Newconomics 2023 - Meet our Speakers: Nate Whitehill
Are you coming to Newconomics next month? Join us in Lisbon to hear from some of the people who know all the ins and outs of blockchain, web3 and crypto and how this goes beyond headlines about NFTs. One such guest is the CEO and Co-Founder of CryptoSlate, Nate Whitehill. Nate has been tracking crypto since 2015 and quickly realised there was a need for news and analysis as well as fast data resources so that crypto and its blockchain could be demystified and more people could join in. He kindly spent some time sharing his experience and views on web3 ahead of the event.
“Web3 to me is the democratisation of web2. It should give everyone access to hold their assets and control their identity online. We all know that web3 has its downsides, and big social media companies have been sloppy with our data. Web3 is a chance to clean that up.
It’s difficult to explain to everyone how web3 tools work because it can sound really complex. I think it will take at least another five to ten years for people to really understand the benefits of self-custody and digital identity management. It will mean that people who forget passwords and always reset them will need to keep better track because they won’t be able to get a new one. But as technical aptitude increases, we’ll start to see more mainstream products.
There are companies like Moonpay that are trying to work out payments in a mainstream way. Certainly, for people who are experiencing high inflation, if they can increase their financial know-how, they will see that using a decentralised currency is not subject to the same kind of inflation rates. In the USA, 70-80% of people have bought crypto but mostly because they want to make money quickly. That’s a downside to this industry. People look at crypto like a casino. That’s bad for adoption in the sense that people put their money into a random meme-coin that goes down and they think all of crypto currency is a scam.
The longer I have been in this space, the more I respect Bitcoin as a concept. I call it the Michael Jordan of cryptocurrencies, I was a big basketball fan growing up. If people can understand why it is important to have a fixed supply of currency that is not subject to the same inflation that fiat is, or even other cryptocurrencies, then people can have more confidence that if they have a savings account in bitcoin and leave it for five to ten years it will be worth a lot more.
Ensuring that crypto dealings take place with clean money has been a concern for a lot of people, but there are companies like Arkham Intelligence which checks the flow of individual wallets. Ultimately we operate in a way that people have to take each other’s word that they are running a legitimate business. CryptoSlate is registered in the USA where there are ways that we need to be transparent about how we make our money. Transparency from the individual is key and when people operate in a country that has a higher bar for disclosure, that’s a good thing. In countries where you don’t have those standards, there’s ongoing questions about if money is clean.
The US government sanctioned a wallet recently that they felt was associated with North Korea and assets were seized. This is an attempt to be in the middle between the worst-case scenarios where currencies see bans, but governments just want to know where you are doing business and where the money comes from - Arkham is a good example of a company that is trying to be even more transparent and to help governments feel ok about people doing business using these technologies without the worry that it is a vehicle for money laundering.
Another decentralised organisation that I really admire is lending firm Aave. The idea of being able to take banks away and have users do business with each other in this decentralised universe that is really starting to emerge in a more real way is a good thing. But we still need accountability and KYC (know your customer) so that people can freely use these platforms without jeopardy.
The most exciting thing to me right now is the opportunity for AI and crypto go hand in hand. At CryptoSlate, we have a bunch of internal tools that allow our writers and reporters to get a huge operational boost by using AI and specific prompts that we have come up with, to generate content. Right now AI can still hallucinate so it needs editorial attention to detail, but I think there’s a speed and an operational advantage of using AI for journalists. We’re really excited about it.”
Find out more about the new economics of Web3 and how it can change the way we work together at the Newconomics event in Lisbon. Full details and registration can be found on the website.