Demystifying the world of cryptocurrencies with Branch Up’s Fred Massart

Did you hear about the potential first house sale in the world using bitcoin? You can read about it all in this article from the Australian Financial Review.

Bitcoin is what we call a cryptocurrency.

What is a cryptocurrency you ask?

Well, Wikipedia defines it as:

A digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.

Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency, virtual currency or alternative currency. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems.

The decentralized control of each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, that serves as a public financial transaction database.

Bitcoin, first released as open-source software in 2009, is generally considered the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, over 4,000 altcoin (alternative coin) variants of bitcoin have been created.

Here at Branch Up, our tagline is “where innovation happens,” so of course, the rise of cryptocurrency is for us innovative and we are interested in it. In fact, we have created a project to help innovators out there who have cryptocurrency.

Let’s find out a bit more about this new technology and innovation with Branch Up’s chief collaborator, Fred Massart.

Question: Fred, can you describe briefly and simply your definition of cryptocurrency?

Fred: A cryptocurrency is basically digital notes and coins. Any amount can be sent to anyone worldwide in a matter of seconds. There are many variations of cryptocurrencies today, but Bitcoin is by far the most popular one. I would recommend this article for further comprehensive reading on cryptocurrency.

Question: Why do you think cryptocurrency is interesting and how is the technology a form of “branching up” to where innovation happens?

Fred: Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are still at an early age, and as such, becoming part of the movement is branching up from what the norm currently is. Remember those days when we used to be scared to order anything online? Now we do that every day. Soon we will even forget we were sceptical about Bitcoin, and other digital assets. Cryptocurrencies are changing the way we do finance; they enable worldwide payments in a matter of seconds, and empower people by giving them control over their assets.

Question: What has Branch Up created to assist those who are interested or have cryptocurrency? And how does it work?

Fred: We created, a site that helps Bitcoin holders find coins that they may be the owner of without their knowledge. How is that possible? This happens through the process of forking, when the Bitcoin blockchain is duplicated and another currency is created. What we do is take your list of Bitcoin addresses, run it through our list of Bitcoin forks, analyse the blockchain, and report how many coins that are credited on forked blockchains, and how much they’re worth. It’s a tad technical, but it is very easy to use.

Question: What exciting features or requests have you received that Branch Up will consider to add or build to assist with cryptocurrency information?

Fred: Most people get in touch to understand more about cryptocurrencies, whether they are interested in investing, supporting the technology, or just keen on using them. We also have been in touch with businesses interested in supporting cryptocurrency as a form of payment. In the near future, we will keep on developing tools to educate and help cryptocurrency users, and will look at making cryptocurrency payments as simple as possible for small businesses.