When David Wachsman founded Wachsman, a global blockchain services firm, he had no idea it would become a leading blockchain industry company. As the CEO of perhaps the industry’s largest PR firm, he’s followed the industry closely. And today, he is seeing one particular trend.
“We’re seeing a revival of Bitcoin,” said Wachsman, as I spoke with him this past spring. “It is the oldest blockchain and is in many ways one of the slowest blockchains; the one that has certainly had its challenges in terms of upgrades. But Bitcoin is experiencing an enormous social revival in our industry. It is amazing. Bitcoin is reliable, and that reliability has turned out to be something incredibly sexy.”
Wachsman, whose Manhattan-based firm covers topics such as making cryptocurrency palatable for a mainstream audience on its blog, believes there is a general distrust of tokens.
“And then, there’s this old reliable one,” he says, referring to Bitcoin. “It is the tortoise and the hare story. The tortoise, which is Bitcoin, seems to be racing ahead of the hare, which is all of these other blockchains, for the moment.” There are other reasons.
“As people look at how crypto has evolved thus far, they, unfortunately, see that there are not a lot of use cases that are at work today,” Wachsman observes. “We don’t have a lot of consumer grade products right now. Today, you can rarely use crypto outside of payments. That’s what it comes down to, and Bitcoin works really well as a payment method. There’s never been a transaction to my knowledge that’s ever been interrupted. It’s not really possible,” he says.
“And I think that the trust in bitcoin has really eclipsed the interest level in many of these other new blockchains,” says Wachsman. “So, I think that’s going to probably continue for a while up until something radically different occurs.” Wachsman says Bitcoin also enjoys other advantages.
“It’s been well established that Bitcoin is not presently considered a financial security – or at least that’s what it seems – but I don’t think that’s the reason [for the Bitcoin revival],” says Wachsman. “That’s been a known factor for quite some time. Perhaps, it’s that great companies, like RSK, are building on top of bitcoin and people are seeing it.”
Wachsman mentions the price rise in 2017, noting that it brought a lot of newcomers into the blockchain industry. Many have now lost interest for the moment. “But, as for the people who have always been interested in the industry and the technology, I don’t know any who are not interested in Bitcoin. So, the average person in the blockchain or crypto space likes Bitcoin more just because they have always liked Bitcoin. The new people who have come on, who really get the technology – who understand the power of the blockchain – all of them in some way, shape or form respect Bitcoin.”
What can the industry learn from the Bitcoin renaissance?
“Ubiquity matters,” says Wachsman. “Bitcoin has widespread brand recognition, and that has been really helpful. We have seen that brand critical mass is meaningful and can have staying power. Bitcoin remains interesting to people. That’s because it is trustworthy, and it is understood that the technology is reliable for doing the most important thing in the blockchain space today, which is making payments. The coins go from A to B, and get there every time.”
He adds: “The lesson we can learn is that reliability matters most; that trust is meaningful. And Bitcoin is both trustworthy and reliable and everyone else is striving to be the same.”
In June, I caught up with Wachsman at the Bitcoin Conference 2019 in San Francisco – Bitcoin had increased 21% on the day. I asked him about Bitcoin’s revival and its impact on business at his firm.
“We have seen a lot more Bitcoin companies looking to do marketing,” he said. “We are seeing a resurgence of companies that are primarily Bitcoin companies, whether they’re in the mining space, whether they’re wallet providers or whether they’re exchanges.”
He noted that, when I first spoke with him just a couple months prior, Bitcoin was a fraction of the price. “The Bitcoin resurgence is very real and much more than a theory,” he said.
Amid the Bitcoin renewal, Wachsman noticed there are a lot of cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry he had not yet heard of.
“It is fascinating to talk to these exchanges,” he said. “Some of them are less sophisticated than others, but the resurgence of Bitcoin is making people wonder, ‘Where can I get it?’ And I hope people are also wondering, `Where can I spend it?’”