July 23rd, 2014 Have Bitcoins Found a New Home in Crowdfunding Platforms?


When everyone thought bitcoins have lost the narrative push in mainstream media, the panel of guests at LaunchTalks last July 23 point to a new interesting home for the digital currency--crowdfunding platforms. 

It remains to be seen how crowdfunding platforms can make use of bitcoins, but the composition of the panel in the meetup tells us bitcoins are not going away, especially if usage is growing. If the Bitcoin Foundation figures are correct, the adoption metrics increased from 765,000 in June 2013 to 5.3 million in June 2014.


The guests at LaunchTalks were Shawn Sloves, CEO and co-founder of Atlas ATS, a bitcoin and digital currency marketplace and equity crowdfunding platforms; Aaron Kellner, investment executive of SeedInvest and Adam Smith, CMO of StartupValley. SeedInvest and StartupValley are equity crowdfunding portals.


The audience either didn’t know much about bitcoins or feigned ignorance, based on the few people who raised their hands when asked about it. Even with a clear definition anyway, bitcoin is not easy to grasp. It’s a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.


Asked what would happen to traditional banks if bitcoins hit critical mass. “You will become your bank. Banks then would need to evolve, perhaps lower fees,” said Sloves.  

Still, Sloves said there’s much ado about regulating it. If you want to know more, he suggests “lawyering up” and “watching regulations.” Depending on who you are talking to these days, the bitcoin is either bane or boon for everyone.  

Some are confident about bitcoin as a payment system while others think it’s good for remittance, all in all still complementary to cash and currencies.

Crowdfunding was also discussed, particularly the JOBS Act

Smith hopes the SEC finalizes Title III, the section of the Act that will open the doors to the masses to participate in the equity funding of startup businesses. “Equity crowdfunding is still new. It’s still in the first inning.”

Leonore Kantor hosted the meetup outside of Silicon Alley’s environs, which was a refreshing change. It was in a chic tailoring, art and boutique shop called Dejavu. You’d certainly feel some sense of Déjà vu in this area if you’re a New Yorker, because it’s right next to Serendipity, the restaurant with the movie pedigree.