On Bitcoin: Luis Buenaventura

Recently I wrote an article about Bitcoin for Adobo Magazine. It was fun to do the research, and I got to interview some pretty cool people.

One person the editor suggested I talk to was fintech entrepreneur Luis Buenaventura. I had met Luis some years ago, through mutual friends. I interviewed him for Homegrown too, about his business, Infinite.ly. This time I got to pick his brains about Bitcoin. He was happy to answer a few questions.

Why is Bitcoin being called “the currency of the future”?

Bitcoin exists without the need for government or a central authority, so it’s truly the world’s first peer-to-peer digital money. Other forms of digital money have existed before, but they were created by private organizations who controlled their respective micro-economies, and these all eventually collapsed under the weight of their own ambition. Bitcoin was designed to resist being controlled by any large entity, and its value is decided purely by the open market.

How do people earn Bitcoin?

The same way they would earn any kind of money, by working for it, or by selling goods in exchange for it. The difference is that when you are paid in Bitcoin, the transaction fees are less than 3 pesos no matter what the amount. The bad news is that you often need to trade that Bitcoin for PHP if you want to spend it anywhere and this is typically the point where you incur some costs. In practice you lose about 1%, which is still not a bad deal if you compare it to getting paid through PayPal, or bank wire transfers.

Are there local businesses accepting or trading in Bitcoin?

Yes, a few. But it’s a niche technology right now and it doesn’t seem like it will be significantly more mainstream in the near future. Bitcoin is great for moving monetary value from one country to another but currently it’s difficult to use it as an everyday currency.

It’s fascinating to learn about Bitcoin from the people who are really working on it. One more Bitcoin interview coming up, so stay tuned!

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