Bart Stephens

Op-ed: The Venture Capital Perspective on Blockchain Technology

Technologies that change the world often have humble and obscure beginnings. When the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense created Darpanet, the goal of the project was to create a decentralized and redundant communication network that would allow for continuous communication between cities within the United States in the event of nuclear war. Darpanet, the predecessor to the internet, was built for a narrow and specific purpose—but it also had sufficient funds and resources to get up and running. 

Entrepreneurs and pioneers soon reimagined the technology. Startups managed to drum up sufficient funding to add new layers of applications on top of the basic infrastructure, scaling the network with product innovation and capital, creating the internet as we know it today. Companies that are now household names, such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook, created the resulting hundreds of billions of dollars of enterprise value. 

Sometimes a startup technology company begins with an idea that fails to gain traction, undergoes a metamorphosis and achieves notable success in a totally new direction. Over the past few years, the denizens of Silicon Valley have coined a new use for a word that embodies this dynamic: “pivot.” In the short time since Satoshi Nakamoto published his Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, there have been multiple pivots throughout the industry. New and unexpected innovations on top of the blockchain infrastructure have surprised many industry observers. Investment by Blockchain Capital in blockchain technology has mirrored and proudly helped the industry by providing capital, leadership and guidance to this nascent ecosystem.

The Face of Consumer-Facing Technology