“[Bitcoin] is a remarkable cryptographic achievement… The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value…Lot’s of people will build businesses on top of that.” [SOURCE]
In the US, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been recognized as a convertible virtual currency, which means accepting them as a form of payment is exactly the same as accepting cash, gold or gift cards.
Kaminsky wasn’t alone in this assessment. Soon after creating the currency, Nakamoto posted a nine-page technical paper describing how bitcoin would function. That document included three references to the work of Stuart Haber, a researcher at H.P. Labs, in Princeton. Haber is a director of the International Association for Cryptologic Research and knew all about bitcoin. “Whoever did this had a deep understanding of cryptography,” Haber said when I called. “They’ve read the academic papers, they have a keen intelligence, and they’re combining the concepts in a genuinely new way.”
I had this in mind when I started to attend the lectures at the Crypto 2011 conference, including ones with titles such as “Leftover Hash Lemma, Revisited” and “Time-Lock Puzzles in the Random Oracle Model.” In the back of a darkened auditorium, I stared at the attendee list. A Frenchman onstage was talking about testing the security of encryption systems. most effective method, he said, is to attack the system and see if it fails. I ran my finger past dozens of names and addresses, circling residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland. There were nine.
Of course, users of cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin can always exchange their coins for BTCs. Moreover, there are Gift Card selling websites like Gift Off, which accepts around 20 different cryptocurrencies. Through gift cards, you can essentially buy anything with a cryptocurrency.
Blockchain is basically a digital ledger that contains the payment history of each circulation of the unit. If the PBOC’s version is widely adopted, that would challenge existing intermediaries such as banks and payment services like Alibaba affiliate Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat — two leading online payment networks.
Today’s digital coins lack long-term staying power because of slow transaction times, security challenges and high maintenance costs, according to Strongin. He said the introduction of regulated Bitcoin futures hasn’t addressed those concerns and he dismissed the idea of a first-mover advantage — noting that few of Internet bubble’s high fliers survived after the late 1990s.
With the introduction of Bitcoin, the first ever cryptocurrency, a completely new paradigm was created. Decentralized, self-sustained digital currencies that don’t exist in any physical shape or form and are not controlled by any singular entity were always set to cause an uproar among the regulators.
When a piece of work is created or performed, the digital rights to that piece are oftentimes complex and spread across many different organizations and entities. This makes it difficult for artists to get paid for their work and many large platforms, like Spotify, suffer from lawsuits because they don’t do a good enough job of navigating the labyrinth. How might you build a system to help artists get paid for their work? In partnership with the Berklee College of Music, Harvard Berkman Center, and several industry partners in the Open Music Initiative, we are investigating the design of a blockchain-inspired open and interoperable digital rights management platform.
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