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Technology professionals from across Central Virginia gathered at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business on September 22 for the VCU Information Systems Technology Leaders Forum. The event presented an opportunity to network and learn about the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrency from keynote speaker Will Trible, co-founder of the Richmond-based startup RoundlyX.

RoundlyX is a web and mobile app used to roundup spare change into Bitcoin and other digital assets. The app allows users to manage holdings across all asset classes, including crypto, traditional and alternative investments of any kind. Users can begin accruing round-ups quickly  after connecting a checking or credit card to the app and selecting a preferred exchange.

At the forum, Trible shared the story behind the creation of RoundlyX, which he founded in 2017 with business partner Andrew Elliott

“In 2014, I read a magazine article—yes, a magazine article, made of paper—about Bitcoin, which was first created in 2008,” says Trible. “I had heard of it and thought it was interesting, so I bought some.” 

At this point, Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency on the market, and it was about $450 dollars per Bitcoin. Fast forward to 2017: Bitcoin hit $1,000 at the beginning of the year, then $20,000 at the end. Trible and Elliott ultimately launched RoundlyX the same year, and the company has now helped a number of users become millionaires through the platform.

‘Decentralized systems will usurp centralized systems’ is the business and technology thesis from which Trible and Elliot operate, pointing to companies like Airbnb and Uber. “This doesn’t mean that the centralized system will cease to exist, or even cease to be a dominant force overall,” says Trible. “Nonetheless, we believe this is a driving force and that systems will continue to migrate in this direction.”

While Trible doesn’t claim to predict the future, there are a few technology trends he believes to be on the horizon. This includes the development of “a new killer app” that becomes indispensable to cryptocurrency; the convergence of tech companies and legacy companies and tokenization of any real world or virtual item; the fragmentation of where people spend their time in both the real world and the digital world; and again, the decentralization paradox. 

“It’s obvious that there is a centralized force behind these de-centralized platforms like Airbnb, Uber and Apple,” says Trible. “Often it even gets down to the single, visionary founder behind the company. Does crypto, Web3 or any other force disrupt this pattern? Should a business be centralized, or empower its employees? How much should a government step in to handle? Should we as individuals go with the flow, or work relentlessly towards a fixed goal? The answer to each usually lies somewhere in the middle.”

Following Trible’s keynote, forum participants were invited to engage in a guided discussion led by Paul Brooks, Professor and Interim Chair and Elena Olson Associate Professor with VCU Information Systems. Groups discussed the tech world today and the types of employee skills that are most sought-after within their respective companies. They compared these skills with the student learning outcomes that the department uses for its educational programs.

An event reception forum was sponsored by Morton

For more information about VCU Business or the Information Systems Program, visit the School of Business website. For a complete list of upcoming events at VCU Business, visit the events page.

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