This might not be the stupidest time in history but we certainly live in the time in which it is hardest not to be aware of all the stupidest things that are happening in the world. Even just a hundred years ago, it could take weeks to hear about stupid things that happened even just one town over from you. Nowadays, the moment something stupid happens anywhere in the world, it is immediately piped into your brain. This is one of those things.
Business Insider, we all get to learn the story of George Weiksner. George is 12 years old. George is also CEO of a cryptocurrency startup that he founded with his dad, Michael Weiksner.
George was 11 when he decided to go in with his dad on Quarters, a “universal cryptocurrency for games“. According to the Business Insider interview, this took some tense negotiation:
“I said, ‘Let’s do 50/50 because I’m the one that has to build it,'” Michael told Business Insider.
George was clearly unhappy with his father’s division of equity and as his father recalls, he got emotional. “My wife was mad at me,” Michael said. “She said, ‘This is supposed to be fun.'”
But George considered his father’s counter offer, and in the morning, he was ready to compromise: 50/50, as long as he was granted the final say in company business.
Quarters is built on top of the cryptocurrency Ethereum and is meant to be used as a game-agnostic currency for making in-game purchases in games – if you earn coins in one game, you can use them to buy shit in another. You get the idea.
Unsurprisingly, this is not his dad’s first foray into internet commerce. Michael is a general partner at Rostrum Capital, a venture capital firm whose website is littered with the sort of nonsense, buzzword-thick language you would 100% expect from a 2018 venture capital firm:
Platforms are amazing because they scale interactions between millions of consumers and producers, resulting in transformational companies. It’s the difference between the inconsistency of a taxi company and the convenience of Uber; the expense of a hotel and the personal touch of Airbnb; the sameness of a restaurant chain and the variety of GrubHub. Platforms make it possible for millions of people to buy, connect, create and share in ways traditional products, services and companies can never match.
Absolutely, man. Platforms rule. For sure.
It hasn’t all been roses, though. Would you believe it, apparently taking a start-up off the ground when your CEO is 12 is not super easy:
When the pair tried to enter Pocketful of Quarters into the New York-based incubator Techstars, Michael said that George’s age was a barrier. . . And while the Weiksners offered to change George’s title from CEO, Michael said the Techstars team was firm when it came to George’s age. “They said they couldn’t have a 12 year old in the program.”
In an email to Business Insider, Techstars managing director Alex Iskold said that Techstars passed because Pocketful of Quarters was pre-launch. . . However, he did say that the team had found George’s age to be problematic.
“I think there are certainly challenges and potential liabilities with having an 11-year-old CEO and we had questions around that,” said Iskold.
Both George and Michael are emphatic that this was not done for publicity reasons:
“I came up with it, and I have a clearer vision than my dad does,” said George. “Whenever we go to crypto meet-ups, my dad babbles about it for ages and ages and he won’t really get to the main point.”
What’s the main point? I asked.
“That it’s frustrating whenever you quit a game because you lose all of your coins,” George said. “My dad just likes getting into the software.”
This is incredibly true, I hate losing all of my coins.
I would 100% recommend reading the entire piece, if only for incredible sentences like: “During the course of the interview, George sat upright on the sofa as he chewed ice from a plastic cup and explained his deep enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.“
You can also watch this short video of George talking about the product, which is deeply unnerving:
Welcome to the future.