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Blockchain Voipfone



dreamstime_xs_104207765The media is currently fascinated by the rise and fall and fall and fall and rise and rise and fall of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is, of course, the archetypal example of cryptocurrency – the new kid on the block (geddit?). In the winter of 2009 a single Bitcoin was worth zero but by January 2017 it had risen unsteadily to $968, and almost a year later it was worth $17,800. This is good news for my mate who was given a single Bitcoin a few years ago as a joke and now feverishly checks on it several times a day like a Tamagotchi. Sadly, its value at the time of writing is $10,642.

Bitcoin has been famously used by criminals as a way of laundering their swag anonymously but more legitimate uses are now appearing. Bitcoin does, in fact, leave an audit trail so the scammers are moving to the hundred or so other cryptocurrencies that have sprouted in the last few years. Lately too, there has been much discussion about whether Bitcoin is a currency or an investment – the finance industry leans very heavily towards investment, and a dodgy one at that, showing every indication of being a very fat bubble. I reckon you can measure a bubble by the amount of scammy spam arriving in your inbox about it and Bitcoin is now No 1 in mine.

The technology that cryptocurrencies rely on is called blockchain and its use in digital cash is only one of its many potential targets. The pundits tell us that blockchain is going to be bigger than dot com as it’s a generic way of secure, distributed record-keeping. ‘Secure’ seems to be a relative term in the cryptocurrency world. Just a couple of days ago the Japanese currency exchange, Coincheck, was subject to a modern-day heist when someone blagged 500 million cryptodollars from its virtual vaults. This caused Bitcoin to lose another 2.5%. But fear not, word from George Sorros – currently at Davos – is that while the cryptocurrencies are indeed bubbles they won’t crash to zero because they’re used by despots and dictators to make secret investments outside their host countries. Happy days.

What brought this to my notice was an item on Newsnight that made me laugh out loud.

Way, way back, almost pre-internet, I met a chap called Clem Chambers who had a tiny company in East London trying to sell an online multiplayer game called – I think – Air warrior. Somewhere along the line that company morphed from On-Line Entertainments Ltd into On-line Plc a financial trading company. Back before the dot com bubble burst anything with online and .com was worth zillions just by having the name and Clem was always into these things faster than anyone I knew.

Anywho, Newsnight had him on to explain why he’d recently changed his company’s name to On-Line Blockchain Plc. What he said in reply I don’t recall, but I do remember that the interviewer showed us a historical graph of his share price and called it ‘so flat you could hang your clothes off it.’ After the name change his share price increased by 400%. Nice one Clem, great to see you still in the game.

And so the gold rush has started and companies with blockchain in their name are increasing in value faster than Bitcoin itself. Voipfone will hereinafter be referred to as Blockchainfone.

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