It’s Crypto Time — Right?


A Review of The Defiant Podcast featuring Mark Cuban


Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has in the past appeared very bearish on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. But in a recent appearance on The Defiant podcast, Cuban struck a new bullish tone tackling everything from DeFi to crypto and the future of blockchain technology.


“I’d rather have bananas than Bitcoins.”


Mark Cuban made his fortunes in an early play on the internet when he launched the now-defunct Broadcast.com, broadcasting HD video at a time well before the big players in cable. No stranger to taking risks on new technology, it struck many as out of character when in the past Cuban was quoted as saying, “I’d rather have bananas than Bitcoins.”


However, Cuban seems to be seeing crypto in a new light.


Speaking with The Defiant’s Camila Russo, Cuban expounds on where he sees the value — and the risk — in the crypto market.


First Cuban gives us his thoughts on the history of Bitcoin. He says initially everyone thought of Bitcoin as the new currency. The early thought was that in a few year’s time, everyone would have Bitcoin instead of cash. “What really started to change, even after 2017 and the big price movements, over the past year or so, or past two years, you’ve really heard people talking about Bitcoin as a store of value," Cuban says.


Cuban admits that even a few years ago, he was dipping his hands in to try to see if other people would go along with him to see it as a currency. While crypto does have benefits, Cuban argues, such as not having to mint coins to create physical representations of value, over time his thoughts changed. Today he no longer sees the crypto's value in being a currency per se, but in the being the vehicle or framework for transactions.


The Defiant's host, Camilla Russo, did a great job of asking the pertinent questions, often probing Cuban to reveal a bit more about his thoughts. As the podcast progressed, we were able to see that Cuban, like most investors in crypto, isn’t a crypto savant. He's someone searching for answers in the market like everyone else.


“Do you see it ever becoming a currency?” Cuban asked Camilla at one point.


“Umm,” Camilla replied.


And so it went, with Cuban seeming to test his own beliefs throughout the podcast. At times he said that crypto had no future as a currency, then at other times, he admitted that governments would have their own “digital currency,” and that it would inevitably replace the dollar.


Finally he settled on the belief that crypto would indeed become a store of value over time, much like gold but with benefits far beyond gold. For instance, he said, he believes gold did not have deflationary benefits, as "commodities should inflate at roughly the same rate" as the dollar they’re traded against.


Bitcoin, he argued, at least benefited from “algorithmic scarcity.”


However, where Cuban was most bullish was on the idea of blockchains being a game changer for finance and the multitude of transactions across the world. “ETH,” he said at one point, advising newcomer investors to choose Ethereum over Bitcoin. He suggested anyone new to crypto look into the world of dApps and DeFi over cryptocurrency.


Smart contracts with the ability to tokenize transactions are where the real money is, Cuban advised, seeing the bet not on what would replace the dollar but what would replace the card and the transaction: DeFi and blockchain utility.


“ETH,” Cuban said at one point, advising newcomer investors to choose Ethereum over Bitcoin.


In particular he was bullish on the ability to tokenize art, music, and writing leading to license-less, guaranteed royalties without middlemen or fraud or massive lawyer networks guarding copyright. He even admitted to having sold his own art on the dApp Rarible, a decentralized app built just for digital art transactions.


With DeFi and dApps, Cuban saw the biggest limitation as transaction speed and cost, which is where his belief in alt-coins seems to be burgeoning. In the podcast, Cuban admits to playing with staking and yield farming. Yield farming and staking is a common feature in many alt-coins, in which the blockchain network benefits in transaction security by having trusted actors “stake” or maintain a holding in their coins. Common coins that employ this type of “proof of stake” include Cosmos, and Algorand.


Overall, Cuban presented a knowledge of crypto that indicated he was no newcomer, but also no shark. He was still trying to figure out the field and the many markets of crypto (like many of us). But Cuban says he sees crypto much like the early days of the internet, harkening back to his days at Broadcast.com, signaling his unyielding belief in a bright future for crypto in utility and asset security.


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