President & Founder, Texas Bitcoin Association
￼Like many leaders in the Bitcoin world, Paul Snow has multiple degrees after his name, a brain seemingly as large as the mainframe computers that were sending humankind to the moon in his boyhood, and the kind of restless curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit that has seen him launch five companies, including Factom, an open source project he founded with his cohorts in May. (www.factom.org).
Snow did his undergraduate work at Louisiana Tech and earned a master’s in computer science with a minor in electrical engineering at Texas A&M before becoming a self-professed “Ph.D. dropout” when the world of digital printing caught his fancy. He dove into it with the same zest he applied years later when Bitcoin came to his attention via an article in the online magazine Ars Technica.
“I’m happy to say I got into Bitcoin at 77 cents in 2011 for my first purchase, with my only regret being I didn’t buy nearly enough,” he laughs. “After I watched it bubble and then pop, I told myself, ‘I really should understand this.’”
What he has come to understand since, he says, is Bitcoin’s vast potential as an alternative currency. “You no longer have to play a manipulated game in which banks and merchants have ultimate control of your money. Bitcoin means one ledger, one way of keeping perfectly accurate score, total transparency. And there’s no way to counterfeit it, or double-spend, or close the teller window and announce there will be no more transactions.”
Also of great appeal, he says, is Bitcoin’s capacity to serve the sizable portion of the world’s population that, for lack of development, remains unbanked.
“Unfortunately, no one can say, ‘Please put a dollar in your phone now.’ With Bitcoin, there is a tremendous expansion of opportunity for everyone to participate in the economic system, in a secure way.”
Snow’s resume begins with his first job out of college at Texas Instruments, when digital watches were the brand new rage. Many years later, he designed and implemented the “Rules Engine” used by AMS, Deloitte LLP, and Maximus to process applications in the human services space. That engine determines eligibility and enrollment in assistance plans in many states today.
“Technology keeps confounding traditional economics approaches because it drives prices down hugely. No one can adequately foresee the advances that keep coming. The same computing power that used to cost millions and took people to the moon is now little more than you can find in a calculator that is so cheap one might just give them away as a favor,” he muses.
Not insignificantly, despite the prodigious efforts required to launch companies and write massive amounts of code for critical enterprises, Snow regards the Texas Bitcoin Conference as one of his most ambitious venture to date. “We’ve got a tremendous amount going on, much of it designed to enhance Bitcoin adoption,” he says. “There will be lots of Bitcoin engineers talking tech, but also tutorials for laypeople on the basics of Bitcoin.”
“In my heart I’m still a software engineer, but with a more creative bent,” says Snow, the founder of the Texas Bitcoin Association and director of the upcoming 2nd Annual Bitcoin Conference, slated for March 28-29, 2015 in the state’s technology and music hub of Austin at the famous Moody Theater!