Dominik has not only been one of the founding members of the Bitcoin meetup in Frankfurt, but also of our domestic meetup here in Saigon. Besides regularly helping out the community to organize its events he has been the founder of Vietnam’s oldest & most-established Bitcoin Exchange service BitcoinVN which offers a broad area of services from online trading platform, OTC trade desk for high value clients or an ever expanding BTM network.
Q1: Dear Dominik – you are one of the speakers at the upcoming 5 Years anniversary event of the local Bitcoin Saigon Community. When did you first time hear about Bitcoin and why did you get interested into it in the first place?
26th of November 2012.
I know the exact date since my long-term friend since almost 15 years Alex was the first time hitting me up about it via chat. The conversation we had back then especially from my side was really “noob level” – “who is backing it?”, “who is issuing it?”. It was fascinating and highly confusing at once.
It took a while for me to get my head around this completely new way to transfer value… – you have all these questions and doubts why it won’t work, but the more I digged into it over the following weeks, the more convincing answers I found… – the more excited I got about it.
At the same time we had in Europe the Cyprus crisis unfolding where people simply got stolen part of their funds out of their bank accounts to bail out broke banks & government… – a healthy additional wake-up call at the right time.
What certainly helped me was that I had some interest in Austrian Economics before and read Hayek’s great book about “The Denationalisation of Money”. If you read it now with the knowledge about Bitcoin being out in the wild since more than a decade counting… – it’s like Satoshi took it as an inspiration for coding up Bitcoin (and he more likely than not has read that book as well from all we know from his communications and expressed world view).
Q2: Looking back over the past 5 years – what surprised you most positively, what most negatively in the past half decade of Bitcoin history?
Positive: What really surprised me is of how much of the visions from early on came true… – when Bitcoin was still in its infancy there were people in this “nerdy, obscure” Bitcointalk forum already talking about how at one day not only traditional Asset Managers will have to start allocating parts of their portfolio into Bitcoin one day, but also how at some point it will become a geopolitical tool where nation states will compete among each other to acquire Bitcoins… – all developments which we have started to see gaining traction in the real world nowadays.
Negative: The “Bitcoin Civil Wars” for once which split a lot of the early community in two camps which are oftentimes as hostile to each other as you see it in politics between “right wing/left wing”.
On the other hand – and especially here in Asia – the amount of bullshit scams being pulled off which was riding on the tailwaves of Bitcoin’s success. Whenever you hear about some “Blockchain event” here in the area you can be sure its filled up to 90%+ with bullshitters and scammers. Pure waste of time if you are seriously interested into the technology and its impact on the world.
Q3: What can listeners expect to learn from your talk at the 5 Year anniversary event?
Well, I will “only” be on the panel regarding Bitcoin communities in the past and future – but we will certainly be able to share some “wartales” from the “good ol’ days” as well as how the landscape has evolved over the years.
Q4: Where do you see Bitcoin, the communities and its general impact on society going within the next 5 years?
I think the Bitcoin communities will continue to exist in some form, even if they certainly also will evolve. Ultimately it will always take a few passionate people to run these kind of events who try to “keep up the grassroots spirit” which can be at times a pretty thankless “job” – but then at other times you have again evenings with deep-reaching debates which are hard to have in any other kind of context if your discussion partners haven’t fallen similar deep down the Bitcoin rabbit hole as you.
Bitcoin itself mostly has to do just one thing to keep succeeding: Survive. With every day longer it is out there and the blocks coming like clockwork… – it will gain more trust and strength. While regulation might at some places make it cumbersome or painful to interact with the network if you want to enter it from the traditional world – so far each measure has seen countermeasures to route around such hurdles and ultimately served as an additional boost to increase the resilience and strength of the Bitcoin network.
Dominik will be participating at the Bitcoin Saigon anniversary event on the 29th of November on the panel about the Origins, Values and Future of local Bitcoin communities across the region – you can grab your tickets here!