If you hadn’t already heard, MarketWatch is running a panel on Bitcoin tomorrow at a semi-private event in NYC. I’m going to be Tweeting about the event as it happens, and I’ll write up a summary of the event once I get a chance to.
I’m familiar with two of the three panelists, as they were involved with the New York Department of Financial Services hearings.
Barry Silbert, the CEO of SecondMarket, was on the very first hearing panel. He did a solid job of focusing on the important topics: Bitcoin businesses need regulatory guidance in order to set up. We need to get ahead of other countries in implementing this to make sure we can take as much advantage of this new technology in the US as possible. At the same time, though, we have to ensure that regulation doesn’t stifle burgeoning businesses such as the new mining industry Bitcoin has created.
Mark Williams, now dubbed Professor Bitcorn by many, was present on the last panel. I wasn’t a big fan of him there, and he hasn’t done much to improve his standing in my eyes. He has a habit and history of making factually incorrect or greatly exaggerated statements, such as that the price of a Bitcoin changes by 20-30% in a normal day, and that Bitcoin somehow charges 9% in transaction fees, while Visa and Mastercard ‘only’ charge 3% compared to Western Union’s 5%. This is, of course, a complete and utter farce. Beyond the fact that Bitcoin can’t charge anyone anything–since it’s not a sentient being and doesn’t have a bank account–how would you even get to 9%? Where would this whole industry of payment processors have come from in the Bitcoin world if they couldn’t compete with credit cards? How does Coinbase charge only 1%?
The third panelist is someone I’m relatively unfamiliar with: Todd Harrison, CEO of Minyanville. From that brief conversation, he seems to “get it” in a basic sense. He understands that Bitcoin’s price may or may not be accurate–no one is really sure of that–but that it’s an important development in payment processing.
The panel is to be moderated by Robert Powell, a senior MarketWatch columnist. From his Twitter feed, it looks like he has his research hat on. He seems like a good moderator for this.
As a whole, I’m very excited about this event. I expect it to be an interesting time–hopefully a good chance to meet some people, also. If you read this and see me, come say hi!