The air was certainly buzzing at the recent North American BitCoin Conference in Miami. A recent, ongoing retreat in the price of a BitCoin, and in the outsized valuations of late 2017 ICOs, did nothing to dampen the spirits of the attendees. Other writers have noted the positive mindset that seemed to pervade the discussions and networking sessions, but the idea that “just any ICO” would get millions in the door has still taken a big hit, and people shopping ICO offerings in Miami definitely had more of a “show me” attitude than they would have had just 30 days ago.
Case in point was the interest shown to the presentation by Tom Meredith, the CEO and founder of BitMinutes. This cryptocurrency had a couple of attractive features that others at the conference might want to emulate.
First was the intriguing idea that the BitMinute has been in use as a token of exchange in the money transfer operations of BitMinute’s parent company P2P Cash for over three years. It has an actual track record!
Second, a direct extension of that, was the connection of BitMinutes to prepaid airtime minutes, which are already serving as an informal medium of exchange between mobile phone “wallets.” The BitMinute angle is to make those prepaid minutes convertible, and exchangeable between mobile phone networks and across borders, which they are not as yet.
“Our BitMinute is exchangeable for prepaid airtime minutes, which are already becoming a generally accepted informal currency within most of the communities we will be targeting,” Meredith noted in his presentation.
Third, the venture has a social mission tied to its money-making ideas in those communities he referenced. Cycles of poverty in poor corners of the world can be broken with the delivery of transparent, reliable, trustworthy financial services and investments (micro loans and the like). Blockchain-based cryptocurrency systems could be the vehicle for delivering those services profitably.
“Once the consumer has a BitMinute account, all transactions are tracked,” explained Meredith. “This leads to a formal credit history. This in turn leads to the ability of a cloud-based lender to lend micro loans and nano loans with more confidence. This lowers the interest the lenders have to charge. This leaves more money in the borrower’s pocket to invest. Do you see the virtuous economic cycle we can start here?”
This is practical, long-term, sound-business-plan stuff! Not what I expected to find amid the crazy, mostly ungrounded ideas floating around the ether in the corridors of a BitCoin conference. This sort of blocking-and-tackling approach to solving world problems profitably might be the sort of ICO you see taking over as the hysteria of late 2017 fades.