LOS ANGELES – At Benjamin Veloz’s hair salon, a shave and a haircut aren’t two things. At today’s price, that’s 0.0021 of a Bitcoin. Veloz owns “The World Famous Venice Barbershop” in the so-called “Silicon Beach” neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Veloz has been accepting cryptocurrency for services rendered since 2017 after a dot-com financier sat in one of his barber chairs and offered a tip.
“I had a very, very smart technician, who told me that blockchain is the future,” Veloz said, cutting a client’s hair in that same chair. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrency.
Veloz immediately started trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. When he first accepted the currency, a Bitcoin was worth around $ 1,000. The day Spectrum News visited their store, Bitcoin’s value was hovering around $ 50,000.
Veloz has made a lot of money trading cryptocurrencies or “crypto”.
“I hope to win a lot more,” said Veloz. “I think we’ve only scratched the surface.”
In fact, Veloz said digital currency does more than make him rich.
“Crypo saved my life, man,” Veloz said. “I wouldn’t be here without it.”
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Veloz was unable to work remotely like other people in the workforce. He couldn’t “zoom in” on his clients and cut their hair virtually.
“The bills were still due. The rent was still due,” Veloz explained. But he was able to take some of the money he had invested in cryptocurrency and keep his business afloat.
Cryptocurrency dominated the news at the end of 2021, with celebrities such as Matt Damon plugging in digital currency, and LA’s iconic Staples Center was rebranded as Crypto.com Arena.
As 2022 approaches, Veloz has full confidence and credit in the cryptocurrency.
“I bet everything!” said Veloz.
Robert Sherman is definitely not “at the bottom”. It does not own Bitcoin or other dozens of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, or Dogecoin.
However, Sherman, an administrator at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics at California State University, Northridge, knows a lot about Bitcoin and digital currencies in general. He worked in the financial markets all his adult life and studied the recent phenomenon surrounding cryptocurrency and its underlying technology: blockchain.
One of the reasons Sherman will not invest in cryptocurrency is its volatility. And, despite his knowledge on the subject, he refuses to predict the trajectory of the cryptocurrency until 2022.
“I think anyone who says they have any idea where Bitcoin or cryptocurrency is going,” Sherman said from his office on campus, “either they don’t know or they’re dishonest. I don’t want to do anything. prognosis, because, frankly, I think there’s too much going on, and I think it’s irresponsible. “
But Sherman will hold his hat on to one thing: cryptocurrency is here to stay.
“No, it’s not going to go away,” Sherman said. “The genius doesn’t go back in the bottle. The proof of concept is firmly established. The technology is proven.”
This technology is blockchain, the distributed data that is shared among thousands of computers on the Internet. In the case of cryptocurrency, no central authority, such as a bank, controls it. And, Sherman said that’s why futurists should keep an eye on blockchain, not cryptocurrency, which is volatile at the moment.
In 2021, digital currency was in the news for its wild swings in value and its “FOMO” – people’s “fear of running out” if they didn’t invest in cryptocurrency.
“The first blockchain application that has become popular is money,” Sherman said. “And what could be more volatile than money? But the blockchain technology underlying digital currency is very secure and strong, Sherman said. Each transaction requires multiple authentications among many computers on the Internet.
“This is the reason why the blockchain is so secure,” Sherman explained, “and very tamper-proof”.
He said this is also the reason why, in 2022, the blockchain will allow financial companies to offer different products such as payment systems and “smart contracts”.
“There are some really fundamental issues that can be solved with blockchain,” Sherman said. As an example, he said, companies will be able to trade carbon credits much more efficiently using this blockchain.
Dr Lene Martin agrees. She heads the Blockchain Department at Pepperdine University. Blockchain, she said, will allow financial institutions to decentralize their transactions. De-fi, or decentralized financing, will resume in 2022.
However, traditional banking companies are also starting to dabble in cryptocurrencies. And that, said Dr Martin, will increase the acceptance of the cryptocurrency among a wider audience.
“I think we are seeing more institutional capital building up in cryptocurrencies,” said Dr Martin, “I think the masses will have more confidence in them.”
Martin also said that in 2022 there will be an increase in laws and regulations regarding cryptocurrencies, which, since they are not “struck” or sanctioned by a government, are inherently “lawless.”
However, some academics, including Sherman, believe governments will grapple with this for some time.
“(Money) is a very important part of their political system, of their society,” Sherman said. “When you now have a currency that is out of national control, and, in fact, is global, and is managed by a network, that’s problematic for any country.”
But Martin said this decentralized, anti-authoritarian aspect makes blockchain so revolutionary.
“People can really start owning their own identities, their own money, and their own data,” Martin said. “This is the age of autonomy.”
And that autonomy includes another blockchain application that Martin says will increase in 2022: NFT or non-fungible tokens. NFTs are unique data held by an individual.
And, back at the hairdressing salon, Veloz wears an NFT. This is a rough image of a bird called “Thugbirdz”.
“I own the rights to this image,” Veloz said, pointing to his T-shirt. “It’s $ 40,000 NFT. “
According to Martin, the use of cryptocurrency in daily transactions will be the exception, not the rule. Digital currency will be considered an investment until 2022.
“(In 2022) people will keep it for its future value,” Martin said.
This is exactly what Veloz does.