Category Archives: Ideas

Bitcoin Is Not A Movement. It’s An Application Stack

Bitcoin Is Not A Movement. It’s An Application Stack

For some reason I tend to be a libertarian magnet. Every time I speak at a Bitcoin event I’m always approached by all the crazy libertarians in the room. In the main, they ask polite questions about where the world of Bitcoin is headed and what the legal landscape might look like in the coming years for Bitcoin. However, there always comes an uncomfortable moment where the question of the Bitcoin ‘movement’ is raised. You know the “Bitcoin is going to bring down governments” and “I use Bitcoin because the government can’t take it from me” comments – if you haven’t heard either of these you haven’t been to enough Bitcoin related events.

I can see why people think I might buy into this view of the world. I’m incredibly bullish on b/Bitcoin. On both fronts, I believe it’ll have a profound impact on the way a number of industries are organised – everything from the law to the way machines interact with each other. However, emphatically, I don’t believe in the ‘movement’.

I don’t think governments will topple (I think they’ll embrace it), I don’t think banks are at risk of being displaced (I think they’ll be the biggest adopters of Bitcoin/blockchain), I don’t think you’ll see it become the world’s reserve currency ( I think it’ll do for internet commerce what Paypal initially did – but at even larger scale).

Put simply, Bitcoin is not a movement. It’s an application stack. To use an oft quoted line (or in internet speak, a meme), it’s the “TCP/IP of value”.

Take solace my libertarian friends, Bitcoin is going to be massive – but just not in a ‘the global financial apocalypse is coming and I’m insulated by owning bitcoin’ kind of way. It’ll be a movement like the internet was a ‘movement’. It’ll functionally change the way we move value in the online age. However, no government will be brought down by the tidal wave of Bitcoin. It’ll simply ride the wave.

So if you see me at a conference or a meetup come over and chat. I love hearing views on where the hell Bitcoin is headed and how it’ll change the world. But just so you know, I don’t think bitcoin is going to bring down ‘our corrupt capitalist governments’ – I just think it’ll redefine how the world transfers value. Hopefully that’s enough of a ‘movement’.


Did you enjoy this post? If you did, make sure you sign up to to The Week In Bitcoin – a FREE weekly curated newsletter that takes the most important news in Bitcoin and delivers to your inbox every Friday at 2pm.
Have Your Customers Grow Your Start-up For You

Have Your Customers Grow Your Start-up For You

You’ve validated your idea and you have your first customers using your product (they might even be paying for it). Now it’s time to grow! This is where the real work starts.

Constantly trying to refill the top end of the funnel can, at times, be an impossibly challenging thing to do. However, as entrepreneurs this is our job. We need to be finding ways to get hoards of new customers coming in the ‘door’. It’s our never ending story – giant flying dog  and all (link provided for those too young to get the reference).

The dangerous irony of focusing too much of your efforts on the top end of the funnel is that you can start to neglect the users who are already actively engaged with your product or service. The reality is that your current users will likely be the ones who fuel the growth of your start-up in the short to medium term. In fact, if you look at many high growth companies, you’ll notice that they focused a lot of their initial efforts on getting their early adopters to spread the word for them. Think companies like Dropbox, Uber and Mailbox. They were all initially able to grow through finding ways to entice their initial users base to recruit new users for them. Although a seemingly simple tactic, it’s exceptionally hard to execute on.

A New Look And A Fresh Focus

A New Look And A Fresh Focus

Wow, it’s been a while since I put ‘pen to paper’ and wrote a post.

For anyone that’s visited alantsen.com before you’ll notice that I’ve completely revamped the site. It’s a new site with a new focus.

Why the change?

I enjoy writing and I think sharing knowledge is something we should all strive to do more often. It’s always surprising how useful little insights can be to others – I know I’ve learnt a ton from other blogs.

I decided that a focus on writing is what I needed for my site. No clutter, no distractions, no needless links to my Twitter or linkdin profile – just words used to form ideas that you may find interesting.

One of my favourite companies

I’m a fan of studying businesses. They provide awesome insights into what works and what doesn’t work. The real world is the best test of a business plan and its execution.

One of the businesses that I love reading about is Zappos.com. If you haven’t heard of them you need to check them out HERE. Here is a really brief background:

Zappos.com was founded in 1999 with the goal of becoming the premiere destination for online shoes (according to their website).

Google Energy. Really?

Google Energy. Really?

I saw this interesting article today on fastcompany.com regarding Google’s latest foray – green technology.

This is nothing new for those in the know. Over the last few years Google has quietly been investing, via Google Ventures, in green tech. The article notes previous investment in ’geothermal technology, smart grid ventures, electric cars, and wind power’.

The article points out that Google incorporated a Delaware entity in late 2009 named Google Energy and earlier this week it applied to buy and sell carbon credits on the wholesale market!

The article postulates a very reasonable answer to the million dollar question. Why? It is noted that Google Energy may simply be used as Google’s carbon trading entity to aid in their quest to reach carbon neutrality.

However, this is Google we are talking about – the ultimate market disrupter. Who knows, maybe soon we will see Google packaging up carbon derivatives or starting a utility division.

Things I’m (currently) excited about in 2010

The new year seems to be bringing with it a plethora of new and exciting gadgets, ideas and start-ups. Here is a short list of things I’m really excited about in 2010.

The Apple Tablet

Rumour has it that the iSlate (as it seems it will be called) is going to be released on either the 26th or 27th of January. The excitement this thing is creating on the net is amazing.

Personally, I think the real story from the Apple tablet release will be what it will do for Apple in the business market. Most business people love mobile anything (think the laptop, Blackberry, iPhone etc), and if the iPhone was Apple’s entree into the business space the tablet could be its main meal. The possibilities that the tablet creates in the mobile computing space for entrepreneurs is amazing. Bring on the iSlate.

The First Post

So this is my first post.

I assume it is customary (if not polite) to give those who are reading this a brief insight into what this blog is about. If this is the case – I’m sorry to be rude, but I’m just not sure yet.

Having said this, I do intend to blog on the wonderful world of business. I’m passionate about start-ups and brilliant new business ideas. I’m also passionate about how businesses can make a difference in the community.  So expect these topics to make regular appearances.

I hope you enjoy my random musings and don’t forget to drop me a line at hi@alantsen.com.