UMN Student Group Aims to Increase Bitcoin Use



David Blondin

For everyone who has lost their faith in the almighty dollar, the University of Minnesota’s new cryptocurrency club

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of cash. Anyone anywhere in the world can exchange such a currency without interference from a banking system. This significantly cuts down on the cost of exchanging goods.

“Cryptocurrencyis a way of exchanging goods and services by mathematical proofs and a decentralized network,” said group Vice President Justin Ehrenhofer.

This lack of a governmental control can put a lot of people on edge. Because of this; different countries treat it differently. For example, the United States treats it as a commodity and China has recently decided not to allow for the use of bitcoin.

“Because of the anonymity the currency is seen as a potential avenue to launder money or purchase drugs,” the group’s secretary Charles Fenske added.

What the government might see as a headache the bitcoin holder may see as a degree of personal freedom. In the end cryptocurrency is not much different than cash payments. If you do not report cash, the government would never know about it anyways.

“Money can be used for bad things,” said Ehrenhofer, “But that doesn’t make the money inherently bad.”

“Within a two-mile radius of the U there is about ten businesses who accept [Bitcoin,]” said Fenske.

The Crypto-Currency Club wants to advocate around campus to create the demand for more businesses to accept Bitcoin. Since the Twin Cities metro has a very dense Fortune 500 community people believe it could be help spur a national growth in the use of Bitcoin. States like New York currently have a stronger influence from Wall Street, which sees crypto-currency as a possible threat to their industry.

The members of the club have varying reasons for their interest in Bitcoin. There are those who are interested in it for the technical aspects who find the micro-exchanges involved fascinating, there are those who follow it for the socio-economic impacts, and there are those who just want to have another medium to exchange currency for goods and services.

This new club is slowly but surely adding to the diversity of the campus climate by bringing in people who dissent from controlled currency. This is a form of civil dissent that will have an impact on the local, state, national, and global economies in the near future.