Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was launched in the throes of the 2007/08 global financial crisis at the convergence of technological developments and a global financial system that was collapsing and threatening to take the economic lives of billions of people with it. As a decentralised cryptocurrency bitcoin was seen as a more trustworthy and efficient alternative to centralised fiat money. With its underlying blockchain technology, intermediaries like banks were cut out and payments made directly between payee and payer. The holders of bitcoin were anonymous and free from the eyes of tax authorities and law enforcement. Within a few years other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ether, XRP were initiated as an entire movement formed around cryptocurrencies.
In March 2018 on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver maybe accurately described cryptocurrencies as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers”. This cryptocurrencies workshop attempts to address this and provide insight into how cryptocurrencies work and the risks involved in investing or speculating in them.