Bitcoin — distributing power & trust | Eric Spano | TEDxConcordia

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Eric makes the case for distributed technologies and the advantages that they offer to finance, law and society as a whole.

Eric is a former public accountant that became heavily involved with digital currencies in 2012. He is actively involved in Canada’s Bitcoin community and serves as director of several NPOs while running a digital currency payment processor called Bylls.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

40 Comments on Bitcoin — distributing power & trust | Eric Spano | TEDxConcordia

  1. this year wasn`t a BTC year though… and some were speculating it will
    reach $10k…. maybe next year =] or next… or never -.-

    • have you checked the prices lately…? like, let`s say, today…? the
      optimism in your comments seems a bit unfounded for how history of BTC has
      been so far…

    • +movement2contact
      “the optimism in your comments seems a bit unfounded for how history of BTC
      has been so far…”

      listen, i’m not even super into bitcoin (anymore), it’s got some real
      criticisms as far as security go, but as far as history of BTC goes, **
      it’s by far the best performing asset in the past 10 years by an order of
      magnitude.** it could go to $.01 a piece and still outperform every payment
      system that exists….

  2. He should have mentioned that he could have just as easily sent $100,
    $1000, $1000000 or any other amount for the same 

  3. There is only one problem: Nothing guarantees the value behind 1btc. There
    is no army, no population of tax payers and no internal value. So, if the
    government declares them illegal, it could not confiscate them, but it
    could make it very hard to exchange it with local money or buy everyday
    items with it. Even in Europe several countries conseidered abolishing cash
    in order to extend the control over the people (so that they would need to
    use their creditcard for drugs and prostitution). Thus Bitcoin is their
    nightmare. Didn’t the US and China argue that bitcoin would be for
    financing crime and terror and thus need to be banned?

    • The value comes from people using it. The same rules apply to any other
      currency, if the people stop using U.S. Dollars or decide to stop working
      the value would crash. Same as Bitcoin, as long as people use it, it is

    • +Robert Martinez
      Do you know the rumor about the Iraq war? It is said that Iraq wanted to
      sell its oil independendly of the dollar price. Economical sabotage and
      assassination attempts failed repetedly… I cannot confirm the story, but
      from what I know economical sabotage and financing of terror groups that
      intended to kill Sadam are fact. The US won’t allow any state to undertake
      measures decreasing the value of the US dollar. Only the Chinese would be
      in the position to do so (due to their deposits and military power )

    • +edi What you just said is no rumor but the sad reality. All major US wars
      are basically to protect the use of the USD. This is also the same reason
      for the sanctions against Russia from Visa and Mastercard. Russia and China
      just signed a huge deal where Russia will sell oil to Chinese in a
      Rupee/Yuan deal. The great thing about bitcoin is that it is global,
      decentralized, private but more importantly: open source. There is no one
      to point your gun at. That’s why it is a very subversive technology.

    • +edi Bitcoin is backed by the same thing that backs any money, when people
      believe it is valuable. Bitcoin will only buy me your service if you choose
      to accept it. That being said, at least more Bitcoin are not being dumped
      into circulation (think Quantitative Easing), reducing the purchasing power
      of what you have. The value of Bitcoin comes from predictable supply, and
      the network of participants. It is valuable because it is useful.

  4. Can anyone here explain how bitcoin can be safe from hacking and other
    means of corruption? It send, to me, to be almost impossible for a digital
    currency to be 100% safe. Although I do see the need for an alternative to
    fiat currency, which clearly doesn’t work.

  5. Is there any chance that someone can tell me where he got the statistics he
    uses or the data for them? I just need an official source for my LLB thesis
    and unfortunately I can’t use a youtube video for that. Any info is

    • +user1234 which stats would you like backup for? send me a message and i’ll
      provide you with whatever resources you need. cheers!

    • Hey Eric, I just saw your message. This was for my LL.B thesis, but I found
      what I needed 4 months ago. Luckily I am done now, but I appreciate your
      reply! Thank you!

  6. I am always looking for new ways to introduce people to Bitcoin. This was a
    fantastic talk and really emphasized why we should care. Great job!
    +ChangeTip, send $3.

  7. I have just one question… When he sent the 50 cents to Ukraine he said he
    was charged 5 cents for the transaction, where does these 5 cents
    administration charge go?

  8. Maybe I did not paid enough attention, but suppose I’ve sent 10 BTC in
    Africa .. how is the receiver going to use/ spend the BTC?
    I’m not sure they have all the infrastructure set there..

    • +Madalin Mocanita the receiver will only be able to use/spend the BTC
      locally if there is another person who is willing to accept the BTC as
      payment for a good or service, or by exchanging it with someone that would
      like to purchase BTC with their local currency. otherwise, they can spend
      their BTC online

    • +Eric Spano that is of course self explanatory. My point was in respect to
      exchanging BTC to local currency, since at one point even the good or
      service will need a “translation”. I still believe that a successful
      episode would be when BTC is universal accepted, as fiats. But you are
      right, they could spend the BTC online, regardless of this constraint.

    • +Madalin Mocanita

      Many places in Africa are not ignoring local currencies and using
      “cellphone” money instead. It is safer for many to not carry physical
      money, as they can’t get rubbed. Commerce and sellers will eventually start
      accepting bitcoin directly instead of using local currencies.

  9. Very coherent speech and quite easily digestible. I was hoping that at some
    point he would touch on the subject of the dangers of sending funds
    anonymously. Anything illegal can be funded much more easily with a digital
    anonymous currency. Weapons, drugs, pandering, money laundering. Sure, to
    an extent paper currency is just as anonymous if the exchanging parties
    never meet in person, but there is a physical limitation to how and where
    you can spend it. On the other hand, Bitcoin can be spent anywhere in any
    amount for any purpose anonymously with very little effort.

  10. fabulous heads-up for newbies. I’ll watch several times and memorize so I
    can be a part of the future that is already beginning to appear around the
    world. Wow, I had no idea of the impending benefice impacts of bitcoin! I’m
    watching this 10/2015 and can’t believe there’s only 23K views. This should
    have hit 1mil views by now… Incredibly concise and well presented, Eric~!
    wow, wow

  11. Before making decisions on monetary policy FED considers general economic
    conditions in the country, alternatives of monetary policy, forecasts of
    the economy ( FOMC 200 Phd economists conduct economic researchs on
    economic conditions, alternatives of monetary policy etc.). All of these
    are done in order to make money supply proportional to the total output of
    the economy. And, this is directly job of economists who studies the
    BEHAVIOUR humanbeings on decision making. So, how mathematical formulas
    could predict the behaviour of humans??? Moreover, if there is no any
    institution controlling the supply of bitcoin, and if it is produced at
    predermined rate every 10 minutes. How the total supply of bitcoin can be
    proportional to the total output in the economy???

    • +David Murphy as you seem to have figured out, bitcoin supply can’t be
      changed. If there is more economic activity based on bitcoin, that leaves
      only one option – each bitcoin becoming priced more than before. which
      shouldn’t be a problem because each coin is very divisible. Bitcoin is a
      voluntary system, if anyone doesn’t want to use it they don’t have to.

  12. It is great and awesome, just one thing, in poor parts of countries they
    rely on physical money, and there is no internet and no mobile phones, how
    could you move an entire country’s financial system to bitcoin and cover
    those cases?

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