This week Startup Management’s William Mougayar interviewed Anthony Di Iorio—executive director of the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada, cofounder of Ethereum, and partner and founder of KryptoKit, Cointalk.ca, and Bitcoin Decentral—in Toronto to talk all about the future of Bitcoin.
The event had a good turnout, with more than half of the attendees being investors in Bitcoins.
Anthony got involved with Bitcoin in 2012 after listening to discussions about them regularly on free talk live radio. Having just sold some of his rental properties, he decided to make a sizable investment when Bitcoins were only six dollars. That same year Anthony wanted to connect with other Bitcoin enthusiasts and started a Bitcoin Meetup in Toronto which had 10 people attend their first meeting. The growing community in Toronto now meets at Bitcoin Decentral, a 5,500-square-foot space that will soon be an accelerator for Bitcoin and disruptive technologies in downtown Toronto.
The Bitcoin Alliance of Canada
Anthony is involved in a variety of Bitcoin startups and decided to form the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada to help achieve a number of goals including offering professional Bitcoin representation to the media, being a voice to Canadian regulators and to assist and inform merchants how they can accept Bitcoins for payment.
The organization’s mandate is to help build awareness with transparency and openness with the goal of acceptance of the digital currency in the community. They are hosting Canada’s first Bitcoin Expo taking place in April in Toronto which will have 50 speakers from around the world.
First Adopters Leading the Way
There are a variety of ways to store and use your Bitcoins to send value around the world for a negligible or non-existent fee. With no central control, any two people anywhere in the world can transact with each other freely with their own rules for exchanges with no involvement from third parties with their fees.
There is a learning curve if you want to start using Bitcoins as there are a number of ways to use and store them (wallet, paper, cold). With the responsibility and autonomy to monitor your own financial sovereignty, Bitcoin owners can manage their own private property off the record. Since the space is still evolving the first adopters are working together to find ways to increase adoption and simplify the process of using Bitcoins for the masses.
Managing Risk with Bitcoins
Anthony explained that security isn’t an issue with Bitcoins unless you use third parties and exchanges, which can fail anywhere so you need to be cautious and it was recommended to hang onto your Bitcoins independently.
He warned to invest in small amounts as well since Bitcoins are not yet regulated or insured. The regulatory climate in Canada is not as restrictive as in the US and the Ontario Securities Commission wants to learn about Bitcoin.
The Future of Bitcoin
There are currently over 50,000 merchants accepting Bitcoin, with that number expected to grow exponentially as new systems come to fruition that aid in administering transactions. Most merchants are digital, though there are Canadian “brick and mortar” companies that accept them. The currency will only expand to 21 million Bitcoins to protect the value of the currency. The digital money currently touches many people such as entrepreneurs, merchants, and developers.
Places like Argentina with high inflation or countries with big capital control especially benefit from Bitcoins and the separation of money from state. With the evolution, charities will be able to accept denominations electronically of all amounts. Applications and platforms to help administer transactions have huge opportunities to create technologies that facilitate Bitcoin’s decentralized system.