At the Financial Technology Conference

The Central Bank invited for an interesting day of presentations and panel, discussion panels, talking about money and the challenges that come along with having some and having none.

One of the best presentations by a visitor from Barbados outlined the use of bitcoin, the currency and the technology in the Caribbean. Following his presentation, there was a lot of talk about bitcoin and blockchain, the technology behind it. And for a good reason. This technology has the potential to change the lives of billions of people that are now excluded from the global economy. The technology can also be applied across many different industries to become more efficient, eliminating friction and best of all the commissions to middlemen, i.e. banks and credit card institutions.

I asked our own bitcoin pioneer, Stefan Oosterwaal, stefanoosterwaal@gmail.com, to write a piece, in honor of the conference and he chose to teach you about bitcoin and how to download a virtual wallet. PLEASE, copy-paste your bitcoin address as a comment to my post on facebook, and Stefan will send a couple of lucky winners some bitcoin!
Places that accept bitcoin in Aruba can be found here:  http://www.arubits.com/directory/
There are some great videos online where people can learn more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzFOwFXlR48

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc2en3nHxA4

Joining bitcoin:

Bitcoin is a digital form of cash that allows anybody to have money on their phone or computer. What makes bitcoin different from other forms of digital money is that there is no third party assisting in the transactions. You hold and control your bitcoin yourself, and you can spend it at anytime. When you send bitcoin to somebody, the transaction is person-to-person, you are not dependent on a bank or credit card company to make a transaction.

Bitcoin can be sent between persons, or can be used to make payments online or in physical stores. There are over 100.000 companies that accept bitcoin, some of the large retailers that accept bitcoin online are Dell Computers, Microsoft, Overstock, Wikipedia, and Dish Networks. There are also a small but growing number of businesses in Aruba that already accept bitcoin.

This new technology will have great implications in the coming years. There are billions of people in the world that do not have bank accounts, they are cut off from the global economy. Bitcoin will allow economic and financial inclusion on a scale that has never been seen before.

In Aruba, bitcoin could help kick-start a broader use of e-commerce. One of the difficulties in starting an online business is accepting payments. Any business in Aruba can now accept payments online without fees or long sign up processes. Think about selling your digital music, movies or photographs online. There are many different tools online that now make this possible.

Not only can bitcoin be used as digital cash, its technology can be applied in many different industries in order to help them become more efficient, reduce friction, and eliminate middle men. Banks, stock exchanges, insurance companies, and technology firms are among those looking to implement this exciting new technology.

If you want to try using bitcoin, you can do the following:

1. Download a wallet to your phone. (My favorite is Jaxx Blockchain Wallet)
2. Open the app and press “Create new wallet”
3. Copy your bitcoin address (press the copy icon next to “Your current Bitcoin Address”)
4. Paste your bitcoin address in the comments to this post on Facebook
5. Keep checking your wallet balance to see if you are lucky and have won a small amount of bitcoin.
6. Back up your wallet in case your phone gets lost or stolen.
(Open wallet and press the menu icon (top-right corner) and go to Tools->Display back-up phrase, and follow the instructions)