Dave Levine is Playa Vista’s resident cryptocurrency expert
By Robyn Paris
Everywhere you look, someone is talking about Bitcoin or Ethereum. But what exactly is cryptocurrency, and why is it relevant now and not just in some distant sci-fi future?
To get some answers, I spoke with cryptocurrency expert Dave Levine, a Playa Vista resident raising two beautiful daughters. Levine first dabbled in “crypto” when he bought his first Bitcoin in 2014.
In a nutshell, cryptocurrency represents an asset like a stock, bond, real estate investment or gold; however, unlike a physical asset, crypto is exclusively digital. It’s a digital investment that according to Levine is “unhackable.”
“Bitcoin solved the double-spend problem with digital currency,” says Levine, which essentially means that if you have a dollar to spend, it can only be spent once — the mathematical algorithm of Bitcoin ensures that someone can’t give the same unit of currency to multiple people at the same time. Using a “blockchain,” which is a system for tracking a block of transactions encrypted together, crypto technology turned digital currency into a scarce asset, much like a physical asset, which according to Levine created the “cryptocurrency revolution.”
Still confused? That’s OK — it is tricky. Further complicating things is that Bitcoin, Ethereum and other types of cryptocurrency (there are over 1,000) are not being used as currency yet amongst the general population. It’s still too early. Rather, they are secure investments that some folks, particularly early adopters, have made a fortune investing in, as Bitcoin specifically has been growing at a rate of over 1,000% per year for several years.
Ready to whip out your checkbook? Levine recommends investing only what you can afford to lose and sitting on your investment for at least five years. The markets are very volatile with Bitcoin and Ethereum (two of the most popular and reliable cryptocurrencies), both spiking wildly and plummeting in value. Furthermore, transitioning from Bitcoin to dollars and back is difficult and can be costly with the associated fees.
Levine —who has a background in e-commerce and predicted back in 1995 the rise of the “dot com revolution,” the internet bubble that existed by 2000 and its subsequent “pop” around 2001 — believes “the next Google, Amazon … will come from [cryptocurrency] … it will be even bigger than the internet. Eventually all money will be digitized and invested … it’s a better way to hold money.”
He adds that the blockchain technology has broader purposes than currency. In fact, the technology is used by Ethereum to encrypt and fuel the programming code of many decentralized applications. That means contracts, services, electronic voting and digitally recorded property assets can all be encrypted via blockchain, then fueled or traded using “ether” — the currency used by Ethereum.
Still want to learn more? Levine offers educational cryptocurrency videos on his YouTube channel (DaveLevineDotCom) and the occasional seminar in Playa Vista.
Calling Playa “the Aspen of family living,” Levine notes that it’s the ideal location for someone who works from home.
“The only traffic you get in Playa Vista,” he says, “is the strollers.”