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The North American Bitcoin Conference warmed in Miami

The North American Bitcoin Conference, TNABC, opened Wednesday with an energetic group of Bitcoin supporters who view the cryptocurrency as the next exciting chapter in Financial Technology.

The conference holds two days of presentations and discussions from the brightest minds in FinTech delivering the technologies which will define innovative payment and transfer systems around the globe.

The annual meeting event began with attention to blockchain, the public ledger for all Bitcoin transactions ever executed. Wayne Vaughn, CEO of Tierion, titled his presentation: “Recording Data on the Blockchain.” Tierion provides cloud-based blockchain storage of data collection and connection to their web, mobile and business apps for its clients.

Mr. Vaughn gave his outlook for 2016 and focused on the success of the technology in place. He believes that many companies are focused on private blockchains. In 2016, he states people will realize that you can anchor data in your current systems to the Bitcoin blockchain to create a verifiable record of any data or business process. “You don’t need to implement an entirely new blockchain-based technology stack.”

Vaughn’s message is that Bitcoin is special because it’s an open platform for global commerce. Anyone can use the network. This makes incumbent businesses and governments uncomfortable because they see a future where they no longer control how money flows around the world. The Web made many authorities uncomfortable at first because they could no longer control how everyone exchanged information.

Will O’Brien, Sr. Adviser, representing LP Blockchain Capital, presented: “Looking beyond Bitcoin: What does the future of Blockchain apps look like?” Blockchain Capital is a pioneer and the premier venture capital firm investing in Blockchain enabled technology companies which have invested in thirty seven companies during the past three years.

O’Brien sees opportunities for startups in the blockchain industry to be growing immensely. “We continue to be impressed with and excited about the diverse array of new ideas and applications, including some that no one was talking about just a year ago.” The future for blockchain applications is strengthened with the recent wave of investments and institutional validation by financial incumbents.

Eric Larcheveque, CEO at Ledger, spoke on “The Future of Hardware Wallets.” Ledger based in Paris, France, and its satellite office in San Francisco, California, was a French start-up in 2015. It provides smartcard, cryptography, and embedded hardware. The launch of Ledger Nano – a hardware wallet – in more than 80 countries established Ledger as a reference in the international Bitcoin ecosystem.

When asked about Ledger, Mr. Larcheveque stated:

We are designing security products for the end user and are therefore blockchain agnostic. This means that whatever the usage (Bitcoin as a currency, Bitcoin as a blockchain for smart contracts, or private blockchains), the need to secure private keys in trusted hardware will always be here.

The outlook for Ledger is extremely good, and Mr. Larcheveque added, “We are very confident about the year to come.”

Ledger was the only Bitcoin Company with a presence at the recent CES 2016 event in Las Vegas, which draws visitors from over 40 countries and has well over 150,000 attendees. Larcheveque explained that the CES is a consumer-centric show, and the “blockchain” approach is not really compatible; that’s why most of the previous exhibitors from CES 2015 didn’t return. “As we are selling end user security devices, our presence makes a lot of sense and we had very good contacts and perspective on the CES.”

Patrick Byrne, CEO OF Overstock.com titled his presentation: “Virtues of Crypto Settlement.” Judd Bagley, Director of Communications for Overstock.com, answered specific questions about the representation of Bitcoin in sales at Ovderstock.com. The Bitcoin sales are a very small proportion of Overstock.com’s total revenues at about two-tenths of a percent.

Bagley stated that sales have held mostly steady for the past year with an occasional spike, usually correlating with surges in the dollar value of bitcoin. This sales data allows fairly predictable forecasts.

Despite the fact that Overstock.com doesn’t do a lot of bitcoin business, Bagley states, “We’re very happy about the decision to make the integration. For one, we save credit card processing fees, and considering our margin is around 2%-3%, that savings is significant.”

He further emphasized, “There’s also no fraud with bitcoin, so no chargebacks. Finally, bitcoin users tend to be very loyal and enthusiastic, which means they actively advocate for us and make an effort to send us new customers. In a world where most e-tailers are happy to pay $25 to acquire a new customer, we’re very pleased about the level of support the bitcoin community has offered us.”

The TNABC website displays:

The people from TNABC are passionate, informed believers in crypto-currency, evangelists in an ever growing and evolving worldwide community. They are professionals with a strong set of specialties in media, marketing, investment and IT.

Our goal is to inform the community and the wider public on all things Bitcoin, helping to push it towards mainstream adoption.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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