Bitcoin Advancement: Appropriate or Inappropriate?

In talking about appropriate technologies, this issue is often put forth in situations where new technology is introduced, but deems to not blend well in or create positive impacts for the community in which the ICT project is implemented. However, appropriateness is also an issue when it comes to the extent to which certain technology is implemented and how far it is advanced. In this day and age when efficiency is a number one priority, advancements can get to a point where a once appropriate technology can overstep social, physical, or political boundaries and revert to creating more problems than fixing them.

A recent example of this is the collapse of Mt. Gox, the world’s largest exchange for trading bitcoins. Bitcoins are the virtual currency that has grown in popularity for buying products and services online, often used on an international scale. They started on somewhat of a smaller scale but quickly grew and are now being used in some of the world’s largest exchanges. The recent collapse resulted in an exchange with Japan where almost 750,000 bitcoins were stolen, which is worth more than $300 million. Clearly, critics see this as a major detriment to virtual currency, despite any past successes. Many investigations have been launched in order to uncover details about the collapse of Mt. Gox, or if it is even a final downfall. Some say that it is only temporary while others dispute that Mt. Gox could very easily not recover.

The Mt. Gox shutdown as it results from a major security breach has started a much a larger discussion about virtual currency as a whole, and whether it is a viable way to be making large international exchanges. In its earlier days, bitcoins were appropriate in that they did not sum up to be extremely large amounts of money, nor did companies solely rely on them for their  exchanges. Yet, just as most technologies do, bit coins transformed into a large scale monetary entity. Mt. Gox was able to use the growing popularity of bitcoins and the trend of technological advancement as tools in creating a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company. Then, events such as this recent theft of almost $300 million takes place, bringing to light the potential inappropriateness of bitcoin advancement and large-scale reliance on this virtual currency. I see this as a clear example of a technology advancing itself from appropriate to inappropriate, even if the goals were progression and efficiency in the new technological age.



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