Regulatory experts from the European Commission, representatives of European banks and Bitcoin startups coincided last week in Brussels at the Blockchain and Digital Currencies Workshop. Alberto, our CEO, was a speaker at the event to present the prototypes of financial products based on the blockchain technology, currently being developed by Coinffeine for some Spanish banks, and he used the occasion to show how the latest version of the application works. It was made available from our downloads page just a few days later.
The event began with an introduction to the technical aspects of Bitcoin, and an analysis of its legal nature and its regulation. The attendees were interested in knowing more about the initiatives created by companies in the ecosystem such as Coinffeine, Circle or Ethereum and how they are generating business. A special interest was shown for the initiatives from Bitcoin companies that are working with banks, as is the case of Coinffeine. This is understandable, because among the participants were representatives from many major European banks, as for example the director of BBVA’s European Affairs Office in Brussels.
During the subsequent networking Alberto provoked reaction of the audience by presenting an assumed scenario that symbolically represented the paradigm shift that the blockchain technology represents. He asked the audience to think of the possible publication of the name of their children and the school they attend on the internet. He further explained how this message can not be deleted if it was written in the blockchain. The attendees were alarmed by this fact, and reasoned that to use the well-known right to be forgotten and ask Google to remove information from the internet, is not possible with the blockchain.
The conclusion we draw from our intervention is that members of the commission understood the importance of knowing more about a technology like Bitcoin. They support the need to develop an approach to new entrepreneurial initiatives and businesses emerging in the ecosystem. It was especially relevant to see the importance given by attendees to the synergies between banks and Bitcoin companies currently happening in Spain. Spain is home to some of the largest banks in world, so it is not a coincidence that two spanish banks are partners with Bitcoin companies: Bankinter with Coinffeine and BBVA with Coinbase.
The title of the panel was precisely the point of Alberto’s intervention: “Why banks should (not) be afraid of cryptocurrencies”. And we believe that the presentation and the example of Coinffeine helped to emphasize just that.