Bitcoin Pioneer Sheri Kaiserman: “Amazing Things” Are Coming

Blockchain, Innovation | September 12, 2018 By:

Sheri Kaiserman has been called “Wall Street’s bitcoin pioneer” by Bloomberg for granting permission to publish the first analysis of bitcoin’s value back in 2013, when she was with the Wedbush financial services and investment firm.

Now, Kaiserman has founded Maco.la, an investment fund and advisory firm that is actively supporting blockchain startups to realize their full potential.

“Sheri’s enthusiasm for blockchain technology and startups has been a shining light in the sector ever since she made the bold decision to publicly analyze bitcoin during its early years,” said Matt Baer, CEO and founder of KeyoCoin, where Kaiserman is on the board of advisors. “It was that foresight, paired with an excitement for the radical new world of decentralization and disintermediation promised by blockchain technology, that has made Sheri one of the most influential figures in this space.”

Kaiserman talked with Block Tribune about the state of the cryptocurrency markets.  

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Blockchains seem to be rolling out slower than expected at certain companies. Give me the reasons why that’s happening.

SHERI KAISERMAN: First of all, I think new technologies take a very long time to develop. It’s not like the Internet just appeared out of nowhere and all of a sudden, we were able to do the things we are capable of doing today. I think it really is important for context and keeping things in perspective with the build-out of blockchain to look at the evolution of the Internet, which really took 30 years until it finally reached the point of commercialization through the introduction of a browser and gave people the ability to use it.

From there, there were lots of different innovations and better technologies. If you go back to your Internet days in the beginning, think about all the frustrations that we had with downloading just a web page, let alone watching a movie. That was not even comprehensible. I remember being on Wall Street and figuring out what sectors we want to be in. Gary Wedbush and I would talk about how Internet is the future, but we couldn’t really cover many of these stocks, because in the dot com, they just blew up. So we just forgot about it or just ignored it for a while. All the while, things are happening in the background.

The same thing is happening with blockchain. In 2008, we got the white paper. In 2009, we got our first use case, which was bitcoin, very similar to email, relative to the Internet. So that’s how everyone became familiar with blockchain. From there, it’s now been 10 years, and we have lots of proofs of concepts. But the technology is not where it’s going to be.

So the fact that anyone would get disappointed or see anything concerning about it slowing down, there’s going to be ebbs and flows in terms of progress. But every day you hear about more companies launching additional proofs of concepts and trying to figure out how to utilize it. When you think of all the different choices you have to make, how does a company decide right now? Every other day right now there’s a new blockchain coming out that is claiming to be a greater amount of transactions per second, more secure, more scalable, whatever.

I think one thing with blockchain where there’s real potential is when there are multiple parties that are sharing data and need to trust and share and utilize the same digital ledger. For that, that takes collaboration. So when you’re dealing with, whether it’s competitors or just other companies that are outside your own, along a supply chain or what have you, it’s not easy to just all agree on how things should be built out.

I think the other thing is the regulatory environment being unclear. There’s confusion about what’s cryptocurrency versus what blockchain is. There’s many, many reasons why it’s going so slow. One other really different thing this time around versus the Internet is the dearth of talent. There was a dearth of talent in the Internet days and just like now,  companies are raising tons of money, and these companies ran out of talent long before they ran out of money.

Here it’s even worse because the technical talent were the early investors in crypto, so most of those guys or gals have made so much money that they no long have a desire or really a need to be in the employment market place. So there is a severe shortage of blockchain developers and engineers and what have you. That’s also an issue. If a company has a project, it might not have the talent to be able to execute it, and if they don’t have the project yet, trying to figure out where to start is overwhelming.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: So how is the lag in blockchain development affecting the cryptocurrency market?

SHERI KAISERMAN: Well, I think any negative that comes about anything related to it hits the crypto market. I think now people are scared as well, having seen the price go down from 20 thousand. God only knows who was buying it up at 19 thousand. And now that it’s all the way back down to six, seven thousand, as people get an increase in price and an opportunity to sell, there might be just more profit-taking and and short-term trading as a result.

But I think any kind of negative news in the blockchain world will negatively impact crypto. It’s interesting how sometimes you get these really interesting announcements in the real world, and yet you don’t see a corresponding uptick on the crypto side. So I’m not heavily involved in trading the crypto part of it, so I don’t watch it as closely on a day to day basis. But I own some, so I’m certainly watching.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  So where do you see things in six months?

SHERI KAISERMAN: In six months from now, I think we’re going to start seeing a lot of the ideas that are in proofs of concepts come live. I think that will be very exciting. A lot of them may be delayed, but I think you’re going to start seeing some real use cases coming to market. So having that many more blockchain projects being live – because there’s not that many – will be a positive.

Then, I think, with each successive amazing technology that’s introduced, the uptick for adoption is decreased. People adopt it faster and faster. So if the Internet took 30 years til commercialization happened, I would assume that about 15 years after we got the introduction to blockchain, that commercialization will happen, which puts us at around … in another five years.

I think in another five years, we’re going to see it being very noticeable in our economy. Then, when you look at how long it took the Internet to really become ubiquitous and just indispensable for our lives, that was about another 20 years after commercialization. So let’s halve that and basically, after 15 years of finally seeing commercialization on the blockchain, maybe it’s another 10 years til it’s really ubiquitous and indispensable. So by 2033, I think, we will have some amazing things that we can’t even fathom right now.