Hopkins researchers are creating an alternative to Bitcoin

Zerocoin_logo02 Feb 2014 / The Baltimore Sun – Inside a drab computer lab at the Johns Hopkins University, a team of researchers is trying to build something that has never existed before: a digital currency that changes hands completely in secret. Its name is Zerocoin.

The untraceable currency is designed to compete with other virtual moneys such as Bitcoin, which are drawing attention as alternatives for businesses and individuals — and drawing criticism from some who believe they enable money laundering and other criminal activity.

Advocates say such digital currencies, made possible by complex computer formulas, will eventually be widely embraced by users who want to exchange money instantly and directly, without a bank as middleman. Bitcoins are already being accepted as payment by a growing number of businesses large and small — from Overstock.com to the D Casino Hotel in Las Vegas to the Fells Point bar Bad Decisions.

Matthew Green, the Hopkins assistant professor of computer science who is leading the Zerocoin project, says there is a legitimate need for anonymous financial transactions. If virtual currencies are going to exist, he and his team of graduate students say, there should be one that provides the same kind of privacy that people have when exchanging traditional forms of money.

“In our field, the probability that you’re going to have an impact on the world is kind of low,” Green said. “We want to make something that the world wants and can get use out of.”….. Read more

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-02-01/news/bs-md-hopkins-bitcoin-20140201_1_virtual-currencies-bitcoin-foundation-ross-william-ulbricht

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