John Betts Discusses Noble Markets and Bitcoin's Future

John Betts Discusses Noble Markets and Bitcoin's Future

Noble Markets is the newest digital currency platform which is designed to meet the needs of traditional finance players, wall street banks, and incumbent fi...


What's up, party people? Chris DeRose here, community director of the Counterparty Foundation. And in today's video, I'm here with John Betts. You are the CEO of Noble Markets? That's right. Wonderful. We are going to discuss his project, his plans for the space, and learn a lot more what digital currency means here on Wall Street. So I'm pretty excited to hear what it is that you've got planned.

Why don't you tell the audience a little bit about what you aim to do? Great. Thank you very much for having me on your show. We're very excited about Bitcoin and the applications in the capital markets. Part of the Noble vision is what are the things that we need to do to make it more accessible to the Noble Markets. Part of that is the platform and how we build it in our business, but also the relationships that we have and we're able to bring to bear and bring out the connectivity so that we can extend this tool to traders that are out there and all the other corporations that want to take advantage of the benefits of Bitcoin. Cool.

You rated yourself as an all-coin or digital currency marketplace if I'm not mistaken, but what other currencies do you intend to market and deal with if not Bitcoin? Well, our vision for Noble is really that we see that Bitcoin is beginning of the trend of moving all sorts of crypto assets to the blockchain. Obviously Bitcoin is the first and has the biggest critical mass, but we'd like to see a lot more of even the traditional securities and even new products coming on blockchain. And our vision is to be able to enable that. Do you see Bitcoin as a value transfer network? Do you see it as a currency, all of those things, none of those things? Why don't you explain how you perceive Bitcoin working? I think generally, there are two use cases of Bitcoin, right? Either of those that want to use it a store a value and there's a lot of great use cases for that, and then how we can use blockchain as the transfer for other instruments entitled to other assets. We're supportive of both. We're big believers in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is our first product that we're taken to market and bringing out to Wall Street. But we want to continue to build upon that and expand this and make this as big as it can. Can you tell the audience a little bit on how you exactly plan to take that to market here at Wall Street? Is there going to be like a ETF that you're going to be launching, or is this going to be a retail outlet that qualified investors can participate in? Well, our market is bringing connectivity for Bitcoin, and I don't think we need to mass Bitcoin. You need to have something that those are very valuable and very useful tools to increase the distribution. But our first product is about getting companies to trade Bitcoin as a crypto asset, to be able to settle as a crypto asset, and using that as the baseline for how we would convert other assets to crypto. Gotcha.

Are you looking at the meta coin space? Do you have interest in understanding like Counterparty, or Omni, or Factom? How do you see that plan into your future in terms of crypto currency settlement and these types of services? Is that part of your company, or is it maybe not so much what you're looking at? Absolutely. Bringing other crypto currencies to market is important. Being able to use the blockchain highway we need to use tools like Factom, and Counterparty, and everything else that's been built in this space, and even other tools like a Ethereum, that's going to be extending and Ripple. So we're going to continue to work in them, and we'll support all of those products that we can connect into. Right, right, and so what's your background with Bitcoin? You personally, how did you find out about Bitcoin? What did it bring to you? What's your story? Well, I'd been following Bitcoin a lot in a lot of the tech blogs for many years. Initially, I didn't find that there was something that's really interesting to me.

I thought it was an interesting concept, but it didn't have the applicability to me in what I was doing at the time. In 2013, like a lot of people, prices going up, and I thought with my background from trading it's something I should look into. There's some reasons that at the time I didn't. . . looking at the venues and I didn't think that they were .

.. there were a lot of issues in the market with Bitinstant. Mt. Gox started to have problems, but that was what made me dig deeper and understand why and learn more about Bitcoin. I was in that and then learning about blockchain underneath that and immediately seeing the potential.

And having been in the internet business in the early 90s, I saw the potential in the future for how this internet of value was going to be the future, and decided that I needed to get involved. And so I did. Right. What kind of trading were you doing prior? What kind of finance were you doing prior, before Bitcoin? Was it foreign exchange background that you had, or the more traditional securities? I ran an electronic execution desks, over at Morgan Stanley and Goldman, equities, futures, options, summer techs, swaps, coupled with other products. Starting in the early 2000s when trading was starting to become more automated and more standardized across the markets, and that's what we did, is how we standardized and made these assets more available to a wider audience. And I think a lot of this background helps me with what we're doing in Noble and to be able to make Bitcoin available to a wider audience.

So here at the conference, I've been talking to a lot of people, and there's a lot of mixed opinions on the New York Bit License. What is your opinion? Do you think that that's going to help banks and investors become comfortable with Bitcoin, or do you think that's going to hurt the ability of Bitcoin businesses to be based here in New York? I think certainly, having the uncertainty of regulation, has hurt New York as a hub. Getting regulation out is the least way that companies can understand what the requirements are whereas today, you're entering into a business where you don't know how it's going to be regulated in the future and how it might change any of your business plans. I think it certainly held us back, and I think that as we get clarity on this matter and as it gets resolved and released, it certainly will help the adoption. Regulation in any environment, specifically in something like finance, which is so globally portable and business in tech companies where we can create and move our businesses anywhere in the world pretty easily, regulation has to be supportive of that and encourage people to come to their environments and their jurisdictions when we have this choice. And I think that if we can continue to help make it that it encourages adoption in New York, then I think that that will be good.

What's your attitude or what do you perceive as the attitude amongst Wall Street and Wall Streeters here in New York as it relates to digital currency? Do you think there's a lot of optimism? Do you think there's a lot of skepticism? What do you think the general attitude is right now, in this year, the early part of 2015? I'd say that we are at a very, very exciting time. If you look at Jamie Dimon's sharing his shareholder report, one of the things the blockchain technology is being represented in the future and that they need to get involved. If you had that conversation six months ago, I think it would have been very dismissive. And a large part of that, I think, 2014 was really a year where there were a lot of stories that were made. They were reflecting bad aspects of what were attributed to bitcoin, but to be fair, they were really about people who weren't running financial businesses like a financial business. A lot of the early adopters coming out of a tech background and web developing background.

And people like Mark just didn't have the experience, right? And so there was a lot of noise. But because the community is so great and persistent and very well connected, there was a lot of time spent on education, and I think seeing all these banks that are coming in, all the financial institutions, our partnership with NASDAQ and their excitement as an organization, seeing NYSE, U.S.A., BBVA investing in coinbase, I think these are all testament of the work that a lot of the community have done to create the education. And now the people are looking beyond the veil of the scandal and really understanding about blockchain, and Bitcoin, and the application, the excitement continues to grow, and we continue to have very exciting practical conversation with these institutions.

That sounds about right. I'm seeing a lot more enthusiasm certainly here at the Inside Bitcoins conference. Is this your first Inside Bitcoins conference? Actually, my first Bitcoin conference was the Inside Bitcoins conference last year here in New York. And that's when we'd started Safeguard. We were trying to work behind the scenes to resolve the issue and trying to get it done quickly. The news broke about that time.

Since then, I've been involved in several other conferences. Were you speaking last year? No, I was not speaking last year. But you're speaking this year? I am speaking Wednesday on the Exchange Panel at 3:45. Wonderful. And what's the general topic that you'll be discussing? What it is to run an exchange, challenges, hurdles? Tell the audience a little bit about what you're expecting to go into that with? So the topic for this exchange panel is exchanges past, present, and future. And we'll be talking about the evolution of exchanges in the Bitcoin marketplace.

And yeah, there will be some talk about Mt. Gox but I think the really important thing of the focus is let's talk about the future. There were mistakes. They were avoidable. And I think that's really part of the trend of this, and not just about the future of Bitcoin exchanges but the crypto assets and how we can continue to build upon the success that the community has put together and much consumer based adoption. Very cool.

Well, what else should the audience know about you? Where can they find more information about Noble Markets? Well, come to and we have some more information on site from the Contact Us or Reach Out To Us. We'll be making more announcements coming out this summer. We have a lot of other exciting partnerships in the works. Our NASDAQ announcement was just the first of a series that we're doing. We're just very engaged with working with the community and how we can just create much mortar based adoption in this.

And I think that benefits everybody as we continue to all work together to build a better market. Thank you so much, John. I appreciate you being on the show. That wraps up this interview. I'll be going around the conference checking out some more people, some more exhibitors and learning more about what there is to see in Bitcoin here at the Inside Bitcoins conference. If you like this video, check out the rest of the channel.

There's a bunch of other stuff for you and if you subscribe, you'll see them on a regular basis. I'd love to have you around. Later, Party People.