Cointelegraph met Nicolas Cary, Co-Founder and the CEO of Blockchain, at Money 20/20 in Copenhagen and asked him about the current state of the financial market, the latest fintech innovations and the company’s plans.
Blockchain is the world’s most popular Bitcoin wallet. It is often confused with the core innovation that Bitcoin introduced. Founded in 2011, the company is one of the oldest and biggest Bitcoin’s companies.
Experiencing a rapid expansion in the last few years, the company has passed 6.7 million users, and the amount of wallets created on the platform is constantly increasing.
The most popular block explorer
Nicolas Cary says to Cointelegraph:
“Web wallet is just a way for someone to safely and securely send and receive Bitcoin. We also have a website called Blockchain.info where you can follow all the transactions that are happening in the Bitcoin network, you can get market and price information and even pull down data if you want to do some interesting statistical work. For all the nerds out there we have developed a platform that allows enterprises and software programmers to build great things on top of the bitcoin protocol”.
It is not the first time Blockchain has represented the brand at Money 20/20. There are always lots of discussions going on concerning blockchain technology, and this year is no exception.
Nicolas Cary admits that there has been a big adjustment in the field during the last couple of years:
“Everyone is getting more and more curious about what is going to happen. At the same time there is a lot of misinformation and we have to come and demystify what Bitcoin is about and why blockchain technology is so important. From my perspective the two are very intertwined. There are a lot of people here that see the benefits of this utility but they are not ready to accept how it functionally works.”
Emerging challenges and opportunities
Blockchain in particular has made incredible progress over the past three years. It has very much succeeded in expanding its presence in the market, attracting new consumers. The industry in general has been developing as well, following huge amounts of investment, and the concentration of human capital in Bitcoin companies.
Nicolas Cary says:
“We are looking forward into the future and we think we are going to continue to be able to provide financial services for a millions of people around the world and there is no financial system on the planet that can compete with that today. The use-cases for a Bitcoin continue to evolve. Right now we see cross border payments as having a great potential, as well as digital payments for digital goods being very popular - people buying songs online, people buying digital content and games, things like that”.
He sees microtransactions as an interesting and evolving use-case of Bitcoin. However, it is still rare, because of the underdevelopment in fee-structures and scaling protocols.
The future of the blockchain
Analyzing the future of the blockchain, Nicolas Cary mentions one of the biggest challenges faced by the technology, regulations.
“It's hard to regulate the blockchain technology in this sense, it's not centralized, there's no overall committees, or the general authority. However, it's already regulated by its open source nature, and the fact that it's regulated by mathematics.”
The reality, however, is often different from our plans and aspirations. Many banks and other financial institutions do not feel certain about Bitcoin and its future, and most of the time, they are frightened to even try using it. Companies like Microsoft and Visa have made attempts to explore the field, but are still trying to figure out strategies that would work best.
Blockchain is creating the tools necessary to integrate the big players in this space, although this hasn't been a big worry for those in the US. Major companies like Microsoft, Overstock, Dell, Wordpress, Wikipedia, which represent hundreds of billions of dollars of market composition, have already begun working with Bitcoin companies. They are accepting payments in Bitcoin, and are building services on top of the cryptocurrency. These companies aren’t worried about the future of Bitcoin, so hopefully more companies will take this to mean the cryptocurrency is worthy of investment.
Competition means growth
The public’s opinion of Bitcoin varies significantly, and many associate it exclusively with shady dealings. There has been a great deal of negativity and discussion over the moral aspects of digital currency in the news at various points in time. Nicolas Cary suggests that the public takes a look at the fundamental technology itself. One will then realize that the technology simply lacks morality.
“Just like Google Maps doesn't care whether you use it to plan a picnic with your husband in the park or whether we are all conspired to plan a getaway after a bank robbery. The technology itself doesn't matter, it's people who use it and how they use it that matter, and that's what is the most important. I think that allowing anybody in the world instantly to transact with anybody else just as easily as sending an email is a really important thing that we need for the age of the Internet”.
Indeed, times change and the development of new technologies is spurred by people’s demands and interests. What at first was considered odd, eventually becomes the norm.
Nicolas Cary explains:
“When rock'n'roll first came out, they said it would rotten your teeth and pollute your mind. It was really scary new sound, and what happens is people get more comfortable with things.”
An open financial protocol will open new markets and decrease the transaction costs
Regarding the development of Bitcoin in the longer term, Nicolas sees building an open financial protocol for digital value transfer as being one of the central focuses. He believes that it will be able to significantly change the financial sphere and open new markets and consumer groups that have been completely ignored. It will significantly decrease the transaction costs and make the whole system more efficient.
Nicolas Cary says to Cointelegraph:
“If you just pause for a minute, visit the appstore and download a Blockchain wallet you can really get the power of this. In 30 seconds you will have a piece of software that replaces your need for a bank. You can be your own bank with an open source software and transact with anybody else anywhere in the world. Once more people learn about that, that's just going to be how they accept that they can send money to anybody else, just as easy as taking a picture and sending it. I can do that now using a trusted protocol for the web, I'm pretty excited about that and I think it will change everything. I just think it will also take some time as we talk more and more about how we built things.”
The largest redevelopment of the platform and the release of a new web wallet
Payment service markets have changed significantly over the last few years, with major players introducing their own mobile payment systems. Google introduced Android Pay last year to compete with Apple’s Apple Pay, and Samsung is joining the race with its own mobile payment system, Samsung Pay.
Cary is excited about tightening competition and explains to Cointelegraph:
“Competitions are good for everybody, it lowers the cost of goods and provides consumers with more options. If something comes along with it that puts pressure on Bitcoin that will force us to innovate even more and in the long run it's good for everybody.”
The company has a lot of great things that will be coming online in the near future. Blockchain has just launched the largest redevelopment of their platform, and released a new web wallet. It is planning to spend this year pushing updates across the platform.
Cointelegraph is going to keep a close eye on the innovations that are coming out, as we are all interested to see how the platform will develop.