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I gave a talk on the blockchain to the Vendorcom Cryptocurrency SIG, putting forward a couple of fairly radical ideas about Bitcoin, the blockchain and the future. Or so I thought.

Damn. What a blockhead. I’d been meaning to read this story about 21, but had forgotten. As a consequence, I didn’t read it until after the SIG presentation, in which I argued that (I paraphrase) someone is going to make a fortune from the blockchain but by managing dishwasher warranties rather than by overthrowing the US dollar. I presented this as my brilliant thesis, but immediately afterwards sat down to read…

According to Silicon Valley investors such as those taking stakes in 21, that failure to gain mass adoption is partly because the public’s attention has been misguidedly focused on bitcoin’s limited potential as a digital alternative to traditional currencies. In reality, they say, its underlying technology has far wider applications than that. Unlike the currency transactions that are generally associated with bitcoin, new uses could range from lawyer-free smart contracts to tamper-proof online voting systems.

[From Secretive Bitcoin Startup 21 Reveals Record Funds, Hints at Mass Consumer Play – Digits – WSJ]

Oh well. It looks like everyone else has had this idea as well, so we can no longer present ourselves to customers as gurus on the topic. Still, there was a terrific finish to my talk, I thought, where I outlined by novel suggestion that the blockchain might find greatest utility in virtual-mundane homomorphism. Brilliant. Until, immediately after giving the talk, I read…

Qualcomm’s involvement could spur speculation that 21 has its sights on the so-called “Internet of Things.”

[From Secretive Bitcoin Startup 21 Reveals Record Funds, Hints at Mass Consumer Play – Digits – WSJ]

Ah. It looks as if I have no original thoughts on this subject at all, so I shall sit at the back and be quiet as a church mouse on Thursday 19th March when we have our “deep dive” session on cryptocurrency at Consult Hyperion’s 18th annual Tomorrow’s Transactions Forum. The session includes presentations from Vitalik Buterin of Ethereum and Preston Byrne of Eris Industries and panel on the business of cryptocurrency (moderated by Izabella Kaminski of the FT) with Tom Robinson (Elliptic), Richard Brown (IBM), Douwe Lycklama (Innopay) and Maurice Cleaves (CEO of the Payments Council). You’d be mad to miss it.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our sponsors (Worldpay, Visa Europe, Vocalink, NCR Alaric and Olswang) to tickets are virtually free at £550 + VAT. The Forum is limited to 100 delegates as always, so run (don’t walk) over to http://payprocess.chyp.com/ to secure your place right away. And yes, I will take you can pay by using PingIt and sending the money to @dgwbirch.

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