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BITUG Little SIG witnesses presentation that generated considerable buzz throughout the NonStop community




There is always one presentation that not only stands out but generates considerable buzz among the attendees that oftentimes then transitions to the NonStop community at large. At this year’s Little SIG event at Barclays’ Canary Wharf offices, the presentation from Damian Ward of Vocalink / Mastercard (and also the incoming 2018 BITUG chairman), presentation “Crypto Currencies 102: Bring on the AltCoins” happened to be one such presentation.

This light hearted presentation gave a whistle stop overview of Bitcoin, blockchain, Bitcoin coin creation and mining. The meteoric rise in value of Bitcoin was also illustrated as were some of the more notable, frauds, robberies and losses of Bitcoin over the years, did we know that approximately 25% of all Bitcoins already mined have been lost forever, that the Winklevoss twins are the first Bitcoin billionaires, that Santoshi has 1 million Bitcoins the 5,000 bitcoin pizza and other anecdotes were mentioned.

The second half of the presentation concentrated on the alternate cryptocurrencies that have been created (over 1400) and that have died (over 400 so far), why these exist and how they are or are not technically superior to the original Bitcoin. Damian described half a dozen altcoins (as they are known) highlighting features such are number of coins, market cap, price, and any significant deals that are influencing the coin price. As Damian passed over the ethereum coin he mentioned the “Crypto Kitty” phenomenon currently sweeping the internet.

This game currently uses approximately 11% of the ethereum blockchain capacity and is seeing cats sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars; Kitty 23 a first generation kitty is currently on the market for 225 ethereum or $105,000. Kitty 23, shown below is still for sale.

bitug Dec 17 - 1bitug Dec 17 - 2


Ripple ($0.23) and Stellar Lumens ($0.12) were also described. These coins are innovating in the currency exchange market space; Ripples fantastic charts were also visited and the general modern API centric nature of exchanges and wallets skimmed over and a dashboard from ripple can be seen above. While the tps is not going to impress our audience … what should get our attention is the transaction fee in $.

During the presentation questions were asked regarding the value of bitcoin, why it has any value at all and what the future holds for cryptocurrencies in general. Comparisons were drawn between bitcoin, gold and digital fiat (aka central bank-issued) cryptocurrency. You can’t just apply Quantitative Easing (QE) to bitcoin like fiat. You can’t easily transfer gold or fiat across the planet.

Damian clearly believes bitcoin (he is also a believer in litecoin) will continue to grow but how far, John McAfee has so much faith he claims he will eat his own manhood if the value isn’t $1m in 2020!!! Bill Gates is also a fan. On the other hand, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon and the mainstream media are far more skeptical. Is it all a bubble waiting to burst “fugazi” perhaps or the start of a new wave of economics where existing rules don’t fit? Bitcoin has its backers and detractors, as time passes we will see who is right. So if you do invest be careful; it’s half investment and half bet, treat it that way. Even without spending a penny go to sites like Coinbase or Poloniex and watch the market in motion 24/7/365 – it’s fascinating and relentless.

Neil Barnes
BITUG Chairman