When Steve Jobs recruited Tony Fadell to build the iPod in 2001, the record business was in freefall, with CD sales savaged by the rise of digital piracy. Apple itself was struggling to revive its clout as Jobs broadened the portfolio beyond computers in his second tour as CEO. In less than a year, the company launched a revolutionary MP3 player, which could hold 1,000 songs at a size no bigger than a deck of cards. The iPod has not only saved the music industry and put Apple on the path to becoming the most profitable company in the world; it became a status symbol.
Fadell oversaw the development of 18 generations of iPods and the first three iterations of the iPhone before leaving Apple in 2010. A few months later, Silicon Valley venture moguls Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, and Micky Malka, the founder of Ribbit capital, convinced Fadell to dabble in bitcoin, then still widely perceived as a plaything of geeks and criminals. As Fadell was getting increasingly interested in crypto, he started thinking about ways to help it break into the mainstream.
. . .