This past autumn, as global stock markets crashed and cryptocurrency held a steady store of value, the public attitude toward digital coins like Bitcoin and Litecoin became much more positive. This positive PR for crypto, in general, seemed to bolster the public acceptance of a fringe “digital currency” in Toronto that had been developed by the company Bunz, which began as a bartering group on Facebook.
What Is Bunz?
Bunz is a company that began as a way for Toronto area residents to exchange goods without money entering into the equation. Of course, since money always enters into the equation eventually, the founders of Bunz developed an App to monetize their service and promptly introduced digital credits called BTZ (pronounced bits), ostensibly to bridge value gaps on uneven trades. The credits can be used at a handful of vendors including restaurants, record stores and a surf shop. The vendors can hold the credits to use for barter, or invoice Bunz at an agreed buyback rate.
A Bit of a Snafu
In a seemingly minor gaffe that had crypto geeks frothing at the mouth, the local media reported that Bunz had created its own cryptocurrency. Because BTZ was completely centralized and had nothing to do with blockchain technology at the time, this was contentious. When confronted with this false distinction, Bunz’s CEO said that BTZ was more like a digital currency. For most, digital currency would immediately equate to cryptocurrency.
Transition to Ethereum
This past August, Bunz transferred BTZ off their own system onto Ethereum’s blockchain, finally becoming an official cryptocurrency. While it is still intended mostly as a means of facilitating barter and is accepted at a select few retailers, it is an important step.
Small Fish in a Big Pond
The crypto ecosystem has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years, and while BTZ is certainly an interesting curiosity, the big fish like Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin are more reliable for investors and consumers. Knowing where to buy and store your cryptocurrency is extremely important and therefore, researching a Bitcoin to Fiat gateway that is reliable and easy to use is the first step to getting in on the crypto craze. BTZ, on the other hand, is basically halfway between a customer rewards program and a crypto contender.
While classifying this particular currency seems like an important crusade for some, it’s really an example of a new and exciting phenomenon born of the crypto era that defies traditional understanding. BTZ definitely fits with Ethereum’s philosophy, of promoting innovations like Dapps (decentralized apps), smart contracts and other products and services that can be facilitated through blockchain technology. In a way, it’s a tool for circumventing traditional capitalist institutions, and Satoshi Nakamoto – the mysterious inventor of the blockchain – would be proud of its libertarian undertones.
If you’re interested in getting in on the crypto gold rush, consider investing in Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash through a user-friendly platform, but it’s also worth paying attention to fringe technologies like BTZ that have an interesting story to tell.