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 Allen Scott, Chief Editor of CoinTelegraph.
Sarah: Tell us about how and why you got into Bitcoin and digital currencies.
Allen: I first heard the word “Bitcoin” from Max Keiser in 2011 but didn’t have the “Aha!” moment until 2013 when Andreas Antonopoulos’ explanation made it click for me. After realizing the potential of this technology, I began dedicating a large portion of my time to researching and writing about it.
Sarah: You’ve seen a lot of bitcoin start ups come and go, even within just the last couple of years. When you hear new pitches from entrepreneurs, what are the key things you listen for to evaluate their potential?
Allen: First and foremost, the product or service itself – whether it is based on Bitcoin or some other coin. Next, how innovative it is or how it differs from the competition and finally, who is behind the project as, I believe, transparency and reputation will be the cornerstones of the decentralized economy.
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?
Allen: I’d like to be pleasantly surprised. Specifically, I’d like to witness D-apps and Bitcoin 2.0 applications in action.
Sarah: As blockchain technology advances, what are you looking forward to seeing develop this year, or in the next 5-10 years?
Allen: Near-term I think it will be decentralized data and applications, particularly related to communication like social networks, messaging apps. I would also like to see better digital wallets that use multi-sig and greater security features, which could be used with any merchant even if they don’t directly accept bitcoin.
Within the next 5 years I expect disruptive technologies, like the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb) and the blockchain to naturally align and offer more competitive, transparent and egalitarian business models forcing traditional businesses to keep up or become obsolete.
But five to ten years in the Bitcoin space is almost an eternity and it remains to be seen whether the Bitcoin blockchain will persevere or whether some better alternative emerges. Still, I won’t be surprised if my fridge will be able to not only order, but pay for food as well as communicate with other household electronics that are all controlled from a mobile phone, if those still exist in their current form.
Sarah: What do you see as the greatest immediate challenge facing the industry?
Allen: The ball-n-chain regulation that will slow down innovation, and dampen business and user confidence.
Sarah: What’s your advice for growing the industry? How do we engage more people in digital currencies?
Allen: Determine specific use-cases where Bitcoin can benefit users by location as some countries will have a different use-case for Bitcoin. This can be cheaper remittances in the Philippines, for example, or reducing merchant fees in Europe, the advantage for global businesses using it for B2B commerce and as settlement rails, asset tokenization, or smart contracts based on the various Bitcoin 2.0 applications.
The applications of this tech are numerous and thus, the pitch has to be tailor-made. Right now, Bitcoin is not getting off the ground since the general public is only familiar with the “Bitcoin brand” as an “anonymous currency” that can be used to buy drugs or fund ISIS via the internet. All in all, I believe big business and Wall St., who are already recognizing and studying the potential benefits, will jump on board before the general public does.