The vast majority of press coverage of Bitcoin is focused, stock-market style, on its price. While highly entertaining, it is the least important aspect of Bitcoin. Bitcoin and any future protocols built on similar models, embody at least four important innovations:
(1) Decentralized financial transactions
(2) Distributed irreversible public ledgers and distributed trust
(3) “Programmable Money”
(4) The first stepping stone to legally autonomous artificial entities
These are important ideas, regardless of if the price of Bitcoin in three years is $30,000 or $0.30. They represent the beginning of a representation of value and money that is native to the digital world.
This is an field that touches upon key concepts relating to currency, economics, law, sovereignty, accessibility of financial services, economic development and the future of financial and technical innovation. They are topics that deserve serious academic study.
Today we are delighted to announce the beginning of a three pronged effort at the University of Nicosia to develop an academic knowledge base about the societal implications and applications of digital currency, that draws upon our existing deep knowledge of the fields of accounting, finance, public administration, international relations and law. Specifically:
(1) We are launching a M.Sc. in Digital Currency to be offered online in Spring 2014
(2) We are developing a set of policy recommendations for Cyprus to provide an appropriate regulatory framework for managing digital currencies and perhaps serving as a hub for businesses of this type.
(3) And, in the spirit of practicing what we preach, we are accepting Bitcoin across all divisions of the university, effective immediately
We believe that we might be the first university in the world to accept Bitcoin but also to develop a full-fledged program on the applied elements of digital currency (as opposed to the technical aspects of cryptography that have been well covered for years). This is an area, however, that requires much more study and we look forward to working with our colleagues around the world to push the thinking forward on this topic.
More details about the announcement are here: www.unic.ac.cy/digitalcurrency