Recently, I was introduced to a new social network for the Bitcoin community called ZapChain. Started by Matt Schlicht, ZapChain is a community platform where the bitcoin obsessed can congregate to answer questions and discuss ideas for bitcoiners and non-bitcoiners alike. The Bitcoin Magazine team put forward a question and to our very pleasant surprise, we received 44 answers, proving that the ZapChain community is energetic, responsive and engaged.
Our question was:
“What is the biggest advancement bitcoin has experienced in the last 6 months? How does this event change the future of bitcoin?” Keep in mind we kept bitcoin lower-case, signifying that the question is about advancements to the currency, and not to the distributed consensus ledger or payment system.
Questions are ranked in terms of favorites, which people within the platform can vote on. The most popular answer, that has received the most amounts of votes, is shown at the top. Sankalp Kulshreshtha’s answer garnered the most votes and said that a big advancement to bitcoin was”‘a bit misguided”, but that Bitcoin is incremental, getting better “slowly over time.” Funny, I was pretty excited about the Braintree integration and the announcement of Apple Pay, since that will get people used to using their phones to transact value.
Derek Minter, the founder of new Bitcoin jobsite HoneyBadgr, sees Tim Draper’s “sweep of the Silk Road Bitcoin auction” as the most notable event bitcoin has experienced in the past 6 months. He says it was essentially a “statement from the government that Bitcoin was ‘legal’ and reaffirmed the growing interest of VC[‘s]…in the space.” Tim Draper’s entry into the bitcoin space is indeed an exciting event, and his son’s accelerator program called Boost VC also deserves mention.
Ben Parr, Managing Partner at @DominateFund’s answer came in next, and he agreed with my thoughts that “PayPal’s decision to integrate Bitcoin into Braintree” was the biggest advancement to the currency in the last 6 months. He continued, “PayPal is the biggest name in online payments, and Braintree is used by a TON of online retailers.” Parr sees the integration as beneficial as it “[makes] it easier for…retailers to accept Bitcoin”, thus increasing the size of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Matt Schlicht, founder of ZapChain, also threw in his .02c (in bitcoin) and agreed with Minter on the increased VC interest, stating “the Bitcoin industry has experienced a huge influx of venture capital over the the 6 months.” He continues to say that “over $260 million of venture capital has been invested in Bitcoin companies, over 50 of that happening in 2014 alone.”
Some others see technical advances, like multisig, as one of the biggest events. Leigh Phillips says “multisig ushers in yet another flood of applications addressing trust in the bitcoin ecosystem.”
Others commented on the increased number of merchants accepting the currency, the number of users on LocalBitcoins, and the number of events happening in and around bitcoin as notable events.
One thing is clear – if we at Bitcoin Magazine had asked this question on Reddit, there would be a ton more swearing and ad hominem attacks than we experienced on the ZapChain community platform (which is a win). ZapChain appears to be a legitimate way to congregate digitally and discuss bitcoin with key influencers. It is proving to be a great tool for journalists and contributors alike to access great minds within the sphere and tap into a key knowledge base. Engaging with people on the ZapChain network will enable everyone to gain clarity, seek knowledge, and hear answers directly from those who understand the technology the best. If you haven’t checked out ZapChain yet, do so now and let us know what you think!
Victoria is a partner at Bitcoin Strategy Group, and a contributor to Bitcoin Magazine, CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph. Victoria helps Bitcoin businesses with community development and marketing.