Carter Laren
Carter Elevate.jpg

Carter Laren

Relax, there will be roads.


About me:

cryptographer (before it was cool)

I began my career as a cryptographic engineer in the late 1990s, first in the defense industry, where I held a TS/SCI clearance, and then in the private sector, where I got paid to hack satellite TV. At Cryptography Research, I was part of a small team that designed and built smartcard-based conditional access systems. After that, I led a team of engineers that designed and licensed security for Blu-ray. Over a decade later, the invention of Bitcoin turned "crypto" into a household word. Today, I invest in and advise "crypto" (blockchain) companies, and run a small cryptocurrency mining operation, Laren Sovereign Mines.

entrepreneur (win some, lose some)

As a serial entrepreneur and founding team junkie, I've been in the startup world in Silicon Valley for almost 20 years. I've had some big exits, but I've also had moments in which I've risked and lost almost everything. I've dealt with unexpected issues involving personnel, technology, funding, business, legal, and just about any other trouble an entrepreneur can face. I have a tremendous amount of respect for founders, and not just the successful ones. It takes a certain type of person to throw oneself into the brutal world of entrepreneurship over and over again, especially when succeeding (although talked about a lot) is so very, very rare.

Peaceful Parent (stop hitting your kids!)

It is estimated that the average 4-year-old is hit by his or her parents a staggering 936 times per year (usually for "disciplinary" reasons). In general, boys are hit more than girls, with mothers doing more of the hitting than fathers. Not only is all this violence a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, it doesn't even produce the desired result in the long-term (hitting anyone will change short-term behavior). If you are a parent, don't use violence or threats of violence to "teach" your children! Would you hit your spouse to get your way? If the answer is "no," then don't hit your child. If the answer is "yes," then seek help.

board representative (five whys)

At any given time, I am typically serving on the boards of several early stage companies, predominantly in tech but occasionally in other industries, such as the legal cannabis industry. I generally focus on strategy, fundraising, branding, executive coaching, and crisis management. I believe in rigorous debate without much sugar-coating, and am dedicated to uncovering the truth quickly so as to enable effective decision making without wasting time or acting on erroneous assumptions. I love to ask, "why," and am usually very opinionated but will change my position in a heartbeat if convinced by evidence.

Early stage InvestoR (yeah, like...early)

As a founder myself, I love the very beginning stages of company building. I've been an angel investor, mostly in the tech world, for over 10 years. During that time, I've built incubator and accelerator programs such as the Founder Institute’s “Founder Lab,” and the Gateway fund and accelerator for companies in the cannabis industry. By "early stage," I mean "writes the very first check." I also advise a number of early stage funds and first-time angel investors, including celebrities and athletes looking to intelligently deploy a portion of their capital into startups. Early stage is particularly challenging, but it can also be uniquely rewarding.

anarcho-capitalist (there will be roads)

Sounds kind of crazy, right? Here's the problem: after years of studying philosophy, I came to the inescapable conclusion that the initiation of the use of force is wrong, in all cases. That may sound trite, but try carrying that thought through to its logical conclusion and you'll end up over here with me. Of course, our culture isn't ready for a fully voluntary society yet, so for now I advocate for small incremental movements toward freedom. And who would build the roads when we get there? I have no idea, and that's the whole point of a free market: people working together voluntarily are more creative and efficient than when some bureaucrat points a gun at them and hands them blueprints from the ruling class.


The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
— Ayn Rand


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