Scottish Bitcoin Conference 2014

Ross Nicoll bio photo By Ross Nicoll

So the big thing for me this week has been attending the first Scottish Bitcoin Conference. It's been really interesting to find out what's going on in the Bitcoin and altcoin space in general, and an excellent opportunity to meet and network. This week's news will primarily involve my notes from the conference; note that I do not necessarily agree with all points stated (or even most), these are just the parts I thought was interesting.

First though, 1.8 is currently being prepared for release. Patrick & I spent several hours earlier today doing a large-scale stress test on the testnet, and it all looks rock solid. I started up 12 relay nodes, 2 mining pools (one mining LTC and DOGE, one DOGE only) and a desktop client in addition to the existing infrastructure in place, and then pointed rented rigs at each of the mining pools in an attempt to cause a fork. Meanwhile, Patrick generated up to 100 transactions a minute (10 times the normal load on production), and ran his own mining rig. Everything worked smoothly, with no problems arising, which is extremely positive.

Back to the conference, and apologies this is going to be a bit rambly as I'm in a rush right now. There conference consisted of a full day of talks on a wide range of topics including economy, investment, regulation, services, etc.

Probably the most exciting part for most of the Dogecoin community was that I had an opportunity to talk to Wouter Vonk BitPay about altcoin adoption, and while certainly no timeline was suggested, BitPay are open to the idea and the main concern raised was that market volume needs to be enough to handle the sort of trade volume they see. A lot of BitPay's customers opt to exchange directly through to conventional currencies rather than hold cryptocurrencies, and BitPay needs to know they can exchange the coins they receive into conventional currency. For scale, BitPay cleared €7mil in transactions in 2013, and €26mil in 2014 so far.

I'll follow up with Wouter in the next couple of days, perhaps see if there's scope for adoption by smaller merchants only, and offer our assistance if they want to adopt Dogecoin. The other takeaway from this was that they were really interested to know what our volume through existing payment processors is like, as well as general volume. Market research and business intelligence data gathering are therefore things we need to be looking at more (and I'll touch on those later).

Talking of trading, volatility was discussed in a number of the talks, and I personally found it interesting that while volatility scares off western users, it reportedly attracts Chinese users. One presenter suggested that volatility drives trading and that traders are required to bring money into the market; I agree with the first statement but disagree with the second (traders provide liquidity, but tend to remove value from the market in terms of their profits, rather than adding it).

Garrick Hileman gave a talk on the economic context of Bitcoin, and here the scale of other digital currencies is also interesting as a comparison for the current market cap of Dogecoin and scope for future growth. The now defunct Beenz apparently attracted $100m in VC funding. Compare with the current market cap of Dogecoin at $10m and hopefully it's clear just how much room there is for Dogecoin to grow. Garrick's talk also touched on inflation, and at the current time over 70 countries have an inflation rate above 5% (the predicted peak inflation rate for Doge once the main mining period ends).

Lastly, there was a really interesting talk from Lui Smyth of Coinjar about who Bitcoin early adopters are, and I wanted to look at gathering some comparable statistics for Dogecoin. The Bitcoin users surveyed tend to have a median age of 30, 60% have never mined (up from 50% in 2013), and the majority are not libertarian (although the libertarian groups have adopted Bitcoin in a big way).

So, I'd like to gather some data on who uses Dogecoin and how you use it. I've put together an anonymous survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/36QB3BX - if you could complete whichever questions are you comfortable with, it would be greatly appreciated. Results in aggregate will be stored indefinitely and used for marketing purposes. No personally identifying information is retained by the survey setter (myself).