The future of cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and beyond
The digital currency has caused any number of headaches for law enforcement. Now entrepreneurs and academics are scrambling to build a better version.
30 September 2015
Today, there are some 14.6 million Bitcoin units in circulation. Called bitcoins with a lowercase ‘b’, they have a collective market value of around US$3.4 billion. Some of this growth is attributable to criminals taking advantage of the anonymity for drug trafficking and worse. But the system is also drawing interest from financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, which think it could streamline their internal payment processing and cut international transaction costs. It has inspired the creation of some 700 other cryptocurrencies. And on 15 September, Bitcoin officially came of age in academia with the launch of Ledger, the first journal dedicated to cryptocurrency research.
the community of developers and academics behind it is unique. “It’s a remarkable body of knowledge, and we’re going to be teaching this in computer science classes in 20 years, I’m certain of that.”