July 27, 2014 Leave a comment
Every semester, I take my students from Columbia College to Chicago Federal Bank’s Money Museum. It’s a great experience for the students, and I also learn something new with every visit. On our last visit, I pulled one of the PhDs aside (they all possess a doctorate degree in Economics) and asked, “what do you think about bitcoin?” The presenter gave me a one sentence answer – it’s a safe haven for illicit traders. Probably a little too harsh answer, so I did my own research.
- What is bitcoin? It’s a virtual currency created by an unknown Japanese programmer (only his pseudonym is known). It’s not associated with any country or government, making it truly universal.
- How does it work? Every user has a “wallet” with a unique identifier. While all transactions are recorded, user ID is kept anonymous (OK, so that supports illicit trade comment).
- How do I get bitcoins? Various exchange sites / services let you buy and sell for cash. You can also mine them (honestly I don’t get this concept).
To be continued…