Early Bitcoin Adopter Jeff Garzik Goes The ICO/Altcoin Route
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The audience felt the same — over attendees from at least 50 countries could be found from at the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal from Thursday, May 15 th to Saturday, May 17 th. Jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm program of the conference was tailored to a wide range of interests, with speakers, 40 exhibiting startups and four major tracks of discussion: These four tracks ran simultaneously throughout the conference, hence I had to zigzag my way from one track to another, motivated by some topics more than others.
This report resembles a rather personal journey in the Bitcoin conference, but covers insights from all tracks. Here are the most intriguing questions and ideas debated at the Bitcoin conference, for each track accordingly. I was delighted to see two different panels on Bitcoin and its relationship to monetary history and jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm. Centralization of money, argued Erik Voorhees — early Bitcoin supporter and CEO of Coinapult, an application that facilitates Bitcoin transfers to e-mail and mobile phones — is a reflection on the centralization of trade, since Amsterdam was a strategic trading point not only for the Netherlands but internationally.
It is this centralization that no longer works for the present day economy. This is particular to the case of the US, after it decoupled the value of the dollar from the gold standard in Hence, the proposal jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm this panel is to discuss Bitcoin in light of its potential to switch economy from coercive centralization to mutual-consent decentralization — a recurrent proposals throughout the conference.
He set out with a punctual list of questions and skillfully guided the speakers jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm answer them. It was a welcomed choice, as mainstream economics so often attempts to in validate the Bitcoin concept but never goes too deep into the problems. The jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm question asked how Bitcoin fits in the regression theorem of Ludwig van Mises and whether this economic theory, that helps explain the origins of money, is relevant in the Bitcoin context.
When people get more interested in an object, its liquidity rises. Bitcoin seems to violate the theorem — when it was created, Bitcoin had literally no value. Only following significant interest did it became valuable. Fiat money, since its decoupling from the gold standard inis not so different in this sense. The second question asked how Bitcoin can transit to a unit of account. Robin TeiglandAssociate Professor at the Center for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Stockholm School of Economics, suggests that Bitcoin could turn from an agreement of exchange to a unit of account but that it takes 30 to 40 years in other words, a new generation to mentally adopt any disruptive technology such as Bitcoin.
The third questions concerned the possibility for multi-standard values. Robert Samsfounder of Kryptonomics a London-based crypto-finance firmbelieves that, while alternative coins will flourish in the next years, many will fail, leaving room for only a couple of solid ones that can really gain traction. Teigland sees the potential of alt coins as local currencies, however is aware that their value will always be below mainstream currencies.
At the other end of thinking thread, theorist Konrad Graf sees only one crypto currency really going mainstream. The fourth question tackled the possibility of Bitcoin as a reserve bank. Teigland argues that we should not get stuck in Bitcoin alone, since there are numerous financial jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm and instruments out there, including crowdfunding or digital and gaming currencies, time, skills, or local currencies. All these can be examples of new banking opportunities.
Finally the panelists gave their opinions on what jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm happen afterwhen Bitcoin mining will reach a halt. One solution, suggests Matonis, is that we can always go the right or left jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm of the decimal to increase its quantities. Graf suggests that the amount of money circulating in the society is not a critical point at all, while Sams requires a more elastic supply and mentions that a more relevant problem is that people do not trade their Bitcoins but rather jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm them, as deflation rises their price.
This argument was counteracted though by Erik Voorhees who, in the previous panel on the history of money, said that people tend to trade more as the value of Bitcoin rises because they feel wealthier — this explains why the startups present at the conference see more transactions when the value of Bitcoin rises, not when it goes down.
Many of them jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm third party Bitcoin operators, offering extra services around the Bitcoin infrastructures.
The role of these Bitcoin intermediaries and providers was discussed throughout the conference, as I will highlight later in this post. Given the overwhelming number of U. His interest lies in the potential of Bitcoin and how it can be integrated in the digital economy of the EU.
In the Netherlands, Bitcoin is not considered a viable alternative to the basic functions of money. France, albeit being generally tolerant to alternative revenue models, does not consider it a proper currency. That does not stop it from taxing it. Switzerland and the Isle of Man seem to currently be a Bitcoin paradise as transactions go unregulated and Jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm is regarded as an interesting phenomenon. These discrepant perspectives reminded me of crowdfunding especially the equity-typean alternative revenue model that finds itself in the exact same legislative confusion.
Currently, EU countries have taken on themselves to propose national legislations, some more though than others see a recent overview I wrote on this topic. What the European Commission did in this particular case was to launch a survey and get insights in different perspectives of crowdfunding and what levels of jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm is desired at the moment.
After publishing the results of the researchthe E. There is currently no pan-european proposal to regulating Bitcoins, but I think an initiative similar to that in the case of crowdfunding monitoring might be a feasible idea jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm Bitcoin too. What Cuende though sees as the essential pillars for Bitcoin to become mainstream are a common law framework to target cryptocurrencies, a jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm net neutrality but, he pointed out, clearly not the controversial one that EC recently proposed and a serious exchange system legal, backed by big VC, located in a country with strong regulation but Bitcoin friendly.
Bitcoin sees a different discourse than the last big conference in Amsterdam in This time, technological developments are more tied to debates on legislative frameworks and concerns like consumer and data protection, enhanced security and privacy. Jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm is getting more mainstream. With it come growing concerns for consumer and data protection. This is inevitable, since the current financial actors banks, financial intermediaries take on big risks and operational costs to protect their customers and offer them extra services like secure internet banking, for example.
Bitcoin is different in the sense that its users need to be more aware when they use it. Losing that means losing the account forever. The reason why Bitcoin has not switched to securing accounts with passwords is because that involves storing them — a huge risk that also brings further costs. So what are the newest developments to tackle these concerns? They thus require minim trust and, theoretically, leave no place for jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm.
The potential of smart jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm is that they can allow all sorts of distributed applications from creating digital currencies to crowdfunding and even voting by coding the exact conditions in which the applications are to be executed. Here is a tutorial by Ethereum on how to create, for example, a smart contract for a new alt coin. For readers in Amsterdam, Ethereum is hosting a workshop on how to create your own smart contract on Tuesday, May 27 th.
Another novelty discussed was that of using digital identities in the Bitcoin exchange. Jacob Boersma from Innopay jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm that Bitcoin is on its way of creating a system where users can identify themselves by giving as less info as possible and never more than is necessary.
This is an underdeveloped ideabut analogies to this could be examples like DigiID residents in the Netherlands have a digital identity which helps them communicate much faster with authorities, social security jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm banking services. The digital identity of a Bitcoin user would, as Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik explained, a way for users to interact in the market.
There is an unresolved discussion here, though. Interestingly, many third party operators that exhibited at the conference were requiring all sorts of identity verification — from Bitcoin ATMs requiring fingerprints to intermediaries requiring valid IDs. This might inevitable if, as discussed especially in the regulation panels at the conference, future legislation will require start-ups to provide insurance and further security jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm their clients in return for a fee, arguably.
At the other end of the spectrum, projects like Dark Wallet aim to offer complete anonymity to Bitcoin users. But, as cryptographer David Schwartz from Ripple Labs clearly stated, it is really not about what technology can do, but what we agree on to be the best solution.
Hence, the digital identity debate is particularly interesting to follow in the next stages. A top concerns remains security, especially with Bitcoin getting traction. Possible solutions to this are multi signature transaction and multi signature wallets, which essentially refers to implementing different checkpoints that prevent opportunistic attacks.
All these innovations were contextualized within the general trend of Bitcoin-like technology to decentralize society altogether. I jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm Ethereum has an interesting list of activities that decentralized technology could completely reshape: One example that was also mentioned in the conference was the Danish liberal party that proposed using the blockchain technology for an internal voting assemblyas this would make the whole process less prone to manipulation and allowed voters to follow if votes are securely and fairly stored.
Johann Gevers predicted the future of Bitcoin and its underlying technology as follows: At the moment, crypto currencies simply do not deliver the promise they were hailed to accomplish.
Intermediaries in remittances are anything but helpful, as Safahi ironically remarks: Could Bitcoin then be an answer? Richard Boasea journalist and collaborator at Coindesk, thinks this questions needs a much more critical analysis. Boase was recently returned from Kenya, where the non-profit he works for — the UK Digital Currency Association — is carrying different projects on implementing Bitcoin there.
For one, teaching users on how to create a wallet and exchange Bitcoins is a much tedious process. Second, to use Bitcoin you need to be online — cheap data and constant wifi are essential, and that is not the case in most areas in Africa.
Boase also criticizes how reputable media has often irresponsibly portrayed the role of Bitcoin in Africa, exaggerating both its potential as well as the zealously reporting on non-existent developments.
Peter Smithone of the founders of Blockchain Info, shared a different perspective: In his opinion, the future of Bitcoin is strongly reliant on the mobile phone as a platform, jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm converges with existing M-PESA services. However, he points out, Bitcoin can only address middle and high class citizens of those areas, and it is unreasonable to expect that Bitcoin is the right tool for the very poor.
He further drew attention to the fact that most Bitcoin third party operators only want to offer global financial inclusion in order to increase their consumer database. These are essentially people who voluntarily refuse to use banks and other intermediaries because of privacy concerns, high fees, lack of trust.
Alternatively, they voluntarily turn to Bitcoin as an alternative. How then can future developments address this target group more suitably? Legal clarity is essential for Bitcoin to gain wider trust and adoption: The analogy belongs to Lars Jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm from Saxo Bank: Regulation, predicts Christensen, is bound to happen.
There is a paradox here though: Regulation, jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm mentions, is often too restrictive with new developments. What should Bitcoin jeff garzik bitcoin stockholm, users and startups then be aware of? In the light of the recent approval of Bitcoins as a way of supporting political parties and electionsbut having in mind the notorious episode when Wikileaks had their donations blocked by government pressure on Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, some advice on financial rights and censorship was most welcomed.
The two offered valuable insights in the correlation between freedom of speech and freedom of spending. Freedom of speech is protected on different levels. Political speech is highly protected by the U. First Amendment, while commercial speech is less protected and violent ones are not protected at all.