Friday, February 7, 2014

Washers, dryers, refrigerators, and... Dogecoins?

Washers, dryers, refrigerators, and... Dogecoins?

As most people that are familiar with me know, I have always attempted to track the trends in next-gen Internet technology. Of all the new tech that has launched or been demoed in the past few years, only a few things have made an impression, such as: Disney Research's Botanicus Interacticus, wireless energy harvesting used by enOcean, and Visible Light Communication (IEEE 802.15.7). Bitcoin was not one of those things. 

It took me a while to trust Bitcoin (BTC). Obviously, there are a lot of reasons for and against BTC, and I wont waste time elaborating on them here. What I will say is that, as an information security professional, I was very cautious. The underlying technology behind BTC is very promising, which is why I eventually changed my mind. There is a massive amount of potential for applications that can be driven using the base concept of a secure block chain. 

The accountability and traceable nature of Bitcoin transactions won me over. But, to me, there was something still a bit lacking in Bitcoin's community. The BTC community seems to be a polarized environment where either criminals or professionals are pushing their particular brand of "instant-millionaire" dreams on the masses. I'm all for professionalism, but I also appreciate a bit of realism and perspective when it comes to technology such as this. 

It was about this time that I was introduced to Dogecoin. What started out as a joke currency based on an adorable Internet meme pounced on the Internet only a few short months ago. Dogecoin quickly gained traction worldwide, and has grown into a community of tens of thousands of users. Its current market value is somewhere just under 50 Million USD, an impressive feat for a currency that is only worth (at the time of writing) $0.0013 per coin. 

While the Dogecoin founders did not expect the currency to last, they are making smart decisions regarding the potential longevity of the coin. They've asserted that the coin will be uncapped, allowing new coins to be generated for the lifetime of the Dogecoin network. This is in contrast to other popular coins, such as Litecoin and Bitcoin, whose developers intend the currencies to have a finite number of coins. 

The Dogecoin founders also heavily invest their time and currency in philanthropy. They (and the Dogecoin community itself) have donated tens of thousands of dollars to very worthy causes such as: getting the Jamaican Bobsleigh team to Sochi, getting a luger to Sochi, and donating to a charity that provides service dogs to disabled children. This is the spirit that I was missing in Bitcoin. This is the grass-roots, community driven, charitably-minded attitude that Internet communities should be founded on. 

Over the past few years, I've asked myself countless times: How will the Internet of Things change the way we exchange money for services or goods? How will we connect the mundane every-day pieces of technology like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and the like, to secure global payment systems? 

This is how. The security and assurance that is provided by the underlying technologies within Bitcoin and Dogecoin will help create the distributed an decentralized payment environment that is necessary to facilitate The Internet of Things. Instantaneous, touchless, secure payments can occur over the Internet with little fear or loathing thanks to these revolutionary systems. 

And while Bitcoin builds hedge funds, boards of directors, and trading floors in NYC, communities like Dogecoin can actually make immediate and positive discernible change in our world. Small communities of dedicated, passionate users are often where we see the largest innovations. Dogecoin is an excellent example of this, and hopefully we see more positive work from their ranks in the near future. Even if Dogecoin won't become the Internet's currency, the lessons we learn from coins and communities such as these can be integrated into more resilient/popular coins like Bitcoin. 

Over the next few years I'm sure we will see an assortment of one-off coins making a name for themselves throughout the Internet. Regardless, I somehow doubt that we'll ever see a coin community quite like the Dogecoin community. 

As a result, I'm proud to announce that Capitol Hill Consultants LLC will accept Bitcoin and Dogecoin as payment for our security services, to support what we see as the Gold Standard of virtual currency, and a community that's simply too good not to love. 

Oh, and we accept Litecoin. 

To the Moon!