Comcast Ventures Bullish On Bitcoin | CNBC

as you know there’s been so much interest in crypto currencies specifically today where we’re looking at Bitcoin at a twenty eighteen hive back above ninety three hundred what do you think is behind this recent rebound I think people are realizing that Bitcoin blockchain there’s real value there I think in 2017 it was all about sort of the run-up to get rich quick Wow you can double triple quadruple your money then I think it was a pullback to say okay what are the real applications of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and I think we’re going to see a surge now around people really understanding the potential for the technology how important is it for the traditional banks like a Goldman Sachs to play a a more substance and substantive role in crypto currencies in order for them to flourish can Bitcoin continue to move higher without the presence of these big banks that play a meaningful role in the means of payment big banks are in a really interesting situation where some of them for some of their the products that they offer may get disintermediated let’s take the the underdeveloped world for a moment here they missed the whole landline telephone experience skipping directly from no phones to mobile phones right they leapfrog I think the underdeveloped world has an opportunity to do the same with their financial systems many of which are broken central banks are corrupt and so rather than go through the traditional central bank system that we have in the developed world in the US as an example they skip that and go directly to a crypto based economy whereby the there’s no central bank their peer-to-peer transactions among untrusted players and there is a ledger which records all of these transactions in the US it’s probably gonna have less of an impact than then in underdeveloped countries but I think here in the u.s. there are still a lot of applications financial applications that don’t necessarily need these large Bank or traditional financial players surpassing the traditional bank so talk to us about Comcast ventures where are you guys trying to put money to work in this new industry we’re very excited about cryptocurrency and blockchain so irrespective of the price of Bitcoin unfortunately if it’s at ten thousand or ten dollars we still think that there’s core technology there that has the potential to disrupt many industries right if you look at the three main principles of blockchain around identity around this this immutable ledger so the ledger of all the transactions and then these this decentralized control mechanism there it has the potential to disrupt existing players social media content distribution ecommerce if we look at Internet 1.0 if you will the Internet of the 90s and early 2000s was about how do we connect people but it didn’t solve the trust problem so we we formed these aggregators that would connect buyers and sellers together and and these aggregators would reap the profits now with blockchain technology that’s unnecessary buyers and sellers can connect to each other in a trusted fashion without a central player so I think there are a lot of new business models that we haven’t even seen yet we develop and which companies are are you looking at to put money and you’ve already invested in something already invested yeah so we’ve been one company we invested in is a picks and shovels lock Damon and while it block Damon does is they provide blockchain as a service so if a company enterprise business wants to launch a blockchain node or they want to launch a a node on an existing blockchain like Bitcoin aetherium they go to block daemon and press a couple buttons and immediately they’ve spun up infrastructure that allows for companies to not have to worry about infrastructure and immediately be able to build applications on top of it in total how many blockchain startups has comcast ventures invested for and how much do you see that will that increase and i by how much by the end of the year I think it’s definitely going to increase we’re seeing tons of companies around infrastructure applications social networks content delivery we think there’s a lot of opportunity also within Comcast and NBCUniversal there are a lot of really interesting projects going around on IOT security advertising identity so by being close to the business units we see real business folks real developers trying to tackle real problems with the technology so investments are clearly being made in it but when does blockchain start to have an actual impact on real life when do I start seeing interacting with it on a regular basis it may be a little while I think blockchain is still looking for that killer app we’re not there yet some folks have said that we’re in early innings I think we’re more like in the pregame if you’ve ever been to a football game and you see folks in the parking lot with the barbecues drinking huh I think we’re more at that phase where the rules of the game haven’t been established yet the the team players are not there you’re still basic infrastructure on the technology and hasn’t arrived yet so I think it may be a year or two before we start to see folks move from replicating existing social networks ecommerce players content distribution taking existing models in try applying it to blockchain to then doing things that weren’t even possible and inventing new applications killer applications I think I haven’t seen that yet otherwise I would have invested it but but I think it’s a little while how does comcast ventures view blockchain are they super bullish on this space are they looking to raise a separate fund to invest specifically I’m launching how do you guys plan on you know playing a leadership role in this new technology we have four partners at the firm who are focused on blockchain as part of their work so we’re looking at it from technology point of view bdp enterprise which is what I’m working on you have another partner that’s looking at digital media another consumer so we’re taking it seriously we’re gonna continue investing out of the main fund and look for opportunities one thing we’re still having a little bit of problem with is on valuations so we’re seeing a lot of these icos that are valuing these companies at the hundreds of millions and all they have is some you know a great team and a nice white paper but but that’s it we’re happy to pay 100 million dollar valuations for companies that have a real product some real customers some real traction some revenue as well so we’re trying to figure out how does venture play in this new world where we have initial coin offerings token based economies and trying to figure out how do we value these companies because these valuations are more like valuing an economy than valuing a business and so what does that mean when you’re investing in an economy that are gonna have multiple players and multiple businesses that might be built on top of that protocol that’s really interesting there’s also been a lot of talk here at the conference about the impact blockchain can have on politics specifically in some of the upcoming elections especially after what happened in the u.s. presidential election using blockchain to add more accuracy and efficiency to election specifically in Brazil Mexico and Colombia which are all coming up what are your thoughts on the impact of this technology can have there so I think I think blockchain is a perfect platform for voting the the underlying technology around identity first and foremost where someone comes to a voting booth and use a cryptic keys a cryptographic key to identify themselves prevents multiple voting you can ensure that that the transaction is recorded on this immutable ledger which we’ve been talking about in blockchain and then also another aspect is around decentralized control so there’s no single party single entity that is counting all of the the votes but rather having a widespread decentralized system for counting where each one of them are double checking the other counts I think it’s a great application are you worried that I SEOs will disrupt the IPO model one day I think it has the potential to do that I think we’re still figuring out where icos fit first and foremost we need to get the regulation right okay so the the sec I know that they’re looking at it or trying to understand you know are these tokens investment vehicles and if so they need to be regulated I think that they eventually will be regulated and this will be another aspect sort of a lower friction way for companies to raise capital but I don’t think it’s yet going to disrupt the venture model probably folks don’t understand this but probably the least valuable thing a VC brings to the table is money and money is a commodity all VC’s have it it’s really the value that we add on top of that in helping the team that go to market strategy and product and hiring etc I think those are the things where we add the most amount of value and through an IC o—- where you’re getting a lot of money but maybe not a lot of help there’s still room for VC’s to bring that investment and that expertise to help accelerate companies lastly you know the on the other topic of politics the trade uncertainty around NAFTA also tariffs ask of course been a big part of the discussion how has that impacted the VC model if at all looking at investments in some of these regions that could potentially be facing not only trade uncertainty but tariffs has that changed the way you look for opportunity it’s certainly on our radar we have made investments in China and India and we’re looking for obviously ways to help those companies help them get big potentially exit someday if there are tensions between the different countries it may slow growth for some of those companies it also might make it difficult for us to continue to invest in those countries and then also upon exit how do we repatriate some of the profits hopefully so would you say that’s a major concern for VCS right now it is a concern not necessarily major concern our focus that Comcast ventures is primarily in the u.s. looking for great consumer and b2b enterprise companies in the u.s. a small fraction of our our fund is in India and China so not yet a big issue for us but Latin America as well not yet but what would you say is the biggest risk right now for what do you view as the biggest risk right now when looking at washing I think there’s a lot of uncertainty uncertainty around how the current administration how their policies are going to roll out for better or for worse I think we need clear direction and vision when it comes to economic policy when it comes to trade policy when it comes to regulation and I think as those things settle down and the playing field is set I think we’ll have a much better opportunity to find opportunities and invest in them so for the average retail investor that wants to get in on either cryptocurrencies or invest in blockchain what are some of the risks out there what should they be careful about this is more like investing in high-risk commodities if you’re not comfortable in prices changing five ten twenty percent a day and that volatility in your portfolio can’t handle that sort of stress then it’s then then Bitcoin crypto currencies is probably not right for you yet it may be right for a small fraction of your portfolio but I would not put more than let’s say five percent of your portfolio into crypto currencies or token based economy they’re still volatile they’re still unproven many of them are still figuring out still building the platforms to make those currencies valuable so I would say use a lot of caution and make sure it’s a small part of your portfolio today Gil this was great really wide-ranging so thank you with pleasure thank you hey there thanks for checking out CNBC on YouTube be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on all of the day’s biggest stories you can also click on any of the videos around me to watch the latest from CNBC thanks for watching

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