Brian Crain is a cohost of a Bitcoin podcast known as Epicenter Bitcoin. Every week they interview people in the cryptocurrency world and are helping to promote the growth of Bitcoin in Europe.
What caused you to become a Bitcoin believer?
Brian: I did my undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Chicago and later did a Masters in economics and philosophy at the LSE. I think that background significantly contributed to me immediately grasping the profound implications of Bitcoin when I first learned about it in May 2013. The idea of a decentralized, global, nationless, fast payment system, currency and ultimately financial system have enormous implications.
With Bitcoin starting to become mainstream, which Bitcoin site(s) do you find yourself spending the most time on?
Brian: CoinDesk, Bitcoin Reddit, Let’s Talk Bitcoin. Though I don’t spend too much time reading news. As far as blogs go, Tim Swanson’s and Richard Gendal Brown’s are both excellent.
Tell us a little bit about the Epicenter Bitcoin
Brian: Epicenter Bitcoin is a podcast about the technologies, projects & startups driving decentralization and the global cryptocurrency revolution. We release episodes every Monday both as audio and video. Our episodes are about an hour long and we generally have a guest on. We work hard on producing the highest quality content in the space that helps people understand better where this is all leading.
How has the acceptance of Bitcoin changed in Germany since you first got involved?
Brian: As far as I can tell, Bitcoin acceptance is pretty flat in Germany. Users have no incentive to pay with bitcoin and the lack of volume makes it pointless for merchants to integrate bitcoin payments. Hopefully that will change over time, but the network effects are working against bitcoin at this stage. But that being said, there are quite a few places in Berlin that accept Bitcoin.
What can you tell us about some exciting new Bitcoin startups?
Brian: I think the Lightning Network is very interesting. What Blockstream is doing with sidechains is also very novel and promising.
Some other startups that I find interesting are Ascribe who are using blockchain to allow better ownership of digital property, in particular digital art. Eris, who are bringing smart contracts to enterprises and offer much more modular consensus models. Open Bazaar is also a revolutionary project and I’m really excited that they managed to raise VC funding.
Where do you see Bitcoin in 5 years from now?
Brian: I tend to think of Bitcoin and the blockchain separately. I think blockchain technology will be embedded and powering a significant number of applications. Most importantly settlement and transferring off-chain assets. In some cases, Bitcoin might be used for that, but in many I don’t think using Bitcoin makes sense.
But Bitcoin is the best shot we have at creating a global currency and payment system and that is an incredible goal as well. In five years there is a good chance that Bitcoin will have become the preferred payment method in cases where traditional systems don’t work. Gambling, porn, marihuana, certain international payments, micropayments. And it might also be making serious inroads in online payments in general.