16:33 | 25.01.18 | News | 52379

International bitcoin experts observe Armenia’s experience

The delegation of international experts, led by international bitcoin expert, CEO of Blockchain Technologies Corporation Nick Spanos, is in Yerevan these days.

In 2013 Nick Spanos founded Bitcoin Center in New York as the first physical bitcoin exchange, located right next to the New York Stock Exchange. He was also featured in the acclaimed “Banking on Bitcoin” documentary.

Over the past months, Nick Spanos has advised governments on becoming early adopters of cryptocurrency and using blockchain to become regional and international tech hubs.

The international experts gave a joint news conference on January 24. The delegation also includes Hamdan Azhar, former Lead Data Scientist at Facebook and current Chief Scientist at Zap.org, Peter Mikkelsen, Founder of the Nordic Blockchain Association and guest lecturer at the Copenhagen Business School.

Banks.am introduces you to the speakers’ remarkable ideas.

Nick Spanos

We came here to explain everybody how wonderful technologies like bitcoin and blockchain are, how to create jobs and bring your country to the forefront in this new incredible age.

We see potential, a number of “great minds” in your country. They are so integrated to the new technologies in comparison to many other countries.

We had a lunch with business community representatives the other day. One of them has a small business, he sends products abroad. He can transfer money via PayPal, while he is unable to get money the same way. It’s difficult to do business and bring money to the country if you can’t receive them from abroad.

Cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, don’t recognize any borders. So it helps not only giant companies but ordinary people too. It’s a peer-to-peer technology, and nobody is involved in the middle.  

Bitcoin can’t compete with cash, as cash is “the money laundering king”. Bitcoin is traceable, you can go back and trace every bitcoin transaction in the world from the first one.

Personally, I’m not afraid of bitcoin devaluation in the long run, as there are only 21 million bitcoins in the world.

We met Armenian Central Bank representatives today, and they are actively getting involved in understanding the new technology.   

Back in 2011, 2012, 2013 we were trading bitcoin in the parks, coffee shops and, yes, people were hiding. The media also didn’t understand the positive sides of this technology. They were covering only the negative sides.

Founder of bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto figured out a way to make sure that everyone believes that the data and the transactions on it are provable and are true. Bitcoin is not a currency, but it still can act like one much better than any other currency.

And it’s the first time in humanity that people can have a trust mechanism without the third intermediary party.

My first transaction in bitcoin didn’t cost anything; bitcoin was free at that time. The various groups of people started realizing that currencies should be in competition with each other.

Bitcoin is the change, and that change is here. We can definitely say that it’s the first time in history that people can trust a mechanism, where the third person is excluded.

Hamdan Azhar

I remember 2013, when Nick Spanos first told me about bitcoin, and back then very few people knew what bitcoin was about. Media was used to say that bitcoin was only for drug dealers and criminals. Nick founded Bitcoin Center in New York, the first physical location where you could learn about bitcoin, create and exchange them with your peers. There has been tens of thousands of people visiting that center over 2 years.

Today largest universities are exploring bitcoin, people are completing their PhDs on bitcoin and blockchain. Even JPMorgan traders are studying cryptocurrencies.

In Armenia we meet with people, who deal with blockchain and bitcoin and get acquainted with their experience.

When the government issues unlimited number of banknotes, it takes a huge risk, since the money can devaluate just in a night. For example, 10 years ago you could buy a house for 110 000 bolivars in Venezuela, while today you can only buy toilet paper for the same amount.

Bitcoin is advantageous in this sense. It provides a mathematical guarantee, as there can never be more than 21 million bitcoins, and no government or person, or corporation can ever change that.

Peter Mikkelsen

You can be for or against bitcoin, but you cannot deny that it works. Even people in the industry like us weren’t expecting this growth.

The amount of companies, jobs, industries, investments that are coming to this space over the last two years is just blowing everyone’s mind.

Narine Daneghyan