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Previous story Bitcoin gets Wall Street's attention. But its power lies in aiding oppressed peoples Next story
Published on May 8, 2021 11:13 PM

by Aubrey Strobel

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Inside the big business of Bitcoin that's making people a fortune Wall Street is now in the Bitcoin game
 
Wall Street is now in the Bitcoin game. On Tuesday, one of the world's most important trading bodies announced it was creating a suite of indexes that would track cryptocurrencies. The move by S&P Dow Jones Indices follows other major developments mainstreaming Bitcoin, such as when the NFL's No. 1 draft pick put his entire multimillion-dollar signing bonus into crypto last week and when no less than Sotheby's announced this week that it will accept cryptocurrencies in an upcoming auction.

But much of the benefit of Bitcoin, the world's leading cryptocurrency and the best-performing financial asset of the last decade, is how much it can help people with less access to — and trust in — the world's major financial systems, such as people in developing countries. Where economic instability, high rates of poverty and limited access to financial services erode social trust in central governments, Bitcoin adoption has powerful advantages precisely because it operates outside the current system.

Bitcoin is a borderless, decentralized, peer-to-peer currency that has no central authority, such as a government or a central bank. Every transaction is done via a digital ledger — called a blockchain — with an immutable encrypted signature to secure its authenticity. In this way, it's trustless, meaning it doesn't rely on a third party or an administrator to preside over the flow of capital. Neither governments nor banks can interfere with transactions, or manipulate or discriminate against anyone based on their so-called qualifications. And unlike other major cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin has a finite supply, 21 million bitcoins, thereby limiting risks of inflation...