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The Future of Liquid Markets (Rishi Ganti)

  Rishi holds a unique market philosophy. He believes that today’s highly computerized, competitive markets make alpha a very rare commodity. Sourcing less understood, non-traded, human capital intensive, and unique opportunities that often have no competing bid is the defining philosophy at Orthogon. Rishi provided an interesting counter-perspective to the mechanically minded crowd at the Summit, helping tie in a discussion of opportunity sets in less liquid assets, which is relevant for managed funds moving into new markets. Rishi presented his journey from academia to Two Sigma to Orthogon and how he developed his unique ideas on alpha, while demonstrating, with examples, the lengths he goes to find new investments.

Plumbing Installation for a New Asset Class

  There is still a fair amount of infrastructure that needs to be developed before meaningful institutional capital is allocated to this space. In addition, we have seen a dramatic growth in hedge funds trading crypto which will necessitate it’s own unique tool kit. Industry pioneers who have begun to build this infrastructure will discuss where we are in the development cycle and what some of the unique challenges are relative to existing asset classes. This discussion focuses on the security, custody, risk hedging and trading solutions that will support the cryptoasset ecosystem.

What did this used to be like?

At a recent conference I turned to an older colleague and asked, “What did this used to be like?”  If you added the context of our setting and conversation, what I really said was, “When this industry was younger, developing, and more dynamic, what did it feel like?”

Green Giant, Amy Myers Jaffe (Council on Foreign Relations)

Renewable energy and low carbon-technology are coming at an increasing rate and may have a serious impact on the underlying fundamentals in the capital markets.  This recent article published in the March / April 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs touches on China’s role as a leader in renewable energy and will be a topic of conversation at our upcoming time Summit event in April.

Models for Trustless Computation, Kyle Samani (Multicoin Capital)

When engaging institutional investors on the topic of cryptoassets, the discussion usually centers on Bitcoin and its promise as a digital currency or digital gold.  Given Bitcoin’s longevity and status as the “poster-child” of crypto, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  However, stopping at Bitcoin misses out on the extreme number of disruptive projects being developed on the Ethereum blockchain.  This conversation usually requires one to deploy new mental models for thinking through updated business models and economic incentive structures that will pervade these networks. Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts.  A smart contract is a piece of code that is executed on a blockchain and transfers value between parties conditional on a set of defined parameters.  To date, this function is usually handled by a trusted third party.  Those developing products on smart contract platforms leverage the distributed, censorship-resistant features of Ethereum to deliver new solutions. We believe this technology will disrupt a myriad of industries where rent seeking inefficiencies currently exist.  When one starts to think about the form and time horizon in which this will take place, it is necessary to spend time on individual projects that are looking to disrupt established enterprises.  Each project is embedded with a series of structural decisions and tradeoffs that will impact it’s ultimate success. Kyle Samani’s recent essay, Models for Scaling Trustless Computation, addresses the tradeoffs between various consensus mechanisms on computational blockchains such as Ethereum.  He focuses on three properties: Scalability: the number of transactions that can be process in a specified unit of time Decentralized Block Production (DBP): the number of block producers Safety: the cost of an attack on the blockchain that would have a deleterious effect on the order of transactions or liveness of the network. Kyle posits that blockchains where each node processes each computation and provides consensus about the order of those computations has to decide which two properties they want to feature.  He provides detailed examples of how these tradeoffs work across a variety of different projects and consensus mechanisms. Kyle Samani and Tushar Jain of Multicoin Capital have written seminal essays on a variety of cryptoasset topics.  We are thrilled to have Kyle at this year’s time Summit.  View Kyle’s speaker page.

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