Fits and Startups
Everyone in the bitcoin community is understandably irate at Apple right now.
Many of us have spent thousands of dollars on Apple products, some have spent hundreds of hours developing iOS apps and millions of current and future bitcoin users will be negatively impacted by Apple’s de facto ban on all things bitcoin.
Still, things have a way of working themselves out, and if bitcoin is as indestructible as many in the community say, the tech giant’s screw-up will hurt Apple more than bitcoin.
From my vantage point, the Apple furor has buried another story that bitcoiners have not adequately recognized or appreciated. Dan Primack, a senior editor at Fortune, wrote his most recent article for the print and online editions of the magazine on bitcoin. And it is outstanding. Primack writes:
“Bitcoin’s primary significance is not about whether it supplants cash. It’s about a revolutionary computer-science breakthrough that has the potential to upend all sorts of established industries … VCs are playing a … long game on bitcoin because they recognize its ability to exponentially increase Internet functionality, both in payments and beyond.”
He goes on to clearly explain why concepts like Bitcoin’s distributed public ledger and ability to decentralize trust could spark innovations in industries well outside of that of traditional payments. While Primack is certainly not the first mainstream media writer or pundit to demonstrate that he “gets” bitcoin, he is one of the most important.
Primack is the go-to source for news and analysis on the venture capital and private equity industries. He has nearly 35,000 twitter followers and over 60,000 email subscribers to his daily “Term Sheet,” and I know from experience in the industry that his missives are required reading for those investing private capital on behalf of their limited partners.
Primack, in essence, speaks directly into a megaphone aimed squarely at the people who matter most in bitcoin right now: professional investors.
Over the past two months, I have quizzed friends and former colleagues from the investment community about their firm’s attitude towards bitcoin. One principal at a brand-name VC told me he considered Bitcoin to be somewhere “between slightly useless and useless.”
Another who I knew to cover payments for his firm, dismissed Bitcoin as “that black market payments network”. Others met with me with the hope that I would give them a “Bitcoin 101” in order to learn whether it was “even worth it for their firm to diligence the industry”. You get the idea.
Primack’s endorsement may change that. I’m not suggesting that seasoned investors will immediately begin falling over each other to fund bitcoin startups. However, this kind of exposure may pique the curiosity of skeptics, and it may turn the curious into eager investors.
Casual observers of bitcoin will read about Apple’s bitcoin ban ad nauseam this week, but despite the buzz, the news simply won’t deter serious investors looking to fund the next disruptive technology company.
Instead, the bitcoin article most investors heed this morning will hit their inbox from a niche finance writer who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to VC.
Today, the people who fund the next wave of bitcoin innovators are reading better news than you think. And it has nothing to do with Apple.
Ryan Galt is a blogger, entrepreneur and freelance opinion writer for CoinDesk. His opinions do not necessarily reflect CoinDesk’s. You may email him at [email protected], or follow him on twitter @twobitidiot.