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Richard Muirhead on Blockchain and the New Decentralized Economy

Richard Muirhead on Blockchain and the New Decentralized Economy

Aug 24, 2020

Follow the White Rabbit podcastStart Listening

Richard Muirhead has been a Bitcoin believer since as early as 2013. That has provided the partner of Fabric Ventures with a valuable perspective on blockchain and digital assets. An early supporter of Orchid, Richard joins for this week's episode of Follow the White Rabbit to share his ideas about decentralization, the token economy, and how to build the best companies of the future.

Richard has previously backed Bitrise, Citymapper,, Transferwise, and Bitstamp and, at Fabric, he looks after Polkadot, Ocean Protocol, Blockstack, Messari, as well as Orchid.

On Follow the White Rabbit, Richard explains that his thinking on the "Sovereign Individual" has led Fabric to look for new platforms and marketplaces that are fundamentally rebuilt from the bottom up with a different set of incentive systems. Incentive models that favour the individual in terms of privacy and data ownership. That fits neatly with Orchid offers -- an incentivized peer-to-peer VPN marketplace. Put simply, Richard believes private data ownership and public data access to be amongst the most fundamental of individual rights.

With an engineering background from his Cambridge University days and a history of building his own companies, Richard applies a discipline in his venture capital work to what he calls "neutral-solution" thinking to the most pressing problems. 

That has led Richard to develop an investment thesis on how open source projects can thrive in the decentralized world of Web 3 and token economies.

In this endless universe of token design that exists out there, we believe that it is absolutely possible to architect a token ... such that value can accrue to it by the way it's integrated deeply within the functioning of some layer one or higher informational network," Richard said. "We believe that is the case and that is increasingly being demonstrated over time."

"It is hard to imagine how these business models work in advance because you can't even think how the world will work. It requires that jump." 

In addition to the needed vision, Richard is acutely aware that building a company in the decentralized world demands pragmatism.

Entrepreneurs need to be quite pragmatic. We refer to things like minimum viable decentralization or minimum viable Web 3. There are many dimensions to the Web 3 movement," he said. "The entrepreneurs who will win are the ones who truly appreciate problems that can be uniquely addressed using this new kind of building blocks and they come at it from the perspective of the problems that need to be addressed by-and-large."

Follow us down the rabbit hole: listen to the conversation here or on your favorite streaming service.

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Feb 22, 2021
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