As part of the Digital Currency Council’s Continuing Education partnership with Inside Bitcoins, the DCC’s Vice President, Sarah Martin, had the opportunity to interview the thought leaders that will be speaking at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in New York City on April 27-29, 2015. Today, we share an interview with Tone Vays of BraveNewCoin
Sarah: Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
Tone: I first heard about Bitcoin in early 2011 when Wikileaks began accepting donations as they were unfairly cut off from financing by the US Government. I took a look at it again in 2012 after hearing about it some more in the alternative media but getting involved in mining was not something I had time to investigate further. It was in the first quarter of 2013 during the mess in Europe as the Cyprus banking system got shot down I took a serious look at what Bitcoin was really about and it just clicked. By then Local Bitcoins was very popular and I immediately set out to find a dealer because I could not wait on the sidelines anymore.
The price crashed soon after from $266 to $50 and I was down on the investment for most of that year. However, I never stopped believing in the economics behind it so in early 2014 I started my blog LibertyLifeTrail to write about the social-economic side of bitcoin and that along with my Wall Street work experience landed me on panel at Inside Bitcoins HK that year. Many liked what I had to say and the moment I got home, a newly formed news website CoinTelegraph asked me to write there instead to reach more readers. Now I’m at a point where I’m leaving my Wall Street job for a full time position in the Bitcoin space at BraveNewCoin and will continue public speaking and converting more people trust math and free-market capitalism as a monetary system. In one phrase: “I’m involved in bitcoin because for the first time in history, there is at least a chance that Government can be separated from a medium of exchange and Government corruption might actually be curtailed since I see it as the cause of 99.9% of global problems”.
Sarah: Given your extensive background in risk analysis and trend trading, what do you hope to convey to the bitcoin community during your tutorial and panel sessions?
Tone: Having this conference in my hometown of NYC, it’s really nice of them to let me participate in several facets of the event. During the 2-hour tutorial on Trading Fundamentals, the goal would be to introduce those interested in trading to some of the techniques used by professional traders. One of things I love about bitcoin is that it removes all barriers to entry so if anyone ever wanted to try their hand at trading, but did not want to spend days to weeks filling out paperwork and linking bank accounts, they can now do it in minutes and start trading with just a few dollars to get a feel for it. This also brings a lot of amateurs to the game and even though this seminar will not turn anyone into a professional over night, it will be very useful for traders of all levels. If it helps teach them some risk management, provide a guideline so a person never feels like they are guessing when deciding to buy or sell, and some basic tips on how to keep your bitcoins safe, it would be time well spent.
During the panel on Bitcoin Investing, I would be joined mostly by Venture Capitalists and big investors so my voice would be to advise people on knowing their limits and doing proper due diligence on any kind of investment in this space. Obviously a regular person will not be at the same level as established investors but they still have to think about how their hard earned capital is spent. Perhaps the best investment for them is to just put aside some bitcoins for a rainy day but do it in the right was to avoid adding risk to a prudent investment strategy.
Towards the end of the conference I would be moderating a panel on Bitcoin Exchanges. I might be biased in saying how important of a topic this is being a trader, but this is where the bitcoin price is established for the world. We have had several incidents in past from Mt. Gox to Bitstamp Hack to not even having an Exchange in the United States until just recently, this is a very important topic and everyone needs to know where this sub-sector stands and where it is going. There will be several visionary CEO’s of current exchanges on the panel and it is definitely not one to miss.
Sarah: InsideBitcoins NYC has brought together many of the best minds in the industry. What do you hope to hear from others at the conference?
Tone: What I’m looking forward to hearing the most is how these new leaders in FinTech are dealing with Government regulation. Bitcoin’s brilliance is that it entered the world without asking for permission and right now, especially in the United States, that trend is changing. In today’s NSA surveillance world, true innovation lies with those who are able to create maximum privacy and security for their users, with no regard of what those that seek to control and tax think. I would like to hear anything these types of leaders have to say and what projects they are building.
Sarah: Wall Street is steadily opening to bitcoin. What’s your advice for encouraging more people in financial services to explore digital currencies?
Tone: The only advice I give to the people I constantly meet in that area of finance is to just do their own research and think about it from a hedge/backup perspective. Many in that community see Gold as a hedge against inflation or a breakdown in Government, but Bitcoin should make an even better option. It is infinitely divisible so you can pay for small items and it is much safer to travel with. Lately however, with the price going down for this long, I have not been as annoying to friends and family about getting on the Bitcoin bandwagon. Bitcoin’s time will come soon enough and as long as they can always reach me for questions and advice when they are ready to join the future of technology, I will get a call.
Sarah: As digital currencies evolve, what are you looking forward to seeing develop this year, or in the next 5-10 years?
Tone: For this year what I’m looking forward to the most is better, safer and more importantly privacy-centered improvement in Bitcoin Wallets and Exchanges. These are the backbones of Bitcoin’s function as a medium of exchange as the Wallets should one day eliminate the need for any Banks holding your wealth unless you want it lent out, while the Exchanges allow the free market to determine the value of a bitcoin. In addition the one thing I’m looking forward to over the next 1-2 years is more honest people joining this space and starting companies. Criminals and Scammers will always see advantages in new technology but my view has always been that new technology does not create criminals even if it feels that way during the early years. As more established honest people begin bringing their ideas into the space, the Bitcoin landscape will be much improved. Looking 5-10 years down the line, I would like to see all Government finances, deals, budgets and tax collection/allocation be publicly available on the Blockchain. Yet private citizens with no connection to government can remain private without the Governments ability to track their finances. The only way society can advance is to curtail Government corruption and to do that, everything they do needs to be public while they have no ability to dig into the details of citizens without specific and detailed reasons.
Sarah: What do you see as the greatest immediate challenge facing the industry?
Tone: The greatest immediate challenge is to not get scared of Government’s intimidation to control this new technology along with trying to identify all users mostly for tax purposes. It is also important to ignore socialistic voices from within the community. It is complete nonsense that mining bitcoins only wastes electricity or something needs to be done about the 30 people holding 30% of all bitcoins. I have full confidence that the technological issues of increasing transaction speed and block size will be resolved by smarter people than me, but the Social-Economic dynamic can be as scary as the technological issues.
Sarah: Thanks very much for your thoughts, Tone. Looking forward to a great conference.
Tone: Thank you Sarah for the interview