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S01E08: Investment, Speculation, and The Future of Cryptocurrency with Spencer Bogart

Nov 06

In 1660, Prince Rupert traveled to England from his home in Germany.

Like many noblemen of his time, Prince Rupert was seemingly related to almost everyone else in the nobility – so despite being a German prince, he was also a nephew of the English king.

And so – while in England, the German prince introduced the English king to what was then a very popular curiosity from the continent.

A Seventeenth Century Curiosity

What he showed him were small bits of glass, shaped like tear drops with a long tail. And although accounts are limited, he likely asked the king to try and break one of the glass tear drops. In all likelihood, the king was unable to do so – even with a hammer.

Then Prince Rupert probably showed the king was seemed like a parlor trick. He might have used a dagger or knife to ever-so-slightly chip the long tail of the tear-drop shaped glass, at which point the glass would have shattered into a fine dust.

And as it turns out, the king was so impressed that he then showed the small tear drops to the Royal Society of Scientists, who were equally fascinated and curious, so much so, that they named the curiosities “Prince Rupert’s Drops”, despite the fact that Prince Rupert had neither invented nor discovered them – only brought them to England.

The drops were not hard to create. All it required was dropping a bit of molten glass into a bucket of water – to quickly cool the glass.

A Process of Discovery and Utilization

Nevertheless, researchers worked for the next 200 years on this curiosity, finally leading in 1874 to the invention of tempered glass. Tempered glass, which – like the drops Prince Rupert first introduced to England – is several orders of magnitude stronger than typical glass and crumbles into very granular chunks when finally broken.

Today, tempered glass is all around us – our car windshields, the trays in your refrigerator, and perhaps even the screen of the monitor or phone you’re looking at right now.

In the middle of the 17th century, though, tempered glass was little more than a curiosity – albeit one that evoked much excitement. An excitement that was not yet matched by any ability to use the glass on a day-to-day basis.

An excitement not completely unlike the enthusiasm that has engulfed cryptocurrency over that past year, particularly when it comes to the meteoric rise in value of cryptocurrency – a rise that many argue is not yet justified by the practical uses or lack thereof…

The Strength, Fragility, and Future of the Cryptocurrency Market

Like any financial asset or market – particularly any young or immature market or asset – cryptocurrency is still undergoing it’s own process of tempering – of getting toughened.

Like Prince Rupert’s drops, the market is already somewhat resistant to breakage. We’ll talk today about how the network effect of Bitcoin is consistently underestimated and provides an enormous amount of strength.

But also like Prince Rupert’s drops, there is concern that the market – if hit in the wrong way – could potentially shatter into a million pieces.

And so today, we’re going to talk about the financial side of cryptocurrency with Spencer Bogart.

He’s a bit of a rockstar in the world of cryptocurrency, particularly on the financial and investment side of blockchain and cryptocurrency. He’s perhaps best known for some of his work at Needham, an investment bank where he wrote a couple very popular reports on the blockchain and the state of the industry. He’s generally praised by engineers and investors alike, and in early 2017, he got poached to work for one of the major blockchain VC firms – Blockchain Capital.

Tempered Enthusiasm for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Spencer takes an approach that I think of as Tempered Enthusiasm. You’ll hear during our conversation just how interested and enthusiastic Spencer is about cryptocurrency. But you’ll also hear him temper that enthusiasm at times – based largely on his experience and knowledge of what’s gone before.

So please enjoy this awesome conversation with Spencer Bogart.

Featured Guest

Spencer Bogart

Selected Links

Spencer Bogart on Twitter
Blockchain Capital
Needham Blockchain Report
Prince Rupert’s Drops
Tempered Glass

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About the Author

Jeremy Hendon grew up in Georgia, practiced law for a while, and then built several companies - from food manufacturing to magazines to digital events. Jeremy has also developed apps with 500,000+ downloads, co-authored multiple books, had his products featured on national TV, and has lived in 9 different countries over the last 4 years.