Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin offer a promise that might sound too good to be true: anonymous, untraceable digital cash that you can spend freely, without interference from the government, a corporation, or big banks.
It’s a revolutionary idea. And anyone can use it just by signing up online and entering credit card information.
Cryptocurrencies burst onto the scene in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in a generation. By 2017, their value had ballooned to half a trillion dollars. But then they crashed, just like the banks they promised to replace, and half of that value went up in smoke. It revealed a hard truth: Cryptocurrencies are unregulated and vulnerable to hacks.
So are they just a fad or truly here to stay?
Vox tackled this question in the fifth episode of our new Netflix show, Explained. We’ll have new episodes every Wednesday on topics ranging from gene editing to diets to the stock market and more. If you like our videos, then you’ll love this show; it’s our most ambitious video project to date.
To watch, search “Explained” on Netflix or go to Netflix.com/explained. Click the “My List” button to make sure you don’t miss an episode!
Bitcoin’s “ultimate experiment in capitalism,” explained (by Emily Stewart, Vox)
Why bitcoin is bullshit, explained by an expert (by Sean Illing, Vox)
Bitcoin’s price keeps breaking records. Here’s what’s driving its growth. (by Timothy B. Lee, Vox)
My Joke Cryptocurrency Hit $2 Billion and Something Is Very Wrong (by Dogecoin inventor Jackson Palmer, whom we interviewed for this episode, Vice)
In blockchain we trust (MIT Technology Review, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey, whom we interviewed for this episode)
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order (by Michael J. Casey and Paul Vigna)
The Past, Present, and Future of Payment: From Diners’ Club to Bitcoin and Beyond (Lana Swartz, whom we also interviewed for this episode, MoneyLab)
The vast majority of digital coin offerings are scams, warns CEO of a crypto services firm (CoinList CEO Andy Bromberg, whom we also interviewed for this episode, on CNBC)
Hashing It Out #7: MIMIR Blockchain Solutions (From The Bitcoin Podcast, featuring Hunter Prendergast, whom we also interviewed for this episode)