Iulian Florin, pictured, taught at the university polytechnic of Bucharest in the faculty of IT and electronics before moving to Luxembourg in 2017
Photo: Maison Moderne
Cryptocurrencies are no longer just for blockgeeks. With a little education, 2018 could be the year people in Luxembourg start selling cars and homes for bitcoin.
Former university lecturer Iulian Florin says he doesn’t go to work for money. He does it for the love of blockchain, a technology most commonly associated with cryptocurrencies.
The Romanian national came to Luxembourg in September 2017 to work for Grant Thornton’s technology hub where he is responsible for blockchain. It’s an impressive feat considering he only began learning about it a year ago.
“I started to learn because I was looking at cryptocurrencies and saw so many increases over time, I had to find out why,” he tells Delano. Florin dug deeper and discovered vast advantages to blockchain compared to traditional banking in terms of speed, cost and accessibility as well as potential applications for securely transferring other items such as documents or even votes.
He was so impressed by the potential of blockchain that he decided to teach others. Last year in Romania he organised five crash courses in cryptocurrencies and in 2018 he hopes to offer beginners’ meetups in Luxembourg.
“If I organise a meetup and say we’re going to talk about blockchain no-one will come,” Florin laughs, adding: “but if I organise a meetup about blockchain and cryptocurrency, you have a lot of interested people.”
Gambling and gaming
Florin’s workshops introduce people of all levels to this world via a simulated wallet app. He gets them started on transactions, explaining the differences between banking and cryptocurrencies. He then explains how demand and supply will dictate the exchange rate between the coin or currency and value.
The key driver for most people who take his workshops is the potential to make quick money. “Right now, there is real euphoria and you see huge increases over hours,” Florin says, warning that getting rich is not a guaranteed outcome. “I say you have to be prepared to lose the same amount of money you want to win. It’s about gambling and gaming.”
Indeed, for anyone buying coin, Florin’s second valuable piece of advice is to sit on your coin for at least 12 months and ride out the volatility, which he suggests is caused by a lack of education. “In my opinion, we’ve this huge volatility in the market because people don’t know enough about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and how they work,” Florin says.
The adoption year
If 2017 was the “inception year” for cryptocurrencies, the Romanian national predicts that 2018 will be the adoption year. “Not like businesses using cryptocurrencies but adoption for users,” Florin says, explaining: “We will transfer a specific amount of coin from one person to another in exchange for something. I already see a lot of announcements where people selling cars or houses are accepting payment in bitcoin.”
With over 1,300 different cryptocurrencies on the market and more emerging each day, Florin says it is never too late to start buying coin, particularly in one of the emerging cryptocurrencies. He says that the technology is secure: “In my opinion it is the safest technology in the world at the moment”, and while it has come under fire for a lack of regulation, he points out that all accounts are trackable. It is just a matter of time before the scalability issues mean it is able to compete with traditional financial technology.