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Alyse Killeen: I’m curious how you all think about the important things to pay attention to in the innovation space. We talked a little bit about the Swan acquisition, which is exciting because it’s a company that has maintained such a commitment to its community, so I’m excited to see them grow.
We talked about Taro and what he does for adoption. I wonder how you all think about it. So, from Stillmark’s point of view, just to give an answer here, from Stillmark’s point of view, what we like to do is look at where the protocols are going and then anticipate what it means for entrepreneurs, infrastructure and apps.
I gave the example of talking about seeing Segwit take action in 2017 and knowing what it meant for Lightning Network or for entrepreneurship and innovation in an absent infrastructure that would be built on Lightning Network. So we see it in that sort of progressive build-up, but I’m curious from your point of view, how things rise to the top of your list in terms of what’s important and exciting.
P: Dude, this is a fantastic question. I will give my thoughts and would love to hear the Qs as well. I think, as I said before, that one of the most significant challenges we face in the Bitcoin space is the UX problem. How can we increase the average person’s ability to adopt bitcoin?
In the United States we have a level of financial privilege, as we exist within the country which is currently the world’s reserve currency, but in so many other places this is not the case. I think technologies like Fedimint and things that make it easy for people who aren’t interested in bitcoin for the general reasons we all are, to adopt it and immediately see those positives: people operating in oppressive financial regimes, people who are trying to understand how they can maintain and persist the value they have earned over time and space because they have real, lived experience of their governments confiscating that wealth. I think these are the most interesting technologies for me.
Second, I would say technologies that allow us to more effectively preserve our privacy and financial freedom in developed countries. We talked a lot about CBDC (central bank digital currency). We spoke yesterday with Natalie Smolinski, who will testify in a congressional hearing tomorrow about how CBDCs are a sales funnel for Satan.
I think that the technologies that allow the average person, who by default are not fixated on financial privacy, the technologies that allow them to adopt it very simply and natively will become more and more important as the challenges we face in the world continue to warm up on.
These are the things that interest me the most.
Killeen: So P, I was just going to say that we see things similarly here, and one of the things Stillmark does is look at how technology can be used to meet people where they are both in terms of BTC adoption, and in terms of BTC adoption. asset and Bitcoin, the protocol.
So I’m going to give an interesting example of this, which is a company we have invested in quite recently called Pink Frog. And so Pink Frog is indeed a game studio, but what they will do is integrate Lightning Network to provide a better community experience for their players, and they will use sats as in-game rewards and also rewards among users.
We’ve seen it before and maybe it’s not interesting described the way I just set it out, but here’s the detail that I think makes it really compelling and shows progress in the Bitcoin ecosystem, in general. This is a team that does not come from the Bitcoin point of view, but comes from the point of view of the game.
So a team from King, which is one of the most prestigious and successful studios in the gaming world, and it’s the team that introduced and grew Candy Crush. And Candy Crush is a game that has seen 100 million monthly active users as an example of the adoption this team has been able to achieve.
Now, what they did when they left King and launched Pink Frog is that they thought deeply about the gaming experience and how it could be improved for their players. And what they’re doing is looking at a young millennial, a Gen Z audience. So they’re looking like the TikTok audience and trying to see how technology or other kinds of innovation can intertwine with what these players are looking for.
So they’re not really trying to force bitcoin, they’re identifying Bitcoin as a way to satisfy a need and desire they’ve observed in their user base. And so it’s really exciting to see technologies being used in this way, which is just to solve problems or to offer a fun answer to something people want.
And instead of trying to convince people that they want bitcoin, it’s using Bitcoin technologies to meet people where they are and to integrate with their lives or how they spend their time. Pink Frog is a nice and funny example. Then, going back to the beginning of our conversation, Taro was the serious application of it, when when we introduced Lightning Network to emerging markets, and I’ll use El Salvador as an example again, we saw that people really needed to be banking through. Bitcoin and via the Lightning Network. They needed to be able to interact with their local community and online, without a debit or credit card, and that was actually the Lightning Network for them. But BTC’s volatility has been difficult for people of lower socioeconomic status. So Taro comes to meet people exactly where they are and to offer a solution for something they know they need, which are tools for engaging in both the local and global economy.
What you are saying really resonates with me because I am excited about the exact same way, which is how Bitcoin can tackle a variety of challenges that future users face.