2015 has been an incredible and fascinating year for me. Having to admit my first foray into the Digital Currency industry had not been a raving success, I began looking at what I could do for this upcoming industry, to play my part and benefit all of us who are involved. With that in mind, I decided that I was going to do my part by bringing Bitcoin to the real world.
I announced my intentions to my friends on the Get Hashing forum, as they were announcing what they were going to be doing. As consumers in the Bitcoin community we knew the problems facing the technology and we each made use of our own ideas, experience, skills and knowledge to begin doing our own bit to improve on what had gone before and make the kind of future we want to see.
Since January when I first said what I'd be doing, I've teamed up with Micky Morris of Heliopay Ltd, and Jacob Ozaniec, owner of Computer Junction in Elm Grove, Southsea to bring the first bitcoin ATM to Hampshire. In fact, at the time of writing, the next closest Bitcoin ATMs are in Bristol one way, and Brighton the other!
Here are several of the services which have sprung up from the community that formed around the Get Hashing forums:
GHcloud by the Get Hashing team – The first Smart Asset enabled decentralised Bitcoin wallet, with an inbuilt P2P smart asset exchange, enabling trustless exchange of digital assets.
Bitstashers.com – Makers of customisable and standard design laser etched metal Bitcoin wallets with encrypted BIP38 private keys. Seriously, these are my favourite way of storing Bitcoin offline and away from the internet.
artistcolonyminingtoken.com – A smart asset based service which was set up to provide Artists with an place to share their work, buy and be rewarded with the Artist Colony Mining Token, which recieves regular Bitcoin payments from mining hardware and to learn more about Bitcoin and how it can be used to help artists.
coloredcoin.io – established to provide a quick and easy platform to people to purchase multiple community run smart assets
letsgetstaking.com – This site was established to create a one stop shop for anyone interested in getting involved with proof of Stake coins. You can buy specific coins, download the wallets, and the service even provides "Bootstrap" files, so that the first install is a quicker smoother and more pleasant experience. Great platform, in my opinion.
In that same time frame, we've seen an almost 100% turn around from the banking industry.
In January there were, for the most part, still only rumours of banks and other legacy financial institutions having a closer look at the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin. It's getting difficult to go a week now without hearing about another banking institution turning its gaze in our direction. They know that this is serious competition and they're paying very close attention.
Here's a small example of the stories that have been released to the press this year alone:
Ahh hell, d'ya know what? I only got as far back as the beginning of December, trawling my public posts on Facebook. That's how much the pace has picked up.
So in summary, it's been an incredible year to be involved in this industry, to have gone from being a consumer to a service provider, to have seen interest in the technology grow from barely a whisper, to hardly being able to get a word in edgeways.
But that's enough about the past. What about the coming year?
Well, personally, I'll be continuing my work to roll out real world infrastructure and focusing on building the incentive for people to become involved, to whatever extent they feel comfortable, I'll be building on established and new business relationships to bring new oportunities, products and services to market.
In the wider industry? Who can really be sure? I'll predict now that buy the end of 2016 at least one small nation in the world will have declared it's intention to switch its entire national currency to a Blockchain based currency system. There wont be a bank that isn't trying to find a way to stay relevant as more and more people explore non standard alternatives to finiancial management. There will be more inverstment and more great service providers building more exciting and professional platforms that will enable artists, musicians and content producers to bypass the middlemen and earn money directly from their patrons. The best of those platforms will be decentralised by years end, autonomous corporations using digital smart contracts to settle questions of payments and rights ownership. I will not, however, be making any predictions about the per unit value of Bitcoin. I have my own thoughts, and I wont be sharing them, in case I'm wrong and someone gets angry after following what may otherwise be construed as advice.
Would someone kindly remind me of these predictions at the end of next year please? I'd love to sit back, reread my words and nod away happily to myself.
With all that said and done, I hope you all have a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead.
P.S: If anyone can tell me why the spell check on my copy of open office isn't working, I'd really appreciate it...no, seriously, help?!