People are familiar with Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency, but the truth is, it has the potential to become more than that.

At a conference for financial engineering students at the Leonardo da Vinci (ESiLV) Graduate School of Engineering, nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright explained how the cryptocurrency will pave the way for an equity-based economy.

“[Bitcoin] is a cryptocurrency, but it’s more. What we want to start getting people to understand is that we don’t have the same economy with Bitcoin. In the past, everyone has the idea—that we built over the last 10,000 years—of a credit-based economy. With Bitcoin, we’re going to start teaching you of an equity-based economy. One where, instead of owning something that someone else really owns, like credit cards or whatever else, one where you split your house into a thousand shares or million shares and you raise money by owning equity on your own home,” Wright said.

nChain has been working to take the “interconnected network” farther, but Wright said the challenge is that there are no good user interfaces currently available that will make mainstream adoption easier.

“It works when my grandmother, [who] is just about 97, can use it and she doesn’t really like computers… When she can go up there and buy something and be securely using her Bitcoin without losing things, then it works. When someone in a third world country can then receive goods and services with bitcoin, it works. When we can send things globally and internationally easily and allow it to happen and go up to any store and just pay, it works. And like it or not, we don’t have good UIs,” Wright said.

Out of the shadows

nChain has been described as a secretive startup that was created to patent the blockchain.

Not true, said Jimmy Nguyen, chief IP, communications and legal officer of the blockchain research and technology outfit.

“What we are trying to do is find innovation to make it easier for all of these kinds of sectors and products and services—from financial services to legal, digital content, healthcare—companies in all these industries do more and we’re protecting that innovation,” Nguyen said.

The group’s goal is two-fold: To enable companies to perform more complicated functions on the Bitcoin network, and to find solutions that will help the network scare larger and faster.

“As fascinating and powerful as it is, it needs to scale larger,” Nguyen said. “So as a business, we have created the talent and facilities to create this enablement that will help everyone in the Bitcoin ecosystem win because if we are successful in doing those two things, scaling the network larger with our solutions and making it easier for companies to operate on the bitcoin Blockchain, then it’s going to grow.”