Considering Bitcoin

| Originally published on on Dec. 21, 2013 |

I first heard of Bitcoin about 2 years ago (sometime in 2011), although I forget exactly how. I thought it was a great thing, with a lot of promise and I thought seriously about buying a few just to understand it better and force myself to follow it as it evolved. Sadly, I had too many things going on and didn’t put in the time to actually follow through. 

Then earlier this year (2013), after the spike to $230 in April, I started paying attention again. I’ve since been buying small amounts of Bitcoin regularly (via Coinbase) and for now will continue to do so. My position is relatively small, but significant, and I’ve been learning as much as possible about the protocol, the currency and everything else that is going on in the ecosystem.

Now to the point – the reasons I’ve decided to start this blog are:

1) I am a believer in the potential of cryptocurrencies, and therefore Bitcoin. This does not mean that I am a zealot that believes it will fix all our problems (see below).

2) While the technical aspects of Bitcoin are fascinating, and to some degree still evolving, what is even more interesting right now is that we really have no idea what it will mean for business and finance in the long run.

3) Because of this potential and uncertainty, there is too much noise and very little real information/analysis about the business aspects and potential of Bitcoin. Most of what is written falls into one of the following buckets:

  • Why Bitcoin is the best thing ever, often ideological and without much info to back it up
  • Why it’s tulip-mania writ large, often ideological and without much info to back it up
  • News stories that just recount events or often repeat one of the two above points of view 
  • Technical discussions, which are interesting and necessary but don’t necessarily advance the business thinking behind it all

Given this, I feel there is a need for more structured discussion around the business issues of Bitcoin – what is happening today and where we might be going. I’ll discuss technology where necessary, but that’s not my main goal (nor am I the most adequate person for it). I bring the following things to the table:

  • A relatively unbiased view. While I do own Bitcoin (as mentioned above), I am by no means certain that it will fulfill all expectations, and I am always open to changing my views.
  • A strong background in business and finance, both in terms of education and work experience.
  • Significant experience in industries that will influence and be influenced by Bitcoin: software, online services, mobile, ecommerce and payments.
  • A technical background that allows me to understand the concepts behind Bitcoin. 

So that’s the preamble for this blog. My goal is to write a post once every week or two at least. We’ll see if I can keep that pace.