In Conversation with George McDonaugh – CEO KR1 PLC
Welcome to BULL.IO, please introduce yourself and your company?
My name is George McDonaugh and I’m CEO of a company called KR1 PLC formerly kryptonite one, were one of the first if not the first institutions set up specifically to invest in tokens we were listed from day one so we have a public share that people can buy on one of the london stock exchanges and if we choose our project properly and get a good basket of tokens and they do well our share price will do well so it’s a kind of proxy way of getting access to the crypto economy via a public listed share.
How did you first get involved in the blockchain world?
So I was very lucky I came across Bitcoin in 2011 and pretty much jacked in my job and decided to go off onto the road and do whatever the Bitcoin would let me do I basically fell in love with the technology and so I’ve been part of the London scene for a long time I ran meetups I advocated the technology I’ve done a lot of public speaking about it and eventually the opportunity arose to head up this this very very small young publicly listed company that was going to take on a little chunk of investment to have a look at this ICO and this was in early 2016 so way before, the ICO wasn’t even a word then, there had been two public crowd sales when we started so we were right at the very beginning and so I’ve been very very lucky to I guess be what they call an allocator, I allocate capital to young blockchain base projects that are pushing the decentralization, the world of decentralization and open-source applications.
So you said that you quit your job and you fell in love with the technology, what’s that hard decision like tell us the story of how that came about?
I’ll be honest I had no choice really because I wasn’t doing any work, I was in advertising I made TV ads for a living so I was right and I just couldn’t continue to do anything but try and pack as much understanding of Bitcoin into my head as possible so lets just say that the ads were no longer flowing and various situations in my life kind of came together into a head and I was like right I’m just gonna go and the idea was to go and brand Bitcoin businesses give them logos slogans, that kind of thing there just weren’t that many, my sense of how long technology takes to permeate was very naive and I thought this when I first discovered, back when I figured this I’ve missed the boat but that was 2011 so you know it actually takes a lot longer for this stuff to happen so as I learned about the technology more and more litecoin was invented and we had this whole Cambrian explosion of young tokens that were effectively copying Bitcoin but they twiddle the dials in various ways so different block times different algorithms that kind of thing and I just got fascinated and all of that, yeah so I went full time as it were and I’ve just been advocating the technology ever since basically.
How did you first get interested in technology like when you were a child or something was there a particular game or the particular computer?
I guess I was always into computer games to some degree you know had all the usual you know Mega Drive Nintendo all of that stuff but I’m not entirely sure what it was, I think I was going through a fairly libertarian phase at the time you know I’m fairly vocal atheist and I think when I understood that there was a system in place where you could send money across the world across borders without permission not that I was particularly well-versed in monetary you know the geopolitical monetary world and all of that but it felt, it felt like something that was massively important and the more I learn the deeper down the rabbit hole I went the less likely I was to come back out again and here we are, what seven years later, still here trying to find where ever this wonderful road will lead and it has been an amazing journey so not a specialty technical background I love games and stuff but it was more the power of the technology that grabbed my imagination and I’ve been as I said following it ever since.
How do you see the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency progressing?
It’s a really interesting one I think the power of open source development with this new layer of monetization on it is really powerful, I think because to some degree some of these applications can be seen as public services and because they’re open-source if you create a system that provides a service to people and there is very very little in the way of rent seeking then and gets the network effect I find it very hard to work out how that system gets competed against. In the world of closed source applications its whoever’s got the best code right you know Facebook MySpace you know Bebo you’ve got better code your community grows you get the network effect and there you go, but in a world of open-source applications on something like etherium it’s possible to see a world in the future where you have community owned projects that have no rent-seeking no middleman, that become the de-facto service providers for whatever that is whether it’s your computational file storage or whatever and from a capital investment perspective from a VC perspective that’s massively exciting, because you could be investing in the last project so like in the last companies you know so I see a future where open-source applications permeate globally and become incredibly powerful and the hence why tokens have value, tokens are powerful if they are the central element to that service so yeah and I think Bitcoin will continue to grow in adoption and use. I would say though that the big thing down the road that I feel like we’re in a little bit of a collision course with is, is what we call the legacy world the regulatory world that the state actor world and how we interact with that the power of open-source permissionless infrastructure when it hits a world that doesn’t understand open source permission this infrastructure and that’s going to be exciting to watch.
Hypothetically who do you think Satoshi Nakamoto is and what does he look like?
It’s a great question, I don’t know there have been so many different theories as to who he is and who they are maybe, I was a bit of a believer for a while that it came from a group of people but then beginning to understand humans as they are, the idea that a group of people could keep a secret for this long, with this much money involves probably unlikely, I think it’s got something to do with Hal Finney, it’s got something to do with Nick Szabo, potentially somewhere close by Craig Wright, I mean he can place himself pretty close to Ground Zero but I don’t think it’s him and then potentially this Kleiman fellow you know something amongst that group spawn this thing and I don’t really feel like I need to know exactly, I’d like to know but it is what it is because we don’t know right, so yeah let it continue to be a mystery.
What advice would you give to somebody starting out in this industry?
So there is way too much noise in this industry as soon as you find your way to Google cryptocurrency investing, you’re at the top of a very difficult chasm to navigate so my advice would be to if you want to learn find someone like Vitalik (Ethereum Founder) or Vlad Zamfir or if you’re interested in Bitcoin some of the block stream guys on Twitter and see who they’re following and try and curate a Twitter feed of people where the info to noise ratio is very very good and just curate yourself a Twitter feed of people who are doing it right, they’re not shilling coins, they’re not doing any of that mostly developers and then listen to what they’re saying and learn as you go but it’s really important to try and find quality people who know what they’re talking about because as soon as you’re watching youtubers shill stuff around the clock, it’s very very hard to actually get a sense of what’s real and what’s not, what’s important or what isn’t, so that might be a good way to start.
What did you want to do when you were a kid?
It’s a good question, probably policemen, firemen, the run-of-the-mill kind of stuff that kids think is exciting.
Do you drive a car at the moment or what’s your dream car?
I do drive a car, I look slightly ridiculous in it, it’s a tiny little two-seater Porsche and I’m a very big guy so I look fairly odd in it but I also have a family car for my wife and kids to go around and so depends what day you catch me but yeah a bit of a petrol head.
What will be your ideal car to drive?
Okay big questions there, I’d like something beautiful and old and amazing like old DB5 or something, Aston Martin 1981 Vantage the v8 would be very nice and then in the more modern world I guess Nissan GT-R Nismo would be pretty cool to drive around the track and maybe a nice Targa new Targa 911 pretty good-looking piece of kit.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Probably relation of mine’s has house in Scotland in the highlands, which is very beautiful, I’ve been going there since I was a little kid so I’d say about 40 minutes west of Inverness.
What would you miss the most in the world, if you can’t have it anymore?
Boring answer, it will be my wife and kids, wouldn’t it really, I mean if I was to miss anything I miss them.
“Kryptonite 1 PLC is a publicly listed investment company focussed on the blockchain ecosystem. We invest in early stage projects and blockchain-based digital assets. These assets power the decentralised platforms and protocols that form the emerging Web3 infrastructure.”
KR1 PLC Twitter: https://twitter.com/KR1plc