Bitcoin Virtual Currency

By Aparna Narendrula

Bitcoin has been booming in markets; using the virtual currency, you can buy anything from sandwiches to gloves to heroin. Silicon Valley technology firms champion the phenomenon of open-source. Lets face it; we have all downloaded music from an open-source site or used an online version of an English book on Project Gutenberg. 

Esteemed investors claim that a rising open-source technology, Bitcoin, represents the next technology breakthrough; it will reach the magnitude of the current phenomenon, social networking.

According to its website, Bitcoin is “an innovative payment network and a new kind of money.” It is a currency without banks or the complications of conventional currency, especially when concerning currency conversion when crossing international borders. 

Bitcoin has the potential to transform the world’s economy through its exciting uses that previous currency systems could not allow. Transactions can be made more easily and credit card fraud can be eliminated. For example, f we had already fully adopted Bitcoin, the Target credit card fraud case, which caused a “massive breach of Target customer data that affected millions of shoppers”

 would have been avoided. 

This virtual currency, however, does pose some drawbacks, one of which is its potential for use by the black market, which has already adopted the system. The Silk Road (a black market website for illegal drugs) has been caught and shut down by the FBI. 

Though it poses enormous potential for economics and convenience, beware of the black market when shopping with the Bitcoin. Mr. Purpura of HB’s Center for Business and Finance sees two sides to the phenomenon: it may facilitate exchange but believes that “in its current form it is subject to a lot of piracy, potentially corruption, [and] theft.” He would “be very hesitant to use it in its current form” before researching and being sure that it has reached its safety potential. 

American magnetic credit cards are outdated and fraud is rampant; the rest of the world uses gold or silver chips in their cards, and for the US to create the infrastructure to convert to this higher-tech system, lots of time and money would be spent. Bitcoin may be our solution.