Have you seen the latest from Tesla? They are making batteries now. Batteries + solar power should save us from global warming and transform the fate of this planet.
When I first looked into bitcoin - just like looking at the new Tesla battery now - I immediately saw a world transformed; the start of that transformation was to understand that you could (one) have full control over digital money, in contrast to a banking system that controls your assets, and (two) that I could send that digital money half way round the world in minutes i.e. I didn't have to wait a few days for the transaction to clear and (three) I paid maybe 50 cents for the transaction cost and (four) the transaction was stored on a public ledger that no-one could dispute later (blockchain). Not bad at all.
But bitcoin and decentralised technology holds a bigger promise: better, more transparent financial systems, better record-keeping, micro-payments, internet of things, greater efficiency, access to the unbanked (2.5 billion by the way).
I mean digital currency has opened a pandora's box of opportunity for us to seize. And what is beautiful is that it is all pretty much open-source and free for you to play with.
I think, on average, it might cost now around $10 to create your own digital currency. Of course, if you want it to be compliant then you might need to add 4-5 zeros to that figure. But nonetheless, the tech itself is accessible.
The amazing part of this technology is that people can see different opportunities with the same system. Some are looking at digital currencies as asset ledgers, some are thinking smart contracts, some creating certification records; only your own imagination seems to limit what is possible.
And I'm curious. Curious to see as humanity how far we can stretch our own imagination and, curious, to see if this technology will be able to keep up.
So last year we ran the FIRST blockchain hackathon in London to see what Londoners would come up with. Some wanted to build a bond platform using digital currencies, some a multi-digital currency wallet, one guy a lottery using the random numbers generated from the 'hashing' algorithm, another an ad-tech platform for bitcoiners and we even had university PHD students seeing if they could create an automated escrow service for bitcoin trades. Nice achievement guys.
That was London last year.
Rewind a couple of months ago and I was in Hong Kong and meeting up with bitcoiners there. I felt Hong Kong has had a bit of a bad time with fraudsters sullying the name of digital currency and indirectly messing up the reputation of the legit businesses there. Luckily, the government of HK hit back to calls for a ban of digital currencies with a statement that no ban was needed. But that doesn't mean that people aren't going to be sceptical now.
Further South in Singapore they are going blockchain crazy. DBS is running a hackathon next week and Startupbootcamp are accelerating quite a few blockchain based businesses this year.
There is no reason why Hong Kong can't compete. In fact, it should; it is home to big digital currency exchanges such as Bitfinex, ANX and bitcoin remittance startups such as Bitspark. Further, Hong Kong is pushing ahead with multiple incubators for fintech such as Cyberport and Paperclip. If they want to lead the fintech race in Asia then they will need the blockchain too.
So, with Leonard the President of the HK Bitcoin Association, we chatted about putting on a hackathon, the first dedicated blockchain one for HK.
There is a first for everything. First person on the moon, first battery that will revolutionise energy storage, first trustless digital cash system. Last year, FIRST blockchain hackathon in London, this year, FIRST blockchain hackathon in Hong Kong, happening on the 23rd May.
So if you want to join us to see what you can build using digital currencies or blockchains then sign up here. It is happening one week after Inside Bitcoins Hong Kong so you should be warmed up by then. Don't worry if you can't code in C++; neither can I. But one thing to note: we only have 30 places.
See you there!