Building on the Frontier: A Conversation with Aaron Wagener of MXC on the New Era of Cryptocurrency
2018 has seen the world of cryptocurrency enter a new stage. Like any momentous chapter of history, the actors, events, and the impact of cryptocurrency’s initial rise to public prominence will be contested for some time. Perhaps all of time.
But among advocates and critics of cryptocurrency, there is a shared sense the first chapter has now concluded. Bitcoin has won public interest, skyrocketed in price, and then returned to a more modest price point.
Optimists predict ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’. Cynics say the boom is already over. But whatever the view, the regress of Bitcoin after soaring to record heights has dampened investor confidence‚ and led many to question the long term viability of cryptocurrencies.
For Aaron Wagener, the COO & Co-Founder @MXCfoundation this is not only something he recognises‚ but identifies opportunity in. Rather than suggest the market mood is wrong‚ or doubts are baseless — Aaron agrees with them!
‘Of the 1000s of coins out there, the majority don’t have a truly defined purpose to be used in day to day life. This causes a lot of mistrust within society, and rightfully so!’‚ says Aaron.
He just wants people to take a second look now. To give those truly impassioned about cryptocurrency a second look.
‘What were trying to do at (Machine Exchange Coin) MXC is to re-define “cryptocurrency”. We want to restore confidence. To close the book on this “crypto hype’’ chapter we’ve seen‚ and now in this new era set about providing a true currency with a compelling purpose.’
MXC has a strong but simple concept. It aspires to deliver decentralised data utilising a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN). By automating big data exchanges from machine to machine (M2M), the MXC team not only wish to innovate and inspire by delivering a speedy and efficient service, but rebuild the global confidence in cryptocurrency as a concept — and lead that effort.
The Old and New Era
While there are broad strokes and many shades of grey‚ the big divide today in the world of currency today is between the established proprietors of fiat currency and the disruptors of the crypto scene. Some convergence has been seen between the two sides that have diminished old divides‚ but the gulf of course remains huge.
Crypto proponents advocate for change from the ‘business as usual’ system that has been shown to have substantive flaws. Established proprietors agree change is coming‚ but plead it will be best achieved by entrusting it to their hands, waiting, and meantime avoiding cryptos.
In charting its course MXC is clearly seeking to pioneer a new path. One that will make some advocates uneasy, but also silence the critics.
‘With the rise of digital currencies, we’ve opened Pandora’s box, this simply won’t go away. And sure we’ve seen some volatility. But people often forget, the 1980’s stock market had volatility. But that didn’t stop it from progressing’‚ says Aaron.
‘The same with digital currency. The past few years it has been the ‘Wild West’, and like any new frontier it’s been chaotic. But now I think we’re moving to the next chapter. It can’t go overlooked how many of us like my team and I here at MXC want to play a really positive role in that era.’
‘I think there’s two key points to recognise here. The first is that, like I said about Pandora’s box: the world has opened its eyes to the very early possibilities now. Those “eyes” are open, and they can’t simply be closed now.’
Finding Common Ground with Government
While Aaron’s optimism is strong, he also recognises crypto founders can negotiate from a strong position.
‘The industry will keep going and growing, and I think government needs to recognise that. Taking a combative approach to dealing with the cryptocurrency industry as a whole will not do. It’s far too diverse, fluid, and resourceful’, says Aaron.
But provided a good faith understanding is in place as a foundation, then every fair option is on the table. I personally would very much welcome the opportunity to work together with government to bring in smart legislation that sees both currencies thrive and consumers enjoy a level of protection. For my team, we want confident investors, that’s why we support accountability.’
Data Is Not Dirty
Aaron is also passionate about redefining the data debate. To shift beyond the old standard that has been grown in the past decade with the rise of social media, and to redefine the balance.
In doing so, Aaron identifies a positive step forward for the debate with the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law.
‘We welcome the new GDPR laws here in Europe. We don’t store customer data. We trade big data, not identifiable data. I really want to stress that as it is a key point: we do not and will not sell personal data’, says Aaron.
‘We don’t know information regarding your income or where you live. We only deal with non-identifiable industry data such as air quality, soil moisture, soil hydration, stuff like that. For too long we feel the use of data by business has been way too skewed.’
‘I don’t feel that balance is right at the moment — so while we don’t deal in personal data — we are absolutely a supporter of anything that shifts the balance back to the favour of the individual.
We’re all about decentralisation, and individual power is at the heart of that.’
The recent scandals that emerged surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were a particularly hot topic about the MXC team. For Aaron these moments are a chance for the cryptocurrency industry to highlight the difference between existing tech that hasn’t served us properly, and new tech that could deliver on its promise and be truly faultless in what it offers.
‘I feel these recent events show we cannot accept digital being damned and all emerging tech getting thrown into one basket with Facebook and Co. I also regard leading the conversation about good and bad use of data a key part of MXC — to make clear the difference we offer going forward’, says Aaron.
‘We have a new industry here. People are skeptical, we see the reasons for that, and we understand it. We’re about building a positive platform for people, and with their rights respected and upheld.’
The New Frontier
For Aaron and his team, the order of the day is full steam ahead. Prudent but unapologetic, considered but confident, and ready to back regulation while defending cryptos founding values.
‘That Wild West era of cryptos that originally started saw a lot of mistakes. But they showed the industries weaknesses too’‚ says Aaron.
‘We learned from them, and now this new wave is building for the better. MXC is at the heart of it. We’re ready to lead the conversation in this new era.’
And if there was one call to action for other like-minded crypto professionals in the field?
‘I feel we need to do a better job in articulating what we are doing and why it’s valuable. We need to provide real purpose. Also to do a better job defending our industry as a whole. We’ve so much to be positive and proud of — if we come to speak in one voice, it’ll be all the stronger for it.’