Bitcoin explained financial times

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Digital Gold author Nathaniel Popper says major banks are looking into the possibilities of its decentralized network. There's so much I have to learn each day in preparation for interviews that when I don't absolutely have to know something, I sometimes give myself permission not to learn about it.

And that's been my attitude toward bitcoin until now. Or, to put it another way, when both Bjork and Microsoft are accepting bitcoin, it's bitcoin explained financial times. So we're going to talk about what bitcoin is and how it's used in the underground and legit marketplaces, how it's become a vehicle for investors and how big banks are starting to copy it.

A couple of years ago he wrote a book about bitcoin called "Digital Gold. So for those of us who have never used bitcoin and don't really understand how it works, you tell me, why should we care? Well, I think that there are a number of layers on which this bitcoin thing is interesting. I mean, on the most sort of immediate level, people are using bitcoin in really interesting ways. I think people are using it as a sort of black market currency to buy drugs and make ransom payments, and it is allowing for essentially new types of crime.

But I think it also is pointing in the direction bitcoin explained financial times where money might be going, and Bitcoin explained financial times think it tells us something about what bitcoin explained financial times is.

And then, you know, to zoom out even more broadly, I think it's really interesting because it's not just a new kind of software or a new kind of money. It is bitcoin explained financial times a social movement. You know, it has taken off because it has won-over thousands, tens of thousands, millions of people around the world. And I think it's really interesting to think about what it is about this thing that has been so interesting to people.

So that's the sort of simple way bitcoin explained financial times thinking about the size of the bitcoin economy. That is, just for comparison's sake, larger than the value of Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, larger than the value of PayPal.

So that value is stored in something like 17 million bitcoins that are distributed around the world. Well, to start with, and I think the thing that probably most people are aware of, it's essentially a digital token that you can buy and sell. But I think one of the reasons bitcoin has remained so confusing to people is that it's that digital token but then it's also the network on which it lives.

And it's it's really the network that makes it so different. And so we refer to bitcoin, we refer bitcoin explained financial times that network as essentially the bitcoin network. And it's something more like the internet. It's a decentralized network of computers around the world where all of these bitcoin live.

I mean, this idea when it first emerged in lateactually on Halloween ofwas the culmination of really decades of work among a sort of small group of computer scientists and activists who were worried about - their biggest concern was around privacy. They were really worried that, you know, in the existing system when money became digital.

So when we started to be able to move bitcoin explained financial times around on computers with credit cards, every transaction that you made was tracked and could later be monitored by the government or by big companies. And so, you know, a big part of the work that went into this was to bitcoin explained financial times create an anonymous digital cash.

And so that was one strain of thinking that went into this. But the other big strain when this came bitcoin explained financial times was that this was essentially two months after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. So right in the heart of the financial crisis. And there was a lot of distrust of both Wall Street and the big banks, but also of central banks. And here this was introduced as a new form of money that could exist independent of all of these institutions that people were so skeptical of.

So the people who created bitcoin, 'cause it grew out of a movement, wanted privacy. But I'm not sure exactly where the line is between privacy and secrecy, but there's been a lot of secrecy surrounding the use of bitcoin because the first place it really took off was the underground market, like, on the dark web, the black markets on the dark web selling drugs and sex, right? Bitcoin explained financial times mean, the line between privacy and secrecy is always very, very fuzzy, and I think that a lot of the technologies that are out there to provide privacy are also sort of abused on the other side from people wanting to do things that they don't want the government to be watching.

And so yes, I mean, bitcoin sort of came out of this idealistic impulse. And, you know, after it was announced by the creator of bitcoin, this character known as Satoshi Nakamoto, it sort of stumbled along for two years, and, you know, you could send bitcoin around, but they really weren't worth anything at that point.

And it really kind of gained its first reason for being with the creation of the Silk Road, which was this, you know, online black market sort of eBay where you could buy drugs. And the Silk Road, the creator of the Silk Road realized that bitcoin made this possible for the first time. It was, frankly, quite hard to buy drugs online before this because if you did, the police would just go ask PayPal or Visa, you know, who had bitcoin explained financial times this money to buy this baggie of heroin or marijuana, and PayPal would give those records over and the person would get arrested.

With bitcoin, you could send that money and bitcoin explained financial times would know where the money came from, and that sort of gave rise to this whole new online market.

And it's the same phenomenon with ransomware, when somebody's computer is basically being held hostage by malware, and the only way to get access to your computer back is to pay the designated amount of ransom money in bitcoin. But, of course, experts warn that even if you pay it, you might not necessarily get access to your computer again. But - so that's something that's caught on. And I should say that applies not just to individual computers, but also to, like, whole networks and to hospitals and, you know, around the globe.

I mean, it's created enormous problems for companies, for governments. You've seen, yeah, hospitals that have had to just go back to analog recordkeeping for weeks. I think it was the San Francisco Chronicle, or maybe it was a radio station here that basically had to stop using computers because their computers were all frozen by a ransomware attack. And ransomware was really something that existed before bitcoin. But, you know, in tech speak, it didn't scale without bitcoin. Before, somebody would have to go get a money order and send it around the world physically.

That's not an easy thing to do. And, you know, that is possible bitcoin explained financial times of this new way that bitcoin works, which, you know, the first sort of real-world uses of that have not been altogether positive ones for the world, I think. In terms of the dark web and the illegal, you know, the markets for illegal goods on the dark web that you have to pay for with bitcoin, some of those sites have been shut down, including Silk Road, the one that you mentioned, and more legit uses of bitcoin are emerging now.

So what are some examples of that? Bitcoin explained financial times, the idealism that fueled bitcoin at the beginning, the place where you've seen that playing out is in countries where people have their money trapped or are losing money because the local currency is, you know, is experiencing hyper inflation and so people are losing all of their savings and looking somewhere outside of the government's control to put money.

And so you've seen that in countries like Venezuela and Argentina. You even hear about it in Zimbabwe. You know, in those places, people have always clamored to exchange their local currency for dollars because dollars were so much more reliable, but there was, you know, a real shortage of dollars.

And when you got the dollars, you frequently had to sort of put them under your mattress, which wasn't terribly secure. You know, the vision with bitcoin is that in those sorts of places, you can now trade your local currency for bitcoin and have a somewhat more stable place to keep your money then, you know, the bolivar or the Argentine peso.

So that's sort of, I think, one place where people like to talk about - talk up, bitcoin aficionados like to talk up. I mean, it's also very easy to sort of move money around the globe so, you know, it takes a long time right now to make a sort of pretty bitcoin explained financial times bank transfer to India, to China. You know, that can take weeks and, you know, require sort of fees at every step along the way.

The idea with bitcoin is, you know, you can send it right now and it's there in essentially 10 minutes. And the person can log in and they don't have to get approval from anybody. You know, that's particularly attractive in countries where it's hard for people to get bank accounts and where, you know, places like India, again, or Africa, where people are sort of locked out of the online economy because bitcoin explained financial times can't get a credit card, they can't get a debit card.

You know, they can't sign up for Netflix. Now you can sign up for Netflix very easily in India or Africa, even if you don't have a credit card, thanks to bitcoin. We need to take a short break here so let me reintroduce you. If you're just joining us, my guest is Nathaniel Popper, and we're talking about bitcoin.

He's been writing about digital currency for several years. He's a tech reporter at The New York Times, and a couple of years ago, he wrote a book about bitcoin called "Digital Gold. And my guest, Nathaniel Popper, has been writing about bitcoin for several years.

Except we don't know because He never really revealed who he was. Even you, who have been covering this for years, don't know who he is. I was going to say that. So people frequently say he, she, they or it in case it is a sort of autonomous, you know, being that created this of some sort. But, you know, what we do know is that the person who first introduced this back in and then released the first software a few months later went by bitcoin explained financial times name of Satoshi Nakamoto and communicated essentially only by email, would get on sort of chats and sort of social media forums, but always under that Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym.

And a few years into bitcoin's bitcoin explained financial times, right as it was beginning to take off, Satoshi essentially signed off and disappeared, you know, sent the last email, gave control of the system over to the people who had been drawn to it and were, you know, working on the software at that point. And since then there's been a sort of manhunt for, you know, to discover the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

And a bunch of names have been floated over time. I wrote a story when my book came out about the person who - bitcoin explained financial times of the people who was widely viewed as bitcoin explained financial times most likely candidate. But all of the people who have been, you know, fingered as potential Satoshi Nakamotos have denied essentially that they are, except for, I should say, one person who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto and won over a certain number of people.

This got a lot of news, I think, maybe a year or two back, this guy named Craig Wright from Australia who claimed that he was Satoshi. But as people looked into it and looked into the sort of electronic records - it was quite a chase - I think most people concluded that this was not in fact Satoshi Nakamoto.

So when Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever that is, started bitcoin, he or she issued something between, like, guidelines and a manifesto.

Like, a nine-page document. Can you sum up, for those of us who don't really understand this laughterthe principles that were laid out in those nine pages? Bitcoin explained financial times, so this was the original. It's called Satoshi's White Paper. You know, it has this sort of iconic status, this nine-page PDF that was released in early - in late And it sort of described how this system was going to work. And it said it would be a sort of electronic cache, and there were going to be certain rules that would govern this electronic cache.

There would only ever be 21 million bitcoins created. That rule was sort of stated there at the beginning. And that was created so that it would bitcoin explained financial times a sort of bitcoin explained financial times like gold and - which might lead people to think there was going to be a value bitcoin explained financial times it.

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Economists and commentators are thus increasingly concerned that this may be a bubble waiting to burst. We review recent opinions on the topic. December 4, Topic: That excitement has shifted to the world of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. There are three strands to their appeal: These three factors explain why there is some demand for Bitcoin — but not the recent surge.

A much more plausible reason for the demand for Bitcoin is that the price is going up rapidly. Excessive fragmentation could prove a bug for bitcoin, just as it did for the US financial system during the free banking era. Third, the asset could fall into the hands of hackers — as happened in Fourth, the introduction of futures could lead more investors to enter into positions that put downwards pressure on prices. Why would we expect the way down to be any different?

Economists have been weighing in on the debate, sometimes proposing extreme solutions. Tirole argues that bitcoin is a pure bubble, an asset without intrinsic value — thus unsustainable if trust vanishes.

Bitcoin may be a libertarian dream, but it is a real headache for anyone who views public policy as a necessary complement to market economies. It is still too often used for tax evasion or money laundering, and it presents problems in terms of the ability of central banks to run countercyclical policies. Technological advances can improve the efficiency of financial transactions, but should not lead us to abstract from economic fundamentals.

For now, the regulatory environment remains a free-for-all, but if bitcoin were to be stripped of its near-anonymity, it would be hard to justify its current price. Perhaps bitcoin speculators are betting that there will always be a consortium of rogue states allowing anonymous bitcoin usage, or even state actors such as North Korea that will exploit it.

It is also hard to see what would stop central banks from creating their own digital currencies and using regulation to tilt the playing field until they win. The long history of currency tells us that what the private sector innovates, the state eventually regulates and appropriates.

He argues we should think of Bitcoin as competing for some of the asset space held by gold and also to some extent art. It is hard to ship, but has some extra value because it is perceived as a focal asset and one that does not covary positively in a simple way with the market portfolio. Gold has become less of a hedge, partly because inflation has been low and partly because China and India dominated the gold market more than a few decades ago.

So new and better hedges are needed. And Bitcoin is a strong competitor in this regard. Intersect a convenience yield and speculative demand with a temporarily limited supply, plus temporarily limited supply of substitutes, and you get a price surge.

For decades, regulators across the world have wrestled with the question of how best to mitigate the negative effects of gambling. For the longest time, licensed gambling zones confined to specific geographic areas seemed the optimal solution. The internet has changed all that. Geographic constraints have become meaningless, while innovation — such as the invention of cryptocurrency — has started to compromise the efficacy of bans.

Even if cryptocurrency trading were to be banned, the chances are that as long as some jurisdictions continued permitting it, digitally-enabled backdoor channels would be created to keep servicing clientele in restricted areas.

That leaves only one option for regulators today. Gambling activities must be stigmatised rather than promoted. Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint.

Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post. The development of e-commerce has affected both demand and supply fundamentals of markets, changing the way competition works. The debate about rethinking economics keeps rambling. We summarise newest contributions to this important discussion.

Remittances flows are very important for developing countries. Following the US announcements in early March of their intent to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, and the subsequent threats from China to retaliate with their own tariffs, the global trade picture remains uncertain.

At this event, we will look into the progress made towards achieving the main priorities for strengthening the digital single market, the opportunities and the challenges at EU level. In theory, robots can directly displace workers from performing specific tasks displacement effect. But they can also expand labour demand through the efficiencies they bring to industrial production productivity effect.

This working paper adopts the local labour market equilibrium approach developed by Acemoglu and Restrepo to assess which effects dominate and the impact of robots on wage growth and employment rate in Europe. This event looked at the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on employment, wages and EU economic policy.

A paper jointly written by 14 French and German economists set off a debate about the reform of euro-area macroeconomic governance. How is the EU coping with technology shifts and creating the next generation of new leading firms? What does it mean for the ECB? Fintech has the potential to change financial intermediation structures substantially.

It could disrupt existing financial intermediation with new business models empowered by intelligent algorithms, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Republishing and referencing Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Read article More on this topic More by this author. The cost of remittances Remittances flows are very important for developing countries.

Read about event More on this topic. Challenges and opportunities for the EU digital single market At this event, we will look into the progress made towards achieving the main priorities for strengthening the digital single market, the opportunities and the challenges at EU level. Wolff and Andrew W. The impact of industrial robots on EU employment and wages: A local labour market approach In theory, robots can directly displace workers from performing specific tasks displacement effect.

Robots and artificial intelligence: The next frontier for employment and EU economic policy This event looked at the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on employment, wages and EU economic policy. The debate on euro-area reform A paper jointly written by 14 French and German economists set off a debate about the reform of euro-area macroeconomic governance. Are European firms falling behind in the global corporate research race?

Read article More on this topic. Capital Markets Union and the Fintech Opportunity Fintech has the potential to change financial intermediation structures substantially.