

The latest innovations in blockchain technology are enabling creators to earn more from their work and achieve an unprecedented level of autonomy.

2
How Not to Run a Cryptocurrency Exchange

At Japan's Liquid exchange, recently acquired by FTX, warnings were ignored, breaches unreported and employees berated and cursed at, insiders say.

At Japan's Liquid exchange, recently acquired by FTX, warnings were ignored, breaches unreported and employees berated and cursed at, insiders say.

3
Morgan Stanley Warns NFTs Next to Watch After UST Collapse, Bukele Announces Mega Banks Meeting in El Salvador

The most valuable crypto stories for Monday, May 16, 2022.

The most valuable crypto stories for Monday, May 16, 2022.

4
First Mover Asia: Metaverse ETFs Are Underperforming Gaming ETFs; Cryptos Return to the Red

Public interest continues to grow about the metaverse, but not as much in metaverse ETFs. Does crypto belong in everything?

Public interest continues to grow about the metaverse, but not as much in metaverse ETFs. Does crypto belong in everything?