Digital currency consultancy Coinstructors recently attempted to demonstrate how a digital currency can work by launching the first ever fully deployable digital ecosystem on the island of Agistri, as Lee Gibson-Grant, founder of Coinstructors, explains.
Digital currencies have, over the past few years, gained increasing prominence within the financial services community. Blockchain technology and its applications have fired the imagination of bankers, traders and retailers, while the fortunes raised by Bitcoin’s rise and fall has created real interest from the investment community.
As is so often the case, what interests the financial community is a world away from the average person on the street. Few understand how digital currencies are created and how transactions can be carried out – or how the infrastructure that underpins it works. After all, people have, for hundreds of years, been tied to the idea of fiat currency managed by central banks controlling the value of the money in their pocket.
Digital currency consultancy Coinstructors recently attempted to demonstrate how a digital currency can work by launching the first ever fully deployable digital ecosystem on the island of Agistri. The Athena Top Model competition took place on 26th September and several hotels and local businesses participated in the ecosystem supported by Brian Kelly Capital, using the Nautluscoin.
The pilot programme has now finished along with the tourist season. It was informative for all involved and demonstrated many of the obstacles that leaders in the field face when educating people and developing digital currency infrastructure.
Torrential rain coupled with above average energy and internet usage did impact on people’s ability to make transactions. Infrastructure and wifi connectivity will be fundamental when designing future digital currency ecosystems, however as an obstacle this can easily be addressed.
The greatest challenge will arguably lie with educating people on how to carry out transactions digitally instead of using cash or debit cards. Many of the people were using feature phones and didn’t understand how to create a digital wallet and carry out transactions.
The fundamental gulf between tech savvy entrepreneurs and the people technology is aimed at was much wider than anticipated. iPhone adoption is by no means universal and the theory behind digital currencies isn’t always widely understood by the general public.
Despite these obstacles both physical and conceptual, transactions and payments were carried out on the day and people gained an awareness that previously didn’t exist. It was the first ever pilot programme to use digital currency in a secure enclosed environment for transactions to take place in.
Work to be done
Anyone witnessing the event would agree that there’s a considerable amount of work to be done before digital currency transactions are widely accepted and become part of the mainstream.
Technological barriers related to internet access and energy usage will be paramount in order to gain people’s trust; technical faults such as those experienced on Agistri aren’t acceptable when trying to gain people’s confidence.
Above all else, however, education will be paramount if digital currency is to ever compete with fiat currency. Previous generations have taken to ground-breaking innovations such as ATMs, credit cards and online banking, however digital currency will require a shift in perception away from physical notes, cards and bank branches.
The obstacles may be considerable but we are up for the challenge.