A Turnaround for Bitcoin at SXSW

SXSWbitcoin12 Mar 2014 / New York Times – AUSTIN, Tex. — At last year’s South by Southwest gathering, regarded as the place where are the hip technology companies showed up, Bitcoin was still such an underdog that it was not important enough to command a single event or panel.

This year, it is hard to avoid the upstart virtual currency. Bitcoin has been the subject of official events at SXSW’s largest venues, and was also the buzz at after-parties that had luminaries from the tech world in attendance.

It was soon after SXSW last year that Bitcoin won an informal stamp of approval from the Treasury Department. That helped send the price of a Bitcoin on a wild ride, starting at around $50 and rising to more than $250, before a quick crash.

Since then, it has experienced several run-ups and quick drops. Most recently the price was sent careening after the collapse of the first big Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, which raised questions about the long-term viability of Bitcoin.

Still, the sheer number of events, and the level of interest in virtual currency, at SXSW underscored the degree of fascination that Bitcoin is generating in the mainstream tech sector, and the broad applications that some people are imagining for it.

“Anyone who has any interest in technology has to be interested in this,” said Russell Castagnaro, who was attending his second SXSW for his job with the Hawaii Information Consortium…. Read more


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