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While reading Slashdot a couple of days ago, I came across an article describing BitCoin and referring to it as "The Most Dangerous Open Source Project Ever". Of course being subversive by nature, I had to read more and I realized that this could be very useful for classrooms to discuss finances, government policy, logarithms, Capitalism, and the list could go on for the whole semester. Here is an overview video courtesy of WeUseCoins.
Additionally, this takes very confusing topics (Banking/Global Monetary Policy and Logarithms) and places it in terms that every teenager knows well. Peer to Peer (P2P) is the same process by which many download music, movies, software, etc. So the implications of BitCoins being untraceable and unable to shut down are already understood.
I imagine a math or humanities class could have a long term project regarding the effects this program could have on society, while discussing the pros and cons of such a currency, and having a tangible discussion about the reasoning behind a logarithmic non-inflationary growth curve. While the number of companies and organizations that take BitCoins is relatively few, there is enough to make it a discussion worth having. Not to mention the fact that students can enter the BitCoin market and sell their cognitive surplus and apply their skills right away.
More info about BitCoins can be found here:
Organizations that Currently Accept BitCoin
WeUseCoins - Overview
If nothing else it makes for excellent discussion. I hope you and your students do some great things with this information and if you do use it, please share how it went in the comments!
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