Bitcoin is great and safe, says, er, the Bitcoin Foundation

Gros fromage: As long as operators aren’t in jail, digital cash is the future

Web Summit Bitcoin will have its biggest impact in unstable regimes and foreign currency transfers, according to the Bitcoin Foundation's chief scientist Gavin Andresen.

Speaking at Web Summit 2014, the head boffin said the online virtual current offered a great way to sidestep unstable government-issued currencies when they were suffering from issues such as hyperinflation.

“Those are the places where having an alternative, where you can kind of go around the government currency, where Bitcoin will have the biggest societal impact,” Andresen told press at the event, while brandishing a hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollar he carries around.

"You’d think that central banks would have learnt their lesson ages ago, the nth time someone experienced hyperinflation, but apparently they haven’t."

He said that remittance was another area where Bitcoin could really make a difference, saving people from having to spend half the wages they wanted to send home on just sending it home.

“The Foundation works on keeping transaction fees inexpensive. We don’t want a world where Bitcoin remittance costs the same amount as wire transfers,” he said.

One area that would help the remittance sector would be Bitcoin ATMs – as long as they turn out to be legal.

“Assuming the regulations are settled so that the operators don’t go to jail, I think Bitcoin ATMs are great!” Andresen joked.

“I could really see that [kind of usage] taking off and taking Bitcoin mainstream," he said. "International use of Bitcoin will be the first mainstream use. Things like remittances, Bitcoin makes really easy and if there’s an ATM there, they can cash out immediately."

“And I’m also glad that there’s more than one company doing it so there’s competition,” he added.

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