Q&A: Bitcoin: An Interview with Alex Landefeld

This article is an interview that I had conducted when I had realized that my coworker – Mr. Landefeld – had investments in Bitcoin, had cryptocurrency apps on his phone, his own mining setup at home, and was also familiar with a vast range of cryptocurrency.  The answers below are an exact transcript of his answers.

1.) What’s your profession? What are your credentials in the field of technology?

I work as the Information Technology Specialist at North Hills Community Outreach, Allison Park, PA (NHCO.org), supporting the network of Windows 2012 servers, Windows 10 and Windows 7 PCs, phones, printers, licensing, etc. I have worked in IT for nearly 20 years. Outside of work, I play with Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux PC’s, and co-founded the Western Pa Linux Users Group (WPLUG.org) in September 1997.

2.) How long have you been familiar with crypto currency?

I have been familiar with crypto currency for just the past five months.

3.) When did you first hear about “bitcoin”?

I first heard of Bitcoin probably in 2012 or 2013, but hadn’t know about the Altcoin universe until recently.

4.) You own a (piece) bitcoin, why? How? Do you still feel it was a good investment?

I do own some Bitcoin, probably 1/10 of a Bitcoin. I use Bitcoin as a jumping-off point, for converting fiat currency to crypto currency, and then move off to invest in Altcoins, as I feel Altcoins will have a better chance for greater appreciation.

5.) You had shown me a few apps that showed other forms of crypto currency aside from bitcoin. Approximately how many others are in existence? Are you invested in any others? Why do you think bitcoin is the most popular and most heard of?

Bitcoin is the original crypto currency and therefore most popular, but as people develop more use cases for other crypto currencies, others may usurp that top spot, just as Microsoft supplanted IBM as the top computer company, Walmart replaced small retailers, and Apple (and Android phone variants) took over the mobile phone market. Coinmarketcap.com lists 1324 cryptocurrencies, and this is not exhaustive as more are (a) created daily, and (b) many are created within other coin systems, such as Ethereum ERC20 coins, Wave derivative coins, and Bitshares derivative coins. I am currently invested in 22 Altcoins, in addition to a small investment in Bitcoin. Some are not doing well at all, and some have outstripped the investment return of Bitcoin by 1000%. Right now, crypto currency’s use is as a speculative investment vehicle…but little by little they will fill other uses.

6.) You said that you have mining set up on your computer at home: how? What application do you use?

I am in the very early stages of playing with mining – I downloaded uncompiled code from Github for doing “CPU” mining of the coin Aeon (a derivative of Monero), and compiled the code on a Bodhi Linux PC. I then ran the resulting mining app and the related wallet for about two weeks, tweaking the processor use, and testing the Linux implementation on other PC’s with more powerful processors. I did not get further in Virtualbox, will still have to play with that, but may first try to build a GPU mining rig for further experimentation.

7.) If anyone asks you how mining helps update the ledgers, how would you best explain?

I’m still a crypto neophyte, but would have to say that from my limited understanding that mining is using a computer to “guess” the right answer to a mathematical puzzle that needs to be solved to create new coin, and also verify the global network of transactions, keeping the crypto currency decentralized.

8.) What is your personal opinion about bitcoin and blockchain security?

Bitcoin and Blockchain are only as secure as the PC/server they run on, so all the more reason to employ endpoint protection virus and malware software, as well as robust firewall or network security. Hacking of one’s network is serious business, both for the hacker and the hacked.

9.) Do you believe we will hit a point where no one has physical currency?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. Just as oil and coal will continue to find utility in an increasingly solar/wind/hydro world, fiat currencies and other investable assets will continue to be useful for the foreseeable future. Cryptocurrency represents a very small fraction of all existing other asset classes, and while it will grow quickly, with growth comes regulation, thereby checking the growth.

10.) Bitcoin creates a decentralized form of currency; do you see this as an advantage or a disadvantage to bitcoin acceptance?

Just as the IoT is incredibly important going forward, decentralization of a means of transaction is very valuable. Not allowing countries to control transaction certainly zaps the ability for governments to collect tax revenue, but the internet needs a relatively tax-free form of transactional wealth to facilitate greater usage, to bring computing power to the large portion of global citizens who don’t have banks, communications, or computing access.

11.) What additional information do you think may be important for the future of CIS at RMU to know about Bitcoin?

Blockchain itself will become the key technology, as people branch out from crypto currencies. Just as the original DARPA Net, set up for a few universities to communicate across, is now the medium for billions of cat photos per day, commercial uses for blockchain will blossom out to service uses for which we cannot even understand today. No one expected cat pictures to cripple the Ethereum blockchain, and yet right now Cryptokitties accounts for some 15-25% of Ethereum blockchain use…versus the 10% use of crypto trading via the decentralized exchange, Etherdelta.com.

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