Episode 2 — A conversation with Gem CEO and Founder Micah Winkelspecht about the forces that are shaping the volatile cryptocurrency markets and the evolution of the decentralized ecosystem.


Listen 🔉

Read 📰

Read the transcript

Host:
Chitra Ragavan
Chief Strategy Officer
Gem

Guest:
Micah Winkelspecht
CEO and Founder
Gem

Watch 🎬

As the days grow short and darkness falls, all indications are that a frigid winter is in store for the crypto community. A bear market winter that has investors either fleeing from the raging bear or going into hibernation in crypto caves worldwide, as a long deep freeze sets in with a vengeance. Meanwhile, outside the caves, crypto naysayers triumphantly pace, holding, “We told you so!” and “Bitcoin is Dead!” signs.

At times like this, there’s little to do but huddle around the fire and hear the tales of battle scarred veterans that have seen it all.

And so I turned to one such grizzled veteran for his perspective and insights — Micah Winkelspecht, CEO and Founder of Gem, who has battled and survived four down cycles. And though a bit battered, bruised, and bloodied from the repeated swipes from the bears’ angry paws, he’s still in the game, still very much a believer in the magic of crypto.

I spoke to Micah in late October, just two weeks shy of the 10th anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” which set Micah off on his long crypto journey.

In this in-depth interview, Micah describes how his casual interest in cryptocurrency as a software programmer in 2010 turned into crypto evangelism three years later, after reading the Satoshi white paper. He fell down the crypto rabbit hole from which he hasn’t yet emerged (and likely never will). He recommends that everyone read the white paper to fully understand the intent behind and promise of cryptocurrency.

“When you read it, you start to realize that it actually has very little to do with electronic cash,” Micah says, “It has everything to do with reshaping and reordering the way people connect with each other at a fundamental level. The way we build our society and our systems of trust to work together.”

Micah offers numerous tales from the front to help us put the current market volatility in perspective by reminding us that cryptocurrency is a long game. And he offers insights into what it will take for cryptocurrency to cross the chasm into mainstream adoption.

“When you look at revolutionary technology like crypto, these things, you know, revolutions, don’t happen overnight,” Micah says. “The Internet took a good 20 years I think, to really establish itself, and we’re about 10 years into Bitcoin, so maybe we have another decade to go.”

So, throw some more wood chips into that fire, pull your blanket around you, and tune in to this interview. It will provide comfort and reassurance and a glimpse into the promise of the future, as you wait, drip by drip, for the crypto icicles to melt. The latest is reflected in the articles in the Resources section of our podcast transcript.

Topics Covered

  • How Micah got started in the LA crypto scene
  • What’s motivated him to stick through the volatility
  • The resilience of the Bitcoin network
  • How crypto has evolved into a movement
  • Other examples of the decentralization movement
  • What got him excited about cryptocurrency
  • How crypto is deeply personal to him
  •  The power and responsibilities of creating money
  • How Bitcoin was a direct response to the 2008 financial crisis
  • Trends and factors that will shape this movement
  • The importance of CryptoKitties as a first step towards making crypto mainstream and waiting for the true killer apps
  • The fun and promise of digital collectibles
  • The pain points of crypto today and how to overcome them
  • The importance of crypto portfolio trackers
  • How crypto was founded to give people control over their own money, identity, and data
  • Looking ahead to a billion new crypto investors entering the market in the next five yearsThe challenges of building platform technology and how they affect the cryptocurrency market
  • Looking into the crystal ball on how the industry will evolve
  • On the elimination of the middle man
  • On the inevitable “Bitcoin is Dead” bear market hype including this latest one
  • Can past trends and lessons to help us understand the current market and where it may be headed
  • Advice to new investors: Tread with Caution
  • Closing thoughts and key takeaways

About Your Host, Chitra Ragavan

A little background about me — I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at Gem, a Los Angeles-based crypto portfolio startup. Prior to Gem, I was Senior Counselor to the CEO of Palantir Technologies. Before entering the software startup world as advisor to CEOs, I was a long-time journalist at WTTW/Public Television in Chicago, National Public Radio (NPR) and U.S. News & World Report Magazine (U.S. News).

My goal is to provide independent and thoughtful analysis of the events and news shaping the industry.

By way of full disclosure, I am a crypto investor. If we ever mention a specific cryptocurrency in the context of a discussion, I will fully disclose my investments, if any, in that currency and expect the same from my guests. I’ll avoid any and all conflicts of interest in the course of these discussions.

You can learn more about me on LinkedIn, my website, or my Instagram.

Enjoy your crypto journey, unicorns!

Chitra Ragavan