Johns Hopkins Comes Up with its Own Version of Bitcoin

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A few years ago, no one but the l33test haxors knew what Bitcoin was. Those folks are laughing all the way to the bank now, as the price of the digital currency soared from about $13 to $1000 last year. It seems that everyone — or at least drug dealers, Russian mafiosi, and computer nerds — was interested in a kind of untraceable money that allowed for anonymous transactions and didn’t deal with central banks. And now a group of Johns Hopkins researchers are working on developing their own version.

The Hopkins currency is called Zerocoin, and the project is being led by computer science professor Matthew Green. “We want to make something that the world wants and can get use out of,” Green told the Sun. Presumably he was referring to sensitive security issues, not so much drug dealers; Green is the Hopkins prof who got in trouble with the university for criticizing the National Security Agency last year. According to Forbes, Zerocoin will actually be more anonymous than Bitcoin because of a complicated math reason called a “zero-knowledge proof,” which I do not understand.

His team of researchers is still working on the code to support Zerocoin, and plans to have it ready by early summer at the latest. It’ll have to compete with a host of other cryptocurrencies riding the Bitcoin bandwagon: Dogecoin, inspired by an internet dog meme, is my personal favorite. But perhaps with those Johns Hopkins brains behind it, Zerocoin will be the one to win out.

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