Brian Patrick Eha: What Is Bitcoin? What Are Its Uses?

    In the space of a few years, Bitcoin has gone from an idea ignored or maligned by almost everyone to an asset with a market cap of more than $12 billion. Venture capital firms, Goldman Sachs, the NYSE and entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson have invested more than $1 billion in companies built on this groundbreaking technology. Bill Gates has even declared it “better than currency.”

    But can its early promise endure? Or will the next evolution of money be neutered as it goes mainstream? The pioneers of Bitcoin were 21st century outlaws—cryptographers, hackers, Free Staters, ex-cons and drug dealers, teenage futurists and self-taught entrepreneurs—armed with a renegade ideology and a grudge against big government and big banks. Now those same institutions are threatening to co-opt or curtail the impact of digital currency. But the pioneers, some of whom have become millionaires themselves, aren’t going down without a fight.

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    Brian Patrick Eha, journalist and author of a new book about Bitcoin, "How Money Got Free," offers an exciting, behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall and rise of this disruptive technology. Eha draws on his deep knowledge of Bitcoin's history to discuss how this brilliant invention is shaping the debate around competing ideas of money and liberty, and what that means for the rest of us.

    Brian Patrick Eha (Part 1): What is Bitcoin? What are its uses?

    Brian Patrick Eha (Part 2): How can Bitcoin be used today? Why is it important?

    About the Author

    Brian Patrick Eha is a former editor at "Entrepreneur" and a journalist who has spent nearly five years following the rise of Bitcoin. His work has been published by "The New Yorker," "The Atlantic," "Fortune," CNNMoney, "American Banker," "Outside," "Port," "Avaunt" and the "Los Angeles Review of Books," among other publications. He lives in New York City.

    About the Museum

    The Museum of American Finance is the nation’s only independent museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching about American finance and financial history. Housed in an historic bank building on Wall Street, the Museum’s magnificent grand mezzanine banking hall provides an ideal setting for permanent exhibits on the financial markets, money, banking, entrepreneurship and Alexander Hamilton.

    The Museum is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) Smithsonian affiliate creating non-ideological presentations and programs for purposes of education and general public awareness. Financial education is at the core of the Museum’s mission, seeking to promote lifelong learning and inquiry.

    As a chronicler of American financial achievement and development, the Museum seeks to play a special role as a guardian of America’s collective financial memory, as well as a presenter and interpreter of current financial issues, thereby connecting the past with the present while serving as a guide for the future.