“The technology is here, it’s all up to us”
11Onze kicked off the FintechTalks talking about cryptocurrencies with CTO Raul Arribas at the Monday coworking. He explained the basic concepts of cryptocurrencies while answering questions from the audience. Agent 11Onze Xavi Viñolas details how it went.
It’s already dark in Barcelona even though it’s only six in the evening. There’s an hour left before the audience starts to enter, and Gerard and Pere place the 11Onze logo on the stage. There are three high chairs, one where Raul will sit, and to his right Xavi Bassons, CEO of Monday, and Gemma Vallet, CMO of 11Onze, who will ask him questions.
Inside, everything is almost ready. Outside, Monday’s staff set up some tables for drinks outside at the end of the event. Monday’s courtyard is a kind of restored ‘frontón’ court. And during the lecture Raul will be exactly that, a ‘frontón’ court that will be bouncing back the increasingly precise questions from the audience. The event is sold out and Raul doesn’t know it yet, but he will end the evening chatting animatedly with some members of the audience.
The talk begins with introductory questions by Gemma Vallet and Xavi Bassons: What are cryptocurrencies, how do they work, will they end up replacing current money? But the conversation becomes more sophisticated with questions from the audience: can cryptocurrency miners collaborate with each other to control the system? Is it possible for current regulators to issue cryptocurrencies, or will they cease to be of interest to the public? How many of the 8,000 cryptocurrencies that currently exist will still exist in a few years’ time? And the most common question, formulated in various ways: which cryptocurrency do you like the most? Which one would you invest in?
Raul Arribas answers the most complex questions with exuberant technical precision. And he does not shy away from the debate. When asked whether we can trust the value of a cryptocurrency because there is no regulator, he answers by asking whether we can trust the value of any currency, because it is set by a regulator in its own interests. When asked how cryptocurrencies can help the environment, he responds by asking how the global financial system is helping the environment. It is an interesting dialectic: we demand things from technology and new finance that we do not demand from the companies, governments, and organisations that currently control the economic system. But it also opens a door of hope: “the technology is here, now it’s up to us”.
The interaction with the audience continues with a barrage of questions. An Argentinian guy suggests that perhaps his country will be a world power in cryptocurrency mining, given the low cost of energy. Others question the stability of digital currencies, and everyone enthusiastically wants to know which cryptocurrency they should invest in. Raul doesn’t shy away from it either: “I don’t know, if I knew I’d be rich! This is part of the fun of these new projects, they are an unknown quantity. Will they consolidate? Which ones will disappear? Raul compares it to the dot-com bubble. It is true that many of them disappeared, but that did not mean that neither websites nor technology businesses disappeared. On the contrary: those that did consolidate became giants that have shaped the world. A similar pattern may occur with cryptocurrencies, but it is now unpredictable.
Raul does not shrink back, and answers all questions diligently and professionally, insisting not to be taken for an oracle, that he cannot predict the future of cryptocurrencies. But the exchange with the audience also highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of our society, which not only accepts paradigm shifts, but celebrates them and wants to be part of the change.
Eight o’clock in the evening arrives, and now it is time to relax on the terrace over a beer. Three guys get closer and ask what Les Peles (the token of La Plaça) are. Others approach Raul to finish asking something they haven’t mentioned during the chat. People with interest, learning how to face the future and asking, asking and asking and asking. The conversation is underway, 11Onze’s goal of building a financial community is consolidating. Soon, you will be able to see the full talk at La Plaça.
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