bit4coin at InsideBitcoins in Berlin
The InsideBitcoins Conference took place in Berlin on Feb 12-13, with a very international and diverse crowd of attendees of mainly entrepreneurs, investors, and developers. Here we summarized for you an overview of our key takeaways.
Great insight into the situation of bitcoin in China
It was especially interesting to listen to Bobby Lee from BTC China. Apparently, the recent regulatory guidance has put a damper on the speed of development, but not stopped the Chinese' love for bitcoin. Also, as mentioned by Bobby Lee, it will remain to be seen if all new rules will be enforced. For example, under the current ruling merchants in China are technically not allowed to accept bitcoin as a means of payment - however, this will probably be tested by some merchants in the future.
Three topics crucial for bitcoin's growth in the future
On-ramps - how to get into bitcoin
The discussion about on-ramps into the bitcoin world was quite positive. Compared to one year ago, there is now a wide array of quite stable exchanges, and many services who make it easier for companies and individuals to get access to bitcoin (our company bit4coin being one of them!).
Off-ramps - what to use bitcoin for
There is already a wide array of bitcoin payment processors, e.g., bitpay, BIPS, and GoCoin, who make it easy for all kinds of merchants to accept bitcoins in addition to other ways of payment like credit cards and PayPal. However, the two key advantages for bitcoins are not addressed by these companies:
- Global remittances - sending money internationally, virtually for free
- Microtransactions, e.g., transactions below €1
For those use cases, we still haven't seen widespread use of any particular service - still an area for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas!
Using the bitcoin blockchain for new applications
Another big discussion at the conference were new technologies to leverage bitcoin's block chain and build services on top, e.g., Colored Coins, Mastercoin, and Ethereum. We don't want to go too much into detail here, but the potential is quite amazing: Smart property, decentralized trading, and many more applications for the block chain will become reality.
Views on current topics in the bitcoin world
We saw a great talk by Radoslav Albrecht on bitcoin and the potential effects on banking. Banks are operating in a very difficult environment: They are mostly built on legacy IT systems which were not designed for today's web, and are facing high regulatory burdens. Bitcoin has the potential to radically level the playing field, and lower market entry costs for fintech companies. (Full disclosure: Radoslav Albrecht and I jointly operate A&D Bitcoin Consulting).
Also, there were many discussions about bitcoin malleability and Mt. Gox's current woes - and while everybody acknowledged that it may have a negative short term impact, the long term prospects for bitcoin are still unchanged, leading to a bright future.Google+)