Sean Walsh Interview: “99.9% of the fiat money is still sitting on the sidelines of crypto”
HyperBlock CEO and Bitcoin bull, Sean Walsh, took time out to chat with CNR at the World Blockchain Forum about his company’s exciting diversification, the past and future fate of BTC, and how it’s steadily unlocking institutional money.
Sean Walsh is almost disarmingly positive about the fate of Bitcoin. Frankly, it’s hard not to be enthused by his positivity.
Kicking off Thursday’s speakers at the World Blockchain Forum in London, he delivered a 15-minute presentation that broke down the uniqueness of Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation, and his reasoning for why it will only get stronger and stronger as time goes on. It was one of the more engaging and engrossing on-stage moments of the day’s proceedings.
He’s no casual observer, either. He has skin in the game as the founder of a crypto investment fund, Redwood City Ventures, and as CEO of one of the US’ biggest crypto operations, HyperBlock, and it’s off-shoot concerns. These now include: the HyperMine and HyperCloud crypto mining concerns, HyperTrade OTC brokering, HyperLabs R&D and – newest of them all – HyperVault crypto-custody, with more on the way.
HyperVault represents, Walsh believes, the start of institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies, as companies like his – and Bakkt, and Goldman Sachs – begin to get to grips with regulatory expectations of consumer-centric financial products in the crypto space. This will mark a move away from the unregulated wild west of crypto’s early days and into the world of mass adoption, where the real money lies.
This, he asserts, is why we should perhaps worry less about the ups-and-downs of Bitcoin’s price over short periods of time, and think of the adoption curve with a wider view.
CryptoNewsReview: In terms of HyperBlock, you’ve diversified quite a lot lately
Sean Walsh: “The main diversification that we’ve done is into software products that are complementary. From a branding perspective, we’ve labeled all of our product offerings ‘Hyper’-this and ‘Hyper’-that.
“So now, we have HyperVault, an insured custodial storage platform for the main cryptocurrencies in the world by market cap right now. It’s a unique product.
“Institutional investors are, in most jurisdictions around the world, and above a certain size – are required by law to have a custodian hold their assets for them, yes. And without insurance, they just can’t. They aren’t going to put their money in. The regulatory environment doesn’t really support going with an uninsured custodial service.
“We’re about four weeks away from launching to the public, and the inquiries that we received, from the first few people that we’ve whispered the story to, is two times our total insurance coverage. Out of the gate we will have $400-$500 million.”
CNR: So there’s massive demand for this kind of safe, safe haven for the cold storage of crypto assets?
SW: “Massive… There are institutional buyers that, as HyperTrade, I’m brokering transactions for with an order size of 100,000 coins BTC. Once they buy them, they’re going to need some place to hold them.
“You know, there are other people that I’ve met at this very conference that are brokering deals that are 20,000 coins, 60,000 coins. In my presentation, I said 99.9% of the fiat money is still sitting on the sidelines of crypto, but it really is just waiting to jump into the pool when some of these institutional-focused products are released and available.
CNR: “Do you see HyperVault as being ahead of this curve? That other companies are going to come into this space, or big institutions are going to come into a similar space, quite quickly – but you’re ready to go?
SW: “We’re taking customers now, we’re signing contracts with customers, because they want to get in to reserve their insurance amount. ‘100 million to this customer’, ‘300 million to that customer’, whatever it may be. We’re out of insurance. So we’ll have to go back to the well and hopefully be able to justify that we’re deserving of a higher limit on our insurance coverage. But it may take a number of weeks, or even a few months to convince our carriers to go along with that program.
“The customers are already lined up, and they’re already ready to go and then will be officially launched and transferring the coins in a matter of weeks from now.
“We’re not alone. There are other companies that are doing it as well. But I think we’re in a pretty unique position, based on our North American location and our connections in the industry.”
CNR: We see you as a Bitcoin advocate at heart. Do you see the value being there as compared to the alt market?
SW: “I started my career as an aerospace engineer, did that for a couple years designing telecommunications satellites, but then went on to 15 years of building and launching and growing online and mobile businesses; a variety of different e-commerce businesses, some marketplaces.
“What you learn when you’re the product strategy guy and the customer acquisition guy for these online marketplaces is the uniqueness and the rarity of achieving critical mass for a new marketplace or a new network.
“Bitcoin – Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash – have both achieved that. Ethereum has definitely achieved that. Beyond that, you know, very few other networks are anywhere close to this critical mass point, which provides for self sufficiency. The difficulty of achieving that cannot be overstated, in my opinion.
“50 years from now, when they’re writing books about cryptocurrency,the most prominent part of all their books is going to be Bitcoin going from zero to one.
“The odds of this success are inconceivably small, and we did it kind of haphazardly. It wasn’t like there was some chief marketing officer that was plotting our growth plan. We got so lucky and it can’t, you know, you just can’t overstate the importance of that. And that’s why I’m so aligned with Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin cash, because I just don’t think most of the alt coins will be able to survive.”
CNR: Do you think the challenge might come from one of the privacy coins at some point?
SW: “If you see the whole ecosystem has facing regulatory headwinds, then the privacy coins are right out at the windiest point! They’ll always exist, because you can’t you can’t completely dismantle a distributed cryptocurrency.
“I was working at Sony Music When Napster came out, and the record labels banded together and they got rid of the original Napster because it was a centralised repository and centralised business. The response from the file sharers was to make it distributed – and there’s nothing that can be done.
“Same goes for the cryptocurrencies, including the privacy coins. They’ll continue to exist, but you’re going to have a huge ‘X’ painted on your back if you try to use them. So an institutional investors will never touch it. People that don’t want to jeopardise themselves – the non-political types, the mainstream world, they’re not going to touch privacy coins because it’s just too dangerous.”
CNR: Sean Walsh, thank you very much for your time!
Sean put together a very bullish, very interesting appraisal of whether Bitcoin is a bubble or not for the World Block Chain forum. You can see the slides from his presentation here. You can follow Sean on Twitter @seanwalshBTC, and you can find out more about HyperVault, HyperTrade, and all the other ‘Hyper’s, at HyperBlock.co.
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