Stanislav Wolf is the initiator of the first Bitcoin conference in Germany. The Cologne native has connected to the local Bitcoin scene early and has promoted Bitcoin and its acceptance across the Rhineland metropolis.
He has been busy with attending bussiness school at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University as he is intensely focused on digital currencies and is considered one of the first users of the Bitcoin in Germany.
Cointelegraph chatted with Stanislav Wolf about the upcoming Bitcoin Conference in Cologne, Bitcoin in Germany and the forthcoming regulation in New York City.
Cointelegraph: In early September, the Bitcoin Conference will take place again in Cologne and you are one of the organizers. How did you get the idea for this project and what can be expected from this year’s conference?
Stanislav Wolf: The Bitcoin Conference 2014 will be held in Cologne on September 2. We can look back on a little history. We started in April 2013 with a Meetup in Cologne and had up to fifty visitors at the monthly meetings.
Then we decided to organize the first Bitcoin Conference in Germany in October last year. Well-known names from the German Bitcoin scene and 130 participants attended the event to exchange ideas and see exciting presentations.
- Bitcoin Conference in Germany, October 2013
This year it is [becoming] bigger and better of course. Because of the cooperation with the Pirate Summit, [we] can also offer side events next to the conference. Of particular note is the Pirate Camp, where in addition to Bitcoin, there will also be other startups with up to thousands of visitors.
At the September 2nd conference, we will see German experts like Jörg Platzer and Aaron Koenig along with international speakers such as Alan Reiner, founder of Armory, and Talia Wolf, an expert in Conversion. Also projects outside the Bitcoin network such as Ethereum, Stellar or Koina have strong representation this year.
CT: The announced regulation in New York has caused a lot of turmoil. While regulation could be a step in the right direction, what is your opinion on the previous points of the draft proposal? Will the Bitcoin conference participate in the discussion?
SW: The regulation of Bitcoin is one of my personal favorite topics. A final assessment of the regulation in New York is not possible, in my opinion.
The ongoing process leading to the final law, still continues. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that different lobby interests [have emerged]. But some details make it already clear that New York as location will become less innovative. These include longer retention periods of documents than comparable MSBs (Money Service Businesses) or the transfer of Bitcoin assets to the state by non-use for a longer time.
The Bitcoin conference of course will deal with the issue of regulation. Here, our focus is more [...] on the situation in Europe. As part of a panel where Tanja Aschenbeck-Florange, Osborne Clark, Lutz Auffenberg, Winheller, and a representative of the Federal Bitcoin Association eV will participate. It will deal specifically with the states` possibilities of regulation.
CT: You were one of the first Bitcoin users in Germany; so you've recognized its huge potential quite early. How do you see its past performance and how will Bitcoin fare in the future in Germany?
SW: So far the development is extremely positive. When I was following the first Bitcoin bubble in 2011, I could never have guessed how far we can get. But it wasn`t the huge potential which surprised me. It always amazes me much more when I see how easily Bitcoin circumvents great risks. The regulatory control of Bitcoin, for example, by Prohibitions is only attempted in a few states and also on the technical side, there was a firm and [supportive] intervention of the community at every critical moment.
In Germany, I see a lot of potential, but not as a form of payment. The financial system in Europe is well developed and a very large part of the population has access to banking services. As long as there is no killer app, which is available only with Bitcoin, nothing will change. As a store of value or an addition to [an] investment portfolio, Bitcoin is perfect. And even if the value of Bitcoin varies greatly every day, the upward growth was always greater than downward.
CT: More and more larger companies from abroad such as Dell and Dish accept Bitcoin as payment. In Germany, acceptance by merchants is still missing. Also, many people do not know at all what Bitcoin is. How can you make Bitcoin in Germany more mainstream? Are there any plans for this at the Bitcoin Conference?
SW: First, I would like to say that the success or acceptance of Bitcoin should not be equated with the knowledge of Bitcoin. Bitcoin can be successful without people [knowing Bitcoin it is]. You can already see this in the USA more or less.
Organizations like Bitpay or Coinbase, marketed Bitcoin consistently as a currency-agnostic Payment Network [but] Bitcoin excels in terms of cost and speed. The next step is that startups like Circle or Coinapult offer mass-market Wallets. In this case, the dollar amount is brought to the foreground, which allows people without Bitcoin knowledge easy access. So the loop closes and the use of Bitcoin is possible without any knowledge.
In Germany, the situation is more difficult, because the ATM card or the direct debit are much more competitive. Because of this, the incentive for retailer is significantly smaller, apart from the still not clarified sales tax. But the potential in our land is much bigger.
The key points are transparency, decentralization, and democratization of the financial system. These points are under-represented in today's financial world and can be clearly explained in the example of Bitcoin. At the Bitcoin conference we will also talk with all interested parties and explain the idea behind Bitcoin.
Link to the conference: bitcoin-konferenz.de/programm/
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