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digital currencies

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Thoughts on a Country Adopting a Bitcoin-Like Currency

[Reading Time: 7 minutes]

A few months ago, a Latin American advisory group asked me to comment on the Digital Sucre and the potential impact of a country adopting a digital or crypto currency as legal tender.  It never occurred to me that I should post the surface-scratching responses I came up with, until American Banker‘s Bailey Reutzel asked the question (here).  With the upcoming release of AuroraCoin in Iceland, and the adoption of a bitcoin clone by the Oglala Lakota Native American nation, this seems to be a good time to poke the discussion.  So here go my two cents in the hope that a few extra thoughts will be triggered.

In concept, is bitcoin more a currency or a payments system?

Bitcoin is both.  In addition, and most importantly and fundamentally, it’s also a protocol on top of which additionally functionality can be built.  The fact that Bitcoin (with a capital B) is multiple things at once is what creates most of the confusion about it.  Bitcoin is a sophisticated globally distributed asset register that, at this moment in time, is mostly being used to register value in USD or other fiat currencies.  Hence the fact that it’s Continue reading

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Bitcoin Vegas Coming Out Party

[Reading Time: 3 minutes]

This week history was made in Las Vegas when, for the first time ever, digital currency entrepreneurs prominently showcased themselves at Money2020, the largest payments and financial services technology conference in the world.  CoinX, Bitpay, Kraken, Blockchain.info and Coinbase had booths on the expo floor and a lot of digital currency investors and entrepreneurs were in attendance, notably Nejc Kodric and Damijan Merlak of Bitstamp, Stan Stalnaker of Ven/Hub Culture, Gabriel Sukenik of Coinapult, and Meyer “Micky” Malka of Ribbit Capital.  See photos below.

As expected, the event was largely dominated by traditional players, and only three of over one hundred panels were directly related to Bitcoin and virtual currencies, which qualifies as a drop in the ocean.   However, the words “bitcoin”, “ripple”, “digital” and “currency” were heard everywhere both in and out of the formal sessions, especially in connection with two other key words: regulation and disruption.

Here are a few things that stuck in my mind:

  • In the panel “Bitcoin & Beyond: Math-Based & Virtual Currencies”, masterfully moderated by Continue reading
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