Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

February 27, 2014

Fred Wilson Takes on Senator Joe Manchin Over Bitcoin in Open Letters

Bitcoin is in and of itself a radical new development in the way we consider economics and money in general. A currency of sorts that has no ties to any one nation, or even any one central authority, there are those who consider Bitcoin to be a major advance, and those who consider it to be a scourge in the making. Recently, Senator Joe Manchin offered up a public letter on the topic, targeting financial regulators with the intent that said regulators would “take appropriate action to limit the abilities of this highly unstable currency.” Now, Fred Wilson of has issued a response, and coalesced the issues in the accompanying debate around the crypto-currency known as Bitcoin.

Wilson's letter to Senator Manchin describes a technology that is “like the Internet itself,” beyond the control of any one organization, be it corporate or government. The currency itself is treated as a store of value, represented here by the necessary processor cycles required to produce a Bitcoin, or the equivalent cash value in a separate currency as determined by the market. Wilson continues on to describe how the Bitcoin is already regulated by the United States government, and this regulation in turn has “dampened the amount of innovation around Bitcoin that has developed here in the U.S.” Wilson notes that the major Bitcoin exchanges have been built not in the United States, but rather outside it, owing largely to the regulations and requirements that the U.S demands in response to Bitcoin's very existence.

Wilson agrees with Manchin on one critical point, specifically, that Bitcoin is indeed a very volatile currency. But Wilson further notes that Bitcoin represents “a nascent and emerging technology,” and so is likely to experience fluctuations in its overall value. Wilson even likens Bitcoin to “a hot technology stock (rather) than a stable currency,” and notes that, once the currency's market develops—as was recently seen from developments like VoIP Supply's recent move to accept the currency as payment for bills, and before that's acceptance of same—liquidity will follow and the value will stabilize to match.

Indeed, many people are taking a closer look at Bitcoin, and just what it can do in the wider market. To that end, TMC and Systemwide Media are coming together to launch an industry first: the Currency 2.0 Conference. The Currency 2.0 Conference is devoted to examine the concept of crypto-currency, in all its forms. There is of course Bitcoin, but beyond that there are also Google Wallet and Amazon Coins, as well as several others. The Currency 2.0 Conference is set to be held in New York City on July 22, 2014, and will provide insight on a variety of topics relating to crypto-currency, from how companies can best address this new platform to how apps and APIs can deal with it, to a history of crypto-currency overall and beyond. TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani noted “The cryptocurrency market presents a great opportunity for businesses and investors, but there is also great risk. The Currency 2.0 Conference will help entrepreneurs and investors understand how to successfully navigate this new industry.”

Great opportunity and great risk. That's a fine summation of the crypto-currency market so far, and seeking to get in on the opportunity without considering the risk may be a fatal flaw. But this is a market with quite a bit to it, and considering all the potential of the market could produce results beyond any that may be foreseen.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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