A debate hosted by Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce provided further evidence of the growing interest in the business opportunities which may be provided by crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. More than 200 guests attended a lunch at Mount Murray Hotel on Wednesday [September 3] followed by a debate and Q&A session on crypto-currencies featuring a panel of leading experts on the subject.
The discussion was led by Russell Kelly, a Director at KPMG in the Isle of Man,who is also Chair of the Chamber’s Finance Committee. On the panel were Eric Benz, Director of the UK Digital Currency Association and adviser to GoCoin, Expresscoin, XBTerminal, ChangeTip; and Paul Davis, a barrister, solicitor and entrepreneur, and founder of the Manx Digital Currency Association (MDCA). Joining them were Peter Greenhill, Director of e-Business and CEO of e-Gaming Development with the Department of Economic Development; Tom Robinson, co-founder and COO of Elliptic, a provider of enterprise digital currency services and a founding member and interim board member of the UK Digital Currency Association; and Charlie Woolnough, CEO of CoinCorner.com which is an Isle of Man based front-to-back solutions provider in the Bitcoin transactional services space. Mr Woolnough is also Chairman of the Manx Digital Currency Association.
The debate began with the panel explaining how crypto-currencies work, and the advantages which currencies such as Bitcoin can provide. For those in the audience unfamiliar with the concept, Mr Davis used the analogy of reward points offered by airlines as an example of how many of us already use a type of crypto-currency. The panel went on to explain how the traceability of crypto-currencies made it a much more secure form of transaction than using cash or traditional currency-based digital transactions, and that while cheque or credit card transactions incurred fees, crypto-currencies meant that transactions could be made at significantly reduced costs.
Mr Benz said that ‘Bitcoin would do for currency what the internet did for information’ and argued that the growth of crypto-currencies would be driven by the eGaming industry due to the security benefits and reduced costs of transactions. All of the panel agreed that the Isle of Man is already well-placed to become a global centre in the crypto-currency sector.
Mr Kelly commented: “Essentially, crypto-currency can become another technology cluster on the Island. It’s very mobile, and the businesses in this sector want to set-up in a jurisdiction which is secure, transparent and well-regulated. There is a great opportunity to build a sector here which is future-proof.”
Jane Dellar, Chief Executive of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, thanked the expert panel and guests for attending, and KMPG for sponsoring the event. She added: “The sheer numbers who attended are testament to the level of interest on the Island in this new and exciting sector. The calibre of the expert panel ensured that we were given a well-informed and up-to-date insight into the Isle of Man’s potential as a global home for crypto-currency businesses.”
The next Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce event is on September 9 at The Sefton Hotel from noon to 2pm. Stephen Boyle, Head of Group Economics at RBS, will be giving his insight into the current economic outlook and global environment. To attend this event, or for more information about Chamber, call 674941 or go to www.iomchamber.org.im