Promoting compassionate currency is the mission of Lincoln native Greg Simon, founding member of the Bitcoin Financial Association and alumnus of the UNL College of Business Administration School of Accountancy. Simon and business partner David Mondrus spoke at CBA to nearly 150 students, faculty and business partners to discuss bitcoin, the new virtual currency (known as crypto-currency) that has people rethinking their ideas about money.
“Several years ago I was sitting at my desk and took out a coin and thought, ‘What is this?’ It kind of terrified me that I had an accounting degree and a high-powered job at J.P. Morgan but couldn’t define money,” Simon said.
As he thought about money and the functions it serves in the economy, he came to the understanding that currency is no different than other economic goods such as a computer, phone or car.
“The reason we don’t think of money as an economic good is because we have only had one choice based on the monetary monopoly of governments,” he said. “What crypto-currency and bitcoin gives us is a free market in the money industry. We’ve never had that before.”
Simon, who received his MBA from the Columbia Business School, believes the world is on the cusp of an explosion of intense competition in the money industry. He said over 200 types of crypto-currency have appeared since bitcoin was introduced in 2009.
“The competition for currency is going to spur innovation. New currencies will arise to meet specific consumer needs which will create real economic growth in the form of new companies and jobs. It offers more than just stimulating the economy by producing more money,” he said.
Greg Simon (right) talks at CBA about bitcoin with business partner David Mondrus
Simon said the compassion of crypto-currency will be seen throughout the world, most significantly among poorer people without bank accounts that rely on high remittance fees to receive wages.
“Current currency requires an expensive and complex infrastructure of accountants, lawyers, bankers, buildings and security systems – it all costs money and people pay for those costs when they use it,” he said. “With crypto-currency, the confidence of transactions is collapsed in the trust of mathematics and a transparent system where you can make the transaction for free.”
He said all bitcoin transactions can be viewed by individuals known as miners who monitor transactions so ultimately parties engaged in transfers can be tracked. Nevertheless, part of the negative reaction surrounding bitcoin is its use in criminal activities along with the volatility of the value of a bitcoin.
Mondrus, who along with Simon is a Co-CEO of Cryptowerks, Inc., agreed there have been problems but pointed out every new technology has growing pains.
“When the internet first appeared in 1994, much of the early use was for illegal purposes,” Mondrus said. “I’m encouraged the illegal activity surrounding crypto-currency is being resolved in the courts. I’m confident it will help stabilize the currency and make it a more trusted commodity.”