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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.
Bitcoin has grown in popularity since its launch in 2009. No one is sure who invented it. And many people still have no idea what it is. Bitcoin is a completely digital currency. Its value is based on market use and the trust of its users. The computer code is encrypted for security, so only required users can understand the information.
Kevin McIntyre is a professor of economics at McDaniel College in Maryland. He spent the summer researching this digital money. He says Bitcoins get their value the same way that dollars and euros get their value. He notes that every kind of money in existence depends on the faith of those who use and accept it. He says the only difference with the bitcoin is that no government or organization produces it. Harlan Platt is a professor of finance at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. He is troubled that no government guarantees bitcoins. Professor Platt is concerned about possible criminal uses of the digital money. He says anyone buying or selling something illegally can do so without a government or law enforcement agency being able to see what they are doing. But he says bitcoins provide privacy and that could be important for people in some countries. He notes that repressive governments have power to seize actual money. Professor Platt says bitcoins have become increasingly popular among investors. But he says there are financial risks, such as a lack of insurance. For him, owning bitcoin is like investing in foreign currency. In his words, such an investment can be very, very risky, but people do it all the time. And that’s the Technology Report.