Fred Wilson is a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures. USV invests in bitcoin companies, but not the currency itself. Fred is interested in bitcoin because he believes it can be and possibly will be the financial and transactional protocol for the global Internet.
I got pretty animated during the discussion, which is probably not a great thing to do when testifying in a government hearing. But this kind of thing is really important to me. We were talking about the freedom to innovate in an emerging market that is going to get regulated. I don't have a problem with regulation per se, but how and when it happens matters a lot.
As our panel was winding down, Superintendant Lawsky asked what countries were doing it right. I didn't answer that question but instead decided to talk about one that isn't doing it right and brought up China and noted that a fantastic investment strategy would be to have invested in every Internet servcies that China has blocked. My point being that the services China likes to block are the really important ones that have been built on the Internet.
I then noted that this discussion is really about freedom. Chris McAlary recorded my assertion in this tweet:
Some will say that I was being overly dramatic or romantic with that line. But I really believe it. If you look at the countries around the world where the most innovation happens, you will see a very high, I would argue a direct, correlation between innovation and freedom. They are two sides of the same coin.
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