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YO U G I V E M E YO U R S A L A M I S A N DW I C H O N R Y E A N D I W I L L F O R K OV E R M Y L U N C H A B L E S .

Even at age 8 we understood the basics of trading. When it comes to homemade chocolate chip cookies? Well then you better have more than Go-Gurt to offer. Supply and demand, buddy. No one has cookies like these ... and now that your mom has gone on a no-sugar kick, they are worth your veggie chips for a week. This makes

IF

you’re not abreast with digital currency, all of it sounds like a bunch of gobbledegook. It’s like Sega Genesis coins you get to collect and power up for Sonic the Hedgehog. But it’s not. Someone bought a Tesla car with bitcoin. There’s a house on the market that can be purchased with bitcoin. There are bitcoin ATMs and you could even pay your lawn guy with bitcoin. It’s as real or as fake as any other money you have these days. Really, how much of your money do you actually see in tangible formats? Newly minted cash resembles some hybrid form of Monopoly money, and it’s not like you’re making mortgage payments with stacks of green and purple hologram-stripped hundreds. No, we seem to know our money by the number stated on the bottom of a website or a ding of a mint.com app update. What we truly understand about dollars and cents is all summed up on a statement we get from using a piece of plastic. In a strange way, this makes the concept of bitcoin more palpable. “I know everything about Bitcoin, I’m obsessed,” I was told by a friend two months ago. I had read the word, “bitcoin,” in The Wall Street Journal, in The New York Times, on Reddit. I knew it was some hacker wet dream, digital money concept, but it’s Greek (or code) to me. “Oh

sense. Price fluctuations happen even on the playground. What’s harder to comprehend, however, is that I give you my home-baked goods and you give me a string of code that uploads to my digital space proving I have been paid. But these days even elementary kids have heard about bitcoin — digital money of the future.

really?” I asked with a surly tone. She contemplated how to respond. After muffled, pathetic attempts at sentences she rebuffed, “I don’t know. It’s cryptocurrency. It’s just bitcoin. You know.” I found similar responses from a steady stream of social inquiries. Bitcoin is the thing on everyone’s lips, but no one knows what they are talking about.

B I S F O R B I TC O I N So what is it exactly? That’s what we are all here to find out. According to our dear friend Wikipedia: Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009. It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money. Thanks for nothing Wiki-nerds, that’s useless for us who are still in Economics 101. But have no fear, I’m here to make some sense out of this gibberish. First, let’s take a look at a currency we understand as a point of reference: The U.S. Dollar. The dollar is controlled by the United States, and it is the government who actually prints the cash that makes money clips look so impressive. The strength of the dollar is tied to the strength of the economy (and about a zillion other factors, but we’re trying to keep it simple here). In overly basic terms, when the U.S. isn’t do-

ing well, the dollar isn’t either. You can feel the significance of how strong the dollar measures up when you hop on a plane and fly to another country. If you decide to take your stack of dollars over to a currency exchange counter in say, Italy, they give you Euros back ... as many Euros as your dollars are worth at that moment in time. Bitcoin is the same deal, except bitcoin is not attached to a country ... any country. It belongs to the people (that’s what the whole peer-to-peer thing is all about). “With a bank, it’s centralized,” says Aaron Williams, CEO of Atlanta Bitcoin. “One authority. When it is decentralized, your connection is to the people.” It’s worth what the market will pay for it and increases or decreases based on how bad people want it. You get it from an exchange that trades your dollars or euros or pounds into bitcoins the same way you might after getting off that plane — it’s just online and not with a teller. Though you can retrieve country currencies through bitcoin ATMs; Williams purchased the first one ever made for Atlanta Bitcoin in August of 2013 and plans to place these digital currency teller machines in shopping destinations as this form of money gains momentum. Which it has. There are even Bitcoin conventions all over the world now, which Williams affectionately refers to as the “Bit Con” circuit.

SPRING 2014

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Profile for Eide Magazine

THE CURIOUS ISSUE  

Spring 2014: Behind the scenes of Chrisley Knows Best, offstage with Young the Giant, the slow fashion movement, industrial design, Sophia W...

THE CURIOUS ISSUE  

Spring 2014: Behind the scenes of Chrisley Knows Best, offstage with Young the Giant, the slow fashion movement, industrial design, Sophia W...

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