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Fran Strajnar Discusses Brave New Coin

Fran Strajnar Discusses Brave New Coin

Brave New Coin is a relative newcomer to the Bitcoin journalism space, and aims to provide Bloomberg-level financial reporting to the crypto-currency space.

Transcription

What's up, party people? Chris Derose here, community director of the Counterparty Foundation and I'm here with Fran Strajnar. Fran, welcome to the show, introduce yourself and how you got into Brave New Coin. Thanks. Well, in about 2010 a buddy of mine at a barbecue was telling me about this revolutionary thing. 2010? Yeah, it was very early. That's very early.

And, of course, I did the only logical thing at the time, and I completely dismissed it. And then, sorta halfway through 2014 I picked it up again. I took it a lot more seriously. Read the white paper, had that Bitcoin epiphany, if you will.  And I just thought, "My God, this could actually do something for the world." So I decided to do a little bit of trading in terms of the alt-coins and I wasn't happy with the resources available so I started Brave New Coin.

We proceeded to suck down as much data as we could from everywhere and that was my smallest project at the time was importing ATMs and looking at a few options. And then I really quickly realized that a lot of people were talking about infrastructure that's required for the industry like wallets, mining, on-ramps/off-ramps, merchant services. I partnered with my co-founders. I worked with them at IDG and Fairfax so publishing and data, and we keep to the belief that data is an integral part of the industry. Of course For several reasons. So that's just grown and evolved into quite a serious project since then.

So, yeah, it's been a long ride and we're about to publish our first few products over the next couple of months, actually. And just real quick, what company are you with now? What is the company that you most associate yourself with? So it's Brave New Coin. The legal name of the company is called ... I already new the answer to that question, Brave New Coin.

Here you go. That's their logo. We've all seen them online I'm sure if you read our Bitcoin or anything else like that. You guys have had a number of articles up there. Yeah, yeah. We just changed the actual slogan to digital currency inside so we feel it's a little bit more self-explanatory.

Well, I think that's in line with the business model you guys are pursuing more too from what Tony tells me. You're going to be taking on more of a Bloomberg style resource for traders and financial professionals. Does that sound about right? Yeah, so we've got a number of data sets and embassies that we're gonna be uploading and distributing through Quandl.com. So that's the data side and then we're gonna be selling traders reports and executive reports. I used to call them "The everything you possibly needed to know about Bitcoin" reports designed for, you know, when the CTO of Nokia is told, Keep an eye on this Bitcoin thing.

"He's not gonna read the news. He's gonna go down to his IT manager and say, "Hey, go get me a report." Great. So we've got so much data that not even published in the website. When we redo the website over the coming two months, it's gonna make a lot of sense.  We'll be able to publish reports that contain stuff that you're just not going to be able to get elsewhere.

What was your background before Bitcoin? Were you in the journalism business? Were you doing something else? Oh no, no. I mean, first and foremost we don't consider ourselves a media company or a news division. But I was looking after CIO and Alliance Magazine and PC World in New Zealand. So that's the sort of flavor of publishing that I was exposed to. The reason I like big data is because I used to sell data and I made more money from all the advertising combined in those industries, but I'm a trained project manager. I'm the most unemployable person on the planet.

I just know how to get stuff down and get the best team to put it all together. So O was a corporate slave for quite some time, didn't like it. Quit, tried a few things that failed. I feel that was important. Made a bit of money importing and I put it all into Brave New Coin. Cool.

So this is my big plan now. Yeah, okay. Wonderful. I'm really excited to see where the site goes. Having more players in the space can only be good things. Now, you said that you were looking into some other Alt-coins, or at least that you want to provide information.

What Alt-coins do you think are the most important ones right now? Well, everyone's got their own opinion on Alt-coins. I take the stance that it can be done on a side-chain. I'm gonna get a bit of flack for that. I do believe that the industry needs a little bit of standards in terms of what is 1.0, 1.5, 2.

0. There's been a bit of discussion around that. I like application coins better than anything else, so. Coins that actually have a niche, have a purpose. So, like Ether for Ethereum actually does something that powers that whole network. Same thing for Maidsafe.

So I'm a big fan of those types of coins. I believe James has quite a unique selling proposition there as well. Now, all those coins are actually, with the exception of Ether, on the Bitcoin blockchain. Do you think that alternate chains are going to be a mainstream force going forward? Or do you think that Alt-coins will on the Bitcoin chain? What's your opinion there? Well, I think the big applications for Bitcoin are things like B2B remmitance or even bank-to-bank settlement. And they're not going to be done on the Bitcoin blockchain, they'll be down off-chain. There's no reason that Bitcoin needs to have a $600 trillion dollar market cap for the technology to be utilized in an institutional manner.

I believe there'll be purpose built application coins for institutions and banks. It's just simply going to be done off-chain. Okay. That's not what I believe, but I always like to hear others' opinions. Certainly there's no right answer as of yet. There may not ever be a right answer.

This might be like an eternal debate, what are the function of blockchains and where? I think it's like the internet, right? I mean, the rise of the beginning of the internet. A lot of people said we're never going to have any advertising. People were really sort of tunnel visioned into this sort of context. But what happened was what always happens. It's the path of least resistance, especially in consensus networks. Things have just sorta going to be shaken into a shape.

And no one knows how to predict that. You're just going to have to let the dice roll and see how it evolves. We're gonna get, no matter where we go, to some form of equilibrium in a social context. That's the only way for the industry to move forward. Is this your first Inside Bitcoins conference? Is this your first one here in New York? I went to the last one in New York. That was great.

I've been to a bunch. I went to Hong Kong last year. Australia is right next door to New Zealand where I live. I don't travel as extensively as some of the other folks, but I've been around the world a couple times to a few key ones. And I hosted my own Bitcoin South in November of last year. That was .

.. Yeah, I almost went out to that. I did not go out to that, but it looked like a great time. You guys doing it again this year or is it too soon to tell? Well, it took so much of my time. It's not easy.

Also it was a hell of a lot. The most interesting people in Bitcoin all in one place at my hometown. It was a bit of a party afterwards, but I just simply don't have time to do that this year because with Brave New Coin ... Okay.

Well, that's fine. Maybe the year after that. We'll check it out, we'll see. Actually, what we're gonna do, I mean, I own both companies. Brave New Coin is going to buy Bitcoin South and we're just gonna roll smaller industry events. Like, I don't know if you're familiar with the style of like CIO luncheons? Yeah, absolutely.

Of course. Yeah, so we're looking at doing something along those lines. Something like several CIOs within the Bitcoin space. We'll just hammer out some key subjects, and hopefully it's a way to get some standards rolled out in certain areas. Is it hard to run your business do you think that in New Zealand? Or is it not so bad? No, we got this thing called the internet, it's great. We do.

We do. A lot of the finance professionals are in New York. You're talking about CIO luncheons, and I thought maybe it's kind of hard to run out there but maybe not. Well, we'll see what the demand is like. If we host a luncheon in San Francisco, it just becomes a logistical issue. It's all manageable.

Our team's in Australia, New Zealand, Tony's obviously from New York. It doesn't really matter with enough collaborative tools, SaaS products. You can manage companies that are dispersed. It sort of feels fitting with the way that Bitcoin is designed. The company is decentralized to some extent as well. You know, I try to do the decentralized thing as often as possible, but I find that unfortunately or not, face to face time you get the most work done, the most trust between communicators and it's kind of tough to displace.

We might do it. I'd like to see that happen. Yeah, Yeah. We'll see. Well, I guess where can people find more information about you, and where can they find more information about Brave New Coin? Oh, just visit bravenewcoin.com or find me on LinkedIn.

If you can spell my name. Spell it for them. F-R-A-N S-T-R-A-J-N-A-R. Oh boy. Yeah, I'd have had a tough one with that. Well, thanks for being on the show.

I really appreciate your time. I think that concludes this interview, and we'll do some more here at Inside Bitcoins New York. As usual, I'm derosetech on Twitter and if you like this video subscribe to the channel and check out some more. Later, party people! Awesome.