Partner David Croft voices his thoughts in a Crain’s Cleveland Business article on bitcoin advocate David Stack (7/11/21).
Bitcoin for Billions is Charles Stack’s latest initiative
Charles Stack has Bitcoin on the brain. And he wants to help a billion others board his train of thought.
Feeding this more newfound passion, the entrepreneur and prolific Cleveland software investor behind Flashstarts — the venture fund and startup accelerator turned business consultant — said he is channeling efforts in a new endeavor, Bitcoin for Billions.
Stack said Bitcoin for Billions Association will be established in the coming months as a nonprofit. He’s already in the market for volunteers who want to get involved. The endeavor is represented today by a website Stack is building up (bitcoinforbillions.org). The ultimate mission is to help spur the adoption of the much-debated cryptocurrency around the world that Stack and many others are quite bullish on.
This means educating people, businesses and countries about it while promoting avenues for affecting faster transactions. Stack wants to provide a roadmap others can follow to replicate what El Salvador has done in embracing the digital money as legal tender.
“We’re trying to make Bitcoin a global currency,” he said.
Supporting this is the website, which is being loaded with information about Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.ADVERTISING
Investopedia describes the Lightning Network as a “technological solution intended to solve the problem of transaction speed on the bitcoin blockchain by introducing off-ledger transactions.”
In other words, it’s a system designed to facilitate faster, cheaper and generally better Bitcoin transactions, a crucial element of spurring its wider adoption.
A “node” on the network acts as a gateway to its ecosystem and serves as an access point for fast, private payments on a blockchain, like what powers Bitcoin. What El Salvador is doing is powered by the Lightning Network.
Stack has been a Bitcoin advocate for several years, having first bought a small amount of the cryptocurrency when he opened his Coinbase account in 2016 (he’s never sold any).
It ties in with his blockchain advocacy and support for the now-dormant Blockland initiative. He’s helmed dozens of presentations recently on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network. Both have remained a core focus of his during the pandemic.
It was the recent Miami 2021 Bitcoin Conference that inspired the launch of Bitcoin for Billions. Its slogan is “Bitcoin for billions, not billionaires.”
That itself is a reflection of Bitcoin’s creation of something “by the people and for the people,” said David Croft, an attorney with Meyers Roman Friedberg and Lewis whose practice centers largely on cryptocurrency. Croft sold a Bitcoin-mining business in recent years, and among his clients are crypto exchanges and companies looking to use Bitcoin and other blockchain-based technologies.
“Bitcoin was never supposed to be something only the wealthy could afford or understand,” Croft said. “But there is a learning curve to understanding it. If (Stack’s) mission is to educate people on Bitcoin, and to make it faster and more accessible, I’m all for it. Those are noble intentions.”
What Stack is doing is not unprecedented. But he sees his efforts playing into that global mission of bringing Bitcoin into the mainstream.
“Bitcoin presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for world-changing economic empowerment,” Stack said. “That became crystal clear at this conference. And so I decided to really focus on that in my own small way. We’re trying to provide people around the world with the tools and information they need to adopt Bitcoin to improve their lives.”
That’s no small task. But like most proponents of the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has captured Stack’s imagination.
“Once you understand the technology at some level other than the trivial, it doesn’t have to be deeply technical. It does have a hands-on element. There will be a-ha moments. But once you get below that level of magic, once you understand what’s going on, you can start to see what happens if this reaches broad scale,” Stack said. “What it does is offer the chance to transform all the people in the world who don’t have banks — the unbanked become banked overnight. So they can participate in the global financial system. And that’s a lot of people.”
Stack referenced Greater Cleveland’s collection of immigrant communities and how the use of Bitcoin in remittances, where people send money back to others in their home country. Stack personally is open to talking with these groups about using cryptocurrency to help them do just that.
Of course, that’s just seemingly one of many compelling use cases for Bitcoin. Some advocates suggest Bitcoin may not be widely adopted as a currency by other governments like El Salvador, but that it could instead see wider use as a store of value for holding reserves in the asset — like what some countries do with gold.
So why focus on Bitcoin? What about the plethora of other coin alternatives in the market today?
Stack believes Bitcoin is the only useful crypto from a currency perspective. And Ethereum, the No. 2 cryptocurrency, is more promising as a platform for software developers than a transactable currency. All the other altcoins — like Dogecoin, Litecoin, Stellar etc. — are, from a currency standpoint, effectively rubbish, he said.
“None of the other altcoins will have what success Bitcoin is having or will have,” Stack said.
Of course, not everyone is as bullish on Bitcoin. There are critics who think blockchain is more hype than anything and that cryptocurrencies will never catch on. Its volatility fairly raises questions about its potential as a proper storage of value. Stack is aware of these criticisms and tends to brush them off. He’s working on thoughtful, intellectual responses to them. A page of his website will address these points of view and many other common questions and critiques.
The site eventually will include detailed “playbooks” Stack is developing. These so-called roadmaps could help spur Bitcoin’s use and support.
Stack said he’s working to line up volunteers, from established investors to college students, who want to be involved with his effort and some other cooperative partnerships. Of the latter, some are in the works, but it’s too early to discuss them publicly, he said.
As far as any fundraising for his nonprofit, Stack said he’s not looking at that right now.