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McDonough Professor Critiques BitCoin

Bitcoin, the internet’s first decentralized digital currency and the largest of its kind in terms of total market value, was recently examined at the McDonough School of Business. While Bitcoin is still shrouded in mystery for some, the new currency has made its way into business schools as certain prominent professors’ are beginning to open up on their thoughts on the currency.

James Angel and Doug McCabe, professors at McDonough, recently published research into the ethical considerations behind bitcoin. McCabe, a professor of management, was measured but critical in his characterization of the new currency, saying, “Bitcoin itself is not evil, although it, like any other payment method, can be used for evil purposes. For example, painkillers like Oxycodone have a serious potential for abuse, but also important medical uses as well.”

He’s got a point… Because of its presumed capacity to obfuscate the source of payments in online transactions, bitcoin has come to be used in the deep web black markets. In a Bloomberg.com article, it’s stated that it was estimated that in 2012, 4.5 percent to 9 percent of all transactions on all exchanges in the world were for drug trades on a single deep web drugs market, Silk Road.

According to Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin is an unregulated form of currency that uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. It is therefore controlled by all Bitcoin users around the world.

Developers are improving the software, but they can’t force a change in the rules of the Bitcoin protocol because all users are free to choose what software they use. In order to stay compatible with each other, all users need to use software complying with the same rules. Bitcoin can only work decently with a complete consensus between all users.

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About the Author

Max Pulcini
Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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