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Bitcoin: the virtual currency built on math, hope and hype

Jeremy Kirk | Dec. 19, 2013
The ascent this year of Bitcoin, a virtual currency forged through hardcore mathematics and buoyed by promises of financial liberation from banks, has been nothing short of mesmerizing.

That hasn't stopped some legitimate businesses from accepting and even keeping some bitcoins, even with its wild exchange rate.

David Maloney runs Honestbeef.com.au, a Web-based business from Casino, a small town in northern New South Wales in Australia. Honestbeef brokers orders between farmers and buyers seeking high-quality beef.

Maloney, a database programmer by trade who has watched Bitcoin since it started, said he doesn't accept credit cards, only interbank transfers, which carry no fee, and bitcoins.

But Bitcoin is much more than just a payments system, Maloney said.

Bitcoin's blockchain, a public ledger that record transactions, holds much potential for other kinds of cryptographic verification rather than just transferring bitcoins, he said.

Bitcoins software protocol could accommodate escrow payments and contract arrangements, where trust is placed in the network rather than one entity.

"I think it will be used as a currency, but not in a way anyone's imagined it," Maloney said.

 

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