“As a leader, you must be that bridge that brings everyone together, so that you can come together in large numbers and evolve in a sustainable way.”
– Brendan Blumer, Founder and CEO of Block.one
Block.one and the EOS blockchain are best known for conducting a one-year crowdfunding token sale between June 2018 and June 2019, resulting in a total of $ 4 billion in collected revenue. While many other token crowdsourcing such as Kik and Telegram have faced severe regulatory persecution resulting in fines, business discontinuation, and even refunds to investors, Block.one has been able to settle U.S. regulatory charges to defeating him in a favorable deal with the SEC, resulting in a civil fine of $ 24 million, or only 0.6% of the crowdfunding proceeds.
Block.one argues that its token sale was a revenue-generating event rather than a fundraising exercise, which is more akin to selling digital assets from virtual games. Prior to the token sale, Block.one onboarded several brand investors, from Silicon Valley icon Peter Thiel, to Bitmain, Louis Bacon, Alan Howard, Christian Angermayer, Lansdowne Investment Company Ltd and Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital.
This mega revenue-generating event put Block.one in a very special position, allowing its executives to ask themselves a question any start-up founder can only dream of – “What would you build if money weren’t an object?”
This week, I had the opportunity to sit down for an inspiring interview with Brendan Blumer, Founder and CEO of Block.one, to discuss his vision for the company, how to be an effective leader in a changing tech landscape. constant evolution and what tools he uses to stay on top of his art.
Tatiana Koffman: Hi, Brendan. Thank you for coming today! Blockchain innovation offers limitless possibilities beyond just a more efficient and secure way to share data. What is the future of this technology and how does it fit into your vision for EOS and Block.one?
Brendan Blumer: Thank you very much for inviting me.
Block.one has three main components:
(1) We have the EOSIO business, where we focus on developing the Layer One protocol and all the tools needed to seamlessly integrate this architecture … EOSIO is a business unit that examines the tools needed to integrate the infrastructure private and public blockchain within your business, globally, and develop the necessary support functions.
(2) We have a private equity arm that is focused on investing primarily in EOSIO companies … much of it is done through third party GPs, so we can distribute the capital to others experienced investors and extend the reach of the ecosystem, even if we make direct investments ourselves.
(3) The final part of our business … is to realize the potential of EOSIO by building businesses ourselves. Voice, our social media platform, is one such project.
[Last week, Block.one announced ‘EOSIO for Business’ a new suite of enterprise service offerings designed to help organizations integrate blockchain-based solutions into their operations. The four new offerings will leverage Block.one’s performance-focused EOSIO software and will include Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), consulting, technical support, and training and certification programs. Block.one also announced a partnership with Google
Tatiana Koffman: The Google partnership was an important announcement for the blockchain industry, as it was one of the first tech giants to recognize the space as legitimate. Do you see other Silicon Valley heavyweights joining the next one?
Brendan Blumer: Absolutely, I think everyone explores it in their own way. Some of them have different risk appetites. Google is quite advanced in this process. It is only a matter of time before others continue to enter.
Tatiana Koffman: You are based in Hong Kong and are at the forefront of blockchain developments in China. What global impact do you foresee from the Chinese digital currency DCEP and the Blockchain Services Network (BSN)?
Brendan Blumer: We are seeing very aggressive adoption specific to blockchain technology in Asia and how you can create interoperability between the public and private components of the blockchain. China is building a great private infrastructure. I think China knows very well what blockchain is capable of. They have made it a cornerstone to revolutionize their currency and increase the importance of their currency, especially in emerging markets.
One of the most amazing things about China, in terms of economic growth, is the way it paves the way for organizations to innovate with these new technologies, as opposed to America preventing organizations to regulate.
America was built on the basis of weak regulation … what you’ve seen is the liberated human spirit, and an era of capitalism and innovation. Now there are too many rules, and it’s a constant battle … In China you have the government leading the way. And you really see that in the growth numbers … they’re on the verge of success politically.
Tatiana Koffman: Brian Armstrong of Coinbase recently made headlines by publicly declaring that Coinbase will be a ‘mission-driven’ company and will no longer tolerate political discussions in the workplace. Will Block.one adopt a similar policy?
Brendan Blumer: I have a lot of respect for what Brian Armstrong … I think it’s a touchy subject, but I understand what Brian has to go through, and I understand it on an intimate level … when you want to make a change , you can take two paths: cooperation and confrontation. A lot of people in space tend to be more anarchists … but I’m convinced that the way you make societal change is first to show that you can comply with the existing framework … Legal frameworks have been the biggest catalyst for the evolution of human rights over a long period … I think big space organizations like Coinbase and Block.one … we can’t sit down … and accomplish all the changes we want to see … now … we can’t make ‘the enemy of good’ perfect … Coinbase understands[s] what they bring to the world … by making digital assets accessible … but there is a lot of compliance that they are going to have to follow to operate safely for their employees.
Block.one is also committed to compliance … We strive to bring as many benefits of space to the public as possible. We want to gain the trust of the community and respect the legal frameworks… Then we want to start a smart conversation about how we can make changes… To make changes, you have to follow the rules [first].
Tatiana Koffman: There is active debate about monetary stimulus in the US Do you think adding stimulus is the right path to recovery?
Brendan Blumer: The stimulus is just another form of tax. When dealing with global prices that asymmetrically affect the population, you are faced with difficult choices. So how do you go about fixing it? We rely on our governments to step in when these things happen. We pay taxes. We expect them to be there when needed like today. And governments have only a limited number of options and tools … I think stimulus is the right way for governments to tackle this problem … the problem is that the money is poorly distributed. One of the most frustrating aspects of this pandemic is that it has really made the rich richer…. Policies are implemented in such a way that they drive up asset prices for the rich and do not properly redistribute subsequent value to those who need it most.
The reality is that fiat is not a good investment. It is not designed to be a good investment … Governments are responding to the crisis as you would expect and as they probably should … but it is also very powerful marketing for crypto … where you can count on the integrity of the supply.
Even in the absence of stimulus, the value proposition of Bitcoin and crypto is similar to gold and the integrity it brings.
Tatiana Koffman: With negative interest rates and an active continuation of inflation, we now have companies like MicroStrategy
Brendan Blumer: Block.one holds just under 10% of EOS in cash and we also have a very large position in Bitcoin. As staunch ambassadors of this ecosystem, we keep our value in Bitcoin… we’ve been doing it for a long time… and I’ve been pretty public about it… We’re very much aligned with that mindset. I think you’re going to see other organizations follow suit.
Tatiana Koffman: Let’s move quickly 5 or 10 years. Where is Block.one? Where’s Brendan Blumer? Are you still going to be running Block.one or is the dream getting even bigger?
Brendan Blumer: Block.one is a holding company and sees different companies emerging, but technology projects take a long time. One of the hardest demands to meet in this space is the community’s expectation of speed. And that’s great, it keeps you alive and keeps you focused!
I hope that in 5 or 10 years I will still be doing this. I love what i do.
Tatiana Koffman: You mentioned some of the pressures you are under from various stakeholders, investors and employees. You started this journey relatively young. What challenges did you face when you put yourself in the shoes of a leader?
Brendan Blumer: Blockchain is a challenge in its own way… We are in an evolving regulatory landscape…[You need to] have a holistic picture of your market and … make sure you are operating in compliance, building a practical pathway to deliver innovation at the intersection of something that works for your users but is also capable of delivering competitive advantage. It’s a really powerful thing but also very difficult to tackle.
The other thing is just to create the right kind of culture. We live in a world where much of this is done through remote collaboration … and understanding the cutting edge of remote collaboration, productivity and culture … becomes fundamental to building organizations. of transformational blockchains.
So this is one of the big transformational changes that I’m focusing on. We recently brought in an amazing advisor Marty Chavez, former CIO of Goldman Sachs
As a leader, you must be that bridge that brings everyone together, so that you can come together in large numbers and evolve in a sustainable way.
Tatiana Koffman: Thanks for joining us Brendan!
Check out the full video interview available this Friday on MythOfMoney.com