Despite his ‘super interesting’ view of cryptocurrency and blockchain, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales tells delegates at the Block Seoul conference in South Korea that these technologies still have many challenges to overcome before they can be used in real world activities.
“I haven’t seen anything that will suggest that we’re on the verge of seeing mass consumer adoption of cryptocurrencies,” explained Wales, noting that it is too early to say and he is not willing to make a bet on what the world will look like in 20 years.
Wales has found himself speaking in another blockchain-focused event, this time in Seoul, despite criticizing the industry months ago. In his interview with Business Insider in July this year, he admitted that Wikipedia is never going to get involved with cryptocurrencies. Wikimedia Foundation, which owns and curates Wikipedia, accepts donations in BTC since 2014.
Wales joined a strong panel on the future of cybersecurity at the day 2 conference of the Block Seoul 2018. The panel was well-represented by figures from the government, including former New York State Governor David Paterson and former United States Director of National Intelligence David Clapper, as well as entrepreneur Sung Kim, CEO of Neoframe and Coredax.
Moderated by BTCC Founder Bobby Lee, the panel discussed the challenges of cybersecurity within the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. Paterson, who has earned praises for his efforts made as a governor during the 2008 fiscal crisis, has stated that neither government nor the blockchain community understand each other.
“Please remember that the Securities and Exchange Commission began in 1934. It began as a result of money that was frittered away in a lot of reckless schemes contributing to the stock market crashed in 1929. So there’s always been a sense that the public needs protection particularly from financial arrangements,” said Paterson. He also said that the government is not fully equipped to really understand every investment opportunity. However, Paterson pointed out that the government recognizes inventions and new technologies and there is always a mission to supporting these.
When it comes to regulation, Clapper believes that there is a case to be made. He said, “If people always behave with altruistic motivations then there wouldn’t be any need for regulation but invariably if there’s an opportunity to illicitly profit from something, people out there are going to take advantage of that.”
Wales added that the very fundamental nature of cryptocurrencies being global is also a challenge. He mentioned that major exchanges, which have experienced massive hacking globally in the recent years, are not necessarily in jurisdictions that have a strong tradition of safe and secure banking.
The session ended with the panelists stating their outlook on these technologies. Clapper thinks that there is a tremendous potential national security implication for blockchain technology that has yet to be exploited. In addition, Paterson sees this era with a positive attitude and stated that this isn’t the first time the U.S. has faced financial challenges. Referring to the days of John Dillinger and Jesse James, he stated, “they kind of got that worked out pretty much and maybe they’ll do it here as well.”
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