Category Archives: Bitcoin

Podcast #8: Nick Tomaino on Coinbase, Bitcoin’s Future, and VC

What’s life like after Bitcoin for someone who worked for one of the scene’s biggest players? Can you move on to other things and still remain keenly interested?

Nick Tomaino used to head business development at Coinbase, the US’s most well-known and popular bitcoin exchange. These days he’s principal at Runa Capital — an early-stage investment firm with its eye on “deep tech”. That includes everything from A.I. and drones to regulated markets like fintech, healthcare and education. Nick himself is a big fan of open source projects and wants to look more at the blockchain space.

Did Nick Tomaino Leave the Bitcoin World? Why?

Nick tells Daniel and Jon why he chose to leave Coinbase for the VC world. Further to that, he elaborates on why some companies like Circle have also moved away from the bitcoin space in recent times. Perhaps the industry is stagnant, or there was too much venture capital chasing too few real solutions.

Listen to the episode to find out the details:

Nick also talks on one of our favorite topics at Automata — token crowdsales — but suggests expectations might be “inflated”. Find out why he’s still bullish on blockchain assets in general but warns crowdsales will cause “a lot of pain” for participants.

Runa Capital has only just established a footprint in the US. Nick tells us why the company is still also looking at the rest of the world, with offices in Silicon Valley, London, Singapore and Moscow. The nature of technology, he says, lets anyone start a company anywhere they like. Investors looking at Silicon Valley only are leaving overseas markets underserved.

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Show Notes

Runa Capital homepage
Coinbase homepage
Nick Tomaino’s blog TheControl.co
Subscribe to Automata podcast on SoundCloud

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 #2: Martijn Wismeijer of GeneralBytes

QR codes for bitcoin transactions need to retire, says Martijn Wismeijer. The bitcoin hacker and ATM manufacturer says near-field communication (NFC) technology is the next step.

Wismeijer, a.k.a “Mr Bitcoin” puts his money where his mouth is. Or at least, where his hands are. He has tiny NFC chips implanted in each one, allowing him to store and spend his bitcoins without any visible accessories.

Martijn Wismeijer, “Mr Bitcoin” of GeneralBytes

By the end of the show, at least one of our hosts is thinking of doing the same. For the large majority of people who aren’t into biohacking, though, GeneralBytes’s third generation bitcoin ATMs are storing funds on plastic NFC cards. Soon, says Wismeijer, you’ll be able to spend them directly from the cards too.

What other functions will these new-breed bitcoin ATMs have? Will your body be your wallet? Listen in for more on how you’ll use bitcoin in the (very near) future.


Show Notes

Runtime: 30:31
Direct link to episode
Automata YouTube Channel
GeneralBytes Homepage
Video of Martijn getting his chips implanted (!)
Ars Technica article on Martijn from 2014

Podcast Episode #1: Paul Puey, CEO Airbitz

We haven’t asked much of bitcoin wallets so far — mainly we were happy if they worked as described and didn’t lose our bitcoins.

That’s all changing though, with developers trying to stand out from the crowd and add functionality way beyond just sending and receiving money. Airbitz is one of them.

Paul Puey, Airbitz

In the first official Automata podcast episode, Airbitz CEO Paul Puey talks to Daniel and Jon about opening up the wallet’s APIs to third-party developers, letting them turn it into a multi-purpose keychain to manage your identity, other accounts, and more.

With its “edge security” model, Airbitz wants to transform from a mere bitcoin wallet into a complete decentralized data security platform.

Puey also talks about Airbitz’s novel approach to fundraising and investing. Does it work? Could it become a model for other startups in this space? Listen to the episode to hear all the details.


Show Notes

Runtime: 27:35
Direct link to episode (SoundCloud)
Automata YouTube Channel
Airbitz Homepage
Airbitz campaign on WeFunder