I recently attended a networking event called, “The Power of Blockchain” hosted by the Capital Area Information Technology Council (CAITC). David Smith, the keynote, is the Managing Director for the Bitcoin Strategic Trading Fund. “Do you want to change your life?” David asked while continuing to describe his obsession with Blockchain. Since 2012, he has been absorbed. As a matter of fact, he credits an investment made in that year to why he is in the position he finds himself in today.

David described our current monetary system as broken. We are using paper money in a digital age. Audience members were shown in detail how banks and other financial institutions collect various fees from us including atm, monthly, and minimum balance, all while capitalizing on the lack of access we have to our own money. David then asked an audience member to download Bitcoin, and then sent him a free $15 in under a minute.

Blockchain was described as a set of blocks or financial records that acts as a shared public ledger. When a transaction is completed, it is then linked together with other completed transactions in a block. Next, the block is linked with other blocks through a process known as “mining.” Miners are people who get paid bitcoins or similar in exchange for help in validating the transaction. Everything is linked using cryptography, so data and transactions cannot be deleted and are visible to all parties. Bitcoin, is just one platform that utilizes the blockchain model.

The special thing about this technology is that it is decentralized, meaning no government, bank, or private-sector corporation has ownership or control over it. The Bitcoin network as mentioned, is controlled by thousands of computers globally working on completing and recording transactions. This is a major deal for citizens of the world who have no trust in their government or financial institutions when dealing with their own money.

When you think about what is possible, I admit the idea of blockchain or cryptocurrency is exciting. I was under the impression that many audience members wanted to gain knowledge on how they, too, could become successful from this technology almost overnight. Those answers were not given but an assortment of resources was. David even gave away a few books to some lucky hand raisers. Overall, it was beneficial.

The best part about the presentation was the end, where it was announced that he was 35 years old and fully retired. He laughed about not wearing the suit he had for a few years and how he spends more time with his young son now more than ever. I think most of us missed the mark with Bitcoin as far as timing, but it is certainly something to monitor in the future.