At SALT NY, everyone is talking crypto. On Monday, the all-star panel featured the trailblazers in blockchain technology: Anatoly Yakovenko of Solana Labs, Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, and Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful,” of WonderFi. Here are the main take-aways.

Anatoly Yakovenko of Solana Labs, /Photo: John Roach (RBP)/SALT

Blockchain is an excellent platform for NFTs. Anatoly Yakovenko of Solana Labs said that the beauty of blockchain technology is that talented artists can share their work globally so that someone who catches the right idea at the right time and releases it via blockchain can be given “as much value as possible.” 

The SALT Founder Anthony Scaramucci made a special announcement today about Flatternft.com, the new platform for NFT art, collectibles and experiences launched by Skybridge Capital. “I’ve always wanted to be at the forefront of technological innovation, and this platform gives us an opportunity to make NFTs tangible by pairing them with one-of-a-kind collectables and experiences,” said Scaramucci. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, Chief Executive Officer of FTX, a crypto derivatives exchange, said that crypto still captures a small fraction in the world. Bankman-Fried is involved in a decentralized exchange, and his main focus revolves around the question of “What are the ways that we can take these products and introduce them to tens of millions of people?”

Bankman-Fried grew up in the United States but is spending a lot of time in Hong Kong and is traveling worldwide. “Crypto is really a global business,” he said, adding that he built a multi-cultural team to understand better where the users are coming from. What he realized is that “If you have less trust in banks, you will have a desire to store assets in alternative way.” 

Sam Bankman-Fried, Chief Executive Officer of FTX / Photo: John Roach (RBP)/SALT

Kevin O’Leary, Founder of WonderFi, is a recent “convert” into crypto. “I was very vocal non-advocate of crypto,” he revealed. One day, he was talking crypto on TV, and his compliance officer called him up and said, “Are you out of your mind!” They knew they would get a call from the regulators. O’Leary said that “He did not have an option of being non-compliant,” but that he changed his stance toward crypto once the regulators changed.  

Kevin O’Leary ( Photo: John Roach (RBP) /SALT)

“If you are a consumer and you are making zero in your bank account, it is not easy to set yourself up unless you are up in the crypto community,” O’Leary explained stressing that his company wants to do everything to help the users to stay compliant. He said he is interested in NFTs “but not all of them.” O’Leary is a prominent investor in high-end watches. 

He expressed his frustration with the media for saying that the crypto community is adverse to regulators. “That’s not true,” he said. O’Leary added that the regulators want to sort this out as the crypto is not going anywhere due to high demand. 

Moreover, he is making the case for regulators to step into cryptocurrency and make rules. “Is high-end watch a security or art?” O’Leary wants to know and says that the investors need guidance. ” Give us the rules so we can go and play football!”

Are there any risks to blockchain technology?

CEO of Solana labs, Anatoly Yakovenko , warns that the most significant risk the blockchain technology faces is that “all these amazing products will be built elsewhere.” To him, being a son of refugees who immigrated to the US from the Soviet Union, “this is very sad.” Anatoly predicts that crypto will revolutionize financial decisions globally, with billion users who will be able to understand the crypto the same way they today understand the internet. 

Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...