Few know the pulse of the bitcoin industry as well as Simon Dixon. Founder of a bitcoin-based crowdfunding platform named Bank to the Future and an investor in more than a dozen bitcoin related start-ups, he has become part of the center (if there is one) of this decentralized technology and community. We recently spoke with him about the current state and future of this digital currency.
TheStreet: Why are you interested in bitcoin and blockchain technology?
Dixon: Bitcoin invented the first form of money that allows anybody with an Internet connection to transfer any amount of value from A to B with virtually no cost and friction. It allows anybody to send money as simply as sending an email in fractions of pennies or in the millions. The blockchain is the largest supercomputer in the world made up of hundreds and thousands of computers that all plug together and audit every transaction sent through the system. It means there is no reliance on a bank or authority to send secure payments. The implications are that we now have the first secure form of programmable money, meaning we can do things with money that was never possible before and more people can participate unrestricted.
What is your view on the regulatory landscape of these technologies?
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Bitcoin is a network that is regulated by maths and code that cannot be manipulated by any individual as every transaction is audited by hundreds of computers all around the world. Bitcoin regulates itself better than any regulator could with no central point of failure as with a traditional financial institutions.
However, financial institutions that operate bitcoin financial services businesses need to be subject to the same rules and regulations that traditional financial institutions are subject to with a few exceptions. All scandals and problems have occurred with financial institutions rather than Bitcoin itself. As Bitcoin is fully transparent, and every transaction can be seen by all it is possible to mathematically prove compliance with no need for a regulator in many cases and with more security than traditional payments.
For example, anybody can look up proof that a financial institution is not touching client money with no risk to the client. This eliminates the need to regulate that part of the business, but when they deal with traditional money, the same rules apply. Bitcoin solves the problem in some circumstances of “Who regulates the regulator?” as it takes the human element out of the system and replaces it with a transparent system that cannot be manipulated.