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We are now entering the second phase of the crypto boom, according to panelists at a recent crypto conference held in West Los Angeles. Eighty percent of the new cryptocurrencies could turn out to be a bust, said one attendee -- but the remaining 20 percent could be powerful, long-term players. Blockchain is here to stay, all agreed.
“Crypto – Fraud or Future?” seemed to be the theme of Cryptocurrency Funding West, a conference held March 5 at the Olympic Collection in West Los Angeles.
The event, organized by Sydney Armani of FinTechWorld, hosted several panels that explored the good, the bad and the ugly of the emerging world cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Blockchain is a technology that makes any and all types of online transactions extremely secure. This could include payments, medical records, reward systems – voting, even.
Rather than try and explain how blockchain works -- I'm not qualified -- I’ll refer you to this YouTube video which offers a primer on this topic:
Because blockchain is so secure, it can be used to create currencies that some believe will, in the end, prove more stable – and durable, even – than currencies controlled by central governments.
That’s the theory, anyway; because everything is so new, smart hackers have been able to exploit the early-stage vulnerabilities as the bugs get worked out. One speaker said $15 billion in cryptocurrency value has been lost or stolen so far.
Many are now diving into the space, starting new currencies via an “ICO,” or Initial Coin Offering. Others are investing in existing cryptocurrencies, in the hope that a particular coin will go up in value (the increase in value for many coins in recent years has been mind-boggling).
Various exchanges are forming so that coin owners can trade one type of coin into another – or into real dollars, even.
While there is a dark side to all this – cryptocurrencies are often used by those who have something to hide – experts predict that, as a result of blockchain, the web will soon become far less vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, spammers and others with evil intent.
Entrepreneurs are jumping in.
MassRoots presented a cannabis management information system that tracks everything from “seed to sale,” important to this new and highly regulated industry.
John Hargrave of MediaShower and Wallace Lynch of Alpha Token described a potential reinvention of our media ecosystem, in which advertisers and publishers use cryptocurrency to pay content producers (to produce) and end-users (to consume) information.
Similarly, Marlon Williams of PodOne described paying call center workers bonuses for good performance using cryptocurrency.
There are lots of ways to run afoul of the SEC and lawyers on the panel urged crypto entrepreneurs to get good legal advice.
One speaker said that in a year, 80 percent of today’s players might be gone from the field – but that the 20 percent who survive could become powerful players indeed.