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Senior Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Michigan State University

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COVID-19, Blockchain, and the Global Startup Scene - Manifold Podcast #39



Steve and Corey talk to Kieren James-Lubin and Victor Wong of the blockchain technology startup, BlockApps. They begin with a discussion of the COVID-19 epidemic (~25m): lockdown, predictions of ICU overload, and helicopter money. Will personal contact tracking become the new normal? Transitioning to blockchain, a technology many view as viable even in times of widespread societal disruption, they give a basic explanation of the underlying cryptographic and consensus algorithms. Kieren and Victor explain how BlockApps was founded, its business model, and history as a startup. They conclude with a comparison of startup ecosystems in China, Silicon Valley, and NYC.

Recorded on March 18, 2020. Now (March 26) I feel we can make much stronger predictions about CV-19 in the US. We will definitely see overloaded health systems (ICUs) across a broad part of the country. It is already starting to happen in NYC. I will be surprised if the US can avoid tens of thousands of fatalities by early April (say, 14 days from today).

1:08 - Lockdown and ICU Overload COVID-19
5:22 - Singapore and Taiwan Response
17:28 - Government Intervention and Helicopter Money
22:13 - End of the Lockdown?

25:58 - How BlockApps got started
28:56 - Private & Public Key Cryptography and Digital Signatures
34:40 - Blockchain
46:05 - Enterprise Blockchains
1:03:37 - Elevator Pitch
1:24:58 - Global Startup Scene

Transcript

Kieren James-Lubin

Victor Wong


man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.

In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.

Steve Hsu and Corey Washington have been friends for almost 30 years, and between them hold PhDs in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics. Join them for wide ranging and unfiltered conversations with leading writers, scientists, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and more.

Steve Hsu is VP for Research and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University. He is also a researcher in computational genomics and founder of several Silicon Valley startups, ranging from information security to biotech. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Oregon before joining MSU.

Corey Washington is Director of Analytics in the Office of Research and Innovation at Michigan State University. He was educated at Amherst College and MIT before receiving a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in a Neuroscience from Columbia. He held faculty positions at the University Washington and the University of Maryland. Prior to MSU, Corey worked as a biotech consultant and is founder of a medical diagnostics startup.

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