As a resident of western Washington, I was happy to find out that a Bitcoin ATM had recently been installed at the Spitfire sports bar in downtown Seattle. I decided to make a trip to try out the ATM and learn more about Coinme, the company behind Seattle’s first Robocoin kiosk. General Manager Nick Hughes and Compliance Officer Neil Burgquist were kind enough to sit down and have a conversation, where we covered topics ranging from the regulatory environment surrounding Bitcoin ATMs to their thoughts on the future of cryptocurrency in Seattle.
What inspired you to start Coinme?
Neil: I’ve been tracking Bitcoin for a long time, I had a lot of friends who were early miners. Especially being part of a technology incubator (Neil is the director ofSURF Incubator in Seattle) you find a lot of early adopters and for me it was always just a curiosity.
One of the trigger points was when Coinbase secured financing from Andreesen Horowitz, and I respect a lot of their theses and statements. Fred Wilson made an investment as well and then it really started capturing my attention because I look at those folks to really understand where future trends are going. Then a local guy approached me who’s a co-founder for a pretty large tech company who wanted to open a kiosk and I said hey ‘you should have the kiosk at SURF incubator’.
Long story short he needed more help than just a location, so I ended up helping better define the regulatory environment trying to solve some of his compliance questions. I’m connected to a lot of the policy makers and a lot of people here locally who are excited to build future economies around the tech sector and cryptocurrency is definitely one of those potential sectors that has a lot of people’s attention right now.
Nick: First of all my background is mobile payments and I’ve been in the payment industry for a few years now. But I think what really inspired it was when we started reading all the stuff about Mt. Gox and all these stories that in my opinion were not doing the industry very much justice or good will. We looked at that and said how could we be a part of this industry, but also help it along.
So we started thinking about how there needs to be better actors, companies that are building the community and being positive, and we looked at how we can do that the best. Then we started seeing these machines being deployed around the world. That’s when we said, ‘there’s not one in Seattle, not in the state of Washington, let’s make this happen’. So our goal of building a community then fell into this physical thing that helps to be a talking piece to build the community around.
You have advertised yourselves as the first licensed Bitcoin kiosk in the U.S. What does this mean?
Neil: We are the first Bitcoin kiosk to receive a money transmitter license. We are vocal about securing a license because it’s a big accomplishment for Bitcoin. We’re solving a very complex regulatory environment. You can see what’s happening in New York with the Bit License and everyone has their own opinions about that, but here in Washington State by being licensed the DFI is giving us a stamp saying that we’re accountable, that we’re leading with consumer protection, and we have the ability to run a legitimate financial services business. We really wanted to prove that so that consumers who probably aren’t early adopters or technologists feel comfortable engaging with Bitcoin. And that’s what Bitcoin needs right now. It needs to cross the chasm from early adopters to the early majority.
You had to deal with the Washington State government to get your money transmitting license. What was that process like?
Nick: It was tough. We worked very closely through the application process
with what’s called the DFI (Department of Financial Institutions) of the State of Washington. We actually even spent time going down to Olympia and talking with them and it really was a process of helping them understand our vision, but also, interestingly enough, they were waiting for a company like us. They were ready for this conversation. It wasn’t like we were going there and they were pushing us aside. This is a strong interest to them.
So we had to go through the application process and really play by their rules. A lot of it is what you’ve probably heard of, it’s called Know Your Customer. Any financial institution has to collect certain information on anyone that’s interacting, whether it’s a bank or a system like ours. So they call that an anti-money laundering program. We have to follow that. And so there’s just a ton of paperwork and a ton of legal, ton of regulatory issues and we went through all the steps and finally got approved three days before we launched.
Neil: I need to give them credit in the sense that they were cautiously open to the idea. When you introduce someone to Bitcoin, you need to consider what they already know or don’t know about BTC, and unfortunately, their opinion usually is just what they read in the headlines. And that’s not an entirely accurate representation of what Bitcoin is. So it’s an education process. And I commend the WA State DFI for putting in the time and effort to learn about it. As people begin to learn more about it, I’ve seen this many times before and not just regulators, their fear is removed because it makes sense.
What’s it been like to work with Robocoin?
Neil: I think very highly of the team over there. They’re very smart and they’re moving very quickly, they’re leading edge. They made a statement recently saying Bitcoin ATMs are so 2013. They’re on to the next thing. And I respect them for that. At the same time though, they are moving so quickly and the rest of the market and regulators specifically are still caught up in 2005, trying to get up to speed with a lot of other things.
We talk about ridesharing for example which is just now getting regulated, and Uber has been around for five plus years. Seattle specifically, it recently hit city council and now they’re getting restricted. You want to talk about crowdfunding, Kickstarter has been at it for years, and now legislation is catching up to endorse equity-based crowding funding ventures. Now regulators are getting up to speed on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. Robocoin has been great to work with but I tell you they do push the envelope in a very healthy way.
Nick: It’s interesting. They’re coming out of the gate and they’re definitely aggressive in their marketing tactics and looking to spread far and wide. I will say that I’m quite impressed with their customer service. On launch day we had some technical issues, we moved the machine and then there was a network issue. Then the machine for some reason was having trouble connecting to the internet because there were actually two accounts. Essentially there were two different user accounts, and there should’ve been only one.
So I had to troubleshoot that and their customer service was very quick. This guy got on the phone with me to remote access our system, and essentially made some changes and we restarted it and it works. They did a great job; I was actually pretty impressed.
What makes Seattle a good fit for a Bitcoin ATM?
Nick: We are a great tech-focused community. We have a heck of a lot of smart people around here and there’s a lot of money and a lot of innovation, so we feel like it’s a perfect environment to launch something like this. Secondly, given the direction financial technology is going, Seattle can and will be a hub for that. Based on, if you follow Marc Andreesen’s “software eating the world” concept, I think we’re sitting pretty for the future of where this is all gonna go.
Neil: I think there are a lot of markets that are a good fit for a Bitcoin ATM. I think Seattle is a good fit because this is where we’re located and Seattle has a very strong technology community that tends to be very progressive. It’s also an international community and we see a lot of the benefits with an international, more transient population. In Seattle our focus is threefold: we want to increase cryptocurrency literacy, help build the local cryptocurrency economy, and provide the safest and most secure solution for buying and selling Bitcoin.
Even though Seattle has a significant tech sector, there hasn’t been much cryptocurrency activity in the city. Currently there are less than ten places of business that accept Bitcoin payments. So what do you think the draw will be for Seattleites to use BTC?
Neil: Well it’s a two-way ATM, so there’s the use case for buying and the use case for selling. I think selling is pretty clear because a lot of miners who own Bitcoin want to become liquid, or people that have bought it through exchanges, don’t want to wait several days to convert it to US fiat, they would rather go to a kiosk and have the transaction almost immediately.
For buying Bitcoin, we’re seeing a lot of people buying for several different reasons. Some are buying it for the novelty aspect. They’re buying it for international money transmission, they’re buying it to have as an investment vehicle, people buy it for e-commerce shopping, or simply because it’s interesting.
And I think we can all agree that Bitcoin is a lot of different things to a lot of different people right now. I think we’re all waiting for more tangible use cases to be presented and it’s up to the entrepreneurial community to create those beautiful user experiences that will compel people to engage with Bitcoin as the Internet of money.
Nick: I would say most of the people that are using it at this point are putting money in perceiving it as an investment, and I think that’s fair. That’s a lot of what people are using it for. I don’t encourage that just because I’m not trying to encourage people to put money into something that’s possibly volatile. But what’s really cool, and what people are getting when I explain it to them, is that it’s almost like a PayPal account. So they’re putting money into this alternative money account that then they can use in different transactions online or to send money to friends. So really it’s a diversification of their finances into a digital realm that, in a way, it could go up, it could go down, but they are putting it into an account that then they can make payments to people or organizations quicker and easier.
Where do you see Bitcoin growing in Seattle?
Nick: One thing that, whether it’s Seattle or beyond, I really think there are interesting aspects to media, and online media especially, where rather than having all this advertising splashed all over the, I mean that’s the only way, sponsorships and advertising is really the way that GeekWire or TechCrunch and other outlets actually sustain themselves. So what if you could wipe all that advertising away and have this digital cryptocurrency attached to your web browsing experience. And they’re just taking a small sliver every time your read an article. And it’s not one cent, it’s a lot cheaper than that.
In terms of Bitcoin, it can be divided up to eight decimal places. Imagine it’s not a paywall but it’s automatic, if you subscribe to their resource, anytime you read an article, just a small amount is deducted. Seamlessly. Micro-payments, instantly. That hasn’t been possible up until now because of the transaction fees involved with credit cards and all that other crap, so not necessarily Seattle, but I see that in the world actually being somewhat of an interesting aspect.
In terms of Seattle I do have a harder time seeing an establishment like this [interview took place at the Spitfire Sports Bar in Seattle where the Coinme kiosk is located] taking Bitcoin unless innovators can make it a lot easier for transactions to take place. It’s not hard to take out a $5 bill and pay for your beer. It doesn’t get easier than that. Even though we’re rolling this business out, I’m not the biggest advocate for in-merchant transactions, just because that would be solving a problem that’s not necessarily a problem. Online transactions are a problem.
Neil: With all due respect to the community I haven’t seen that many Bitcoin companies, here, locally. The CEO of BitGo lives here, CoinLab is here. There’s just not a lot percolating here right now.
Do you think that’s going to change?
Neil: Yes. There are a lot of big mining operations in this state, in Eastern Washington. I think we have the talent. I’ve talked to a lot of people that think Seattle could be the future financial sector for cryptocurrency because we have the talent necessary to run the industry and we like to think we have some smart capital here. If we wanted to really build a compliant product or service we could get funded in Seattle. I don’t think you’d have to go out of market for it. But, I haven’t personally drawn a line in the sand saying what the best opportunities are yet, for me, but I think there are definitely opportunities to be had.
What has the public response been to the ATM so far?
Neil: It’s been really positive. We didn’t just launch a kiosk. We launched a community and a personal concierge. We have a phone number and a website and we are everyday meeting with people and just talking about Bitcoin. That is a value that is not necessarily monetized but it’s a value that is really creating this Bitcoin enthusiast community and helping people understand what it is. The response to that has been very positive. We’ve had a lot of interested people showing up and saying ‘what the hell is this thing’. And we tell them what it is and help them interact with it.
Nick: Very, very positive. Very excited, interested, intrigued, confused, all of the above you know. And the public, it’s just been awesome. I think Seattle has definitely been waiting. There was news that came out a couple months ago, so people were waiting for this, but now that we’re here people are just excited. They’re excited to see, kinda like you, you walk up, you’re actually able to turn your Bitcoins into money, that’s awesome. So people are excited about it.
What plans do you have beyond the kiosk to further this community development?
Neil: We’ll be doing a few more kiosks locally. We’re still figuring out the demographic location. Potentially U-District (near University of Washington), potentially the Eastside, potentially the Southend, we haven’t announced where it will be but we’re looking at a lot of different markets. Obviously a younger population, from what we’ve seen, tends to be very engaging with Bitcoin, roughly 10-20% of students in computer science and business will own Bitcoin, or maybe not specifically Bitcoin, but cryptocurrency. So we’ll see where the next one will go.
Nick: Creating conversation is really the big thing. And bringing in experts and executives that are maybe running companies that have been running for a couple of years in the Bitcoin industry. This would happen through events and meetups and other things. I think it’s being consistent on holding events. We had our launch party here and we had a panel, we had a general council from the Bitcoin Foundation, we had the CEO of BitGo, and we had an angel investor. And those three are very tied into the community. So we anticipate doing that on a monthly basis.
Really it’s just about creating events, having community, having conversation, and bringing in knowledgeable people to help educate others. We’re really looking at doing something like a Bitcoin weekend or some sort of event that would span the weekend, that would encourage an educational session. Maybe a few panelists for a few larger talks, keynotes. Then there would be a hack-a-thon.
I think that’s a big thing that CoinMe really wants to encourage. Not just people using the machines, but actually innovating around Bitcoin. Starting new companies, maybe innovating around the machine. What other businesses can you create that involve our kiosk? Maybe there’s some cool stuff around that. So there would be a hack-a-thon involved in this weekend, and then something like a pub crawl that would start to bring in the merchants that actually, at this point don’t accept Bitcoin, but maybe they do after this event. Maybe there’s five to ten bars along Fremont or Belltown, or whatever, U-District if you will, that would be a part of this and people can go there and buy their drinks that night with Bitcoin. So spurring commercial activity through that.
Our goal is to be a leader in the industry, especially in Seattle, about bringing this to the general public. We’re constantly searching for analogies and terms that people understand. Like essentially your digital wallet is like your email address, and other than people sending you messages and digital letters, people can send you cash. They can send you Bitcoin into this account. It’s things like that. Helping people understand by using analogies and translating.
These ATMs collect a lot of personal information. Are you worried that this will deter customers? And how do you secure this information?
Nick: I’m not. We’ve had one individual that has been a little more aggressive, and he actually chose to reach out on Twitter. He was giving us a bit of slack for all this information. But, first of all, for us to get the money transmitter license, these are required aspects of it. In terms of Know Your Customer (KYC), this is required information. And what are we doing with it? Nothing.
Secondly, I believe that if Bitcoin is going to transition into the “normal world”, to really become part of general society, then these sort of things need to take place. The anonymity of it is partly what gave it its bad name. I’m not an anarchist sitting here saying it has to be anonymous and your name should not be attached to it. In my opinion, to play along the lines of what the government dictates in this country, especially with finances, companies like us that are bringing in new technology need to align with that. Or this is never going to get into the mass public.
For security, we work in partner with Robocoin, who has manufactured the device. A lot of the data in the back end goes through their system. So we’ve entrusted them as well. But we’re also looking into further security. You can never have too much security, especially with what we’re doing so I’m already talking to some professionals in cryptocurrency and cyber security so we can go above and beyond what is standard with these machines. We’re starting that process and we’re looking into doing it and we insure it based on the standard procedures right now in terms of where the information is going. But we’re looking further into being highly secure.
Neil: Well the hand scanner was intended to be more of a convenience factor, than to collect data. Why would we care about what your palm looks like? The only information we have is whether it’s your palm or not. It’s a yes or no protocol in the software. And so if we can identify a palm then we can just use it as a key in order to shorten the transaction time.
When you set up an account on a kiosk it’s an eight step process. Type in your phone number, recieve a text message, input the PIN from the text message, create a unique PIN of your own, insert a government I.D., take a photo. In the future you just sign in and use your palm instead of having to insert your I.D. and take a photo every time.
For security, we have a VPN and it’s on a secure hosted network. There’s never been any issues with customer data. You know relative to credit cards, it’s actually much safer because if information were ever to be compromised, you don’t have people that will be able to run transactions on your behalf. We don’t hold the private keys.
Do you see a time in the future where people won’t need to give up so much information to interact with Bitcoin? Or are these regulations here to stay?
Nick: Well let’s put it this way, if you open a bank account you have to give them quite a bit of information. And not saying that we are a bank but I think that the general public is just gonna be willing to go through these measures. I don’t think we’re gonna back up and not collect the data in the future. Just like when you open up a bank account you give them your social security number, you give them quite a bit of data. I have an iPhone, and I have the newest one with fingerprint capabilities which Apple knows every time I’m opening my device. So I’m kind of over that and I think people will be as well.
Living in a world where Facebook can recognize every face, people have become desensitized.
Nick: I have my concerns about privacy as well. But in terms of how we operate our business and our company, again it’s required, and that type of information we don’t even have access to in our system – it’s on secured servers.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Bitcoin?
Neil: That everyone’s using it to buy drugs, sex, and hitmen (laughs). That was an interesting point brought up in the security debate, one security proponent here locally said that people use Bitcoin for the anonymity of it, and while that may be the case for some use cases, before Bitcoin can cross regulatory hurdles, there need to be certain security measures in place in order to enable law-abiding citizens the ability to utilize the technology.
Bitcoin comes from a Wild West type industry where there is no accountability and no anonymity – and it goes both ways, if the user wants anonymity, well then you’re going to get an operator who also wants anonymity – and a situation where there is no accountability. And exchanges can close and websites can be up that are supposedly anonymous and you can supposedly do whatever you want through it, but if we want this to reach a larger market, there are certain security measures that need to be in place to protect the consumer from irresponsible operators, and to protect the consumer from the downside of using Bitcoin.
Nick: I think it’s two things. One of the biggest misconceptions is, and this is partly the media, partly the players that were involved, but I think it’s that this is just for thieves and the Silk Road and buying drugs and weapons, because it’s anonymous. It’s not the black market’s money, it’s actually the Internet’s money. It’s actually a new currency the entire world can use. Money is simply neutral. It can be used for good and for bad. I think the biggest misconception is that people think that this is a questionable industry. Which I think it’s not.
Secondly, I think another misconception is that it’s a get-rich-quick scheme or an investment vehicle. Who knows what price Bitcoin will go to in a year or two. But I have a hard time believing that it’s gonna go to $10,000, $40,000, $100,000, and that you’re gonna retire and be a millionaire off it. That’s just, the volatility, well actually in the last three to six months it’s actually been pretty stable around $450 to $500. So I believe that people shouldn’t view Bitcoin as ‘oh I’m going to buy it now and I’m going to get rich because the price is gonna go so high that I’ll be able to cash out and make a ton of money.’ I don’t think that that’s the case.
I think that it’s going to be used as a method of transaction, a possible currency, I think that it’s going to be used almost like a language translator. Like right now we have apps on our phone that you can talk into your phone and, say you’re in Japan or China, and you can literally talk in your phone and the other person on the other end will hear it in their native language. I view Bitcoin as that kind of technology, that I can be working with U.S. dollars and essentially send it and instantaneously someone in China receives it in their native currency. It’s just a translator, it’s not necessarily an end currency to itself. I think it’s a method of transfer. And it’s a really hard concept to grasp, but I believe it’s the way that money will flow around the world.
What is the mentality you have noticed from your fellow entrepreneurs in regards to Bitcoin?
Neil: There’s people who love it or hate it or just don’t know. Here (SURF), I’ve seen people love it. Maybe it’s because they are able to understand what’s under the hood, so to speak, and they can appreciate it. There’s people here in the Seattle community who were early employees at Microsoft back in the 80s and helped write foundational programs like .net, and they’re saying things like ‘Bitcoin is like owning a piece of the Internet in the early 90s’, and this is our opportunity to get involved. They’re wealthy and very smart and it gets people’s attention. To see some of the smartest people I know be completely inspired by this is inspiring for me.
The quote that’s been coming out is that the smartest people in the room are talking about Bitcoin.
Neil: And the smartest people, in my opinion, don’t happen to move together like sheep. They tend to be very independent, and I feel like a lot of them have independently come to similar conclusions and are now finding themselves in agreeance. And because of that it kind of goes against this sort of hype mentality. I think the hype is seen when people don’t know much about it they just buy it because they want to own a piece of it, that’s where the hype comes into play. But when you see all these people on panels and building companies around Bitcoin and the Blockchain, or investing they’re the ones that I don’t see following hype. I see them following sound assumptions.
You mentioned that people seem to love it or hate it. Why do you think there is such a strong divide?
Neil: When I see people hate it, I think, one, they don’t fully understand it and two, I sometimes just see people hate new technology. And I don’t know why they just tend to hate new technology or new things or change. Maybe it makes them feel uneasy. I’m not sure, I’m not going to speak on their behalf but it reminds me of when Tesla had that string of car fires, but it was really only three cars that caught on fire. And no one was injured. The truth is, Teslas catch on fire way less than gas powered automobiles. Yet Tesla, was in the headlines as if all ‘these cars were on fire’ – Seriously questioning the safety of the car. It just reminds me how people just love to bash things that are exciting and new and innovative, progressive. Tesla is rated consistently as the safest car in America. And yet people still want to bash it and bring them down.
Nick: When we’re talking about money, money is pretty personal to people. It stirs up a lot of emotions and that’s what attracted me to this industry. I thought ‘this is a pretty polarizing industry, there’s obviously something here’. The worst thing about a company or business is when you launch it and no one cares. When you look at this industry and it’s so volatile and so polarizing, that tells me that there’s some transformation that’s going to happen. You have existing incumbents fighting for their life and saying ‘no, no, no, this is nothing and we can’t accept this’. It’s because they’re a business and their industry relies on old financial technology.
Then you have this new, 21st century technology, and you have innovators and technologists that see the efficiency around it, because the financial industry has quite a bit of inefficiency. So you have that side really playing and pulling for it. And I think it’s because, when we’re dealing with money, there’s strong emotions around it.
When you’re dealing with money, there’s certain entities and certain organizations that can take advantage of other people. And Bitcoin solves that. Because there’s less transaction fees, you don’t have a lot of the, some of the leverage is gone, and so that helps consumers so we’re not spending all this money or paying all these fees to banks or other financial institutions. We’re happy to not pay those fees and they’re frustrated because they’re seeing their fees decrease. So now you have this tug-o-war. And then, lastly, I think of information and privacy. Obviously the bigger conversation is the NSA and all this information collecting. Then you look at Bitcoin and how all of that information is plugged in, and so people are heightened a bit.
It’s refreshing, you don’t have one organization that needs to control everything, that needs to know everyone’s information. It’s just a math equation. A math equation doesn’t care who you are.
Nick: And it’s a true or false statement. Transaction either completed or not. And you don’t necessarily have to have all this personal information attached to an account. Or, at least, what I like about Bitcoin is there’s a clear barrier between your personal information and the transaction. With banks right now, and credit cards, there’s no barrier. Someone hacks your bank account, someone steals your credit card, they basically have your identity. And that’s where the problem is and what Bitcoin does is create a barrier. If your account does get hacked you might lose your Bitcoins, but they’re not gonna access your personal information.
What sort of things would you like to see from the government in concern to Bitcoin (laws, regulations, etc.)?
Nick: I think that we need the government to be more flexible. They are evaluating it very strongly, but I think at this point the government and the Fed really needs to accept the technology. And that’s different than accepting Bitcoin as a currency. I don’t think the dollar’s ever going to be gone, I don’t think Bitcoin’s ever going to take over, but I think if the government could actually, well first of all, probably change it from a property. The IRS has already called it a property or essentially a commodity for tax reasons. I think we need to look at it possibly a little differently. But I think if the government was a little more willing to accept it then small businesses will be in a better position to accept it. So then we’re down the process of having a wider acceptance of this technology. That’s one wish I have, that the government would play a little nicer.
I think another one is, and this is more the developer community, it’s still confusing. There’s still a lot to be desired. And this is going to take time but we need more innovators to come in and actually solve problems of helping people understand what it is, making the transaction process easier and quicker and more user friendly. A lot of the user experience is still a little bit uncomfortable or shaky. So it’s just rounding those corners and providing a better user experience all around.
Neil: I don’t think the ‘ask’ is on the local government right now I think it is on the local entrepreneur. I think the question is what kind of consumer experiences can we create that make Bitcoin a compelling use case. I think it’s on us.
There’s enough of a regulatory environment from the government?
Neil: I think some of the larger companies are going to need more of an understanding before they get involved, but right now I think it’s really on local entrepreneurs to build products and services on top of Bitcoin that create compelling use cases. Because right now there is not a phenomenal reason to use Bitcoin for merchant transactions. Even sending money abroad, using Bitcoin can be cumbersome. I think ATMs provide a phenomenal access point because they make it extremely easy to buy and sell Bitcoin through an ATM as opposed to going through an exchange. And so I think that’s a big crossing of the barrier. As kiosks become prolific and easier to use people will become more familiar with Bitcoin. But I think it’s really on the entrepreneurs.
What are some companies in the Bitcoin sphere that inspire you and why?
Nick: At our launch event, the CEO of BitGo was here. They’re a San Francisco based company but he lives here and they’re newer on my radar but they’re definitely inspiring and I’m very impressed with their digital wallet and the security levels and authentication that they have around it. I think that they are pushing the envelope on security and privacy in this industry, which is needed. So they’re definitely an inspiration.
I think Coinbase is another one, although kind of a competitor to BitGo, I feel like they just do it right. Obviously they’ve been backed by some pretty significant venture capital, but I feel like they’re presenting things in a pretty solid and very, at least down the lines of, user friendly way – though we all know it can get better.
Blockchain is another one. I met the CEO a couple weeks ago. He’s really sharp, very nice guy. And he was the one that said, he said two big things that I took away. One, the industry just needs to innovate around user experience. The underlying technology is there but the design, the user experience, the way that you access your account, how do you make a payment or how do you cash out, it’s essentially the user experience layer on this whole thing he said that’s what we need to focus on.
And then the second thing he said is translators, the industry needs translators to take it from the tech savvy or even the engineer that’s been mining for three years and bring it to the general public. And that’s our goal, to be translators. So when he said that I thought to myself ‘that’s what we’re gonna do’, we’re gonna be those translators. I think those three companies right now are pretty interesting and they’re all kind of in that digital wallet sort of thing.
If I was gonna say another one, I think Namecoin is another, where they’re pursuing identity using the blockchain and the protocol. Which is very interesting and I would say do some research on them. Because right now online identity is ‘logging in with facebook’, now we know who you are. Or, here’s your email, it’s essentially your identity. But the level of identification that they can take using the blockchain is insurmountable and it’s really cool that you can essentially use the Bitcoin platform to verify a person’s identity. Facebook, anyone can create an account, a business can create an account, but you can’t fully verify that that is that person. Not only that, but I think there’s really interesting things going on with identity, then security, then logging in and having an authentication system through using the blockchain technology.
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