About Michael del Castillo
Del Castillo has covered blockchain since 2011 and currently reports on how enterprises and the broader business community are adopting blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Specifically, he covers the use of cryptocurrencies and non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, digital identity, supply chain management and other use cases.
Prior to this role, del Castillo served as a staff reporter at CoinDesk, a blockchain news site. There, he covered the ways in which blockchain could make enterprise’s work more efficient and, in some cases, unnecessary. He has also been published in the New Yorker, Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books. And his work has been syndicated by American City Business Journals and cited in industry research reports.
When he’s not reporting, del Castillo runs Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with which he got his start in 2009. The organization shows Manhattan’s rich literary heritage. He also serves as the co-founder of the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalist and Researchers.
Despite his busy days wear many hats, del Castillo took the time to join Q.ai on Discord to answer our community’s questions.
How del Castillo got his start in blockchain
“I graduated from Columbia with a journalism degree focused on business, and very little business experience,” he tells the community. “My professor told me to specialize, and discovered bitcoin less than a year later. This was 2011, and the rest is history.”
del Castillo’s storied journalism career at Forbes and beyond has positioned him to answer blockchain-related questions, as well as offer informed insights into the world of crypto.
What exactly cryptocurrency is
When asked, for example, if crypto (like Bitcoin) is money, he said that the question should be: “What do you WANT it to be?”
“It’s important to remember that any traits of any cryptocurrency are a function of design choice AND usage,” he explains. “Some cryptocurrencies are designed to be like gold, others like money, others like oil. It’s also good to remember that, for a long time, gold was used as money, until technology and behaviors changed. Certainly, bitcoin’s code and the way people use it have changed a lot over the last 10 years.”
He tells the community to imagine a world in the near future in which people buy things they want, like a Tesla, by exiting their Bitcoin positions instead of trading with cash. If and when this happens, he explains that it “barely matters if it’s a money or an investable asset that can be traded.”
The goals and future of open-source technology
On open-source technology, he also shares a few words.
“It’s hard to speak about the ‘goal’ of open-source technology that anyone can contribute to or copy,” he writes. “However, if I must choose, I’d say the goal is to compete on an open market of other currencies, fiat and crypto. I think EVERYONE wins in a more diverse ecosystem of currencies… If everyone is happy with the status quo, then nothing changes, and we just have more options. In sum, I think Bitcoin’s ‘goal’ is just to prevent an alternative, and make sure markets stay fresh.”
That said, he doesn’t agree that it’s productive to force anyone to use new technology.
“I’m more of a believer in the ‘be the change you want to see’ philosophy,” he adds. “So similar to my comments on the ‘goal’ of crypto to create competitive pressure, if you want the DMV to use blockchain, then figure out a tangential use case to the one you think blockchain could solve for the DMV and BUILD IT. Do you think blockchain could help the DMV with identity? Start a club and only grant access to people with the right blockchain credentials. Is it a better way to track points on a license? Then maybe build a teaching program that tracks how many times a student gets in trouble.”
Check out the AMA here to learn more about del Castillo’s blockchain and crypto advice.
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