Y Combinator President Calls ICOs A 'Bubble' – But His Firm Might Use Blockchain

Y Combinator, Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator, is looking at blockchain in order to boost access to startups for investors.

AccessTimeIconSep 21, 2017 at 4:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC

Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator, is looking at blockchain as a possible way to boost access for investors.

Sam Altman, who serves as president of the accelerator, highlighted the plan during this week's TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco. While the strategy appears to be in the early stages, the initiative nonetheless reveals how the tech is influencing the notable accelerator, which has previously played home to startups like Coinbase.

"We are interested in how companies like Y Combinator can use the blockchain to democratize access to investing," Altman said during the event, adding

"We should try to figure that out."

As for the state of progress on that front, TechCrunch reports that Y Combinator is currently working through the legal and logistical challenges for integrating blockchain. Whether it turns into an option to contribute cryptocurrencies or something involving initial coin offerings (ICOs) remains to be seen.

Altman returned to the topic of "democratizing" the investment process, positioning it from the perspective of unequal access to new wealth creation. The Y Combinator president said he was disturbed by wealth inequality in Silicon Valley – and suggested that there are technology options that exist today that could offer a solution.

"If there’s a way that new technology can make it practical and possible to democratize this, I think that’d be great," he said.

During the event, Altman spoke more broadly about the ICO funding model, stating his belief that the overall market is "definitely a bubble right now" – yet went on to say that "there is something underlying them, which is why smart people are fascinated." He went on to advocate for closer oversight of the space.

"ICOs need to be regulated," he said.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

Image Credit: Paul Miller/Flickr


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