Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bitcoin 2013 Conference

From PaymentSource:
Bitcoin Pros to Talk Merchant Acquisition, Banking Opportunities
With bitcoin in the media spotlight, everyone seems to have an opinion on the price. Few recognize the profound implications of decentralized money for the monetary system, society and government – not to mention the emerging business opportunities.

The timing could not be better for the inaugural conference of the newly-formed Bitcoin Foundation. Next month, several hundred people from around the world will converge on the San Jose Convention Center (in Silicon Valley, naturally). Billed as "The Future of Payments," the conference is attracting technologists, venture capitalists, bankers, traders, payments specialists, and financial regulators.

Launched in January 2009, bitcoin achieved all-time highs in transaction volume and new entrants into the currency last week – milestones overshadowed by the price volatility. The nonprofit foundation was established in September 2012 to standardize and promote the core bitcoin protocol. (I have a seat on the foundation’s board.) Two of its early accomplishments were to recruit lead bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen (whose informal role in the Bitcoin community mirrors Linus Torvalds’ position in the Linux world) as chief scientist and to launch a quarterly grant program for funding various initiatives that advance the bitcoin protocol. Next, the foundation intends to encourage best practices for bitcoin businesses and exchanges, to facilitate the formation of local foundation chapters in foreign countries, and to educate global regulators about what can and cannot be regulated feasibly with a distributed peer-to-peer system such as bitcoin.

Although the conference features excellent technical tracks, the agenda will be particularly interesting to those in the banking and payments fields.

For example, many people understandably ask why merchants would want to accept payments in Bitcoin given the volatility of the exchange rate with the dollar. After all, even if you believe the digital currency will appreciate over time, you probably can’t use it to pay the electric bill or the rent....MORE