Welcome to the World Crypto Con Spotlight series. Today’s guest: Jordan French.
World Crypto Con
World Crypto Con (WCC) is a platform for industry leaders to share their knowledge of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, as well as introduce their projects to the world. WCC welcomes both experts and novices to attend; there’s something for everyone.
Our World Crypto Con Spotlight series will be focusing on moments from the conference, speaking to headliners about their experience with WCC.
Today, Jordan will be giving you a sneak peek at his panel and talking us through his ideal crypto future.
World Crypto Con Spotlight: Jordan French
Q: Your LinkedIn shows you have quite the extensive resume, can you briefly give our readers an overview of your education and expertise?
A: Relevant to the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, I’ve started a few companies and led a former life as an enforcement attorney and engineer. I worked for two years at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC, Office of Enforcement, Division of Investigations. At FERC, as it’s called, I worked on a number of anti-manipulation cases in energy trading and separately on energy grid reliability matters.
The SEC and CFTC—sister agencies to FERC—have somewhat parallel structures and laws. In fact, FERC’s EPAct 2005 anti-manipulation statute is modeled after the SEC’s Rule 10b-5 that covers security fraud. Structurally, the SEC also has a ‘division of investigations’ inside its Office of Enforcement. Within the SEC Division of Investigations, the agency is taking a deeper look at cryptocurrency issuers and blockchain-based companies that raise money—somewhat controversially—through an ‘initial coin offering,’ or ICO.
It’s a great background for covering the blockchain and cryptocurrency space from a markets news perspective. I’ve come into the media space with a bit of a different, useful background than a lot of those covering it. My hope is that more than anything it offers a clearer perspective.
In addition, I continue to be an entrepreneur. I launched BlockTelegraph with former Futurism.com news desk editor, Pat Caughill, earlier in 2018 as a US-based, non-pay-to-play media outlet. BlockTelegraph, led by Pat and a team of half a dozen solid staff writers, has offered up some great coverage in the space. Predominantly an industry publication, we’ve focused on some of the newsworthy launches and market trends in blockchain. Given that all of BlockTelegraph’s editorial coverage is earned media, we’re open to pitches from practically anyone and anywhere. Rest assured if we cover a company, trend, or concept, it’s earned.
BlockTelegraph is also an events-heavy outlet with coverage at World Crypto Con, BlockShow, Korea Blockchain Week, Crypto Finance Conference, Blockchain Futurist, and a raft of other events with top speakers. We do take our time to get to know featured speakers and integrate with the community. As rather agenda-less journalists we’re a great fit as moderators—for panels and fireside chats. We’re not there to sell anything but instead to engage and ask the right questions. Often they’re tough questions. But that’s ultimately our job. BlockTelegraph also holds its own events in partnership with companies in the space. We introduced our own speaker series in New York, CryptoAlley.NYC, this year. BlockTelegraph’s next event is October 23rd in a fireside with Bitcoin purist and anarchist Jeff Wernick—certainly a rising name in the space. We do host events at companies in the space to offer up fireside chats with top CEOs or panels with companies and service providers.
Q: When did you first learn about blockchain technology or cryptocurrency?
A: For the better part of the last half decade, I’ve dabbled in journalism and especially technology. Early in its lifecycle, around 2009-2012, however, blockchain was relatively fringe and off the radar. Some of its first exposure to the world was around the time of the dominance of Silk Road—the now defunct but powerful platform for trading just about anything.
Often times people are very good at spotting problems but not necessarily finding the best solution to solve them. Blockchain’s—and Bitcoin’s—reputations were marred from Silk Road reporting around weapons and drugs sales. Put another way, Bitcoin, due to a mix of sensationalism and lack of media understanding, strongly associated blockchain-based cyrptocurrencies with illegal or ‘underground’ activities.
It turns out that Silk Road was a brilliant showcase of the benefits of decentralized cryptocurrencies—specifically Bitcoin—and the possibilities of blockchain technology. Today, we’re only scratching the surface of the promise and applications of what the technology can solve.
The current environment, with relatively depressed cryptocurrency prices, is in many ways an opportunity. With plenty of analogs to other bubbles, and especially the late ’90’s and early 2000’s tech bubble, it’s likely we’ll see companies with better execution come out far, far stronger from the current fray. Much like Amazon, Google, and later Facebook, Baidu, TenCent, and other now-top tech companies rose after a strong shake out early in the 21st century. It’s likely we’ll see a similar phenomenon in the blockchain space.
And it’s not the ideas that will drive those next ‘Amazons.’ Instead, it is execution—execution by well funded but nimble teams that take some of the better, applicable ideas in blockchain and find a market and traction.
Q: You’re speaking at the World Crypto Conference in Vegas soon, care to give us a brief overview of your topic?
A: I’m moderating a panel at World Crypto Con on ‘Mass Adoption—Crypto for the Average Person,’ featuring speakers from Latium, Bitcoin.com, Vault Logic, and Stronghold Financial. Mass adoption is both imminent and far in the distant future. Much like any business, blockchain-based companies will implement cryptocurrencies much more rapidly with other businesses as partners rather than with consumers, broadly. While it’s not likely that we see cryptocurrencies in use at every turn by consumers—at least not any time soon—on the ‘back end’ of many financial and recording systems, a lot of implementations are already in place. We’ll hear a lot more about it at World Crypto Con. That panel is on November 1st at 2:55pm at the Orovada Ballroom at the Aria Hotel.
Q: Why do you think it’s important that conferences like World Crypto Con exist?
A: On the one hand, we’re experiencing some level of ‘conference bubble’ in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space; on the other hand, conferences are one of the few relatively efficient ways to get people together to exchange ideas and form new collaborations. Increasingly in a digital world, in-person meetings are even more important. That ‘face time’ establishes or builds on trust and permits an easier exchange of information. I’ve witnessed a lot of benefit from people who go to conferences to join startups, invest, earn media attention, or recruit. That said we might be near saturation for the market for events in this particular space.
Like any market, the best will thrive, and the less value-additive will fall by the wayside. Economics will dictate those ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’
Q: What are you most looking forward to at the conference? Any particular speaker you’re interested in hearing? Celeb you hope to bump into?
A: I’m fascinated to hear what the speakers have to say on my panel. I’m usually quick to burrow right in and get to the point—finding the boundaries of the current dialogue. The real questions to answer are relatively defensive: Why haven’t we seen more ‘mass adoption’ if blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies are so great? Inversely, given the current awkward state of much of the technology, it’s equally fair to ask, well: Why should we?
Otherwise, I’m open to any introductions. There’s increasingly good coverage in the blockchain space and media is a core part of that, but the people and the companies they form are a critical part of that, too.
Thanks again to World Crypto Con for the opportunity and to Jordan French for taking the time to speak with us.
Jordan French will be moderating ‘Mass Adoption—Crypto for the Average Person’ on November 1st.
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