The University of Nicosia launches the Bitcoin course

The University of Cyprus launches the Bitcoin course

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THE University of Nicosia (UNIC) has launched a six week, free and open enrolment online course called “Introduction to Digital Currencies”, aimed at anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of the fundamentals of bitcoin and digital currency in general.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is due to start on May 15, with other sessions starting each month thereafter.

The Fifth Protocol

The Fifth Protocol

Cryptocurrencies are electronic cash, and as such, will be used by electronic agents to exchange value, verify contracts, and track identity and reputation. All of a sudden, the computing resources spent by the Bitcoin miners doesn’t seem wasted – it seems efficient, given that it can be used for congestion control and routing of other network resources.

Cryptocurrencies are an emergent property of the Internet – almost a fifth protocol in the Internet suite. If Satoshi Nakomoto did not exist, it would still be necessary to invent them. Someday, they will be used by the machines in our network, on our desk, in our garage, and in our pocket to exchange value and achieve consensus at blinding speeds, anonymously, and at minimal cost.

Central Bank of Cyprus says Bitcoin is dangerous. Really?

Mostly, I don’t really care what Central Bank of Cyprus  (CBC)thinks.  But sometimes, even I have to raise an eyebrow and say “Really?”.  So happened once again today, when I read this bit in Cyprus Mail:

The Central Bank (CBC) has said use of virtual currency bitcoin is extremely dangerous, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said on Tuesday.

“Using any virtual money is extremely dangerous because they are not monitored by any authority, thus operating without control,” CNA said, quoting the CBC.

I can understand the dangers coming from the digital nature of Bitcoin – hackers getting control of your money, or breaking into your servers for some extra mining power.  But saying that it’s dangerous because it is not controlled by the government? That’s a bit too far.  Especially considering this year’s banking crisis in Cyprus.

In fact, if you look around for a second opinion, the Bank of America recently said that Bitcoin will be a serious competitor to cash.  The article on Inc.com lists possibility of government regulation as one of the disadvantages to the new currency:

The risk of government regulation.

Bank of America says it is unlikely that the government will promote a new currency, especially one as suspect as Bitcoin. As the U.S. government is trying to figure out where Bitcoin fits into its tax and payment system, regulation of any kind would increase its transaction costs–offsetting one of its major benefits.

Bitcoin is a money platform with many APIs

Bitcoin is a money platform with many APIs

Bitcoin is much more than just a digital currency. It is a protocol, a network, a currency and a transaction language. Most of all, though, it is an application programming interface (API) for money. Nowadays, bathroom scales and fridges have APIs, so why not money?

Traditional money does have APIs, but they are closed. You can program the merchant API of the VISA network if you are a trusted merchant. You can send and receive FIX messages if you are a stockbroker or exchange. Regular people, however, don’t even have APIs into their bank accounts, let alone the broader economy. Bitcoin changes all that by not only offering an API for accounts (wallets) and transactions, but also making that API available to everyone.