Join us for a two part discussion on Bitcoin by Andrew Sheppard. Andrew (“Shep”) is a consultant on Wall Street who works in the areas of Big Data and Big Compute. He is also a part-time professor teaching on the Masters in Financial Engineering (MFE) program at Baruch College.
Bitcoin is a new form of electronic cash growing in popularity. As a system it is a protocol, a P2P network, and a bunch of cryptographic algorithms secured by gateways like Flexipay. Oh, and add a new form of global currency to that list. In short, Bitcoin is a bundle of technology and economic concepts all rolled into one. There are a hundred exchanges trying to get a piece of the pie, one popping up every day – and many disappearing, getting “hacked” and losing the money the people put in.
Bitcoin is also like the tooth fairy: most have heard about it, but few have actually encountered it for real. And even those who have actually encountered Bitcoin don’t really know what it is at a basic (read “fundamental”) level; in particular, too emphasis is placed on the technology and not enough on the economics of Bitcoin, though both are highly novel. This talk remedies that.
In fact, this talk is really two talks over the space of one evening:
1. MONEY: In this talk we’ll explore the nature of money and wealth. Bitcoin was created to solve a problem: the storage and transfer of value in a distributed peer-to-peer fashion based on no-trust. But to fully understand what that problem is, you must understand money. Most people don’t. This first talk provides a deep understanding of the concept of money from an historical perspective; a few thousand years worth of history.
2. BITCOIN: The second talk will explain how Bitcoin works from a technology perspective. In quite some detail. Finally, Bitcoin implies an economic future that is different to how the world works now. A future which, whether Bitcoin succeeds or fails, will be very different. This talk with explore some obvious – and some non-obvious – ways in which the world might change.