12 February 2014
Is Bitcoin a good thing?
Speaker: Jon Matonis, the Bitcoin Foundation
Background:Bitcoin is a digital currency, where the creation and transfer of Bitcoins is based upon open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority. Once created, Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution with the concept introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.
Since the project began, it has garnered headlines worldwide as a currency being used by money launderers, terrorists and drug runners whilst, in reality, it has become an alternative economy for those who want to exchange without fees.
Then, in August 2013, the German Finance Ministry took the bold step of recognising Bitcoins officially as a “unit of account”, a financial instrument. It does not recognise Bitcoins as e-money or a functional currency, but this does mean that Bitcoins are now an officially tradable instrument and therefore subject to the same regulations as derivatives or other securities.
So what are the rights and wrongs of Bitcoin? To find out Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins us to discuss. The foundation is a non-profit organisation that promotes the use of Bitcoin, in terms of its ability to add greatly to the political and economic discourse for cryptographic money and monetary freedom. The foundation offers a helping hand to those involved in the space, while educating those who are not. It also offers assistance in Bitcoin-related legal cases, including pro bono legal defence, where appropriate. Jon is also Editor of The Monetary Future economics blog and board advisor to startups in Bitcoin, gaming, mobile, and prepaid. His career has included senior influential posts at Sumitomo Bank, VISA, VeriSign, and Hushmail.