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 Giyom Lebleu, Head of Gyft Block.
Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
I’ve been in financial technology since 2002, initially focused on turning legacy banking and payment protocols into developer-friendly services. My interest in digital currencies started in 2009 and I have been following Bitcoin since 2010, but my personal interest has always been with merchant-issued credits or “brand money”. In 2013 I started to research Bitcoin as a platform and early 2015 I joined Gyft to lead their blockchain project.
What are you working on at Gyft? And what makes Gyft unique?
I’m the platform product lead, working on many different things that drive the success of our consumer and business products. What makes Gyft unique is three things: its brands, its relationships and its culture of innovation. That means instant and secure gift cards from 200+ retailers, its relationships with merchants and other companies like First Data and Clover, and its culture of innovation (Gyft was the first to accept Bitcoin as a way to solve the “last mile” problem of digital currencies).
What are you most excited about in digital currencies and blockchain technology right now?
I think we’re past the excitement phase, moving into the phase of actually deploying working products that solve end-user problems.
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry?
The biggest challenge is making the technology invisible to consumers and leveraging existing investments. For instance, it will be a while before point-of-sale systems will run a node able to validate transactions from many different blockchains; but I still want to be able to redeem my blockchain assets at any location.
What’s on the horizon for you and Gyft in 2016?