California-based e-commerce company PayPal, owned by eBay, held a bitcoin event on 31st of July in its offices in San Jose.
Called PayPal TechXploration, the event gathered hundreds of people. According to the event page on the meetup site, more than 700 people intended to attend the conference.
Member of the bitcoin community, as well as PayPal and eBay employees participated in the event. PayPa’s main goal was to introduce people to the technology of bitcoin.
Scott Robinson, who runs the bitcoin incubator program at the Plug and Play Technology Center and hosts a Silicon Valley Bitcoin meetup there every week on Tuesdays, was the main speaker at the event.
During his presentation, Robinson noted that a lot of people have not heard about bitcoin because for the majority US dollar is the most effective currency. He told the public: “We’ve never really been asked questions about the dollar. We’ve never really worried about the dollar.”
Explaining bitcoin to the audience, Robinson described the cryptocurrency’s novel approach. He said: “Bitcoin is both a protocol and a currency.”
Robinson also talked about the Byzantine Generals problem and how bitcoin solves it. He said: “The practical consequence of solving this problem means that any Internet user can send digital property to one another.”
When Robinson asked the audience how many people used bitcoin, only one-third raised their hands.
The main goal of his presentation was to cover the potential of digital currency and describe the role of bitcoin startups. He said: “Bitcoin is a technology that is five years old. It seems a lot like the Internet.”
He also noted that Plug and Play is currently providing $25,000 for bitcoin startups, along with offices space and mentorship.
As examples of successful bitcoin ventures contributing to further use of digital currency, two bitcoin startups, 37Coins and Xapo, spoke at the event.
37Coins is an SMS bitcoin wallet provider giving an access to financial resources through bitcoin and cellphone. Co-founder of the company, Jonathan Zobro, said: “We’re solving the fundamental first step by pushing bitcoin to people.”
The firm gave $2 to every attendee and offered to try its services. People just had to text a displayed phone number, which then created bitcoin wallet and then sent the initial balance to the person via SMS.
Fernando Gouveia, director of client services at Xapo, also talked about the firm, which has already raised venture capital of $40 million.
PayPal, which was founded in 1998, became the successful company by enabling its users to make payments through email addresses.
John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, which owns PayPal, said the company will have to find a way to incorporate the virtual currencies. Still, he noted the team might develop its own in-house solution. Earlier this year, PayPal started developing its own digital tokens that could compete with bitcoin.
The event was held the same day Stripe revealed its new project Stellar with Jed McCaleb, Mt. Gox creator and Ripple Labs co-founder.