Cryptocurrencies are fuel for a potential new internet, according to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Speaking on CBS’s The Late Show about Reddit and Bitcoin (BTC), the investor and venture capitalist shared how cryptocurrencies can provide a secure future for the people.
“Cryptocurrency [is] an opportunity for us to have a store of value not backed by a single country. In so many states, there are uncertainties about government and money. And people see their life-savings disappear. There is a very real value to having a currency that, as volatile as things like Bitcoin are, [is] still actually potentially less volatile than some of these states that see hyperinflation and everything else.”
The idea that your wealth disappears in an instant might sound crazy for people comfortably living in developed countries like the US, but Ohanian argued that governments and economies can crumble overnight. One example he gave was how a bloodless revolution in his native country Armenia overthrew the oligarch leaders. The revolution, which started in late March, ended when corruption-tainted Serzh Sargsyan stepped down leading to the election of opposition leader Nikol Pashinian this May 8.
“We sort of take for granted the fact that we all have bank accounts and think we can leave this money here and there. But for so many people in the world to have… this security of knowing what’s yours, because [cryptocurrency] is now digital, it can be transferred with you wherever you are going, is actually pretty empowering.”
Ohanian, who stopped managing day-to-day operations of Reddit last January, has vested interest in cryptocurrencies. Together with other notable venture capitalists, he invested in sharing economy startup Origin Protocol.
Origin recently concluded a US$28.5 million Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (Sale) in April this year. December last year, the startup also sold US$3 million worth of tokens to venture fund Pantera Capital.
Reddit to Reintroduce Crypto Payments
Meanwhile, Reddit plans to add the option to pay using cryptocurrencies. Speaking with business and tech news Cheddar, Reddit chief technology officer Chris Slowe shared the proposal to accept digital coins just weeks after disabling that option.
The online forum website’s decision to drop Bitcoin was due to a change in Coinbase’s platform. But with continuous upgrades, the Reddit website will eventually be compatible with the current Coinbase.
“We just basically didn’t have the time to upgrade our current API integration. Once the redesign finishes landing and we’re actually able to address it again, I think we’ll actually see cryptopayments come back.”
Without giving a date as to when it will accept Bitcoin again, he said that they are looking to include altcoins Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Reddit started accepting Bitcoin back in 2013, when it was still valued at US$27. Users can buy Gold for themselves or as gift for other accounts. Reddit Gold is a premium membership program with different perks like disabling ads,and joining a subreddit for Gilded members, among others.