Peek into 2018: small business, the internet & cryptocurrency

Mark Walsh, former head of the Office of Innovation and Investment at the Small Business Administration in the Barack Obama administration shares his predictions on 2018. Walsh is a local angel investor and one of the pioneers of the modern internet.

His position as head of the Office of Innovation and Investment was “one of those sort of hidden jobs in government, that very few people know about, but has a really deep impact,” said Walsh.

“I told people it was the greatest job in government,” he said. This was because of the sizable budget the office received to invest in startups, accelerators and other small businesses.

“One of the things that my colleagues and I did a pretty good job at, I must admit in my stint, was get those public dollars with private partnerships into other geographies, other demographics,” said Walsh.

“You’re seeing now some real vitality of that effort in the private sector,” he told What’s Working in Washington.

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Walsh was also involved in the creation and propagation of the modern internet, working with a company that offered a text-based network for e-commerce, travel services, car buying and other services.

“All the things we take for granted now on searching and doing transactions in cyberspace, the company I was with and the area I ran were doing it in text,” he said. Walsh worked with AOL during its development of much of the GUI-based method of browsing the internet that we use today.

Walsh also said that, despite all his work, the introduction of “bad actors” who worked only to make money without expanding technology made him worried about the future of the internet.

Walsh predicts that despite recent hiccups, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Etherium are not about to disappear. “I don’t think they’re a bubble… I think the currency of cryptocurrency will continue to be viable place for people to extract, trade, and track value,” he said.

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