21 with Balaji Srinivasan

Bitcoin is underappreciated even to this day. The public focus is usually on the speculative value, but Bitcoin has functional value as a technology platform.

If I want to make 100 transactions with my bank for 1 cent, the bank won’t allow it. Our current financial infrastructure is not set up for micropayments. Bitcoin is built with micropayments in mind. As Bitcoin works through its governance issues and its scalability problems, we will see gradual improvement in financial liquidity between people and machines.

21 is a company that has raised $120M to make Bitcoin useful to developers. This is a long term project, and the first step of that project is to get Bitcoin in the hands of users. To fulfill that end, 21 is developing services that encourage people to make small digital transactions.

The first service is the 21 messaging service, where users can pay to send messages to people who are unlikely to respond to an unsolicited email otherwise. For example, if I want to send an email to a venture capitalist pitching my company, I am more likely to get a response if I pay that venture capitalist $20 to read my message through 21, rather than if I sent a cold email from my email address.

Balaji Srinivasan is the CEO of 21, and he joins me for a conversation about the potential of Bitcoin and the objectives of the company he is building.

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Transcript

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