Sarah Martin is Vice President of the Digital Currency Council
What is the DCC? What are its objectives?
The Digital Currency Council (DCC) is the world’s largest bitcoin and blockchain technology trade organization. We’re roughly 2,500 members strong across 100 countries worldwide, and our membership comprises top-level executives from tech, finance, government, law, media, and business services. We’re dedicated to growing the digital currency industry and advancing blockchain technology. We welcome new members with online coursework in bitcoin basics and free educational resources. And we offer a gateway to tap into a network of senior digital currency professionals – entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technologists, and heads of financial institutions. Our ambition is to provide an online ecosystem to connect people around the world and facilitate linkages for our members to create business or professional opportunities or meet up with one another at conferences and global events.
What are some of the biggest challenges in today’s market facing digital currency and ancillary technologies?
The digital currency industry is going gangbusters right now. It’s a tremendously exciting time to be part of the thrill ride. What can be a little unnerving as excitement, attention, and investment keep hitting the gas is whether we’ll speed up too fast and get pulled over. Regulatory uncertainty has been hanging over our industry for years. As we continue to accelerate, questions about if, how, when, and where bitcoin and blockchain technology will be regulated loom even larger. Regulation is not a new or unique issue for the digital currency industry. But it’s one of the top concerns that our members express when asked what keeps them up at night.
Where are some of the biggest opportunities for incumbent financial service firms with digital currency? What about startups in the space?
Faster payments. Overhauling financial infrastructure may not sound super sexy, but the efficiency and cost savings may be formidable. Several startups* are currently working with large financial institutions to pilot blockchain-based systems to expedite clearing and settlement. We’re also encouraged that the UK, US, and Canadian governments have all expressed interest in exploring distributed ledger-based systems to modernize their payments infrastructure. We’re focused on fostering these types of collaboration – between startups and financial institutions or startups and government systems – and we’ve been thrilled by the number of partnerships in the last year.
*I’m afraid I can’t outwardly endorse any here.
What are your plans for 2016? What should we keep our eyes out for?
The DCC just had its first birthday and we’re astounded by the growth in just one year. It really speaks to the spirit behind the digital currency industry and outlook of our members for blockchain technology. We didn’t anticipate the sudden surge in support for blockchain technology during this past year. But, we’re excited to share in that enthusiasm, and our objective is to accelerate that upward trajectory. Right now, we’re focused on expanding our international membership. Bitcoin is a global phenomenon, and we’re building new alliances with partner organizations worldwide to support our members overseas and provide them with resources and access to opportunities.