MIT’s First Digital Currency Director Talks Taking Bitcoin Mainstream

“If you would have explained Uber or Lyft five years ago, you would have had to explain it as digital hitchhiking, because that’s what it was.”
That analogy, according to newly appointed MIT Digital Currency Initiative director Brian Forde, illustrates where bitcoin and the blockchain are today – struggling for a more colloquial definition that may only come when the technology delivers a consumer experience that communicates its societal value.
Uber and Lyft, he noted, have since gone on to build a trusted system of background checks, ratings and payments that mainstreamed their services into culturally acceptable modes of transportation.
The Digital Currency Initiative finds the Massachusetts Institute of Technology seeking an active role in this transition process for digital currencies. As laid out in the group’s introductory blog post, the program has three goals: to engage students in research around key issues, convene stakeholders in discussions regarding the technology and provide a catalyst for unbiased research.
In a new interview, Forde sought to expand on these efforts, unpacking some of the perhaps denser terminology in the group’s launch messaging. For example, Forde elaborated on how he sees the Digital Currency Initiative addressing areas of high social impact under his leadership.
Put more simply, Forde suggested that bitcoin is likely to have use cases that, while potentially beneficial to millions globally, won’t or shouldn’t generate the investment return to attract venture capital.
Forde went on to indicate that MIT, through its own work and collaboration with international universities, would be able to leverage such connections to foster an environment where stakeholders can come together to discuss and expand these solutions.
He told CoinDesk:

This post was published at Coin Desk on May 1, 2015.

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