51% Show #1279

Jan 17, 2014

Credit epSos .de

This week on 51%,  the changing face of currency. Technology is creating new forms of money – and new issues.

Bitcoins have been in the news lately – with a Chinese bitcoin exchange firm vanishing along with more than four million dollars... a teenager in Australia whose bitcoin bank website took in more than a million dollars, then vanished, and the world's second Bitcoin ATM set to open in Hong Kong this month. Online sellers are increasingly accepting bitcoins while central banks are warning against a volatile and unregulated form of money.

Credit Targaryen

Bitcoins are virtual currency – with one coin currently selling for more than $850 US dollars. Unlike government currency, Bitcoins have no central authority and they are issued based on a mathematical formula. Dr. Tyler Moore, professor of computer science and engineering at Southern Methodist University, spoke with WTIP's Buck Benson about the appeal – and the challenges of virtual currency.

Coming up, what a difference six years makes...and going cold turkey on technology. If you missed part of this show or want to share it, visit the 51% archives at wamc.org.  This week’s show is # 1279.

Credit Gari Araolaza

Science fiction writers have a great track record for predicting the future – from organ transplants to space travel. Many of us thought we'd have transporters by now, but it's been communication that has most drastically changed our lives in the past fifty years. The pace of that change is dizzying. Let's revisit a 2008 prediction piece from producer Jamie Courville – and see what a difference just six years have made.

The Internet has woven itself into every part of our lives. What if you just pulled the plug? No cell phone, no email, no internet – journalism professor Jennifer Rauch went offline for six months. Producer Sally Herships has more.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our theme  music is by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.