Sramana Mitra: In the last example, you have talked about protocol and security in the context of the developed market and one of your hotshot investments. What about the application side of the developed market? What kind of new FinTech applications are coming about that you’ve invested in that are interesting because of Blockchain?
Brock Pierce: I’ll talk briefly a bit about a company called Ripple, which is our largest investment in our second fund. That one investment was enough to make any fund successful. Ripple does a bunch of things. When banks send money from a bank to another bank, it runs on T+3. When banks send money to each other, they usually have what’s called a three-day settlement. It takes three days for the money to move from one bank to another.
You, the consumer, might receive it faster because your bank knows the funds are coming and they’ll credit to you in advance, but they are using systems known as ACH or Swift. Ripple has built a protocol for banks around the world to improve settlement down to zero days – minutes versus days. It’s a new inter-bank settlement system. ACH and Swift is going to go away. It’s ancient. Now we have better systems in place. Ripple is partnered with hundreds of banks now to upgrade their infrastructures so we have faster settlement. That’s for banks.
Banks can now send money from one bank to another instead of the way it works today where banks send money to one bank, that goes to another bank, that goes to a central clearing bank. If you saw the way financial system works, you’d say, “Can you design it any worst?”
Sramana Mitra: Great. That’s very interesting. I’m going to ask you the last question. What is an open problem that you see out there that you would like an entrepreneur in our universe to go solve using Blockchain?
Brock Pierce: This technology has the potential to positively impact so many lives, but a lot of it is still theoretical. I stopped playing, what I call, the game of compounding interest. Compounding interest being the game of self-interest. How do I do more for me?
I’m changing the game and I’m playing a different game, which I call compounding impact, which is, how do I have as big and positive an impact on the world as I possibly can? A lot of the things that we talked about today like financial inclusion is, how do we go from the theoretical impact of this technology to the actual impact? I’m looking for lighthouses. I’m looking for real-world examples where people’s lives are being positively impacted in a material way.
I’m tipping the hat to Satoshi – a Japanese pseudonym. There is a Japanese term ikigai. If you look at a Venn diagram of three rings where it’s understanding what you are passionate about, what do you love. For each of us to understand what are those things that we’re passionate about. What are you good at? As Malcolm Gladwell would say, “What are your superpowers?” What are the things that you’ve invested 10,000 hours into that uniquely defines you and makes you the wonderful being that you are? And what does the world need right now? How can you make the world a better place?
Understanding what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs – the intersection of those three is called your life’s purpose. I’m looking to help people along that path to make a positive impact in the world. People need a lot of help right now. Two-thirds of the planet doesn’t even have the tools to enable themselves to live a meaningful life. Let’s bring the tools to everyone on the planet so everyone can live the best lives possible. As a result of which, better the lives of everyone around them.
Sramana Mitra: On that note, thank you for being here today and sharing your perspective on the Blockchain universe. It’s something that we’ll continue to explore. We are seeing lots of companies developing in that area also. Thank you for being here.