Israel, an economic powerhouse well-known for its leading edge technological innovations combined with highly sophisticated corporate and financial markets structure, is a fitting location for today’s Globes Israel Business Conference at Tel Aviv’s prominent David Intercontinental Hotel.
Bitcoin High On Agenda For Discussion By World’s Movers & Shakers
Among delegates keen to discuss the technological considerations that surround virtual currency were senior executives and academics of international esteem, who joined the first panel discussion of the day to debate the future of Bitcoin.
The panel, which was attended by Forex Magnates’ editor Avi Mizrahi, focused on global economic and political forecasts for 2014, during which panelists, including Gideon Rachman, Associate Editor of the Financial Times, stated that whilst he does not understand the technical specifications nor the method of creating the peer-to-peer currency, his son mines it, holding it out as a phenomenon for the younger generation.
Professor Richard Clarida, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Columbia University and Global Strategic Advisor at PIMCO, concurred with Mr. Rachman’s comments, explaining that there was a time when people used to be divided into two categories: people who loved the Beatles and people who did not, with his parents fitting into the second category. He explained to the panel that he is afraid that today he is like his parents and does not “get” Bitcoin.
Banks Are Here To Stay
To go some way toward putting paid to a line of thinking that is becoming increasingly at the forefront of debate insofar as that traditional banks may become obsolete, Dr. Josef Ackermann, Former CEO of Deutsche Bank said that, “Banks are not going away no matter how advanced the technology is behind other methodologies.”
Dr. Ackermann considers “the human touch and the experience of bankers are irreplaceable.”
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Indeed, Germany’s banking system is relatively friendly toward virtual currency, with BaFin’s regulated online financial institution Fidor Bank having begun offering traditional banking facilities to Bitcoin customers earlier this year.
The panel discussion’s final question was posed by Mr. Rachman, who asked if China had any plans to destroy Bitcoin. Liqun Jin, Chairman of China International Capital Corporation, answered: “How can we destroy what does does not exist?”
Chinese Currency Of Great Interest
It is a matter of opinion as to whether Mr. Jin’s commentary was intended to portray a positive future for Bitcoin in China, from the angle that being a virtual currency, it would be difficult for the government to prevent the use of it by the country’s citizens, or whether he expresses doubt over the potential success of the Chinese central bank’s initiative to stem Bitcoin use, which commenced last week.
The discussion during today’s conference then focused on the potential that the yuan has as a currency of international importance, including diatribe from Chinese attendees who inferred that the root of the problems which the world economy faces during 2014 lies firmly at the door of the European welfare system.
Conversation quickly turned from the potential international importance of the yuan and the different international economic models, as to how Bitcoin could supplant it on the world stage, at which point one particular delegate, Israeli movie star and fashion model Penina Rosenblum posed a question moving the debate from China’s own sovereign currency swiftly back to Bitcoin, at which point the panel’s moderator, CNN journalist and TV host Richard Quest, appeared to express delight and ran with it.
In Israel, there is a growing interest in innovative technology which can be used in order to develop a workable infrastructure in which Bitcoin can be used. Israel’s bitcoin proponents are often keen to discuss innovations relating to wallet security, accessibility and ATM technology at the well-attended MeetUp groups which take place at the Google Campus.
In attracting such a high-profile audience, including Bank of Israel governor Professor Stanley Fischer, at today’s Israel Business Conference, it is clear that Israel embraces the virtual currency and provides industry leaders with the basis in which to freely discuss it without any detriment to the existing financial system.