• Bianca Chen

Exclusive interview with Matthew Roszak who gave Richard Branson & Bill Clinton their first bitcoin

A key player in the global supply chain market, Bloq, recently introduced a beta version of a new software suite for cryptocurrency miners called Titan, which aims to increase hash power by double digits. Bloq was co-founded by Matthew Roszak, the crypto entrepreneur who was named one of the “who’s who of the cryptocurrency world” and the person who gave Richard Branson and Bill Clinton their first bitcoins. As a true believer of the cryptocurrency, Matthew has invested in over 20 startups, including some of the most successful exchanges in the space, such as Coinbase, Kraken, and BTCC. Matthew was placed in the top five of the Forbes magazine's list of " The Richest People in Cryptocurrency" in 2018. In this excerpt of our exclusive interview with Matthew, we will uncover his investment background, his market prospects and aim of future dynamics.

Matthew Roszak - Chairman & Co-Founder, Bloq

Bianca: What was your initial reaction to bitcoin?

Matthew: My original reaction was like most other people’s reaction still till today, I thought bitcoin was some kind of silly magic internet money. It took me a while to figure out and understand the technology of bitcoin. And once I started exploring, I realized there is something incredibly special with this invention that I thought wouldn’t happen for another 100 years. The innovation that came out of bitcoin started this whole notion of decentralization and building new layers of trust, which is important to human society as a whole.

Bianca: You had 10 years of experience in the investment world. What dragged you from Wall Street into into the cryptocurrency industry?

Matthew: My background has been in private equity, venture capital, and technology. But blockchain intersects so many different areas, whether it’s finance or tech or anthropology or law. There is so much going on at the center, and it kind of attracts you from different angles. Because of its diversity, people often mistake it to be a deep technological endeavor or frontier; ignoring the fact that all we need is good lawyers, accountants, media people, and all the operating components around it, communication is what this community is all about.

When I encountered the finance and tech aspects of bitcoin, for the first time I felt like this was going to be something that was going to change the world. I gave many famous business people and politicians their first bitcoin as a start of their journey in this new technology frontier of crypto and blockchain. I gave Richard Branson a bitcoin, I gave Robin Wright a bitcoin, and I gave Bill Clinton his first bitcoin. It’s anticlimactic in a strange way because it is both virtual and digital. For someone like Bill Clinton and Richard Branson, I gave them a physical bitcoin, these beautiful coins that look like the inside of a watch. Even though I don’t give out bitcoins anymore, I still think it’s a great start to teach somebody about this new technology.

Bianca: Let’s talk about your company Bloq, what is its mission?

Matthew: Bloq is a blockchain software company with two components: Bloq Enterprise and Bloq Lab. We partner with some of the biggest companies in the world, including Fidelity, Discover, and Barclays. Bloq Enterprise help them to develop their blockchain strategies and infrastructure to adopt this technology. On the other hand, Bloq Labs partnered with some of the most interesting decentralized projects and protocols on the planet, like Qtum and Civic.

As we are working with some of the biggest companies and projects in the world of space, over time, they’re both going to be inextricably linked to the decentralized economy. We are fortunate to see the play in the front seat as it is important to exercise both ends of the spectrum. Building a decentralized network was in our original business plan, but we thought that was going to be three, five, even seven years from now, and that is why we created Metronome, the world’s first cross-blockchain cryptocurrency.

Bianca: Do you think it is important to have a product before raising money in ICOs?

Matthew: I think the nature of the ICO market is that there’s a lot of projects looking for opportunities to make money. We are taking a different approach by raising the bar. It is like knowing that we self-financed this project before launching it, which is different from a lot of projects today, where they’re only giving a roadmap and a timeline. People are financing while having more perspective. The bar will rise even further because not only do we launch a network, but we’ll have users and everything else upon launching. This dialogue will continue to elevate as we move forward, as we won’t be able to raise money just with a white paper. Solid product and technology is the foundation of investable ICO projects.

Bianca: Do you think we are entering a world ruled by a cryptocurrency economy?

Matthew: I think it is definitely a changed game. The trust of where money is, what that value is, and how to put into a format is no longer necessary to be given to an intermediary. Values could be validated by being put in a smart contract. The ways in which business, confidence, and trust get done when you do transactional stuff is completely reimagined and being done in code.

Today when we talk about payment processing and smart contracts, over time, these digital currencies will be put into more settings and fields. When the applicability of cryptocurrency increases, the cost of programming systems to process these demands will drop, and the efficiency will raise automatically. That is why I believe miracles will happen in space, and these systems and tokens will get really valuable in the future.

This level of efficiency is where a lot of the future magic happens in the space where these systems and tokens get really valuable.