The first day of Consensus showed that people had Satoshi and Bitcoin’s creation on the brain. However, according to a report from Reuters, executives attending the event are not thinking about Bitcoin anymore, and the name of the game now is blockchain. The reporter from Reuters details that Bitcoin’s underlying technology is the primary interest for “investors, technology companies, and financial institutions.”
Also read: Bitcoin 2016: ‘There Has Been an Awakening…’
Blockchain Discussion the Primary Focus, Bitcoin Pushed to the Wayside?
Bitcoin’s technology has created new excitement over the past year, and reports coming in from Consensus show some firms and people are slowly moving away from the cryptocurrency. Legacy institutions, Wall Street, and new startups are embracing distributed ledger protocols, and most of them are leaving out the currency aspect. Jerry Cuomo, vice president, Blockchain Technologies at International Business Machines Corp. told the press:
“If there is a 100 percent opportunity in the blockchain, bitcoin, or the currency, is only 1 percent of it, so there is a whole 99 percent that has broad applications across the broad industries.”
Blockchains, whether permissionless or permissioned, are being discussed at great length, and most of them have no association with Bitcoin. There has been lots of conversation regarding the programmable protocol Ethereum, which can be a permissionless environment or forked into a private one. According to Reuters editorial, there was much debate on whether a tethered token or even the mining process itself was needed. It also described a rapid decline in enthusiasm and transaction volume ever since the block size debate heated up six months ago. Technological visionary Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin, isn’t too concerned about the block size debate as much as the media revels in the discussion. Scaling is a natural process for this protocol, and there will always be a need for constant progression, Antonopoulos explains:
“The problem of scaling “doesn’t gets solved” but only gets “pushed further out” because as the network expands, new types of applications and use-cases constantly emerge to present new capacity challenges.”
Despite this positive observation, the report from Reuters goes on to say executives and venture capitalists are wary of the lack of governance within the Bitcoin model, making software changes difficult. Despite the deep focus on blockchain technology and the dismissal of Bitcoin, others give the protocol the benefit of its achievements. Joseph Guastella, a principal at Deloitte Consulting in New York told Reuters:
“Bitcoin is still the only blockchain-enabled, cross-border large scale, provable application that’s actually in production. Bitcoin as a currency may not be as relevant as it was in many ways, but it actually is relevant as a proof case for the blockchain technology.”
Since the beginning of 2015, the Bitcoin community has been arguing about blockchain technology growing more popular than cryptocurrency itself. During Consensus, though, there has been quite a bit of positive news about Bitcoin projects and firms. For instance, BitPay has announced a Bitcoin Visa card available to United States residents. The OpenBazaar project, which uses bitcoin, received quite a bit of honorable mentions. And the CME group revealed its “Bitcoin Reference Rate & CME CF Bitcoin Real Time Index,” showing that the marketplace is focused on the Bitcoin currency. Bitcoin.com’s CEO Roger Ver spoke with us and said there was a lot of blockchain talk so far, but most executives in the industry know the Bitcoin blockchain is the most tried and tested. Ver told us:
“The Consensus conference is clearly focused on blockchains, not Bitcoin, but nearly everyone in attendance understands that the Bitcoin blockchain is the safest, and most battle-tested blockchain of all.”
What do you think about investors focusing in on just blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Consensus, Reuters, and Roger Ver