A New Kind of Money: Bitcoin Basics Amidst A Week of Mt. Gox Mayhem

robocoinatm02 Mar 2014 / Knowledge Wharton High School – Dylan Redfield, a sophomore at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in New Jersey, is crazy about technology. But in Redfield’s case, it’s more than just equipping himself with the latest cool gadgets and clever apps. It’s about raising awareness for one particular kind of technology known as bitcoin, which he believes is as novel as the Internet when it first came along. “People on Reddit [a social news and entertainment website where users post links and text] call me a bitcoin ambassador for people my age,” says Redfield, who is 15. “I’ve been following bitcoin for about a year and half and have made some presentations to my classes that I posted on YouTube and Reddit. I think that bitcoin has the ability to change the world.” Twitter 

“Any security will be very volatile in its infancy. As time goes on, volatility decreases.”

Mt. Gox Goes Dark

Redfield’s bitcoin education mission always begins in the same place — answering the question: ‘What the heck is it?’ Simply put, bitcoin is money in a digital form that you can use to buy things anywhere in the world and that you can invest in. Add a few more necessary layers to the description and you arrive here: bitcoin is the world’s first decentralized digital cryptographic currency (a.k.a cryptocurrency).

Huh? Well, exactly. Redfield gets that reaction a lot – from both students and adults. In fact, last weekend, on February 22, he traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Junior State of America winter congress, during which he argued on behalf of a mock bill to prevent U.S. regulation of bitcoin. During his presentation to other students, he covered the bitcoin basics: “First, bitcoin is a currency. Just like you can have a dollar, a euro or gold, you can have a bitcoin. It holds a store of value like any other currency. Bitcoin is completely digital and is stored on your computer. It is decentralized and runs on a peer-to-peer network, which means that not one person or [institution] can regulate or control bitcoin. And it uses cryptology [as a security measure] to make sure that only you can use your bitcoins.”

People can choose to pay for things using their bitcoins – sites like Overstock.com and Reddit.com are already accepting this digital currency – and/or they can invest in the bitcoin currency as they would invest in the stock market or in gold, and earn a return on their investment as the price in U.S. dollars per bitcoin rises. In recent months, one bitcoin unit has been worth about $700. It has been as low as $50 and as high as more than $1,200…. Read more


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