Summary of Bitcoin

A Primer for Policymakers

Mercatus Center,

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Bitcoin summary
Bitcoin, the virtual currency, presents real-world benefits and challenges.

Rating

8 Overall

7 Importance

9 Innovation

8 Style

Recommendation

Given the considerable attention Bitcoin is receiving in the media and from various governmental agencies, this report is a timely, even necessary overview. Mercatus Center researchers Jerry Brito and Andrea Castillo assume readers have no prior knowledge of Bitcoin – the virtual currency plus electronic payment system – so they clearly, methodically explain how bitcoins work. Their primer delves into the system’s origins and incorporates fairly recent media coverage of this technological phenomenon. The authors present a largely balanced discussion of the pros and cons of the “digital currency,” though they tend to come out in favor of Bitcoin’s potential benefits and against intrusive government regulation. getAbstract recommends this report to anyone intrigued by what could turn out to be the virtual currency of the digital future.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What Bitcoin is
  • How bitcoins work
  • What the virtual currency’s benefits and risks are
 

Summary

What Is Bitcoin?
A few short years ago, you would have been ahead of the curve if you’d even heard of a bitcoin. Today, the “Bitcoin economy” is worth more than $1 billion, and people around the world are using bitcoins to buy, sell, trade, speculate, and more. Bitcoin is the first “digital...
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About the Authors

Jerry Brito is a senior research fellow and director of the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center, where Andrea Castillo is an associate for the Spending and Budget Initiative.


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