This installment of “Off The Chain” is free to all subscribers. If you would like to receive this summary of crypto news & analysis in your inbox daily - sign up here for less than $0.50 per day.
The Italian city of Naples is reportedly doubling down on blockchain tech.
It has created a working group composed of more than 300 volunteers from around the world, including academic scholars, blockchain professionals, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. An announcement like this usually isn’t that interesting to me, but one detail caught my eye.
Naples is considering an ICO to fund initial development for a city-specific cryptocurrency.
Let’s ignore the fact that a city-specific currency would have a number of challenges and focus on the intersection of public government & blockchain-enabled funding. It would be fascinating to see a fully developed city attempt an ICO to fund activities that benefit the local community.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this though.
Currently, the city council of Berkeley, Calif. has proposed a tokenized municipal bond, which would allow lower minimum investment sizes for potential investors. Not only does this reduce the barrier to participation for investors, but it would give local citizens financial upside in community projects. When asked why they were considering the project, one city council member explicitly said “to get around Wall Street.”
Another interesting project in the space is BuildCoin. This platform enables investors around the world to fund, and receive potential financial upside in, infrastructure projects in different communities. The team has started with feasibility studies for clean energy, water, transportation and communication infrastructure - an aspect of infrastructure projects that is essential to getting construction started, but is difficult to fund because it may end up with $0 ROI if the specific project is not pursued.
In both of these examples, local governments are able to sidestep the traditional funding bureaucracies and raise capital from individual investors. These citizens are voting with dollars on which projects they believe are worthwhile and which ones aren’t. If the funding mechanism becomes popular, we may see a rise of “citizen investors” who drive more efficient capital allocation by their governments.
As I’ve said before, the killer app of blockchain technology is capital formation. It’s exciting to see founders, companies, and now governments all using this new mechanism to drive innovation.
Welcome to the new world.
Why Ex-Wall Streeter Michael Novogratz is investing in a crypto startup: Mike Novogratz just announced a $15 million investment in AlphaPoint, a New York-based financial technology company that helps institutions launch trading platforms and tokenize assets with blockchain technology. He said, “we are in the early stages of a fundamental transformation in financial markets due to the digitization of assets.” Read more.
Ripple CEO: Bitcoin is controlled by China: Ripple's CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that a world where Bitcoin is the primary currency is “absurd.” "I'll tell you another story that is underreported, but worth paying attention to. Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin,” he added. Read more.
Ex-Denver Post journalists launch new blockchain-powered Colorado news outlet: Former Denver Post reporters and editors plan to launch a new local media outlet in partnership with ConsenSys-backed blockchain startup Civil Media Company. The outlet intends to be “a community-supported, journalist-owned team focused on investigative, explanatory and narrative journalism.” Read more.
William Shatner promotes solar-powered cryptocoin mining: William Shatner announced that Solar Alliance Energy, a company for which he’s the spokesperson, had purchased a 165,000 square foot warehouse as the first of many solar-powered facilities it plans to lease to cryptocurrency miners. He said, “I am proud to be a part of the group that is powering the digital currency revolution.” Read more.
Kurt Russell is going to be in a cryptocurrency movie: Hollywood star Kurt Russell is one of a number of actors set to star in an upcoming indie film about cryptocurrencies. The film, entitled Crypto, will focus on a young anti-money laundering agent who returns to his hometown in New York to investigate a case of corruption and fraud. Read more.
‘Olyseum’ wants to ride the crypto wave: Olyseum was conceived in 2016 as a kind of digital “Coliseum” where sports idols could connect with their fans. Its founders include current and retired Spanish soccer players like Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol, and Iván de la Peña. Read more.