Is Bitcoin just another kind of money? An undergraduate module dedicated to Bitcoin at the University of Exeter sheds light on the question by delving into the history of money. The module, called “Bitcoin, Money and Trust,” was launched in 2018 after a high demand from students to learn about Bitcoin.
Dr. Jack Rogers, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Exeter launched the Bitcoin module as a precursor to an MSc Fintech course which he leads. He says participation increased tenfold in recent years—from less than 50 students when it launched to 700 this year.
Despite the impressive turnout, Jack believes that “probably the big number is partly driven for the wrong reasons—all the various hype and sense that you could get rich from this.”
On this week’s episode of CoinGeek Conversations, Charles Miller talks to Jack about the University of Exeter’s Bitcoin teaching, the evolution of money and the role Bitcoin plays.
Jack points to the emergence of central banking as a step change in history. He quoted Felix Martin, the author of “Money: The Unauthorized Biography,” whom he recalls speaking of a “compromise power structure” between the central bank and the government. For the first time in centuries, a decoupling between money and the state is happening before our eyes, Charles suggests. Jack agrees, saying “a new technology that allows people to potentially pay each other without using existing fiat-based systems” has indeed raised fundamental questions. He pertains to the author’s view on cryptocurrency and how it’s lead to a disruption in the payment system which central banks have been in control of for a long time.
Jack believes the disruption in central banking was inevitable eventually: “I think this stuff, central bank, digital currencies and things that you see now, maybe it was coming anyway… I think the emergence of Bitcoin and all the hype and everything has kind of brought that forward.”
Based on Jack’s comments, it’s safe to say that the future of money will depend on the outcome of the competition between blockchain-based payment systems. For now, he admits no one is certain as to where Bitcoin is heading.
“One of my students did a great dissertation on this, speculating that in 20 years’ time, will there be loads of different types of money? What does it look like? I mean, no-one can really say,” Jack said.
Dr. Jack Rogers is co-authoring a textbook alongside Brendan Lee and Neil Smith. The book will be out by the end of 2023.
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