Computing Magazine

An Education in Bitcoin

Posted on the 13 March 2014 by Hadi20 @hadi_frht
Bitcoin is the world's most innovative digital currency. It utilises a peer to peer payment system using digital currency which enables you to transfer currency privately and securely. Bitcoin utilizes cryptography to control the creation and transfers of money; you send payments by broadcasting digitally signed messages to the Bitcoin network. These transactions are then verified and recorded into a shared public database called the block chain. Subsequently customers are rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins.

The worldwide success of bitcoin has spawned a variety of educational resources which teach you the basics and benefits of bitcoin. Here are but a few of these online resources:
·     CoinDesk is a London-based resource and news operation which provides coverage for Bitcoin and digital currencies in general. It is a valuable resource for any readers who are not technically adept but express an interest in broadening their knowledge of the ever-expanding Bitcoin ecosystem. 
·     The Genesis Block – This site offers a slightly more technical yet immensely educational resource on Bitcoin. The Genesis Block are a self proclaimed news and tutorial site which cover the fundamental aspects of bitcoin, including mining, trading, economics, and businesses, as well as regularly generating new relevant content on bitcoin updates and trends.
·     BitcoinEducation Project – To grant it its full title; “Bitcoin or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Crypto: The definitive guide to understand what the bitcoin is and why we should care about them.” is one of many educational courses founded by entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson. The site provides a collection of free mini-lectures which deliver comprehensive detail on the basics of Bitcoin as well as further specialized topics such as bitcoin wallets, mining, transaction fees and cold storage. 
·     Let’s Talk Bitcoin – Produced by Adam Levine, this new podcast provides current news, topical interviews and studied analysis on the wonders of bitcoin. Available on on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this provides a regular forum through which you can send in questions and comments about all things bitcoin!

Bitcoin has even begun to permeate the educational process itself. For instance, the University of Cumbria has recently become the first UKinstitution to accept Bitcoin as payment for tuition fees.This process first occurred in November last year when the University of Nicosia in Cyprus became the first private educational institution to accept Bitcoin as tuition payment. Cumbria in the UK is now the first public educational institution to implement this practice. Cumbria will initially apply this process to only two of its programmes; the certificate of achievement n sustainable exchange and the postgraduate certificate in sustainable leadership. The selection of these two course is key as they revolve around complementary currencies. Jem Bendell, founder and director of the university's new Institute for Leadership and Sustainability recently stated:

“We believe in learning by doing, and so to help inform our courses on complementary currencies, we are trialling the acceptance of them...Some support Bitcoin due to its speed and cost, others due the new era of financial freedom it could enable...Others are concerned about it and how it will affect economies and society. Others think that what comes next will be even more important. We think it is essential to become better informed, and analyze it from many different perspectives”  Although Bitcoin remains a contentious financial issue, with many businesses and legal firms such as Pinnington Law and Gillhams warning against its insecure nature, Bitcoin continues to grow in popularity across the world. As more people become educated in how to use Bitcoin, it is possible that this innovative technology may lead to a new era of digital currency.


This article was written and submitted by George Campbell.About the Guest authorGeorge Campbell has a BA in English and American literature from the university of Birmingham. You can reach him on Google+ and on Twitter

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