As part of the Digital Currency Council’s Continuing Education partnership with Inside Bitcoins, DCC interviewed thought leaders who will be speaking at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in San Diego on December 14-16, 2015. Today, we share an interview with Ragnar Lifthrasir the President of the International Bitcoin Real Estate Association.
Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
I first learned about Bitcoin in early 2011 on the Anarcho-Capitalism subreddit. I was fascinated by the possibility that some obscure software, written anonymously, could drastically improve our lives simply by separating money and State, and separating contract performance from human action. For me, it was the technological equivalent of finding Jesus. I got involved with Bitcoin by going to meetups and attending conferences. I think the role of geeky, enthusiastic brotherhood can’t be underestimated in the development and success of Bitcoin. Remittance and banking activities have gotten most of the attention from entrepreneurs. But I’ve always thought Bitcoin was built for real estate. Why? Because Bitcoin does three things very well: Facilitates payment, generates escrow, and records ownership/transfer of an asset. Those are the three components of a real estate transaction.
What led to the launch of the International Bitcoin Real Estate Association? And what is your mandate?
We launched the International Bitcoin Real Estate Association (IBREA) earlier this year because we realized that what was holding Bitcoin back from transforming real estate wasn’t technology. The problem was finding other real estate professionals to do deals with using Bitcoin. So, the mandate of the IBREA is to connect people. We’re focused on networking.
What are you most excited about in digital currencies and blockchain technology right now?
Right now I’m excited to see that digital currencies and blockchain technology are starting to be seen as a beneficial inevitability, rather than an avoidable disruptor.
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry?
I see two challenges facing the industry. First, regulator involvement. Nothing they do helps. They harm the industry to the extent they get involved. Second, entrepreneurs and investors not pushing back on regulators, both technologically and philosophically. For example, the Blockchain Alliance – that “Stockholm Syndrome” is dangerous if it spreads in our community. I ask people, if Satoshi had worked with regulators to develop Bitcoin, where would it be today?
What’s ahead for you with the IBREA in 2016?
In 2016 we want to continue to add members to the International Bitcoin Real Estate Association and more importantly, to start doing bitcoin and blockchain real estate transactions together. I want 2016 to be the year Realtors and title and escrow officers get snatched up by Bitcoin startups.