How did you get into bitcoin and blockchain technology?
Rhian Lewis: I started trading cryptocurrencies in 2013. I found it difficult to track my balances – as we all know, cryptos are amazingly volatile – so because I’m a software engineer by trade, I coded a portfolio tracker to help me keep track.
After I released that and started talking to people in the community, it became a bug. I launched London Women in Bitcoin, became interested in the blockchain, and now I live, eat and breathe cryptocurrency.
Colin Platt: I used to work on the trading floor of a major European bank, where I heard about bitcoin, saw that the prices weren’t the same in different places and tried to arbitrage it. After making a little and losing a lot, I became really interested in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.
Is bitcoin a new-age currency or a speculative bubble?
CP: Can it be both?
Of course, everyone wants to be in at the beginning of the next internet; but nobody wants to be involved in the next big bubble. At the moment it’s hard to say which of those bitcoin is, because it is so hard to price.
RL: I think that you have to understand that with something like bitcoin, there is a scarcity value built into the very code itself. Bitcoin’s intangibility is interesting, because people don’t talk about fiat currencies being intangible and hard to price. But most fiat currencies don’t have the scarcity that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have.
What will drive bitcoin’s price this year?
CP: It’s hard to say. My take is that there are a lot of people wanting to invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but that it has been structurally very difficult to get involved. I’ve talked to investors who say they’ve been doing everything they can to buy bitcoin, but can’t.
RL: I think the on-ramp has been a huge problem for cryptocurrencies in general, because when we saw this sudden surge in interest last year, most of the exchanges actually closed their waiting lists. Nobody could exchange fiat currency for bitcoin, or bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies. Colin is right, there’s a huge pent-up demand.
Which other cryptocurrencies are you watching?
Colin and Rhian both gave their opinions on a huge range of cryptocurrencies, from bitcoin’s forks and litecoin, to the newcomers that could start making waves.
Watch the video above to find out which ones they think might take off in 2018, as well as what effect regulation might have, where you should place your stop-loss, whether the blockchain will end up outliving bitcoin, and much more.