For those who were unable to join us on Wednesday, the Bitcoin panel discussion at the Oregon AFP was a great success. With us were six of the finest minds in Crypto-currencies in the Portland area. These minds, together with some of the finest financial practitioners in the city, worked to bridge the gap between the Bitcoin universe and mainstream commerce.
We were pleased to find that the two are really not that far apart.
While there were a number of keen insights shared at yesterday's meeting at the Multnomah Athletic Club, three stood out in our minds:
1) Transactions volume in Bitcoin has soared over the past two years and the USD/Bitcoin price action has settled down as a result. Further, Venture Capital is pouring into the Bitcoin industry, proving that crypto-currencies, once on the exciting confluence of technology and money, are now entering the relatively boring yet infinitely more profitable economic mainstream.
2) Bitcoin innovators have largely solved the problem that has thus far kept most bankers at bay: KYC, Know Your Customer.
3) Concerns about Bitcoin's wild fluctuations in value are addressed by services that instantly exchange Bitcoins accepted in trade into national currencies. This is especially important for those who transact day-to-day business in Bitcoin, as it is technically considered property for tax purposes and could otherwise create an accounting nightmare. It also allows for a clear delineation between Bitcoin speculation and Bitcoin circulation, two completely different activities before were often unwittingly commingled by virtue of one's use of Bitcoin in trade.
Bitcoin has come a long way since we published our 48 hour crash analysis of the emergent monetary revolution back in 2013, and our panelists did a superb job of presenting a balanced discussion of the present state of crypto-currencies.
A special thanks once again to all of our panelists, Lawrence I Lerner, Ian Pulicano, Anna Guyton, Mike Fors, George Fogg, and Rhys Faler, who was planning on spectating and found himself on the panel in the midst of an incredibly rich, informative, and relevant discussion of the merits and challenges of Bitcoin.
Ian had the difficult task of breaking the ice of ignorance and/or skepticism that is often associated with presenting the concept of Bitcoin to someone for the first time, which is never an easy task. Beyond explaining the technical side in a concise manner, the slide near the end which highlighted the exponential growth in transactions and VC funding over the past 3 years got everyone's attention and set the stage nicely for the discussion that followed. Anna did a great job of stepping up as moderator and added valuable insights throughout, Lawrence did an excellent job of bridging the knowledge gap between industry and Bitcoin through helpful analogies, Mike and Rhys provided the evidence that Bitcoin can and is being used in everyday transactions, and George added insight into the inherent challenges and opportunities of Bitcoin on the regulatory and securitization side of the house.
At the end of the hour, the audience was left with one inescapable conclusion: Crypto-currencies are here, are here to stay, and will be part of one's economic experience in the not too distant future.
For the benefit of those who were unable to join us yesterday, we offer the following bootleg recording of the event over at The Mint: Bitcoin Panel Illuminates the World of Crypto-currencies for the Oregon AFP