RECAP: Seattle Blockchain NW 2019 Kickoff With Tezos Commons Foundation

This recap was written by Coinme Private Client Advisor, Brent Lyman.


Bringing to the Seattle Blockchain community together is something the Private Client team is championing in 2019. With that cause in mind, we teamed up with @hackapreneur and @TezosCommons to open our global headquarters to the Blockchain NW community sponsored by the Tezos foundation.

Our CEO, Neil Bergquist, kicked off the night in excellent fashion by dipping into the Coinme knowledge stacks. Not many realize Neil is considered one of the “OG”s of the crypto world, going back to 2014 when Coinme was founded.

He shared the struggles that come with bringing the first licensed Bitcoin Kiosk to market, including a large number of critics who have popped up along the way. One example he gave was an NPR interview he gave in 2014 surrounding the Bitcoin Kiosk launch. Instead of highlighting the many benefits the service offered, including this being an accessible on-ramp to the future of money, the interviewer chose to focus on the drastic price decline and referenced critics saying “Bitcoin is dead.”

Neil had a response then that still resonates today: Regardless of the cycle don’t focus on price. Instead, focus on the progress of the customer products that enable digital asset adoption. Focusing on customers is what we are executing on at Coinme with our recent collaboration with Coinstar.

(Side note: the price of Bitcoin then was $400; currently, Bitcoin is nine times that amount or $3600. Bitcoin was not dead then, just like it isn’t now.)

After Neil spoke, Justin introduced Jonas Landis and @reinhartmike to the stage. Armed with a 72” TV and a powerpoint presentation, they both provided a great update on the Tezos protocol. I’m not going bore you with a word by word recap, mostly because development work in Blockchain is highly technical, but here is a great link to learn more about Tezos.

What I learned the most about this unique Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol was governance, and how on-chain decisions are decided upon especially if you are running a node. The entire presentation was fascinating, and we at Coinme are eager to watch Tezos’ progress.

A point I found interesting is the challenge that regulators might have with the delegation model around the token holders coming into the network. Currently there no compliance or KYC/AML standards that are executed on the token holders or “votes” that get delegated (or bonded) to the large agencies. The question becomes, how does the protocol prevent bad tokens (or actors) from coming into the system? This challenge is something the Tezos team said they are creating solutions around if/when regulation does occur but for now, it’s blockchain as usual!

The evening was wrapped up with an array of questions from the incredibly intelligent audience that challenged the speakers, along with some networking and a few drinks. My goal at these events is always to meet three people I don’t know and have meaningful conversations. This is often pretty easy to do as the Seattle blockchain community is incredibly engaging. Among those that I met were a VP of Managed Futures, anIHeartRadio DJ & podcaster, and blockchain attorney. Quite the wide range of attendees love the diversity that Blockchain brings together.

Our team will be hosting more events this year so be on the lookout for future Blockchain NW events and other functions at the Coinme office soon!

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