‘Bitcoin’ may have featured several times on the agenda for 2015’s mammoth Money20/20 conference, but it ended up being overshadowed by talk of the blockchain.
For the second year in a row, Money20/20 dedicated a track (named (Bit)coinWorld) in its frantic four-day financial conference to the bitcoin industry, however, 2015 saw conversation center on the blockchain, the digital currency’s distributed ledger, spurred by proof-of-concept debuts from news-grabbers such as Nasdaq and Visa.
A topic of frequent discussion both in panel sessions and in private was this ongoing shift in the industry’s larger branding and positioning to the general public. Sides split between self-identified “true believers” who continue to espouse the long-term benefits of the bitcoin blockchain, the longest-running open and public version of a distributed ledger, even as pragmatic entrepreneurs garner attention for decentralized ledger projects that enable financial incumbents to create ledgers with restricted access.
Of debate was whether the change was one of terminology, an interest in one word over another, or whether such a rebranding was a recasting of the larger political implications inherent in bitcoin’s technology, and if so, what would be lost should the differences between the bitcoin