AirTalk for February 25, 2014

Does the Mt. Gox collapse undermine Bitcoin’s economy?

Bitcoin Value Soars And Drops

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The bitcoin website is shown on the computer of the proprietor of a shop selling vinyl records and that accepts bitcoins for payment on April 11, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Leading Bitcoin exchange and storage site Mt. Gox has apparently collapsed today after a week of tumultuousness and a year of business trouble. The site, initially built to digitally trade Magic cards, evolved into a transaction and storage site for Bitcoin.

Cyptocurrencies like Bitcoin used in online transactions have made waves in recent years as acceptance of virtual money has evolved. Bitcoin grew from a less-than-pennies way to pay for online services into a bartering tool accepted by some banks, casinos, and businesses. The currency reached a high point when one Bitcoin was valued at about $1000 and has since fluctuated vastly. 

Disruptions in trade of Bitcoin on Mt. Gox have raised questions about the currency’s stability -- could a shutdown or hack like this undermine the entire currency? What makes currency -- in any form -- valuable? Can virtual money be devalued by virtual problems? 

Guests

Chris O’Brien, technology reporter, Los Angeles Times, who’s been covering the story. 

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Ph.D, Senior Associate Dean for International Business and Finance and Executive Director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) and Council on Emerging Market Enterprises at the Fletcher School at Tufts University


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