Every week, Front Rush reviews recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech. This week features Josh DiCristo, Software Developer and Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, at Front Rush.
Ken: Hey Josh – Neal and I seem to be flip flopping these past few weeks. Thanks for filling in this week!
Josh: No problem! Happy to be a part of it.
Ken: Let’s dive right in. This week, we want to focus on how everything is turning digital! Just kidding, but to ease into our first topic, could you explain what Bitcoin is for those that might not be familiar?
Josh: Sure! Although I’ll admit, some parts of it are still kind of a mystery to me. But Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency – it’s an electronic form of currency where the current exchange rate is 1 bitcoin = $3,500 and a lot of that growth has been within the past year. To put it in perspective, a few years ago, two large pizzas would be about 100,000 bitcoins. That’s worth over 20 million dollars today. And that’s really the problem Bitcoin has been facing. They’re growing in popularity at such a huge rate, the software can’t support it. So while most currencies are controlled by the country where they’re minted or the international organization that mints them, cryptocurrencies work on algorithms that look at the current usage trends and will “release” a select few amount of bitcoins onto the internet per day. And the whole process is starting to get a lot slower, the more popular Bitcoin becomes. I feel like I need to take a drink of water after all of that haha so Ken – you want to explain what just happened with Bitcoin this week?
Ken: Haha, I’ll try. So basically, as you mentioned – the process of using or paying with Bitcoin has gotten a lot slower. If you want to read more about why it is slower, check out this link or this one. So as a remedy to the slowness, the company has split into another company known as Bitcoin Cash. Basically, this is a new set of algorithms that will allow bitcoins to be processed faster…for now. But, this article claims Bitcoin Cash is only eight times as fast as Bitcoin. Isn’t this just shifting the bottleneck until Bitcoin Cash gains in popularity?
Josh: Yeah, I thought the same thing, reading the article. Bitcoins “temporary” solution and Bitcoin Cash’s “permanent” solution seems a whole lot like the same solution. And the Bitcoin Cash solution depends on approximately half of Bitcoins user base moving over to Bitcoin Cash. I don’t know – is that even realistic?
Ken: Well, not if they continued to be valued significantly less. I know we all expect things to be fast, but personally, I wouldn’t pay 10x more at the grocery store to skip the long checkout line. To shift gears slightly, while our money is attempting to become fully digital – the Miami Heat have taken the digital revolution closer to home. In case you haven’t heard, the team will only permit mobile tickets at home games this season. Some other professional teams have pushed similar concepts, but the Heat seem to be unique in that there will be no alternative method of entry.
Josh: I know some airlines are already doing this and while I totally get that this is the way of the future and it’s easier and it’s more secure and yada yada yada, I don’t like it haha. Because I’m always anxious that my phone is going to die and I won’t have a backup.
Ken: The kicker for me was the statistic in the article stating that, “one in three fans entered with a mobile ticket last season.” I’m hoping they have some additional metrics, because 33% adoption in our line of work is a pretty poor indicator of a trend.
Josh: The first time I read that I thought they meant that only 1 in 3 people actually had a cell phone on them and I was like, “How do they even know that?” before realizing what they actually meant. So minus one point for ambiguous sentence structure. But seriously, yeah, I do see this being a problem especially for older people coming to the games. At least in movie theaters – where there’s also been a surge of online ticket purchases – they leave an option for physical tickets.
Ken: Yea, I think having the physical ticket backup is a good idea – or some type of process. I find it hard to believe it’s going to be: mobile ticket or go home. That doesn’t do much to help with the dilemma Neal and discussed a couple weeks ago with stadiums trying to build a better experience for fans. But in any case, I think that’s going to be a wrap for this week. Any final words?
Josh: Just that I barely trust myself to take care of a phone so this will likely limit the already-zero amount of Miami Heat games that I attend. That’s all from me!
Ken: Haha, well it was a pleasure chatting. Thanks!