Each week we ask the buidlers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector for their thoughts on the industry… and we throw in a few random zingers to keep them on their toes!
Each participant then gets to remove one blockchain question — and a personal one — and they can substitute in two of their own for the next victim.
This week our 6 Questions go to Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger.
Pascal started his career at Kelkoo, a price comparison service acquired by Yahoo for EUR 475 million in 2004. He then joined Criteo in 2008 where he worked for five years as COO, becoming an instrumental force in the pivot to advertising which led to the company’s global expansion towards a EUR 2.17 billion market capitalization.
Before Ledger, Pascal worked as Venture Partner in Mosaic Ventures, a London based venture capital firm focusing on Series A stage companies.
Pascal is also non-executive chairman of Kaiko, a financial data website on Bitcoin.
1 — Thinking of a favorite song or poem, what are the words that move you; and why are they important?
The quote that springs to mind here is not a poem, nor a song, but:
“There is no “I” in ‘team.’ But there is one in ‘win.’”
— Michael Jordan in The Last Dance.
It reminds me that while humility and team spirit are at the core of success, there is also a certain stubborn confidence that helps leaders overcome the inevitable failures and gives them a more complete sense of confidence in the moment.
2 — If you were investing in startup companies right now, what kind of blockchain-based business opportunity would catch your eye?
Every project or technology that allows a truly decentralized new financial system where users own their private keys and thus their funds while making it very safe and easy to use.
To me, the future is a secure app, one that users can do everything in: buy, sell, stake, lend, swap. It would be a combination of a seamless user software experience with the security granted by hardware.
Also I’m definitely looking to DeFi when it comes to innovating the next “big thing.”
3 — What’s the unlikeliest-to-happen thing on your bucket list?
Nothing. Everything is possible. As a leader, you should absolutely broaden your horizons to anticipate and prepare. This is the only way to reach true resilience.
I try to think like Hari Seldon, the main character of Asimov’s Foundation, who invented psychohistory to foresee the future as best as possible.
Plus, I would quote William Gibson: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”
4 — What’s the biggest misunderstanding that people outside our industry have about blockchain, and how do we fix it?
By itself, ‘“blockchain” is a buzzword that doesn’t mean much. That’s the biggest misunderstanding, that “blockchain” is some sort of silver bullet technology that will solve everything. It’s not, it was never intended to do that.
Time and education will fix that misconception. In the meantime, teams should focus on building great products, because that’s where the innovation of this industry happens.
5 — Tell us about a hidden talent – and give us a link to prove it!
I co-founded Istr, a restaurant and cocktail bar located in the Haut-Marais in Paris. I wanted to recreate the link between the French regional terroir with influences from Breton and the best of New York — blending Paris with New York, essentially.
We specialize in seafood. The search for good products is a daily concern for us, but it is not the only one: respect for the sea and its resources is also our priority. My partners and I are very sensitive to the problems which affect the oceans. I believe that small actions taken at individual levels can lead to real changes for the planet, and showing that we care inspires others to take action.
In our restaurant you can find a variety of oysters in all their forms, scallops with Jerusalem artichoke cream and white butter, shellfish casserole with coconut milk, Icelandic cod, lobster cassoulet, and other dishes.
6 — From smart contracts, to DAPPs, to NFTs, to DeFi we have seen so many of the next “killer apps” for crypto, but none have really taken off quite yet. What will stick?
Bitcoin for sure. It’s not a baby technology anymore — we’re coming up on eleven years, and Bitcoin is more ubiquitous than it was even in 2017, and breaking into the mainstream of finance and colloquial conversation.
Few of these “killer apps” will probably stick. It’s just a matter of awareness and mass adoption. These apps should focus on usability, simplicity, a clear value proposition and communications to accelerate their adoption.
If we want DeFi to thrive, it’s key to educate and to communicate the real benefits for the end user.
Pascal substituted questions 1 and 4 with two new ones for our next buidler…
Which two superpowers would you most want to have, and how would you combine them for good… or evil?
If there is a future for cryptocurrencies, what is the main hurdle the industry needs to overcome. And if not, what does the future of money look like to you?