Since CheapAir got into the cryptocurrency game and started accepting bitcoin, we’ve become an enthusiastic part of the community. An unexpected but welcome byproduct of our involvement has been meeting some amazing and fascinating Bitcoiners.
As those in the Bitcoin community who have traveled with us have shared their experiences and personal stories, we’ve come to realize how diverse the group really is. Bitcoiners are tech geeks, sure. But there are also artists, stay-at-home moms, firefighters, students and business executives who are Bitcoiners. These are the people of Bitcoin, and we look forward to sharing their stories.
To kick off our first post we’re profiling an American university student, who won a Twitter contest we sponsored in order to send someone to the UK to attend InsideBitcoins. Patrick won us over with his single-minded determination to bring crytpocurrency awareness to the U.K. university system. Patrick serves as President of the Penn State Bitcoin Club as well as Director or the Mid-Atlantic Region for the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN).
Hey Patrick, Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule to have a quick chat with us. We know you’re super invested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology. Can you tell us a bit more about what sparked your interest and involvement?
I was always into technology before I discovered Bitcoin. I always had the latest phones and gadgets. The first time I heard anything about Bitcoin was when I was riding home from high school in February of 2013 and I read a news article in The Verge about how the US government was considering regulating “virtual currencies” like bitcoin. Bitcoin is fascinating to me because of the many outlets that it can be applied to. It has the potential to change the way banks function and the way the world sends and receives money. Hopefully after I graduate, I can get a job working for a Bitcoin startup.
We’re really excited that more and more businesses are accepting or gearing up to accept bitcoin in the near future. What are some of the issues for Bitcoin adoption from your perspective? Where do the opportunities lie?
From my perspective, the main challenges for wider bitcoin adoption lie in the accessibility to it. There are many services that allow people to buy bitcoin, but most people are dissuaded by the extensive process and verifications that they must go through to purchase it. Opportunities for wider adoption lie in the expansion of Bitcoin ATMs. From the perspective of my peers, bitcoin still appears like an illegal currency used on the Silk Road. I work hard everyday to change their views.
The College Cryptocurrency Network sounds awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about it and how it fits into the big picture of the cryptocurrency world?
CCN is creating what we like to call the “Generation Blockchain.” We’re a determined group of young people that will transform Bitcoin from a fringe technology to a part of our lives as ubiquitous as the Internet. We are truly increasing Bitcoin awareness at the most important level – the collegiate level. There is no group of individuals as well positioned to bring the technology to the masses. We give students the tools to expand their interest and understanding of Bitcoin as well as connect students with internships and full-time jobs in jobs in the Bitcoin industry.
Bitcoin has its share of skeptics in the mainstream media. What do you think one of the biggest misconceptions is?
Bitcoin’s biggest misconception is that many people still believe that Bitcoin’s primary purpose is to purchase illicit drugs. Several US congressman and senators have brought up that Bitcoin should be banned. The fact is that most black market deals are done with US dollars, yet no one would ever consider banning it.
One of the reasons we wanted to start this column is that we’ve been impressed with the diversity in the community. So to that point, what do you do when not going to school or preaching at the altar of BTC?
I take photographs. Back home in Princeton, I sell several pieces in local coffee and ice cream shops. Recently, I finished reading Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of reddit.
I worked this past summer in a rotational internship with Johnson & Johnson and BASF. It was an interesting experience overall, but I don’t think I could devote my whole career to it. It didn’t have the excitement or momentum that Bitcoin has, so I’ve decided to apply my business skills to the tech or Bitcoin track.
Thanks for talking with us, Patrick! Look forward to another chat after you’re back from InsideBitcoins and recovered from your whirlwind trip!
We’re very excited to hear about how Patrick is able to spread the cryptocurrency message to the UK university students and what exciting things are brewing at the conference. We’ll write about both here. For further information about the College Cryptocurrency Network, check out their site at www.collegecrypto.org. You can see Patrick’s photography portfolio online at www.pcinesphotography.com.
We’re always on the lookout for more interesting folks to profile who’ve traveled with us on Bitcoin. If you know of any Bitcoiner who we should interview, please tweet to us @CheapAir or email us at [email protected].