“Stay out of the United States …”

Last week I attended the London BlockChain Week. It is an industry conference (run each year) and was a very interesting combination of people providing thoughtful and provoking presentations interspersed with industry presentations on new product development. A lot of those new products were genuine blockchain applications, some were glorified tech-upgrades, and others, I suspect, opportunities to raise money using the latest jargon terms to excite unsophisticated investors.

One very clear and consistent message, however, was that innovators and investors should avoid operating in the US. This is a very interesting paradox – a lot of the new innovation in this space occurs in the US, but it appears that the US has policy settings that cannot retain that activity.  Chris Berg, Jason Potts and I are working on a theory to resolve that paradox – but in the meantime a popular culture explanation can probably be found in the TV series Billions.

Here is a confrontation between the two major protagonists: Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti).

Note in the clip that the Chuck Rhoades character describes himself as being an unimaginative, do-gooder. Viewers of the series, however, know him to be ethically bankrupt, morally corrupt, and a sexual deviant. Perhaps the latter aspect boosts the ratings, but his behaviour as regulator is abhorrent.

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29 Responses to “Stay out of the United States …”

  1. Zatara

    One very clear and consistent message, however, was that innovators and investors should avoid operating in the US.

    …. a popular culture explanation can probably be found in the TV series Billions.

    Another explanation is that Donald Trump is the President of the US and I’d think the majority of folks at such a conference wouldn’t be big fans of his to say the least.

    Am I wrong?

  2. Sinclair Davidson

    Am I wrong?

    Yes.

  3. Oh come on

    Don’t think much of the dialogue. One of those imaginary confrontations wannabe tough guys fantasise over as they fall asleep, but never actually happen in real life.

  4. Like using Sea Patrol to make Senate decisions?

  5. Zatara

    Am I wrong?

    Yes.

    Then perhaps you could elaborate on your statement that “the US has policy settings that cannot retain that activity” rather than leave them a mystery to the reader.

    Because otherwise your post boils down to “Stay out of the US because of this clip of terrible people from a TV series”.

    Which is pretyt lame.

  6. Sinclair Davidson

    Which is pretyt lame.

    You’re the sort of person who now bitches and complains about educators spoon feeding people? Just asking.

    But perhaps you are right – people are too busy hating Trump to worry about building their businesses and earning a dollar.

  7. Crossie

    Note in the clip that the Chuck Rhoades character describes himself as being an unimaginative, do-gooder. Viewers of the series, however, know him to be ethically bankrupt, morally corrupt, and a sexual deviant. Perhaps the latter aspect boosts the ratings, but his behaviour as regulator is abhorrent.

    Very topical particularly with exposure of the Strzok and Page texts.

    Besides that, seeing as Trump has been repealing regulations at a cosmic speed you would think the innovators would have noticed. Unless it is Trump animus.

  8. …you would think the innovators would have noticed.

    Yes, they have noticed and it’s that cheap, 21st century, Silicon Valley slave labour is disappearing.

  9. Confused Old Misfit

    You’re the sort of person who now bitches and complains about educators spoon feeding people?

    I rather thought you were being asked for a slightly more nuanced presentation of your contention.

  10. iain russell

    ‘ethically bankrupt…deviant’, i.e. a prince in the Democrat-Liberal-Progressive Church.

  11. pete m

    NSA anyone? USA is security central, where government either gets access to your data legally or by other means.

    This doesn’t really explain why blockchain is popular in China, but …

    As I understand it, blockchain helps lock up information so others cannot pry it open, and enables all sorts of good and bad potential uses.

    I don’t see Trump changing how usa security apparatus work any time soon.

  12. Jo Smyth

    Confused Old Misfit – +1. It appears Mr Davidson is adopting the policy of throwing insults rather than giving a factual explanation.

  13. Sinclair Davidson

    I rather thought you were being asked for a slightly more nuanced presentation of your contention.

    Really?

  14. Roger W

    I rather thought you were being asked for a slightly more nuanced presentation of your contention.
    So did I. Why is SD in full “bitch” mode today?

  15. NB

    As I understand it, at Davos the billionaires are queuing up to see Trump like attendees at a rock concert. And in the US regulations are being slashed. Watch Periscope by Scott Adams to keep up with the vibe.

    The video theme was a flashback to the seventies, as are so many other themes these days, like fighting sugar, socialist invective, failed economists. Even climate change has its equivalent, except then it was cool to be scared of the cold. I await sharpening razor blades under pyramids, and psychic spoon bending. Rhoades says at 1:38: ‘You throw the whole system off balance’
    The same motivation for government action was expressed in the film ‘Man who fell to earth’, by Nicholas Roeg, 1976. Following the sweeping success of World Enterprises:

    Senior intelligence official – In these circumstances, we have to take action.
    Peters (Operative) – Well, I talked with Farnsworth. He just cannot, or will not, see it our way. The problem with this corporation is that it is, uh, technologically overstimulated. And the economic trouble stems from that fact.
    Senior official – Then you must go further. They have to take a wider view.
    Peters – What kind of measure would you say is appropriate?
    Senior official – Well, we’re flexible. Something, uh, elastic. But, remember, we’re not the mafia. This isn’t an archaic Italian joke. We’re determining the social ecology. This is modern America, and we’re going to keep it that way.

  16. Sinclair Davidson

    Why is SD in full “bitch” mode today?

    For people genuinely wanting a more nuanced view I’m hoping that this line provides a clue:

    Chris Berg, Jason Potts and I are working on a theory to resolve that paradox – but in the meantime a popular culture explanation can probably be found in the TV series Billions.

    Ideally an op-ed will appear in the next few days.

  17. NB

    Oh, among other things, they defenestrated Farnsworth.

  18. Stimpson J. Cat

    One very clear and consistent message, however, was that innovators and investors should avoid operating in the US.

    Do we have a list of these regulations and policies or somewhere we can see the way they are impacting potential Blockchain based products and services imposed by the Bad for Business Orange Man with questionable morals?
    Or was it all feelings?

  19. Sinclair Davidson

    Nothing at all to do with “the Bad for Business Orange Man with questionable morals?”. Rather AML, KYC, SEC, Justice Department.

  20. Stimpson J. Cat

    Nothing at all to do with “the Bad for Business Orange Man with questionable morals?”. Rather AML, KYC, SEC, Justice Department.

    In that case perhaps if some of the business people involved start lobbying him respectfully and seriously for regulatory reform then perhaps he can cut some of them pertaining to Blockchain and it’s potential applications.
    Like he has been doing.

  21. Sinclair Davidson

    Perhaps they could. Mind you, it is cheaper to simply relocate operations to the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Slovenia, Singapore … .

  22. Stimpson J. Cat

    Perhaps they could. Mind you, it is cheaper to simply relocate operations to the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Slovenia, Singapore … .

    Of course.
    Everyone prefers the Isle of Man or Gibraltar to America.

  23. “Stay out of the United States …”

    Hmm. I wonder why my blockchain technician offspring is being paid squillions in the US and couldn’t get a job in AU?

  24. thefrollickingmole

    Rather AML, KYC, SEC, Justice Department.

    That would make sense.
    Also American laws are based on the 1st principle of “Sue everyone, all the time, for ALL the money”.

    If Trump was able to wind back some of the outrageous legal profiteering in the USA it would assist nearly as much as winding back government regulations.
    Therse a reason your insurance premium doubles if you tick the box “do you do business in the USA”…

  25. Sinclair Davidson

    I wonder why my blockchain technician offspring is being paid squillions in the US

    That’s a bit harsh – I’m sure your offspring is very good at his (her) job and is worthy of every penny. 🙂

  26. Stimpson J. Cat

    Perhaps they could. Mind you, it is cheaper to simply relocate operations to the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Slovenia, Singapore … .

    How do the laws apply to Blockchain here?
    Could we become a Blockchain Mecca much like Gibraltar?
    We also have a big rock.

  27. Adam D

    The U.S has tight financial regulations (which is laughable considering how corrupt their financial systems are), but I know that you can’t purchase an ICO from the states without a bit of VPN work.

  28. Mother Lode

    Maybe Maolcolm can announce that Australia will become a major blockchain hub.

    He has already declared we will become a major arms innovator/exporter.

    To make it super secure he will make set it up with government controlled servers. Labor will set up a means of monitoring all transactions and levying charges and taxes on each electron that enters Australia.

    The whole thing will be powered windmills.

    If we build it, they will come.

    Right, Maol?

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