Jonathan Levin is one of the most active economics postgraduates imaginable. Currently enrolled at the University of Oxford where he studies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, he also co-founded Coinometrics, a fully-fledged statistics service for Bitcoin aiming to make its analysis considerably simpler.
The tool has seen wide success, being featured by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and New Scientist among others.
Jonathan is highly active at events and is due to speak at the World Bitcoin Forum 2014 later this year. We caught up with him to ask what the future holds for his projects.
CT: How important do you think it will be for the average consumer to understand the technology of crypto currencies?
JL: If crypto currencies ever make it mainstream, it will not be important for the average consumer to understand the technology. Companies are already making solutions that make crypto currencies resemble other web based platforms. The interface of the technology with the consumer will be carefully managed to ensure a great user experience.
CT: You must be excited to speak at the World Bitcoin Forum 2014. Can you let us know what you're most eager to talk about?
JL: I am very excited to be invited to the World Bitcoin Forum. I am excited to bring our latest statistics and metrics to delegates so that they leave with a greater appreciation of what the Bitcoin economy looks like right now. We have new data on the geography of the Bitcoin network, new market data and are developing some block chain metrics.
CT: In your interview with Money&Tech at CoinSummit you explained how analysis makes Coinometrics stand out from the crowd. What does the future have in store for the project?
JL: We are growing as a team. It has been a side project for a number of us for a long time but we are in the process of converting it to our full time occupation. We are already storing the biggest range of Bitcoin data and now we are building a dashboard and API so that people can monitor the Bitcoin economy in real time.
CT: You also mentioned at CoinSummit that Proof-of-work model may not be here to stay. What would you think would be a viable alternative which could be created should the popularity of Bitcoin explode in the next few years?
JL: I think the concept of proof of work is always going to be here to stay. Whether this proof of work will be running a hashing algorithm like SHA-256 or something different remains to be seen. I am a big fan of other forms of proof of work that can be combined with or replace the proof of work that Bitcoin uses. An example of this could be proof of solar power generation. There are many great minds thinking about this problem and I am sure there will be some interesting developments over the next year.
CT: What would you recommend to a potential casual investor looking to enter the Bitcoin market now, given current unpredictability of price?
JL: I think the Bitcoin market is still an immature market that is easily manipulated. Trading Bitcoin should be treated as a very high risk activity and causal investors should treat it as such.