Sponsored by CoinPip (Singapore), KL's first Boost:Bitcoin party recently took place at BBQ Garden, a leafy outdoor oasis perched on the rooftop of Life Centre. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the restaurant is one of the first to accept Bitcoin payments which is a pretty bold move, given that Bank Negara Malaysia has stated that bitcoin is not recognized as legal tender in the country.
So what exactly is a Boost:Bitcoin party? These free events invite curious newcomers to learn all about the basics of bitcoin. Experts located at the 'Satoshi Desk' will be on hand to help users set up wallets and buy bitcoins. From there, it's entirely up to users to spend, save or even give away their bitcoins as they please. And that's the real beauty of the idea, as it offers complete control over what they can do with their money.
The main speaker at this event was Antony Lewis, a business developer who left Credit Suisse for itBit, Singapore's largest bitcoin exchange. After explaining the basics of bitcoin, Lewis then went on to debunk some myths surrounding the cryptocurrency:
No amount is too small. You can buy bitcoins worth 0.000000001.
Difficult to trace
Whenever you receive or send money, you're creating transactions on the blogchain that can still be traced back to you.
It can be hacked
Bitcoin has a long history of being hacked, but Lewis stets that it has never happened significantly. As he puts it, "When a bank gets robbed, you don't blame the ringgit; you blame the bank and its security." So don't let those reports about Mt. Gox scare you from at least checking it out.
It has no intrinsic value
Saying bitcoin has no value is like saying TCP, IP or the internet has no value. So this only applies if you think having the ability to control your money, to stash it away from oppressive regimes, or to send it for free anywhere you want has no value.
It can be exploited
If you're thinking about doing something illegal using bitcoins, you will probably be better off sticking with cash. Once someone associates an address with you, they can see all the payments you've received and sent, which can be traced all the way back to when you started an account. In short, these transactions will be on the blogchain FOREVER.
You can tell that Lewis truly believes that bitcoins will be a gamechanger in the world of business. He ended his speech by saying:
"I see a world where we'll tell our children or grandchildren about the time when every country had their own money, whose values fluctuated independently, some under complete government control, making it difficult to do international trade."
"I can hear future generations ask us: If the price was different everywhere you went, how on earth did you properly value anything before bitcoin?'
It's a little too early to say if other local merchants will hop on board the bitcoin bandwagon, but it would certainly be interesting to see how Malaysians will adapt to such payment transactions.
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