Balaji Srinivasan Wiki, Bio, Net Worth, Quotes

Portrait of Balaji Srinivasan. Balaji Srinivasan wiki.
Courtesy of Balaji Srinivasan’s Twitter account.

 

Overview of Balaji Srinivasan

Balaji S. Srinivasan is an angel investor and entrepreneur, well known for his technological breakthroughs and insights.

In recent years he has garnered attention through his poignant quotes and Twitter threads on topics like entrepreneurship, cryptocurrency, pseudonymity, and futurism.

Srinivasan also achieved notoriety for drawing attention to the novel coronavirus at the very first signs of its rise, urging authorities to establish preventative measures early on (more on this below), and making startlingly accurate predictions on how the virus could impact society.

As of the time of this writing, there doesn’t seem to be a Wikipedia entry for Balaji Srinivasan. Hence, this article will attempt to serve as a Wiki-style breakdown of Srinivasan’s background, bio, net worth, quotes, and his endeavors relating to entrepreneurism and cryptocurrency.

 

Balaji Srinivasan Bio/ Background

Balaji Srinivasan's personal blog
Courtesy of balajis.com

 

The bio section of Srinivasan’s website, written in the third person, reads:

He was named to the MIT TR35, won a Wall Street Journal Innovation Award, and holds a BS/MS/PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering, all from Stanford University. Dr. Srinivasan also teaches the occasional class at Stanford, including an online MOOC in 2013 which reached 250,000+ students worldwide.

Here is how one of his former colleagues described him in an article on Coindesk

“The thing that stands out about Balaji is that he’s incredibly well-read about a lot of topics,” said Preethi Kasireddy, who worked with Srinivasan in the mid-2010s when they were both partners at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). “And so he’s able to combine his knowledge of historical events and crypto and math and he’s surprisingly good at understanding people and their motivations as well. When you’re able to do that, you can think at a level above most people.”

According to Srinivasan, his father did not want he and his brother Ramji to go into medicine, despite both his parents being physicians themselves, and instead wanted them to go into “computer science”.

Eventually the two brothers decided to found a company centered on genetic analysis in 2007. This eventually paid off when the company encountered great success further down the line.

As per The Ledger 40 Under 40 article published by Fortune, after his success in clinical genomics, Srinivasan turned to cryptocurrency. 

“He later launched 21.co, a well-financed Bitcoin mining startup that eventually morphed into Earn.com, a crypto-social network based on paid messages. Coinbase bought Earn.com for a rumored $100 million in April—a deal that many industry watchers described as an “acquihire.”

The term “acquihire” above refers to the fact that Coinbase was also acquiring Srinivasan, who became the CTO of Coinbase as part of the purchase.

 

Cryptocurrency Advocacy

Srinivasan has been involved with cryptocurrency for many years, and is one of the most well-known advocates for tokenization and benefits of cryptocurrency in general.

In an essay, titled “Why India Should Buy Bitcoin”, recently published on his personal blog, Srinivasan openly and strongly outlined his stance of India embracing cryptocurrency:

India should launch a digital rupee – and back it with digital gold. More broadly, India should champion decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to safeguard national security, prevent deplatforming, attract international capital, strengthen monetary policy, deter financial fraud, accelerate technological development, and hasten India’s ascendance as a global power.

The article went on to outline additional steps India should take to ensure it benefits from the rise of cryptocurrency, and concluded:

India has the talent to pull this off. Such a move would make international headlines, attract global support from the world’s technologists and financiers, differentiate India from the increasingly zero-sum economic policies pushed by America and China, and put the country at the forefront of a trillion dollar industry.

The first step is simple: India should buy Bitcoin, not ban it.

Below is a video in which Balaji Srinivasan along with The Winklevoss brothers and Naval Ravikant discuss the current state of Bitcoin and its value. 

 

Balaji Srinivasan’s Quotes  

Srinivasan has many well-known quotes that have been shared extensively online.

Here is a small sample:

“Anything scarce will ultimately be tokenized because the benefits of digitization and increased liquidity are so great.” (Source)

“I think tokenization eventually means everyone becomes an investor once all the regulatory issues are worked out – from your computer itself to a kid in India messing around with $10.” (Source)

“It used to be that you had to come to Silicon Valley, walk up Sand Hill Road, network with individuals. That’s now being completely changed and turned on its head by the whole ICO thing.” (Source)

 

Balaji Srinivasan’s Twitter

Srinivasan has also had many noteworthy tweets that have engendered discussion and debate.

Here are a few examples of such tweets:

 

Balaji Srinivasan’s Companies

Balaji Srinivasan has been involved in a number of business projects. Among the most notable projects are his two companies: Counsyl (now Myriad Women’s Health) and 21.co (which was acquired by Coinbase).  

 

Counsyl – Myriad Women’s Health

Screenshot of Myriad Womens Health
Courtesy of myriadwomenshealth.com

 

Here is why the startup focused solely on DNA screening for people as per this article published on technologyreview.com,

“Srinivasan didn’t want to get mired in the uncertainty over the complex ways genetics plays out in those kinds of diseases. 

With genome analysis only just beginning its march from research labs into doctors’ offices and other clinical settings, Srinivasan figured a successful company would need to start with a more straightforward problem. That’s why Counsyl began by testing only for recessive genetic diseases that are extremely well understood. “Anything that is a research question is premature for a business,” he says. “Running a business is hard enough. Your fundamental science has to be rock solid.”

Srinivasan’s genomics startup, Counsyl, was reportedly sold for $375 million to Myriad Genetics in 2018. The company then rebranded as “ Myriad Women’s Health”.

 

21.co/Earn.com – (acquired by Coinbase)

Screenshot of Coinbase homepage
Courtesy of coinbase.com

 

Founded by Balaji S. Srinivasan, Daniel Firu, Matt Pauker, Nigel Drego, and Veerbhan Kheterpal in 2013, 21.co was the first bitcoin mining hardware startup. The idea was to make bitcoin mining accessible to regular people, as Srinivasan describes in this Medium post.

In 2017, the company rebranded as Earn.com, and its main goal mutated from bitcoin micropayments hardware to a bitcoin-powered email service to the public.

In 2018, Srinivasan described Earn.com thus:

As of today, Earn.com is a fast-growing, cash-flow positive business with a multimillion dollar revenue run rate. Hundreds of thousands of users have signed up to earn free cryptocurrency by answering emails and completing tasks. And thousands of senders have used Earn.com to send out paid emails and surveys to large audiences. I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the first truly useful blockchain-based applications, where users can earn money in their spare time while senders can pay people to actually reply to their emails and fill out their surveys.

The company was later sold to Coinbase Inc. for an undisclosed amount in 2018. As part of the acquisition, Balaji Srinivasan joined Coinbase as the company’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and stayed onboard until May 2019. He took to Twitter to share the news of his departure:

 

Balaji Srinivasan’s Warnings About The Coronavirus And Its Effects 

Srinivasan was among the first to ring the alarm about the potential severity of the novel coronovirus when it appeared. He also criticized how the media and authorities in the U.S. were minimizing the potential danger from outbreak in China at the time. 

“I was like, this looks actually very serious,” Srinivasan recalled in an interview on Nov. 26. “And it is not being covered enough. And it’s being treated as if it’s ‘something that happens to foreigners, haha.’”

Nevertheless, he said, “I actually hesitated to tweet about it for a while, simply because it was going to be seen as, you know, ‘paranoid’ or whatever.” 

“Normally, when you trust this stuff,” he said of news outlets, “you just lose money. Here, you literally could have lost your life.”

Srinivasan then proceeded to draw attention to the crisis via his Twitter profile through a series of tweets (the thread is embedded below) that has since been liked over 10,000 times, and which has been heralded as an eerily-accurate prediction of the societal effects the virus would catalyze.

Coindesk.com commended his efforts in an article titled “Balaji Srinivasan: The Man Who Called COVID”, using the following terms:

“Srinivasan was spot on about the virus. He has a point about the media. More broadly, he’s emerged as a prolific and perspicacious thinker about the erosion of trust in experts and institutions, the breakdown of consensus about truth, and how these might be rebuilt.”

Here is another excerpt from the article:

“Recode’s Feb. 13 article suggested that some VCs had “gone too far” in their cautionary measures and comments, quoting one observer who called rich technologists’ fear of germs “paranoid.” It contrasted Srinivasan’s tweets urging San Francisco to cancel its Chinese New Year parade (“a beloved tradition,” the article noted) with sanguine statements about the risk posed by the virus from local authorities, including Mayor London Breed, who allowed the parade to go on as planned Feb. 8.

Srinivasan responded with a 20-tweet thread disputing the Recode story’s claims, one by one. 

A month after its publication, San Francisco was put on lockdown.

In November, the local Chamber of Commerce canceled the Chinese New Year Parade for 2021.”

In an episode of The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish podcast, Srinivasan talked about the entire subject in great detail, giving his take on what had happened up to that time and what might happen going forward.

 

Balaji Srinivasan Net Worth

At the time of this writing, there appear to be no sources online that provide any accurate or legitimate information on Balaji Srinivasan’s net worth.

 

In The News/Online Presence 

A recent article published by The Economic Times reported that:

“Srinivasan, who recently moved to Singapore from the US, said the US’s East Coast is a culture in decline because it adopts a dystopian view of technology. While in India, technology is acting as a net benefit by bringing a new generation of people online that’s helping them grow.”

As per the article, Srinivasan also highlighted the global aspect of crypto platforms, saying, 

“I tell every entrepreneur who is listening to this, you do not need to come to the United States of America to build a billion-dollar business to achieve your dreams to do something great. In fact, you shouldn’t even look up to it because it’s just not something to be emulated anymore.

Instead, what one should look up to is global technology like decentralized crypto platforms, he said.”

 

Videos

Below are a few notable videos featuring Balaji Srinivasan:

 

Below is a list of online platforms Balaji Srinivasan is currently active on:

Personal Blog

Twitter 

Medium

 

Conclusion

To read more of Balaji S. Srinivasan’s essays and articles, one can check out his personal website here or check out this automatically generated index of all his online content. You may also follow him on Twitter as well.

 

 

 

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