Wayra welcomes Brock Pierce the entrepreneur and venture capitalist to Bayes
On Tuesday 16th July, Brock Pierce visited the Bayes Centre to meet with representatives from Wayra UK and the University of Edinburgh to share some of his wisdom and experience of Blockchain and Crypto
Brock Pierce is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with an extensive track record of founding, advising and investing in disruptive businesses. He's been credited with pioneering the market for digital currency and has raised more than $5B for companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO).
During his visit to the Bayes Centre, Wayra educated Brock on their aim to accelerate the best AI & Blockchain start-ups in Europe and he was able to meet with their second cohort in the AI & Blockchain Accelerator Programme before hearing 3-minute company pitches from the Wayra UK startup’s.
Wayra also arranged for Brock to hear more about the fascinating work happening at the University of Edinburgh including Bayes residents the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
We asked Brock why he chose to visit Wayra at the University of Edinburgh:
The University and students in particular are core to the future and so I always prioritise academic institutions over almost everything. The biggest regret 10 years from now is not showing up and making time to be in places like this and to connect with each of you, the students, the University, these types of institutions are building the next generation of tomorrow
We managed to get some time with Brock during his busy schedule to ask some questions:
Why and how did you get involved in Blockchain?
"I have been building digital currency businesses since 1999 [and so] I was very involved in the development of the digital currency business around video games specifically as the first massively multi-player games emerged. The first networked games were persistent in nature so whatever it is that you accumulated through whatever functions and actions you have taken inside of that world it’s still there when you log out and come back again and these assets were tradeable. As a result of that, I recognised that people were willing to buy and sell these things because in the digital world human nature does not change as much from the analogue world and we are still motivated by the same things. And so I was in that space helping to build up a supply chain of 400,000 people in China in my early 20’s that would play video games professionally to mine digital currencies and so built a massive industry, where we were Googles largest advertiser for a little while and we were Paypal’s largest merchant for years.
When crypto currencies came along there was obviously the great cryptographers and developers that built the early infrastructure but the industries real development and distribution or what drove the distribution of this sector was really the gamers. Because it’s the people and the reason why China and South Korea are the largest markets in the world is because these were the markets where they were the most used to buying and selling digital currencies. The idea that something was intangible and valuable was not new; there wasn't a learning curve as that was already obvious to all of the gamers throughout the world as they were technology savvy so really the game industry has driven most of the adoption globally"
What do you think are the biggest challenges associated with Blockchain?
"Well there are a couple of big challenges probably the most important is user interface, consumer friendliness and things of that nature. If you look at tackling the issue of mass adoption, I don’t think I have to talk about the potential use cases [such as] financial inclusion, democratisation of systems, I think most of us understand the benefits that Blockchain is able to provide but the hurdles that are preventing those things from coming to fruition is speed, scalability and all that sort of stuff, those issues are starting to be resolved. I think the largest issue is just making this really consumer friendly, safe, secure and easy to use. We are still at a point where it’s not really consumer friendly, it’s super intimidating for the average person and so I think that is probably one of the largest issues"
What's the most important thing for anyone trading cryptocurrency?
‘Well I think the most important thing for anyone trading crypto is to make informed decisions for yourself, you are not making investments so much as to make money but you are investing in your future…do not allow other people to tell you what to do because that’s when you’ll get in trouble; make decisions for yourself’