San Francisco Welcomes Traveling Cryptocurrency Conference

On Monday, a traveling cryptocurrency conference made its way to San Francisco, where it showed off the latest technology in a craze that has swept across both the country and the world.

The CryptoEconomy World Tour rolled into town featuring companies that hope to change their industries through the use of digital currencies and the technology that processes them: a decentralized ledger called a blockchain. Vishal Gurbuxani, who is a sponsor of the conference and one of the founders of Team in Residence, believes that this ledger is something revolutionary.

While cryptocurrencies today are most typically associated with financial companies, Monday's conference featured a wide range of other industries, including legal, healthcare, environmental, solar and even food.

One of these companies was Solve Care Foundation, which wants to use blockchain technology and a virtual currency to streamline the medical billing process and improve access for patients. Another company called World WiFi is issuing a cryptocurrency that will provide currency holders with free Internet service, while a company called Iolite hopes to change the escrow industry through what is called a "smart contract," which facilitates agreements without the need of third parties.

Companies launching cryptocurrencies raise money through what is called an initial coin offering (ICO), which is something akin to how traditional companies raise money through an initial public offering (IPO). Only instead of issuing stock to investors, they issue digital coins that can be traded or exchanged for services.

Gurbxani believes that right now that the vast majority of cryptocurrency investors are doing so purely for the purposes of speculation, but he also believes that this will change.

Many at the conference seemed unsure about the technology and how it works. Sonia Hunt, who is a marketing VP and has both a professional and personal interest in cryptocurrencies, said that there was a lot of terminology to learn, as well as lot of different components to understand.


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