Fireside Chat with Jornal Económico
Etherify is located in Lisbon, Portugal. Here’s a nice photo:
A few weeks ago we were approached by the largest business and economics publication in Portugal to do a piece about Etherify. We were super excited! Here is a link to the Portuguese publication, if you happen to read Portuguese ;)
What followed was a fireside chat of sorts with the reporter asking us questions about Etherify, Ethereum, and the cryptocurrency/blockchain space in general. I’ve translated it to the English for your convenience.
Enter Jornal Económico
JE: How did the idea of Etherify come into being?
E: Etherify began in April 2017. I’m an American who came to Portugal in 2011 and fell in love with the country, culture, and climate. My background is in Business and Finance, and I have an MBA from Florida International University. I got into cryptocurrencies in 2013 when I discovered Bitcoin, but started studying it in depth only when the Ethereum white paper came out in 2014. I’ve been researching Ethereum ever since. In 2016 I held the first Ethereum Meetup in Portugal. At this meeting I gave an Introduction to Ethereum to a room of IT professionals. These people had a lot of experience in the IT world, but hardly any of them knew what blockchain, Bitcoin, or Ethereum was.
I knew then that I had the opportunity to become a thought-leader in Portugal in the Ethereum world. I met my business partner Fernando Moreira, who runs Angry Ventures, in January of 2017. We had discussions about the applications and uses of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
We realized that Portugal could be one of the first countries in the world to benefit from this technology, or probably one of the last. It became our mission at Etherify to make sure that Portugal is one of the leaders in Ethereum worldwide. With the Web Summit here and the growing startup scene, lots of innovation and technological know-how, the market is ready for this kind of technological revolution. All that’s needed is Education, Innovation & Disruption, and Production, and that’s what Etherify aims to do.
JE: Why are you building on Ethereum, and not other blockchain platforms?
E: Ethereum has the best and most developers on all levels: the base protocol level (improving Ethereum blockchain and smart contracting language itself); the developer level (creating APIs, libraries, and frameworks for developers); and the application level: building things like prediction markets, for example Augur, mobile Ethereum clients such as Status.IM (similar to WeChat but for a Western Market); Decentralized hedgefunds such as Melonport and ICONOMI; and Internet of Things applications such as Project Oaken.
Ethereum has the backing of more than 100 Fortune 500 companies that have formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to produce a standardized framework for using Ethereum in an enterprise setting.
Some companies involved are: BBVA, Santander, Microsoft, Deloitte, Accenture, Samsung, CME Group, Intel, JP Morgan, Thompson Reuters, to name a few. BBVA and Santander have branches in Portugal.
JE: Why not use Bitcoin, for example?
E: Bitcoin is like a pocket calculator. It is only good for one thing: moving value from one person to another. Ethereum is like a brand new iPhone. Developers can create any type of application for Ethereum for any use case. The programming language for Ethereum called Solidity, is much more flexible, high-level, and easier to learn that Bitcoin’s programming language. There is much more developer support and documentation for Ethereum developers than for Bitcoin.
Scaling the network is a huge issue too. Currently no blockchain technology can scale to the level where it is ready to handle the transaction demands of the entire human race. Only Ethereum has scaling solutions in development and ready to test and deploy late 2017/early 2018. Bitcoin currently has no viable scaling solution and their developer pool is very divided and politicized. Currently Bitcoin can only handle 7 transactions per second. There is a transaction backlog
Ethereum’s core developers are unified behind their leader Vitalik Buterin on Ethereum’s scaling vision. Currently, Ethereum can handle around 20 transactions per second. To get on the level of Visa/Mastercard, Ethereum would have to increase this to at least 4,000–5,000 transactions per second.
Network upgrades to Ethereum such as “Proof of Stake” and Casper would give a 2–5x upgrade in transaction processing power. Payment channels such as Raiden and Sharding (which are in development, slated for late 2017 and mid-2018 release, respectively) would each improve the network 10–100x)
JE: What’s your expectations on how cryptocurrency will effect the world economy?
E: Cryptocurrencies will forever revolutionize the way humans interact with each other. We are going to see a huge shift away from centrally controlled fiat currencies that lose their value over time due to inflation and money printing. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are up hundreds and thousands of percent in value over the last year alone. At the same time it is getting easier and easier for people to invest in Ethereum and Bitcoin.
It is faster and cheaper to send money using Ethereum nowadays than a traditional bank wire. Even banks are looking at blockchain technology to improve their settlement processes. If you look at the fact that The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a firm that settles literally quadrillions of USD in trades and transactions per year, is now a part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, you can see it’s pretty obvious is this is a huge change to the global financial system.
JE: How can government regulation effect cryptocurrencies and your company?
E: We would welcome an open dialogue with regulators at the Portuguese national and EU levels about how to regulate blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies in a way that helps innovation and also complies with KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) laws.
Portugal would greatly benefit by setting up a regulatory “Sandbox” of sorts like the UK did to help innovative Fintech solutions like Blockchain and Ethereum to experiment building products in a live environment in order to help innovation and creation of new markets and jobs. We would be interested in speaking to EU regulators to make the language of the Payment Services Directive to be clearer in its intent and scope in regards to digital currencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin.
JE: How do you evaluate the recent price action in Ethereum and Bitcoin? Is there a risk of it being a bubble?
E: I think digital currencies offer one of the largest investing opportunities in a lifetime. The supply of Ethereum and Bitcoin is capped, unlike fiat currencies where an infinite amount of USD can be printed. You are investing in something that is provably scarce, while at the same time the general public are just finding out about it. More and more people are learning that Ethereum is up over 2,000% this year, which means others are going to be interested in investing in it as well. We are still in the infancy stages of this technology, and there is certainly much more room to grow. Ethereum is positioned to be the platform for the Internet of Things. Bloomberg said that IoT is a 19 Trillion USD market.
If Ethereum were to capture even 1% of this market, that would imply a per coin price of over $2,000 USD.
As for all this “bubble” talk, of course there is always risk in a highly volatile market. Digital currencies regularly swing plus or minus 20% or more in one day. However if you zoom out on the graph and look at Bitcoin and Ethereum’s market cap, you see that the overall trend is up. And this is without the general public really using digital currencies on a day to day basis. Ethereum is poised to become the next evolution of the Internet, Web 3.0. When that truly happens, I think we will see a much larger upward move with cryptocurrencies than we’ve seen so far.
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