Up Close And Personal With Tim Draper: How Digital Currency Should Replace Political Currency

By Sumedha Bose

Jatin Madhra, representing BTC Wires, recently caught up with Mr. Tim Draper, the renowned American Venture Capitalist and crypto enthusiast.

Find the full interview below

An esteemed Stanford and Harvard alumni, Mr. Draper has many feathers attached to his cap. He is the founder of Draper Associates and DFJ, Draper Venture Network, Global VC. He is also the founder of Draper University of Heroes in California, which is a Masters school for entrepreneurs. He gained wide coverage back in July 2014, when he bought a significant number of bitcoins from a US Marshals Service auction, from the Silk Road marketplace website.

With Awards like “Entrepreneur for the World” from the World Entrepreneur Foundation,  “Midas List” from Forbes and “100 Most Powerful People in Finance” from Worth, Tim Draper is one name in the fintech industry that people easily remember. Following is an abridged transcript of the interview we conducted with Mr. Draper.

You believe in Blockchain and so do we. Please shed some light on how do you think blockchain technology will change the world.

If you use all the big data that is out there, be it bitcoin, smart contracts, combined with artificial intelligence, and use deep learning, you suddenly have a platform that can transform some of the biggest industries in the world. This is the most biggest and exciting thing I have ever seen in the venture capital business. ‌We saw how internet changed information and communication and your job, journalism. We saw transformation of huge industries like Healthcare, Finance, and Government. Venture Capital has changed, as you saw last year in Q3, there was more money raised in ICOs than venture capital. In commerce, we have a sudden decentralized, open, global currency which lets me use Bitcoin in any country. I had a friend in Argentina and he said that his family fortune has been really destroyed 3 times in his life, and all by currency manipulation. He is only 30 years old. So he built a great company in Argentina around Bitcoin. It is also transforming healthcare. Imagine you had all your medical records, all that data in one place about who you met, what you ate etc. All that data is more valuable to you than anything that a doctor could come up with on their own. We will have much more individualized healthcare coming from the cloud. All the countries will compete to incorporate bitcoin and blockchain into their systems. So it is now cryptocurrency vs political currency. With the former, no one politician can dictate it. The latter is heavily directed by political leadership. So this is a very exciting time, the dictatorship, fiefdoms and tribes, all that is going away.

‌In 2013, you launched Draper University. My question to you is, how would the modules benefit students who are looking forward to inculcate entrepreneurship within them and what advice would you like to give to the young aspirants who are there?

We started Draper University because people said entrepreneurship couldn’t be taught, and whenever anybody says something can’t be done I think, ‘Huh, how would I do that? ‘ You have to be persistent and resilient and willing to put up with whatever to be an entrepreneur. You have to know how to sell, you have to know how finance works, you have to know all these fundamental things. So what I did is I created a course which is 5 weeks in summer and 4 months in the fall. The five weeks in summer course we call Hero training, where everything is team based and you are stuck with a team. The current schooling system creates followers; you need to learn how to fail and how to try. We have now had 1000 students and they have created 350+ companies from 76 different countries. (Cites some of the success stories of the students) I try to remember their names as we do survival training together with the NAVY Seals.

It is really impressive, to see you this invested in the university and remember such specific details about it. Moving on, what would you like to comment in regards to the investment in future of blockchain and cryptocurrency, for startups focusing on the same?

Well I don’t see it as an investment but rather a new way of operating. It creates more liquidity around the world. This new currency is free and open as opposed to political currency, which is closed and politically driven. I believe this currency will be eventually worth more because it will spread further and faster. It will open up the world economy and create free and fair governments. If countries don’t open up their borders to Bitcoin, their economy will slow down in the next 20-40 years and they will enter the dark age. Look at Japan for example, who when they saw that China had made crypto illegal, made it a national currency, because of which they are attracting all of these entrepreneurs who are leaving China, in search of better opportunities. The socio-economic dynamic right now is very interesting among countries and we are going to see a new world.

So since you talked about China’s anti crypto stance and Japan’s favourable stance, what are your thoughts on India, where the government has neither called it legal, nor has it termed it as illegal. So what advice do you have for the people, or the Government of India?

The people of India have had corrupt governments for a long time and finally there seems to be a leader who wants to clean that all up. Confidence in the Rupee is not great. The people of India need a currency that they can trust and they need to feel that freedom and honesty. I think India should follow Japan’s lead. They should make bitcoin a national currency where it functions simultaneously with the rupee. India could be one of the biggest economies in the world. If the people are allowed to experiment with all of this big data, bitcoin, blockchain and artificial intelligence, just imagine the kind of entrepreneurs that will come out of India. There can be enough tax revenue for the government to build infrastructure to make the country a better place even.

Very well said. On to my next question, so if ICOS and Venture Capitalists ran parallel, which do you think is the better way for entrepreneurs to raise funds?

It depends on what the entrepreneur wants to do. If an entrepreneur has their own entrepreneurial venture, then they will most probably go with venture capital, but if they create a token, they have to run a whole other business, so I guess they have to choose between the token or their own entrepreneurial venture. I think both are great ways of raising money and when you are an entrepreneur, you are trying to get something going, just raise the money, take the money, whether it comes in the form of venture capital or comes in the form of token. You need that money to get going, so go with it and make sure you follow security laws of whatever country you are in.

So I move on to the last question of today. What advice do you have for people looking to get started with cryptocurrency, because there are many people who are still unaware of this thing, so what would you suggest for them?

It’s really easy and I don’t know what their hold up is. I think they have to believe in it. So they are looking at it as if they are trading their real money for what they think is funny money, but what is actually happening is that they are trading their funny money for what could be potentially the future of currency and real money. It didn’t take me much time to get a ledger and put my money on it and I don’t think it’s going to be that hard for the people either.

Right, that was it for this session. We really appreciate you taking time out and doing this. Once again, thank you so much.

Sumedha Bose

Sumedha uses words as her crutch to get by in life. She takes a keen interest in debating, dancing and destroying the patriarchy in her free time. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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