Bitpay @ TheNextWeb 2014: Innovation’s Best Friend

 

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Written by Moe Levin, Director of European Business Development at BitPay

moe Levin

Moe Levin is Director of European Business Development at BitPay

Last week, I attended The Next Web conference in Amsterdam which celebrates the forefront of technology. I couldn’t help but be amazed at all of the ground-breaking innovation that’s changing how we think about the world. The technology being showcased emerged in the recent economic downturn – a time when businesses struggled to keep above water, let alone create new technologies.

We also are now living in a digital world, driven by mobility and communication. The environment is evolving and Bitcoin is leading the way to changing the game completely. While many may see Bitcoin as a trend, just like the dot com bubble in 2000; some of the world’s leading innovators see it as the future of payments.

Unveiled in early 2009, bitcoin is a digital currency and peer-to-peer payment system centered on cryptography and security, and is completely decentralized from any central banking institution. Bitcoin is perhaps the biggest innovation in the monetary system since wire transfers in the 19th century. Bitcoin solved a couple of problems in the monetary world, both technological and economic. The creator of Bitcoin solved those problems, and also understood a bit of history. The problem of inflation has plagued monetary systems for millennia, and this is also solved by the Bitcoin software. By merging mathematics and money, Bitcoin is a truly radical innovation.

Bitcoin help create a monetary system which fosters innovation and technology. Unlike fiat currency, Bitcoin is not susceptible to inflation or deflation. Instead, Bitcoin works on simple principles of supply and demand. Currently, the adoption of Bitcoin is driven by forward-thinking businesses and individuals. Wider acceptance of Bitcoin will be driven by additional innovations in technology and streamlined retail processes. Additionally, Bitcoin must be viable long term. According to finance, for a currency to be viable it must have value over time, limited supply, and be divisible and portable. 

Growth in the bitcoin space has been so fast within the past year that many companies are having trouble keeping up with the methods they can utilize to improve their business. Many feel the widespread use of a cryptocurrency is inevitable and it is essential to prepare for these changes in how transactions are made. Previous attempts to make digital currencies failed for complex technological reasons. The paper check is a thing of the past, credit card fraud is at an all time high and there are very few methods that are secure when completing online transactions. 

Bitcoin has grown in popularity because it helps business with two pain points. Bitcoin gives every business the ability to transact at low cost and low risk of fraud especially for online businesses who are selling low-priced goods where credit card fees are expensive as well as high ticket items where chargebacks are common and costly. The ability for a business to accept bitcoins makes these transactions irreversible and for the buyer the risk of fraud and identity theft is eliminated for the consumer because these purchases are “push transactions”. This is similar to actually spending cash where the buyer gives the seller the exact amount, as opposed to the seller having access to the buyer’s entire line of credit. 

While Bitcoin is a marvelous invention, it has not always been easy to use. The biggest current issue facing the Bitcoin protocol is confusion about how the technology works, how it can be used and the legalities of acceptance. Only serious techies understood, much less utilized, the new Bitcoin software, and virtually no businesses accepted bitcoin only a few years ago. Open Source platforms are being developed to grow the Bitcoin protocol while making it easier to use for consumers. As Bitcoin is a growing protocol, there are some negatives that currently exist within the technology that should be noted before implementation. The currency is volatile, although some payment processors such as BitPay eliminate much of the risk of this volatility for businesses. This is where BitPay stepped in. BitPay was created in 2011 to bridge the gap between the technology and the real word. It provided an easy way for businesses to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

As the largest payment network in the world, bitcoins enables funds to be sent and received to any country, from anywhere, simply because it spans the entire world. Wiring money can be slow and costly, especially internationally. Bitcoin solves this problem with transactions that are confirmed within minutes and that cost a fraction of a percent to process. Similar to sending an email, bitcoin is fast and easy to send.

Regardless of your stance on Bitcoin, it is very hard to ignore the benefits it has for not only e-commerce, but also any business looking to get a step ahead of the competition. 

In the future, I hope The Next Web conference will be showcasing technologies that bitcoin and BitPay played a part in. It is only just the beginning. 

About the Author

Moe Levin is Director of European Business Development at BitPay.

Moe is a tech-adventurer and futurist interested in the growth and future of what is probably the greatest innovation since the internet. Prior to joining BitPay, Moe organized the most successful North American and European Bitcoin conventions in Miami and Amsterdam, after a long history in the publishing and marketing industries.

BitPay is at the forefront of Bitcoin since the very beginning, establishing a strong position in the market by making it easy for businesses to accept Bitcoin. The company’s complete range of merchant service and payment processing solutions give BitPay the ability to provide the best alternative payment solution in over 200 countries worldwide.

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