Cryptocurrencies

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It was really interesting to read about the code of bitcoin and how complex and nuanced it is. I had heard about this bitcoin before, but never understood the inner workings of it. It makes sense that the code surrounding bitcoin would be rock-solid and not open to attacks. It would have to be in order for anyone to invest in it and trust it. One does not simply establish a new currency. That level of security is necessary for any new currency to get started and build trust, especially for one based on computer software and internet connections. A group of hackers could’ve stolen millions of dollars if they were able to break into the code. I’m also surprised that the derivative dogecoin already had enough of a following to get Jamaica’s bobsled team into the Winter Olympics this year. I bet that when dogecoin got started as a joke and parody, no one imagined that it would take off and actually influence an event on the global stage.

~Andrew

I found the readings on cryptocurrencies to be intriguing. Before this, all I knew about was Bitcoin, as it has been exploited in the news media with the recent shut down of the infamous black-market website called the Silk Road. Thinking in terms of currency, one statement that stood out to me in the CNN article was "The U.S. dollar is only valuable because people are willing to accept it. In currency, that is the most important thing." I never thought about currency like this as all my life I feel like I have been taught to believe that if you want to purchase something, you need to have enough money. This for me created a direct assimilation of the United States dollar. However, thinking about currency like the statement suggests makes much more sense. You can't go to France and expect them to accept a USD as a payment; you need to convert to the form of currency they accept. With cryptocurrencies, I feel like a universal form of currency is the ultimate goal, which will in essence help create a more uniform global economy as well as speed up trading processes, especially internationally. I find it interesting how the hardware in a computer can influence the speed of "mining" bitcoins, as the author mentioned in the cryptocurrency reading. To me, this would give high-end users an unfair advantage in the bitcoin process, where it seemed like dogecoins were more community-based and open-source. Cryptocurrencies is still a new technology, especially to me. I look forward to Andrew's presentation so I can hear more about them.

-Viktor

I found the readings on cryptocurrencies to be intriguing. Before this, all I knew about was Bitcoin, as it has been exploited in the news media with the recent shut down of the infamous black-market website called the Silk Road. Thinking in terms of currency, one statement that stood out to me in the CNN article was "The U.S. dollar is only valuable because people are willing to accept it. In currency, that is the most important thing." I never thought about currency like this as all my life I feel like I have been taught to believe that if you want to purchase something, you need to have enough money. This for me created a direct assimilation of the United States dollar. However, thinking about currency like the statement suggests makes much more sense. You can't go to France and expect them to accept a USD as a payment; you need to convert to the form of currency they accept. With cryptocurrencies, I feel like a universal form of currency is the ultimate goal, which will in essence help create a more uniform global economy as well as speed up trading processes, especially internationally. I find it interesting how the hardware in a computer can influence the speed of "mining" bitcoins, as the author mentioned in the cryptocurrency reading. To me, this would give high-end users an unfair advantage in the bitcoin process, where it seemed like dogecoins were more community-based and open-source. Cryptocurrencies is still a new technology, especially to me. I look forward to Andrew's presentation so I can hear more about them.

-Viktor

I found the readings on cryptocurrencies to be intriguing. Before this, all I knew about was Bitcoin, as it has been exploited in the news media with the recent shut down of the infamous black-market website called the Silk Road. Thinking in terms of currency, one statement that stood out to me in the CNN article was "The U.S. dollar is only valuable because people are willing to accept it. In currency, that is the most important thing." I never thought about currency like this as all my life I feel like I have been taught to believe that if you want to purchase something, you need to have enough money. This for me created a direct assimilation of the United States dollar. However, thinking about currency like the statement suggests makes much more sense. You can't go to France and expect them to accept a USD as a payment; you need to convert to the form of currency they accept. With cryptocurrencies, I feel like a universal form of currency is the ultimate goal, which will in essence help create a more uniform global economy as well as speed up trading processes, especially internationally. I find it interesting how the hardware in a computer can influence the speed of "mining" bitcoins, as the author mentioned in the cryptocurrency reading. To me, this would give high-end users an unfair advantage in the bitcoin process, where it seemed like dogecoins were more community-based and open-source. Cryptocurrencies is still a new technology, especially to me. I look forward to Andrew's presentation so I can hear more about them.

-Viktor

I had heard of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies before, but didn’t really understand what they were and how they worked. I never took the time to actually sit down and read up on it, so I was pretty intrigued by these articles. I also hadn’t known that Bitcoin’s creator was anonymous. The creator’s anonymity, along with the fluctuating exchange rates of Bitcoin, would make me pretty suspicious to use it as a currency. A buddy of mine who had told me about it bought about $500 worth of Bitcoin, and literally overnight its value dropped significantly. I think this was when the website Silk Road was shutdown. I don’t think I’d want to invest any money into a currency whose value can be significantly affected by the shutdown of a single website.

I also found the article on Dogecoin pretty amusing. I have seen pictures of that Shiba Inu dog on the internet before, and didn’t know it had to do with an electronic currency.

-Justin

The introduction of crypto-currencies into a technologically involved world scares some people, but it has not made a huge impact as of yet. I feel that it is not the process of how BitCoin works that scares people, but the fact that a massive shift from dollar bills to virtual currency might happen someday. The world is in a drastic state of change and people are searching for innovative ways to make their lives more convenient. Would people accept the idea of using a form of virtual currency through an encrypted system with few flaws or carry around a wallet full of cash, at the risk of being stolen at any time?

I actually went to GitHub to look at bits and pieces of the source code for BitCoin and found some of the formatting and context to be understandable, yet most of it perplexed me. As I dove deeper into the code, it got more complex and redundant in some areas, but overall, it was very well written.

On a side note, I find this BitCoin situation to be similar to gold farmers in foreign countries. This concept comes from the idea of online gamers who pay these foreigners to farm in-game currency in exchange for real-world currency.

Vien

It was interesting to learn about the bit coin. I had never heard much about it and if I did I most definitely did not understand how it works. Although I find it interesting I am not really sure how the bit coin will improve society or make progress in currency. It will be difficult to introduce a new form of currency and have people accept it without resistance. I am not sure why Nakamoto abandoned his own creation so fast because it is not going to be accepted in a day. It is going to be difficult to get people to allow a new form of currency in our lives. Especially with the risks that are involved like the chance of spending the same currency more than once and although Nakamoto found a way to prevent this many people could be hesitant because of their lack of knowledge on the bit coin.

-Hannah

I honestly know less than I should about money and banks, which is why I rarely spend it. (My way of reasoning with myself that I'll have to deal with it less that way, I guess...) That being said, I can see the appeal of the lottery-based cryptocurrency and how it is "impervious to unpredictable monetary policies as well as to the predations of bankers and politicians." A public record of every coin's movement is published, and both the buyer and seller remain anonymous. Additionally, the bitcoin code is (at the time the New Yorker article was published, anyway) virtually unbreakable. A fear that would be in the back of my mind, though, is what if it *does* get hacked? Then again, there is no central server; the bitcoin system is peer-to-peer. I would be more apt to trust fellow users than than several large and in charge.

The legality of new (crypto)currencies is a moot point, though. According to the FBI in the New Yorker article, "It is a violation of federal law for individuals...to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States." The main issue I see with bitcoin is how easy criminals can use it to buy illicit substances, like with the Silk Road, which got shut down last fall. Does this currency count as competing with the U.S. dollar? If yes, how long will it be before bitcoins get shut down? Will it still be possible to identify users?

Margaux

The CNN article on Dogecoin emphasized that the currency is only as valuable as the number of people who accept and trade with it. It goes on to cite the creator and early proponents of the currency as saying that it’s not simply a copy-cat of bitcoin. The concluding pitch is that they’d like see everyone in the world using it.
One of the points the Davis article notes is that many users of bitcoin do not actively trade with the currency, choosing instead to hoard it in hopes that it will appreciate.
These people have a real incentive to see others start using this currency. As they have said, the more that use it, the higher it is valued. It’s not quite a pyramid scheme, because even those getting it late can still utilize the value of the currency, but the parallel does exist at least so in so far as we’re considering that those who invest in “digging” coins in the infancy of the currency will see the value of their coins skyrocket over time. I can only imagine many of those enthusiastic about these not-a-copycat-of-bitcoin currencies have looked at the current value of a bitcoin and wish they’d gotten in on it early. That must influence their interest in dogecoin and other alternatives. Looking at the $630 bitcoin trading value, I sure wish I’d gotten in on the ground floor too.
-Daniel

I found the concept of “bitcoins” fascinating. Since it is still pretty new, I’ll be interested to see how prevalent these virtual non-governmental currencies are in ten to twenty years.

One concern I have is that the ability to exchange currency without revealing any form of identification could be dangerous. If there is no chance of being tracked through your purchases, what is going to hold people back from illegal offerings? One of the articles mentioned that bitcoins can currently be used to trade for things such as LSD, marijuana, and heroine, and worse... On the other hand, cash can be used anonymously in a similar way. It’s is just that a digital currency broadens the scope and range of the available market.

It is an interesting question to consider whether we have a right to privacy with how we spend our money. I don’t know how comfortable I feel with all of my transactions leaving a record, even if every purchase is for legal goods and services.

-Davika

Wow this is the first time I came across cryptocurrency. So there’s other cur
So in the future, possibly, I can go to a store and one day buy something with a bitcoin? It’s amazing how the world works. We’re going from dollars, yens, and shillings, to bitcoins and online cryptocurrency. The man who’s selling his home for a million dogecoins, is he planning to flip the coin for money? I believe the value of bitcoins could increase if it just recently went from being less than a penny to twenty-nine dollars. So if he is planning to exchange it for dollars, then he could most likely make a fortune. It’s basically introducing “new money” to the currency world. All they need is more supporters to get the cryptocurrency to be more affective in the world. This is my first time hearing about it and
I’m really interested to find out how far it would go. One of the readings talked about how you can buy certain items online with bitcoins like falafels, beef jerky, and socks. This is really intriguing and I’m looking forward to the presentation in class today.

Abdifatah

Reading about bitcoins was very interesting and very new to me. Up until this point the only form of money I knew is the regular money we use today like dollar bills and coins, but to discover the differences was fascinating. With the money being available online it does leave what the possibility of funds being unavailable due to the fact that there is a connection problem causing the issue. I am not sure how many people would approve of the situation because of the fact that access to funds may be unavailable. The other thing that I was wondering was about the value of the bitcoins. Will there value every change as far as being more than a U.S. dollar or is it going to stay the same. I think that may be another factor for this method to not be as big as it could potentially be

-Talha

I know this is late but I decided to check out the blog and see if there were any interesting posts. I wanted to share my thoughts on the cyptocurrencies post. Change and shifting away from the status quo is inevitable so its not a farfetched idea to start using a new form of currency. This is especially the case with a world that is built strongly on technology.

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This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on March 11, 2014 8:16 AM.

"Consumption and Dispersion" - David Nye; "Why Not Electricity?" - S. Scott & K. Pellman was the previous entry in this blog.

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