Facebook identities on bitcoin wallets could get bitcoin to the mass market

facebook27 Mar 2014 / Marketwatch – Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist and former executive at Facebook Inc., has a lofty vision for bitcoin that doesn’t leave any room for the political ideals or anonymity that characterized its early stages.

“Bitcoin, if it works, is a disruptive tool to empower the masses,” he said in an interview in San Francisco. There’s a lot of work to be done — the much-hyped promise of bitcoin’s use in remittances hasn’t yet been realized — and that leaves no time to get caught up in political ideals, he said.

“I don’t care what the political agenda is of the people who started it,” said Palihapitiya. “They started something magnificent, they deserve credit for that, but it’s bigger than them now.”

The promise of bitcoin lies in the blockchain, or decentralized ledger that keeps track of all transactions, he said. That view was one shared by several venture capitalists and entrepreneurs speaking at a conference in San Francisco this week.

One idea he tossed out was connecting people’s identities to bitcoin wallets, which he said could add legitimacy to the blockchain. Introducing identity would add “tremendous value” and is something that Facebook would be able to do, he said.

“I think the only company that could legitimately do it is Facebook,” said Palihapitiya. At a CoinSummit panel on Wednesday, he also said he thinks Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg thinks bitcoin is cool. Facebook declined to comment.

“Today, if you have a wallet, it doesn’t say your name,” said Palihapitiya. A development that could bind a Facebook identity to a particular wallet could make sending money much simpler, he added.  ”That’s the type of simplification that allows bitcoin to get to the mass market,” he said. At the same time, that would chip away at the anonymity of bitcoin users, one of the attractions for some early adopters….. Read more


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