Bitcoin – Challenging the fiat money system or catalyzing economic development?
In just five short years Bitcoin has grown from an idea to a global currency with more than USD 1.5 bln in circulation and 60,000 daily transactions globally. In the past few months, the debate around whether Bitcoin, and potential other math-based digital currencies without official oversight or high fees, may disrupt the long-standing fiat money system and its accompanying mega financial institutions has made the headlines of newspapers across the globe.
On the one hand, Bitcoin poses considerable challenges, such as the inability of governments to control its supply and demand or to determine the identity of who is making transactions, yet it also offers considerable opportunities for economic development. For example, anyone who has access to the internet, such as an entrepreneur in a remote area in Ghana with a mobile phone, can conduct financial transactions instantaneously and for only a few cents with anyone anywhere in the world. As a result, while some governments view Bitcoin as a threat, such as that of Thailand that ruled the use of Bitcoin as illegal, others see opportunity, such as the German Finance Ministry that declared Bitcoin as a “unit of account” enabling the taxation of its users.Despite being subject to significant threats such as fraud, hacker attacks, and lawsuits during the past two years, the Bitcoin currency and its global community have shown significant resilience and even continued exponential growth.
Thus, what makes Bitcoin a fascinating subject for a conference at the Stockholm School of Economics is not only the debate regarding the currency’s legitimacy and potential as a catalyst for economic growth but also what Bitcoin exemplifies – the power that an emergent community of strangers from across the globe can amass in such a short time through self-organizing over the internet without any top down control. After Bitcoin, what will come next?
Jon Matonis, Executive Director and Board Member, Bitcoin Foundation
Pelle Braendgaard, Founder, Kipochi
Robin Teigland, Associate Professor, Stockholm School of Economics
Date: Friday, October 25, 2013
Time: From 14:30 to 16:30 (Mingle 16:30-17:30)
Place: The Auditorium, Stockholm School of Economics, Sveavägen 65, Stockholm
Read more and register: http://sse2013-bitcoin-desk.eventbrite.com
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