Digital Jersey Debate ‘Cryptocurrencies: changing the face of finance?’

Digital Jersey are hosting the 2nd part of their Cryptocurrency Workshop on 9th September (see summary of Part 1 here). This debate aims to provide an update on the latest developments happening in this area as well as engaging with the finance sector to debate Cryptocurrencies specificlally and FinTech (Financial Technology) in general.

They will also be speaking to the wider business community and general public about the role of technology in the development of the economy with a view to:
• Clarifying the Jersey’s position on cryptocurrencies
• Promoting business opportunities
• Supporting Jersey’s economy

Issues that will be discussed:

• Update on the latest developments in cryptocurrencies sector Jersey
• The wider picture in respect of peer-to-peer business models and cryptocurrency regulation – is it needed?
• The impact of crypotcurrencies globally – is ‘do nothing’ an option for the finance sector?

Speakers:

Chair: Advocate Vicky Milner, Callington Chambers

If you wish to attend, please register via EventBrite here.

Bitcoin Meetup 5

So after missing one of our fortnightly meetups (due to holidays) we managed to get together yesterday to discuss what’s been happening recently in the Bitcoin space.

It was an interesting meetup as Ian Jauncy, representing Digital Jersey, took the floor to discuss a report he will be putting together to look at the opportunities that Cryptocurrencies could offer Jersey. It became clear during the conversations that the one thing that Jersey needs to sort out is the ‘bitcoin-business-friendly bank’.

As those of you who follow what’s happening in the Bitcoin world, the ‘bank’ issue is by far the biggest problem, and more importantly the first jurisdiction to solve this problem would have the world beating down it’s door. One message we’ve had from the banks is that although they’d be interested, until the government can provide guidance (and a positive approach) they will have to opt for the current stance of ‘wait-and-see’.

Jersey has a unique opportunity, starting with a consistant push from Digital Jersey, to produce a positive message to the world that they would welcome a progressive bank that would want to work with crypto-based businesses. Sadly, it seems that not all grasp just how short the time frame is for this message to be given. The UK are already starting to push towards London’s Fintech startup scene becoming more and more crypto-centric. I would estimate that we have a maximum of 6 months before a jurisdiction gets a bank on-board and all of business heads there. You only need to look at the amount of interest that the Isle of Man is generating.

The other big bit of news was that our Lamassu has arrived!

Currently we are continuing internal testing as well as adding a few functions to the software (to help with the concerns that have been raised by the JFSC), but we did decide to do a quick demo for those present. And of course, a live tech demo ended up with a ‘no connection found’ message! It seemed that powercycling the server sorted this out but we’d run out of time so the demo will have to wait until next meetup (we should have our stand made by then).

If you want to keep informed as to when the next meetup will be, please signup to our mailing list here.

Bitcoin Meetup 4

Yesterday we hosted our fortnightly meetup at Digital Jersey, and we had a fair amount to discuss. GABI has been given approval for it’s fund by the JFSC (you can read the press release here). Several members of the GABI team were present and showed us the promotional video that they’d produced to help put Jersey on the map in regards to Bitcoin.

We also discussed the release by the States of Jersey and the coverage that we at Bit.Coin.Je have had in general. It was good to have a member of the JFSC present who discussed the issues and opportunities they see from their point of view.

If you wish to keep informed as to our next meetup, please sign up for our mailing list here.

Bitcoin Meetup 3

Another great turnout at our fortnightly meetup. We were lucky enough to have some more members of the GABI team to explain the progress they’ve had dealing with various levels of Jersey’s regulatory bodies, which they were happy to do so considering that their fund was given verbal approval earlier today.

We had a round up of the various Jersey based coverage that had been ongoing (led by the BBC article and the GABI news) as well as went through CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin Q2 2014 report.

For those that wish to keep in touch with when our next meetup will be, please sign up here.

Bitcoin Jersey Meetup 1

Our first meetup occurred last night at Digital Jersey’s Hub and it was great to see such a diverse turnout. Nearly everyone in the room had an understanding of Bitcoin and most owned some, so the usual discussions about the basics of Bitcoin could be skipped. We had a strong turnout from existing players in the local tech scene which is a great sign that the local industry is keeping up to date with such a fast-moving technology.

We started with the following questions (always a good way of gauging the crowd):

  1. Do you think you’ve got an understanding of Bitcoin (100% hands went up)
  2. Do you own some Bitcoin or any other crypto (100% again)
  3. Are you interested in integrating Bitcoin into your business (about 60%)
  4. Are you interested in building Bitcoin based company/service (roughly 20%)

Jon and myself then outlined what we see Bit.Coin.Je’s role in helping the island adopt Bitcoin.

Firstly targeting local merchants to increase awareness and usage. Secondly increasing off-island awareness of Jersey’s digital sector via Bitcoin related news articles. Lastly, becoming a voice for the local industry that can speak with the States of Jersey and various regulatory bodies so that we have a consistent message being conveyed as well as constant & open dialogue.

This lead to the group discussing the best way of approaching merchants. It was clear that food/drink establishments are the easiest to approach due to the high amount of card transactions used & low margins on the produce. Others mentioned were sole traders who are not based in one locations (plumbers, etc) who ordinarily can’t accept digital payments and then wait a number of weeks before mailing their invoices. This would be a perfect example of an area that could have massive benefit added to both the merchant and the customer.

A brief demo and discussion about our soon-to-be arriving Lamassu Bitcoin ATM lead to a number of further comments about the local remittance market as well as the potential for a island-wide card for payments that could be ‘charged’ with GBP, Bitcoin, etc. It was clear that those present understood the scale of the various applications something like Bitcoin could have locally.

Takeaway points were that having a card that you could give to potential businesses pointing them towards the bit.coin.je site with the various benefits of Bitcoin would be a good way to start that engagement without coming across as too preachy. The other point was that everyone present should ask as many local businesses that they are aware of (online & offline) if they’d be interested in learning more, and then invite them to the next meetup.

On the subject of the meetups, we explained that we see this to be a single point for all Bitcoin related training/education – if we’ve got several merchants wanting to learn more, it’s going to be a lot easier if we can run through setting up a wallet with a small group at the same time, especially if there are several ‘bitcoiners’ around to help out. The group also decided that having a ‘starter package’ that we can give to merchants would help greatly with the tricky step of ‘wanting to’ but not ‘knowing how’.

All in all, everyone present contributed to a valuable session and we now have various steps for what the community needs to do from now.

We are going to be holding regular meetings every couple of weeks.  Please spread the word and invite your friends.  Future meetings will cover topics such as how a retailer can accept Bitcoin, how to set up a wallet, how to obtain bitcoins, but if you have anything you would like us to cover, please let us know.

If you want to join us for the next, please sign up to our mailing list and keep you updated.

 

Digital Jersey: Cryptocurrencies Workshop

Yesterday I attended the Digital Jersey Cryptocurrencies Workshop which was held at the St.Helier Town Hall. Having been to several Bitcoin meetups and talks (although no formal ones), I was hoping for a mix of the more overview statements about Cryptocurrencies, some dispelling of myths as well as just to get an idea of what the local business community already thought about this space.

The general objectives as stated by Advocate Vicky Milner (who was chairing the event as part of her role as head of the Digital Jersey Regulation & Legislation TAG) was to explain in brief what cryptocurrencies are, what the business opportunities for Jersey are, what we need to exploit said opportunities and what the concerns/risks are. (more…)