The role of blockchain in the future of crypto
John Wu, President of Ava Labs, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss growth at Bitcoin 2021 and Avalanche USD conference‘s place in the crypto space.
– A big conference is taking place in Miami, Florida. And it all revolves around the 2021 Bitcoin crypto conference. And Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman is at the center of it all with a guest. Zack, take it off.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yes, thank you, Brian. I’m here with John Wu, president of Ava Labs. And John, thanks for taking the time to chat.
JEAN WU: Zack, thanks for having me.
ZACK GUZMAN: You are probably the best dressed person for me here today. And I’m wearing a blazer. It’s because you come from the tech world. You worked at Tiger, you are well known in the financial world. It may be different from some of the retailers here. But tell me about how it has changed, this Bitcoin ’21 conference compared to others you’ve attended in the past.
JEAN WU: Right. So I attended these tentpole-type conferences for four or five years. And the first thing you see happening is that the number of people who are institutions or businesses, traditional businesses, related to these conferences is increasing in percentage every year. Four or five years ago, maybe 20% of the population. Today is, I guess, 60%. And there are 13,000. And the last consensus that was in person was around 8,000 I think.
So the crowds are growing. And people who are increasingly moving out of traditional finance or business.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yes.
JEAN WU: On top of that, I would say that in ’17 and ’18, when they got to this, they were tourists, or they were trying to educate themselves. The institutional companies that are here now, they are active. They participate or they really want to participate. Thus, volumes increase and engagement increases.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yes, and we saw that institutional investor dollars started to rise there as well. And I really want to ask you what are you trying to accomplish with Ava Labs Avalanche Protocol, which we can tackle in a second. But I mean that’s a big part of it. Institutional dollars now create a greater opportunity for things like you are building right now to capitalize on all the money that is pouring in.
JEAN WU: That’s right. I mean, if you take Coinbase which had an amazing IPO, I guess about a year and a half ago the retail in terms of the assets they own was probably 60%, 70% . Today it is reversed. I would bet the institutional money is probably 70%. And the retail trade is much lower, 30%. But the amount has also increased. Unbelievable.
And that’s great because it ultimately fuels more investment in the operational success of all of these companies in the space. And that’s no different than I think in the late 90s when the money went on the internet. Some businesses did not work. And there was a lot of crisis in 2000. But what stands out is great customer use. And finally, you have these big tech companies that have made your life, mine, so much easier.
ZACK GUZMAN: Well let’s talk about why you built the Avalanche Protocol here because it’s one of those things where a lot of these things show up like you said you don’t know which one is real or no. But Andreessen Horowitz, one of the institutions that supports what you’re working on here, and the enthusiasm that comes from other investors as well. So tell me about what you are trying to do with Avalanche and how it improves when you talk about it – it’s a big praise to talk in Ethereum 2.0 killer. We are talking about the Ethereum killers. But to be an Ethereum 2.0 killer and what are you trying to do there, what are you trying to solve?
JEAN WU: So we don’t see ourselves as Ethereum killers. We complement Ethereum. The Avalanche protocol is therefore compatible. It is EVM compatible. So this is the same type of development that you can do on the Ethereum blockchain that you can do on the Avalanche blockchain. And it’s not just A16, we also have Polychain, Metastable, Initialized Capital, all of our great partners helping us help the Avalanche protocol build an ecosystem on top of it.
What will ultimately be Avalanche is the premier place to digitize or tokenize just about any asset. Right now, we’ve only been on the mainline for about eight months. And we have already made great strides. There are 50 live gaps on the avalanche ecosystem. The goal is not only to tackle the $ 100 billion in DeFi that is currently growing at a very rapid rate, but to use Avalanche technology to symbolize the $ 700 billion in financial assets around the world in the world. financial services balance sheets. This is the ultimate goal. And that’s what many of these first-layer protocols, Ethereum included, promise.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah no. Because it sounds like one of those things where you roll out something like this where you try to highlight the efficiency of you know the blockchain you’ve built here and what you’re trying to solve. And it’s interesting to see different projects tackling different issues. And it looks like you’re really focused on financial apps here. But I mean, when you talk about some of these projects built on top of Avalanche, which one do you see as perhaps the most promising that you would like to dig into? Or is it more designed as a general purpose tool?
Because I feel like no one ever wants to rank, but that’s pretty important if you want to understand and be known as blockchain for it.
JEAN WU: Well, I think this next version of the ecosystem for blockchains won’t be like the previous one where Ethereum was the only place and the only game in town. It’s going to be more like the analogue of social media where you have a winner like Facebook, but then you’re going to have TikTok, you’re going to have Clubhouse, and you’re going to have Snapchat, and you’re going to have all these others that are more dedicated and focused on something and some functionality.
So with Avalanche, we solved the trilemma. There’s security, there’s also scale, low gas prices, and very important for purists, it’s decentralized. Self-governance and individual empowerment are very important themes these days. It is therefore a component of Avalanche. Through the enterprise component of our private blockchain, we also have the ability to provide services as literally as a SAS product for financial services companies in the traditional world.
ZACK GUZMAN: There are a lot of opportunities to go here. And these are the first days as you said. Only eight months on the main net here.
JEAN WU: Only eight months in the main net. I would say organically one of the fastest growers in eight months.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yes. Well I mean it’s fascinating to watch. And clearly a lot more to say. But glad we were able to log in here. We’ll get you back to discuss the type of growth there. But John Wu, thanks for taking the time. President of Ava Labs.
JEAN WU: Zack, thank you.
ZACK GUZMAN: Very good. We will send it back to you in the studio.
– Very good. Thanks a lot, Zack. And Zack will bring more back throughout the day and also during the weekend of this conference.