The future of cryptocurrencies has been discussed time and over again. Monthly platforms and forums have been taking place, allocating special panels, and summoning experts to debate on the future and merits of the technologies that are coming to transform the financial sector from head to toe, and there are no surprises there.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology were also in the centre of attention at South By Southwest this year. The conference introduced many panels and discussions that treated the matter of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in particular. Bitcoin, naturally, was among the most-debated chunks of digital gold.
Many private companies, including Initial Taco Offering and Blokhaus have been seen on the streets of Austin, hosting their own variances of cryptocurrency events. The SXSW started with a panel called Why Ethereum is Going to Change the World.
The panel was held with the help of Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin who told his personal reasons to looking into blockchain technology and how he became interested in it as a whole. Mr Lublin was not shy and he announced that further down the road he is also planning to add a software company that specialises specifically on blockchain.
Mr Lublin was also careful enough to elaborate on some of the mainstream happenings in the world of blockchain. The creation of Bitcoin, he said, was not just about Bitcoin, but also about the creation of blockchain and making sure that money can circulate freely through a reliable infrastructure that will speed up transfers manifold and not leave ordinary citizens worry about a thing.
“Crypto economics is a way of doing incentivized mechanism design to enable many actors to contribute their resources to validating transactions and securing that network,” Lubin said. “This is the first time in history where we’ve seen a money system built in a fully decentralized way that is essentially of the people, by the people, and for the people,“ Mr Lubin explained.
Bitcoin then prompted others to start their own ventures, such as Vitalik Buterin who in 2013 created Ethereum. The push for decentralized money has been strong.
Interestingly enough, entrepreneurs and visionaries have all been pooling their efforts into the hopes of creating money that is completely free of government control and they have not been dissuaded by the breaking news about multiple fraudulent schemes run all over the place.
At the same time, Ethereum has been spreading to other industries, including the music industry. Ujo Music, for example, has been popular enough to command a fair bit of interest around it. Basically, artists are allowed to upload their works and then can receive payments in return, which will help them advance their careers, at least in theory.
“The beauty of this in contrast to the existing music industry is that it shrinks the role of the intermediary. Intermediaries in the music industry, for example, usually extract 70-80% of value flow in the industry and delay payments for artists. Our platform allows consumers to support artists instantly and ensures that artists get paid immediately for their work,” Lubin added.”
Naturally, the fact that cryptocurrencies have bene spreading to other sectors is not surprising. While we cannot rightly say that purchasing groceries is much of an option, you can still buy staples with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at various joints.
For instance, the video gaming industry has been registering as many as 300 new platform every month. Block-chain based streaming platforms, entertainment online huts have been proliferating on the internet, and it is quite understandable why people are flocking to this medium of exchange.
But beyond that, Bitcoin remains just that – a token that fuels one’s entertainment and does not add anything substantial to a livelihood for example. Would you want to be paid in Bitcoin for example only to find out that you have to pay extra costs to have anything delivered and that even the simplest purchase at the local store leaves you in a state of mind of a person who has fallen out of the labour cost.
Despite Mr Lubin’s reasonable discourse, it is still hard to imagine a future where cryptocurrencies are the norm and people may just freely tap into what goods are available out there.
With the intensification of regulation in the sector, it is quite normal to expect positive and upbeat results, however. One thing will become clear soon enough. Can we indeed have a functioning ecosystem that is based on cryptocurrencies and what implications may follow from this? The world of cryptocurrencies is a tough nut to crack but Mr Lubin and his fellow entrepreneurs are giving it a fair shot.