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Would A Bitcoin By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet?

18 November 2013
By Karen Webster, CEO, Market Platform Dynamics (@karenmpd)

Bitcoin isn’t usually something that I write about. And, trust me, after my colleague did a few weeks ago and was all but skewered as a result of his post, I thought long and hard about sounding off about bitcoin. (He’s currently in hiding and we’re exploring witness protection options.) But, a couple of things happened last week that convinced me to throw caution to the wind and add my voice to the long list of those with a public opinion on this currency phenomenon. Hey, you only live once!

The first thing was my keynote at TAG FinTech in Atlanta. My talk was about developing a payments “sixth sense” by paying attention to six forces that, I believe, will reshape and redefine payments over the next decade. As I was wrapping up, I made a point, mostly to a room of incumbent execs, that it’s okay to say “no” to stuff; in other words, not everything they see and read should they feel compelled to pursue. I used bitcoin as an example of something that I thought they should just “say no” to. The audience laughed pretty hard with me as I was describing all of the reasons why I believed my advice was worth heeding. (I’ll get to those specifics later). After I finished my remarks and took my seat, someone leaned over and whispered that one of the program’s sponsors was a bitcoin exchange.

WHOOPS! Well, at least I can’t be accused of pandering to sponsors! And, just remember bitcoin exchange guys, there’s no such thing as bad PR.

Then, from Atlanta I made my way to ground zero of fintech investing, Silicon Valley. In just about every conversation I had with people there, the topic of bitcoin came up. There is an enormous fascination with it and a genuine belief that it will become a viable currency. Very smart people whom I respect tremendously have made bitcoin investments and some of the most elite members of the VC and PE communities have made and are pondering big investments in schemes that will enable it as part of mainstream commerce.

Read more: http://www.pymnts.com/briefing-room/issuers/virtual-currency...

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