Nearly three years ago when I was invited to apply for directorship at the BAC I noted the following thoughts on what would make the BAC, bitcoin, and its underlying blockchain technology relevant and even great compared to traditional, exclusive and outdated financial services around the world.
Then, Bitcoin was simply the only game (and bad boy) in town. Ruffling feathers, getting nervous attention from the establishment, attracting a whole new generation of developers and launching a million ships… startups, funds, apps. Today a whole ecosystem of alt-currencies, alt-blockchains and alt-apps fill the space originally occupied solely by bitcoin and its blockchain.
In an article I wrote about ‘looking for the next CEO of bitcoin’, after we failed to identify Satoshi Nakamoto (and the verdict is still out and probably will be forever), I indicated how the landscape will evolve and there could be thousands of currencies/coins that are offered by individuals, groups, countries and retailers – to provide an exchange of value or to provide rewards to an underlying base of users/customers/citizens not to mention denominating coins/tokens to represent other stores of value such as contracts, physical goods, digital services, shares, gold bullion, etc. And then there is also crowdfunding, gifting, brand promotions, etc. promising huge growth opportunities reaching second markets globally.
There were also vigorous debates around independence, regional representation, pros and cons being weighed of collaborating (or not) with the Bitcoin Foundation and other global initiatives suddenly popping up everywhere.
Today a vast community of bitcoin, altcoins, blockchain… developers, early adaptors, sectoral interest groups and large scale enterprise have entered the industry. VC’s, DAO’s and ICOs are funding the movement. Why is Bitcoin and Blockchain attracting all this interest? If you talk to the community it’s clear, there is a belief that Blockchain and digital currency startups will be the next wave of ubers, airbnbs, and facebooks. But for as many unicorn-making aspirations that there have been to date, there are countless zombie-startups who simply never got out of the starting block with even more entering this space adding further opportunities and complexity.
And regulators are scratching their collective heads harder than they have ever before on next steps and how to support innovation, investment, and adoption of digital currencies and blockchain (distributed ledger) technologies in Canada and elsewhere.
It is in this vein that I believe that the BAC can become even more relevant than it was before and play a crucial role in helping us navigate to the next level of debate, adoption, understanding, governance and opportunity – by providing a coherent voice and demonstrating the way that we can make this all work for everyone.
I hear about the bitcoin and blockchain revolution at every event I attend. The problem is that it is only at these events that I hear this. I ask people on the street or at regulator/government workshops, and in company boardrooms and they have no clue what everyone is talking about – they have never opened a bitcoin wallet and/or sent a bitcoin, encountered a commercial blockchain application or seen the benefits/merit of starting to invest or trial any of it myriad emerging digital currency or blockchain applications.
Most of us catch the news headlines on these topics, but that is still where bitcoin lives in the minds of most people.
There is still much work to do around merchant adoption, friendlier user experience, regulatory clarification, the opening of bank accounts for BTC startups and trading accounts around the world, closing the gap between innovation and regulatory roadblocks (who have legitimate concerns around compliance, consumer protection, KYC, AML, ant-terrorism, the list goes on); or banks threatened when they have to comply but seeing startups straying into their turf while challenging regulatory hurdles or attempting to leapfrog it. In reality, the startups are simply overwhelmed by the dearth of requirements to play on the financial institutions’ turf and their terms.
This is the time to redouble our efforts and ensure that the fight is just not just on the frontlines, but also where it really matters. With people who can apply this for their personal benefit and in their daily lives.
So where does the future BAC fit into all of this?
Key milestones to date
- Canada-wide community and stakeholder engagement
- Participation in Senate hearings
- A well attended Bitcoin Expo
- Bitcoin certificate training
Key future focus areas
- Education. Education. Education. Community and stakeholder educational and training programs are essential.
- We are not a fight club! We want the whole world to know, understand and participate in a transparent and accountable fashion.
- Outreach. On governance, best practices, and local and international partnerships and collaborations.
- Leveraging resources. We have financial resources to go another round and set the stage for the BAC’s future. Ongoing membership and community involvement will build capacity, and ensure the BAC’s sustainability and success.
…and I am certain the new board will update and enhance this mandate further.
Bitcoin & Blockchain Alliance of Canada update – next steps
We have had great leadership and direction from our initial founders – now is the time to refresh and double down on the issues and opportunities at hand and help shepherd in the next generation of devs, startups, collaborations, consortia, enterprise initiatives, government engagement…
Many of our past active members, organizers, volunteers and directors have become leading actors in the unfolding bitcoin and blockchain landscape.
Join our growing community of alumni, mentors, and pioneers. Together we can make the Bitcoin and Blockchain Alliance of Canada stronger, relevant and great again!
The Bitcoin & Blockchain Alliance of Canada, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to researching, developing, and championing bitcoin and blockchain technologies in Canada and was founded in 2013.
All comments on our future role and mandate are invited. We also invite volunteers and new board membership applications (Deadline December 5th, 2016). For any inquiries do not hesitate to contact me.
Manie Eagar, Chairman, Bitcoin & Blockchain Alliance of Canada