BadgeChain Newsletter #12 – Earning an A in bitcoin

August 24th, 2017 | Carla Casilli

Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash have sky-high valuations and as financial investments, they both appear to be unstoppable forces. But who’s using them as real money and for what? You’ll be surprised to find out.

Bitcoin, as first imagined, was created to circumvent established institutions like banks. In essence, removing middlemen in financial transactions and therefore encouraging and improving person-to-person commerce. It was considered extremely avant-garde and entirely non-conformist. How very far we’ve come. Now students can pay for their formal education with the cryptocurrency.

The University of Nicosia in Cyprus offers an MSc in Digital Currency that can be paid for using bitcoin. That’s downright poetic, right? For the folks recommending that students should look into bitcoin, this is the sort of platonic ideal of that suggestion. It represents a double win for students: they benefit from it both as a financial currency and as a learning tool. A double bonus also for the variety of institutions of higher learning that provide this opportunity: one for appearing up-to-date, and; two for sidestepping the not insignificant foreign currency issues for non-resident students. Because bitcoin is a truly universal currency, and actually does eliminate pesky middlemen, the special fees normally assessed against foreign transactions virtually disappear.

Given bitcoin’s increasing rate of acceptance, we have to wonder if this sort of quotidian use—college tuition payment—is truly avant-garde and non-conformist, or if it’s as far away from avant-garde and non-conformist as you can get. Maybe, in this instance, it’s both.

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Here are the articles that inspired and informed this newsletter. We recommend them to you as interesting data points in your consideration of education and decentralized technologies.


BadgeChain Newsletter #11 – Bitcoin cash: the fork in the road

August 10th, 2017 | Carla Casilli

We tried to avoid writing about it but we just couldn’t. When something as big as the most traded, loved, hated, discussed, envied, reviled alternative currency decides to do a hard fork, well, we just couldn’t avoid it. What does it mean to develop a cryptocurrency that is supposed to be based on rock-solid software and immutable structure only to have a group of your users / investors / miners / owners say this isn’t working as planned and we need to change it?

We’re talking about Bitcoin. What a complicated life it has led already in its relatively short time on earth. With its mysterious beginnings and now its astronomical valuation, Bitcoin is a true trailblazer in the world of cryptocurrencies. So, how do you get from there to Bitcoin cash, the newest iteration of Bitcoin? From one Bitcoin blockchain to two? In a word, scale. Or put more completely, the desire to tighten up the lags that have occurred with requests for processing and actual mining.

Feels like we might just be experiencing the Bitcoin equivalent of the New Coke vs. Coke Classic challenge. Except that Coke has never come near costing $3300+ a can. Sure Bitcoin cash currently trades at a valuation that’s several orders lower than Bitcoin, but for how long? If it lives up to its hopes, then speedier transactions may just prove far more compelling than its progenitor’s current process does. Also, the split meant that any Bitcoin owners received the same amount in Bitcoin cash, essentially doubling their holdings. A few cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase are not recognizing Bcash yet, so those unlucky holders lost out on the doubling effect. Still, this approach is a compelling strategy with few seeming downsides—for now. So, for those of us watching this event from the sidelines, it appears that the battle for Bitcoin supremacy is now on.

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Here are the articles that inspired and informed this newsletter. We recommend them to you as interesting data points in your consideration of education and decentralized technologies.