, a France-based think tank dedicated to fostering innovation in the European nation, held an event composed of seven of its peer organisations on 3rd April as part of a discussion that touched on some of the biggest digital trends, including data visualization, electronic healthcare and digital currencies.
Onhand to inform the influential community members about the benefits of bitcoin and its available alternatives was local bitcoin trader and financial writer for the forthcoming newsletter BitcoinWeekly, Stanislas Marion.
Overall, Marion indicated that the panel members were not very educated about bitcoin, and as a result, he had to defend against the spectre of the now-defunct Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and the implications that digital currency exchanges were and are unsafe for the general consumer.
The result, however, was that Marion says he was able to engender new interest in this influential part of the French community, even if it only represents a small step for the ecosystem as a whole.
Marion told CoinDesk that this is indicative of a change in tone occurring in France, where despite media articles that portray bitcoin as a pyramid scheme, the general public is beginning to slowly become more open-minded and interested in digital currency.
Structuring the talk
Before speaking at the InnoCherche event, Marion indicated that he spent considerable time determining how to best explain bitcoin and its potential to the assembled think tanks, even drawing feedback from the reddit community.
Marion notes that he started with the basics, touching on bitcoin's distributed nature and the complexities of the general payments system before moving on to what he considered to be the three areas where innovation is most needed - security, usability and accessibility.
Starting a discourse
Marion indicated that the think tank members provided some interesting feedback during the event's Q&A session.
For instance, they asked Marion questions about how consumers could use bitcoin to become their own bank, how bitcoin mining worked and whether a company like Google would be able to quickly enter and dominate the market.
Unsurprisingly, it's here where questions about Mt. Gox first surfaced.
Bitcoin in France
Research from the US Law Library of Congress has indicated that France has been among the more active countries when it comes to debating bitcoin and its regulatory needs.
So far this year, the country's Senate Finance Committee has held hearings on bitcoin, while the French Prudential Supervisory Authority has issued statements clarifying the status of bitcoin and bitcoin exchanges.
Still, Marion indicates that France has a long way to go before its ecosystem catches up with those abroad, stating:
He added: "Clear guidelines would go a long way to bolster a new wave of merchants, consumers and businesses to work with bitcoin."
Of course, this will necessitate that community members like Marion continue to generate awareness for this need.
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