Computer science senior Michael Goldstein spoke Tuesday night about the digital currency Bitcoin — created by the pseudonymous company Satoshi Nakamoto five years ago.
Whether Satoshi Nakamoto is one person or a group of people remains unclear. The anonymity of Satoshi Nakamoto allows Bitcoin to be free from outside influence, making any fluctuations of the value dependent solely upon the market.
Goldstein, who also serves as a consultant to companies interested in incorporating Bitcoin, believes the currency could be useful outside of its current application.
“I believe it is highly undervalued,” Goldstein said. “I think it offers a lot more than what we’re using it for now.”
In contrast to credit cards, when an individual makes a purchase over the internet with Bitcoins, all that is transacted are the Bitcoins. This takes out all the personal information that would otherwise be shared between the two transaction parties if a credit card were used for the purchase.
Alan Rochard, finance sophomore and a colleague of Goldstein’s, said the lack of personal information associated with Bitcoin use makes online shopping safer.
“With Bitcoin, you can easily send money to Amazon or whatever without them having to hold your information [and] without you having to trust them with your information,” Rochard said.
Bitcoin eliminates all third parties in regards to acquiring and storing money.
“With Bitcoin, you are your own bank,” Goldstein said.
Operating on a peer-to-peer network, transactions made using Bitcoins come at no cost to either the buyer or merchant.
This is achieved using Public-Key Cryptography, a type of encryption software used by credit card companies and bank account security systems. The software also allows transactions to be made more securely.
Bitcoins are also currently free of governmental jurisdiction and regulation.
Lefteri Christodulelis, government senior, believes that the independence of the currency was paramount to Satoshi Nakamoto.
“The goal is [Satoshi Nakamoto] wanted to create a currency that’s of the people, [and] that’s not of the state intermediary.”
The worth of each individual Bitcoin is dictated by the holders and accepters of the currency.
According to Rochard, Bitcoin operates in a way that follows the trend to conduct transactions online.
“It’s currency for the digital age,” Rochard said.