Everything old becomes new again with new Forbes list that is chronicling the best entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada.
From bailing people out of jail to new payment technologies, young innovators are seriously shaking up some of the world’s hard-core industries but also FinTech sector with its niches like Blockchain or Cryptocurrency.
Nader Al-Naji (26)
In April, 26 years old Nader Al-Naji, has raised $133 million from the companies like GV (formerly Google Ventures), Bain Capital Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sky9 Capital in order to create a cryptocurrency.
His cryptocurrency Basis, tend to use blockchain technology to replace central banks in countries suffering from currency volatility. This Syrian-Lebanese’s immigrant began with a bitcoin mining rig he built in his Princeton dorm. He even quit his job at Google in order to work on his cryptocurrency, which has a stable value determined algorithmically. In theory, that will make it more useful as a currency, and not just a vehicle for speculation.
After he saw how volatile Bitcoin was he decided to create a digital currency that didn’t wildly fluctuate in value that much. He posted an early whitepaper for the currency in 2017, describing it as a “stable cryptocurrency” that will maintain a relatively fixed value, so that it can be used to make purchases. Unlike the stable token Tether, which has a steady value that’s tied to the US dollar, the value of Basis is controlled algorithmically, on the blockchain. When he started mining, back in 2013, he mined 22 bitcoins. When asked what did he do with it, he says:
“I’m still HODLing”
The use of this cryptocurrency acronym that stands for “hold on for dear life,” means that at the time of writing, 22 bitcoins are valued at around $138,000.
Olaoluwa Osuntokun (25)
Lightning Labs cofounder Olaoluwa Osuntokun, 25, got to raise $2.5 million to increase the speed of transactions on the bitcoin blockchain, making it a more viable system for small, Venmo-like transactions making them more cost effective. An immigrant from Nigeria, Osuntokun is a frequent contributor to the underlying bitcoin protocol.
The Lightning Network is a network duplex micropayment channels that are enabling near-infinite scalability for digital payments based on Bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions are no longer used directly to transfer bitcoins from a sender to a recipient, instead they are used to setup micropayment channels and handle conflict resolution.
JB Rubinovitz (26)
Machine-learning engineer JB Rubinovitz, 26, cofounded Bail Bloc to create a blockchain-based system in which mined cryptocurrency can be used to pay for bail for those who can’t afford it. Bail Bloc allocates a small percentage of the operating device’s excess computing power to mine cryptocurrency.
Bail Bloc mines Monero, a relatively energy-efficient cryptocurrency, and transfers the rewards it collects to a central pool, which is converted to US dollars and donated to The Bronx Freedom Fund. To accumulate cryptocurrencies such as Monero, users must “mine” it using a computer’s processor. Once installed on a user’s computer, Bail Bloc uses a small amount of the computer’s power to mine for Monero in the background, so daily use of the computer is unaffected.
Hunter Horsley (28)
Hunter Horsley, 28, CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, is trying to build the Vanguard of cryptocurrencies. Bitwise’s four cryptocurrency indices are currently used by over 600 multifamily offices. Last year his company introduced a private index fund that they have been operating on.
In July, during the Fast Money conference, he said:
“In our experience operating the (investment) vehicle — dealing with the questions around custody, dealing with all the trading partners, striking the NAV (Net Asset Value) daily, audits, tax, hard forks, airdrops (etc.) — we feel that it is possible to effectively operate an index vehicle.”
Horsley keep trying to bring attention to the fact that the industry is far from a single-sided coin, saying:
“They (investors) think that something promising could come out of public blockchains. A cryptocurrency may emerge that may be really valuable and an index is a way of capturing that. I think that a lot of the focal point around public registered products, like ETFs, has been on Bitcoin because there’s a narrative that Bitcoin is the digital gold.”
Forbes vs Blockchain
The Forbes 30-Under-30 list is yet another indication of the growing influence of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as it expands from being a niche area of Fintech into an industrial heavyweight in its own right. Last month, we mentioned that this business media giant, has announced its partnership with Civil, blockchain-based journalism platform. The partnership will make Forbes the first major media organization to commit to regularly publishing content to the blockchain.
Matthew Iles, CEO at Civil, then said:
“Civil’s mission is to power sustainable journalism throughout the world, and Forbes’ commitment to regularly publish content on our platform is a major milestone for our approach. We look forward to working with Forbes as we connect with a broader audience interested in new, more direct ways to discover, share and support ethical journalism.”
Under the agreement, Forbes will start publishing some article metadata to a blockchain platform at the beginning of next year.