Erica Stanford, founder of the Crypto Curry Club, tracks her journey with blockchain technology, its real value and the enterprise path to adoption
I first heard about crypto through a friend. Infected and intrigued by her enthusiasm, I started researching digital currencies, blockchain, decentralisation, and soon saw what the potential of the technology was.
If you have ever spent a lot of time in Asia and South America, you are familiar with how hard it can be to get money from A to B, how extortionate remittance companies are, and how unreliable local services can be.
I once had three cards stolen in Guatemala. The third time I was staying in a remote village and had no other means of getting money to pay for anything, so I had to walk several miles through not the safest part of Guatemala to the nearest Western Union. My dad sent me some money from the UK- and it arrived 3 days later, but for that they charged 14 percent.
As soon as I read about digital currencies and blockchain and especially once I started playing with crypto and sending small transactions, I could see instantly that it had the potential to leverage something frustratingly absent from international finance. Not only for the 2.5 billion who don’t have access to banking around the world and who have historically been the biggest victims of the awful remittance companies, but how much better the experience and principle is of being able to send any amount of value to anyone else around the world, instantly, for free- and being in full control of that transaction.
I followed this up by researching other use cases. I discovered possibilities for improving supply chain provenance, ensuring sustainability and for improving competition in energy markets. Energy conglomerates have a huge monopoly over the market, blockchain and smart contracts can put energy suppliers direct to the users, potentially saving up to 60 percent capital of which would otherwise go to the energy company.
Not only is there immense value in direct transactions, especially for micropayments, but blockchain has a unique ability to safely and reliably connect users to suppliers without middlemen. Blockchain’s ability to show full transparency for all transactions could literally change voting, democracy, and reveal how much corruption and inefficiency there is in all banks, companies and charities. But for this vision to be realised it requires a radical overhaul of how all companies work.
The real value of cryptocurrencies and DLT
Cryptocurrencies have been until now mostly seen as a way to make money through fundraising for ICOs, investing or trading, but that’s missing the point.
Digital currencies have huge capabilities. It it is now possible to make free microtransactions, track and fully trace every transaction, apply rules onto a currency (by controlling how, where and when it can be spent) in ways that are totally impossible currently with fiat.