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Peer-to-peer currency sparks digital revolution

Submitted by KenDrell Collins on January 29, 2014 – 11:01 amOne Comment

By Ryan Guinee

Where does money come from? What happens to a dollar after it is spent? Can it’s origins be traced?

Photo courtesy of bitcoin.org

These are questions that graduate Finance major Leroy Brown seeks to answer in starting a new organization on campus to discuss peer-to-peer currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

“The importance in understanding how p2p currencies affect every aspect of life can really take off in a setting like this,” said Brown, who sees a vision for every discipline coming together to discuss the topic. “The concept is so new and everyone here is new in their career. The creative room is so valuable.”

The purpose of the organization would simply be having fun and finding value in the newness and fun of the topic. “It’s not something that requires business knowledge as much as it requires an interest in learning about technology, people, and money,” said Brown.

Peer-to-peer currency is a wildly popular topic in business and political circles as it impacts the regulated financial institutions throughout the world. Exactly how is yet to be seen, but economic powerhouses such as The United States, China and France are interested in leading the way. Significant attention was garnered over the holidays when the value of Bitcoin surpassed the value of gold.

“It’s certainly accessible, but takes time to learn,” Brown responds when prompted on the viability of a student organization discussing what federal banks discuss.

Here’s the run down:

It begins with a user, a computer, and a peer-to-peer network — this is the system. The user will adjust the computer’s settings to operate 24/7, solving very difficult math problems presented by the network. When enough problems are solved — or, when blocks are completed — the user is given one unit of currency by the network. Once this currency is “earned” through the work employed by the computer, the user may use the unit of currency however they deem fit.

In its simplicity, this is the scenario that led to a digital revolution, an investment nightmare (or oasis), a currency regulation discussion, a new marketplace, a freedom of privacy tirade, and deep analysis of what constitutes value — all collectively known as Bitcoin.

“Its primary purposes are transfer of value and storage of value like an asset, commodity, or money; and it’s all done on a technological platform,” Brown explains, summarizing the digital currency.

One of the most important aspects of Bitcoin is crowd-sourcing. The Gestalt-style concept means that the power of Bitcoin comes from the sum of the many users involved. Currently, users from all backgrounds are finding valuable use in Bitcoin.

“It fits well with crowd-source ideas. It’s becoming a huge factor in art, design, technology, fashion, you name it. Projects that crowdsource are starting to benefit society,” said Brown

The coins are passed from person to person roughly 50,000 times a day according to Bitcoin magazine. According to the magazine,  brick-and-mortar businesses taking the leap into accepting Bitcoin. From alpaca socks to homes, the exchange is virtually endless.

In the darker corners of the marketplace some rather nefarious products that drew the attention of the FBI in October. Known as the Silk Road, consumers could shop for huge stock holds of drugs, weapons, or products unavailable to some countries.. The FBI brought the organization down by the end of October, seizing what made up roughly 20 percent of the Bitcoin economy. Meanwhile, other organizations replacing the Silk Road are hanging by a thread in the wake of government crackdowns on these black markets.

The p2p currency student organization that Brown plans to start intends to encourage use of coins in creative ways.

“I hope to have trivia games in which students can win pieces of a bitcoin to spend, invest, or save.”

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