TED Talks to Help You Understand Bitcoin

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While all TED Talks on any subject are full of great, reliable information, here are four talks which will be most helpful in educating you about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

Is Cryptocurrency “The future of money?”

Digital currency researcher Neha Narula argued that “there’s nothing inherently invaluable about a dollar or a stone or a coin” in her 2016 TED Talk “The Future of Money.”

“The only reason these things have any value is because we’ve all decided they should. And because we’ve decided that, they do,” she said, explaining the very basic principle which underscores any currency’s value, from today’s Bitcoin to ancient Roman denarii.

Narula also gave examples of how we already use digital money such as direct deposit as well as online bill payments and savings accounts in order to demonstrate how cryptocurrency isn’t really such an alien concept for your average person. However, she also points out the major flaw with our current digital use of money which underscores the need for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin: the money stays in the possession of gatekeeper institutions such as banks and credit cards companies.

Narula explained how blockchain-based cryptocurrency like Bitcoin offers “the future of money [which] is programmable.”

When we combine software and currency, money becomes more than just a static unit of value, and we don’t have to rely on institutions for security. Programmable money democratizes currency and, because of this, things are going to change and unfold in ways that we can’t even predict.”

With the price of Bitcoin climbing above $10,000 in recent weeks, now is as good a time as any to educate yourself on the volatile cryptocurrency.

“How the blockchain is changing money and business”

In this 2016 TED Talk, digital strategist Don Tapscott discusses the impact blockchain will have on money, business, government and society.

Although useful, middlemen like banks, governments, social media companies and credit card companies are vulnerable to hacking which puts our data, privacy and financial resources at risk. Blockchain-based cryptocurrency allows for peer-to-peer transactions based on a trusted asset.

Tapscott argues that blockchain can bring people prosperity by securing economic mobility, distributing wealth and protecting our data.

“Technology doesn’t create prosperity, of course, people do,” Tapscott said. However, blockchain now allows us to “rewrite the economic power grid and the old order of things” to “solve some of the world’s most difficult problems,” he added.

Blockchain technology places trust into the hands of strangers and removes it from institutions.

Trust researcher Rachel Botsman argued in her 2016 talk people’s perception of trust has changed because of new technologies.

She describes online services like Uber, Airbnb, Tinder and cryptocurrency are “examples of how technology is creating new mechanisms that are enabling us to trust unknown people, companies and ideas, and yet [meanwhile] trust in institutions — banks, governments and even churches — is collapsing.”

“In the same way the internet blew open the doors to an age of information available to everyone, the blockchain will revolutionize trust on a global scale,” she said of the implications of large scale acceptance of new technologies.

“How the blockchain will radically transform the economy”

Blockchain entrepreneur and researcher, Bettina Warburg, discussed how blockchain could one day make institutions like banks and governments less of a necessity.

Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay now act as “middlemen to facilitate human economic activity,” but blockchain can “collapse institutions and enforcement” to return the economic power to the people.

“While blockchain technology is relatively new, it’s also a continuation of a very human story, and the story is this: As humans, we find ways to lower uncertainty about one another so that we can exchange value,” she said.

Warburg clarified that, although blockchain isn’t a panacea, it gives “us the technological capability of creating a record of human exchange, of exchange of currency, of all kinds of digital and physical assets, even of our own personal attributes, in a totally new way.”

(To learn more about blockchain, read What is Blockchain Technology?)

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