Vienna, AUSTRIA – Among the hardcore hardware bunch, Steve Wozniak, known simply as “Woz” is mentioned in hushed tones of reverence. The inventor of the Apple Computer is revered by many as a deity, the incarnation of the personal computer in human form and controversially, considered by some as the true genius behind Apple, much to the chagrin of Steve Jobs fans. But whatever your take on the man, when Woz speaks, people listen. And while the Woz could have wiled away the rest of his days being paid to speak about his glory days at Apple and his relationship with Steven Jobs, he does not live in the shadow of his albeit illustrious past. Woz, regardless of what doubters may believe, is still very much a futurist and still in lockstep with technology. So it was against this backdrop that he held an enraptured crowd of 5,000 at the WeAreDevelopers technology conference in Vienna.
Although Woz did do his typical salesman routine for his former company Apple, he also interestingly publicly renounced Facebook, more, he claims, for cultural reasons, one thinks the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook did not help matters, rather than for privacy reasons. One of the first things he noticed when he renounced Facebook was the significant drop off in targeted ads. And while Woz went on to speak about his deep distrust for Gmail, what caught the audience unawares were his views on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Despite being a technologist, many view Woz as representative of a bygone era, a pre-internet period where the computers were slow and built in garages by two people determined to change the world, not dissimilar to the state of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups today.
But Woz actually put his money where the cryptocurrencies are and although he claims he divested the Bitcoin and Ether he happened to find on his computer a few months ago, he still keeps one Bitcoin and two Ether so he can,
“Experiment with paying for different things.”
Besides tinkering with cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, Woz was extremely positive about Ethereum specifically, describing it as a platform that was just like Apple’s and had the potential to one day become as influential as the hardware behemoth,
“Ethereum interests me because it can do things and beause it’s a platform.”
That Ethereum has come out hands down as the winner in terms of smart contracts and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), there’s no doubting that Woz very much has his hand on the pulse of the latest developments in technology. Perhaps that’s why Woz has twice as much Ether as he does Bitcoin. But such a public statement, in such a public forum by someone many view as the “oracle” should speak volumes of the prospect of cryptocurrencies in general and Ethereum specifically. While it is still early days, there’s no doubting that Woz has an eye for what can and cannot work from a technology perspective, this alone should provide comfort for the many holders (or “hodlers” to use cryptocurrency parlance) of Ethereum for whom the last few months would appear anything but positive.