Goldman Sachs Learns About Bitcoin From Andreessen Horowitz

Goldman Sachs BitcoinGoldman Sachs BitcoinBalaji Srinivasan, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and founder of the research-based Stanford Bitcoin Group, and Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center (a startup focusing on public policy issues for digital currency called), discussed Bitcoin for Goldman Sachs in one of their Talks@GS sessions.

In Srinivasan’s explanation on why Andreessen Horowitz believes Bitcoin will be the most important technology of this decade, he starts with elucidating that Bitcoin is best understood as a protocol, not paper based money, but, instead, packet based money. A topic that was on the tip of everyone’s tongues, seemingly, was regulation.

“You can regulate the intermediaries, and so a lot of the businesses that are building out infrastructure around Bitcoin – the wallet providers, merchant processors, etc. – are gonna be subject to all sorts of regulations, anti money laundering, money transmission regulations,” Brito told the audience. Srinivasan commented on where he sees the most liberal Bitcoin regulation.

“The Japanese regulators actually dug in, really understood the tech and are now actually really positive on the technology… it is probably the most liberal country in terms of Bitcoin regulation in the world right now,” the Andreessen Horowitz representative said, mentioning the island nation as an intriguing place to want to do Bitcoin business.

“Bitcoin isn’t the dollar, but it could be the dollar of the Internet,” Srinivasan said. “Our thesis is it’s going to start with micropayments. It’s gonna start with very low stakes kind of things, so for example in-game points for video games.” Both Srinivasan and Brito felt education was one of the most important areas for Bitcoin. “I think actually we’ve done a pretty good job over the last 18 months of education,” Srinivasan said.

Goldman Sachs has not totally shied away from the cryptocurrency space, having led a $50 million investment round into Circle. Moreover, Bitcoin brokerage Crypto Facilities is run by a former Goldman Sachs director, Dr. Timo Schlaefer. You can watch the video, which was released Friday, of the December 2014 presentation below:

Updated: June 14, 2015 at 11:54 am CET.

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