TechCrunch’s Samantha Stein: ‘Blockchain Has Created a New Model For Crowdfunding’


So, we ‘re here at the Blockshow
and I’d like you introduce yourself a little bit and tell us why you are here.
Wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. My name is Samantha Stein, I’m the director
of special projects and Startup Battlefield editor at TechCrunch.
Great, so, maybe you could just begin by telling us little bit about startup Battlefield and
then your mention it has an interesting slogan which is: “slightly too soon”. Would you
explain what exactly does it mean to our viewers? Yes, startup Battlefield is TechCrunch’s
early stage startup competition. So, we recruit early stage companies, preliminary pre-series
A, who will launch on TechCrunch their video, editorially and we add it at our vents, which
stand alone to startup Battlefields and as a part of our disrupt conferences. And not
only it is tremendous way to build relationships with entrepreneurial of community, but of
course, and our readers who are investors are excited to see which startups predicting
will be the most likely to produce an exit or IPO, which is the judging criterion of
competition itself. I curate these companies along with my colleagues whether this is slightly
too soon. So, we’re looking for emerging Tech, that’s just before the time we really
want to see they hit the market, so we’re really the first ones to launch these companies
and future them. So, were you doing before this? Do you have
a background in tech? This is a good question. I do. So initially
I found that’s I was going to do a PhD in anthropology and then my professor asked if
instead I would move to the Middle East before pursuing my PhD, which I ended up no longer
doing. And I’ve been interested in how to design information, architectural protocols
for digital archival purposes, so in how we find ways to capture information from physical
artefacts and preserve these in digital format, so that we can show the history of different
parts of the world, even if we don’t have perhaps supporter means to actually physically
preserve those artefacts. So brings us to something that maybe can be
used on the Blockchain, that idea of preserving things in that sort of digital ledger. Could
you talk about how your work ended up with using Blockchain distributed ledger technologies.
So at the time were using DLT on Blockchain of any capacity but there’s a lot of overlap.
Right, if we look at Blockchain as a way of structuring and preserving information, we
knew you are creating it out of basic information. You have degrees of centralization and one
way, which is for information verification for the case of artefacts we’re designing,
was to make sure that we have an Internet and we had people who were qualified to say
what actual artefacts were in their historical context. Such as academic superhubs, family
members or people who had lineage that are relevant to artefact. We were able to comment
on it and verify priority of publicly available information. And so we do definitely cross
over there. After doing interesting work in Middle East, I also end up in Silicon Valley
with number of early stage startups including startups in consumer encryption space.
My next question is…. You know, Blockchain is on agenda of World Economic Forum and I
know that you participate in that working with game changers…
global shapers… yes global shapers. So, maybe you could tell
me a little bit about your role there and what it was like having Blockchain on agenda
for the first time this year. What you think the Global Economic Forum can do with that
moving forward? The Global Shapers are the initiative of the
World Economic Forum, which are from 13 to 30 speakers of the Forum, so they are self-organized
chapters of individuals who are looking to do social good projects in their backyard,
this is that. If you create these chapters globally focusing on your own backward, you
can maximize social impact across the board. You know, I’m currently the a creator of
the San Francisco chapter of the World Economic Forum from “The Global Shapers” and I
oversee projects that we are implementing in San Francisco and what we are seeing there
is a that there is lot of tremendous ways that you can create social impact due to technology.
This is not that technology can solve everything but there are tremendous ways that really
can help. One of the main projects that we are working on is doing data sharing amongst
homeless resource centers and support centers in the bay area called Sheltertech, and I
think you know the Forums overall agenda at last annual meeting including Blockchain that
we are seeing is there are tremendous use cases for social impact that could be realized
through Blockchain as a technology. There is also a tremendous fiscal impact that can
be created as we are thinking of new economies that we can create ways to bridge traditional
economy with emerging crypto economies. The next question is (it’s kind of two in
one), but the first one is… do you think that Blockchains in cryptocurrency are not
naturally joined or do you think they can be separated and going off that with these
new early startups that are raising money through forms like initial coin offerings
as opposed to traditional seed offerings. Can you see them combining and working together
in the future? I think there is two points here. One is that
general public is conflicting with the idea of crypto currency or crypto assets with blockchain
technology. And the second question is, you know, is the fundraising model being disrupted
through things like ICO and there is new finding mechanisms for that being possible through
Blockchain technology. So, I will answer to the first question first. I think that the
general public is certainly conflicting with crypto currency or crypto assets with Blockchain
technology when really Blockchain at is a core is the way of aggregating and sharing
information that can be made either transparent or not, those different attributes to way
you design it. It does not actually even need to have financial instrument. I think the
reason is these things are conflicted is because the first use case became popularized was
the current Blockchain and of course this is a financial use case. We also see tremendous
ways in which technologies may be realized and used and applied…There isn’t financial
application, where the token is not affiliated. One great example would be lent titles that
people like to refer to and that’s also a definitely a social impact case. Those places
in the world….where I grew up (I grew up in Minnesota) but there are places in the
world were it is really hard to verify that you actually are on your own land and you
will see people put signs outside their houses and places like ‘not for sale’ to make
sure that no one comes and tries to show their home to someone else and sell it to other
person or bribe someone and change the land title. Blockchain gives a vast use case potential
to verify someone doesn’t fraud on your house and create numerable larger where they
can actually transfer this on paper to someone who it doesn’t belong to. This is historically
has been devastating for people around the world whose homes had been sold and they live
in them and then they are forced to evacuate. So I think we can do better justice to this
technology by actually removing the discussion of crypto currency into financial application
from those of technology itself. In response to the second question about, you know, is
Blockchain technology going to disrupt the fundraising model. I think we are seeing early
signals that we already had. So, my role in TechCrunch is to in part look at this thesis.
It is slightly too soon to figure out which technologies fit there. When we look at things
like Blockchain, you see a lot of companies now that are able to raise money on an idea
and it is not feasible that, you know, in the past we have entrepreneurs who raised
money on idea and locked out of VC, you know, the term sheet…Just based on the idea alone
and maybe some social signaling. I think that is more an exception then the rule. Now we
are seeing more the rule in this space is that a lot of people produce a white paper,
they talk about the projects and their idea and they are able to raise money on that without
the physical prototype. And that could be a trend to continue or could change or could
shift back to people having to raise on only prototype. What this means in the landscape
overall is that if you’re looking for early stage entrepreneurs, there are no longer doing
gradient fundraising they seed around and in series A B C D and so on with maybe different
financial instruments in between. But instead of raising with maybe pre-sell and ICO often
times it is still not the traditional equity investments in this space as well but a combination.
But this means that with the white paper you can raise you’re a and B round in one. This
is how entrepreneurs are defining it that to me. We think of this and try to drop a
parallel with traditional ventures, it would be doing my seed my A and my B round in one
go. So, that is a huge departure from what we’ve seen in other spaces and I think one
way to just think of that is that… Blockchain technology and cases of fundraising has created
a new model for crowdfunding and we’ll see what goes.
I’m looking forward to that. That’s all the time we have for today, Thank you so much
for taking the time to speak to us, Cointelegraph, here at Blockshow Europe 2018.
Wonderful. Thanks for having me.

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3 thoughts on “TechCrunch’s Samantha Stein: ‘Blockchain Has Created a New Model For Crowdfunding’

  1. Yeah, blockchain is changing all the way of our lives. I discovered some new ideas for example. I don't if you hear about AZ Fundchain ever. If you want to make saving cryptocurrencies, you may think to use AZ Fundchain.

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