Nobody has the same definition of Bitcoin. To some, it’s a speculative investment with a non-correlated, asymmetric risk-return profile; to others, it’s a decentralized network to change how every facet of the world works, not just the financial plumbing system.
While there is surely no “right” answer, Russell Okung, a player for the NFL’s LA Chargers, sought to give people a platform to tout their thoughts on the age-old, pressing question: What is Bitcoin?
In a recent Los Angeles event fittingly titled “Bitcoin Is”, Okung, a recent convert to the cryptocurrency resolution, hosted hundreds of “Bitcoin Rookies” and dozens of “OGs” to spark a discussion about the leading digital asset.
The following are the thoughts of leading industry executives and proponents about the aforementioned question, who were posed the question during a panel.
Alex Gladstein is a prominent human rights advocate that has started to champion Bitcoin. Gladstein prominently penned an article for TIME Magazine about how the leading cryptocurrency could be used by citizens in oppressed nations, such as Venezuela, to find freedom.
“Bitcoin is a bunch of stories I’ve seen and heard around the world.
I have a reporter friend that is interviewing people in Gaza, in West Bank, and she is using Bitcoin to get money in and out of Palestinian territories, to get money around Israeli control.
Bitcoin is a friend of mine that lives in Iran that is a young software engineer who earns Bitcoin. He then uses it to pay for things in a way where he couldn’t because of sanctions.
Bitcoin is someone that I know that uses the cryptocurrency to pay for translations of economics books in China without being spied on by the government.
And Bitcoin, of course, is a way for people in Venezuela to flee with their savings. We’ve seen many stories about this.
A side-note: Bitcoin is being used bad people; it will be used by unsavory types of people. But that didn’t stop us from innovating with the Internet and mobile phones. This doesn’t stop human rights from evolving.”
Anne Connelly is a faculty member at Singularity University, a board director at Doctors Without Borders, and a blockchain keynote speaker. She explained Bitcoin as follows:
“Bitcoin is a tool used by everyone to ensure freedom. It is essentially something that when you see something in your community that is fundamentally broken, Bitcoin is something they can look to, despite it not being 100% functional in terms of adoption. This tool is here, and once we get it in everyone’s hands, it will change the world.”
Kelly Lyons is an Operations team member at Casa, a Bitcoin key management service and infrastructure provider. When asked the aforementioned question, she answered with:
“For the U.S. and developed countries, we often forget that there are people that aren’t as privileged as we are. Over 70% of Americans don’t even have access to $1,000 if they need it in an emergency. But Bitcoin is a really good technology to take what the 1% of the 1% own and distribute it equally.”
Travis Kling is a former Wall Streeter that “fell down the crypto rabbit hole” in 2017, ditching his position as a portfolio manager at a prominent hedge fund to start a cryptocurrency fund. Kling, despite admitting to not being exactly comfortable will technologies, now believes that Bitcoin is the perfect bet against central bank and government irresponsibility.
At Bitcoin Is, the institutional investor acknowledged this. Kling kept his comment short, but it was potent and powerful nonetheless:
“Bitcoin is a non-sovereign, hard-capped supply, immutable, global, digital store of value.”
As this writer wrote earlier, there is no decisive answer to the question “What Bitcoin is?”. What would be correct to say, though, is that the cryptocurrency is some complex amalgamation of the aforementioned points.