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Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Dunstan Low is giving people the chance to win a Lamborghini for just EUR 2, around BTC 0.00057, by taking part in his raffle. Not only that, the winner will be able to donate 2% of the funds raised to a local charity of their choice.

Yes, the Lamborghini is a nod to every cryptocurrency investor’s infamous dream. ”It’s a lighthearted way to get started,” Low told Bitcoin News, saying it’s important for him to establish trust with cryptocurrency users before he tackles more difficult issues through his raffles, which he certainly intends to.

”There are a lot of house raffles with more difficult stories and unfortunate circumstances that I want to help in the future, but feel that we need to establish trust in the first instance,” he said.

Why offer a crypto payment option?

Participants can enter the raffle using Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple among other cryptocurrency options. After following the digital currency revolution for several years, the idea of taking power away from institutions and giving it back to the people very much appealed to Low.

”I’m actively involved in developing a few business models that build on the raffle concept more like a decentralized method of crowdfunding that focuses on the social role and circular economies. At this point, the raffle model shares ideas with these broader and more ethos based works whilst providing a fun and new opportunity for people,” he explained.

Given this framing, a cryptocurrency raffle is Low’s ideal scenario. While there are plans to add fiat payment support, he would prefer to avoid traditional models and existing banking infrastructure as much as he can.

The website enlists payment gateway Coingate to facilitate transactions, which Low says has proven easy compared with standard payment providers.  He noted ”I would highly recommend the option, it’s just so revolutionary and gives you a fuzzy feeling when a payment arrives and it hasn’t touched a bank.”

Participants can also check the website for details on how to enter the raffle for free by post.

Provably fair, how?

Several questions have been raised over how it can be proven to be a completely fair raffle. The draw of Low’s last raffle (detailed below) was conducted by a Google random number generator on a random journalist phone, with the button pressed by a solicitor while around 30 journalists filmed the moment.

”We are currently looking at how to translate this into a provably fair draw using the blockchain, my developer is looking at the requirements and if we can make this happen. If not, we are happy at this point to use a solicitor or Gambling commission approved vendor, but blockchain is much more exciting and independent, so research is underway.”

Crypto charity

Low’s perspective is that cryptocurrency could be a great way to reduce costs and create transparency in the charity sector, generally benefiting any good causes.

But more than that he believes cryptocurrency can provide much more robust and scalable solutions to solve broader problems in terms of social wellbeing, healthcare, housing, income, and innovation. ”I honestly believe that new economies can and will be built on the utility of cryptocurrencies with social ROI and crowdfunding as a core part of the model for democracy and economic growth,” he said.

The winner gets to choose the charity this time around, but Low has plans to bypass charities in future ventures, donating instead directly to communities that help promote redevelopment and growth.
Look out for more raffles from Low in the future, as he hopes to make them a regular occurrence. He told Bitcoin News: ”Hopefully we can start small and build up to holding regular raffles with a broad range of prizes from small items up to private islands, every Bitcoiner needs one with their Lambo! But seriously, we hope to scale up and reduce our overhead and create a new method to help as many good causes as possible and to eventually build outwards into potentially more interesting and nuanced models.”
As he puts it, raffles are a good way to attract people to donate for good causes that may not be on their radar in a way that direct charity donations can not, even if people are just participating because they want the Lambo.

How it all started

In 2017 bankruptcy fears and the refusal for a new mortgage led Low to raffle off his home at GBP 2 a ticket. Maybe not the first option for most, Low devised the plan while faced with around GBP 4000 in monthly expenses with no income, and to top it off a GBP 250 per month mortgage payment increase when he requested a better deal from the bank.

Low and his wife spent at least two years struggling to sell their house, even at one point listing the sale in Bitcoin to attract more buyers. ”I was lucky enough not to be divorced by my understanding wife” he joked.

When his wife found out about the mortgage increase she insisted they hand back keys to the house. While agreeing with her at the time, Low took the next two days to concoct a plan for the raffle in secret, identifying where previous raffles had faced troubles and how they could be avoided. Noting that raffles have often found themselves foul of gambling commission guidelines which are ambiguous enough to easily create delays, legal threats and cast doubt on the operation, Low realized that by offering free entry as an option to participants he would not be subject to the regulations.

”I decided to run with this idea, thinking how great it would be that anyone could afford to enter and therefore anyone had the chance to win the house,” he explained.

After sending a press release to a local news outlet, he was thrilled to receive a response just one hour later telling him they would come to the house to look around. An article was posted on the same day, and GBP 2,000 worth of entry fees for the raffle were collected. ”I was amazed,” he said.

The following day the Daily Mail picked up the story and things really sped up; ”whilst eating our dinner at the local supermarket my phone started to go insane. I logged into analytics and there were thousands of users on the site and money was rolling in at the rate of around GBP 300 a minute. Over the course of that day, we had over GBP 103,000 worth of entries, it was absolutely unexpected.”

Over the next three weeks or so they collected around GBP 375,000 until trouble reappeared.
”Having used PayPal as a payment provider, obviously against their terms of service, the dreaded risk came true: they noticed the raffle and got very cold feet. Six weeks of negotiations later and I managed to persuade PayPal that this was a genuine cause and we were indeed in arrears and would lose our house. They in their goodwill allowed us to run with strict guidelines and restrictions in place, however, by this point, all momentum had been killed.”
 
Taking a step back, Low created postcards reading ”win a house” and unsuccessfully tried handing them out to the disinterested people of Manchester.
 
Luck fell on them, however, in the form of a young reporter striking up a conversation with Low regarding drug use in the city. Sharing with her his postcard, the following story brought in another GBP 400,000: ”fate really helped us that day.”
Fast forward six months and they hit their target, got featured on the BBC One Show, handed the house off to raffle winner Marie Segar, and donated GBP 3 0,000 to St Johns Hospice in Lancaster and GBP 10,000 to NYAS in Birkenhead, both UK based charities.
”So we beat the bank and kickstarted a small raffle revolution, around 50 raffles around the world followed and I have been asked to raffle around 500 million pounds worth of property from portfolios of houses, private islands, castles, and luxury cars,” Low shared.

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Image Courtesy: Dunstan Low

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What is the Insurance Protocol for a Decentralized Exchange?

As experts predict, the next Bitcoin bull run will be prompted by an influx of institutional investors. Blockchain companies are fighting to create the best custodial solutions that will entice these investors into this new asset class. One thing is certain, what they are looking for is insurance to cover their assets, just like what is obtainable in mainstream finance.

The cryptocurrency insurance industry is quickly growing, yet there is a substantial lack of transparency over who is insured, to what extent, and by whom. Estimates put the total amount of available cryptocurrency insurance at USD 6 billion; not a lot when considering that the top three exchanges handle over USD 1 billion in trades a day, let alone the total market cap of around USD 140 billion.

Bitcoin News spoke with Derek Jones, co-founder of new decentralized cryptocurrency exchange UnitedCoin. Like every insurance policyholder it seems, there was a lot of information that non-disclosure agreements kept him from sharing. He could not for one, share who his insurance provider is or whether they had previously paid out claims for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Jones was able to explain how exactly UnitedCoin’s insurance policy works, which is particularly valuable information in understanding how peer-to-peer transactions can be covered by insurance policies.

“We insure all the investments that are in hot wallets. The way the exchange works is that 98% of funds are actually in cold storage and the 2% of funds that are actually in hot wallets are completely insured,” Jones explained to Bitcoin News. The hot wallets are insured up to USD 100 million, but they are looking to increase this amount. With the current insurance policy model and its limitations, cold storage is the only way that they can right now guarantee security for investors.

While Jones admittedly did not know of any insurance policies that have been paid out to any cryptocurrency exchange after a hack, apparently, the majority of companies that suffered security breaches did not have cold storage practices in place, which he says is one of the larger issues that jeopardizes security.

As a victim of the Cryptsy exchange hack, Jones’ view is that nobody should invest in a cryptocurrency exchange that does not have insurance.  ”To be honest, I don’t know why you would use an exchange that is not insured unless you are very comfortable with the fact that you could lose all your money.”

UnitedCoin also has FDIC insurance in the US which covers fiat currency, and insured accounts in Europe. The cryptocurrency is stored in cold storage and whenever there are transactions taking place on the platform, the money that is being sent back and forth is in a token form. That tokenization is what represents all of the actual transactions. However, when someone wants to withdraw funds, it is taken from the cold storage.

Jones’ father’s former bank holds the record in the US for a newly formed bank reaching USD one billion in assets the fastest. The record when he started was five years, and they achieved it in 18 months.

Influenced by some of his policies that did not only insure profits but also reduced fees for users, Jones was inspired to create a new revenue model for his exchange. ”With crypto, I saw that there was something else we can do. Because transactions create a lot of revenue for you as a company, people who are supporting the network should benefit from that revenue. We take 20% of those net revenues each month and divide it amongst members.”

He noted that this is similar to the actions of American Express.

The platform’s native token UNIT launches with the IMO, an initial members launch. Potential members are required to go through a know-your-customer (KYC) process to register.

 

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Image Courtesy: Amelia Trapp, Bitcoin News

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MEP Eva Kaili: ICOs Needed When Banks Overregulate

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eva Kaili has revealed that a report on initial coin offerings (ICOs) was being prepared for the European Parliament that would promote their use as a crowdfunding tool.

”We really need [ICOs] when banks are overregulated and projects need liquidity… we must try not to overregulate them and stop innovation,” she said. MEP Kaili made this statement during her keynote address at the ongoing Decentralized 2018 blockchain conference in Athens, Greece.

Following up with Bitcoin News at the conference, she reported that the Parliament had recently facilitated the release of EUR 700 million for startup projects that can show they provide ”great solutions” with blockchain.

However, she did acknowledge the number of scams that certainly exist within the ICO market but believes these can be avoided by properly analyzing the white paper: ”I have seen people buy for the hype but on the white paper, it states they own nothing… Fraud is fraud. We don’t need regulation to stop that.”

MEP Kaili also told Bitcoin News that she believes European countries like France and Malta have the most progressive and effective blockchain legislation, while others beyond Europe are emerging as strong contenders for leadership in the industry.

She said that through her travels, she has seen France impose itself as a significant leader in blockchain regulation, with the country ”trying to proceed very fast”. Malta is also producing progressive legislation, she added. Outside of Europe, both Barbados and Singapore are leading the way, as well as Switzerland which she described as ”a staple one; it has always been very fast in the financial sector to adapt to the changes”.

Discussing her recent legislative work, MEP Kaili that she has just finished the Blockchain Resolution – a work in progress since 2015 when she first became aware and interested in the technology. She pushed for the resolution in the European Parliment after becoming concerned with potential resistance to blockchain from ”the systems that failed us”, referencing the financial systems that contributed to the 2008 economic crisis and her home country of Greece’s own economic turbulence.

Now, Kaili’s efforts are focused on creating non-restrictive regulation for artificial intelligence (AI). She spoke about the potential of blockchain and AI synergy, to which she declared, ”I think will be very exciting.”

On blockchain, she noted that “It can solve problems but not all the problems, I would say it is more of a philosophy”, citing that there were still issues regarding scalability, energy efficiency, and the protection of data, although believes they will be “figured out quite soon”.

The Greek MEP was the keynote speaker at Decentralized 2018 hosted by the University of Nicosia. It ends tomorrow on 16 November 2018.

 

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Image Courtesy: Amelia Trapp, Bitcoin News

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Brazilian Presidential Candidate Addresses Need for Bitcoin Regulation

Brazilian presidential candidate João Goulart Filho from the Partido Pátria Livre (PPL) party recently gave an interview to local blockchain media outlet Criptomoedas Fácil where he discussed the necessity of regulations for the country’s growing cryptocurrency industry.

Filho said that he and his party are ”following with caution” the recent movement in the cryptocurrency market, mentioning the price collapse in January of this year that saw Bitcoin lose nearly half of its value. As they educate themselves more on the specifics, they hope to be able to provide much-needed and well-informed regulation for Brazil.

PPL, he said, is also examining the experiences that other countries have had with cryptocurrencies in order to see which methods of regulation have been necessary and most effective.

”There is no regulation in the country for the Bitcoin market or any other cryptocurrency except Bill number 2003 has been in existence in the Chamber of Deputies since 2015,” he told the reporter, adding that through monitoring the market they hope to gather more elements that can contribute to the most appropriate format of regulation.

Brazil is now the fourth largest Bitcoin market in terms of volume traded… [A regulatory] bill is being discussed in the Chamber of Deputies,” he concluded.

On blockchain

Filho was also asked his position on developing technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), to which he responded that he had a ”visceral commitment” to their development and their ability to meet the increasing needs of the population.

”The digitization of the productive processes, although in its embryonic phase, is an integral part of the technological development,” he explained. According to the presidential candidate, there are 193 startups in Brazil that work with these emerging technologies.

PPL describe themselves as a scientific socialist party and Filho has proposed progressive investment policies to promote the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications as well as private technology companies, including reversing the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development’s budget cut from 2014.

 

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La Bitcoineta: Argentine Non-Profit Tackles Lack of Knowledge in Local Communities, Push for Crypto-Driven Change

As Bitcoin’s popularity and user base continue to grow, companies involved with the cryptocurrency are progressing from merely providing the infrastructure needed such as wallets and exchanges, to providing sophisticated services such as healthcare or gaming applications. With an innovative fintech sector emerging to service the cryptocurrency market, financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs have begun turning their heads, offering Bitcoin ventures such as futures trading or cryptocurrency hedgefund management.

The Bitcoin market cap at the time of press stands at USD one hundred seven billion; this significant sector still lacks international understanding, trust, and mainstream accessibility. A group of individuals based in Argentina have taken it upon themselves to liberate and educate the population of their country on Bitcoin, with the hopes of aiding sustainable economic growth via the possibilities of Bitcoin and the ensuing fintech sector.

The group has managed to create a fun, unique way of spreading the message. Pictured below is La Bitcoineta, their stylised Bitcoin education van that has taken them across the cities and towns of Argentina.

They described their objective to Bitcoin News as an ”initiative to generate bridges between those who are developing the technologies that will change the world and the different productive, social, cultural, and economic ecosystems.” The individuals in the team shared their understanding that firsthand projects can inspire new solutions, or benefit from existing technologies.

Smaller communities lacked general Bitcoin awareness

Speaking to Bitcoin News, a spokesperson for La Bitcoineta described a striking lack of awareness surrounding Bitcoin and blockchain technology in the smaller communities that they visited. Consequently, this meant that much time in these locations was spent devoted to explaining these concepts to the locals from scratch, basic education being the first step for these individuals to enter the market. Their efforts were welcomingly received; the spokesperson said ”everybody is open to the new concept and enjoys us going there.”

Bitcoin has started to make its mark in Argentina

As the spokesperson described it as surprising to some, nearly all of the smaller cities that were visited had some individuals who were knowledgeable on the subject, indicating the vast reach of Bitcoin internationally. These knowledgeable ”bitcoiners,” as they described them, shared enormous gratitude towards the team for taking the time to visit and share their knowledge with their hometown.

Is local media the answer?

The team told Bitcoin News that they have received an exponential amount of national media traction during their journey so far, with feedback for their work largely positive. They noted local media as a powerful tool in aiding their cause. Frequently La Bitcoineta would make headlines in the local newspapers and their online outlets, helping develop the regional conversation around Bitcoin and blockchain. The irony was not lost that such a traditional, established media form would come to aid this reformist cause.

Challenges and successes

The team behind La Bitcoineta see the greatest possible results of their tour as driving crypto-related change in communities that would benefit this the most, particularly in areas where individual’s efforts could be monetized or reach international markets. Through their talks, they hope to create an impact on the local fintech sector, inspiring projects, changes and pushing for a less bureaucratic government.
The biggest challenge they have faced in reaching this goal has been their ability to reach and connect with the right people. While the team has been considerably active in pushing their agenda, reaching government decision makers themselves and identifying the communities that they could positively impact the most has presented the greatest test.
Despite La Bitcoineta’s Bitcoin positivity, those behind the objective do not see it as likely, nor are they pushing for Bitcoin to be adopted as a regular payment system. This is only considered by themselves as a likely option if merchant outlets themselves incentivize cryptocurrency spending through a discounted alternative to fiat.
Instead, the biggest fruitful challenge they see is pursuing Bitcoin to be a globally recognized store of value and a better alternative medium of exchange. The impending fight against banks and governments is their biggest concerns for reaching this, but they are confident the cryptocurrency driven change they envision will be achieved.
La Bitcoineta’s journey can be followed on both Twitter and Facebook.
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Images Courtesy:La Bitcoineta

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Man Who Sold Everything for Bitcoin Won’t Buy a Lambo, Has No Plan B

When Didi Taihuttu (pictured, far right, with his family) sold everything he owned to go all-in on Bitcoin last year, his controversial decision evoked diverse reactions from the public and the crypto sphere. A minor celebrity in his home country of the Netherlands, Didi received admiration from some who felt he made a courageous decision, while others perceived his actions as irresponsible, owing to the uncertain future of Bitcoin.

Better known as the ‘Dad’ of his ‘BitcoinFamily’, Didi has been a proponent of a new minimalist lifestyle ever since, being outspoken on the benefits it has had on his family. Six months after his life-changing act, Bitcoin News caught up with him, speaking about the driving forces behind his decision, as well as on the trajectory of fintech start-ups and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Supporting the financial revolution

Bitcoin News (BN): You sold your family home in the Netherlands to live in a chalet with your family, and are currently in the process of selling your possessions in order to invest further into Bitcoin. What is the primary cause driving you to change your life like this?

Didi: We went all-in [on] Bitcoin between February and September 2017. The two main reasons are on the one hand I felt the monetary revolution was starting and on the other hand we did it to live a minimalist lifestyle and show our children we can be very happy without having all the luxury. We had always been very materialistic but during our world trip, we discovered that we were very happy traveling with just three backpacks and staying in small guesthouses. So we sold everything, ended up with a bag of money and decided to go all in crypto to support the revolution.

BN: Did you question your decision at all when the value of Bitcoin plunged in December last year?

Didi: No, because we were still in profit and we agreed that we were hodling minimal to 2020 to see what happens. I experienced some crashes earlier that year so you get used to it. Hahaha.  I do trade daily with about 20% of our capital to multiply our BTC. To be honest we think that we will stay into it till the point that we can use our crypto to pay for our daily needs and that we don’t need to change back to fiat ever again. In the end, Bitcoin will be much higher and this will go with ups and downs.

On minimalism and not buying a Lambo

BN: Has the government ever tried to contact you or your family about the changes you have made?

Didi: Yes of course because it’s not allowed to travel with your children and not send them to school in the Netherlands. We solved this together with them and now everything is fine. They didn’t contact me about the crypto part though.

BN: You have spoken positively of the minimalist lifestyle that this has created, but also that you are holding out for long-haul massive gains that you expect from Bitcoin. Does this make it contradictory for you to be a proponent of minimalism?

Didi: No not at all, because we don’t choose to be poor but we choose to live a minimalist lifestyle. People need to understand that minimalism is not about being poor but about living a bit more conscious and spending crypto or money on things that you really need. We are all products from the forced buy economy in the 1990s but did we really get happier because of buying more and more?

That said, for us, it is no problem at all if we go bankrupt because of this adventure. Then we will just start over again. If we will make huge profits we can live this minimalist lifestyle for a very long time. We are not going to buy a Lambo etc. because we would rather spend it on, for example, educating poor people around the world about crypto and how to use it.

BN: What do you say to your critics that see it as problematic to put your family in a seemingly unstable living environment for the sake of bitcoin? Is there something in particular about bitcoin that you see as a worthy cause to do this perhaps?

Didi: Firstly people need to understand that it was a family choice. My wife and kids agreed on this lifestyle and adventure. Mostly when people say things like “it’s not healthy or normal to live on a campsite with your kids”, I just ask them if it’s healthy to work your ass off for 48 weeks a year to spend two weeks with their kids on that same campsite?

We respect everybody for how they live and just hope people can respect us for the way we live. We chose to spend more time with our family and really educate our children the way we want. Our kids are very happy and traveling the world and learning a lot from this. Is this the right decision? We don’t know but we try to live and enjoy life day by day and teach our kids to do so as well, because we can’t predict the future, so why worry about it?

Faith in Bitcoin and blockchain

BN: Do you have a contingency plan if things all fall apart?

Didi: No, we don’t have a plan B and we won’t be needing it because blockchain and crypto won’t fall apart. It will change the world in a way most people can’t even imagine at this point in life. As said we try not to worry about the future because we can’t predict it. I think people worry way too much about the past or future even though they know they can’t change it. Just do what makes you happy every day and enjoy doing that. We are writing a book about our Bitcoin adventure at the moment so maybe that will turn into plan B.

BN: Bitcoin has always received a lot of criticism; now it is largely focused on fraudulent ICOs. As an advisor to several blockchain projects, what advice would you give startups looking to foster a trusting, legitimate business network in this time of bad press?

Didi: There are many ways but most important is that the ICO’s product needs to have a real use case. If it has a real use case, then ICObench is, for example, one of the platforms where you can present your ICO. Use the help of experienced ICO advisors. With experience, I mean people that have experience in running businesses and have experience in crypto as well. Those advisors can guide you and provide you with a network and thus investors.

People sometimes ask me, “but how can you be an advisor? You just sold your house and got a bit famous”. People seem to forget that I also sold the companies that I built from scratch and had been running for 15 years with 16 employees at peak time. People forget that I started mining Bitcoin and Dogecoin in 2012 and experienced many crashes. But they are right that we got a follower base because of our decisions and that could be helpful for an ICO as well.

5-dollar white paper ICOs vs “real decentralized currency”

BN: 46% of ICOs have been reported to have launched in Q1 of this year with just an idea, and no coding or further development done. Do you feel there is true world value to all of these projects launching, and do you feel startups have a responsibility to provide an initial investment to fund some project development?

Didi: I don’t know all the projects but I think there are projects that lack value. But I don’t think that projects need to provide an initial investment because then the whole meaning of an ICO or crowdfunding aspect disappears. Investors just need to do research before stepping into the ICO. In the end, it is your decision to invest in the ICO or not.

I would never invest in a project that just has a nice white paper and nothing else to show. You can buy a whitepaper online for USD 5 so that’s the value. If you want to be sure if it’s a real good ICO, visit them or meet them at a conference and talk with them. Then decide to go in. If you don’t want to take time to research then just invest money you can afford to lose. I invested, for example, USD 250 in the Electroneum ICO last year which gave me about USD 2,800 in return. If I had lost the USD250 it wouldn’t have been a drama.

BN: Do you see the future of cryptocurrencies dominated by different tokens, or do you believe Bitcoin will retain its position as the most crucial player?

Didi: I do think that for example Ethereum, Litecoin, and NEO will be big players in the future as well but in my opinion, Bitcoin is and will stay the leader. It has the advantage of being the first, the advantage of the biggest network and most importantly the advantage of being  “the only real decentralized currency”.

Many new currencies have a marketing team and a leader or a foundation led by a spokesman etc. What if this leader leaves the company and a new leader comes with other ideas? If the government wants to shut them down, they can go to that office or leader and really shut it down. Is it then really decentralized? With Bitcoin, this is not the case. There is no company or spokesman, you can’t shut them down or influence it in any way. You can just copy(fork) it and try to improve it and that was exactly Satoshi’s vision.

 

To learn more about Didi and his journey, visit his website, or join his Telegram channel

 

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Podcast: Adam B. Levine Interviews Bitcoin Foundation's New Executive Director

Podcast: Adam B. Levine Interviews Bitcoin Foundation’s New Executive Director:

For the lasest episode of the Lets Talk Bitcoin (podcast), host Adam B. Levine (@GamerAndy) interviews Jon Matonis (@JonMatonis), the new Excutive Director of Bitcoin Foundation (@BTCFoundation). 

Length: 48 minutes.

 – https://soundcloud.com/mindtomatter/e23-2-setting-the-agenda-with
 – http://bit.ly/18hjHXI (MP3)

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