Naval Ravikant: Keynote on Open Source, Bitcoin, and Cryptocurrency

Such investor! Very founder.

Wow! Such visionary. Very founder!

We’re thrilled to announce our newest keynote at the Open Source Startup Summit: Naval Ravikant, serial entrepreneur, blogger at VentureHacks, and co-founder of AngelList. Naval’s keynote will focus on open source, BitCoin, and the future of cryptocurrency.

In his Wired article, Bitcoin: The Internet of Money, Naval presented his vision for the future of the digital currency, pointing to a number of features and distinct advantages provided by the new platform:

Bitcoins are scarce (Central Banks can’t inflate them away), durable (they don’t degrade), portable (can be carried and transmitted electronically or as numbers in your head), divisible (into trillionths), verifiable (through everyone’s block chain), easy to store (paper or electronic), fungible (each bitcoin is equal), difficult to counterfeit (cryptographically impossible), and can achieve widespread use – many of the technologists that brought us advances on the Internet are now working overtime to improve Bitcoin.

So why not just use Pounds or Dollars? One can use bitcoins as high-powered money with distinct advantages. Bitcoins, like cash, are irrevocable. Merchants don’t have to worry about shipping a good, only to have a customer void the credit card transaction and charge-back the sale. Bitcoins are easy to send – instead of filling forms with your address, credit card number, and verification information, you just send money to a destination address. Each such address is uniquely generated for that single transaction, and therefore easily verifiable. Bitcoins can be stored as a compact number, traded by mere voice, printed on paper, or sent electronically. They can be stored as a passphrase that exists only in your head! There is no threat of money printing by a bankrupt government to dilute your savings. Transactions are pseudonymous – the wallets do not, by default have names attached to them, although transaction chains are easy to trace. It has near-zero transaction costs – you can use it for micropayments, and it costs the same to send 0.1 bitcoins or 10,000 bitcoins. Finally, it is global – so a Nigerian citizen can use it to safely transact with a US company, no credit or trust required.

Silicon Valley knows a platform when it sees it, and is aflame with Bitcoin. Teams of brilliant young programmers, entranced by the opportunity, are working on Exchanges (Payward, Buttercoin, Vaurum), Futures Markets (ICBIT), Hardware Wallets (BitCoinCard, Trezor, etc), Payment Processors (bitpay.com), Banks, Escrow companies, Vaults, Mobile Wallets, Remittance Networks (bitinstant.com), Local Trading networks (localbitcoins.com), and more.

To hear Naval’s keynote live, join us at the Open Source Startup Summit on April 22, and follow us at @sfbeta for ongoing updates.

AngelList Enables Public Fundraising, Thanks to Silicon-Valley-Backed JOBS Act

A secret no longer.

A secret no longer.

Thanks to regulatory changes enacted by the JOBS Act, startups, beginning this Monday, September 23, startups may disclose their fundraising information to the public, rather than to accredited investors alone.

The changes were outlined in an email blast recently sent out to founders on AngelList, with the news freshly arriving in people’s inboxes.

President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law on April 5, 2012, after passing Congress with rare bipartisan support. Backed overwhelmingly by Silicon Valley, and supported by entrepreneurs across the country, the law rewrites and eases a number of regulatory requirements that currently burden emerging companies.

In addition to allowing startups to disclose their fundraising information (and ambitions) to the general public, the JOBS Act facilitates a number of changes that will likely prove a boon to a stagnant economy, including:

  • Increasing from 500 to 2,000 the number of shareholders a company may have before disclosing its common stock to the SEC.
  • Extend from two years to five years the period of exemption allowed for publicly traded startups to comply with the perfectly titled Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the costliest and most controversial measure of the regulatory act.
  • Provide simplified regulatory requirements for fundraising rounds up to $50 million, from a previous limit of $5 million.

Many of these changes have gone into effect already, or, like the public fundraising provision, will take effect soon. Also stipulated in the act is a much-touted measure allowing non-accredited investors to crowdfund companies; however, specific regulations governing this change have repeatedly faced delays.