This video is part of a larger online course, “From Barter to Bitcoin: Society, Technology and the Future of Money” run by Prof. Bill Maurer and Prof. Donald J. Patterson In addition to the video on YouTube there is a variety of other content available to students enrolled in the class. “In 2008, a person calling himself or herself or themselves Satoshi Nakamoto released a paper suggesting a system for an anonymous, peer-to-peer alternative money. Bitcoin was born. Although not the first digital currency ever proposed, nor the first challenger to fiat money, bitcoin is the first to have captured the broad imagination of speculators, coders, regulators, criminals and the mass media. This course puts Bitcoin in context: how do we understand money as a social, political and technological phenomenon? From discussions of ancient transactions to the rise of state-issued currencies, we will explore the social and technical aspects of bitcoin, its predecessors and potential successors, and how its features echo aspects of many different historical transaction systems. No prior knowledge of economics or computing is required. There is little academic writing on bitcoin. And this may be the first truly academic class on the topic. We want to put bitcoin in a wider perspective, to reflect on what it means for society, politics and economics, as well as how it helps us think about money both a social and a technical phenomenon. This class is not an advanced seminar on bitcoin–we will not be delving deeply into the inner workings of the system, but instead providing a bird’s-eye overview with enough technical detail for you to be able to put media stories, hype and hope around bitcoin in perspective. Similarly, this is not a class in monetary economics–we won’t go too deeply into monetary theory or policy, the money supply, or inflation. Instead the class invites you to think more deeply about one of the oldest systems of technology on the planet, and most ubiquitous: money, whether coin, cash, credit card or cryptocurrency, we humans have been making money for most of the past 10,000 years. How we do so in the future is a question bitcoin just maybe helps us answer.”


I think “decentralized” is a better description than “distributed”.


I understand what BLOCKCHAIN as used for banking, finance as well as investments. But can it be applied to store and manage information or data for any entity whether its personal, business even for a government? And if it does, how safe is it from any tempering or unwanted access by hackers, online criminals, intelligence agencies?


Great video, enjoyed that. On a second note, did you ever star in the big bang theory?


great video! very helpful


Very good talk. Thanks! However I don’t really see any reason to do any of these on a distributed database rather than a centralized database other than those political, idealogical, etc reasons the speaker refers to early on in the talk. I think using the file folder is misleading; it’s not a binary choice of blockchain or paper records. We already have centralized databases that the DMV, banks or whoever can use. In fact, central databases work faster and can do more in terms of calculations or self-executing code or smart contracts or whatever you call it. So it really just comes down to an issue of trust. In other words, why can’t you build a centralized database system for all of these use cases that is public, time-stamped and persistent. All you need is to open read access, time-stamp which is extremely simple and back it up! What am I missing here?


The recording, registering, and tracking of assets (digital or otherwise) is already available and working in the Digital Rights Exchange (DRE) provided by Xeden Cloud Concepts. The DRE allows you to control access grants to the data lodged in your library, registered entries can be public or private, plus it’s supported by other relational applications. It’s currently used for registering, storing, and tracking digital art, music, software, medical records, financial and legal documents. You can check it out at



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