KPU Hosts Talk on Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology

The marketing department invited experts to talk about cryptocurrencies

Chase Cedar, co-founder of KOI Research Group, introduces himself and his company at the “Impact and History of Bitcoin and Blockchain” event on Feb. 26. (Lincoln Saugstad)

The Marketing Department at KPU hosted The History and Impact of Bitcoin and Blockchain, an event featuring four speakers from either HoneyBadger and KOI Research Group, on Feb. 26.

KOI Research currently organizes workshops, offers consultations, and features speakers at conferences and events to share information on cryptocurrencies.

“We currently have a team of about five to seven people that work part-time, jump in and jump out,” says Chase Cedar, a recent graduate from UVic and one of KOI’s co-founders. “We all have different specialties. Some people really understand the blockchain side and want to work with businesses, whereas others are really great at investing. We’re all about research, connecting with people, really just exploring the world of cryptocurrencies and helping educate people along the way.”

HoneyBadger, founded in 2016, provides kiosks for buying and selling bitcoin at physical location using physical currency. Since its inception, it has expanded to offer 45 ATMs—the second highest by number, and highest by distribution, across the country.

The CEO of HoneyBadger, Keirnan Wright, says that he wasn’t interested in cryptocurrencies when he first began researching them. It wasn’t until he went to a meet-up of industry professionals that he felt compelled to join a bitcoin co-op in Vancouver. There, he met one of the founders of HoneyBadger, got a job as a sales manager, and became the CEO that same month.

HoneyBadgers’s mission is to make purchasing bitcoins more accessible, as “the biggest hurdle is just getting it in the first place,” according to Mike Kitt, another member of the HoneyBadger team. He and his coworkers are hoping to set up another 50 kiosks by the end of the year and are offering $500 to anyone who can help install another outlet.

The presentations at the Feb. 26 event featured the speakers’ experiences and some background information on cryptocurrency.

“If I were to have a dollar, and I would send it to any of you today, it’s pretty important that I don’t still have that dollar. When it comes to online money, that was a big problem,” says Cedar. “Bitcoin’s blockchain was one of the first to solve this.”

He went on to define some technical terms such as “distributed ledger,” “immutable,” and “wallet,” which he says are “crucial for understanding the workings of cryptocurrencies.”

“As we are looking to 2020 and onward, decentralized computing is taking the forefront along with AI, quantum computing, big data, all of those buzzwords you start hearing about these days,” Cedar says. “People didn’t believe in the email [either] … but eventually mainstream adoption came through.”

In a TED Talk that Cedar says made the cryptocurrency market more credible, a leading authority on the subject, Don Tapscott, says that “the next generation of the internet … holds vast promise for every business, every society, and [every individual].” Cedar supported this statement by reminding attendees at the event that there is currently a $500 billion market in cryptocurrencies, which represents a 2800 per cent increase since the beginning of 2017.

Kitt adds that those who are worried that it’s too late to invest in bitcoin, ethereum, or similar options have no cause to be concerned.

“We’re still really, really, really early to this,” says Kitt. “Things like bitcoin and ethereum—those are like protocol layer levels. We’re building the building blocks for blockchain. A lot of people … want to take all the applications that we have on the internet and turn that into a blockchain … [but] we’re years away, in my opinion, from that happening.”

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