Podcast Episode #6: WeTrust Co-founders Patrick Long & George Li

WeTrust wants us to “imagine a world where financial services are affordable”. What does that mean? Mainly, it’s about insurance and loans.

These two aspects of finance are more expensive than they should be, due to administration costs and combating fraud. What if their processes were… automated? Blockchain-based smart contracts could be the answer.

WeTrust Removes More Expensive Middlemen

WeTrust co-founders Patrick Long and George Li give Daniel and Jon their elevator pitch and stress the need for a system based on mutual trust. Can technology keep a record of social capital as well, removing the need for expensive third-parties?

They explain the concept of a ‘ROSCA’ — that’s a “rotating savings and credit organization” for those unfamiliar; a kind of savings and lending club where a small group of people help each other out financially. This happens via a form of “reverse auction”, with members each bidding to decide who receives the money they need.

ROSCAs have actually been around for years, and they’re useful to all sorts of people whether well-served by banks or “unbanked”. The social capital they’re based on keep default rates low.

Smart contracts make ROSCAs available to a much larger market. Even if the group itself remains small, people from a far wider variety of places can participate if there’s more information on who can trust whom.

WeTrust’s MVP is built on Ethereum, and the two founders explain that decision and how the platform could change in the future. They also talk about stablecoins and other tokens including Ether, Colu, government-based tokens and WeTrust’s own native token, TrustCoin.

Listen to the episode to hear how to use WeTrust’s platform and what services are coming up next.

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Show Notes

Total Runtime: 34:33
WeTrust home
This episode on YouTube
Automata Podcast channel on SoundCloud
Follow @AutomataDigital on Twitter for updates

Podcast Episode #5: Joey Krug, Chief Architect at Augur

What if you could place a bet on the outcome of any event at all? Not only sports, but elections, meetings, awards… and a lot more?

Joey Krug is chief architect at Augur, a project that’s building a truly decentralized prediction market. While the concept of prediction markets isn’t new and several have existed in the past, many ran into hassles with regulation and disputes over payouts.

Augur wants to completely automate a prediction market’s operation, using smart contracts on the Ethereum platform. It’s no easy task — Augur is automating not only the trading system but also needs to verify outcomes and results somehow. How do you determine exactly what happened, and verify it if the result happens to be ambiguous?

Joey tells Dan and Jon about Augur’s current development status and how its native token, called REP, drives a reputation-based network of human participants to keep the machine running smoothly.

He also goes into some of the technical challenge his team has faced in developing a working product, and gives his ideas on what a forecasting network like Augur could be useful for. Listen in to hear about this blockchain project that’s been getting a lot of attention.

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Show Notes

Automata home on SoundCloud (check out our other episodes too)
Augur home page
Augur’s Wikipedia page
Automata’s YouTube Channel

Podcast Episode #4: Scott Robinson, VC at Plug and Play

What does the Bitcoin industry look like from a big investor’s perspective? What do VCs find interesting in the space and what attributes are they looking for?

Scott Robinson is a founder, director and VP of fintech at Plug and Play Tech Center, the Silicon Valley startup accelerator and venture capital company. He’s also a big believer in Bitcoin’s potential and plays an active role in developing its infrastructure.

Plug and Play was well-known in tech circles long before Bitcoin, with investments in big names like PayPal and Dropbox. These days it has a broad innovation focus covering A.I. and Internet of Things as well as fintech.

More than just an investor, it has created an entire ecosystem for tech startups to prosper.

What Should Bitcoin Startups Do, and How to Benefit?

So far Plug and Play has invested in Purse, 37Coins, Peerpal, HolyTransaction, Netki and BitWage, among several others. One of its main strengths is its corporate network that includes many large financial institutions, opening up even more opportunities for the startups it accelerates or invests in.

Scott also explains how startups can leverage their position and work with corporates in a way that benefits them more than most VC deals — and about how the business community is approaching Bitcoin businesses. Are they an opportunity or a risk?

Show Notes

Run Time: 24:53
Direct link to episode
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel
Scott Robinson on LinkedIn
Plug and Play Tech Center


Podcast Episode #3: David Moskowitz, CEO Attores

How can individuals and  companies actually use smart contract technology today? Is it viable for document verification? Startup Attores has some ideas.

CEO and co-founder David Moskowitz has appeared multiple times on TV news services including BBC and CNBC, explaining bitcoin and blockchain technology to a general audience. He previously founded the Singapore-based bitcoin brokerage CoinRepublic.

Attores and Document Proof-of-Existence

Since 2016, Attores has pioneered document and data security services using Ethereum-based smart contracts. So far its “DocuSign” service has demonstrated its usefulness in proving insurance contracts and academic credentials.

Automata hosts Daniel Cawrey and Jon Southurst ask David about the offline legal issues surrounding smart contracts, managing real-world assets and (most importantly) how to keep it all secure.

There’s also the issue of convincing the financial industry to trust in new blockchain tech.

David also has over 20 years experience in product development, marketing and sales. He is a board member of ACCESS — Singapore’s premier cryptocurrency and blockchain industry association.

Show Notes

Runtime: 21:13
Direct link to episode
Automata YouTube Channel
Attores Homepage
David Moskowitz interviews on BBC, CNBC, and e27 on Bitcoin
Attores interview for The FinLab Accelerator