Yesterday, digital currency and information systems expert, Andreas Antonopoulous, discussed Bitcoin with the Senate of Canada. The Canadian government is in the process of learning more about Bitcoin, holding a series of hearings with top players in the industry, with this specific hearing being one of many. The hearing was nearly two hours, with Antonopoulos as the sole guest. Antonopoulous handled the hearing extremely well, providing excellent, informative answers to the government panel, in an easy to understand way. If you have the time, you should definitely watch the full hearing embedded below.
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Montreal, October 9th 2014
In Canada, the public debate surrounding Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is currently being formalized as the official “Study on the use of digital currency”, a consultative exercise conducted at the initiative of the Senate of Canada’s Banking, Trade and Commerce committee.
On October 8th 2014, world-renown cryptocurrency expert Andreas M. Antonopoulos was invited to provide his knowledge and opinion on Bitcoin, particularly in relation to its regulatory aspects. The brilliant and extremely interesting two-hour long session has already attracted acclaim from Bitcoin enthusiasts worldwide.
The Bitcoin Embassy greatly appreciates M. Antonopoulos’ intervention in the Canadian debate regarding cryptocurrency and we are happy to endorse M. Antonopoulos’ testimony, which will certainly be retained as a key source of expertise for Canadian policy-makers.
His presentation follows the same general line of argumentation than that of the Bitcoin Embassy, the Bitcoin Foundation Canada and the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada, which testified on at the Committee on October 2nd.
A cryptocurrency paradigm shift: from centralized to decentralized systems
M. Antonopoulos, author of the e-book “Mastering Bitcoin”, was not only able to accurately respond to the Committee’s technical questions but also to professionally articulate the values, concepts and intellectual paradigms that prevail in the Bitcoin community.
The overarching argument which transpired from the testimony is that there is a fundamental distinction between centralized systems such as the traditional financial sector and decentralized systems such as blockchain-based cryptocurrency platforms, the most popular of which is Bitcoin. This distinction must be understood by policy-makers and reflected appropriately at the policy level.
The need for regulation decreases with innovation
Echoing statements by Canada’s Bitcoin associations, M. Antonopoulos nevertheless recognizes the need for some regulation in cases where Bitcoin businesses models simulate a traditional financial environment such as a custodial account where a centralized corporation (e.g. a Bitcoin exchange) would take full control over users' funds. The rationale is that those funds are now outside of the Bitcoin decentralized security model and thus require the same oversight as traditional centralized systems. In short, “if control over the user's funds has been centralized, then that institution puts consumers at risk.”
However, according to the witness, innovation such as wallets with multi-signature escrow are mitigating risks to consumers. “I think this technology needs time to breathe”, argues M. Antonopoulos, “it needs time to show the full potential of what is possible with decentralized, programmable money”.