‘A new way to think about money’

So says Nathaniel Popper about bitcoin, in an engaging exploration of this virtual currency in his latest book

Bitcoin is still a bit of a mystery in India, although in some pockets of the world it has become a movement of sorts, representing individuals opposed to having their monetary transactions constantly scrutinised by government. In Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the inside story of the misfits and millionaires trying to reinvent money, Nathaniel Popper, a New York Times reporter, provides some lively insights into the creators of this unique virtual currency. Here, he answers some questions from BusinessLine

Should the world welcome bitcoin?

I don’t think the world needs to welcome bitcoin. It’s a fascinating technology that provides a new way to think about money, but it should only be used if it provides some real benefit over the existing ways of doing digital transactions.

In large parts of the world, traditional money works quite well. There are, though, places where the banks that serve as middlemen in the system slow things down and impose unnecessary costs.

Bitcoin is potentially valuable because it allows people to make digital transactions without going through a bank or credit card company, similar to the way that email allowed messages to be exchanged without going through the postal service.

It did, though, take over a decade for people to figure out how email could be useful to a broad number of people. The same is likely to be true for bitcoin.

So, do you think the world is ready for digital currencies?

People in various parts of the world are finding ways that bitcoin is useful to them. In Argentina, bitcoin is allowing people to move money in and out of the country, getting around the government regulations that impose big fees on these sorts of

Originally appeared at: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/a-new-way-to-think-about-money/article7596679.ece