Digitisation of cash a focus at Innotribe session
Bitcoin has had a bizarre beginning, full of whats, ifs and maybes. In what seems to be a case of virtual reality came virtual cash, with software written by an anonymous donor and a principle that could play a leading role in the future of online transactions, writes Kurt Parry.
In its simplest terms, Bitcoin is open source peer to peer technology. Its transactions do not involve any third parties such as banks, its design is public, it has no owners and anyone can take part. On first impressions, it sounds as though this is the payment paradise the world has been waiting for, but Patrick Murck, general counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation knows that this is, to say the least, ambitious and he is realistic about the obstacles it faces.
“Anyone who says they know where Bitcoin will be in two years time is making stuff up,” he said. “I’m a great believer in its potential and its possibilities, but I’m also obviously aware there are certain issues it has to overcome. One of the greatest of those is trust and that can be difficult. At the moment, the best way to get through that is to refer to our track record.”
Murck said trust shouldn’t be a concern. “Bitcoin is completely transparent. The history of every single transaction is available to every single Bitcoin user. It’s all about choice for consumers, it’s about being part of the transaction, it’s about responsibility. Of course it is still early days and I wouldn’t advise anyone to move all of their money into Bitcoin, but this is extremely liberating technology.”
As in his legal capacity at the company, Murck knows that he must persuade the industry’s compliance and regulatory bodies that Bitcoin ticks all the right technical boxes. “This has to be the number one priority in order to grow,” he said. “And the best way for us to do that is simply through dialogue and transparency and by trying to demystify what Bitcoin is all about. “
The relationship the company grows with its industry peers is also an important factor.
“Many of the traditional institutions will see us as a threat and if they don’t cooperate with us, we will still get there, but it will be a lot slower.” But for many of Bitcoin’s advocates acceptance, rather than speed, is of the essence.