Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is not regulated or centralized by any banks or financial institutions and is classified as a commodity in the stock exchange. It is an open-sourced software that enables users to make transactions without the involvement of a third party and allows them complete anonymity. Since its inception, Bitcoin has been a major phenomenon, with several universities and colleges acknowledging its potential with esteemed institutions such as NYU, Princeton, and Stanford University teaching courses to help students better understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem. However, not all of it has been used for academic or even legal purposes. Studies have shown that drug dealers and other nefarious users have also used bitcoins to launder money, buy illegal fire arms, child pornography, and drugs. It is hard to detect these offenders because bitcoin is an open-source program that allows users complete invisibility with their activities. It is an open forum, and by its very nature it can show a transaction taking place but will never show its point of origin or destination.
An anonymous privacy oriented individuals dream?
Many have called for the end to the bitcoin system, for it is an unstable currency system and can be abused without detection by most users. Arguments have been made that leaving such a volatile system unchecked is a recipe for disaster and that society was already feeling the repercussions by allowing people to wipe away money trails essentially. For example, Silk Road was the hottest drug site on the darknet and did business with bitcoins and was worth billions until it was shut down in 2014.
In 2017 JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud,” stating that the cryptocurrency “won’t end well,” with the head of his Macro Quantitative and Derivatives department Marko Kolanovic adding his own two cents, comparing the blockchain program to “a pyramid scheme.” Dimon has since expressed regret over his views, acknowledging that Bitcoin was genuine while echoing his endorsement of blockchain technology.
Is Bitcoin the future of E-commerce
Many have been arguing that bitcoin is the future of e-commerce and business and have supported it for years. Influential figures like Bill Gates and Elon Musk are avid Bitcoin supporters and recognize the significance of blockchain technology, with Bill Gates stating that “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be” and believes “it’s a technical tour de force.”
“Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement, and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value,” argued Google Executive Chairman Dr. Eric Schmidt, echoing similar sentiments made by individuals such as Chamath Palihapitiya, Warren Buffet, and even former Vice President Al Gore.
In today’s world, where the word privacy has lost its meaning, with hackers and cyber-attackers infiltrating governments and companies and stealing financial information every other day, the idea that a person can browse the net and make transactions with complete anonymity should be cherished. True, blockchain has its issues, but in no way can it be defined by those who abuse it. It easy to forget how much the internet has evolved in its short history, and the age of bitcoin and cryptocurrency will eventually revolutionize the internet and usher in a future of secure, difficult-to-censor privacy for individuals and society.