At the 2018 Crypto Cannabis Conference in Denver, Colorado, cybersecurity expert Darnell Washington told the crowd he didn’t think cryptocurrency had any future at all, in cannabis or in general. Needless to say, the crowd wasn’t exactly happy.
Crypto a ‘Fad,’ Says Washington
Washington elaborated on this position by saying cryptocurrency had no security or insurance against theft or hacking, unlike banking accounts within the Federal Reserve system. At the Fed, he said, security teams have technology that allow them to track every digital transaction for security purposes, making it relatively easy to chase down a hacker or thief moving money around digitally.
On the other hand, because of cryptocurrency’s cryptographic features, no one can access any information that would be useful in tracking down such criminals.
Furthermore, Washington noted that hardware cryptocurrency storage devices — touted in the industry as the most secure way of storing coins — do not have cybersecurity validation from the government or reliable private firms. You just have to trust that the manufacturer did not install any malware at the hardware level that can infect the device’s software.
Essentially, Washington’s argument boiled down to: when you use cryptocurrency, you’re totally on your own when it comes to security.
Crowd Response: ‘Hackers Are Gonna Hack’
Needless to say, the crypto-loving crowd at CCC was less than happy with Washington’s remarks, and a few of the audience members launched aggressive counterattacks against his arguments.
One audience member proclaimed, “hackers are gonna hack,” and argued that the banking system isn’t really much more secure than cryptocurrency, given the multiple, major hacking attacks suffered by the Federal Reserve system over the years.
Another person in the crowd fired back at Washington’s remarks about the lack of help available to potential hacking victims, saying that as cryptocurrency enthusiasts, they actually want all the responsibility for themselves. That requirement is, he said, the entire ethos Bitcoin and other digital currencies were built around: being your own bank.
Speaking to Bitsonline, full-time day trader Nathen Tackett offered some commentary on Washington’s talk.
“I think he’s pretty accurate in saying most [cryptocurrency] is not secure,” Tackett said, “especially when it comes to altcoins.”
“But I will disagree in a sense of the current banking system like it’s this ‘flawless thing,’ it’s certainly not. It also gets hacked as well. So there [are] flaws on both sides and diversification is key there.”
After the heated debate following his talk, Washington walked back his statements, saying he only wanted to promote the development of responsible security features for cryptocurrencies. He did not want to choose a said, he added, or tell people which forms of money they should use.
Washington sat down with Bitsonline after his presentation and gave a video interview, where he elaborated his position on cryptocurrency. You can watch the full video here.
But What About Cannabis?
Washington’s presentation raised a question among the CCC attendees: if cryptocurrency is not fit for any use, where does that leave the legal cannabis industry? Since the industry has been cut off from the financial system, what alternative other than cryptocurrency is available?
After all, the whole point of the Crypto Cannabis Conference is to explore the intersection of cryptocurrency and cannabis, finding ways the industry can use these digital currencies to get around stifling government regulation.
Tackett, while a cryptocurrency enthusiast himself, told Bitsonline he hasn’t seen many real life uses cases for the technology in the cannabis industry so far.
“People in the cannabis industry could definitely use bitcoin to get around current banking laws,” Tackett stated, “but I don’t find it actually effective in real life practice.”
“Once again, you’re getting over that user education of getting people to actually use bitcoin.”
And so, the search for cryptocurrency’s place in the cannabis industry continues. One thing is certain, though: while a real-world use case hasn’t surfaced yet, the members of the cryptocurrency community will continue working to find one, regardless of people who push back against their efforts.
What do you think about Darnell Washington’s comments on cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Image via Jon Southurst