Why Wales needs Bitcoin

There are many people who’ve not heard of Bitcoin, or if they have, they’ve 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, it’s also a technological wonder that’s 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 the Western Union can charge up to 20% for the transfer of money.

It’s 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’s no such thing as a bank holiday in the world of Bitcoin. Really, it’s a highly disruptive technology that has the potential to take over many markets thanks to its open nature. There’s also great potential for tech entrepreneurs to create new and great start-ups in the digital currencies setting.

Bitcoin 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’s a decentralised ledger system known 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 examples 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’s 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’s 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 80s/early 90s 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.

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 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’s possible due to the political and physical pressures that today’s banks face. There’s 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.

With this massive change comes many opportunities I feel we in 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. The organisation 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.

Phillip George is an avid follower of Bitcoin and digital currencies. He is currently co-organiser of Bitcoin Wales and is pushing for the adoption, education and understanding of Bitcoin and digital currencies. 

Image credit: Jason Benjamin/Flickr