This week: anti-militia legislation, BTC ETF, and a private Q&A with a VC
News of the week:
On the third anniversary of Jan 6, Ed Markey (D, MA) and Jamie Raskin (D, MD) propose to ban:
publicly patrolling, drilling, or engaging in harmful or deadly paramilitary techniques
interfering with or interrupting government proceedings
interfering with the exercise of someone else’s constitutional rights
falsely assuming the functions of law enforcement and asserting authority over others
training to engage in such behavior
What’s the difference between “patrolling” and “demonstrating”? What constitutes a “harmful paramilitary technique”? What counts as “training to engage in such behavior”?
Presumably these questions will all be answered impartially by whatever machine judge in Baltimore or DC or Chicago gets assigned to Protect Our Democracy.
This is very good news, as it further cements BTC’s status as a normal thing for normal guys. We don’t need “dissident infrastructure”, we need decentralized infrastructure that your grandma uses, that our enemies can’t turn off without antagonizing Harvard and the AARP.
(The Arab Spring didn’t use secret pro-democracy communication channels — they used Twitter and Facebook, which meant they couldn’t be shut down without infuriating ordinary middle-class office workers.)
Meanwhile, the ADL published a hit piece on “extremist fundraising” with Bitcoin, and apparently convinced Gemini to boot Andrew Torba and a number of other Twitter guys off their exchange. They were not permitted to transfer their coins out — they were required to cash out in USD.
Fortunately, for now, all this can do is make Gemini (and all centralized exchanges) less trustworthy (Torba was presumably able to jump right back in using some other exchange) — but as long as you have to turn your BTC into cash to pay your mortgage and buy your groceries, the offramps will be a choke point.
Our VC conversation
Last Tuesday, we had a Q&A session with a VC about how to get a deck in front of investors, what categories of businesses attract investment, and what they look for in a founding team.
From my notes:
If you want a warm introduction to a VC, get to know the other founders in their portfolio. (He went into some depth about exactly how to handle this.)
Private equity is orders of magnitude larger than venture capital, and much more amenable to the kinds of stable, local, long-term businesses that many of our guys are trying to build.
Most successful businesses are unrecognizable from their initial pitch decks, because the early fundraising rounds are about testing hypotheses. VCs don’t back the idea so much as the founding team.
Single-founder companies are much riskier investments; everyone should have a partner to keep them motivated and tell them when they’re off-base. (I have observed this in the group as well — our most successful guys have built partnerships.)
VC dollars are drying up right now because we are in the early innings of a global sovereign debt crisis. His advice: stay alive, stay lean, stay out of debt, and be ready to buy when things go on sale.
This week we’ll be hearing from a retiring veteran on his experience, and whether it still makes sense for guys like us to sign up for the training and benefits.
Reminder that the DC subscriber meetup will be on 2/2.
If you’ve been thinking about signing up and want to dip your toes in, sign up for the paid list and come to a meetup, or reach out at exitgroup.us.
DC meetup invite below the fold: