While the digital currency arena has been negatively affected by news of illegal usage in criminal activities, Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andersen said that bitcoin gained popularity precisely because of this. Without these dealings in black markets, he pointed out that the cryptocurrency market might not have grown to its $3 billion size today.
Andersen explained that bitcoin has been used in online gambling in the United States before being effectively outlawed in 2011 and played a role in facilitating transactions on the Silk Road online marketplace for drugs and other illegal items before being shut down in 2013.
Bitcoin Foundation Oversight
Bitcoin Foundation is perhaps the closest thing that digital currencies have to a regulatory agency, as these are decentralized in nature and are not governed by central banks or monetary authorities. Bitcoin Foundation is a non-profit group set up by Andersen three years ago to support the developments in the cryptocurrency industry.
Andersen graduated from Princeton with a degree in computer science in 1988 and took a job in a 3D graphics company in California’s Silicon Valley. Some bitcoin enthusiasts speculate that Andersen is actually the real person behind the pen name “Satoshi Nakamoto” who published a paper on bitcoin back in 2009.
However, Andersen has said that he is not Satoshi and instead was chosen via email to continue the legacy of bitcoin. “My vision is really to give people more control over their money in the financial world,” he said. His ambition is to give more people access to bitcoin and this entails fostering better understanding of the digital currency.
According to Andersen, without the rise to fame in bitcoin’s usage in illegal dealings, it would probably have taken the cryptocurrency much longer to get to where it is right now. He even cited the usage of internet for pornographic material before it evolved to what it currently is.