Bitcoin is Pioneer, Pioneers Are Shot in the Back: Jeff Pulver on Ethereum, ICO & More
At Arctic15 Conference in Helsinki, Cointelegraph spoke to Jeff Pulver, the VoIP pioneer, Internet entrepreneur and influential figure in the modern technology area.
Whether you are just curious about Bitcoin and Blockchain, see your career path in Fintech, or even better want to be an entrepreneur or investor you might want to hear about what the experts predict for the future. But the future we are talking about is now, with Blockchain and digital currencies certainly leading the discourse.
At the Arctic15 Conference in Helsinki, Cointelegraph spoke to Jeff Pulver, the VoIP pioneer, Internet entrepreneur and influential figure in the modern technology area.
From ideas to setting trends
Pulver is well known for discovering and popularizing Voice over Internet Protocol technology. The idea that stood behind it was simple: to help people connect. During the 90s, within the span of two years, the protocol VoIP was adopted by the world’s biggest phone companies. On a global scale, it created worldwide communication systems and also created hundred of thousands of jobs.
From 1996 to 2008, Pulver was running a conference known as VoN (Voice on the Net). Later on, the name of the conference was borrowed for the co-title of the world’s first broadband company Vonage, literally standing for the age of voice on the net, also founded by Pulver.
All the broadband companies appearing on the market afterward were using the protocols created by Vonage and providing the services, which Pulver’s company has laid as basics. He also sensed the directions to develop business, as we now communicate more by chatting and texting, rather than calling.
Pulver says to Cointelegraph:
“In the past, I have created my own accelerator and incubator from the profits of the conferences and also invested in others. Today, all the years later, I’m running a new event. It is not VoN anymore, it is called Monage - age of messaging on the net. We are looking at chatbots, messaging as a platform, messaging as a service, evolution of conversational web tools.”
The greatest gift for an entrepreneur is to establish something that, with time, goes mainstream. That is what Vonage did and hopefully what the Blockchain is doing now. As for Pulver, Blockchain is “the future that is present today.”
Ethereum to scoot Bitcoin over?
Readers may notice some shift in focus over Bitcoin and Ethereum, with increasing interest of common users in the latter. Both of them are real and are key players in the digital currency market.
Being a successor, Ethereum seems to be in a slightly better position as it has an opportunity to learn from past mistakes.
Pulver has an explanation for that too:
“Bitcoin pioneered it, Ethereum now implements it. In every industry, the pioneers “are shot in the back” as they say. The pioneers educate but when you are educating you are not selling. Ethereum should thank all the work that Bitcoin did to educate the masses on what is possible. When they educated, the generation after that will come and monetize it. So we see the wave of many waves of adoption.”
In all the ups and downs we observe now on the market, no one can take it away from Bitcoin to be a real phenomenon.
“We are living through a very interesting phase with Bitcoin. It opens the eyes of the world on what’s possible. It creates very vast opportunities for some. But others will benefit from knowing what’s possible. Bitcoin has lived a wonderful life already and if it continues to flourish, so be it. Its existence has inspired so many entrepreneurs that have come to the field and understood that they can pursue their dreams. And some of them will be amazingly successful, so we all have to be grateful to the genius behind Bitcoin.”
Giving credit to what has been done by Bitcoin to change the traditional paradigm of money and payment systems, the most important is the impact on the business world it has on a daily basis. Being open, flexible and keeping up to speed is crucial for today’s businesses. Again, as the authority source claims, if there is an opportunity, it is now.
ICO and integrity issue
Companies go public at different stages of their life cycle, and for startups, going ICO is the way to boost business. As an alternative way to fund a startup, ICOs will be an opportunity for many people to fund the dream they never had before. It is an opportunity for people to invest into something they would otherwise never be a part of.
Together with some humanistic aspect, it offers businesses-to-be a kickstarter to become successful. At the same time, as Pulver also highlights, ICOs would not have happened if Blockchain did not happen. If people’s minds were not open to possibilities and alternative ways to get things done.
When society reaches the stage when digital currency is commonly used, people would need secure ways to invest it. Transparency of transactions is provided through Blockchain, however, it is not all clear about ICOs and the ways the money is collected.
Technology may need to create algorithms or protocols to secure the investments and prevent scams. The trust people manifest in funding a startup company directly relies on the image of the entrepreneur.
“If I do the ICO for my company, it won’t be a scam. It’s the integrity that prevents scams. You know that it is Jeff Pulver, it is me, and I will have your trust and you will invest in me based on what I say. That goes back to adding soul to business: to be authentic, to be real and not to be a bot but a person - to be presentable and accountable. Allow people to invest once again in people. It’s a human team that changes the world in a positive way.”
Building the business with a human face and sincere services is the leitmotif that took over the minds of many successful entrepreneurs and it works on the level of going digitally public, as we may see. Trust will always be a trigger for growth, no matter what money is invested in the company.
Digital money to become norm
When we talk about Bitcoin or any other digital money, we cannot help but add that it is something brand new, innovative and provides perspective. We hope it will be globally accepted and exchanged. Little did we know that Fintech insiders have been using e-currencies for almost 20 years. One of the indicators that represent the death of physical money is the decreasing use of ATMs that is happening in all developed countries.
For the past twenty years, people have been making online transactions on their mobile phones more frequently, to the point in which we do not need cash any longer. We have bank accounts to make transactions and we do not need physical cash to carry around.
“If you ask me about the future, I think the future is digital currency. There is absolutely no chance it won't be. So if it is inevitable that the US currency will be digital, it’s a matter of what system will be used to authenticate. If we are talking about the years 2025-2027, the world’s treasury will go all digital. I think that’s the reality and what we hold in the pockets will be antique.”
The greater discussion of digital currency is also whether it will be one global currency or many. Pulver says it is unlikely we will have only one e-currency. “I don’t believe there will be one global digital currency that will create a revolution,” he continues. “We continue having different countries, we will have different currencies. It will be, anyways, divided by border, imaginative or real.”
As far as there is opportunity, the opportunity is now
Not only should technology be the driver of change but society also needs to keep up and be prepared to implement changes. When it comes to social norms, they will be the last to adapt to new conditions and to resist change. The way people see digital currency now will change within a generation, as all the transactions will go digital within no time.
“If the US dollar, British pound and Euro go digital, what does this really mean? How does that affect the world trade balance? How does that affect payments? How does that affect our culture? Today we are born into the world that was already pre-existing before we were born so we except the norm. I believe there is a chance to break the norm. And I do think, at least for the next 10 years, people will be creating currencies. 15-20 years from now people will not talk about why they don’t do it [use digital currency]. It's all gonna be part of the norm. So, as far as there is an opportunity, the opportunity is now.”
People change the way they communicate, the way they spend money and the tools to do it. For “Generation Z,” the new world will all seem common, nothing outstanding and new types of leadership will be formed.
Pulver says to Cointelegraph:
“When a world leader born in 2007 grows up in the world of crypto, and in the world of new digital interfaces, they have a mindset much different from the mindset in power today. Their minds will help to drive our future.”