Ruben Alexander: Hey, are you there?
Heather “Vescent” Schlegel: Yes I am.
RA: Before we chat, did you get a chance to try using Bitcoins?
HS: Oh no! Last week was crazy. But I’m happy to share my experiences when I get around to it.
RA: Could we try it now? It would take very little time. Maybe a few minutes.
I was chatting with Heather, a Futurist who has an active Kickstarter project to discuss the future of money. You are probably thinking, “Isn’t Bitcoin the future of money?” Well… it is, but there are other non-fiat currencies Heather has found during her international travels that may need new exchanges. She plans on gathering all innovative currencies and discussing them in a Future of Money TV series, which, after 17 days on Kickstarter, is halfway to its funding goal.
I figured it would be OK to cheat and give her an early taste of Bitcoin future.
HS: Let me find my [Bitcoin] wallet. Ok, I have a Coinbase account. 1KmARFNnV2yU66Hk4kwdn6ZUrEUShYHyhh.
RA: Yes, that’s one of your Bitcoin wallet addresses. If you go to the following url you will see information about that address: http://blockchain.info/address/1KmARFNnV2yU66Hk4kwdn6ZUrEUShYHyhh/
HS: Oh cool!
RA: It shows the QR code version of the address, how much it has, and the transactions made to/from the address. If you look at that url now, you’ll see I sent you around $1.
HS: Very cool! I just saw it come in.
RA: Please introduce yourself and talk about some of your previous projects/research.
HS: I am a Futurist, which is a professional social scientist who explores trends and helps people understand what could be coming. Many people think there is one future – but there is no certainty in the future – thus there are many possibilities based on what is happening today. Those possibilities change as people’s actions change. So I research and scan what is going in the present, and use a variety of tools to extrapolate what future possibilities could be. My longest running piece of research has been The Future of Transactions. I started that in 2010, and have held a recurring yearly survey on it.
In 2011, I held a stand alone Bitcoin survey, and later rolled these questions into the Transaction survey in 2012. The Future of Transactions research is not limited to monetary (or traditional money) transactions.
It includes non-financial and alternate/virtual currency transactions as well.
In addition to researching The Future of Transactions, I have explored in depth The Future of Shopping, Retail, Identity, Relationships and Changing Demographics.
RA: Can you talk more about the non-financial data? What trends have come out of your survey?
HS: I was interested to understand how many people participate in these non-financial transactions. Because they don’t use money, they are hard to track with our existing paradigm. One of my early presentations shows numbers from my first survey, let me find it… If you go to slide 5 in this deck, you will see that over 50 of survey participants participate in Gift and Barter economies. Favor economy is almost 50.
RA: When did you first hear about Bitcoins?
HS: I don’t remember exactly… it’s been years.
RA: Do you think Bitcoins are easy to use?
HS: Well, early on, I did not find it easy to use. I was on a panel with a colleague, maybe it was 2012, and he was building a bitcoin wallet for non-technical users. As I say in my presentations, Bitcoin’s community has a very techno-savvy culture. There is a barrier that a user must cross to use the currency. This barrier is getting lower and lower, but is still there. Part of that barrier is what you can purchase and use with Bitcoin. This has improved, but I see Bitcoin as very much on the marketing hype curve for everyday use. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Bitcoin is revolutionary – it is – in a very profound way.
RA: Certain subreddits like the bitcoinladies have been started to increase Bitcoin use among other women. What do you think needs to happen to get more women to use Bitcoin?
HS: That [site] is kind of cool! That is a good question… What is the intention of women using bitcoin?
RA: I interviewed the blogger at TheBitcoinWife a few weeks ago and mentioned that women are the majority of spenders in the world + in the United States. The intention would be if the majority of the world’s spenders valued Bitcoin, its use would spread.
HS: Simply, Bitcoin must support women’s values.
To see Heather latest project, visit her Kickstarter page currently raising funds for The Future of Money TV series.