May 27, 2014
On 26th May 2014, former COO of Skype – Michael Jackson – wrote a very intriguing article on Coindesk that explored how Bitcoin companies could learn from the ‘early struggles’ that Skype faced with regulators around the world.
For all the differences between Skype and bitcoin, there are many similarities. Both products use fundamental changes in technology to enable new opportunities, and they both remove the existing organizational hierarchy of their respective industry. As such, parallels can be made and valuable lessons can be learned from the early days of Skype, writes Mr. Jackson. The Bitcoin industry seems to be adamant that bitcoin is a currency and Bitcoin companies are financial institutions. This was very much in evidence at Bitcoin2014, where all major actors were describing their progress to ‘regulatory compliance’. But is this necessary?
According to Jackson, they could have made out Skype to be a telecommunications company from the beginning, applied for Telco licenses around the world, and customized the product to both match as well as support the various ‘rules and directives’. It would have been the logical thing to do and it is similar to the route many bitcoin actors are taking today. However, if Skype had done so, it would have been the worst strategic mistake it ever made, states Michael Jackson.
Mr. Jackon writes:
At that time, the world had changed from large, government-owned telcos to a new paradigm. Had we tried to establish Skype as a telco, rules and perversity would have appeared, driven by a dangerou ...