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S01E11: ICOs, FOMO, and the Promise and Hype of Cryptocurrency with Brad Mills

Nov 27

Roy Amara was known primarily as a tech futurist. But when he completed his service as a Navy technician after World War II, had to make a big decision about what to do with the rest of his life.

Roy was a man who liked to be at the center of things. So after using his GI Bill to study at MIT, Roy moved his family to California, a state he loved but where also felt big things were beginning to happen.

Being at the Center of Things

Roy joined the Stanford Research Institute – at the time an organization that had only just been created by the trustees of Stanford University. But an organization, nonetheless, that quickly moved to the center of cutting-edge research, including development of early robots, the computer mouse, inkjet printing, and also some involvement with ARPANET – the predecessor to the internet.

And it Roy’s exposure to the ARPANET, in fact, that forced Roy to make an even bigger decision.

You see, Roy saw many glimpses of the future – after all, he worked during the 1960s in computing and related technology. But when he saw how ARPANET was starting to be used – for instant communication and sharing of information – a scope far beyond its humle military beginnings, he got a glimpse of a future that astounded even him.

And Roy wanted to be at the center of that future.

But Roy knew that chasing that future might mean abandoning his fantastic career at the Stanford Research Institute.

Glimpses of the Future and the Path of the Uncertain

In the choice between safe or uncertain, Roy chose the uncertain but adventurous path.

And after many years in the late 60s and early 70s trying to get his vision off the ground, he finally got the funding, recruited enough of the smartest people, and founded the Institute for the Future – an organization that even today lives on after Roy.

And every year as founder of the Institute, Roy would take on his toughest task – he would publish a forward-looking 10-year technology report. Roy would – in other words – predict the future.

Roy could do this because he remained until his retirement at the center of the technological advances that were rapidly altering the late-20th century world.

For 30 years, much of Silicon Valley and the tech world looked to Roy and his reports for a small glimpse into the future, not unlike current luminaries like Ray Kurzweil.

Today, we’re living in Roy’s future, and cryptocurrency is a big part of that. But there’s one quote that Roy is particularly famous for…

Amara’s Law

“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”

In today’s episode with my friend Brad Mills, that’s at the heart of what we’re going to talk about. The ways in which the blockchain and cryptocurrency could revolutionize so much within the next ten years, but also how there is so much hype before solutions are actually in place.

Brad currently works as an advisor to the ICO portfolio team at Alphabit, an actively managed cryptocurrency fund.

He’s a bitcoin evangelist and algorithmic trader, who’s been focusing on cryptocurrency since 2011, and he tells part of that story today.

He’s also an entrepreneur who’s had a lot of success in gaming and apps, and a very smart guy.

I had a lot of fun with this interview, and I hope you will as well.

Featured Guest

Brad Mills

Links

Alphabit Fund
SRI International
Institute for the Future
Roy Amara

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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.