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As part of the Digital Currency Council’s Continuing Education partnership with Inside Bitcoins, DCC interviewed thought leaders who will be speaking at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in San Diego on December 14-16, 2015. Today, we share an interview with Ed Eykholt, the CEO and Co-Founder of LivelyGig.

Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.

In mid-2013 I found myself down the Bitcoin rabbit hole of curiosity, initially because of the technology. As I attended conferences and the local Seattle Bitcoin meetups, I really enjoyed the many bright people. Also, the exploration of these innovations fundamentally corrected my understanding of money and its influence on international politics.

What led to the genesis of LivelyGig?

There are so many innovation opportunities around Bitcoin. Much of my professional background is in managing software teams and projects, so I initially thought about how project management might be implemented as smart contracts. However, before getting to the granular task level, buyers and sellers of services – typically project managers and freelancers – first need to find each other and commit to accomplish their project-level goals. Hence, the focus on a freelance marketplace empowered by cryptocurrency.

What makes LivelyGig unique?

Compared to the well-established online freelance marketplaces, we offer a social network as a basis for recommendations, incentives for referrals, peer-to-peer escrow, quick settlement, and improved reputation. We also provide the ability to form niche community marketplaces and private markets.

What are you most excited about in digital currencies and blockchain technology right now?

The developing parts of the world are still coming onto the internet – globally, less than 50% of households are connected. (Source).

Plus, globally many economies are cash-based, as 38% of adults remain unbanked. (Source)  So, there is a huge opportunity for mobile banking with internet money, enabling simple contracts for on-demand work with escrow (i.e., a strong assurance of payment), and near-instantaneous settlement.

There will soon be much larger numbers of freelancers and clients empowered with internet money, and thus will be able to more effectively compete locally and globally.  So, Bitcoin is part of this collective wave of empowerment, providing new opportunities to millions of people.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry?

The complexities of regulation and compliance.

What’s on the horizon for you and LivelyGig in 2016?

Having our core product technology already built, we expect to quickly accelerate in 2016. LivelyGig will demonstrate our product capabilities, complete our seed round of funding, provide an early access release, foster communities, and launch – all in 2016.  We welcome those who want to participate in our community on Slack, and a link to that is at www.livelygig.com.

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