Forbes, Venture investor and person involved in the list of the richest representatives of the cryptocurrency industry according to Forbes, Brock Pierce is one of the cult figures in the world of cryptocurrencies. Almost from the very beginning, having seen the huge potential of Bitcoin and the blockchain technology, he took an active part in the creation of many well-known companies and attracted more than $ 5 billion to their development.
Pierce, 38, was one of the founders of the developer of the EOSIO Block.one protocol, and was also among the founders of Blockchain Capital, a well-known venture capital firm whose portfolio includes such heavyweights as Bitfury, Blockstream, Coinbase, Kraken, Parity Technologies, Ripple , ShapeShift and many other well-known market participants.
In an exclusive interview, Brock Pierce talked about his role in the EOS ecosystem, why it is important for him to achieve justice for Mt. Gox, and also shared his views on the further development of the industry and the place that in the future will be occupied by “digital gold”.
Help: Brock Pierce began his career in Hollywood, starring in more than ten family and adventure films. Today he is the current chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation. In addition, he is known as a co-founder of the EOS Alliance, Tether and the Mastercoin project, which conducted the first ICO in the cryptocurrency industry.
In addition, Brock Pierce founded IMI Exchange – the world’s leading marketplace for gamers with digital currency support and sales of over $ 1 billion annually, and was also one of the largest investors in Ethereum crowdsale in 2014.
In February 2019, Pierce announced plans to revive the bankrupt Mt. Gox, and even earlier, he was one of the authors of the initiative to create a “cryptocurrency paradise” in Puerto Rico.
Hi Brock! In early June, you joined the board of custodians of eosDAC, one of the largest producers of blocks in the EOS ecosystem. Why did you make this decision?
Brock Pierce: I deeply believe in the concept of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), I deeply believe in DAOism, where technology intersects with ideology, and I also believe in Decentralized Autonomous Corporations (DACs). This kind of structure can have a huge impact on the whole world. Earlier there were similar ideas, but eosDAC, in my opinion, created the best available tools for implementing DACs. Today they are the absolute leaders in this space, and I really like their management model with 12 custodians.
What exactly is your role?
Brock Pierce: I am one of 12 custodians in eosDAC. However, I have no financial benefit from this. I do this because I want to study further and deeply believe in this project.
EOS has long been at the head of the Weiss Crypto Ratings cryptocurrency rating, but recently its rating was lowered due to insufficient decentralization. What do you think about this?
Brock Pierce: The discussion on decentralization of the EOS has been going on for a long time. My answer is: yes, EOS is really decentralized! The question is how much. I think that with the current Delegated Proof of Stake algorithm and with 21 active block makers, the decentralization level is quite high. But this is a discussion in which everyone is entitled to their opinion.
This is probably one of the weak points of this architecture: how to achieve scaling and high-speed transactions. This requires a different approach, which, for example, they plan to implement in Ethereum 2.0 and in other projects. If they succeed in creating a more decentralized system … I don’t cling to any one blockchain, and I don’t care which project will win. The main thing is that it benefits people.
Speaking of DAO, everyone remembers the infamous project The DAO, the collapse of which led to a controversial hardfoot in the Ethereum network and the appearance of Ethereum Classic. What do you think the impact of those events on the community and the industry as a whole?
Brock Pierce: It was a disaster, and the main lesson that everyone should have endured is not to rush to make decisions. The mistake was that the creators of The DAO wanted to activate the market, but they themselves were not ready for this. For such systems, security audits are needed, everything needs to be checked not once but four, because the consequences of mistakes are terrible. This was not done.
As a result, we got Ethereum Classic, which was a very serious blow to the industry. There would be no Ethereum Classic, perhaps neither Bitcoin Cash, nor many other projects would ever have been born. Moreover, I assume that we have not yet experienced all the pain from those events.
Are you saying that new catastrophes are waiting for us in the future?
Brock Pierce: Undoubtedly. There will be new catastrophes. They, however, are happening now: exchanges are being hacked, hackers are stealing money. You can be 100% sure that new disasters will occur.
As far as we know, you were one of the biggest investors in the crowdsale Ethereum. Do you still hold ETH?
Brock Pierce: I am a big fan of Ethereum and I think that everything that is good for him is good for the entire cryptocurrency industry as a whole. Perhaps Ethereum does not have such an influence as Bitcoin, which can pull other Altcoins up or down, but follow everything that happens there.
You have already invested in numerous cryptocurrency companies, but what about supporting open source projects? Are you ready to invest in the development of encryption in general, for example, in CoinJoin, Lightning Network and other similar technologies?
Brock Pierce: Open-sourced projects are the perfect solution, but I understand why hybrid models are being created. Without an economic incentive to motivate large groups of people is very difficult. In the world of development, open-source has always been a higher level, but for a long time it could not receive the necessary impulse.
Often, people have to work at night or on weekends and be confident that they are financially secure. But everyone needs food, and without an eco-friendly incentive to attract developers to pure open source ideas is not easy. Nevertheless, I have always advocated for this model.
Let’s talk about Mt. Gox. What are you planning to do?
Brock Pierce: Trustee Mt. Gox still holds huge funds [141,686 BTC and 142,846 BCH as of 03/20/2019 (about $ 1.7 billion today) – ForkLog], and I want this money to be returned to the affected investors. I think we have the opportunity to write a happy ending to this story. I would like to restart the exchange and give its customers a reason for joy.
That is what happened after the hacking of Bitfinex in 2016, and in the end everything won. The Bitfinex story showed that if the exchange continues to work, the affected investors can eventually get their money back.
Is it too late? Maybe too much time has passed? I have no answers to all these questions now, but there is only one way to get them. Hopefully the Bitfinex experience can be successfully applied to Mt. Gox, and that’s my goal.
That is, you think that to revive Mt. Is gox still possible?
Brock Pierce: I usually do what I’m talking about, and this is confirmed by my story in business. If I did not believe in success, I would not do it. But it’s not about my own success – I want the money to be returned to investors.
It all sounds quite altruistic.
Brock Pierce: Much of what I do can be called altruism, but that’s because life has blessed me. I have more money than I ever need, and I worry more about our industry and its reputation. I also love good stories, and for this I want to write the best possible ending.
What is the best moment in Bitcoin history?
Brock Pierce: This is probably the story of Satoshi Nakamoto himself, the anonymous creator of the biggest technological innovation the world has ever seen. Craig Wright, of course, gave her a slightly different twist. You can also recall the story of Silk Road, but it is not yet complete.
Can you name three most important and memorable stories from the world of cryptocurrency for yourself ?
Brock Pierce: The first, quite obviously, is MasterCoin. By the way, I also did not earn anything there, because I did not sell the available coins. But it was a very interesting experience, especially in light of the first ever ICO.
The ICO market is an amazing innovation in itself, and it was great to be a part of it. I got a good opportunity not to make money, but to learn something new, and it completely suits me.
Another interesting story is Tether. Today it is the most traded token with which trillions of dollars are made transactions; in terms of trading volumes, it even surpasses Bitcoin. It’s funny, but even there I earned nothing, not a single penny.
Third … Probably, it’s still Blockchain Capital. The first investment fund, the first STO and the first successful attempt to tokenize things around us.
The bottom line is that I primarily think about innovation, and, as I said, it was not these projects that brought me a fortune. But these were the most important projects for me: we will remember them in 50 years and think about how they changed the world.
What about the Bitcoin Foundation? Is the organization still alive?
Brock Pierce: I’m not sure that this is the biggest story for bitcoin, but this is definitely a sad story. It was one of the very first non-profit foundations, which was created to represent the interests of the ecosystem, he received a lot of donations, but his previous leadership spent money inappropriate. Moreover, it mistakenly believed that the money would continue to come. Be that as it may, the Bitcoin Foundation is formally still active, although there are no special events today.
That is, there are not even any board meetings? You yourself are, as far as is known, more focused on EOS.
Brock Pierce: That’s right, today I am more concerned with the EOS Foundation. I believe in decentralization, and if we manage to make the EOS Foundation completely decentralized, I will try to apply it to the Bitcoin Foundation, where I still hold the position of chairman.
What are we waiting for in the future? Will it be a world with numerous blockchains?
Brock Pierce: Most likely, yes. Some architectures may be better or worse, depending on what they are aimed at. It all comes down to concrete cases. Now I see numerous blockchains that serve different purposes.
This, however, does not mean that we cannot be in a world where one blockchain will be in charge, which is responsible for all things. I do not exclude such a scenario, although the first option seems to me more realistic.
If this is a world with one blockchain, which one is the most likely candidate?
Brock Pierce: Bitcoin. Most likely, it will be Bitcoin. But for this, much more needs to be done. It must scale and support smart contracts, it must do a lot of things that today it is beyond its power.
With the advent of the Lightning Network, we see transaction scaling, but this is still not enough. Today, Bitcoin does not work for many cases, but this does not mean that it does not develop in this direction. Many people are working on this, for example, in Blockstream, who are trying to expand scenarios for the use of Bitcoin and its functionality.
Considering the huge amount of money involved in the industry, does bitcoin need a more balanced and cautious approach to changes in the code base, or can larger blocks be the answer? It is them who are promoted by Craig Wright, whom you mentioned earlier.
Brock Pierce: First of all, you need to see exactly how large blocks work. For me, this is akin to A / B. But, of course, the largest and most important chain requires extreme caution. If we make a mistake with bitcoin, the whole industry will suffer.
For this reason, I see forks and sidechains as platforms for more aggressive experiments. Important things should be done slowly. This applies to both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Their development should be the slowest. If the experiments are effective, then the changes can be implemented into the main network.
You often call yourself a digital nomad. How do you manage to physically cope with such a volume of tasks and remain active?
Brock Pierce: Indeed, until recently, I was a digital nomad, but today I am a resident of Puerto Rico, here I spend most of my time. I used to sleep on average three to four hours a day, but sometimes I could not sleep for two or three days. Today I try to sleep for five to six hours and, importantly, I dream. Usually I am still a night or morning person, and it is important for me to see the sunrise.
If you sleep less than others, you always remain productive, all your projects are implemented faster, and it is amazing how much can be achieved. Let’s do simple arithmetic: if you sleep four hours a day less than the rest, then every 10 days you get 40 free hours. This is the average work week. In a month you will have three working weeks more than the rest. This is like a capitalized percentage – I am now 38 years old, but according to my life experience I am like a 50- or 60-year-old person.
That is why I have so much energy and opportunities to do everything that I do.
So what about the future of all crypto industry? Will it be light?
Brock Pierce: I always believe in a bright future, sometimes the darkness thickens before dawn. But dawn comes inevitably.