6 Questions for Wes Levitt of Theta Labs – Cointelegraph Magazine
We ask blockchain and crypto-currency builders what they think about the industry…. And we tease them a little randomly to keep them on their toes!
This week we ask Wes Levitt, head of strategy at Theta Labs, 6 questions.
At Theta Labs, Wes works in the areas of business strategy, marketing and media relations, and analytics. He has spoken at conferences such as the New York Media Festival, Blockchain Connect and the NAB Streaming Summit. Prior to joining Theta Labs, Wes spent eight years in investment roles at Mosser Capital, a private real estate investment firm, and Redwood Trust, a real estate investment firm specializing in securitized loans. Wes is a CFA charterholder and holds a BA in Economics from the University of Oregon and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
1 – If a new currency emerges in the world, will it be led by a central bank digital currency, a permissive blockchain like Bitcoin, or a permissive chain like Diem?
If it were either, I’d say CBDPs are more likely because governments are unlikely to give up the right to issue their own currency. But bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can coexist with CBDC and serve a different purpose. While bitcoin will never replace the major fiat currencies (or their CBDC successors), it has the immense merit of providing an alternative to them. The existence of bitcoin, with its fixed supply and pseudo transactions, should make central banks hesitate before inflating the value of their currency or imposing extensive consumer oversight.
That’s not yet the case with the explosion of money creation in US dollars, euros, Japanese yen, etc. over the past year, but that’s partly because the markets for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are just too small to be a viable alternative. But that’s changing fast: we’re seeing companies like MicroStrategy, Tesla, and Meitu adding bitcoin to their cash flow, which is becoming increasingly possible as bitcoin’s market capitalization increases. Eventually, bitcoin should become important enough to be invested in, even on a large scale, by central banks as an alternative or complement to their gold investments.
2 – What difference does it make if we ever find out who Satoshi really is or was? Why, or why not?
I think this is important, but it’s better for Bitcoin if we never find out who Satoshi is/was. The real person will have a backstory, occupation, country of origin, etc., which will inevitably lead to discord and prejudice in the crypto community. Even better: Satoshi remains more of a legendary figure that people can interpret as they see fit. I believe Satoshi realized that himself, which is why he chose to remain anonymous.
3 – What is the dumbest conspiracy theory…. and which one makes you think twice?
As far as stupidity goes, I’d say it’s a tie between QAnon and Bill Gates putting chips in COVID vaccines. Both are so stupid that they have become useful as flaggers. If anyone believes any of these things, I can ignore everything they say and save time.
The only conspiracy theory I 100% believe is that David Stern routinely manipulated the #1 pick in the NBA draft. Ewing to the Knicks in 1985, New Orleans gets Anthony Davis after Sterns trade for Chris Paul, LeBron and Rose go to their hometown, Cavs get three first round picks in four years after LeBron leaves….. Too many examples to be random!
4 – Other than today, when and in what country would you like to live?
I would have loved England in the mid 70s, especially for the music. You have the punk scene with the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned and others. Iron Maiden and Motorhead are just starting to collaborate with the whole NWOBHM [new wave British heavy metal] scene. And if you linger in the late ’70s and early ’80s, you’ve got XTC, Depeche Mode and The Police right around the corner. One of the best musical years you can find for a country.
5 – Have you ever bought a token without a mushroom? What was that? And if not, what do you think your first will be?
I bought my first NFT for the price of a few ETH per gas – I created it myself using Enjin in 2018. This limited edition Wes Sword unfortunately didn’t end up being crypto-currency games, but it was clearly a very cool concept, even if it was still a few years away from mass NFT use. It’s the entertainment that gets the most attention from the NFT now, but the idea of taking legendary items between role-playing games is still the use that appeals to me the most. I’m not a big art collector, but I can definitely find rare items that are compatible with the games. I can now justify this NFT purchase as an investment that I can use in different games in the future.
6 – Which is the least likely on your list?
I’d like to live long enough to see mankind establish colonies on the Moon or Mars or other potentially habitable moons like Europa, and one day travel there themselves, which is becoming commercially feasible (i.e. without having to train astronauts to get there!) That still seems too far away – we’re 52 years away from landing on the Moon and hardly anywhere near a permanent settlement. But the pace of technological discovery is accelerating, so I hope this will be in my plans for 2050 or so!
Stay positive and keep building! Crypto goes through hectic cycles of euphoria and despair – sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture to keep your head in this wild space.