The Chief of the Block at the Blockchain Accelerator for Global Growth, helping companies become fundable with the Due Diligence Intensive, a 31-page analysis of the company for traditional and Blockchain funding and International Business Focus for growing and scaling a Blockchain company globally.
Over 7+ years of experience preparing and evaluating companies for private equity or venture capital financing. Founded an investment association connecting Southern California businesses with venture funding. Bridge the gap between professionals that speak in technology terms with professionals that speak primarily in financial terms. Representing companies to investors, key clients, and strategic partners.
Hey, everybody. It’s me, Adam Chapnick, with the Security Token Academy. We’re here at the CIS, Crypto Invest Summit, in Los Angeles. I’m joined by a good friend of mine, the one and only Barbara Bickham, CTO extraordinaire with Trailyn Ventures. Can you first of all, Trailyn, tell us about why you’re called Trailyn Ventures.
I’m called Trailyn Ventures because Trailyn is short for kind of ‘Trail Blazing’, ‘Blazing a Trail’, so that’s why I created Trailyn Ventures, we do Blockchain advisory on the strategic technical level. So that’s what we do there.
Yes you do. And you do it with almost a mindbogglingly large number of companies, you’re like a superhero. My question for you is, you have very legit credentials in the tech field, I happen to know you work with the LA Chamber of Commerce, you mentor a lot of companies who love you, how did it come to be that you used your know-how, your superpowers all in Blockchain work? How did that happen?
Well I got introduced to the Blockchain very early, I know some of the Blockchain pioneers, 2012 is when I first started Bitcoin and Blockchain and they introduced me to that and they said, “Barb you should come in and try this Bitcoin thing”, and I didn’t think it was real and then 2015 I got reintroduced to it by someone that did a talk on the how money worked, ‘How Does Money Work’ and so I said, “Wow, maybe I should crack into that” because it was kind of the combination of tech and money and I said, “Wow, maybe I should try and get into there,” so I tried to get in, didn’t work.
So 2017 I got reintroduced, I got my first Blockchain client, to Transfair they’re actually in Columbia and they do payment and remittance on the Blockchain, they’re very credentialed and then ever since then I kind of went full in.
2018, I was interim CTO of a company that did Bots, Trading Bots for market making, was interim CEO there and raised them a bunch of money and then after that kind of full in it.
What is it about the Blockchain itself that is more interesting than say, just building a market place or building an app, or what is it about it that attracts you?
The Blockchain is the intersection of kind of technology, economy, money, security so it has all those different aspects to it and there are a lot of hard interesting problems to solve and so as a technical person you’re very interested in solving hard, juicy, meaty problems and so that’s one of the attractions of the Blockchain.
You had mentioned to me when we were talking earlier about some of the other things that you had experience in that made perfect sense when you bring it to the Blockchain, cyber-security I think you said you were in and some other stuff.
My definition of Blockchain, a four word definition, it’s immutable, which means it’s permanent, so that’s my Rest API experience from being a whirlwind Rest API writer, attracted me to that. It’s secure, so its encrypted, my computer security background applied to that as far as that was my job with security company encryption and authentication authorization.
It’s a ledger, debit and credit so that’s my accounting, kind of took an accounting class at Berkeley and that’s kind of that accounting background. And then it’s distributed so it’s not all in one place, and because of the nature of the work I do, I’m kind of distributed anyway. I’m naturally distributed, so I work with companies all over the world and so that kind of made sense to me, I can distribute myself and therefore software could be distributed so that’s kind of the attraction, a distributed human.
We at Security Token Academy are particularly interested in how Blockchain relates to finance. Are there any kind of particular challenges or obstacles or interesting things that have come up in your exposure to security tokens in particular?
Yes, because it’s very confusing from SEC perspective of ‘how do you even implement a security token, what is a security token, is it a security, is it not a security.’ Technically, we have to think about how do you go about implementing for example, dividends. So how would a person go about - if you’re a preferred stockholder - how do you go about getting a dividend or a holding period. Normally you have to hold the stock for a year in order then to be able to potentially sell it or have some type of liquidity event. How do you codify that? Let’s see, what else from a security...
Well from cavemen, who I proudly represent, why is that hard, for a technical person?
Why is it hard? Because you’re trying to map what is on like a 138 potential page document into code, so how do you do that?
Well I actually don’t know.
So, Adam is buying TechGenie Security, or Trailyn Ventures security, how do you go about codifying that? Normally what would happen is you’re going to get this large document and then you’re not going to read it because you have this huge subscription agreement and you’re like, “This is 138 pages”, so how do you codify some of that to make it, A) less scary for an investor and B) also how do you present that to an investor in a way that they understand. The other half of the issue is that investors are not going to use MetaMask, the walleting piece, and the actual mechanical purchasing crypto is kind of you almost have to be a developer to do it.
Not very intuitive.
Well it’s not user-friendly, so how do you make that more user-friendly for an investor? So there are many aspects of that as well.
Yeah, absolutely. How do you work - speaking more about your process - if companies say, “Wow, you know we have this great idea, it should be on the Blockchain but we know the business reason for it, we know the real world reason but boy we don’t know how to implement” if they find you, how do they work with you?
Well, first they make a phone call, we set up a phone call. Well, one question I ask is, “Should this even be on a Blockchain?” I mean sometimes, we think it should be on a Blockchain and it really shouldn’t. So aspects of it really belong on a Blockchain? If there are parts of it that belong on a Blockchain, all of its not going to go on a Blockchain - that’s the other half that most people don’t quite understand - technically you’re not going to put everything on a Blockchain out of the gate because you’re going to have some centralized pieces. It’s important to have that because there is some data you’re going to want to control or there’s some other potential elements, if you want to run Artificial Intelligence on your data, the Blockchain’s just not fast enough yet to handle those things.
You kind of have to look at the architecture and design of what pieces are going to be Blockchain’ed versus not Blockchain’ed and do you even need a Blockchain.
Right, that’s important. Do you come in like an advisory capacity and say, “Think about these things, go do it, come back and talk to me” is that your sort of structure?
I can do it from an advisory capacity or CTO capacity. I can write white papers, I can do the token economics as well, I can do token generation events if you’re doing securitized tokens. Is it an asset-beacdk token? Is it straight equity-security token?
The whole deal? Everything?
Yeah I come in and do everything, potentially.
Quadruple, pentuple, is that sextuple threat? I lost track.
I want to shift gears a little bit. We often come to events like this in the security token space or in the crypto space, and something that stands out to me is a lot of people look like me. What do you think about the demographics of our space and why is it that way and what do you think?
I think demographics are important and we’re trying to change the demographics of the space, clearly that’s one of my kind of mandates in life. What do we need to do that, we all need to be open and just communal and we need to be collaborating with all different types of people and since this is a global space we just need to be able to collaborate more globally and kind of communicate and grab everyone that we can across all the different demographics, because everyone has different thinking and everyone has different ideas and everyone has different capabilities and it’s important to embrace all of that in this space, because the hard problems aren’t going to get solved just by certain types of thinking and we know that looking at Google, Facebook - we can name some of these other companies as well - but when you kind of have uniform thinking you get uniform speak and kind of ideas and uniform creation.
So, in order to get different type of creation you want to kind of have a diversity of thought, because that’s what real diversity is, is a diversity of thought and you can only do that by listening and talking to many different types of people.
Amen. So thanks so much for joining us at the Security Token Academy, we hope you come back and keep us posted on everything you’re doing.
I hope you have me back, thanks so much.
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