Bitcoin: Money of the Future



Bitcoin

What kind of money do you use? Robin Basselin and Colin Lowther look at bitcoin, electronic money exchanged over the internet. Some people think that this is the money of the future.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I'm Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

What do the following things have in common?

Voice 2 

Shells. Donkeys. Teeth. Stones. Grain. Tools. Silver.

Voice 1 

During human history, people have used each of these objects as currency. When they wanted to buy food, clothes or other things, they exchanged one or more of these objects to buy them. Today, this may seem strange. Most people purchase things with their country’s official currencies - like the US Dollar or Chinese Yuan.

Voice 2 

However, national currencies are not the world’s only kind of currency. And in 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto invented a new kind of currency. It is called bitcoin. And it is a completely computer based currency. Today's Spotlight is on bitcoin.

Voice 1 

So what exactly is bitcoin? Bitcoin is a digital, decentralized, crypto-currency. This complex term explains how bitcoin is different than most other currencies. But what does it mean? First, bitcoin is completely digital. Currently, there are no physical forms - no paper bills or metal coins. The currency exists only on computers.

Voice 2 

Secondly, bitcoin is decentralized. There is no central authority that controls bitcoin. Usually, national governments control currencies. The governments act as central financial authorities. They are the only group able to legally print the money. And all money transactions, or exchanges, must go through banks. But bitcoin is different. All bitcoin transactions go directly from person to person over the Internet. There are no banks involved.

Voice 1 

Bitcoin is also a crypto-currency. This means it is money that people create using complex mathematics and computer programs. Nakamoto designed the bitcoin computer program. And he created the program with a limited amount of bitcoin. There are only 21 million bitcoins. Much like gold, people find bitcoins by mining them. Bitcoins are locked into the bitcoin computer program. In the mining process, people use powerful mathematics and computer programs to unlock the bitcoin. As people mine bitcoins, the program makes it more difficult to find the remaining bitcoins. The mining process becomes slower and bitcoins become rarer. At this time, computers have mined about 11 million bitcoins. Nakamoto claims that by the year 2140, computers will have found all 21 million bitcoins.

Voice 2 

But you do not have to mine bitcoin to get it. Once unlocked, people can keep, buy, sell, or exchange bitcoins like other currencies. Someone who wants bitcoin can buy bitcoin from people who already have it. Or, they can sell things and accept bitcoin as payment.

Voice 1 

As a currency, bitcoin has many advantages. You do not need to belong to a bank to use bitcoin. In fact, you do not even need official identification! Anyone who can use the Internet can use bitcoin. And this makes bitcoin easy to move. Because it is completely digital, people on opposite sides of the world can exchange it in seconds. And there is no need to change money into different currencies.

Voice 2 

Bitcoin is also not affected by the decisions of any particular government. Sometimes, war, politics or a government's financial policies can cause an extreme rise in prices. This price inflation can cause a nation’s currency to quickly lose value. Warren Buffet is a famous international financial expert. In a 2012 story for Fortune Magazine, he wrote,

Voice 3 

"Governments decide the final value of money. Sometimes, many different forces will cause them to choose policies that produce inflation. From time to time, such policies quickly get out of control."

Voice 1 

Unlike national currency, governments cannot change the value of Bitcoin. Because of this, some people believe that it can provide a safer form of currency. This is especially true for people who live in countries where government leaders are overly powerful or change often by force.

Voice 2 

Although there are advantages to bitcoin, there are also some serious disadvantages. Because there are limited amounts of bitcoin, people speculate on its value. They estimate what it will be worth in the future and invest money based on this estimation. Speculating on the worth of bitcoin is risky. It can change the value of bitcoin quickly. In April of 2011, the value of one bitcoin was less than $1 US. By December of 2013, one bitcoin was worth more than $1200! But bitcoin has also lost value just as quickly.

Voice 1 

Because of bitcoin’s digital and decentralized nature, it is also difficult to regulate or control by law. This is a major disadvantage because it is very easy to steal bitcoin. The New York Times reports that around the world, more than 30 times, people have stolen more than $1,000,000 US worth of bitcoins. And because bitcoin is not linked to any one government or authority, police do not often investigate stolen bitcoin. So, people can lose millions of dollars without having any way to get it back.

Voice 2 

Another major problem with bitcoin is that it is very easy to use for illegal acts. The most famous example is the website The Silk Road. Before authorities forced The Silk Road website to close, it accepted bitcoins as payment for the buying and selling of illegal drugs and weapons. Because there were no banks or central authority involved, people paying with bitcoin could not be identified. This made it easy for criminals to buy and sell illegal things around the world.

Voice 1 

Bitcoin does have serious disadvantages. But, many people believe bitcoin is the money of the future. Dan Kaminsky is an international internet security expert. In a story for Wired magazine, he wrote,

Voice 4 

"The internet has proven to be a very big deal for the global community. People can basically think of Bitcoin as the Internet, related to Money."

Voice 2 

The global community has not yet completely accepted bitcoin. But the idea behind bitcoin is becoming more and more popular. A growing number of store owners from all over the world accept bitcoin as payment. But do you think bitcoin can become the global currency of the future? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Bitcoin: Money of the Future’.

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Would you use bitcoin? Do you think electronic money will replace national currencies?

Comments


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duong duong
said on July 16, 2014

I think that is illusion. Nowaday, goverment prints money with a high technology but always exist false money. When we use bitcoin as well as a currentcy, u can’t imagine what happen !

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dunguyenduy
said on July 16, 2014

I have heard about bitcoin before. I think it have many advantages. It’s very convenient if over the world use bitcoin as official currency. In that day, we can buy somethings in different country by only one currency.

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Ỉn Con
said on July 18, 2014

Spotlight is very useful for me to study English, and l love the financial topics like that. thanks !!!

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buihuyen85
said on July 21, 2014

hi all! I’m a lecturer. Now, i’m teaching at a university. maybe everybody don’t think that do earn money online. However, I think that it a good job for many people. Such as: student… Now , I’m using a one type of money, that is Perfect money.

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Jimmy Roberto Espinoza Mercado
said on July 30, 2014

Hi friends! Using Bitcoin ( ฿) as a currency offers many advantages for the transations. Quoting some of these advantages I can tell you thst Bitcoin (BTC) belongs to no country particularly; therefore, everybody can use it. Like this, people can use it for buying and selling goods and services anywhere of the world by lower costs, by getting rid of payments of travelling of money. Moreover, Bitcoin avoids that users pay for bank services in any transaction, because they make it from person to person over the internet. Bitcoin as a complitely digital currency disappears the use of materials and resources which are needed for making bills and coins, that suppose less costs and ia friendly environment. Bitcoin brings many advantages, for that reason I think that Bitcoin will be the money of the future. Although, all human acts are susceptible to fraud or deceit; so, challenge will be for the internet security experts and the law field so that people perform well transactions. Thank you!

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oleksandrk
said on August 12, 2014

a cognitive program

natasoul's avatar
natasoul
said on September 12, 2014

Hello dear Spotlight)) i have never heard about such kind of currency. and this articl was very cognitive for me. i think bitcoin has many advantages and disadvantages.and i do not beilive that this currency will be able to become   money of the future.  i want to thanks alot for yours gob . it is help me for my English)

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yellowdarkblue
said on July 20, 2015

I think your program is very helpful and understandable for English Language beginners,it is so useful as you mention initial all of your videos’easy for people to understand where they live in the World’.I am a beginner too and so thankful for such a beautiful program.

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Luckyman...
said on July 21, 2015

it is great idea. if we use a bitcoin, we will not carry much of paper money in our wallet. but i don’t know what will happen as we use a bitcoin currency instead of paper money. Thanks for sharing a great topic…

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Jimmy Roberto Espinoza Mercado
said on May 22, 2016

Ecuadorian government offers encouragement for people using e-money; like to pay less IVA.  It would be good to know if it does also for using bitcoin. Thank you!

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OSCAR
said on August 29, 2019

Hello everybody, with respect a this ask, that if Bitcoin will reaplace national currencuies I think that is imposible, because there are a lot people who says HACKERS, altrough many people maked the famous pyramids, who stolen money a many people, never given back.

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Honneur
said on August 30, 2019

I am an old user of computers and, consequently, the internet. Internet is an easy way to mistake our judgment of things and bitcoin is one way for robbery rides freely people simple and dumb… I never will use bitcoins or other currency like that.

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Ahmed Al Hejaili
said on September 02, 2019

Thank you I was enjoyed of listen and read.

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Ahmed Al Hejaili
said on September 02, 2019

Would you use bitcoin? Do you think electronic money will replace national currencies?

No, because not safe until now.