The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Bitcoin – what is the use case DEC_TECH

The lecture by Andreas Antonopoulos was highly entertaining with anticipated shots at banks.  In the audience of 400+ there were 6~ bankers so we were an easy target.

Apparently banks are busy developing strategies he surmises for use of the blockchain without the currency, or with normal currency.  He poo pooed that idea noting that the bitcoins and the blockchain were inseparable.

Having said all that and thoroughly enjoyed his talk I am still no wiser for the use case, let alone the business case for Bitcoin.  Some facts mentioned tonight are well known:

  • bitcoin is unsupervised with no centralized authority
  • Fintrac have indicated that standard KYC and AML checks are required on Bitcoin service providers
  • Volatility;  no real answer.  Reality of large surges in demand.
  • Standards:  there is no similar standard to PCI/DSS
  • Block chain is a ledger 
  • Bitcoin is 100% confidential although this is at odds with the stance taken by Fintrac and that remains to be sorted out

Interestingly of the 400~ people there tonight, the majority had wallets, and have made purchases.  

Antonopoulos joked about the naysayers who were obviously not in the room who see the internet as a bad place and Bitcoin as a method of complete confidentiality in purchases of dubious nature and where confidentialiity was essential.  This is one element of use case that may have relevance for some or more than we care to think about judging by the chuckles, but again there is a conflict with Fintrac and how they can manage their proposed rules.

Antonopoulos wrapped up projecting that countries can never use Bitcoin or blockchain, including his home country of Greece. His reasons for making that statement were primarily economic noting the outcome would be no different than with the Euro.  hmmm

Further he predicted an explosion in exchanges and wordwide prevalence.  He does not once however indicate the use case for Bitcoin.

So I am still left with the position taken earlier that Bitcoin is an investment first and foremost, with an unfortunate undercurrent of payment utility with dubious intent.  

There was one mention tonight early on from  Jeff (Kryptokit) who noted they are deconstructing the math part from banks. I don’t pretend to understand that passing comment, however there could be something there.  I have long speculated that Banks business model is being deconstructed piece by piece as other companies, specialists, take on those roles and do it better and more effectively.  Examples are Paypal, Lending Club, and Ripple. Perhaps there is a similar role for Bitcoin, but its not clear yet.

I shall however continue to test my assumptions and think more about this.  The sheer magnitude of tonights turnout certainly suggests strong interest amongst the tech community.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2015 at 20:43

Posted in Uncategorized

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