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 Luke Brown of GrowThink.
Sarah: Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
Luke: Bitcoin kept coming up in conversations when I’d ask investors and entrepreneurs for a business topic they didn’t understand, so it became a challenge to learn about it, understand it, and see its potential. Then I saw a Wall Street Journal article about bitcoin ATMs and that really opened my eyes to the potential of digital currency.
Sarah: You have extensive experience with developing start ups. When you coach entrepreneurs on how to give pitches, what is one piece of advice you typically offer?
Luke: Entrepreneurs typically think of a pitch as an all-encompassing event. I have them break it down into three segments: the verbal portion (the speech), the PowerPoint slides, and the Q&A segment. Then, when they practice, they can focus on a section at a time. This reduces their stress level and results in a much smoother pitch.
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?
Luke: The three topics in which I have the most interest are how to increase security, how to increase use of the currency, and how the blockchain can have applications in mature industries as well as developing economies.
Sarah: As digital currencies evolve, what are you looking forward to seeing develop this year, or in the next 5-10 years?
Luke: The Mt. Gox failure still looms large in the public’s mind so in the short term it would be great to see the industry project stability. In the long term it would be great to see digital currencies used and accepted as commonly as debit and credit instruments.
Sarah: What do you see as the greatest immediate challenge facing the industry?
Luke: It’s a toss-up between volatility and security. While I love the volatility in terms of trading digital currencies I think the public views volatility as a chance to lose money so they are less likely to start using digital currency. Security breaches have affected credit and debit accounts so it seems as if the general public understands that any financial transaction poses security risks of some type. Final answer: volatility.
Sarah: What’s your advice for growing the industry? How do we engage more people in digital currencies?
Luke: The challenge is moving beyond the early adopters such as those in the tech community, pro-privacy supporters, and libertarians. As more large companies begin to accept digital currency, like Dell and Microsoft did recently, other companies will hopefully follow their lead. The companies which use digital currency as a promotion to give customers discounts will also encourage use. Finally, when classes on digital currency become more common and people become more familiar with digital currency, that will also spur additional use. I think that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
Sarah: Thanks very much for your thoughts, Luke. Looking forward to a great conference.