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Inside Bitcoins NYC Recap – Bitcoin Future is Bright, But Uncertain

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Inside Bitcoins NYC

Bitcoin Conference Speakers Share Mixed Views on the Future, But Optimism on Work Underway

“Bitcoin looks like Facebook today, but so did Friendster in its day.” — Brock Pierce, Managing Director of Clearstone Global

The Inside Bitcoins NYC conference dealt with a broad swath of topics from business models and profitability concerns to how Bitcoin can be an enabler of social freedoms.

And yet, much of the speaker focus and audience concern surrounded how Bitcoin can become more mainstream, how will it interact with or change the current infrastructure, and what (and who) will be the winning business model.

While there were discussions by the VC panel (Gold 2.0) and the keynote speaker, Charlie Shrem, on altcoins and other fiat currencies, the overwhelming consensus is that Bitcoin will be the dominant currency in the space.

As Brock Pierce, Managing Director of Clearstone Global, cautions “is Bitcoin Friendster, Myspace or Facebook?  It looks like Facebook today, but so did Friendster in its day.”

Looking at the state of the Bitcoin community today, many of the companies are still nascent – a number of the represented firms have had recent shutdowns/relaunches or are soon to launch private betas.  There continues to be a strong interest in education about legal and regulatory issues, today particular emphasized by the interest in the overview of major legal topics by Jacob S. Farber, Senior Counsel at Perkins Coie LLP.

Also represented on the post-lunch panel was James White, Director Tax Issues for the US Government Accountability Office, demonstrating how the government is taking a more active interest in the space.

Overall, the conference explored the major topics that entrepreneurs and potential financial investors are grappling with.  Among the motivations discussed by Anthony Gallippi, Co-Founder and CEO of BitPay (site), is the reduction of credit card payment fraud (estimated at $100 billion per year) and ability to accept payments from a much larger international consumer base.

Stephanie Murphy, from Let’s Talk Bitcoin, and Alan Safahi, founder and CEO of ZipZap, see the value in enabling freedom of speech through transactions outside the control of governments or without third-parties recording personal information.

However, for Bitcoin to become a mainstream monetary transfer mechanism, a number of issues need to be addressed, such as the noted legal uncertainties or the evolution of the current legacy infrastructure discussed by Maria Sparagis, President of DirectPayNet.

Ultimately, the major questions of adoption, future direction and industry winners continue to be hashed out.

Authored by Michael Smouha and Ronan Murphy, Contributors to On Bitcoin

 

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