If you have questions about Bitcoins, Joseph David can provide a few answers. David is co-founder and CEO of Calgary-based CAVIRTEX, Canada’s first-ever Bitcoin exchange – a company that has already processed more than $100 million in trading between Canadian merchants and consumers. The company has also helped put Canada on the map as the global leader of Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs) – with more than 30 across the country, many of them located in high traffic Gateway Newstand locations.
YouInc caught up with David during a recent speaking engagement in downtown Toronto.
Q: Why should entrepreneurs bother to learn about Bitcoin? What are the advantages?
A: Bitcoin is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet. Close to half a billion dollars of investment has been committed to the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem and blockchain technology, which is what Bitcoin is based on. Bitcoin presents opportunities for entrepreneurs all over the globe.
Q: I thought only governments could create valid forms of money. How are Bitcoins even legitimate?
A: It depends. What is a valid form of money? Did governments create gold? Bitcoins are legitimate because they are being accepted and adopted by people all over the world. The technology, based on its open-sourced, decentralized nature, delivers security, transparency and opportunity that the financial system has desperately needed.
Q: Aren't Bitcoins both too niche and too abstract for practical-minded entrepreneurs? After all, how does one even get their hands on an actual Bitcoin?
A: The same was said about the Internet in its early years of adoption. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without it and I think the same will eventually be said for Bitcoin. Although Bitcoin is an intangible digital currency, users can quickly have access to Bitcoin through their phone, holding a “paper wallet” or “casacius coin” infused with digital currency. There are also Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs) across the country where users can trade Bitcoin for Canadian dollars. All you need is a phone that can accept a text message.
Q: Could it be convincingly argued that Bitcoins are really just a passing fad? Why should we have faith that they’d even be around in 1, 5 or even 10 years?
A: Again I'd say look at the example of the Internet. The real key to Bitcoin’s enduring success will be the breakthrough in blockchain technology. The finite global supply of Bitcoin and its immunity for central planning or monetary policy is what will continue to fuel the interest of the people.
Q: If you were an entrepreneur in the YouInc audience reading this right now, what's the one crucial takeaway you need to really understand about Bitcoins?
A: Bitcoin today = Internet of 1992. This is only the beginning. Educate yourself. Beware of misinformation. Think about what this means for the future of money as we know it. I would also suggest watching Andreas Antonopolous's recent testimony in front of the Senate of Canada for a better understanding of Bitcoin, specifically from a Canadian regulatory perspective.