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Cryptocurrency conferences come to Las Vegas; insiders say digital currency is here to stay

LAS VEGAS - Cryptocurrency conferences come to Las Vegas; insiders say digital currency is here to stay

Two conferences with a heavy focus on cryptocurrency like bitcoin are in the Las Vegas valley for the week.  While there has been a rise and fall on digital money, backers say it's on the tipping point of becoming mainstream.  

8 News NOW went to Coinagenda and the Money 20/20 conferences to find out why insiders say blockchain-backed money is here to stay.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin picked up steam slowly at first over the last decade or so. There are even stores in Las Vegas such as strip clubs, casinos, and attorneys that accept the digital money.

It's all a part of what blockchain and digital currency pioneer David Chaum, the pioneer of Elixxir envisioned years ago.

"Well, "I'm actually thrilled to see this stuff that I started working on back in the 80s now reach a point where I think it's poised to take it to the next level and become something that everyone can use," Chaum said.

By some estimates, there are $30-40 million people worldwide who have cryptocurrency.

There were less than a million people when Michael Terpin got into the digital currency space five and a half years ago.

"So this is about where we were in 1995 when Newsweek wrote a big editorial saying 'why on earth does anybody need the internet," Terpin asked.

In 2017, bitcoin saw a sharp spike in value, peaking at nearly $ 20,000 in December.

It's now valued at about $6,400.

Some economists point to the swings in value as a measure of volatility.

Terpin, the CEO of Coinagenda Host Transform Group disagrees.    

"If you bought it two years ago when it was $250 (a coin), you're still way up," Terpin said.  "If you bought it when it was a penny eight years ago, you know, you're exponentially up."

A big hurdle to widespread adoption of cryptocurrency is an ease of use, Terpin said.

Some 30 years after envisioning digital currency, it's something Chaum is trying to solve with "Elixxir," a mobile payment and messaging platform currently in the initial testing phase.

"Elixxir" works like a combination of Apple Pay and Facebook Messenger, combining payments and messages into a secure system that can handle hundreds of thousands of transactions per second.
    
Beta testing is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 with an anticipated mid-year roll-out to consumers.


 


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