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There are many people who have not heard of Bitcoin or if they have, they have heard negative press about it being used for shady transactions and illegal activities. Although it is true that it can indeed be used to facilitate such deals(much like pound sterlings which is used on an even larger scale for such transactions), it is also a technological wonder that is about to change the world and bring many benefits to us here in Wales. If we scratch a little below the surface of what is said about Bitcoin in the mainstream press, we can find that it possesses many brilliant qualities that could potentially revolutionise the world and in turn Wales.
Bitcoin is a global Peer-to-Peer currency that cuts out the middleman allowing for cheaper transactions through the use of its own global network. This could have profound effects on the remittance market where Western Union and the like can charge up to 20% for the transfer of money.
It is also a currency and payments network truly designed for the internet age. It Operates 24/7, 365 days of the year. As Bitcoin is a fully automated technology, there is no such thing as a bank holiday in the world of Bitcoin.
It is a highly disruptive technology that has the potential to take over many markets thanks to its open nature. There is also great potential for tech entrepreneurs to create new and great startups in the digital currencies setting.
Bitcoin is a payments network that can scale from small payments to big payments, which is great for both small merchants or large businesses. Payments travel with no resistance, unaware of the political and physical borders of the real world it travels across. Bitcoin is open source so anyone can build on top of the network. Anyone can add or improve the code which allows for innovation with no barrier to entry.
Lastly it has a decentralised ledger system know as the ‘Blockchain’ which allows for transactions to take place and values to be stored without a third party being involved. This trustless nature means there are no ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘rentseekers’. As the system is open and decentralised, people are free to create innovative services on top of the ‘Blockchain’ without risking others which would not be possible with a centralised system.
The points mentioned above are just a small example of what Bitcoin is and what it can do. The Bitcoin I knew, when I got involved in 2011 is vastly different from the Bitcoin of today. As a technology, it has matured and grown so fast. You could barely spend, purchase or store Bitcoin in any reasonable fashion and had to be a computer nerd like myself to understand and use it in any meaningful way. Now you can purchase Bitcoin from many different exchanges, spend it at a decent selection of locations(online and physical) and it is now easier to store thanks to hardware wallets and mobile phone ‘hot’ wallets.
As time marches on Bitcoin is getting bigger and stronger much like the internet as it progressed from a plaything for nerds in the late 80’s/early 90’s to the vast and highly polished communications network we have today. If you look at the disruption in industries and innovation the internet has afforded us, it is no small feat. Some may dislike the change ushered upon us, but from the death of old and antiquated industries comes the birth and prosperity of newer and more efficient industries.
No one can argue with the vast number of benefits afforded to us by the modern internet. And yet people will always fight change. Many decades ago we had the explosion of transport for all, and that has allowed us to travel for work or leisure, which in turn has made us all richer and more able to be free. After transport, the way we shared and exchanged information went through a massive revolution which lead to the internet being born. Even faster than physical transport it has allowed us to share vast amounts of knowledge on a global scale. The instant exchange of information has allowed us to share our thoughts and ideas and create new worlds that exist digitally where the rules of the physical world do not apply. Many feel that the world of finance is the next industry inline to change and logically that would make sense.
In a world where we can travel anywhere we want and exchange information in an instant manner, why is it that we can not share wealth and value in such an easy fashion? Many see Bitcoin as a new finance protocol for the internet. One that allows people to create new financial services that are frictionless, global and open to all with absolutely no barriers to entry. Whether you live in a first world or third world country, it does not matter as the Bitcoin Blockchain is open to all, to build upon or innovate.
There is currently no other financial service that operates on this scale and personally I do not think it possible due to the political and physical pressures that today’s banks face. There is too much bureaucracy and red tape involved, but Bitcoin cuts through all of this as it is an open source protocol that is decentralised much like the internet. Bitcoin is an apolitical technology and physical/political borders do not apply to Bitcoin as it is simply a technology/network that is carrying out its function.
With this massive change comes many opportunities that I feel we at Wales must seize. We have the chance to be at the forefront of a massive technological change and with that comes innovation, business opportunities and a massive social change that is for the good of all at Wales. No one can argue with the positive changes that transport or the computing revolution brought to us here in Wales. Our next opportunity lies with Bitcoin and digital currencies.
We at Bitcoin Wales are excited about this change and rather than sit on the side lines or fear the change that Bitcoin will bring, we wish to embrace it. Bitcoin Wales aims to educate and teach people about Bitcoin and digital currencies so that the benefits can spread wide across Wales. We currently operate in Newport, Cardiff and Swansea.
By operating on a national level and organising meetup groups across Wales, we can get new people on board and together we can innovate. We can help individuals who believe in innovation, to start up new groups in their local area. Those who are organisers for their local group can also participate with Bitcoin Wales to push for national adoption and understanding. The reason we are doing this is because we believe in the profound impact of this technology and we believe that Bitcoin and digital currencies will greatly help Wales and the people of Wales to flourish.
Currently we have around 130 members, and the number is growing fast. Like the early days of the internet, we are made up of people who are passionate about progress and change and together I feel we can make a profound impact on Wales. The aim of Bitcoin Wales is to create a community and hub of like minded people who can all share ideas and network together to change Wales for the better. That I believe is something we can all get behind! Please check us out and if innovation and opportunity is something you believe in, then please join us as a member.